The words barely registered in Clara's mind, focusing on the Doctor's expression, far too serious for her liking.
"Sorry, what? I'm struggling to keep up a bit here. That dragon..."
"Its name is Greseer, Clara. It is still a living, breathing animal, " the Doctor interjected.
"Sorry. Greseer has come here from thousands of years into the future, stealing minds for a war, and ripping a hole in the fabric of space and time?" Clara's voice was incredulous.
"Yes, that's the gist of it. You shouldn't sound so surprised. It's not the weirdest thing we've seen." He wandered forward, crouching down to study a claw mark left by Greseer in the soil. Clara stepped forward to join him, looking cautiously around as if the dragon would suddenly appear.
The Doctor turned to her, with a familiar glint in his eyes.
"Do you realise how privileged we are, Clara? As far as I know, this particular race of dragon, actually called the Tarakonaaccording to the energy traces left behind, is reclusive, isolating themselves until the need arises, as it has done here. We may be the first non-tarakonaions to have witnessed their power!" His voice was full of wonder, and admiration for the beasts who weren't supposed to exist.
"But Doctor, what do we do about the hole in the fabric of time and space thing? How serious is it?"
But the Doctor had already moved off, going over to where General Yuu was stood as if in a stupor. Poor man, Clara thought. He would have no idea what was going on, not being able to believe his eyes.
She headed over to the two men. The General had obviously gotten over his preliminary shock as he was shouting angrily at the Doctor, who looked almost as angry.
"That thing is stealing my soldiers minds! I don't care what it is, or where it has come from, I want it dead! Or at least away from here."
"That 'thing' has a name. He is a creature from another planet, fighting a war, much like you yourself have fought in. He cannot be blamed for what he has had to do. Violence is not the answer here. Let me deal with this, General."
"You cannot be trusted! You and your companion may have been corroborating with that monster from the beginning!"
The Doctor opened his mouth as if to say something in retaliation, but then closed it again.
"Come along, Clara."
He turned and walked away from the General, back towards where the TARDIS was parked. The look he gave Clara was enough to stop her question in its tracks. She hurried after him, confused, but knowing that the Doctor had a reason for doing everything he did.
When they were out of earshot, and - Clara risked a look back - out of sight, the Doctor stopped and turned to her.
"Right, we need to be careful. Yuu may send men after us."
"Doctor, what's going on? What are we doing now?" Clara was used to the Doctor's random ways by now, but she still didn't like being in the dark when it came to dangerous and potentially life-threatening plans.
"You, my dear Clara, are going to go back to the TARDIS, and use this to try and communicate with the Tarakonians. It is of great importance that we see when Greseer can return here." His voice betrayed excitement at the once again dangerous situation, as he passed her a strange plug-like device.
Clara took it, puzzled. "What do I do with it?"
The Doctor sighed with fake exasperation. "It's a console attachment. Just plug it in and the TARDIS will do the rest."
"Ok...And what will you be doing?"
He didn't answer her, just looked at her with that extra spark in his features.
Clara shook her head.
"You're going to do something incredibly stupid and dangerous aren't you?"
"Are you going to tell me what it is?"
A shake of the head.
Clara sighed. Sometimes, it was like dealing with a child genius.
The Doctor shifted back into serious mode again. "This is very important, Clara. I'll meet you at the TARDIS in an hour or so. Try not to get caught."
An unexpected hug followed these words of advice, a sign of affection rarely seen. Before Clara could stammer out a reply, he was gone, into the gathering darkness.