The Doctor and Donna took shelter behind a huge, weathered stone carving of Pharaoh. He aimed the sonic screwdriver at the plunger and pressed down on the button. Donna covered her ears. Nothing happened. Donna frowned at at the Doctor. He was frowning down at the sonic. He tried banging on it with his palm. It gave a few feeble buzzes, then died.
"Arrgh!" He shouted in frustration. "Sonic's lost power. I've been using it too much. It needs to re-charge itself."
"Lovely. How long will it that take?" She asked, rolling her eyes.
"Not a clue, Donna." He shrugged, brushing sand from his hair and clothes. All the while keeping his eye on the approaching Cyber-priest. "A few minutes, a few hours. It's hard to say."
"You mean you don't know? But, you made the blinking thing!" Donna chided him.
He rounded on her with a slightly cross expression. "Do you know precisely how long it takes your mobile to re-charge, every single time the battery goes flat?"
"Er-no." Donna admitted.
"Well, there you go then." He said simply.
As if that answered her question. Which it didn't. However, Donna didn't have time to worry any more about it. That's because the Doctor abruptly ran out from behind the statue, sprinting over to the plunger. Skidding to a halt, he knelt in the dirt. The Cyber-priest saw him, quickly did an about-turn and made for the Doctor.
Just as the Cyber-priest was about to attack, the Doctor hit the plunger. Without waiting to see the result, he sprang to his feet, making a mad dash back towards the protection of the statue. He'd barely gotten halfway, when the entire temple complex blew sky-high. From underground passages, to above-ground buildings, in seconds, one by one, it all went up in a tremendous ball of flame.
The blast was so immense, that the Doctor was flung bodily to the ground. Even Donna, still sheltering behind the statue, was driven to the floor by it. Shards of stone sung through the air like shrapnel, and debris came pelting down all around the grounds.
There was little left of the temple complex but rubble. Miraculously, when the smoke cleared, Donna and the Doctor both found themselves to be unhurt. The Cyber-priest wasn't so lucky. Caught by this explosion, all that was left of it was one leg standing on top of a tall pile of rubble.
"Now what does that remind me of? "Ah. I remember now! Benedict Arnold!" The Doctor said, staring at the leg.
"What?" Donna asked, wondering if the Doctor had some kind of injury. "Are you sure you're alright Doctor? Maybe you should lie down for a bit, when we get back to the TARDIS.'
"Benedict Arnold. American Revolutionary War hero...that is, until he changed sides and went to work for your lot. Over a century later, the Americans honoured his role in the Battle of Saratoga, by erecting a statue of one of his boots. Said it wasn't worth seeing the rest of him. I told them they were being childish, and they...what?" He stared at her quizzically, "Why are you looking at me like that, Donna?"
Donna was indeed tilting her head up at him, giving the Doctor one of her looks. At his query, she rolled her eyes.
"You know what, Doctor? If you ever decide to retire from saving the universe, you could always hire yourself as a lecturer. I'm sure the pensioner's would love—"
All at once, the sand beneath her feet was vibrating. In fact, even the stones around them were trembling. They both looked at the floor with puzzled expressions. Then, there was a mighty roar. The ground in what was left of the complex suddenly belched up more dirt and stones.
From under the earth rose a large bullet-shaped bronze-coloured space craft, nose first. It was roughly double the size of your average removal van. There was a silver band around the wide end of the ship, which was marked with some kind of alien-looking hieroglyphics. The flat back end of the ship glowed with a bright white light, as the ship leveled off, tipping itself horizontally.
"That ship, Doctor." Donna said in a strained voice. "It's weird. I dunno'. It's like, looking at it makes me feel all sort of...funny inside."
"It's a Rokonsojo Void ship. Built to travel in a completely empty environment. Containing no matter or energy of any kind. I remember, they'd built an experimental prototype. I'd no idea they'd actually got it to work. The Cybermen must have tracked it down, somehow. Used the ship as an escape pod. Now Pharaoh's using it to the same purpose. He must've gotten his brand-new pet Cyberman to help him re-fuel it. No human could withstand that sort of radiation for long." The Doctor rapidly told Donna.
Just then, a green beam of light spat out from the nose of the craft. A half-dozen meters in front of them, a ball of fire hit the sand, instantly fusing it into glass.
"Never mind that ship. I think getting into the TARDIS would be a really good idea, right about now!" Donna shouted, as she and the Doctor ran for the safety of his ship.
More and more explosions came closer and closer to them, showing the two of them with sand. When they got there, the Doctor unlocked and hastily threw open the door. The moment he did so, a second, narrower beam of light came from the ship. This one was so intensely red, that it hurt Donna's eyes.
"No, no, no, no, no!" the Doctor yelled. "A Pyritetinium beam!"
It shot through the open door, hitting the TARDIS console. Just as the Doctor slammed the door shut, the Console sent up a shower of sparks. The Doctor and Donna were flung onto the decking. The ship abruptly groaned as if she were in pain. The central column glowed bright green, and began wheezing up and down.
"It can't be! He can't have! But...but...that's impossible!"
Getting himself up off the floor. He ran for the console, slipped and almost fell, as the ship suddenly gave a great heave. One of the glass roundels on the wall had been blown out by the blast. Flames were shooting from the hole. He finally made it, though. Yet, what he found when he got there, left him visibly shaken. The Doctor went staggering all around the still-smoking console, busy checking it over, trying to bring his ship back under control. But nothing he did seemed to work.
"Wha—what's going on, Doctor?" A slightly groggy Donna asked, as she still lay on the floor.
Sitting upright, Donna checked herself over, making sure nothing was broken. Though obviously she was going to have a few colourful bruises by tomorrow. If there was a tomorrow, that is. Judging by the ship was acting, that wasn't looking good.
"He sent a Pyritetinium beam directly into the TARDIS. It must've glanced off the console when it hit. Affected all the circuitry. Sent her into premature dematerialization." The Doctor called out to her from where he was working. He stared disbelievingly at the readings. Then turned and looked up at Donna, wide-eyed. "I can't stop her. We're out of control!"
Donna had finally managed to pick herself up from the floor. She was fumbling her way over towards him. It wasn't easy, for it was like trying to negotiate a ship's deck during a violent hurricane.
"Something tells me I'm not going to like our chosen destination." She said dryly, clinging to a handrail.
The Doctor's face was incredulous as he ran his fingers through his hair. "All of our shielding has been knocked out. Which, before you ask, is very, very bad, Donna."
He simply stared at Donna, not wanting to tell her the truth.
"How bad is it, Doctor?" She asked evenly. Donna hated it when people dragged out bad news.
Taking a deep breath, he said softly, "We're headed right into the heart of the sun."