New York City, 1995
We're looking down an alleyway toward a dumpster when we hear the groan of ancient engines. [[The Doctor's TARDIS]] materializes, and the travellers emerge.
Strobe's condition for talking was safe passage back to 1995. Rory Pierce has gotten him his clothes back, but held on to his alien blaster and a small wax-paper bag she found in one of his pockets.
This is the alley next to Rory's office/apartment. The group go upstairs to talk. The Doctor begins impertinently poking through Rory's office, while Feng Daiyu looks out the window in wonder.
Rory sits Strobe down and is about to question him, but then hears voices from further back.
MAN: "I'd say no signs of a struggle, but that bedroom…."
WOMAN: "Says the lifelong bachelor."
Rory grabs a baseball bat and intercepts the smartly-dressed man and the woman as they emerge from the hallway.
WOMAN (surprised): "Rory Pierce?"
MAN: "Then false alarm. Maybe."
The woman produces a badge.
WOMAN: "I'm special agent Dana Scully and this is special agent Fox Mulder. We're with the Federal Bureau of Investigation."
"Trust No One"
Fade back in on Rory holding a baseball bat defensively in front of the two FBI agents.
THE DOCTOR: "I think we can all calm down a little. My friend Rory isn't in trouble, is she?"
RORY: "You're assuming they're actually FBI."
Scully raises an eyebrow.
SCULLY: "Of course not."
Mulder taps Scully on the shoulder and points at Strobe. Scully glances over but turns her attention back to Rory.
SCULLY: "Ms. Pierce, a client of yours reported you missing seven days ago."
Rory lowers the baseball bat slowly.
DOCTOR: "So do you have realistic-looking identification badges?"
Rory looks at Mulder.
RORY: "And does he have a name?"
MULDER: "Special agent Fox Mulder."
RORY: "Oh, right, I glazed over it because 'Fox' isn't a name."
MULDER: "You and I have a nickname in common, actually." He waggles his eyebrows. "'Spooky.'"
RORY: "Nobody calls me that. Much."
Meanwhile, Feng and the Doctor are inspecting Scully's badge.
FENG: [More constables.]
SCULLY: "Ms. Pierce, if you're safe, then we can all get on with our day. However, this man…" pointing at Strobe, "…needs to present some identification."
MULDER: "Oh, come on, Scully, it's him. Look at the clothes."
RORY: "Who do you think he is?"
Mulder reaches out his hand to introduce himself to Strobe.
MULDER: "Daniel Hallifax, yes?"
STROBE: "Nobody calls me that. Much."
Mulder shoots Scully an "I told you so" look.
DOCTOR: "Oh, it's like a club for people with complicated relationships with their nicknames!"
RORY: "Okay, well, Mr Hallifax is my suspect so the so-called FBI can just… move along."
SCULLY: "Ms. Pierce, you're not a police officer anymore. Yes, we checked your job history." She looks at Strobe and steps toward him. "Mr. Hallifax, I'm placing you under arrest on charges of arms smuggling."
MULDER (under his breath): "And weirder stuff."
RORY: "It's the weirder stuff I'm after."
MULDER: "Jill… Ms. Thompson told us. You were looking for her student, Susan."
The Doctor, still poking around, finds a fresh fax in Rory's machine. It reads: "They're really with the FBI. I checked later. —Me"
The Doctor pulls out the fax and displays it proudly.
DOCTOR: "They really are FBI agents!" Pause. "However, I don't see a warrant."
Scully sighs. She extracts a promise from Strobe to appear at 8 AM tomorrow at a regional FBI office.
MULDER: "Meanwhile, don't leave town. Or Earth."
Feng makes a flying motion with her hand.
FENG: [No ships that can leave Earth yet?]
Scully gives Feng a weird look.
RORY: "Oh, we have the Apollo program and stuff like that. But that's not what 'Fox' is talking about. Is it?"
MULDER: "I'm sure you have all kinds of ideas what I'm talking about. Maybe we should chat sometime."
Rory shoots him a look that says "I know you know something."
RORY: "Maybe we should."
Scully walks toward the door.
SCULLY: "Come on, Mulder. It's not time to clock out yet." To Strobe: "See you in the morning."
Scully and Mulder leave.
DOCTOR: "Oh. My. Stars. That was the Mulder and Scully! They're famous! They're reputed to be two of the sanest humans in Earth's history! We have to make sure nothing happens to them!"
Feng is looking antsy to explore, so the Doctor charges her with protecting Mulder and Scully. The Doctor gives her a small, rectangular blue phone, explaining that it can call the TARDIS and that if they're not in, there's an answering machine. Feng nods and exits… via the window.
Strobe cradles his head in his hands, and tries to avoid answering Rory's questions by appealing to her distrust of the FBI… but ultimately caves, knowing he owes her his life.
Strobe explains that Susan said she wanted to go "anywhere" to get away from her life in New York. He had a bronze armband with "ANYWHERE" inscribed on it, so he sold it to her.
RORY: "And let me guess. You don't know where or when it sent her. You didn't even bother to check if she was okay."
STROBE: "I never saw her again. So I'm guessing she got the anywhere she wanted."
The Doctor asks Strobe to sketch the device, while Rory grills him about his supplier. Strobe explains that he gets his tech from "Mr Rockefeller," a man he's only met once, who sends heavies around when he wants to sell technology wholesale.
The Doctor looks at Strobe's sketch.
DOCTOR: "That's a Vortex Manipulator. It might not get you anywhere, but it'll certainly get you somewhere."
Rory is probing for information on how to get in touch with Mr Rockefeller, and gets a pager number, but the interrogation is interrupted by the sound of a shotgun blast from the bar downstairs.
The Doctor wants to attempt to run from the violence, but Rory persuades her to come downstairs to investigate. Strobe is forced to come along at the point of his own erstwhile blaster.
Outiside, Feng skips from fire escape to fire escape, and car to car, finally landing on the agents' roof. She leans over, upside down, waves, and knocks on the back passenger window.
FENG: [Let me in. I am to protect you.]
Scully looks alarmed, but Mulder reaches across her to unlock the door. Feng enters the car and begins to try to explain….
Meanwhile, entering the bar through the back door, the trio hear someone choking. They also hear a low, male voice, with a slight Texan accent.
MAN: "She's not here. I'll check her quarters upstairs." Pause, as if listening to a response. "There was… resistance. Someone will need to clean it up."
The Doctor makes a phone gesture and holds up nine fingers, one finger, one finger. Rory makes a gesture in return, like winding back a clock…
…and that's what she does. Rory pulls back time, but also hangs onto space, pulling back the clock about five minutes without changing her, the Doctor, or Strobe's physical position.
She steps out to confront the gunman, blaster ready… but the scene isn't quite what she expected.
Tom, her familiar bartender, is on the ground next to the bar, choking, trying to bring a shotgun to bear on a bulky, well-dressed man.
RORY: "Let him go. You found me. This is over."
MAN: "Rory Pierce. And, conveniently, the pawn you abducted. Please turn him over to me before your friend does something I will be forced to make him regret."
RORY: "Tom, put the gun down. I've got this."
Trusting Rory, Tom goes limp, but is still choking. The Doctor faces the man.
DOCTOR: "Just to get this out of the way, do you consider yourself to be law enforcement in any way?"
MAN: "No. I am in… I believe you say… private industry."
Rory pulls the trigger. The blaster whines, and there's a flash. When the flash clears, the bulky man has a smoking hole in his jacket, and there's a splatter of black oil on the wall behind him, but he is otherwise unharmed.
Back on the street, Feng is similarly stabilized during the rewind… from the point of view of the agents, she's just appeared in the back of their car. Once again, she begins to try to explain…
…only to be interrupted by the phone the Doctor gave her buzzing. She puts it to her ear, and it buzzes in Morse code. "SOS."
Feng motions to the wheel and makes an urgent gesture into her fist.
FENG: [My friends are in trouble, turn this around and we will help them while I protect you as well.]
MULDER: "Good entrance."
SCULLY: "Sure. What the hell."
Scully turns the car around.
Back at the bar:
RORY: "Uh, Doctor? What the hell?"
Tom coughs, and expels a similar black oil from his mouth.
MAN: "I require only the pawn. Release him to me, and I will not need to kill any of you."
RORY: "He's my pawn now. He already told me everything. And I already told the FBI, so this whole thing is pointless."
The bulky man lunges forward, his arm turning into black oil as it extends beyond human limits, stretching across the room to attack Rory.
Rory flinches, but the oil splatters as it nears Rory's face. The Doctor recognizes that it must be sensitive to the temporal disruption of the quantum transposer.
MAN: "It seems we have reached an impasse. I will find an alternative solution."
DOCTOR: "That's not human, Rory! It's a shapeshifter, you can't kill it by shooting it!"
The man dissolves into an oil slick and slips out under the front door.
RORY: "It's going for backup, Doctor, do something!"
DOCTOR: "It has an unstable pseudomolecular structure, you can't attack it with tissue trauma. You need to use chemical countermeasures. I suggest Everclear and Tabasco sauce, if you don't have pepper spray. Move quickly."
RORY: "…you got it."
Rory dives behind the bar and mixes Everclear and Tabasco in a shaker, then chases the oil slick outside and pours the mixture onto it.
The living oil starts to bubble and smoke. Bits of it start to take forms, like hands and eyes, as it struggles against the harsh concoction. Ultimately, it goes flat and still.
The agents and Feng pull up. Rory strikes a casual pose, like nothing's going on.
RORY: "Oh, hey."
The agents get out of the car.
SCULLY: "The kid in black said you paged her and are in danger."
Mulder kicks the puddle of black oil curiously.
DOCTOR: "I don't remember paging her."
Tom staggers to the door.
TOM: "Rory, what the hell just happened?"
RORY: "Uh…it's a long story. Are you okay?"
TOM: "Now that I coughed that gunk from his hands up… I think so."
The Doctor sends Tom back inside to wash away the rest of the oil in his mouth with Everclear.
Feng looks disappointed, then sheepish at being disappointed.
FENG: [Missed a fight… good you are okay.]
RORY: "Thanks for coming back, Feng."
FENG: [Yes. Always.]
The Doctor inspects the puddle.
DOCTOR: "I'd hoped it wouldn't be lethal, but… the temporal adjustment must have put some kinks in its regenerative capabilities."
RORY: "This is kinda an awkward conversation to be having in front of the FBI."
MULDER: "Hey, I'm all ears."
SCULLY: "Don't indulge him."
RORY: "No no, let's do this. Right here, right now. I knew the government was in on this the whole time."
Feng makes an elaborate hand gesture to Mulder.
FENG: [This honored immortal is the Doctor, you should trust her, Huli.]
MULDER: "Pleased to meet you, Doctor…?"
DOCTOR: "Pleased to meet you, too, Spooky!"
The Doctor has a mad glitter in her eyes, and shakes his hand. Rory and Scully exchange a few words.
RORY: "Oh, I get it. You're his handler, right? Assigned to make sure he doesn't learn anything? I'll find out who you really work for."
SCULLY: "Nobody could handle Mulder. I just keep him from getting himself killed."
FENG: [I do not sense you are a great warrior.]
Mulder is on his knees taking cotton swabs of the oil.
SCULLY: "You know what, Mulder? Compromise solution. I'll pretend I agree we need that slime analyzed, and you help me do the actual legwork on Hallifax's supplier, and neither of us mentions the word 'alien' until we're done asking him real questions."
The Doctor and Rory realizes Strobe is nowhere to be found.
RORY: "Dammit! Well, I still have his…whatever this is."
She takes the little bag out of her jacket pocket. It's filled with little gummy candies shaped vaguely like babies. She recognizes them as the same kind the Doctor offered her when they first met.
RORY: "…so, Doctor. Let me ask you a question. Everything that happened at the Eiffel Tower. That was all because I happened to accidentally activate Strobe's device, right?" Pause. "And you were the one who sent me there to find him." Pause. "I mean, you will be."
DOCTOR: "Rory, this is rather private. We have company."
RORY: "Fine. Then just take a look at this and reach your own conclusions."
DOCTOR: "Oh, candy!"
Feng points at Mulder and Scully and shrugs.
FENG: "Can they be trusted?"
MULDER: "Tell you what, little black riding hood, my motto is 'trust no one.' And for you, Spooky… the other one is 'the truth is out there.'"
RORY: "…here." She gives Mulder her business card. "We owe each other a conversation. Later."
Mulder nods. The two agents get in their car and pull out into terrible traffic.
RORY: "Let's go find that girl. And then we can have a little chat about future you, and what the hell she's up to."
DOCTOR: "You may want to accept that I might not know for a while."
The Doctor thinks.
DOCTOR: "But here's a kicker: The spider was integral to whatever they were doing at the tower. So, how did they know he was coming back? I don't think I did that."
RORY: "That you know of."
They take a cab to Susan's squat, an old factory space accessed by a loose grate. There's room for more than one person in the space, but just one sleeping bag, by the left wall.
The Doctor is still working things through as they enter.
DOCTOR: "It doesn't seem like the kind of thing I'd do. If I was in control of things, and wanted to stop whatever they were doing, I could have just not sent the spider back in the first place. No, I'm interfering with the plans of another time traveller, not my own plans…" Pause. "…that's rather worrying, actually."
RORY: "Maybe this other time traveler is Rockefeller?"
Feng senses a qi disturbance near the bag. As she walks closer, she's overwhelmed by nausea.
FENG: [Something here.]
RORY: "This is where Susan was staying."
The Doctor walks over, pulls out her pocket watch, and studies its intricate dials.
DOCTOR: "She definitely went somewhere… I could track it with the TARDIS. Probably."
Rory shines a torch on the wall next to the sleeping bag. The graffiti is intricate: spirals and gears, like the writing in the TARDIS. She points it out to the Doctor.
The Doctor recognizes Gallifreyan writing… but she's forgotten what these glyphs mean. There's a hole in her memory.
DOCTOR: "Oh. That's wrong. Very wrong."
RORY: "What, what is it?"
DOCTOR: "I can't read it. Not anymore."
RORY: "Not anymore?"
DOCTOR: "I've… broken certain bonds, perhaps. It's complicated. You never really know where you stand, you know?"
RORY: "…I kinda get that, yeah."
The Doctor has Rory take a picture. Feng, still nauseated, complains about the "hole" in the local qi. The Doctor realizes the vortex manipulator probably burned out making the jump.
RORY: "Would it have done something to Susan?"
DOCTOR: "Trapped her wherever she went." Skips from one thought to another. "But even if I can't read it, how did she know how to write it? Rory, look around for evidence that whoever lived here wasn't entirely human."
Rory searches the room. She finds a sketchbook, bookmarked with Susan's student ID. It's full of surprisingly good sketches of people and places all over New York.
RORY: "Looks pretty human to me. Good artist."
DOCTOR: "Maybe. Maybe she saw that somewhere, and drew it here later."
They agree to go back to the TARDIS and look for her.
When they get there, they see that it's been spray-painted. A white cobra rears its head, the negative space forming very blue, very human eyes.
TO BE CONTINUED.
…a woman's silhouette running through mist, away from a looming house…
…a man's voice "We weren't expecting guests."…
…something lurches to life beneath a bedsheet…
…Rory pulling back time… only to find her hand covered in blood…
…a young woman's voice "Running away runs in my family."…
…fog, and maniacal laughter…