Author's Note: As always, thank you to cyanb for being my beta reader.


Part IV


"Hello," the Doctor said. He put the sonic screwdriver back in his pocket and aimed the torch away from the alien. "Pleased to make your acquaintance, I'm the Doctor, this is Jeff, I believe you've met."

It dropped the dog carcass and roared, mouth split wide. All those teeth spread out in a flared circle that looked like it could bite a hole in the world.

"I don't think it really cares who we are, Doctor." Jeff took a step back.

"Slowly, Jeff," the Doctor said. "Shallarites can sense movement better than anything."

The alien moved forward, moving its head back and forth. "Nas erf... tnas narp newm..." It sniffed.

"Don't worry," the Doctor said quietly, "it's just playing with us."

"And that's supposed to be something I don't worry about?"

"He can't really smell our blood, I mean," the Doctor said.

"What?"

"When he said he could smell our blood," the Doctor took a slow cautious step back. "He just said that to scare us. His senses of smell and hearing are very poor. We would have to be actively bleeding for it to smell our blood."

"Wait, you can understand him?"

"I speak Shallarite. I speak everything."

"Can you talk to him? Convince him to go somewhere besides Earth?"

"Oh." The Doctor straightened. "I guess I can try." He deepened his voice. "Lega, mók uon. Uop uojnob eyov uon adlòs naynav uojnob."

The laugh sounded again. It took a step forward and turned its head back and forth slowly. "Uo oz ejnam uo òk dar erihc larp newm."

"I'm sure he was just making a little joke," the Doctor said.

"What did he say?" Jeff asked.

"It wasn't really all that funny," the Doctor said. "Just keep moving very slowly, Jeff. Very, very slowly, toward me."

"Why?" Jeff asked as he took another slow step backward. "Is there a door behind you?"

"Um, no, I just thought being closer together might be... safer. Now that I think about it, that's really a terrible idea." The Shallarite took another few steps, fast. Jeff jumped. With a roar, the alien surged at him. "Duck!" Jeff dove to the ground and the Shallarite passed over his head. He scrabbled forward as it struck the ground and spun, leading with a backhand. The fist cut the air over Jeff's head. "Freeze!" the Doctor whispered.

Jeff went still. His heart hammered in his chest and he fought to take quiet breaths. The Shallarite shuffled around on the spot. "Deplase," it said, "mwen bay gabèl ou."

"Jeff," the Doctor whispered, "in a moment, I am going to move very quickly for the door."

"What should I do?" Jeff whispered back.

"You should wait until he chases me, then go out that window. And run. Run very fast."

"Doctor," he said, "what will happen to you?"

"I strongly suspect that he will tear me limb from limb. But you will have time to get away and get help."

"Help? Doctor..." Jeff went silent as the Shallarite stepped toward him, then paused and turned slightly toward the Doctor. "What help? The Center is supposed to deal with things like this, but do you know what our back-up plan is? Our entire back-up plan?"

"What is it, then?" the Doctor asked. He moved one foot forward and settled himself. He was prepared to run.

"Try to signal the Doctor."

"Oh." The Doctor looked surprised. "That's very, um, flattering."

Jeff took a deep breath. He rose to his feet as slow as possible. "Doctor, I think we should go with the first part of your plan. With a little bit of modification."

"What?"

Jeff slipped his hand into jacket and drew out a pair of spheres. "You stay very, very still. I'm going to run." He flipped open a hatch on one of the spheres and hit a button. He dropped the hatch again and it began to whine.

"Jeff, it will tear you apart."

"I hope not." He performed the same maneuver on the other sphere. "But I have to be brilliant, don't I?"

"Jeff, what are you..." Jeff surged forward. He heard the Shallarite take off behind him. "No!" the Doctor shouted. "Jeff, watch out!"

Jeff spun and faced the Shallarite. The alien reached for him, its mouth spread and teeth out. Jeff shoved the whining spheres into the gaping hole of its maw. He jerked his hand back just before the teeth clamped down on his wrist. "Doctor, get down!" He threw himself flat to the concrete floor.


"The science division spent hundreds of man-hours, researching the alien direct energy stunner pistols. They wanted something more powerful, an area-effect device that could put out a high level of debilitating energy. To let us take down groups, or... well, large aliens... without killing them. The pistol just wasn't powerful enough."

"But how did you know the grenades would be?" the Doctor asked Jeff.

He shrugged and stared into his teacup. "The other time, when I shot it with the stunner, it didn't really bother it, but I could see it bothered it. And when it destroyed the gun, the light and energy from the overload really seemed to surprise and hurt it."

"Sensitive to light," the Doctor said.

"Yeah." Jeff drank tea and set the cup back down. "So I figured the grenades, much more powerful and applied, um, directly, would maybe put it down."

The Doctor grinned. "Amazing. Brilliant, brilliant old Jeff."

"No, I was lucky. I couldn't have done it, without you."

"Nonsense." He checked off points on his fingers. "You understood why it was so strong and fast. You figured out he was out getting... take-out, you figured out how to stun it so we could transport it safely to your Center." He paused. "You promise they won't harm it, yes?"

Jeff grinned. "Doctor, you really do see the best in everything and everyone, don't you? Even me."

"Jeff. I know you think that you're a fraud and that sooner or later, you'll be found out. But you don't realize something very important. That day, when I needed you to convince the alien experts to disperse the virus, when I told you to be brilliant."

"Yes?"

"You were brilliant. I didn't do anything. You convinced those people to do what they needed to do. You got the job afterwards. You handled those five other cases on your own. And you defeated the Shallarite on your own."

"You told me what it was, Doctor. 'The common troll.' Told me its weaknesses."

"Jeff. Jeff, brilliant Jeff, the good-looking one, Jeff. I didn't tell you anything you couldn't have figured out on your own. You are brilliant. You will always be brilliant, Jeff." He stood up and walked towards the blue box. "You succeeded that time, you succeeded all the other times, you succeeded this time, because of that one fact." He unlocked the door and started in, then stopped. "You know I keep coming to this pretty little world, and I keep defending it."

"You keep the Earth safe, Doctor."

He shook his head. "I never do it alone, Jeff. I always have people, brilliant people, with me. People like you." He walked inside and turned. "And you humans, you brilliant people, you always come through. That's what I love about you all." He swung the door shut.

Jeff sat and stared into his tea for a moment. Then he jumped up and ran over to pound on the door of the box. "Doctor! Doctor!" He stepped back as the Doctor opened it again.

"Hm?" he asked with a raised eyebrow.

"Doctor." Jeff shook his head. "Be honest. All that stuff I figured out. You knew all along, didn't you?"

The Doctor gave him another grin. "That would be telling," he said. He waved and closed the door again. Jeff stepped back.

The light atop the box pulsed and a strange, up and down howling sound echoed in the empty cafe. The box faded from view and revealed the wall behind it. Jeff turned back to the elderly woman who sat behind the counter. He gave her a weak smile. "Uh, nice day, isn't it?" She shrugged.

Jeff walked back to the table, picked up his cup of tea, and lifted it to his mouth. He paused. "The good-looking one?"


"What about this Jeff Angelo?" asked Jack Harkness. The handsome American in the greatcoat leaned back in his chair. He glanced through the folder he held.

"What about him?" asked Professor Z. He lifted an eyebrow.

"What does he do?"

"Handles alien investigations, of course." Professor Z chuckled.

"Any good?" Jack asked, casual.

"Very." Professor Z gave him a narrow look. "Why do you ask?"

Jack shrugged and gave him a bright grin. "If he's as good as you say, I might be able to use him for Torchwood."

"Ha!" The other man leaned back in his own chair and shook his head. "You can't have Jeff, Captain." He clasped his hands across his belly. "He's brilliant. My best man."