Honestly, River thought, life in Stormcage was't that bad.
Oh, there were downsides, of course. The water in the shower was always cold, and the soap smelled like chemicals, and you couldn't get a snack whenever you wanted to. But she could request books from the rather extensive library. They allowed her art supplies. Heck, they even allowed her to publish academic papers from the confines of her cell.
Not that she couldn't leave the cell. Well, technically, if you wanted to examine the many layers of security that had accumulated outside her bars, it would be impossible. But River Song loved the impossible. That is to say, she liked breaking it. Sort of in the same way she liked breaking rules. River could waltz out of her cell, zap away to another planet, grab a nice dress, and pop in for dinner with the Doctor without having to worry about the prison guards finding her. They never did, after all. Most of the time they didn't even notice. For each escape they catalogued, there were at least three others they missed completely.
But as fun as it was to leave them completely perplexed as to how she escaped, it was much less tiring to simply stay in. That wasn't too terribly boring either, although after a week or two she did begin to crave a change of scenery and often the company of a certain Time Lord. Now, however, she had just returned from an archaeological dig 2,000 years into the future on a planet called Pevarian X or something ridiculous like that. The Pevarians had been rather miffed to find them digging up the tomb of their first emperor, and had chased them off the planet with blow-guns popping away. So River was happy just to sit on her cot and doodle Gallifreyan in her diary.
She heard the echo of marching feet and at first assumed that it was a guard making his/her rounds. She realized they were far too early. Then she realized that there were several pairs of feet.
She looked up as calmly as she could and stared out the bars on her cell, waiting for them to come around. She hoped they hadn't come to question her again. They normally marched her out of her cell to the little room down the hall with an impressive entourage and injected her with a truth serum, which she was immune to, as a part-Time Lord. It was an annoyance, although it was fun to see the guards go red when she was supposedly telling the truth. Or they could be coming to move her again. After her latest break-out they had moved her down to the lowest level of the prison, four stories below ground and with only four other cells.
But they hadn't come for her. As the guards crossed into her line of sight she saw that they were escorting someone in. A young woman, certainly no more than twenty-five, probably younger, marched in perfect time with the guards. At first glance River assumed she was one of them, before realizing her hands were cuffed behind her back. She had long, straight blond hair that she had pulled back in a ponytail, and wore form-fitting olive green T-shirt and black pants. She was very pretty, River had to admit. She sort of… bounced along, even though she was marching. It wasn't very noticeable, but she did spring up on her toes a bit. She also had a broad grin on her face, showing off her white teeth.
If she's a lunatic, she'd better not make too much noise, River decided. Not like the last one.
When she had been transferred, there had been a Botavichian across the hall, who moaned consistently all night and all day. River had considered breaking into his cell and gagging him, but had decided she didn't want to face a Botavichian bare-handed. The guards had shut him up soon, anyways.
The guards placed the blond girl in her cell and locked the door. She stuck her face between the bars and smiled at the one securing the lock. "Won't be long 'til I'm out of here, I bet."
The guard snorted, then looked at River apprehensively before pocketing the key and leaving, the hoard of guards following.
The blonde spun on her heel and examined her cell, before turning to smile charmingly at River, who flashed a wry smile back. If this girl thought that she could be best buddies with her cellmates in Stormcage, she was severely mistaken. River started forming threats in her mind incase the blonde attempted to start a conversation.
"What's your name, then?" She asked. Her voice was a bit girlish too, River thought.
"None of your business," River said absently, retuning to her drawing.
The blonde, unfortunately, wasn't fazed. "Well, I'm Jenny."
River let out an impassive hmm.
"What landed you here?" She asked. God, if there was anything worse than a moaning cellmate, it was a chatty one.
"I murdered a man," River said calmly. Jenny blinked but didn't withdraw from where she was pressed against the bars. River noticed that her high boots were well-worn leather. She didn't know why she noticed that all of the sudden, but she thought that Jenny looked like a soldier in her tight but unrestrictive clothes.
"I broke into a bank," Jenny said. "Well, I really broke it, not into. It sort of… caved in… I didn't really mean to, I didn't kill anyone, I swear—"
A guard walked past and banged his gun on the bars, making them vibrate. "No more talkin', or I come in there!"
River heard Jenny pull back from the bars. She didn't speak again after the guard had left. River had stopped moving her pen, listening. She heard the squeak of springs as the blonde settled down on her cot, and more squeaks as she shifted around experimentally. River heard a pair of thuds as the girl's boots hit the concrete floor. She glanced up to see her re-doing her ponytail, and decided that her new cellmate wouldn't be doing anything interesting anytime soon. Bless, the guard seemed to have actually scared the poor thing.
Jenny looked awfully young and innocent to have committed a crime that would land her in Stormcage, but River had learned that sometimes the most innocent people could be the most deadly. She would know. By the time she was eleven, she could fire a gun, defuse a bomb, assemble an IED, and use poisoned lipstick. But in all fairness she had received a less-than-average childhood and significant lack of parenting.
Jenny had stopped moving around and appeared to be meditating. River held back a snort. A minute ago the girl had been humming with energy, and now she was fully composed and self-centered. If River had to take a guess, she would have said that Jenny was human, but something seemed off about her. A feeling River just couldn't place.
Hello again. Are you going to actually reply this time?
River's pen clattered to the ground as the word echoed through her mind in Jenny's voice. She recognized the faint psychic link immediately, but she had never… only the Doctor had ever been able to contact her that way. It was a Time Lord thing. A Time Lord thing…
Hello, River thought back cautiously.
Are you a Time Lady? Jenny asked mentally.
River shook her head, then realized that Jenny still had her eyes closed and couldn't see her. In a manner of speaking.
Oh, Jenny thought to her. I am too. In a manner of speaking.
What manner of speaking?
I asked first.
I could break out of this cell and make you tell, you realize.
So could I. Have you met the Doctor?
River got a cold tingling down her spine, closing her diary slowly. Yes.
What are you to him?
Jenny was silent for a long time. Oh.
The blonde withdrew, but River wasn't done with her yet. She cast her mental influence across the hallway and felt the girl's surprise. What are you to him?
I'm his daughter, Jenny thought back, and River could hear a hint of pride behind the words.
He's never mentioned you, River replied. Then she realized that it might have sounded hurtful, when indeed she was only asking for more information. I didn't—
No, I understand, Jenny chatted with no emotional cues what-so-ever. You're his wife and you've just found out he had a kid. That must seem very strange to you. He didn't mention you, either, by the way.
He might not have known me then, River thought. Who's your mother?
A machine. River's mind was in a state of shock for a moment until Jenny clarified. Oh my god that sounded wrong I'm sorry I was genetically engineered from the Doctor's DNA sample that's where I got my name, from the 'gen' in 'genetic', Donna proposed it—
Oh. It was River's turn to be surprised, and she didn't like it. But there was one thing she had to know. What did he look like?
He had a suit, and spiky hair, and these ridiculous shoes with a star on the side… I can't explain him very well, I was only with him for a few hours…
A few hours? What happened? River demanded.
I died. I regenerated, but the process was delayed and he had left before I was awake again. Jenny pushed away River's response. Do you know where he is?
I could find him.
I'd like to see him again. I've been traveling on my own. He said we'd go together and see other stars and planets but we ran out of time.
Jenny, he's regenerated.
Is Donna still with him? The blonde asked curiously.
River pulled a blank on the name. Who's Donna?
Good lord, did he tell you anything? Jenny asked. What does he look like now?
He's… a lot younger, River grappled for a suitable explanation. He wears a bow tie and…he's a bit ridiculous. If he ever puts on a hat, get rid of it immediately, understand?
She could feel Jenny's laughter in the back of her mind, and realized that this girl did echo the Tenth.
Now, Jenny… what would you say to breaking out of this hole and going to meet up with your dear old dad? I'd say it's high time he saw you again, and it's been a while since I've paid him a visit…