When they came to the call center, they ran into Miss Foster and her guards. “Well, then. At last.”
“Hello.” Donna waved.
“Nice to meet you, I'm the Doctor,” he said.
“And I'm Donna.”
“Evidently off-worlders, judging by your sonic technology,” Miss Foster mused.
“Oh, yes, I've still got your sonic pen.” The Doctor held it up. “Nice. I like it. Sleek. It's kind of sleek.”
“Oh, it's definitely sleek,” Donna agreed.
Lilith shrugged. “I like mine better.”
The Doctor frowned at her. “You don’t have one.”
“That you know of.”
He shook his head. “Yeah, and if you, Miss Foster, were to sign your real name, that would be?”
“Matron Cofelia of the Five Straighten Classabindi Nursery Fleet. Intergalactic Class,” she said.
“A wet nurse, using humans as surrogates.” Lilith made a face.
“I've been employed by the Adiposian First Family to foster a new generation after their breeding planet was lost.”
“What do you mean lost? How do you lose a planet?” the Doctor questioned.
Matron Cofelia waved her hand. “Oh, politics are none of my concern. I'm just here to take care of the children on behalf of the parents.”
“What, like an outer space super nanny?” Donna asked.
“Yes, if you like.”
“So. So those little things, they're, they're made out of fat, yeah, but that woman, Stacy Campbell, there was nothing left of her.”
“Oh, in a crisis the Adipose can convert bone and hair and internal organs. Makes them a little bit sick, poor things.”
Lilith made an outraged noise. “What about poor Stacy?”
“Seeding a level five planet is against galactic law,” the Doctor pointed out.
Matron Cofelia glared at him. “Are you threatening me?”
“I'm trying to help you, Matron.” He insisted. “This is your one chance, because if you don't call this off, then I'll have to stop you.”
“I hardly think you can stop bullets.”
The guards took aim. Lilith aimed her blaster at the Matron.
“No, hold on, hold on, hold on, hold on," the Doctor said. "One more thing. Lilith put that down. Do you know what happens if you hold two identical sonic devices against each other?”
“No,” Matron Cofelia said.
“Nor me. Let's find out.” He held out the screwdriver and pen and activated them both, creating a terrible screeching noise. Everyone grabbed their heads in pain and glass shattered nearby.
Donna pushed his arm to stop him. “Come on!” They ran to their earlier hiding place. The Doctor threw out the ladder and mops. “Well, that's one solution. Hide in a cupboard. I like it.”
There was a big green machine behind the sliding back wall. “I've been hacking into this thing all day, because the matron's got a computer core running through the center of the building. Triple deadlocked. But now I've got this.” The sonic pen. “I can get into it.”
Lilith studied the inducer. “She's wired up the whole building. We need a bit of privacy.” She held two wires together, erecting an electric field that would stop any guards. “Just enough to stop them. Why's she wired up the tower block? What's it all for?”
The Doctor starting working on the wires.
Donna turned to Lilith. “He said you’d moved on from him.”
“I left, sure.” Lilith shrugged. “But the plan always was to come back.”
“So it was just you two?”
“Nah, we had a friend traveling with us, Martha Jones. She was amazing. She had to stop, though. Needed to get back to her family after—”
“After I destroyed half her life,” the Doctor said, darkly. “But she's fine; she's good. She's gone.”
Donna hesitated. “What about Rose?”
“Still lost,” he said, and then changed the subject. “I thought you were going to travel the world?”
“Easier said then done,” she sighed. “It's like I had that one day with you, and I was going to change. I was going to do so much. Then I woke up the next morning, same old life. It's like you were never there. And I tried. I did try. I went to Egypt. I was going to go barefoot and everything. And then it's all bus trips and guidebooks and don't drink the water, and two weeks later you're back home. It's nothing like being with you. I must have been mad turning down that offer.”
“To come with you.”
“Come with me?” the Doctor repeated.
Donna nodded. “Oh yes, please.”
“Right.” Lilith had to giggle at the Doctor’s confused and dumbstruck expression.
“Inducer activated,” the computer said.
“What's it doing now?” Donna questioned.
“She's started the program. So far they're just losing weight, but the Matron's gone up to emergency pathogenesis.”
“And that's when they convert—”
“Skeletons, organs, everything. A million people are going to die. Got to cancel the signal.” The Doctor dismantled the Adipose pill charm. “This contains a primary signal. If I can switch it off, the fat goes back to being just fat.” He attached part of the charm to the inducer.
“No, no, no, no, no. She's doubled it. I need. Haven't got time. It's too far. I can't override it. They're all gonna die!”
Lilith looked at the inducer. “Would me shooting it do anything?” she wondered.
“Is there anything I can do?” asked Donna.
“Sorry, Donna, this is way beyond you. Got to double the base pulse, I can't..."
“Doctor, tell me. What do you need?”
“I need a second capsule to boost the override, but I've only got the one! I can't save them!”
Donna held up a golden chain with the charm on the end. Lilith laughed. The Doctor pulled it apart and plugged it in; the inducer shut down. They heard a loud noise, like something passing overhead. “What was that?”
“The nursery,” Lilith breathed.
“When you say nursery you don't mean a crèche in Notting Hill.”
“Nursery ship,” the Doctor corrected.
The computer lit up again. “Incoming signal.”
A voice spoke in an alien language.
“Hadn't we better go and stop them?” Donna suggested.
“Hang on,” the Doctor said. “Instructions from the Adiposian First Family.” He listened for a moment. “She's wired up the tower block to convert it into a levitation post. Ooo. Oh. We're not the ones in trouble now. She is!”
The Doctor darted out of the storage closet and Lilith and Donna followed him back up to the roof.
“What you going to do then? Blow them up?” Donna asked.
He looked at her. “They're just children. They can't help where they come from.”
“Oh, that makes a change from last time. Lilith and Martha must've done you good.”
“They did, yeah. Yeah. They did. Martha fancied me.”
“Mad Martha, that one. Blind Martha. Charity Martha.” Donna waved at the passing Adipose. “I'm waving at fat.”
Lilith cocked her head to the side. “You know, as a diet plan, it actually sort of works.”
“There she is!” the Doctor shouted. Matron Cofelia was floating upwards below the little Adipose. She stopped at roof level. “Matron Cofelia, listen to me.”
“Oh, I don't think so, Doctor. And if I never see you again, it'll be too soon,” the Matron said.
“Oh, why does no one ever listen? I'm trying to help.” He insisted. “Just get across to the roof. Can you shift the levitation beam?”
“What, so that you can arrest me?”
“Just listen. I saw the Adiposian instructions. They know it's a crime, breeding on Earth. So what's the one thing they want to get rid of? Their accomplice.”
“I'm far more than that. I'm nanny to all these children.”
“Exactly!” Lilith yelled. “Mom and Dad have the kids now. They don't need the nanny anymore.”
The levitation beam switched off. Matron Coleflia fell with a scream.
‘Lilith, that’s terrible.’
The nursery ship flew away.
Down on the street, the Doctor threw the sonic pen into a garbage can. Penny came along, still tied to the chair. “Oi, you three. You're just mad. Do you hear me? Mad! And I'm going to report you for… madness!”
“You see? Some people just can't take it,” Donna said.
“Nope,” Lilith agreed.
“And some people can. So, then.” Donna grinned at Lilith.
Lilith grinned back. “Vamos a la TARDIS! Come on.” She grabbed her hand and they raced to the alleyway where the Doctor had left the TARDIS.
“That's my car!” Donna exclaimed, pointing to a car parked nearby. “That is like destiny. And I've been ready for this.” She opened the trunk; it was full of suitcases. “I packed ages ago, just in case. Because I thought, hot weather, cold weather, no weather. He goes anywhere. I've gotta be prepared.” She unloaded the trunk into the Doctor's arms, much to Lilith’s amusement.
“You've got a, a hatbox,” the Doctor said.
“Planet of the Hats, I'm ready. I don't need injections, do I? You know, like when you go to Cambodia. Is there any of that? Because my friend Veena went to Bahrain, and she…” Donna trailed off. “You're not saying much.”
“No, it's just,” the Doctor hesitated. “It's a funny old life, in the TARDIS.”
“You don't want me,” Donna guessed, dejectedly.
“He’s not saying that,” Lilith assured her.
“But you asked me. Would you rather you two be on your own?”
“No, actually, no.” he put down the bags he was holding. “But the last time, with Martha, like I said it... it got complicated. And that was all my fault. I just want a mate.”
Donna gaped at him. “You just want to mate?” Lilith burst into hysterical laughter. “You're not mating with me, sunshine!”
“A mate," the Doctor corrected her. “I want a mate.”
“Well, just as well, because I'm not having any of that nonsense. I mean, you're just a long streak of nothing. You know, alien nothing.”
“I know! He’s so freaking skinny.”
“There we are, then,” he said, looking slightly insulted. “Okay.”
“I can come?”
“Yeah. Course you can, yeah.” He grinned. “I'd, we’d love it.”
Lilith squealed and hugged Donna. “Increíble!”
“Car keys,” Donna said. “I've still got my mum's car keys. I won't be a minute.” She ran off. The Doctor and Lilith shared a look and started lugging her bags into the TARDIS. A few minutes later, she came back. “Off we go, then.”
“Here it is. The TARDIS,” the Doctor said, leaning against the console. “It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside.”
“Oh, I know that bit. Although frankly, you could turn the heating up.”
“So, the universe is at your fingertips, Donna Noble. Where do you want to go?” Lilith asked.
“Oh, I know exactly the place.”
“Two and a half miles that way.”
Lilith pulled the dematerialization lever and opened the doors. Donna stood in the doorway, waving to whoever was down on the hill watching. The Doctor joined her.
Lilith didn’t remember what was going to come next, she never did. But she had a feeling it was going to be fantastic.