Two days before now:

"We take our dish out of the oven," she said, "give the audience a bright smile," she muttered, "and we have a beautiful…" She looked down and her face fell like the chocolate soufflé. "…hot mess," she finished.

Her audience erupted into giggles.

Oswin Oswald looked up at the half-dozen children gathered before the kitchen area. She pursed her lips. "I think it's too beautiful to live," she said.

"Miss," a tiny girl near the front said. She thrust her hand up.

"Now," Oswin glanced at the HUD that floated above the girl's head, "Katy, what did I say about questions?"

"Shout it out and interrupt, no matter what!" came from many of the children.

"Miss," Katy said and lowered her hand, "even though it's a mess, it's still chocolate, right?"

Oswin raised an eyebrow at the girl. "You make a cogent point, Katy." She set the soufflé down on the counter and clapped her hands. She said, "Who's up for a game of Dwarfs, Giants, and Wizards, followed by an unbridled reign of terror over the chocolate soufflé?" The children erupted in cheers. "Right, then, you know the drill, kids; we do this properly, with chaos all around."

Three days before the soufflé incident:

"I don't know how to handle children," Oswin said, "I am a children!"

The cruise director rolled his eyes. "You're the junior entertainment manager, Oswin. Show some maturity."

"Why on earth would I possibly want to do that?" She tossed mahogany-colored hair from her face. "Next, you'll expect me to grow up and act like an adult. That isn't very kind of you, Marius!"

Marius Wells sighed and rubbed his face. "God, Oswin," he said, "you give me such a headache. Look, it's a family cruise, and we are short one Children's Activities Director." He spread his dark-skinned hands in a helpless gesture. "Therefore, disturbing as it is to me that you might be made responsible for other peoples' children, you are going to have to step up to the… entertainment. At least you can do shifts with Nina, so neither one of you has to handle all the little blighters."

"Nina," Oswin repeated with a smile.

"What about Nina?" Marius asked, confused.

"Nothing," Oswin shook her head, "I just like the name 'Nina.' No reason, really. Nothing to do with phases or…"

Marius headed away. "You'll figure it out, Oswin," he called back, "never fear!" As he followed the corridor, Marius muttered, "I'll do plenty of that for both of us."

Still two days before now:

"Right," Oswin said, "that was bracing! Good show to the dwarfs for taking down the giants. I always did have a thing for the staturally-challenged." She drew herself up to her own unimpressive height. "Now for that chocolate hot mess we made earlier! And then," she said, amidst the cheers, "we can listen to Carmen, won't that be fun?"

There were boos from the children. "Is that your weird old music?" one boy asked, disgruntled.

Oswin narrowed her eyes at him. "George, you are remarkably close to a tour of the torpedo tubes, feller-me-lad. And since we haven't got any, you definitely don't want that!"

"Aw," several of the boys complained.

Oswin reached for the soufflé. "Since I neglected to have bowls and spoons delivered," she said, "we're all just going to have to shove your fingers in. So roll up your sleeves, kids, and don't tell your parents how you got so…"

Alarms sounded and a red light pulsed. The children stared around them in nervousness. "What's that, miss?" asked a girl named Trish.

Oswin glanced up at the lights. "Something not good." She activated her HUD and paged through alert messages with a flick of her fingers. "Something bad, in fact," she said. "Something very, very not good and very, very bad." The children erupted in a cacophony. Questions, sobs of fear, and guesses battled for supremacy. Oswin put two fingers between her lips and gave a sharp whistle. "Listen up!" They fell silent. She knelt down and said, "Gather 'round, kids." When they had done so, Oswin nodded.

"All right, listen: up to now, it's been all chaos and running about and collapsed soufflés, yeah?" At their nods, she said, "Well, playtime is over. I'm not going to lie to you: the Alaska is going down. I don't know what happened, but it's going to crash. But!" She held up a finger before they could lose focus and become fearful again. "I, Oswin Oswald, Junior Entertainment Manager, have got your backs. So we are going to proceed quickly and calmly to the nearest escape pods, and get you all snuggled up and away from this. Understand?"

"Yes, miss," they chorused.

"Good." She rose to her feet. "Come on, then, kids. It's Oswin Time."


"You'll never take me alive," Oswin said with a wide grin. The pretty girl cracked her knuckles and fluttered her fingers over the keyboard. "On account," she said, "that I am a bloody genius, and you are a bunch of Dalek losers." She accentuated the comment with fingers held in an ell-shape against her forehead. "So get ready to be owned."

One year from now:

"Run," Oswin Oswald told the Doctor.