24 : Songs of the Ood
After a huge ass mess that took up quite a lot of time, Violet, the Doctor and Donna are running down a corridor, guards chasing after them with loaded pistols. It’s at times like these that Violet wishes she had taken her alien blasters from the Torchwood base in Cardiff when she was given the chance.
“This way,” the Doctor calls, turning the corner and leading them to a door. “Oh, can you hear it? I didn’t need the map. I should have listened.” The Doctor sonics the door lock once they’re inside.
“You’re honestly such an idiot sometimes, Doctor,” Violet chastises with a grin, looking around.
“Hold on,” Donna exclaims. “Does that mean we’re locked in?”
“Listen. Listen, listen, listen, listen,” the Doctor says frantically.
Violet pauses and ethereal music fills her ears, this one making her gasp out in anguish and fall against the wall. She hasn’t heard such a song for many years, and it’s more painful than she recalls. The half Time Lord forces herself upright and flicks on the light, revealing groups of Ood sitting in cages. They turn away from Violet, the Doctor and Donna.
“They look different to the others,” Donna muses.
“That’s because they’re natural born Ood, unprocessed, before they’re adapted to slavery,” Violet spits.
“Unspoilt,” the Doctor agrees. “That’s their song.”
“I can’t hear it,” Donna says sadly.
“That may be a good thing, Donna,” Violet murmurs. “It’s painful.”
“Do you want to?” the Doctor asks.
“Yeah,” the British woman replies.
“It’s the song of captivity.”
“Let me hear it.”
“Face me.” The Doctor makes a mind meld with Donna. “Open your mind. That’s it. Hear it, Donna. Hear the music.”
The song is sad and beautiful, and it makes Donna cry. “Take it away.”
“I can’t bear it.”
The Doctor disconnects her from the telepathic field, and Violet bites her tongue to hold back her urge to tell Donna that she warned her. He explains to Donna that he can hear it all the time, and then the Doctor sonics open the cage, watching as the Ood cower in the corner.
“What are you holding? Show me. Friend,” Violet asks softly, crouching in front of one of the Ood. “Violet, Doctor, Donna. Friends. Let me see. Look at me. Let me see. That’s it. That’s it, go on. Go on.”
The Ood opens his hands. He is holding a small brain.
“Is that…?” Donna is in too much disbelief to continue.
“It’s a brain. A hind brain,” the Doctor explains. “The Ood are born with a secondary brain. Like the amygdala in humans, it processes memory and emotions. You get rid of that, you wouldn’t be Donna any more. You’d be like an Ood. A processed Ood.”
“So the company cuts off their brains?”
“And they stitch on the translator.” The Doctor locks himself, Violet and Donna in with the Ood as the guards burst in. “What you going to do, then? Arrest me? Lock me up? Throw me in a cage? Well, you’re too late. Ha!”
Minutes later, the Doctor and Donna are handcuffed to some pipes, and Violet is standing by Halpen’s side, shaking her head at the two. You see, Violet didn’t lie about who she was in this century - she used her high status to get into this place once before, and she will do it as many times as it takes to free the Ood - just like the rest of the Friends Of The Ood are trying to do, but outside this organisation.
They all continue to argue until Halpen leaves, leaving Violet with the Doctor and Donna. She shakes her head at the two and opens the door, accidentally letting in three Ood with red eyes. Violet moves back and stands beside her friends as they try to convince the Ood that they’re friends. They continue to repeat themselves while the unconverted Ood connect with the others and share their knowledge of Violet, the Doctor and Donna.
Eventually they’re all deemed to be friends, and the Ood release the time travellers. The next thing Violet knows is that they’re running through the halls and corridors of building, trying to find the Ood brain.
“I don’t know where it is,” the Doctor rants. “I don’t know where they’ve gone.”
“What are we looking for?” Donna exclaims.
“It might be underground, like some sort of cave, or a cavern, or…”
The Doctor, Violet and Donna are knocked down by an explosion.
“All right?” the Doctor asks, helping the two up.
As the smoke clears, Ood Sigma is standing behind them.
The Doctor sonics the controls to a door and they get in. He looks down on -
“The Ood Brain. Now it all makes sense, That’s the missing link. The third element, binding them together. Forebrain, hind brain, and this, the telepathic centre. It’s a shared mind, connecting all the Ood in song.”
“Cargo. I can always go into cargo,” Halpen muses. “I’ve got the rockets, I’ve got the sheds. Smaller business. Much more manageable, without livestock.
“He’s mined the area,” Ryder informs.
“You’re going to kill it?” Donna exclaims.
“They found that thing centuries ago beneath the Northern Glacier.”
“Those pylons…” Violet trails off.
“In a circle,” Donna exclaims. “The circle must be broken.”
“Damping the telepathic field,” the Doctor mutters. “Stopping the Ood from connecting for two hundred years.”
“And you, Ood Sigma, you brought them here,” Halpen growls at Ood Sigma. “I expected better.”
“My place is at your side, sir,” Ood Sigma says.
“Still subservient. Good Ood.”
“If that barrier thing’s in place, how come the Ood started breaking out?” Donna asks.
“Maybe it’s taken centuries to adapt,” the Doctor guesses. “The subconscious reaching out?”
“But the process was too slow. It had to be accelerated,” Ryder growls. “You should never give me access to the controls, Mister Halpen. I lowered the barrier to its minimum. Friends Of The Ood, sir. It’s taken me ten years to infiltrate the company, and I succeeded.”
“Yes. Yes, you did,” Halpen agrees, throwing Ryder over the catwalk railing and onto the giant brain, which absorbs him.
Violet listens with faint interest as Donna accuses him of murder, finding nothing interesting in the conversation until Ood Sigma steps in and offers Halpen a drink. That catches her attention, and she turns her head to witness what is about to happen as the Ood continues to push for his “master” to have a drink.
“Have, have you poisoned me?” Halpen demands.
“Natural Ood must never kill, sir,” Ood Sigma informs.
“What is that stuff?” the Doctor asks.
“Ood graft suspended in a biological compound, sir.”
“What the hell does that mean?” Halpen growls.
“Oh, dear,” the Doctor says.
“Funny thing, the subconscious. Takes all sorts of shapes. Came out in the red eye as revenge, came out in the rabid Ood as anger, and then there was patience. All that intelligence and mercy, focused on Ood Sigma. How’s the hair loss, Mister Halpen?”
More hair comes away in Halpen’s hand. “What have you done?”
“Oh, they’ve been preparing you for a very long time. And now you’re standing next to the Ood Brain, Mister Halpen, can you hear it? Listen.”
“What have you…? I’m not…” Halpen’s face goes blank. He drops his gun, reaches for his head and peels the skin off. Then tentacles come out of his mouth.
“They, they turned him into an Ood?” Donna asks.
“He’s an Ood.”
“I noticed,” the Doctor sasses.
Halpen sneezes and a small hind brain flops into his hands.
“He has become Oodkind, and we will take care of him,” Ood Sigma informs.
“It’s weird, being with you two,” Donna muses. “I can’t tell what’s right and what’s wrong any more.”
“It’s better that way,” the Doctor assures her. “People who know for certain tend to be like Mister Halpen.”
“Oh!” The Doctor deactivates the explosives. “That’s better. And now, Sigma, would you allow me the honour?”
“It is yours, Doctor,” Ood Sigma informs.
“Oh, yes! Stifled for two hundred years, but not any more. The circle is broken. The Ood can sing.”
The current around the Brain is shut off and the song starts up, slow but happy.
“I can hear it!” Donna exclaims.
The fighting stops. The Ood raise their palms to the sky and join in.
“The message has gone out. That song resonated across the galaxies,” Violet breathes with a welcome grin. “Everyone heard it. Everyone knows. The rockets are bringing them back. The Ood are coming home.”
“We thank you, Doctor Donna, and Violet, friends of Oodkind,” Ood Sigma says, the combination of the Doctor’s and Donna’s names making the hair rise on the back of Violet’s neck. “And what of you now? Will you stay? There is room in the song for you.”
“Oh, I’ve, I’ve sort of got a song of my own, thanks,” the Doctor says, stuttering slightly.
“I think your song must end soon.”
Violet’s stomach drops. “No. It can’t be that soon.”
“Meaning?” the Doctor asks.
“Every song must end,” Ood Sigma informs.
“Yeah. Er, what about you? You still want to go home?”
“No,” Donna says. “Definitely not.”
“Then we’ll be off.”
“Take this song with you,” Ood Sigma says.
“We will,” Donna replies with a smiles.
“Always,” the Doctor promises.
“Until the end of everything,” Violet agrees. “Until there’s nothing left, and then past that.”
“And know this, Doctor Donna and Violet. You will never be forgotten,” Ood Sigma says. “Our children will sing of the Doctor Donna and Violet, and our children’s children, and the wind and the ice and the snow will carry your names forever.”