Roll On Yesterday
While Amy continues trying to convince the Doctor that she'd much rather visit sunnier climes, the Doctor instead insists on bringing her to the Crossings, better known as the Crossings Intercontinual Worldgating Facility. There, they meet Dairine Callahan and Carmela Rodriguez, who need a little help -- a friend of theirs comes from the planet Demisiv, which has suddenly and mysteriously gone completely off the grid. They need a ship that can get them there quickly enough to try and do some good.
Meanwhile, on Earth, Luke and Clyde are chasing down a Sontaran when the potato-like alien manages to abscond with Sarah Jane and Rani -- but not so surprised as they are, moments later, when Clyde's new iPhone offers him the Wizard's Oath. This, along with some friendly advice from their new friend Ronan, is enough to get them off the planet and out to the Crossings, the perfect place to start searching for their missing friends.
Is there a connection between Demisiv and Sarah Jane's disappearance? What caused Demisiv to go off the grid? And why does Amy know the Wizard's Oath?
Beta(s): kristin and hhertzof
Spoilers: Through mid-season 5 of New Who
Warnings: Click here to view warnings
Notes: Many, many thanks to my two lovely betas! I think, between us, we caught all the typos, and their advice was invaluable in terms of making things flow the way they should. :D
I did my best to have the Young Wizards elements make sense in-context, or otherwise be explained in-text; if anyone's not familiar with the series and is intrigued by what they find here, I highly recommend checking out the series, starting with the first book: So You Want to Be a Wizard. Diane Duane's series is possibly my favorite YA fantasy -- and that says a lot, coming from me.
Chapter 1: In Life's Name and for Life's Sake
"This isn't Cancun."
Amy Pond looked out of the open TARDIS door, leaning around the edge of it, to take in the newest place the Doctor had brought her. "In fact, this isn't remotely Cancun, any more than the last place was anything remotely near Rio. Am I to understand, Doctor, that you can't find yourself somewhere both sunny and warm?"
The Doctor just laughed and pushed out past her. "This is better than Cancun, Amy! This is the Crossings! Come, come, there's something I want you to see. And eat! Blue food, there's the best blue food at this one little restaurant just down the corridor, although be careful when you pass by the restrooms -- some of them aren't safe for humans."
The Doctor paused for a moment before turning to look back at Amy.
"Okay, most of them aren't safe for humans, so be very careful, and if you can't read the signs, ask me and I'll translate."
"What do you mean, not safe for humans?" Amy asked, tentatively stepping out of the TARDIS. She began to look around in earnest, her eyes widening when she saw the floating buttresses and sweeping arcs high above them. "What is this place?"
"The Crossings! Do try to keep up, Amy, there's a lot to see and not much time to see it in!"
"Yes, but what are the Crossings?" Amy glanced down at her present outfit, judging the short skirt and loose blouse more than acceptable for the cool, but not chill, air in which she found herself.
The Doctor just grinned and held out one arm for Amy to take. "The Crossings," he explained, as he led her away from the TARDIS and out into the corridor proper, "better known as the Crossings Intercontinual Worldgating Facility, is the primary world-gating facility for the Sagittarius Arm. Ninety percent of interplanetary commerce in Earth's sector of the galaxy goes through here, hundreds of species from thousands of planets on a daily basis." He waved one hand upward, drawing Amy's attention once again to the stuff up there that wasn't attached to anything. "The classic Lilene architecture is quite distinct, and, if I judge right by the rate of regrowth... Hm." The Doctor glanced sideways, stopping to run a finger down a featureless wall. "Yes, I'd say just about three or four months after the incident with the Pullulus. Really, they've come along remarkably fast. Most of this was scorchmarks just two months ago."
Amy frowned as she tried to take all that in. "You've lost me, Doctor," she said. "World-gating? Interplanetary commerce? And what is a Pullulus?"
"I'll explain over tea, Amy," the Doctor said, practically pulling her along as he started walking again. Her hand still on his arm, Amy had to stumble a little to keep up. "But you've got nothing to worry about. While you're here with me, you're protected. Besides, there are plenty of wizards here in case anything goes wrong."
Amy nodded, although she rolled her eyes again as well. "Of course," she said. "Over tea. And blue food?"
There was a brief moment of silence between them before Amy's voice rose again.
Dairine Callahan, wizard, Guarantor-in-Training, and all-around pain in her sister's rear end, sat on a stool in the section of the Crossings cafe reserved for hominids and those with similar biologies. "So what you're saying," she said, stirring her blue soda with her straw, "is that no one's heard anything from Demisiv in a month and a half."
"The entire planet has been closed off, Guarantor," said the young man, an intelligencer and bodyguard on loan from Roshaun's parents as she worked off-planet. His name was Arved, and he'd been following Dairine faithfully for the last month. "Nothing's indicating an attack by the Starsnuffer, and there have been no distress calls, nor any indication that life on the planet is in danger, but no one's saying anything, either."
Dairine nodded slowly as she absorbed the information. "What about their wizards off-world?" she asked. "Surely someone's got to be talking to them."
"That's just it, Guarantor ne Callahan," Arved said. "There don't seem to be any Demisiv wizards off-world. The planet went communications-dark right after their last off-world wizard went home. None of them seem to be out on errantry."
"That can't be right," Dairine said. "None of them are off-world? But the Demisiv are in high-demand for their skill with plants."
Arved shook his head. "Not a single one, Guarantor," he confirmed. "Or so the rumours go, but they're rumours that each of my sources here at the Crossings have confirmed. I've never had so many tell me the exact same thing."
Dairine's frown deepened. "This isn't good," she said, severely understating the issue. "This isn't good at all. Arved, I need you to get ahold of the Guarantor back on Wellakh. Let him know that there's an issue, that I'm going to be gone a little longer than planned, and that I'm going to continue to need your services. I've got a couple of calls to make." Arved nodded and took off to find an available comms console; Dairine, meanwhile, put down her half-finished drink and walked out of the cafe. Behind her toddled her laptop, wizard's Manual, and best friend, Spot.
Outside the cafe Dairine turned right, heading towards the back-stage areas of the Crossings, where luggage handling and other background tasks were performed. "It's back here, isn't it, Spot?" she asked, passing through a door marked, in the Speech, "NO ENTRY. EMPLOYEES ONLY." Just past the door was an alcove, which Dairine ducked into before picking up Spot. "Messaging, please. Bring up Nita and Kit first."
"Working," Spot said, his voice still a little tinny. Dairine had tried to fix his vocal processors after his last upgrade, but something in them seemed to be stuck at 'retro' in a way which was starting to seriously annoy her. "Nita Callahan and Kit Rodriguez are currently out of ambit. Messaging expected to be restored within three standard Terran days."
"Dammit," Dairine swore in English before switching into the Speech herself. "What about our other contacts? Is Ronan available? Or Darryl?"
Spot's processor whirred for an unneeded moment, a slight bit of authenticity that still makes Dairine smile a little. "Darryl is flagged for 'contact only in emergency', and Ronan's on errantry back on Earth," Spot explained. "Is there anyone else you'd like me to try?"
Dairine hesitated, thinking through the friends she had -- there were a few other off-world wizards she could call upon, of course, and other contacts she'd made while on Wellakh. She started to smile, though, slowly at first and then grinning widely, when she realised exactly who she could contact. "Spot," she said. "Messaging routines, Manual-to-Terrestrial-Internet Downlink. Message begins: "Need your help at the Crossings. Meet me here, 7PM your time?" Message ends. Sign it 'Dairine', Spot, and send it to email@example.com."
The characters flashed on-screen for a brief moment before the window swirled down into the dashboard at the bottom. A few seconds later, a 'Sent!' notification flashed on screen. "I'll let you know when she replies," Spot assured Dairine. "Perhaps you should go find Arved? He's likely looking for you by now."
Dairine nodded, closing Spot's screen and setting him back on the floor. He obediently re-extended his legs and toddled along behind Dairine as she left the alcove and returned to the main concourse of the Crossings. "Let's go find Sker'ret," she said, her frown returning. "If he doesn't know about this yet, he should. And he might have some ideas on getting back onto Demisiv."
At a small table in a different Crossings cafe, the Doctor sat across from Amy Pond and gesticulated wildly with a blue chip he'd dipped in salad cream. "So, you see," he elucidated, "wizards exist on every planet, in every sentient species, and have since the beginning of time. Except for Time Lords, actually, we've got too much power and not enough sense for it."
"Okay," Amy replied, "but I'm still trying to get past the part where there are wizards. Wave a magic wand, say a magic word, and poof?"
"Poof?" The Doctor frowned. "What do you mean, poof? What kind of word is poof?"
"Focus, Doctor. You're seriously telling me that there are wizards not just on Earth, but all around the galaxy?"
"Not just the galaxy," the Doctor reiterated. "All across the universe. Anywhere there's life. Here, have a blue chip." He pushed the plate across the table to Amy, who frowned at them, wrinkling her nose. "They're perfectly all right! Absolutely Earth normal, blue potatoes. They grow that way naturally! It's marvelous, your planet, all these strange and varied foods you export. Did you know that a number of species find chocolate to have aphrodisiac properties?"
"I didn't need to know that. Chocolate's bad enough on humans." Amy tentatively grabbed a chip and nibbled at it, avoiding the salad cream completely. "These aren't half bad," she said, looking at the chip in surprise before taking a larger bite. "Anyway, wizards. And you're just now mentioning them to me? We couldn't have used some of them, oh, any time we've been anywhere, ever?"
The Doctor shrugged. "It hasn't come up," he pointed out. "And anyway, I don't tend to run into wizards very often. I don't know that they much like me, actually."
Amy grabbed another chip, biting it in half before responding. "Aww," she said. "I don't know how anyone could not like you, Doctor." She tapped the touch-screen surface in the middle of the table and scrolled through the options for beverages. "What language is this" she asked as she selected a drink. The Doctor had assured her that he'd set it up to only offer food and drink compatible with her body chemistry, and while she'd gotten used to not trustng his assurances at face value, the blue soda certainly sounded innocuous. "I mean, I can read it, but it's like I can still see that it's its own language. That's never happened like that before. The TARDIS just translates it all, doesn't it?"
"Ah, now, see, this is where it gets really interesting." The Doctor spread his hand out for a moment on the touch-screen before frowning at it and pulling out his sonic driver. A short burst from the device had the touch-screen doing what he wanted. "This is the Speech," he explained, gesturing at the screen as it displayed a series of the small, shining characters. "It's the language wizards use to cast their spells, because the universe understands it. It's the same way the TARDIS lets you understand other languages; it puts the some of the Speech right inside your head, and if you know the Speech, you can communicate with anything. Kind of. It gets complicated, sometimes. Now, because everything, on some level, understands the Speech, there are a lot of cultures in the universe that use it as something of a lingua franca. The Crossings, especially, since so many wizards do business here, or go through here on errantry."
Amy nodded slowly, tracing the arcs of Speech across the screen as she deciphered the messages displayed. "Yes, all right. But if I've got the Speech in my head, now, then why can't I understand everything? Like, why did the stone angels need to use someone else to communicate with us?"
"Well, I did say it gets complicated, didn't I?" the Doctor pointed out. "If you were a wizard, or someone else perfectly fluent in the Speech, then, yes, you'd be capable of speaking with one of the angels, or any of a hundred billion different species for whom the TARDIS can't translate. Sometimes, though, it just doesn't work." The Doctor wrinkled his nose. "That ended kind of weak, didn't it?"
"Just a bit, Doctor." Amy shrugged and stole another of the blue potato chips. "So what planet do these potatoes come from, anyway? A bit of malt vinegar and they'd taste just like the ones from the chip shop down the road back home."
"Oh," the Doctor said. "They're from Earth."
Amy blinked. "What? No, really, are they from some crazy future Earth, where there are blue potatoes?"
The Doctor shook his head. "No. Actually, we're in 2010 right now, a month or two before I picked you up. Kind of. There are blue potatoes on Earth."
"You're joking." Amy stared at the Doctor for a moment, trying to figure out whether or not he was joking. "You're joking," she repeated." He wasn't joking. "You're not joking. There are blue potatoes?"
From behind them, a laughing, slightly accented voice cut in, "You sound like my brother." When they turned to look at the newcomer, who seemed to be human (so far as Amy could tell, and with the Doctor in her life she knew that you never could quite tell), added, "He's the wizard, too. You'd think he'd know something about it. Blue potatoes! End of the world, to hear him say it."
Across the cafe, someone shouted, "Carmela! Over here!" A red-head -- Amy couldn't help but notice that the other girl looked, in fact, rather like she had a few years younger -- was waving, and the girl who'd stopped turned to look.
"That's me," Carmela said. "Carmela Rodriguez. Maybe I'll see you around!"
Amy watched as the girl, Carmela, walked over to meet up with her friend before turning back to the Doctor. "So what else is there to show me in this place?" she asked. "Surely it's not all blue food and floating ceilings."
"I thought I'd take you on a trip down the frictionless floors," the Doctor said, grinning. "And then maybe we can check out this one nice little pub I was in last time... Assuming it's been properly rebuilt."
With a laugh, Amy grabbed the last of the blue chips from the plate before standing up. "Why do I get the feeling that you're part of the reason it had to be rebuilt, Doctor?"
"I don't have any idea what you're talking about."
"Who were they?" Dairine asked, looking up at Carmela as the older girl sat down. "Friends of yours?"
"Never met them before," Carmela explained, "but the girl was going on about the blue potatoes, just like Kit did that one time."
Dairine took a sip of her blue soda -- her fourth of the day, at this point, and she was going to have to remind herself to cut down next time. They really were far too sickeningly sweet. "That was kinda funny," she said, before holding her hand out over the table's touch-screen. "Order whatever you want, it's going on my account. This is errantry business, after all."
Carmela raised an eyebrow, but nodded before she told the table, with an ease in the Speech that Dairine still envied, exactly what it was she wanted. A few moments later, her meal -- a traditional Wellakhit dish, in fact, which made Dairine's heart quiver just a little to see -- appeared and Carmela dug in. "So what's up, anyway?" she asked after swallowing her first mouthful. "Your email wasn't exactly forthcoming."
"Demisiv's gone off the grid."
Dairine waited a moment for Carmela to stop choking. "What!?" Carmela spat out. "What do you mean, off the grid?"
"They're completely cut off." Dairine pulled Spot up on top of the table and tapped the top of his case. A holographic display flared into being above him. "As of three days ago. The last of their off-world wizards got home and they went completely communications dark. Nearby civilisations are reporting lifesigns, but there's nothing going in or coming out by either wizardry or technological means."
"What about Filif?" Carmela asked, pushing her plate aside as she leaned over to look a little more closely at the display. It was showing an array of data on the last known communications, both standard and wizardry-based, none of which was any later than the last wizard's transit home. The last transit had, in fact, gone through the Crossings itself, but hadn't been flagged as abnormal in any way. "What about before the transit?" she asked. "Any drop in communications? Even just less coming in and out?"
Dairine shook her head. "Everything looks normal. It's like they just... stopped, somehow."
"That's not good." Carmela lazily spun the loose, spaghetti-like strands of the Wellakhit grass-based dish onto her fork before taking another mouthful. "Have you talked to Sker'ret yet? Has anyone tried to transit over?"
Nodding, Dairine ran her fingers through the display, altering it and spinning it around to bring up some new data. "Sker' fed me this," she explained. "Diagnostics of the gate system relating to the Demisiv gate. There's a hard-coded gate to Demisiv, and it's gone... not offline, that's not quite right. Here, this is the error message they've been getting."
"Dormant?" Carmela asked, reading through the message. "That's-- how does a hard-wired tech-gate go dormant?"
"That's what I wanted to know," Dairine replied. "So far, no one seems to be able to figure out. Sker' and I tried to put together a transit spell, but it just fizzled. Which is even weirder -- you know wizardry. It always works, somehow. This just... didn't."
"Except during the Pullulus thingy." Carmela had another bite of her meal before stealing a gulp of Dairine's soda. "Wizardry didn't always work right then. But it's not anything like that, is it?"
Dairine shook her head, not even bothering to comment on Carmela grabbing her drink, or on her describing the entire Pullulus incident as a 'thingy'. "No. Other wizardry is working fine, it's just this one transit. It's like something is specifically blocking Demisiv."
"And now we need to figure out what," Carmela said. "Not that it's all that hard, really, to figure out who's behind it. Where do we start?"
Grinning, Dairine tapped Spot's case, dismissing the display. "That's what I was hoping to hear," she said. "As for where to start, we need to find a way over to Demisiv. None of the local populations use any kind of stardrive, but surely there's someone around here who can get us access to a ship."
"I can ask around." Carmela slurped up the last of her meal before placing the dish onto the dissipator, where it obligingly disappeared. "I've got a few friends who hang out around here, and if that fails I can check the 'boards. We paying credits, chocolate, or Powers?"
Carmela waved her hand at Spot. "You know. 'Charge it to the Powers, we're on errantry'? I've got the chocolate if we need it, and can probably get the credits, but if it's errantry it makes things so much easier."
Dairine glanced over at Spot, who, despite a lack of movement, managed to convey a shrug. "Charge it to the Powers," she said. "A planet's off the grid? It's definitely errantry."
The Doctor stood at the TARDIS console, fiddling with the blue boringers as he tried to get the old girl to lift off. "C'mon, girl," he said to her, turning to tap across some keys and then turn the blue faucet to the right. "C'mon, what's wrong now? You'll like the edge of the Argonaut Nebula, I promise! It's gorgeous in the eighty-first century!"
Amy, clad now in the slightly warmer ensemble of jeans and a sweater (for the Doctor had told her that the planets in the Argonaut Nebula tended to be a little chillier, being part of an eternal winter and all that), came back into the main room of the TARDIS. "What's wrong?" she asked. "I thought we'd be halfway there by now. Have you flipped the blue stabilisers?"
The Doctor glared at Amy, very briefly, for using that particular name for the toggles. "She doesn't want to go," he explained. "Something's keeping her here. I'm going to see if I can get any info from the downlink to the Crossings systems."
After their meal, and a trip through the Crossings' shopping concorde, the Doctor and Amy had returned to the TARDIS, only to find themselves stuck. "What could keep the TARDIS from moving?" Amy asked, coming up to the console and tapping a few buttons underneath one of the screens. The Crossings' bulletin board system, which the Doctor had shown her already, came scrolling up the screen. "I mean, it's got to be some kind of outside influence, right?"
"Feels more like she's being..." The Doctor leveled his glare now at the centre console itself. "Temperamental. Something makes her want to stay here. Not that I can figure out what."
Amy 'hmm'd absently as she scrolled through the recent posting. "Sure, Doctor. Have you ever heard of a planet called Demisiv? We've got a wizard here, looking for a lift over."
"A wizard wants a lift? Let me see that." The Doctor squeezed in beside Amy, doing everything but pushing her aside as he came over to look at the screen. "Why would a wizard need a lift anywhere, especially from the Crossings? They can get anywhere they'd need to from here! Or write the spell for it, if they couldn't find a tech-gate."
"Doesn't say," Amy explained. "Just that she's on errantry and needs a ship to get to Demisiv. Shall we ping back and take her? What's Demisiv like, anyway?"
"You'll need to dress for warmer weather," the Doctor advised. "Demisiv's more temperate. Forest planet, actually, the inhabitants are sentient trees. I met a tree once. Probably a descendant of the Demisiv, actually, although they'd interbred with humans somewhere way back. Humanoid, at that point, the Demisiv are coniferous right now."
"... So we're going to take a wizard to a planet full of sentient Christmas trees?"
"We're maybe going to take a wizard," the Doctor pointed out. "I havent' decided yet. I'd like to meet her first. Did she say where to meet her?"
Amy checked the message, wondering why the Doctor -- who was still in her personal space, thank you -- couldn't just read the message for himself. "That same cafe we were in before, actually," she said. "Said she'd be there all evening. How will we know she's a wizard when we see here?"
"Just look for the Manual," the Doctor explained. "You can't miss it." Abruptly, he pulled away from the console and headed to the door. "Well, are you coming or aren't you? She's on errantry!"
Amy shrugged out of the heavy sweater, glad she'd had on a t-shirt underneath. "I'm coming, I'm coming!" she retorted, tossing the sweater aside as she followed behind. "So what is errantry exactly, anyway?" Amy asked the Doctor. "It sounds important."
"It's just what they call it when a wizard's out on business," the Doctor explained. "I'm on errantry, and I greet you, et cetera. It's pretty unmistakable."
It wasn't far from the alcove in which they'd placed the TARDIS to the cafe in question, not by way of the frictionless walkways. "What kind of business do wizards go out on? I can't imagine it's trade and sales or anything like that."
The Doctor shrugged, one hand on the walkway's railing to keep him stable. "Saving the universe. Fighting entropy. What else would wizards do?"
Walking into the cafe a few minutes later, Amy still didn't have a very clear image of what they were looking for -- just a woman with a manual, and no idea if the woman was human or from some other species, or what the manual was even for. "So do you see her here?" she asked the Doctor. "What's the manual look like?"
"Oh, it can be anything," the Doctor explained. "Probably a book, or a ball of light, or maybe a voice only they can hear."
Amy restrained her urge to thwack the Doctor on the arm. "How am I supposed to see a voice in her head, Doctor? It's not exactly something most of us are able to see."
"Humans," the Doctor said, rolling his eyes. "So limited. There she is! I think. Did she say she was human?"
"She didn't, Doctor." Amy stopped, frowning. "... Is that a laptop with legs?"
"Probably her Manual." The Doctor walked over. "Dai stihó! I hear you're looking for transport?"
Looking up from her laptop, the woman -- or, rather, girl, Amy corrected herself, scaling down her age a considerable amount when she saw the girl's face -- nodded. "Demisiv seems to be cut off," she explained, not bothering with any petty details like introductions or small talk. "No gates in or out, tech or wizardry, and no communications in-bound or out-bound for some time. I'm looking for a ship that can get me there through the interference."
The Doctor nodded. "I can definitely do that," he explained. "The TARDIS hasn't met the interference she can't fight through! Mostly because she goes through the time vortex, but details. I'm the Doctor. You can call me the Doctor." He held out one hand and grinned broadly. "This is Amy Pond. She travels with me."
The girl nodded slowly before standing and taking his hand. "Dairine Callahan," she said. "Doctor. Doctor of what, exactly?"
"... You're not going to say Doctor who?"
"I'm friends with an ambulatory Christmas tree," Dairine explained. "If you say your name's the Doctor, who am I to expect a human convention?"
Amy laughed. "Oh, I like you already," she asked. "So it's just you, then?"
"Nah, a friend of mine's coming along, too. I pack the wizardry, she packs the firepower." Dairine looked around. "Carmela! We're leaving!"
From a knot of people -- aside from a few humans, mostly of other species -- a head popped up. "Coming!" the girl, a few years older than Dairine if Amy were guessing, called back. She extricated from the knot and came over to the table. "Dai," she greeted. "Carmela Rodriguez." There was a beat, just for a moment, as Carmela looked at Amy and the Doctor a little more closely. "Wait," she continued. "I met you earlier, I think. You were talking about the blue potatoes. You our ride?"
"He is," Amy explained, nodding her head in the direction of the Doctor. "I'm just his traveling companion. I'm Amy, and he's the Doctor."
"Doctor of what?"
"Never mind that," the Doctor said. "Come! This way to the TARDIS."
Carmela sidled up to Amy as they left the cafe. "Is he always like this?"
Amy watched the Doctor as he exuberantly explained to Dairine all the benefits of traveling in the TARDIS. "You have no idea."
"It's bigger on the inside," Carmela said, looking around the TARDIS when she stepped in, a few paces behind Amy and the Doctor. "Cool. It's like my brother's hammerspace."
The Doctor looked back from where he stood at the console, smiling as the TARDIS seemed to wake up under his touch. "Hammerspace?" he asked. "I'm afraid to ask, but what's hammerspace?"
"She means his personal claudication," Dairine explained. "It's an anime term. Is that how you've pulled this off?"
The Doctor shook his head. "Time Lord technology. We're -- we were -- fond of making things bigger on the inside than what's on the outside. Similar concept, different execution. Have we met before?"
The non-sequitur cause the gathered humans to blink. "Um. I think I'd remember," Dairine said. "You're pretty distinctive. Unless. Wait, you said you're a Time Lord? I was reading about them a while ago, you regenerate, don't you?"
"Regenerate?" Carmela mouthed silently at Amy, who shrugged.
"Yes!" the Doctor replied. "Oh, it must have been an earlier regeneration, yes, of course. Here, I've got some pictures--" One of the screens started cycling through a variety of faces, some older, some younger, that Amy recognised from the hologram she'd seen from the giant floating eyeball on the hospital roof. "Any of them ring a bell?"
Dairine stared. "Cycle back one," she said, just as they were moving onto the sixth picture from the fifth. "You have got to be kidding me. You saved my bacon from the Satrachi! Like, two years ago?"
"Satrachi, Satrachi..." The Doctor leaned back against the console as he thought about it. "It's been a lot longer than that for me, he's six regenerations ago. Oh! In the Crossings! I spent a few hours in jail because of you."
Amy snorted. "And you probably deserved it for something," she pointed out. "But you two have met before? That's a bit odd, isn't it, that you'd just happen to meet again now?"
The Doctor turned back to the console. "Not really," he said. "Dairine, could you place your Manual up over here, please? Have him feed the TARDIS the coordinates for Demisiv. Galactic standard rotation three point seven two epsilon yak hamburger."
"... You just made that up," Amy insisted, but Dairine laughed.
"I wish," she explained, popping up Spot's screen and tapping on his keyboard. "I still don't know who names these things. Should be coming through now, Doctor."
The Doctor nodded. "Perfect!" he said. "That means we're just about ready to head out. Anyone need anything before we go? Snack? Bathroom break? No? Good. Hold on, ladies! This may be a bumpy ride!"
It was night.
The entity didn't know what night was, nor did it know how it had words, but it knew that it was night. It didn't know what day was, either, but it knew that day was coming, and it knew that this meant it had to finish its work very quickly.
The tree people were tasty, after all, but it had more important things to do.
"You know," a small voice said, from somewhere close to the ground, "it's not a very nice thing you're doing." The entity looked down, as much as could a thing with no face, nor eyes, nor any other organ used for sight. It didn't speak, either, but somehow it's intent got through. "Seriously. There are so many other things you could be doing. You could be out saving the galaxy! Instead you're here and eating my friends."
The entity let out a howl.
"I thought you might say that. Honestly, what I wouldn't give for a wizard right now to ask the meaning of life."