Humanity.

The great Galactic explorers. Reaching out into infinity. Going where no one had gone before...

If this is humanity you can stuff it, thought Donna Noble bitterly.

She was standing on the dark waterfront with the Doctor, watching the city burn.

There was a pervasive sound on the wind. Angry voices, smashing glass, screams. The hullabaloo of riot.

The events of this terrible evening were writ large on Donna and the Doctor.

Her blouse was partially ripped, her hair disordered and her face sooty from smoke. The Doctor's jacket had a gaping tear and he had the beginnings of a thick lip.

Donna had been lucky to get out of that alley alive. She had been dragged in by a group of lechers who had abandoned any code of morals in their drunken state. From the adjacent street, thronging with thousands, the Doctor had somehow found her and, shouting a warning to Donna to cover her ears, had used his sonic screwdriver to emit a pulse of debilitating sound that had bounced around the alley, disabling her attackers.

The Doctor had grabbed her hand and dragged her away, getting a punch in the face for his trouble. Donna got in a satisfying final blow of her own as her foot connected heavily with the nether regions of her nearest assailant and he doubled up, eyes bulging.

They fled.

Their return to the Tardis had been harrowing. Terrible images burned into Donna's mind. Charred and blackened corpses swinging from lampposts. Dismembered bodies lying around; men, women and children. Uniformed men firing uselessly on the crowd then being stamped to death. All around, buildings on fire.

But worst of all was the face of the mob. Feral, dead-eyed with drink, or lust or power. Hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of them.

Donna never knew how he did it but the Doctor managed to get them back to the waterfront. Across empty lots, through alleyways and by traversing the occasional abandoned building.

They stood by the blessed sanctuary of the Tardis in silence, watching and listening.

A single angry tear rolled down Donna's cheek.

"Can you do anything?" she whispered.

He looked at her. THAT look. The one from Pompeii.

"It's a fixed point, isn't it?" she said.

The Doctor shrugged. He scanned the night sky overhead.

"Maybe," he said.

He reached up into the Tardis' door frame and a small projectile flew up, high in the sky. Trailing smoke like a rocket.

There was a distant grumble of thunder.

"Best I can do, " said the Doctor, bundling Donna into the police box.

.

A memorable day, full of fun and iconic imagery.

It had been gloriously sunny and heat had fanned their faces.

Donna and the Doctor had danced on the giant piano keyboard and laughed along with the watching children. They had picnicked in the sprawling green park, watching the softballers.

They had toured the city on an open bus and Donna had gawked at the skyscraper of chrome and glass – the most beautiful building she had ever seen.

Now they stood on the waterfront. Their hired bicycles leaning on the railings.

They watched as the city glowed red in the peaceful rays of the dipping sun.

.

The history books tell us that the New York Draft Riots began on Monday 13 July 1863 and lasted a week. No one can be sure how many thousands of lives were lost or buildings destroyed during the bloody insurrection. However, they all agree on one thing.

On the first night, when it seemed half the city was ablaze and firemen were attacked to prevent them tackling the flames, it was only saved by a tremendous deluge which arrived suddenly at eleven o'clock, accompanied by thunder and lightning.

Providence?