I Can See Your BRAIN
(Part 1 of 2)
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Lisa Cuddy quickly ascertained that there was nothing physically wrong with either Cameron or Chase--nothing that could have made them collapse like they did, anyway. Once all the necessary tests were run, there was nothing for it but to wait until they awoke. After hearing Jack Harkness’ story and realizing his description of House’s behavior did not contradict known facts, she’d sent several nurses to hunt her offending employee down. All returned empty-handed, until she had to tell herself repeatedly that screaming his name over the hospital PA system until he showed up would probably be playing into his hands. That thought was all that kept her from doing it.
After several uneventful hours, two things happened almost at once. First, Chase woke up gasping and immediately adopted a panicked look. Second, the door burst open and House barged in, followed by a sheepish-looking Wilson.
"What is going on?” Chase managed. “I feel weird... oh my god my voice--"
House gave him a funny look. "What happened to your accent?" he asked his suddenly non-Aussie employee.
"My--what? OH MY GOD, I'M A MAN!"
"Brilliant observation. Did he hit his head?" Cuddy checked his vital signs again just to convince herself he wasn't going to drop dead. "He appears to be in perfect health. All his vitals are more-or-less normal." She shrugged.
"Can you remember what happened?" Jack asked Chase.
"What?" Chase asked.
"Chase!" House shouted, becoming bored with the proceedings, and remedying that by whacking Chase's leg with his cane. "Pull yourself together!"
"I'm not Chase!" Chase shouted back. There was a brief moment of silence.
"Are you sure there was no head trauma?" asked Wilson, looking doubtful.
"Who are you, then?" Jack inquired.
"Cameron. Obviously," said Chase.
"There was no cranial damage at all!" Cuddy said, wringing her hands.
"No. You're not," House said, staring at Chase. Chase chose that moment to spot Cameron lying on the bed next to him.
"Holy shit! It's me!" he exclaimed. "How come I can see myself? What's going on? Oh no, my makeup is smudged... I look terrible!"
"Okay, maybe you are," House conceded. The rest looked less convinced.
"Are you trying to tell me," Wilson said slowly, "that Cameron's mind is in Chase's body? Oh god. I can't take much more of this."
"It's possible," Jack said, obviously fascinated. Before anyone else could speak, there was a quiet moan from Cameron, who had awoken and was moving to prop herself up.
"Woah," she said. "I feel weird."
"Let me guess. You're Chase," House said.
"Uh. I think so?"
"They really switched minds!" Jack said.
"What?" Chase asked.
"I need to sit down," Cuddy announced.
"I have boobs!" Cameron sounded delighted.
"Don't you dare touch! Those are mine!" Chase shouted.
"Not anymore!" Cameron said gleefully.
"I'm not listening to this," Cuddy said, covering her ears with her hands.
"Cool!" House exclaimed.
"Is this some stupid joke? Did House put you guys up to this?" Wilson asked.
"As if," Chase said.
"I'm insulted!" House adopted an expression of mock disappointment.
"I wonder what sort of technology could do this," Jack mused.
"Bet it was that thing," House said.
"What?" Jack asked, turning to stare at House. “In the men’s restroom, you claimed you didn’t see anything!” Cuddy gave him an incredulous look as she realized Jack had known where House was all along.
"I have boobs!" Cameron contributed.
"Wish I had boobs," House muttered.
"What thing?" Jack demanded.
"Retractable ones would be nice; it’d be annoying to have them jiggling around all day."
House hesitated, then described finding the bizarre object, forgetting he had it for a day, eventually remembering and noting its unique qualities, and finally knocking Chase and Cameron out when they decided to butt in. There were a few moments of silence while they all absorbed this.
"When did we become characters in a bad science fiction movie?" Wilson wondered weakly.
"About... three hours ago now, I would guess," Jack told him.
"What?" Cameron asked.
"Decameron?" House muttered, eyebrows raised. Wilson snorted. Cuddy glared.
"Glad you two find this so amusing," she snapped.
"That doesn't even make sense as a joke," Cameron-in-Chase's-body volunteered.
"What?" Chase-in-Cameron's-body said again. House felt his headache returning with renewed vigor.
House had never been one to linger on what should and shouldn't have been possible. Impossible didn't interest him; impossible didn't have a solution, or even a puzzle. If it happened, it was possible, and so he viewed people who would respond to bizarre occurrences with a cry of "That's impossible!" as unobservant morons. The answer was more important than the question, in any case. Thus, when presented with the idea that Chase and Cameron's consciousnesses had apparently switched bodies, he accepted it as true and immediately began to work on the "how" and the "why".
He also quickly decided that thinking of them as "Chase-in-Cameron's-body" and "Cameron-in-Chase's-body" was just not going to work. So even though she may look like Chase, Cameron was still Cameron, and vice versa.
"So, where did you put it?" Jack asked, interrupting House's thoughts.
"Put what?" he asked, annoyed.
"The alien device." Jack sounded equally annoyed. House shrugged.
"I couldn't find it. It fell on the ground, and I looked, but it was gone. You think I'd just let something like that out of my sight willingly?"
"You're sure it wasn't there anymore?"
"Are you stupid?"
"It must have teleported, then!"
"What?" Cuddy represented the sentiments of all her employees.
"It can't have gone far! Something that small can't have a far-reaching teleportation mechanism. Even with nanotechnology, it wouldn't fit." Jack was pacing now. "It's interesting that it somehow knew when it was time to teleport..."
"Te-le-port. You know, disappearing and reappearing in another place? Happens all the time in movies?" Jack clearly thought she was an idiot. Cuddy huffed and crossed her arms over her chest.
"Are you trying to tell me that there's some little... thing around here somewhere that caused this? And it can teleport?" she said doubtfully. "We're in a hospital in New Jersey, not a spacecraft in some bad science fiction show. How do you know it didn't just roll under a chair or something?"
"Right, I'm finding it a little hard to believe that you can accept them"--Jack gestured towards Chase and Cameron--"but not this."
For a few moments, Cuddy managed an awfully good imitation of a fish.
Tosh raced through the halls, leaving Monty gasping in her wake, until she found the room number Jack had given her. She threw it open and found Ianto on the ground in a pool of his own blood.
“Oh my god!” she gasped.
“It’s not as bad as it looks,” Ianto told her.
“Really?” Tosh said, just for the sake of having something to say, as she took Jack’s wet coat from his hands and took a look at his wounds.
“I... counted,” Ianto muttered. “It’s only two pints.”
Monty’s eyes widened, and he looked a little sick. Tosh snapped at him. “What are you waiting for? Go get some doctors!” Monty turned and ran out of the room, yelling for help.
Ianto tried to prop himself up, but he collapsed back onto the floor. “Where’s Jack? Did he get the artifact?”
“Stop moving,” Tosh told him.
They soon found a doctor from the ER to examine his wounds. The injuries were indeed mostly superficial, and the prognosis was that Ianto could be up and about whenever he regained enough blood to be steady on his feet. They moved Ianto into a room close to Gwen’s on the second floor, and then the inconvenient questions began.
“There was a patient running loose in the halls,” Ianto said to the doctor. “Dr. Cameron enlisted my help to subdue him before he put himself or anyone else in danger.”
The doctor looked unimpressed. “Really? A patient?”
“He got hold of a knife!” Ianto yelled, pretending to be outraged. “What kind of security does your hospital have, letting mentally unstable patients roam free with ready access to weapons? You should be thankful I’m not suing!”
With those magical last seven words, the doctor’s demeanor changed completely. “Oh, well, yes, I assure you it was an isolated incident. I’m terribly sorry.”
Tosh laid a hand on his arm. “If you speak with Dr. Cameron, she’ll corroborate his story.”
The doctor glanced at her and, being intelligent enough to realize when he should make his exit, retreated from the room, clutching his clipboard against his chest. As soon as he was gone, Tosh pulled Monty’s artifact out of her laptop case. Monty flinched out of the way as she waved its tip past him, nearly tripping over his own feet. He caught himself against the window, thunking against the glass and drawing the attention of everyone outside. He grinned sheepishly and shut the blinds.
Tosh showed Ianto the rod, letting it rest horizontally upon her open palms. One of his eyebrows shot up in a slightly manic manner as he examined it.
“This is Korkekian technology,” he said, glancing at Monty. “You say he found this? In his office?”
“In the governor’s office,” Monty corrected. “Look, I swear, not a word to anybody, lips sealed.” He put his thumb and index finger together and made a zipping motion across his mouth, whacking a lamp at the end of his gesture. “Ow!”
Tosh tried to ignore him as he hopped around the room clutching his hand. “I’ve never heard of the Korkekians.”
“Unlikely you would; as far as I know, word of their existence never left Torchwood One, and then its archives were destroyed in--” Suddenly, he leaned forward, causing Tosh to flinch away and himself to wince and fall backward. “You didn’t activate it, did you?”
“It, it went off, but I don’t know how I could have--” She furrowed her brows in thought, and when Ianto noticed, he quickly snatched the rod out of her hands. When she looked, she was horrified to see it glowing, but once it left her grip, the light faded away again.
“It reads brainwaves,” Ianto growled, holding the rod as though it were a poisonous snake. “You activate it by holding it and thinking about it activating.”
Tosh and Monty both leapt away from the bed, trying to find cover as soon as he said ‘activating,’ but the rod didn’t go off, and Tosh looked up in wonder. “How did you do that? How’d you talk about activating it without thinking it? I mean, mine was just a stray thought and it turned on!”
“It’s possible to disconnect your words from your thoughts,” Ianto replied.
Well, she thought, if anyone could do it, it’d be Ianto. Her brief experience with Mary’s mind-reading pendant had shown her just how hard it was to see the inner workings of his mind.
“Did you hit anyone?” he asked.
“Yes.” Tosh grimaced. “An old man outside the hospital.”
“He was on an emotional high when he woke.” It wasn’t really a question.
“Yes, and he had a religious conversion experience.”
Ianto frowned. “That’s a new one. Strict sort of religion?”
“Cromwell had nothing on him.”
“Quite contradictory, then; the original purpose of the device was to stimulate mental orgasms, a sort of cheap jokester’s toy. Yvonne Hartman had a lot of fun with it.”
“So, like a tasp in Ringworld?”
“Not nearly as addictive, because the memory is supposed to fade from the brain. Any attachment would be strictly intellectual.”
“The effects won’t last, then?” Tosh asked, feeling relieved.
“This has been modified,” Ianto replied, waving it at her. She had to force herself to stay still, and her leg jittered from the desire to get out of its way. “It sounds serious. The Korkekians are extinct now. Their homeworld vanished a couple thousand years ago, just disappeared. The light stopped reflecting off of it, and the planet was no longer there. Ten years later, their entire civilization collapsed overnight, planet after planet turned into wastelands with nothing left on them, no Korkekians, no buildings, no technology, no plants, nothing. No life, dead planets, one after another, seventy-five of them, all gone. To this day, no one has been able to figure out what happened.”
“Were they attacked?” Monty asked.
“Not that anyone was aware of, and any assault on the Korkekians would have been difficult at best. They had some of the most powerful psychic technologies in the galaxy... but the droid earlier, it must have been using Korkekian technology as well! It was causing hallucinations, powerful images...”
“So what does that mean?”
Ianto stuck the tip of his tongue out between his lips as he concentrated. “I’ve always thought the circumstances of their fall were suspicious. Perhaps it was part of a plan.” He looked straight into Tosh’s eyes, and she received an unmistakable warning: Keep an eye on Monty. “Perhaps the Korkekians aren’t as dead as we think.”
“We were going to investigate the offices in Trenton,” Tosh said.
“Good. You can’t attack without having a base nearby, so the aliens must be located somewhere close, and what better hiding place than a position of power?”
Monty nodded and crossed the room to open the door. “Come on, then. If we drive fast, we can be there by late afternoon.”
Tosh began to follow him out, but Ianto called them back for one last admonition. “Be careful,” he said, and this time, the warning was for both of them.
Half an hour later, after House, Cuddy, and Harkness had combed the room inch-by-inch and failed to locate the fallen artifact, they were all back in House’s office.
"This has to be a dream," Cameron said, examining her "new" hands.
"I doubt it,” Chase grumbled. “If this was a dream, I'm pretty sure House wouldn't be here.”
"Speak for yourself," House piped in. Cameron and Chase gave him disturbingly identical glares. "What? I'm in most of my dreams. Except that one where I’m Julia Roberts and I’m pregnant..."
"Shut up. You're making my head hurt," Cuddy snapped. Well, that made two of them, House thought.
"But if this is real--" Chase began.
"We'll see just how narcissistic you two really are."
"House!" yelled Chase, Cameron, and Cuddy at the same time.
"Nice harmony," said House, utterly unperturbed.
"This is ridiculous," Cuddy said.
"I just don't get you people!" Jack exclaimed. "What will it take to get you to believe aliens exist? I mean, what about the UFO crashing through Big Ben, or the Sycorax on Christmas Day two years ago?"
"Yes, we've heard this rant already," House said.
"Syco-what?" asked Wilson.
"Well, everything was always in Britain, wasn't it?” Chase said. “I always figured it was just the English having a weird sense of humor."
"Oh! The impudence!" House cried. "Show some respect for your home country!"
"Well, a third of the hospital did try to jump off the roof," Cuddy conceded.
"If I remember correctly, you were among them," House added unhelpfully.
"So how do we reverse this?" Cameron had apparently gotten through her denial and onto more important matters, House noted with a touch of admiration.
"I need to find the device, but it's gone!" Jack said.
"So... this could be permanent?" Cameron said.
"I'll find it," Jack assured her.
"What if you don't?"
"No one's going to believe we've swapped bodies," Chase moaned.
"Then you'd better work on your accent," House quipped. "Or Cuddy could just announce over the PA that it's Swap Accents With Your Lover Day."
"No," Cuddy said.
"Damn it, people already think I'm gay! What's going to happen when they see me mooning after House? This sucks!" Chase looked devastated. Cameron looked annoyed. House found the role reversal their body-swap had caused rather disorienting.
"Hey, you should just be thankful that I'm not on my period right now," Cameron muttered.
"Oh my god," Chase said, looking horrified, while House snickered. The door opened and Foreman walked briskly in.
"Where were you guys earlier? It took me forever to search the rest of the hospital, and now you’re back in the office! What's going on?"
"Nothing," Chase-in-Cameron’s-body said, with a Southern accent.
"G'day, mate! Blimey, what a great day to wrangle a kangaroo," Cameron-in-Chase’s-body said.
"What?" Foreman said.
Ianto waited several minutes to make sure Tosh and Monty weren’t coming back before he climbed out of bed. Immediately, his side began to ache. The world rocked beneath his feet, but he forced himself to focus, limping to the chair where Tosh had left his clothes. His blood-stained shirt was torn beyond hope of repair, but the coffee-stained one had dried, so he dropped the hospital gown and shrugged that on, along with a pair of pants. He was just buttoning his shirt when the door opened.
“Oh, uh, I was--” he began. Then he turned and saw who it was. “Oh no...”
Nurse Brenda cast her gaze about the room before allowing it to settle on him. The door shut quietly. “You should be in bed,” she said huskily.
A screwdriver would be very nice just about now, Ianto thought as he noticed her hair was mussed up and the top two buttons of her shirt had been torn off.
“Dr. von Lieberman said I’m fine,” Ianto said. “Really, I have papers to prove I can walk around.”
“Oh, you poor, poor boy,” Brenda ran her fingers up the length of his right arm and down his chest. “So confused.”
“Really, I’m not--”
“There’s no Dr. von Lieberman at this hospital.” Closing her fist around his collar, she spun him around. His legs chose that exact moment to give out, and he collapsed onto the bed. “There you go. Now all you have to do is lie there.”
“What do you mean there’s no-- oh, that’s not appropriate--”
“It looks like you need some gentle, medical attention there,” Brenda whispered, climbing on top of him. “Oh my, you’re a pretty one. Should shave the sideburns, though.”
“Von Lieberman was right here, I was talking to him, he introduced himself!”
“Nonsense, you probably just heard the name somewhere else... I seem to recall House mentioning him some time long ago, but that’s not important. Stop thinking about him and focus... here.” She leaned forward so that there was no way to ignore her bosom.
“What? He was in House’s thoughts? But that means-- ooaaahh!!.”
Brenda unzipped his pants, not bothering with the belt. “You have wonderfully large hands. I wonder if it’s true what they say about men with large hands...”
“That’s quite enough,” Ianto said quickly, and gathering all his strength, he pushed her away, sending her tumbling off the bed. She screamed and took an IV rack down with her.
Ianto clambered off the bed, zipping up his pants, and threw open the door.
“You’re not getting away from me that easily!” Brenda screamed as she leapt over the bed and tackled him. Ianto threw her off him, and her head crashed against the edge of a countertop. She collapsed, unconscious.
Aware that the entire hospital was watching them, Ianto stood and tried his best to straighten his shirt. “Uh, it’s something in the water. You might want to avoid the drinking fountains for a few hours while maintenance works it out.”
An elderly lady standing close by jabbed her husband in the ribs. “See? I told you it had nothing to do with your silly blue pills.” She leaned over and said loudly to Ianto: “Men, they can never do anything right. I said to Walter, ‘Walter, how can something so little make you big?’ but no, he wouldn’t believe me.”
As she walked away, Ianto scratched his head. “Why do women tell me these things? Am I not a man?”
The nurse who slapped Jack earlier appeared beside him. “Aww, you’re too adorable!” she said, taking him by the arm and dragging him away.
“Where are we going?” he asked, bewildered.
“Don’t worry.” She patted his hand. “Your virtue is safe with me. I mean, I’m just not interested in you that way. The sideburns kind of put me off.”
After all was explained and Foreman was reasonably convinced by the evidence if not the logic (though he was not quite sure he wasn't dreaming), House pulled him aside.
"Foreman," he said, "I need you to do me a favor."
"What?" asked Foreman skeptically.
"Cover my last clinic hour today, would you? Good man, good man." Without giving Foreman a chance to reply, House clapped him on the back, gave him a little push in the right direction, and scurried off. Foreman gaped after him for a minute, then rolled his eyes and strolled down to the clinic.
The nurse at the desk was not surprised to see him and handed him a clipboard without comment. The first three patients went by fairly quickly, two being just allergies and one the flu.
About thirty-five minutes later he got the chart for his fourth patient, and the nurse who handed it to him gave him a strange look and said, "Watch out for this one. He was pretty strange--didn't seem quite certain about his information. He's probably a drug seeker." Foreman curtly thanked her for the warning.
The patient was a middle-aged man, brown hair, brown eyes, average height, average weight... actually, every thing about him seemed exactly average. That in itself wasn't cause for alarm, of course. They got all sorts of patients in the clinic, and some of them were bound to be average. But the man's demeanor, the way he held himself and the way he spoke, those things seemed a bit off to Foreman, though he couldn't quite put his finger on why.
"Hello, I'm Doctor Foreman. What can I do for you?" he asked politely.
"Guh. Rah," the man said. Foreman blinked. The man made a bubbling noise.
"Excuse me? Is it a throat problem?" The man bubbled some more. Foreman sighed and picked up a tongue depressor. "Well, open up and let me have a look, then."
The man opened up. He did more than just open his mouth, actually, though he certainly did do that. His entire body flickered for a moment, and then he was gone and there was a giant, red... thing in his place, all teeth and leathery skin. Foreman reeled back, but he wasn't fast enough. The creature's gaping maw opened wide and swallowed him whole.
After a few moments, it burped, shifted back into a human, and then walked jerkily out of the room, as though it didn't know quite what to do with two legs.
Chase knew something was wrong when House sent Foreman off and then scampered up to them, an expression of false cheerfulness on his face. “Okay, kiddos! How about we have some fun!”
Chase folded his arms over his chest, or rather, his breasts, or rather, Cameron’s breasts... which would make them her arms... wow, this made his head hurt. Or rather, her head...
He tried his best to give House a Cameron-like glare in the midst of all this mental confusion. “I’m not kissing you.”
“Oh, you know you want to,” House retorted. “But that’s not the point. Where are my test results!”
Chase gaped at him. “You still want us to do the tests?”
“Patient’s not getting any better, is she?”
Cameron drew herself up, or himself, or... oh, whatever; he was going to have Cuddy cover his psychiatric bills anyway.
“It’s true, Chase, we’re not exactly handicapped in any way,” she said. She shifted uncomfortably. “Though I really don’t understand how you walk with--”
“Okay! That’s enough!” Chase stood and strode out of the room. As he walked, he had to concede House was right; once the novelty of having breasts wore off, he’d really rather they were retractable.
“So, a new shipment of these just arrived yesterday,” Tracy said, bouncing toward a stack of boxes. She giggled. “It was naughty, stealing some, but I thought, why not? The hospital doesn’t pay me enough to deal with some of the patients here! Oh, not that it isn’t worth it. I mean, I met you, didn’t I?”
“A shipment of what?” Ianto asked.
Tracy pulled two spherical yellow objects out of her pocket. “Stress balls! Look, you can squeeze them!” She tightened her grip on them, one in each hand, to demonstrate this fascinating property.
“Here, try it. I guarantee it’ll make all your troubles go away!” She threw one at him.
He squished it once. “Very nice, very firm.”
“Squeeze harder!” Tracy exclaimed.
He tossed it back to her. “Look, great as this is, there’s something I need to do.”
Tracy pouted. “What?”
Ianto thought for a moment. “There’s a possibly semi-sentient alien artifact loose in this hospital which channels enough energy to blow up Jupiter, and if a race bent on taking over the universe recovers it before we get to it, life as we know it will end.”
“That’s what my father said when he divorced my mother!” Tracy burst into tears.
Tracy lifted a box of stress balls and prepared to throw it at him. “I hate you!” He ducked, but she overcompensated for its weight and fell backwards so that the entire package landed on top of her. Ianto turned and ran.
“Ianto! Don’t leave me!”
“I’ll bring you a cup of coffee!” he told her.
“Aw, you’re so sweet.” Another box landed on her. “Ow!”
Cameron edged past Chase as they arrived at Gwen’s room. Gwen was sleeping when they entered. Cameron shook her gently awake and showed her the stack of Ishihara test cards they’d brought. “We’re going to show you a series of cards with a group of dots, which will all be one similar color except for the shape of a roman numeral, which will be in a different color. We’ll need you to tell us what number you see,” she explained.
“Yeah, all right,” Gwen said groggily. “I remember those things from when I was a kid. There were also the little 3D pictures where you had to pick out which one popped up.”
Cameron laughed. “None of those today, unfortunately.”
“I’m surprised House is still making you two work,” Gwen said sympathetically.
Cameron tensed. “What do you mean?”
“Oh, you know, the whole mind-swap thing, Dr. Cameron. Jack sent us all a text.”
“You talk as though it happens every day.” Cameron laughed nervously. Chase thought it sounded extremely strange coming from his own body, because it was a distinctly Cameron-like laugh.
Gwen shrugged. “Well, I don’t know how much Jack told you, but it sort of is an everyday thing.”
“Right, well, the test.” Chase took the cards from Cameron’s hands. The test took only a few minutes, as Gwen could not read any of the numbers.
“They’re all grey,” she kept saying.
At the end of it, Cameron took a small light out of her pocket and shined it into Gwen’s eyes. “All functions are normal,” she reported.
“You look worried,” Gwen said, her own voice echoing the sentiments.
“You have achromatopsia,” Chase said, “total color blindness caused by brain damage. If you’d been able to distinguish certain colors but not others, the problem might have been your eyes and your retina rather than the brain, which would’ve given us a hint as to what is causing your illness. However, since this is simply a symptom of the stroke, we’re back to where we started.”
“Does that mean it’s permanent?”
Cameron nodded sympathetically. “Yes.”
Gwen smiled sadly. “Well, I guess it could be worse. At least I’m not paralyzed. What’s next?”
“Well, we’ve seen your brain, now we need to take a look at your heart; your brain is clear of tumors, and your blood tests indicate normal levels of cholesterol, so the stroke was likely embolic, meaning caused by a clot sent from some other part of the body,” Chase explained. “The heart’s the best candidate, so we’re going to do an echocardiogram to make sure there’s no blockages or abnormal blood flow; it’s non-invasive, which makes it an ideal first procedure. If that doesn’t show anything, then we’ll have to try a coronary angiography where we insert a catheter through blood vessels in the leg up to your heart. It’s a very simple, pain-free, low-risk procedure.”
They were preparing the ultrasound when a doctor Chase didn’t recognize entered. Cameron looked confused, so she clearly didn’t know him either. The man headed directly for Chase.
“Dr. Cameron, do you know Ianto Jones?”
“Uh, why, yes,” Chase replied, then paused, catching himself. “I do, guv’nor,” he continued in a heavy Southern drawl. “And who would y’all be?” Cameron glared at him.
“Dr. Charles,” he said. Cameron shot the man a strange look. “We’ve admitted Mr. Jones as a patient, and he says you know the circumstances under which he was injured. I ask because we suspect he may be lying.”
“Oh, uh, well...” Chase looked over at Cameron, giving her a panicked look.
Cameron looked around the room, then moved so that she was behind the doctor but still visible to Chase. Patient, she mouthed, miming a punch.
“He was attacked by a patient,” Chase said.
Cameron scissored her index and middle fingers across each other in a walking motion.
“He was running,” Chase added. Cameron quickly shook her head, mouthing, Patient was escaping. “Oh no, uh, the patient was running. Well, I mean, they were both running. Because the patient was escaping.”
Dr. Charles looked at him strangely. Cameron pointed to her head, then did some weird movements with her hands that resembled miming a zombie. What? Chase mouthed. The doctor turned around and Cameron quickly straightened and put her hands behind her back.
“Is something the matter?” Charles asked her.
“I’m Dr. Chase,” she replied, in an utterly cringe-worthy imitation of an Australian accent. “I’m surprised you didn’t hear. The patient got hold of a scalpel, apparently.”
“Yes, well, first-hand accounts are for the best,” Charles said, dismissing her and turning back to Chase. Chase groaned inwardly as he realized he wasn’t going to accept anyone’s word but his. Cameron quickly pointed at her head again, bobbing it side-to-side, then mouthed Foreman and made a wavy motion across her chest.
“Foreman has big--” he caught himself, realizing that couldn’t be what Cameron was trying to say. “Ah, uh, he, has big problems with, uh, patients... running around... when they’re not supposed to, that is. Normally, it’s great if they can run around, exercise and all that and oh,” he exclaimed, realizing what Cameron meant. “The patient had Alzheimer’s, yes, mentally ill, threat to himself, so no time to call security, no, had to get Ianto to help me.”
He’d been so flustered he hadn’t paid any attention to Charles’ own expressions, but now, he realized the man had been making very strange faces at him the whole time. Chase looked closer; now that he thought about it, the man seemed strange, as though some miniscule details about him were wrong. He looked normal, but he made Chase’s hair stand up on the back of his neck, and he was quite sure that Cameron’s hair didn’t normally stand up on its own.
“Hold on,” Chase said at the same time as Charles. They both paused.
Cameron looked confused when he said his name, Chase thought, as though she was thinking about... Then he remembered. She’d received a letter from Dr. Sebastian Charles about his work with TB in Africa just a few days ago!
“You don’t work here!” Chase said.
“You’re not Dr. Cameron!” the man roared back.
“Get down!” a third voice yelled.
Cameron and Chase both ducked, and a gunshot rang out. Blood splattered everywhere as the man collapsed.
“What the hell!” Chase looked up and saw Ianto. “You shot him! You killed him!”
“He’s an alien,” Ianto said.
“But he didn’t go poof into smoke like the other one!” Cameron said.
Ianto checked his pulse, then turned him over and slapped him a few times. Nothing happened. He then grabbed the defibrillator and charged up it up.
“That’s not what you do for people who’ve been shot!” Chase protested.
Ianto ignored him and brought the paddles down on the man’s chest. An electrical current jolted through him, and the air around him fizzled like static on a television screen. When it faded, there remained a large, leathery... thing that was fizzling and melting as though it’d been doused in acid. Its features were no longer recognizable, but it was definitely not human.
“I’m pretty sure that’s not a Korkekian,” Ianto muttered.
The puddle of brownish-red leather-goo glurped and then exploded in a puff of smoke. When the air cleared, there was nothing left. “Poof,” Chase said, earning another glare from Cameron.
“That’s unfortunate,” Ianto said. Then he stood and patted them both on the shoulder. “Well, might as well get on with those tests, then. Hi Gwen, how are you feeling?”
Gwen was wide-eyed. “Uh, fine. You’re going to have to explain this when you come back.”
“Quite. I need a cup of coffee, though.” And with that, Ianto left.
To Chapter 4: Part 2
Back to Interlude: Part 2
Summary: Cameron and Chase wake up to a mind-bending (literally) revelation after being blasted by House’s piece of alien tech. Ianto reveals information he learned while working for Torchwood One about an alien civilization that may be involved in the attacks on the Princeton-Plainsboro hospital. Tosh runs off to stalk the governor of New Jersey. Jack blows up the Republican National Committee headquarters in Washington DC.