When dealing with a time and space travelling alien... well, your best option is just don't. They're liable to lead to doing things well outside of your pay grade. But if for some reason you don't have any choice, then it's a good idea to get the job done as quickly as possible-even if it means going against your own interests.

"Wait; so this guy thinks that he's an alien?" Sam gave Michael an incredulous look as he took another drink of beer.

"No, this guy is an alien," Michael corrected. He could understand the difficulties his friend was having-he'd had them, himself. "They call him a Time Lord."


"A military group based out of the UK called UNIT. The documentation I've been able to find on them indicates that they were involved with the United Nations at some point, but that the association is no longer welcome."


"I don't know; didn't bother to dig that far. I've got more immediate problems."

"Like the guy sleeping in your loft."

"That's one of them, yes. Another is the fact that he thought this group would be interested in helping him."

"They're not?"

"I don't think so. They're a little too eager to get their hands on him." Michael hesitated, then added, "They offered to have my record expunged."

Sam stared. "Can they- no, they're not even from our government. There's no way."

"I don't know, Sam. From what I've seen, I think they could."

"And you're not jumping at this why?"

"Because it can't change people's minds about me. If I'm going to do that, I have to do it my way."

"But that's not all." Sam said knowingly.

Michael tried his best to look innocent. "I didn't say anything."

"Yeah, but you didn't need to. I know you, Mike. Some guy shows up needing help, and you just can't say 'no'. Don't look at me like that, it's one of your better qualities. But what are you getting from doing all this? Space money?"

"You really don't believe me, do you?"

"Aw, Mike, I'm not sayin' that. Hell, I believe he believes it, and maybe even this UNIT that you're talkin' about, but-"

Michael stood up. "C'mon." He said, gesturing with one hand. "Come with me."

"You're serious?"

"I'm serious," Michael answered, then went up the stairs.

Sam started to follow, then turned back to grab his beer. By the time he reached the upper loft, Michael was picking up a stethoscope from a milk crate that had been turned into a make-shift bedside table. The bed that it was next to was new, too; a queen sized air mattress that took up most of the available space. The bed's occupant, by contrast, did not. He was around six feet tall and slender, with tousled brown hair and a pale complexion-which made the abrasion on his right cheek stand out starkly. His eyes were closed, and his eyelids had a bruised look to them.

"He looks human," Sam said.

"Looks can be deceiving." Michael offered him the stethoscope.

Sam sighed, but set his beer down on the computer desk in order to take the offered instrument. He switched places with his friend so that he could sit down on the edge of the bed and put the eartips in. With one hand he gingerly undid the man's shirt, and placed the tunable diaphragm against his chest. "All right, so, he has a heart beat." He twisted to look up at Michael. "It's a little too rapid, but I don't see-"

"Try the other side."


"Put the stethoscope on the other side of his chest and listen."

Try to convince someone that you have a living, breathing alien in your apartment, and you run the risk of making them think that you're crazy, no matter how well they know you. Even a highly trained operative is not immune to stress, and delusions-while uncommon-are not unheard of. Let them hear that your guest has two distinct heartbeats, on the other hand, and you're well on the way to having them believe you.

Sam did as he was told, then jerked back as if he'd been burned. "What the hell?"

"Two heartbeats; two hearts. Even if he's not an alien- well..."

"I'm a Time Lord." The man's voice was faint, but strongly accented; British-sounding. His eyes were open; brown and feverish. They glanced sideways and took in Sam with a briefly arched eyebrow. "Oh. Hello." And with that, his eyes fell shut. If he was concerned about the sudden appearance of a stranger, he didn't show it. Then again, it was hard to say if he was in a position to be concerned about anything.

After a pause and a few laboured breaths, he opened his eyes again, this time looking at Michael. "Did you ring the number I gave you?"

"Yeah, about that. Why do those people want you so badly?"

"I don't understand."

"Let's just say that they were willing to offer a lot to get me to hand you over. I thought you said they would help you."

"Should have done." The man answered, frowning. "Unless... no. No; that can't be it, that's mad."

Michael continued to watch him, waiting. He moved slightly to one side to make room for Sam, who had gotten back to his feet.

"The Ood; he tried to warn me, didn't he? Said that the tide had turned, that loss could... could consume me." The man looked away from them for a moment, but that did little to conceal his emotions. When he spoke again, his voice was quieter than before. "I thought that he meant Rose."

"Who's Rose?" Sam asked.

"A friend." The Time Lord's voice was little more than a strained whisper. "I lost her."

"Is that why they did this to you?" Michael asked.

"What? No; I dunno. I can't remember!" The man clenched at his hair in frustration, then gasped and let his hands drop. Eyes squeezed shut, he seemed to fight for breath.

"Easy," Michael cautioned, "take it easy. You're safe now." He could feel Sam's eyes on him and ignored him. How could he explain to his friend what he couldn't explain to himself? For his own part, he couldn't decide if he was relieved or worried when the man slid back into unconsciousness.

Downstairs, the door opened. "Michael?" Fiona's voice drifted up the stairs. "Where are you?"

This time, the former spy was the one who shut his eyes.