Title: Moon River
Author: Rangersyl (co-written with Taiamu)
Word Count: 46658
Author's Summary: With Lake Silencio inexorably approaching, the Doctor wonders if it's time to fulfill his first and last promise to River. But the River he finds isn't used to being the one who has to say 'spoilers.' So they compromise: an archaeological expedition on a stormy, hostile moon where an ancient danger lurks behind every shadow.
Recc'ed Because: It's a good old fashioned adventure where the setting is so well-realized and visual, like a character in itself. It's also River and the Doctor against the world, still trying to navigate their relationship among antithetical timelines, looking out for each other and having their version of a good time. I really love the way the story unfolds and gains momentum as it goes; and you can tell that the authors had a blast (and used a good amount of hands-on networking knowledge) writing the alien perspective. Anyway, it's action, adventure, a mystery alien world, with good characterization and a good dose of H/C thrown in. Perfect episode-type fic for the long drought.
River's head popped up from the car, and she shook her head grimly. She dropped to the ground with a little more dignity than the Doctor had. "It's no good," she yelled, "our supplies have been blown up."
"Blown up," River confirmed, "a small, low impact charge. The suits are gone, the food, medical kit -- all gone. All we've got left is the rope."
The Doctor pinched the bridge of his nose. "That sounds familiar."
"Yes, it does."
"And not accidental."
"Whatever gave you that idea?"
With River's help, they prised open the bonnet. A cloud of black, acrid smoke was carried away by the wind, but a heavy ozone smell remained. The Doctor's fears were confirmed when he attempted to access the engine. He jerked his hands back from the superheated metal. They tried using the leftover shredded material from the suits to wrap their hands (even their gloves had been destroyed) but it was slow going. A few minutes into the process, the sky was split with a plasma bolt, and a heavy, dirty rain poured down. Though it added to their misery, the rain did aid their task. The engine block cooled faster and River wedged the spanner into a good-sized opening and they levered up the panel.
But the car let out a rapid click-click-click, audible even in the wind. They jumped back. The screaming of the gears shuddered, and then stopped. The entire system -- including emergency lights and environmental support -- was dead.