Author's Note: Like the eighth Doctor, "Nimrod" comes from a point in time before "Asylum of the Daleks" takes place.
Part II: Run and Gun
"The phone is ringing," Sophie Owens said, and kissed her husband.
"Yeah," Craig Owens said. He wrapped his arms around her waist.
She pulled away from his efforts to return the kiss. "Answer it," she said.
"But it's probably a wrong number," Craig moaned, as he pursued her. She moved her head to avoid his puckered lips.
"It could be our son. Answer it."
"Naw, he's on a date. And we could be, too…" Craig trailed off and gave her a look.
"Craig Owens, quit raising your eyebrows at me and answer the phone." She smacked him on the shoulder.
Craig sighed and picked up on the fourth ring. "Hello? Alfie, what's going on? Are you in trouble?" His eyes went wide. "The Doctor? Where are you? I'll be right there." He saw Sophie put her jacket on and amended, "we'll be right there. Watch out for, I don't know, spaceship and cybermats."
"He's a friend of my mom and dad," Alfie said after he hung up his cellular. He felt for a pulse at the unconscious man's wrist. "Crap, I think he's dead; he's got no pulse."
"He's breathing. You're doing it wrong," said the girl with him. She knelt down by the collapsed man. "Let me; I did CPR certification." She took the wrist in gentle fingers. "Your parents have friends who appear in magic blue boxes?" She gave Alfie a speculative look.
"Well, he's an alien," Alfie said, "It's his spaceship."
"An alien." Sharon's expression assumed neutrality.
Alfie pointed at the man, in his elaborate, old-fashioned clothes. "Does that look human, to you?" he asked. "No one normal dresses that way. Maybe a hundred years ago."
"Yeah," Sharon said, "he's weird, all right. But he looks human." She tilted her head to regard the man. "Kind of cute, too."
"Hey," Alfie objected, "our date's not over, yet!" He paused. "It's not over yet, is it?"
Sharon offered him a sly, half-smile. "Not yet," she said.
"Whew." Alfie wiped imaginary sweat from his brow and she giggled.
"His pulse is kind of wild, but he seems okay. I think. I mean, if he is an alien, who can tell what his pulse is supposed to be like? He could have two hearts, for all I know."
A car pulled up at the kerb and Alfie's parents exited.
"Mum, dad." Alfie dashed over to them and hugged them each in turn. He pointed. "Sharon's checking his pulse. She thinks it's okay, but…"
Sophie stopped. "That's not the Doctor," she said, "his hair is shorter and darker, and he wears a tweed jacket."
"No, that's him," Craig confirmed. "I remember, when he transferred his memories to me that time; this is one of his old bodies. He must have bounced here earlier in his life. We just didn't meet him then. Now. Whatever."
Sharon looked bewildered. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, hi," Sophie said in a bright voice, "you must be Alfie's friend…"
"This is Sharon, mum," Alfie said, with a look that added, "Please don't break out the baby pictures." Aloud, he said, "Sharon, my mum and dad."
"Hello," the girl said.
Craig knelt by the body. "The Doctor is a time traveler, Sharon." He rapped on the door of the blue police box. "This is his machine, the Tardis."
Sharon's eyes widened. "This," she said, "is so. Much. Cooler. Than a movie would be."
The door, ajar, creaked open at Craig's pressure. Sharon moved her head to look inside and gasped. "It's huge in there!"
"Wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey," Alfie said absently, "and some spacey-wacey, too." He caught all three staring at him. "What?" he asked.
"Son," Craig said, "you were less than a year old when you met the Doctor. How do you know about all that?"
Alfie shrugged. He opened his mouth, then shut it, then opened it again. His face looked twisted with sadness, and his mother stepped forward and put her arm around him. "What is it, sweetie?" she asked, worried.
He shrugged. "Mum, dad, I know you don't remember this… but the summer I was thirteen, I had a friend named Rory Pond. An old man."
Craig asked, "How come we never met him?"
"You did," Alfie said. "He ate dinner with us once or twice. He knew the Doctor." He took a deep breath. "But… he was a time paradox, and when he was erased from time and space, no one but me ever remembered he was here." He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand. "He taught me a lot about time and space, though. And ancient Rome, and how to fight."
"I remember you got mixed up with UNIT, again, then," Sophie said, "but I can't remember why, for the life of me."
"That's why you can't remember; Rory and I busted up an alien who was trying to enslave the world with cola."
"Cola?" Sharon asked. "Seriously?"
"Yeah," Alfie said, "I kid you not. Alien cola with nanites in. Until Rory kicked his ar…" At his mother's look, he corrected, "uh, backside, and UNIT shoved him back through his space-time portal. It was awesome."
Craig nodded. "I wish we could remember that." He grinned. "It explains a lot, though. Like why you suddenly took up Latin and got good scores in history."
Sharon stared at all of them. "You just… I mean, how can these things really happen?"
Craig sighed and stood. "If you know the Doctor, you know weird things can happen. Come on, son. Help me take him into the Tardis."
They moved him inside.
"Is there a bed to put him on?" Sharon asked.
"Who knows?" Sophie said. "I'm not sure the Doctor sleeps. Even when he lodged with Craig, I don't think he slept."
Craig took off his jacket and rolled it into a ball. He lifted the Doctor's head and laid the bundle under for a cushion. "Not sure how to tell if he's all right or not," he said. "He has two hearts, but I don't know if one is for spare, or what?"
"Told you," Sharon said to Alfie.
He grinned. "Can we move the ship?" he asked his father.
Craig laughed. "I might have learned some stuff about the Doctor, son," he said, "but I don't know how to fly this thing. I think maybe we should just leave him inside. I don't think anyone will bother the box; most people don't seem to notice it." He led the way outside, and said, "If we lock the door, maybe he'll recover on…"
"At last I have found it," a voice grated. "The Tardis!" The metallic voice rose in pitch, excitable and whining on the ears. "I will destroy the Doctor!"
Across the street, a strange, lumbering machine stood on the pavement. It had a rounded top and a generally columnar shape, though the bottom half flared out. Mounted on one side was a rather battered Gatling machine gun. It was retrofitted with a sort of module.
"I will exterminate you, Doctor," the robotic interloper declared. "You cannot escape me, for I am Nimrod!"
The module issued a high-pitched whir and the barrels of the gun spun. The Owens family and Sharon scattered for cover as gunfire erupted from the barrels. "Not the car!" Craig yelled, "It's brand-new! It's a convertible!" Bullets spanged against the silver BMW and punched into the interior. "I hate you, alien robot!" Craig yelled.
Sophie was behind the Tardis, and yelled, "Keep your head down, Craig!"
"Where's Sharon?" Alfie asked. He saw the door of the Tardis pushed inward, and said, "I think she's still inside!" He dove for the box.
"Alfie," Craig yelled, "don't…"
Alfie disappeared inside the blue police box. The door slammed behind him.
"What's going on, Alfie?" Sharon asked. "What is that thing?"
"I don't know," Alfie said, "but it's pretty mad. And not just in an angry way, I don't think."
"What's that noise?"
It was the noise of the ship's arrival; in the middle of the control console, a column rose and fell while lights flared. "I think it's taking off," Alfie said. He rushed to the controls. "No, no, no, what are your doing, stupid?"
Outside, bullets pounded against the side of the Tardis. When the light atop it began to flash and the nose started, Craig said, "It's taking off."
"Alfie," Sophie shouted. She pounded on the side with her fist. "Alfie! He and Sharon are in there…"
The attacker glided toward them. "You shall not escape, Doctor." A port on its front opened and there was a hissing noise. A tiny object flashed across the distance and thunked onto the side of the time machine. As the Tardis faded from view, the thing declared, "Synchronizing vortex manipulator with tracking device. Activating vortex manipulator."
A moment later, the Tardis and the hunter were gone. Craig and Sophie sat on the pavement and held each other, worry on their faces.
"What do we do?" Sophie asked.