No Stupid Risks, Yeah?
"I'm going to the Royal collection to pick up the painting and then I need to head over to The Maldovarium to pick up another Vortex Manipulator, seeing as you've got my old one." River told her daughter in a low voice. They were crammed inside the store cupboard with the cleaners' products and equipment discussing the plan before they went. "I need you to go to back in time as far as you can on Planet 1. Then you have to write this on the diamond cliff, OK?"
Evie glanced down at the scrap of paper her mother had handed her and screwed up her face, trying to translate the writing. "Isn't this…"
"Yes, it is; High Gallifreyan. We don't want everyone understanding it, do we? It's a message for the Doctor, and only him. I'll send you coordinates telling him where to meet us when I know what they are. So you'll have to stick around until you get them so you can write them on the wall as well. You need to make sure you write it nice and big, Sweetie, get his attention, alright?"
"Why don't I do the Royal Collection and then this? I mean… it might take you ages to find a Vortex Manipulator."
River laughed. "Nice try. No, you're doing the cliff and only the cliff. Trust me, honey, you'll have plenty of time to be a hero when we meet the Doctor. Heaven knows you'll need to be brave then."
"Why? What's happening?" Evie asked, checking the dials on her laser blaster before tucking it back into its holster.
"I don't know, but it's bad." River said. "When you've finished on Planet 1, go to the coordinates I send and I'll meet you."
"You haven't got any way of travelling through time." Evie pointed out. "How are you going to do whatever you're planning on doing?"
"It's fine, Sweetie. I can stay in this time until I get the Vortex Manipulator. Then I'll use that to come and meet you." She hugged her daughter, her best friend, tightly. River closed her eyes and breathed deeply. As Evie couldn't see her face, River allowed the fear that she was feeling to display itself over her features. When she moved away and looked at the teenager again she was calm and serious once more. "And whatever you do, Evie, be careful."
"You too, mum. No stupid risks, yeah? And at least try not to kiss anyone else. You're old and it's wrong." Evie ordered her grinning. With a wink, she pressed the button on the Vortex manipulator and vanished.
Evie reappeared in front of a huge rock face, shimmering and shining in the daylight. It was beautiful and made of pure diamond.
But the young woman didn't waste time admiring the scenery. Taking out her laser blaster and changing the setting, she held the scrap of paper in front of her and copied the symbols carefully. One mistake and she would ruin the whole message. Although the message itself made the teenager smirk, 'Hello, Sweetie'. Even at a time like this her mother took delight in teasing the Doctor.
When she was done, Evie put the gun back into her holster and looked around. All she had to do was wait until the message with the coordinates came through. That could take no time at all. On the other hand it could take a very, very long time. She was sitting on a rock in Year 0. She could have gone earlier, but Evie didn't see the point. Knowing the Doctor when he arrived he wouldn't go any further back than this. Her mother was 5,145 years in the future. Hopefully Evie wouldn't have to wait quite that long for the message.
It did take a couple of hours, however. Evie was almost falling asleep with boredom when her Vortex Manipulator vibrated slightly and beeped. Jumping, she pressed the button bringing up the message and added the coordinates underneath the fifty-foot high symbols.
Then she typed the same coordinates into her time travel device, pressed a button and vanished, just as a familiar wheezing, whirring sound filled the air. The teenager smirked.
The coordinates took her to some kind of camp. Judging by the looks of the men wandering around it was a Roman camp. Evie had only taken a couple of steps when a tall centurion appeared in front of her, blocking her path. It was at times like this when she wished her mother would let her have her own hallucinogenic lipstick.
"What is your business here, child?" He asked. The Vortex Manipulator on her wrist translated his Latin into English so that she could understand him.
"A, I am not a child." She snapped, putting her hands on her hips. "And B, my business here is none of your… business."
He looked at her curiously, obviously not used to women acting like that. Then he surveyed her outfit curiously. Evie waited for the inevitable comments, 'what are you?' being the most common. While she was waiting, Evie raised her hands to her hair, pulling out the band and shaking her dark curls loose. They were not as tight as her mother's, falling in large, loose ringlets around her shoulders. People always thought she spent time and effort curling it like that, but no, it was natural; Evie didn't have time to bother about her hair. Then she scooped her hair back up into a tight, high pony-tail so that it was away from her face, before flexing her fingers towards the gun at her hip.
"There's no need for that, Sweetie." A husky voice said to her right. Evie turned and saw her mother, wearing a black wig and gold head-dress, watching her with an amused smirk. Then she turned to the centurion and nodded. "She's with me."
He bowed his head before walking away. River held out her arms and raised one eyebrow. Almost reluctantly, Evie hugged her mother, relieved that she was alright. The older woman held her daughter tightly. Confused, Evie pulled herself out of her mother's grip. Although River had always shown her daughter lots of affection – probably something to do with the fact that the woman had grown up without her mother and was determined that her own daughter wouldn't know how that felt – the way she was acting was worrying the teenager immensely.
"Mum… what's going on?" She asked suspiciously. River avoided the question, and Evie's sharp gaze.
"Did you manage alright? The writing and the coordinates?"
"Of course. I'm guessing you got what you were looking for?" She said looking at the Vortex Manipulator on her mother's wrist. It wasn't nearly as high-tech as her own, but it would do the job well enough.
"I did… come and see." River took her hand and led her into a tent that was well furnished and came complete with a lot of servants. She clapped her hands and they all left. River unrolled something on the table before standing back and letting her daughter have a close look at it. While Evie was scrutinising the painting, her mother was rummaging around in a chest near the door. She pulled out a long tunic and threw it to her. "Here, put this on. You won't stand out as much."
Evie dropped her backpack and changed quickly while River kept a look out to make sure no one came in. Then they went back to looking at the painting carefully. The TARDIS was exploding, splitting into pieces in a burst of white light. On the door of the blue Police Box Evie recognised the coordinates that her mother had sent her.
"Your highness…" A man's voice said, pushing back the flap of the tent and coming inside. He stopped, seeing Evie standing beside her mother. His hand moved instantly towards the sword at his side. River smiled, moving towards him and pressing something into her daughter's hand as she went.
Looking down, Evie saw the hallucinogenic lipstick and smiled too, knowing instinctively what she was supposed to do. Turning her back for a moment, she applied it to her lips and walked towards her mother, smiling at the man innocently.
"This is my daughter, Captain." River said smoothly. She took a deep breath, mentally reconciling herself with what she was asking her daughter to do and put a reassuring hand on the teenager's back as Evie reached her side. Not that the younger woman needed reassuring, she was perfectly calm.
"Cleopatra does not have a daughter." The man said hesitantly. "Who are you?"
Evie smiled. "Like she said, I'm her daughter." She told him, grabbing the point on his clothing where his cloak met his body armour, so that she could pull him towards her and kiss him firmly on the lips. After a second he stopped struggling and Evie moved backwards. He was smiling stupidly.
"Your highnesses." He said, his eyes not focusing properly. "Caesar is arrived."
"Lovely." River said with a broad smile. The teenager saw immediately that it was forced and knew that her mother was stressed. "Send him in."
"Cleopatra? Caesar?" Evie asked with a raised eyebrow as the man left and her mother returned to the table, rolling up the painting and tucking it underneath her 'throne' with Evie's backpack. "What?"
"It's the Doctor. I might have told them he was Caesar. Anyway, you know the rules, back to calling me River, please Sweetie. And not a word about the fact you've been with me. They don't know who we are yet."
"Of course not." Evie snapped, scowling and dropping onto a stool by River's feet. Her mother smiled knowingly, resting her hand lightly on the teenager's shoulder until the servants reappeared. "I know the rules."
Evie did know the rules; she understood very clearly the problems that might arise if she said something in the wrong place or at the wrong time. And then the consequences would be drastic, especially for her. It didn't mean she had to like it, though.