"Freeze! NCIS!" Tony shouted, levelling his gun square on the other man's back.
The man stopped, and turned around slowly. He was laughing—which unnerved Tony so much that he shifted his stance, instinctively angling himself away from the suspect.
"Enough!" Tony said in Spanish. "Hands up! Now!"
The man stopped laughing. "Jxtzs."
Or at least that was what it sounded like. Tony frowned. That was not Spanish. In fact, it wasn't any recognizable language either. If he'd had to guess, it almost sounded...alien.
"Kneel!" he shouted and repeated himself in English, just in case.
"Trtpqr fx zlmpt," the man said and began laughing again.
He started to reach into his coat, and Tony instinctively pulled the trigger three times. The bullets ripped into the other man's chest, sending him toppling backwards. Tony ran toward the body, intending on seeing what exactly the man had been reaching for.
He was just about to reach into the other man's pocket, when he realized that the holes in his chest were leaking purple blood.
"Oh shit," Tony whispered, reeling backwards.
He watched the body for a few, heart pounding seconds. It was too bad Ducky was a few hundred thousand miles away, because he would have liked to grill the Scotsman as to any possible diseases that would cause this.
Shake it off, DiNozzo, he told himself sharply, rising from his crouch. He ignored the twinge of pain from his shoulder and shoved his gun into the waistband of his pants, thinking of where to go from here. He needed to get help for McGee—priority number one, obviously—but he wasn't sure where he was exactly, other than somewhere in Panama. And hopefully, Gibbs and Ziva were there looking for them.
On the ground, the body gave a sudden shudder, and Tony watched horrified, as the corpse started to reanimate. Tony screamed like a little girl.
"Jesus Christ!" he exclaimed, and pulled his gun out, firing three more shots excitedly.
The head was blasted to pieces.
But instead of stopping the alien—for that was Tony's working theory—it merely continued to sit up. It reached into its pocket again, and pulled out a dented metallic device, pushing one of the buttons with a devilish smirk. The alien's body flickered before being replaced with something that looked a whole lot more extraterrestrial than Tony liked to see.
The alien wore a reptilian face, with wide black eyes. There were three tiny holes to either side of the wide nose that poured purple blood, and a long, forked tongue reached out to lick the wounds.
Tony backed away. "What the hell are you?"
The alien spoke in that weird, no-vowels language again, and then growled. It stepped toward Tony, who was certain that the appropriate thing to do right now would be to turn tail and run for his life. But for some strange reason, his feet were stuck firmly to the ground.
He head-slapped himself sharply, then barked out loud in his best Gibbs impression, "What are you waiting for, DiNozzo? Get a move on!"
Tony tried to move and almost toppled over. Nope. Still frozen in shock, there, boss.
The reptile curled its scaly purple back over and menaced toward him, looking more like a velociraptor than an alien.
Tony tried to smile. He took a hesitant step back. Oh, good. Feet were working again. "Nice alien...good lizard..dinosaur-man..."
The alien opened its large, scaly head and roared its intentions to eat Tony to the sky.
Tony took off like a shot, running as fast as his legs could carry him. He tore down the first alley he saw, leaping over an angry feral cat with little grace, ducking through the home of a confused family, screaming as he went, "Alien attack! Alien Attack! Run for your lives!"
A part of him was calmly aware that he was behaving like an absolute idiot. The other part just wanted to get away as fast as possible. He didn't dare look back, knowing that that would only make things worse. Tony was unsure of how fast an alien could run, but if it was anything like the ones in Men in Black, he was lizard-food.
He darted quickly around the corner and met up with the classic physics problem of 'high velocity object meets stagnant force'. The stagnant force, a skinny fellow with a mop of brown hair, reacted accordingly and fell over backwards.
Tony groaned, and rolled off his victim, feeling his injured shoulder yowl in pain. He rubbed at it tenderly, and moaned aloud. The wind had thoroughly been knocked out of him.
"Doctor—are you all right?"
The 'cheerio chaps and high tea' accent took Tony off guard for a few seconds, and he realised quickly that he wasn't the one being spoken to.
"I'm fine," came a sharp answer from somewhere near him.
"Are you all right?" Tony found himself squinting up into the face of a young man. He looked vaguely familiar.
Tony's memory had served him well throughout his storied career in law enforcement. It was a good one, nearly photographic in detail, although Tony kept this fact firmly under wraps. He blatantly used it for making his frequent movie references, but no one ever voiced aloud that Tony's movie buff abilities were suspicious—mostly because they were too busy saying how obnoxious it was. Gibbs suspected, naturally, but Tony would have been deeply disappointed if he hadn't.
He exhaled sharply and sat up, looking at the man and his companions. The man he had knocked over was getting to his feet with a distinctly annoyed expression, brushing off his librarian clothes huffily. The man who had spoken to him was looking at him curiously. An attractive, red headed woman folded her arms, looking cross.
"You'd better watch where you're going," she chided in a Scottish accent that stirred something in Tony's memory, the memory that never forgot a face.
He looked at her closely, and then looked at the two others.
"What are you doing here?" he exclaimed.
Panama, Amy decided, was not as nice as it would have been in the 1900s. She slapped a thirsty mosquito, leaving a trail of blood on her pale arm. She had wanted to see Teddy Roosevelt in person—when the canal was being built—but the Doctor had accidentally knocked his elbow into the date device during takeoff, accidentally turning the dial to 2010.
Amy was getting very sick of 'accidentally' landing in 2010.
She had almost been about to convince him to send them to the right time when they had heard the gunshots. The Doctor had stilled, cocked his head and said something sharply in an alien language. Then he had thrown open the door and shouted imperiously, "Come on, Ponds!"
Rory had looked at her, shrugged, and followed. Amy, for her part, pouted and shrugged off her sweater. She was not in the mood for comments about how she had dressed improperly for the weather.
They followed the Doctor through a labyrinth of alleyways, filled with low hanging laundry lines and smoke that tasted of empanadas. There was a scream, like that of a young girl, and more gunshots. The Doctor picked up his pace, and continued to mutter to himself in that alien language. They were just about to round the corner when something heavy ran straight into the Doctor and knocked him over.
In a credit to his nurse's training, Rory bent over the Doctor to check on him, and then leaned over the stranger. A stranger in a dirty suit who looked about as out of place as they did. That meant he was probably an alien, because who wore suits in Panama other than the Doctor? She scowled. That meant he was most likely responsible for her not getting to meet Teddy Roosevelt.
She muttered something uncharitable about watching where he was going and then decided, with her usual pragmatism, that at least he was a good-looking alien, and that they would all have a lovely adventure with him.
But not in that sense.
"What are you doing here?" exclaimed Mr. Good-Looking Alien, and Amy looked expectantly at the Doctor, assuming incorrectly that he was already acquainted with their new friend.
"You know me?" the Doctor said, sounding confused. "Oh, my timelines are getting wibbly wobbly again. Just when you think you've met all the people you've ever met—that doesn't sound weird, or does it?"
The man blinked, clearly bewildered. "What?"
"Right. Well, I suppose the only thing to do is to introduce myself and my companions. I'm the Doctor, as you clearly know. And this is Amy and Rory Pond."
"Williams," Rory muttered, and Amy nudged him.
The 'Pond' joke had been amusing the first time the Doctor had said it, but Amy was beginning to rapidly realize that the Doctor didn't think of it as a joke. And she was rather alright with that.
"Yes, that's me."
"The Doctor...?" Tony prompted.
He nodded. "The Doctor."
Tony blinked. "Is that it?"
"Was there supposed to be anymore?"
"So you're like...one of those people who only have one name."
"Yes. Well. No. Sort of...I call me the Doctor. Lots of people do. Most of my species has one definitive name for themselves."
"Like Madonna. Or Cher. The Artist Formerly Known as Prince."
Amy giggled at the Doctor's what-is-he-talking-about expression.
"No one calls me any of that. Oncoming Storm. Lonely God. I think you'd better explain to me exactly how I know you."
The man laughed. "I don't know what you've been smoking, pal, but it's clearly the clearly the good stuff. You two—" he pointed at Amy and Rory "—pretended to be Interpol agents and broke him out of jail."
The Doctor eyed him like he was a particularly fascinating subject. And then his face lit up.
"Right! Yes, those five minutes," he said in a satisfied tone. "That paradoxical occurrence. I remember, yes."
Amy looked at Rory, to see if he understood this any better than she did. His perplexed expression told her otherwise.
She rounded on the Doctor. "What's going on here? Who is he?"
"NCIS. Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo," said the man, getting to his feet with some difficulty. He grimaced. "Most people call me Tony. Except my mother. Who's dead. And Ducky, who's not dead."
"He arrested me," said the Doctor happily.
"Really?" Rory said. "What happened?"
"Long story. Landed the TARDIS in the warehouse. Wrong place, literally wrong time. Met up with this nice young man. His boss interrogated me. Your future selves rescued me. I went back to meet you...er, twelve years too late. Thrown off, you see, by the temporal interference. Turned me about."
Amy narrowed her eyes at the man. That was the reason she had waited? And before her brain caught up to her fist, she walked up to him and punched him in the shoulder.
"OW!" he exclaimed melodramatically, clutching his shoulder.
"That was for making him late!" she said, satisfied.
Tony didn't reply, continuing to hold his shoulder for longer than Amy considered necessary. He sported a dramatic grimace on his face.
"Oh, come off it. I didn't hit you that hard."
Tony stripped off his suit jacket, and Amy was horrified to see blood spreading from where she had hit him. She wanted to ask whether she had done that—even though a gun had clearly been involved. Unfortunately, she had probably exacerbated his condition.
"I'm sorry," she said immediately, putting her hand to her mouth. "I'm really sorry."
"Ziva would be proud of you," Tony commented, closing his eyes briefly. "You definitely don't hit like a girl."
She was curious to know exactly who Ziva was—a girlfriend probably—but held her tongue as Rory stepped forward to offer his services.
"I'm a nurse; you need to stop that bleeding."
"We need to stop the alien first."
"Alien?" said Amy.
The Doctor, who had been uncharacteristically silent throughout this entire exchange, visibly perked up.
"Aliens!" he exclaimed happily.
"Are you some sort of mind reader?" said Tony sarcastically, reluctantly allowing Rory to poke at the wound.
"Well, the Flrn are a mildly telepathic lot," said the Doctor, taking Tony's comment literally. "Not quite on the wavelength of my own noggin, but faint enough that I can sense their presence. Bit like a—" He rattled off a long nonsensical word.
"What does that mean?" Amy asked.
"I think your lot would call it a grape."
"Brain waves have flavours?" asked Amy sceptically.
"More like sensations, really."
"Is yours custard?" Amy teased.
The Doctor thought. "Bananas. And stardust."
"Is that anything like honey dust?" Tony quipped. "Hey, watch where you're putting your hands, Nurse Ratchet!"
"I don't know what that is." The Doctor clapped his hands together briskly. "So, Tony, where did you find this alien?"
"They were running a human smuggling operation back in Washington, D.C.," said Tony, shooing Rory away from him. "They kidnapped a Petty Officer, which is our jurisdiction. We investigated their headquarters, and my partner and I were kidnapped. That was...two days ago. I managed to escape and was trying to get help. I didn't know they were aliens until just now."
"What do they look like?" asked Amy.
"Reptile?" Rory interjected, sending a worried look to the Doctor. "Not...you know?"
"They don't come in purple," the Doctor replied, waving impatiently. "It's a Flrn; I'm almost sure of it. The wavelength is unmistakeable and they're fond of using a perception filter to mask their true nature. Difficult to kill. Hard to reason with. Of course, they'll listen to me."
Tony tilted his head. "Why exactly will they listen to you?"
The tone he used indicated that he didn't think much of the Doctor's ability to reason with scary alien reptiles. The bow tie might have had something to do with it.
"I'm the Doctor."
And with this decisively unsatisfactory explanation, he turned away from them and began to run.
"So...what's NCIS exactly?" Amy demanded, as she followed Tony, who was following Rory, who was following the Doctor.
"Naval Criminal Investigative Service," Tony replied.
Amy stared at him blankly.
"We're basically cops for the Navy."
"Oooh. A policeman," said Amy speculatively.
"Yeah. I've got handcuffs." Tony smiled his Don't –You-Think-I'm-Charming? Smile.
"Oi, that's my wife you're flirting with!" Rory said, looking back with frank disapproval.
Tony quickly stopped smiling. "Sorry. I thought she was your sister!"
They stopped suddenly, close to the place where Tony had shot the alien.
"It's wounded," said the Doctor, kneeling in the muddy streets. He rubbed the purple dirt between his fingers and brought it to his mouth.
"Doctor, don't!" Amy exclaimed, but he had already sampled it.
"Flrn. 30 years. Old for the species," he said, pulling at his tongue in disgust. "Earth. Approximately 4.54 billion years old. Local flavour is most likely from the high content of water during the rainy season—"
"That is disgusting," Tony said succinctly. "And weird."
"We go that way," the Doctor said, getting to his feet. He pointed to a dilapidated house, with black sheets draped over the doorway.
Tony felt a strange sense of foreboding.
"I don't think we should go in there," he said. "You three are unarmed."
"I'm not," said the Doctor, pulling out a pulsing blue weapon.
"What is that?"
"My sonic screwdriver," he said proudly.
"How is that remotely helpful?" Tony shouted. "Why not a sonic gun or a sonic sledgehammer, even? I'm not picky."
"Don't like guns," the Doctor said staunchly. His proud look turned more stubborn as he began to fiddle with the settings.
"The Doctor is a pacifist," Rory explained helpfully.
"Oh, great," Tony replied sarcastically. "A pacifist. Exactly what we need with aliens kidnapping people and selling them into slavery. I'm so glad that I've joined forces with a pacifist!"
This last bit was shouted at the Doctor, who now looked distinctively mulish.
"I'll have you know that sledgehammers are nasty buggers...I once had an encounter with a stuttering Slyandian wielding one—" The Doctor paused, deep in reminiscence.
The sheet fluttered in the wind. Tony's gut, not as reliable as Gibbs', but still good for instinct, told him that the alien was about to charge them.
"Get back!" he said, just as the sheet blew away to reveal the wounded alien in the doorway.
He backed away hurriedly, and Amy and Rory followed suit. Distressingly, the Doctor showed no signs of self-preservation, and continued to relate his story, still preoccupied with the screwdriver.
"Doctor, not now!" Amy shrieked.
"Right then." He grinned and pointed it at the oncoming alien who continued its enthusiastic rampage toward them.
Tony cowered in fright, which was an unusual position for him to be in. He decided that he didn't like cowering very much.
This is ridiculous, Tony acknowledged from somewhere deep in his brain as he stood huddled next to Rory. I should be shooting at that alien, or doing something helpful. He wasn't used to trusting the safety of himself or others to someone else and to have to stand down, now, defenceless, went against the height of Tony's instincts. Well, it wasn't like the guns did anything helpful before, he acknowledged clinically, detaching himself from the fact that a raging reptilian creature was about to eat him for dinner.
A pacifist. Gibbs would eat the Doctor alive.
Why am I thinking about eating? Well... His stomach rumbled. ...I'm hungry, that's why. When was the last time I had anything to eat? Before McGee and I got kidnapped...I hope he's okay...
"Nothing's happening!" Rory said anxiously.
Sensing the Doctor's imminent failure, Rory instinctively pushed Amy behind himself, shielding her from view. It wasn't a particularly helpful gesture, considering the alien had an unparalleled sense of smell, but it was a nice one, considering.
"Setting twenty-five," muttered the Doctor, fiddling with the screwdriver. He pointed it at the alien and was rewarded with a howl of indignation and pain.
"There we go," he said, pleased. He watched as it writhed on the ground a few metres away from them. "Right, then. You're going to leave this planet right away. Immediately. Got it?"
The creature moaned, and it halting spoke in the same language Tony had heard earlier.
"Tx xtm prtzxd. Xtm xplmzt rtkpl," the doctor replied swiftly. He winked at Amy, who giggled and Rory who rolled his eyes.
"Did you understand that?" Tony whispered to Rory.
"Yeah. You can't?"
"I don't speak Random Alien Language," Tony snapped.
"But it's English," Rory replied, confused.
"Actually," the Doctor said, breaking off from his conversation to interject like he usually did. "That's XlxTmp. You only hear English because the TARDIS is translating for you. I expect Tony hears what we're really saying."
"It sounds like random consonants."
"You're quite right," said the Doctor approvingly. "The Flrn don't have vowels in their alphabet. Although this one, interestingly enough, has mastered Spanish. It's impressive, but not, really, considering what they were using it for."
A look of intense anger flashed briefly in the Doctor's eyes and he turned back to the alien, his tone growing deadly quiet.
"Vckbv. Klwpqt. Fhgtlnb txd wmnzxtcxx."
The alien flinched.
It was highly reminiscent of how people reacted to Gibbs during an interrogation, but a rather incongruous reaction to a man whom Tony had initially passed off as a whacko. In his odd, little eccentric way, the Doctor managed to stave off an alien with nothing other than words—something that Gibbs had never accomplished with his heavy handed ways. Tony was impressed.
The alien suddenly shimmered out of existence and Tony eyed the blue weapon with more respect. Not such a pacifist after all.
"Went back to his ship," the Doctor said as if reading his mind. "He's going to talk to his captain but we don't have time for that. Come on, Tony. Ponds."
Amy and Rory started following him with quiet earnestness and Tony found himself jogging to keep up.
"Where are we going?"
"To rescue your friend, of course!"
"McGee? But you just said they were going to leave."
"Did I? Yes. Well. They want to sacrifice your friend first."
Tony blanched. "Let's go make sure McGee doesn't become alien munchies."