Amy Pond woke up alone in the cold and the dark engine room of the quarantine ward. She could hear the quiet roar of the system thudding around her, rhythmic as the heartbeat which quickened in her own chest, and she muttered into the shadows of the room, "Voice interface? Are you there?" The lights flickered on, dimming the remaining effects of the anaesthesia and flooding her brain with memories. She turned her head and saw her husband asleep beside her, curled uncomfortably on the floor, vigilantly keeping watch until he succumbed to sleep himself. He frowned at the unwelcome intrusion of the Tardis lights, and coiled deeper into himself. Amy smiled fondly at him, and looked away, and her eyes met a pair of bright blue ones.
"This is a voice interface," said her younger self, gazing coldly back at her, and it took the whole of Amy's self-control to stop her from screaming. She stared, unblinking, at the hologram before her.
"Ok…" she muttered quietly, and checked that Rory wasn't disturbed. He wasn't. "I didn't know the Doctor had one of these things."
The voice interface watched her haughtily. Amy felt a pang of longing for the kinder voice of her electronic friend on the ward on Apalapucia. Surely she never looked so harsh, so cruel, so unforgiving, when she was seven years old. This was the second time today she'd seen her own face looking back at her, and it didn't get any less unnerving.
"You're me!" she exclaimed disbelievingly.
"I am not Amelia Pond," replied Amelia Pond. "I am a voice interface."
Amy raised her eyebrows: "Touchy!" The other, two-dimensional her appeared unfazed. "So why are you me? Or not me. Whatever."
"I am not Amelia Pond. I am a voice interface."
"Bit of a stuck record, aren't you? Why do you look like me?"
"I have taken the form of Amelia Pond as requested by the Doctor."
Amy's frown embedded itself in her face. "What?"
"Voice interface last activated 27th August 1938."
"That was when we went to Berlin."
"Affirmative," replied the seven-year-old Amelia with frosty indifference.
Amy shook her head. "So you can take different forms?"
Amy glanced once more at her sleeping husband. His breathing was perfectly even. His hand was flat on the floor, reaching towards her wrist in slumber. "Show me."
"Activating last known voice interface," said Amelia.
And then in the blink of an eye she wasn't Amelia any more.
Amy's mouth fell open. In front of her stood, not a younger her, not the Doctor, but somebody she'd never seen before. It was a woman, with auburn hair thrown over her shoulder. Her eyes were sceptical but bright and full of warmth, and there was the teeniest hint of a smile quirking at her lips. She looked so real for something that was only a flat slab of light in the middle of an impossible room.
"Who are you?" Amy breathed.
"I am a voice interface," the woman replied: a London accent.
"Oh, shut up," said Amy.
"Would you like to access information for Donna Noble?" the woman asked. Amy mouthed the name, rolling the damp letters over her tongue and feeling the unfamiliarity. She said yes before she knew what she was doing.
"Donna Noble, born 1968 in Chiswick, London" said the voice interface blankly, and Amy felt a shiver tracing her spine. "First entered the Tardis in 2006. Left the Tardis in 2008. Current whereabouts: London, year 2011."
After a moment, Amy said, "Is that it? There's nothing else?"
The voice interface paused, as if contemplating the request. Then Donna Noble, whoever she might be, opened her mouth and replied: "Oi, watch it, Spaceman!"
The suddenness, the realness of it all hit Amy squarely in the chest and as if on cue she found herself hardly being able to breathe for fear. That voice, and the life behind it, was suddenly all too valid. Donna Noble was a person of living flesh and blood, and she lived on the Tardis for two years and she called the Doctor Spaceman. The Doctor had never mentioned other travelers.
"What was that?"
"Vocal recording for Donna Noble," replied the voice interface.
Amy gathers up the shreds of breath left in her lungs. "Is there anybody else?"
"Activating last known voice interface," said the hologram, and then she shifted again into another unfamiliar face: a young black woman with kind eyes and a soft smile. "Martha Jones, born 1979 in Hackney, London. First entered the Tardis in 2007. Left the Tardis in 2008. Current whereabouts: Cardiff, year 2011."
"Is that it?" Amy said, with rising desperation. "There's no record of anything they did? All the places they went, everything they've seen? There's just…numbers?"
"Would you like to access a vocal recording for Martha Jones?"
"God, no…" Amy quickly protested. "You mean there isn't anything, at all?"
"No other information for Martha Jones."
"What about now? You said she's in Cardiff, but what's she doing? What happened to her?"
Amy tucked her knees up under her chin. "Who else?"
Then a blonde girl, not much older than herself, stood before her. She was pretty, and there was an inquisitive look about her elfin face. When she spoke, she'd got all the markings of an estate girl. "Rose Tyler, born 1982 in Camden, London. First entered the Tardis in 2005. Left the Tardis in 2011. Current whereabouts: unknown."
The last word shook Amy to the core.
"Show me them," she said. "Show me then all."
And then faces and faces flashed before her, what seemed like hundreds of them. An older woman with chestnut hair and a determined set to her jaw. A blonde woman with a childlike face. A conventionally handsome man with dark eyes and furrowed brows. A man with a caterpillar moustache. People sparked and weaved in front of her eyes, going on and on and on for what seems like hours until finally the voice interface stopped on a woman with cropped black hair.
"What happened to them all…?" Amy sighed, holding the woman's pixilated gaze.
"Current whereabouts: unknown."
Amy felt dry, salty tears begin to scratch her face and her throat clench. "Turn it off," she begged into the sleeping room to a person who wasn't really there. "I can't look at them any more!"
"Neither can he," said the voice interface, and then it flickered into nothing. Darkness fell over the control room.
Amy put her hands over her eyes, and remembered the Doctor's face when he told her that the older Amy had had to die; it was all for her own sake. Current whereabouts: unknown. How many people had vanished, died for their own sakes? How many people had the Doctor lied to, and how many had thrown themselves on the line for him? Rose Tyler, Martha Jones, Donna Noble. He'd never spoken about them, never mentioned any of them, nor any of the others. Everything they'd done. Everything he'd done with them. Were his people really so short-lived to him that none of that even mattered.
Did she even matter? Amelia Pond had waited for 12 years. The other Amy had waited for 36. 48 years, and she was destined to become a scratching of light in time and space; recorded for ever on the Tardis's database with only dates and a catchphrase to her name.
Amy sat in the darkness and the breathing of the Tardis, and felt for the first time very, very unsafe.