Disclaimer

All characters are the property of their respective creators - David Shore, Sydney Newman, Donald Wilson, Bryan Singer, and probably many others I am not aware of. Please don't sue me.


Day Four, 08:03

"I should be surprised." House examined the device. "But somehow, I'm not."

"Surprised why?" The Doctor looked puzzled. "That I could build this?"

"No," said House. "That wouldn't surprise me. Any geek with his parents' basement full of electronics can cobble together almost anything. But this doesn't look like it was made in a basement. It looks manufactured. Mass-produced. In fact, it looks a lot like a GPS."

"I started with a global positioning device, yes. It was a handy base. Then I added additional components. A cell phone was required - I used yours - and--"

"Wait." House held up a hand. "Did you just say you cannibalized my phone?"

"I'll buy you a new one, don't worry about that."

He shrugged. "It means Cuddy can't call me and annoy me. How long did this take?"

"About three hours."

"So at least you got some sleep."

"I don't sleep a lot." The Doctor took the device from House. "Now. I've already fed in the TARDIS' chronon footprint, and I have these detection transcievers here." He held up six small devices, that looked as though they'd been penlights in an earlier incarnation. "We spread out, and search the area around the hospital, and the transcievers will detect the local chronon level and report it back to the base unit." He held up the former GPS again. "Once we have enough data, the chronon tracer will be able to localize any nearby temporal displacement phenomenon."

"Care to say that again in English?" quipped Chase.

"That was English." The Doctor sighed. "With these, we can track down whatever's causing the plague."

"Plague's over," said House. "Cuddy will be discharging the patients later today. They've all been treated, and no new cases have been reported."

"That's fine for the moment," said the Doctor, "but eventually, the nanites will undoubtably pick up another program - that AIDS plague that's currently worrying your doctors, or possibly cancer - have you cured that yet?"

House shook his head. "Been busy. Internet porn. I've scheduled it for next week."

"Wilson will be disappointed," commented Cameron. "Without cancer, he's out of work."

"I'm sure they've got room for him in Overcarer's Anonymous. How's that going, by the way?"

Cameron rolled her eyes.

"What if the source of the plague isn't the hospital?" asked Foreman. "I mean, these people came from all over Jersey."

"I had Doctor Shaw look into that," said House. "Since she's from the away team, I figured she might be able to look at this from an outsider's point of view."

"It seems," said Shaw, "that the infection is centered on the hospital. At first glance, it doesn't appear that way, due to the geography of the area. We have a couple of cases from Plainfield and Brunswick, but the bulk of them are from Trenton. That's the largest population center within the radius of the disease."

"If you plot the simplest circle that encompasses all of our cases," said House, "the center of the circle will be this hospital." He glanced over at the Doctor. "Your claim that you didn't bring it in is looking thinner and thinner."


Day Four, 10:13

"We're getting a lot of traces," said the Doctor. "But all of them seem to be centered on the TARDIS."

"Who's this Master fellow that Nyssa mentioned?"

"Hm?" The Doctor looked up. "Oh, he's a Time Lord. Like myself. Except that he's a bit...well, less friendly."

"Time Lord. Impressive name. What about Cybermen?"

The Doctor blinked. "Where have you heard of Cybermen?"

"You mentioned them earlier," said House. "What are they?"

"Men who have been augmented by cybernetic parts. Eventually, they replaced everything with machinery, and became little better than robots."

"Right." House paused. "When did you last encounter them?"

"Sixty-five million years ago."

House blinked. "Is that in metric years?"

"By our own chronology - that is, that of the TARDIS and her passengers - about a week ago."

"It takes about a week for Kawasaki Disease to reach frank symptoms." House frowned. "Could they build these nanowhatsits?"

"They have the ability, but not the mindset. They would have used purely mechanical nanobots, as they view biological life with contempt."

"And the bad Time Lord wouldn't do anything like this, right?"

"No." The Doctor shook his head. "There is always a method to his madness. This appears to be only madness." He scowled down at the tracer. "More hits, but again, centered on the TARDIS. I have a bad feeling that we did inadvertently bring this with us."


Day Four, 10:17

The grinding, wheezing sound of the TARDIS' engines faded out, as did the box itself. House raised his eyebrows at that, but kept his silence. The box faded back in again, ten feet to the left. The door opened, and the Doctor emerged.

"Well, that's not the first time I've managed a point-to-point hop in this machine, but it never fails to please me." He grinned. "The ship was meant to be operated by six people, you see, and the steering has always been a bit wonky."

"Can't you get it fixed?" asked House. "Surely your fellow Time Lords have a time machine mechanic or two?"

"Well..." The Doctor looked embarrassed. "In the first place, this particular style of capsule is obsolete."

"And in the second place?"

"In the second place, we're not exactly on friendly terms these days."

"Gee, I wonder why." House pulled out one of the temporal detection wands. "Any change?"

"No." The Doctor examined his hand-held unit. "I had thought I'd cancelled out the TARDIS' signature, and it seems that I am right. There's a temporal eddy here. The TARDIS' signature was masking it. We did not precisely bring the plague, but whoever sent it was using us for camoflague."

"Who?"

The Doctor shrugged. "Who knows? We could follow this eddy--"

"Good. Let's go."

The Doctor looked up at House. "Are you quite certain? You know that the steering is somewhat...off."

"I hate unsolved problems. I'm ready when you are."

"Oh." The Doctor opened the door, and waved a hand towards it. "After you, Doctor."

"Thank you, Doctor."