I watched River run down the last dune, clearly irritated with me.
"Look!" I yelled, offering her my hand.
"At what?" She sounded cynical, as usual. I thrust my hand into her face, waiting for her to notice the thing. "Well what is it?"
"I don't know." I gave it another look but rather than waste time trying to figure it out, I wandered off, following the footsteps that the pirates had made.
"One in a million." She mumbled.
"I like pirates." I offered, wondering if it sounded slightly childish. "Aargh and all that." River simply sighed. I pulled my screwdriver from my pocket and scanned the thing again, groaning under my breath when no conclusive results were gained.
"What about the swords and walking the plank?" She placed a hand on my shoulder, her voice betraying how she felt proud for besting me with words.
I hesitated for a second, answering with only one word: "Swashbuckling."
With a defeated sigh, she released me, taking my screwdriver. "What do you want that for?"
"I have an idea." She pointed the screwdriver at the floor and activated it. The sand shook, another dune growing under our feet. As we both fell backwards, I felt something reach out for me through the sand - it was a hand.
"How do you do?" I took the hand and shook it, surprised when it shook back.
"Well, thank you." A voice came from within the dune.
"What?" River seemed surprised.
"It's just a sentient planet, River. Nothing terribly scary." I dismissed her worries, not looking as she got up. "What can we do for you?"
"You woke me." The sand spoke, sounding angry.
"Well technically, she did." I stepped to the side, pointing at River innocently.
"You woke me." It repeated, sounding even angrier.
"Yes sir, we're your wake-up call." I reached out to her, hoping she would give me my screwdriver back.
"You woke me."
"Is your voice box broken? Or is it still too early?" I stepped backwards, nudging River. "Give me my screwdriver." I whispered.
"I dropped it. It has to be at the top."
"River, do me a favour?" I looked her in the eye.
"Well, three. One: make sure to properly flirt with the dune. Two: don't laugh when I fall. Three: Don't get smug if this doesn't work out properly."
"Deal." She whispered into my ear, holding my hand tightly.
"I'm going to have to refer you to my associate, River Song." I ducked out of the dune's field of vision, stopping momentarily to determine where that actually was. I moved away from the hand as much as I could before starting to climb.
"Yes, hello. I'm River Song, but you can call me River. You know, you're the first bit of sand that I've had a proper conversation with." She reached out and took the hand, almost stroking it with her fingers.
The planet must have been very sensitive as when I took my first step up the dune, another hand sprouted out from within the sand and grabbed my foot.
"Not this again." I groaned. "We aren't in the Matrix now!"(*)
The hand tried to drag my foot into the dune but I quickly kicked it away.
"Not good enough, River!" I shouted, sprinting up the slope that I could have sworn was getting steeper with every step.
"You know, I once dated a beach," River began. Before my ears could pick up the rest of the sentence, I found myself running up a slope that had gone past vertical.
With a thud, I fell, my back coming into contact with the gritty sand in seconds. I caught a little snigger appear on River's face.
"Thanks." I muttered, wondering how we were supposed to get out of this one.
(*) - See "Trial of a Timelord" (1986)