A/N: I've always been fascinated with the premise of how language is handled in the show between people who couldn't ordinarily have a conversation and how that impacts the viewer/reader (you can tell I study English, can't you). I thought it might be interesting to insert a very firm language barrier in-between lots of different people for the duration of an entire story. I've done this briefly before with the Doctor, but now let's totally go nuts on it.
It's also been a while since I wrote for Donna, so forgive me for any strange sentences whilst I reprogram my brain from Rose :P
Canon is pre-Partner's in Crime A/U, where Donna is still looking for the Doctor.
(06/11/15: Gallifreyan updated to v3)
Chapter 1 - Donna Noble, Health and Safety
"No, you can't do this!"
The Kryx sneered at the Doctor, its sharp teeth bared to the helpless Time Lord standing below him. It hissed like the snake it resembled, truly amused at the Doctor's pleas. It didn't reply.
"There are people living down there!" the Doctor continued, throwing out his arm to the window of the room where planet Earth was sat comfortably in the distance. "An entire species!"
The Kryx sneered once again, his long thin tongue flickering. This time, it hissed a reply in a snake-like alien language.
The Doctor scowled at the answer. He clearly wasn't getting through. "Pathetic or not, they're still a race and you're about to commit genocide!"
The Kryx threw back its head, hissing with laughter before speaking again.
"This isn't the solution! Find a barren planet!" the Doctor said, getting angry now. "Terraform it! If you do this, it's illegal, do you really want the Shadow Proclamation on your backs?"
The Kryx hissed once more in reply, and threw out a tentacle to the Doctor. The Doctor's eyes flickered, catching the sight of three Kryx moving straight towards him with stun guns in hand. He quickly held up his hands, backing away.
"I'm not your enemy, I'm trying to help you!" he insisted. "I know you're angry, I know you're hurting, but there are other ways you can resolve this! You don't need…"
Before he could get any further there was suddenly the sound of a discharged stun gun, and immediately he realised that his entire body had abruptly stopped working. His arms fell redundantly to his sides, his legs gave way, and seconds later he hit the floor with a thunk.
He tried to speak again, but his jaw wasn't complying with the movements he was trying to make. He couldn't move a single limb or appendage. He was a floppy rag doll, only able to breath and move his eyes...
This was bad. Many suitcases full of bad.
He tried desperately to talk again, but his best weapon - his gift of the gab - the one thing he relied on most in the world to get him out of situations of this magnitude was rendered useless. And him? He was helpless.
He could do nothing but lie there as the three Kryx reached him, grabbing him by the arms and the legs and carrying his useless body out of the main room of the Kryx ship. They took him down a corridor, then left, and from his exploration of the ship before he already knew where they were taking him. Escape pods.
They weren't going to kill him. They were going to let him escape? Why weren't they killing him?
They loaded him in one, disregarding the safety belts. Another one leant forward in front of him to the control panel, hammering through the menus. The Doctor's eyes followed its every action - it was going into destinations. It scanned the local area, and then without hesitation it selected Earth.
They were sending him to Earth? Why…
His thought trail was interrupted when the Kryx went into the system settings. Going into system settings was never good in the Doctor's book, and once again his book was right. The Kryx went straight to the safeties, and with a tap and a grin at the Doctor, it turned them off.
Then he was let go, the Kryx departed and sealed the hatch. The Doctor was immediately cast into deep darkness - the only light coming from the monitor in front of him, informing him that the safeties were off and maybe he should think about correcting that.
He still couldn't move. He couldn't even make a noise. Even when the pod jettisoned and he was sent back with the G-Force against him he couldn't even moan. The pod stabilised, and at a uncomfortable 1500 miles per second he started his journey to Earth.
Only then did it dawn on him that he was a very squishy lifeform currently hurtling towards Earth in a faulty black market escape pod with the safeties turned off, paralysed with absolutely no hope of escape and that he was probably going to die.
Oh yes, and humanity was about to be wiped out by giant alien snakes.
He'd had better days than this.
The alarm clock seemed to blare more loudly than it had ever before at 7:30am to rouse Donna Noble from her sleep. With a groan she turned over and slammed her palm in the vague direction of the snooze button - the shrill beeping immediately ceasing before she rolled back over and quickly fell asleep again.
That woke her up. She sat up immediately, jerked right out of her sleep. She could immediately hear car alarms blaring and the sounds of shouting coming from over the rooftops.
She got out of bed the quickest she had ever managed in her life, pulling on her dressing gown and running downstairs where her mum and granddad were already up and out the back door, staring up at the sky.
"What's going on?" she asked, following their gaze. There was a trail of smoke arcing across the sky, disappearing behind some buildings in the distance.
"Terrorists!" her mum said in alarm. "Dad, check the news!"
Wilf immediately turned and went back into the house, heading straight for the television with Donna in tow. It came on, but it was in the middle of a property show. Wilf urgently flicked through the channels, but as property show after property show flicked by, Donna was becoming less and less patient.
She used the time to run upstairs, get dressed and do her make-up in three minutes flat before tearing downstairs again to check the TV. Now it was in the middle of a newsflash, her mum and granddad perched on the sofas staring intently at the screen.
NEWSFLASH: UNIDENTIFIED FLYING OBJECT HITS DOWNING STREET the scrolling newsreel summarised as a nervous-looking man hovered outside the Downing Street gates, pandemonium behind him.
"... And the Prime Minister and all residents and staff of Downing Street are alive and well. The object crashed at 7:36am this morning, but the nature of the threat is unclear. Police and firefighters are currently on the scene and the government emergency committee Cobra have been assembled…"
Instead of becoming frightened like a sane person would have, Donna was very excited. UFO crashing in the centre of London? If this wasn't related to the Doctor, she didn't know what was.
Donna immediately grabbed the car keys from the kitchen table. "Mum, I'm taking the car!"
She made sure she was out the door before her mum began any form of protest.
The Doctor woke up, and nearly passed out again.
He found himself lying awkwardly, half off of the escape pod chair and half on the floor with his head turned up towards the central monitor, and all other limbs strewn out awkwardly. The instruments of the escape pod were blaring out beeps and lights of all colours of the rainbow in front of him, telling him the very obvious factor that the escape pod had crashed. The monitor was partially obscured by a splatter or two of blood and through his mixed-up head the Doctor really had to think for a moment as to whose blood it was... Until he finally came to the conclusion that it was probably his.
He tried to get up, but although he had control of his body once more it was still mostly numb. There were dull pains emanating from his arm, leg, neck and head, but he couldn't seem to be able to move his head to look. All he could see were the monitors and bit of metal caved in around him, each marked with a bit of blood to denote the areas he'd been thrown.
I think I'm hurt.
Obviously he was hurt. Obviously. He had been in the escape pod, yes. They'd disengaged the safeties, and set him on a course for…
The moment he realised, he began to panic. Had he crashed right into the middle of a city? He tried to get up again, this time with a brief yet excruciating moment of pain, managing to roll over in the tiny space using his left hand as his right didn't seem to want to comply. Almost immediately the pain heightened and he let out an unintentional cry, but force himself to keep moving slowly around the cramped space until he got into such a position that he could see what happened to his right arm.
The sight of it nearly made him pass out again.
I think I'm a bit more hurt than I thought I was.
That was the understatement of the century.
He tried not to observe it too hard, well aware that this wasn't the arm of some poor soul he'd just found, it was actually his. His own arm, attached to his own body, and the amount of blood that was coming out of its misshapen structure made it very obvious the artery had been severed and something very painful had happened to his elbow. He was almost glad he was still partially numb.
Forty minutes, if he remembered his Time Lord physiology lessons correctly. He had forty minutes to get back to the TARDIS and patch himself up before he ended up bleeding to death.
But where's the TARDIS?
The thought trail from that didn't lead anywhere good. It was back on the Kryx ship. His TARDIS was gone. So he had forty minutes to get back to that Kryx ship, starting from a planet that still thought going to the piddly distance to the Moon was a great achievement.
He did love humans, but they weren't half silly sometimes.
Either way, he had to go before he was discovered. He looked at the exit - smashed in, and there seemed to be no other way out. He reached up with his left hand, numb muscles only just managing to navigate towards the button to open the hatch.
It didn't work. But he'd already known that.
He psyched himself up, and quickly turned to lie on his back, trying to ignore the pain that came with it. It was only then he realised his foot didn't seem to be angling with the natural point of his body, and that it was in fact trapped in a mess of metal. In fact, the movement his leg was doing around it probably wasn't that natural either. He didn't know. He was too tired to think of the natural rotation of a foot.
I'm actually severely injured and will die very soon if I don't get some help.
Yep, that was the conclusion of the day.
But there was no one to help. He didn't have Martha's phone, he couldn't contact Jack - he had no companion. He had no one. Not a single soul.
Yeah, he should probably start making his peace.
Suddenly there was a loud buzzing sound to his left where the hatch was. He tried to look, but one of his eyes had to close when he felt something warm trickle down from his forehead. He assumed that was more blood. It seemed to be the thing, here.
Then voices. He could suddenly hear voices. People were shouting, although muffled, but were quite clearly shouting. He could even hear sirens, and the blades of a helicopter above. The humans had obviously noticed the crash. He hoped it wasn't anywhere too obvious.
Well, at least they'd take him to hospital before they started the vivisection.
Seconds later the hatch came away and the Doctor found three men staring back at him.
He thought about introducing himself with an upbeat tone and a reassuring smile, but before he could even open his mouth he passed out.
Donna had to abandon the car near Westminster Bridge as the streets were already absolutely packed with both cars and people. She used the tried and tested method of barging through the crowds and shouting loudly to get over the bridge, up the street and through to a barrier around twenty metres from Downing Street.
The police were shouting for the crowds to keep away. From where she was standing Donna couldn't see a thing. She moved slowly around the crowd until he could see down the street, but most of it was blocked by cars.
She was just wondering what to do next, when suddenly she heard a shout - she didn't quite catch the words but it seemed to cue a tide of hysteria across the gathered officials.
"Oi! What's going on?" she yelled out, but her voice was lost in the chaos as the crowd's volume suddenly increased when an ambulance pulled up. That meant there was someone hurt. But the news had said all the people in Downing Street were accounted for…?
There's a person inside the UFO.
Was it an alien? If it was, the Doctor was sure to be three steps behind it. She needed to get closer.
She spotted a man approaching the gates - a black-haired man in a long World War 2-style trenchcoat who looked like he knew what he was doing. A simple plan evolved in her mind - but one that would require quite a decent amount of bravery.
She pushed through the crowd again, striding confidently to join the man, hovering just behind as though part of a group with him.
"Torchwood, check with your superior," the man was saying to the policeman at the gate, waving an ID under his nose.
"I'm sorry, I can't let you in," the policeman stressed.
"I've got clearance," the man in the trenchcoat said.
"It's named people only and you're not on the list," the policeman said. "I'm sorry but I can't let you in."
"I think your boss is gonna be very annoyed when he founds out you turned me away."
"I can't risk that."
The man in the trenchcoat sighed. "Okay," was all he said, turned, and walked off.
Donna impulsively decided to follow him, but kept at an acceptable distance. He was sure to try and find someway of getting in there.
He walked down the street, around the corner and another corner, walking so fast Donna struggled to keep pace. But she managed it, following him all the way until he suddenly stopped and turned around so fast that Donna almost walked right into him.
"Can I help you?" he asked her, and now Donna could see him properly she realised he was actually very, very gorgeous.
For a moment she was somewhat stunned, before she quickly found herself and some words to say. "You're trying to see the body, right?"
He nodded slowly, looking her up and down in some sort of silent judgement. "I am."
"Well I am too," Donna said. "You need my help."
The man frowned. "What have you got to offer?"
Donna reached into her jacket, and pulled out an identity card. "Health and Safety."
The man gazed at the card for a moment, before slowly spreading a grin. "I like it. Okay," he said, and extended his hand. "I'm Cap'n Jack Harkness."
"I'm Donna, Donna Noble," she said, taking the hand to shake it. "So what's the plan?"