𝟘𝟚𝟡 ▹ 𝕊𝕚𝕝𝕖𝕟𝕔𝕖 𝕚𝕟 𝕥𝕙𝕖 𝕃𝕚𝕓𝕣𝕒𝕣𝕪 (ℙ𝕒𝕣𝕥 𝟜)
EVANGELISTA EXPLORES THE PANEL that had opened, and she does it alone without anyone realising. She goes down a short passage to what might be a reading room or lecture hall. Anyway, every flat surface has books piled on it. She steps into the darkness and screams.
Her screams cause chaos back with the group and Violet is the first to spring into action, picking up a torch and making her way towards the scream. The Doctor leads the way to investigate, the remaining people following him. They find a skeleton in rags and Violet standing in front of it, frozen in pure horror.
“Everybody, careful. Stay in the light,” he orders, moving closer to Violet. “You okay, Vi?”
She gives a sharp nod. “Peachy. I’ve seen worse, but not for a while.”
“You keep saying that,” Other Dave sighs. “I don’t see the point.”
“Who screamed?” the Doctor questions.
“Where is she?”
“Miss Evangelista, please state your current...” River’s voice echoes from very nearby. “Please state your current position.” River takes a lit comm. unit from the remains of the skeleton’s collar. “It’s her. It’s Miss Evangelista.”
“We heard her scream a few seconds ago,” Anita protests. “What could do that to a person in a few seconds?”
“It took a lot less than a few seconds,” Violet whispers.
“Hello?” Miss Evangelista’s young, scared voice calls.
“I’m sorry, everyone,” River says softly, coming up behind Violet and pulling her away from the remains, arms wrapped around her middle. “This isn’t going to be pleasant. She’s ghosting.”
“She’s what?” Donna asks.
“Hello? Excuse me,” Miss Evangelista continues, the green lights flashing on the space-suit. “I’m sorry. Hello? Excuse me.”
“That’s, that’s her, that’s Miss Evangelista.”
Other Dave looks uncomfortable. “I don’t want to sound horrible, but couldn’t we just, you know?”
“This is her last moment. No, we can’t,” River says firmly. “A little respect, thank you.”
Miss Evangelista continues to speak. “Sorry, where am I? Excuse me?”
“But that’s Miss Evangelista,” Donna protests.
“It’s a data ghost,” Violet whispers. “She’ll be gone in a moment.”
“Miss Evangelista, you’re fine,” River says into her comm. “Just relax. We’ll be with you presently.”
“What’s a data ghost?” Donna asks.
“There’s a neural relay in the communicator. Lets you send thought mail,” the Doctor says, motioning to the green lights. “That’s it there. Those green lights. Sometimes it can hold an impression of a living consciousness for a short time after death. Like an after image.”
“My grandfather lasted a day,” Anita says softly, a hint of amusement in her voice. “Kept talking about his shoelaces.”
“She’s in there,” Donna breathes.
“I can’t see. I can’t,” Miss Evangelista’s voice is more panicked now. “Where am I?”
“She’s just brain waves now,” Other Dave says. “The pattern won’t hold for long.”
“But, she’s conscious,” Donna protests. “She’s thinking.”
Miss Evangelista continues to speak. “I can’t see, I can’t. I don’t know what I’m thinking.”
“She’s a footprint on the beach,” the Doctor says softly, taking Violet from River and holding his wife. “And the tide’s coming in.”
“Where’s that woman? The nice woman. Is she there?”
“What woman?” Lux asks.
“She means...” Donna’s voice falters for a moment. “I think she means me.”
“Is she there?” Miss Evangelista asks, sounding almost desperate. “The nice woman.”
“Yes, she’s here. Hang on,” River replies to the ghosting girl before turning to Donna. “Go ahead. She can hear you.”
“Hello? Are you there?”
“Help her,” the Doctor urges.
“She’s dead,” Donna says.
“Yeah. Help her.”
“Hello? Is that the nice woman?” Miss Evangelista asks.
“Yeah. Hello. Yeah, I’m, I’m, I’m here,” Donna fumbles over her words. “You okay?”
“What I said before, about being stupid. Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.”
“Course I won’t. Course I won’t tell them.”
“Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.”
“I won’t tell them. I said I won’t.”
“Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.”
“I’m not going to tell them.”
The green light starts blinking and Miss Evangelista’s voice continues to loop. “Don’t tell the others, they’ll only laugh.”
“She’s looping now,” River says softly. “The pattern’s degrading. Does anybody mind if I...?”
Miss Evangelista repeats something about ice cream and not knowing where she is until River turns off the comm. unit, leaving everyone in a sickening silence. Donna is almost in tears, or maybe she is, but Violet is unable to tell in such dim lighting. River is comforting the redheaded woman for maybe half a second before she growls out that she wants a word with the Vashta Nerada.
The Doctor replies with an “I’ll introduce you” and marches back to the Rotunda, leaving everyone to scurry along behind him. Violet pauses for a moment and stares at the shadows, wondering that if, just maybe, these creatures might be the ones with the ability to end her life after so long of her wanting to be dead. However, she pushes forward and heads back to the Rotunda, allowing River to pull her through the still open panel.
“I’m going to need a packed lunch,” the Doctor demands, his voice full of rage.
“Hang on,” River replies, flipping through her blue book, making Violet smile at the cursive lettering and occasional pictures.
“So much to do, so little time,” Violet murmurs, kissing River’s cheek. “So much we can’t tell him.”
“What’s in that book?” the Doctor demands.
“Spoilers,” Violet and River sing-song.
“Who are you?” he almost snarls, stalking over to his wives.
“Professor River Song, University of-”
“To me. Who are you to me, and to my wife?”
“Again, spoilers.” She pulls a container from her bag and hands it to him. “Chicken and a bit of salad. Knock yourself out.”
“Right, you lot. Let’s all meet the Vashta Nerada.”