Chapter Two

(George Washington Bridge, New York City…)

The Tenth Doctor breathed in the morning air as he and Rose walked towards the George Washington Bridge. He had explained to Rose what was going on and like Clara, Rose was a bit dubious about standing in line and holding hands with strangers.

"But it's for a good cause, Rose," the Doctor said. "Besides, I gave them twenty dollars to reserve a spot in the queue towards the beginning of the chain so we can anchor it."

"Sounds a bit dodgy to me," Rose said.

"In what way is it dodgy?"

"Really? They really managed to make an unbreakable human chain from the east to the west coast?"

"Well, no," the Doctor admitted. "There were gaps from time to time but that's not the point. The point is humanity came together to do something for their fellow man."

"Yeah, they held hands."

"And donated," the Doctor said, annoyed at her indifference. "I donated twenty dollars in our name."

"And will that twenty dollars go to the people that really need it or will it be lining some rich person's pocket?"

"Oh ye of little faith, Rose Tyler," the Doctor said, shaking his head.

"All I'm saying is I never heard of this before so it must not be an annual thing like Children in Need."

"It doesn't have to be an annual thing…look, just enjoy the day and the fact that we're together, alright? Don't let your cynicism spoil the mood, yeah?"

Rose nodded and apologized. They held hands as they stepped onto the bridge. By now, a queue was forming and Rose noticed a few of the participants looked sloshed to the point they probably wouldn't remember being part of the chain. She also noticed several people standing apart from the chain, all of them dressed in black suits with white shirts, black ties and shades over their eyes. There were two women with the group and even they were dressed like this. One man, who was young but grizzled looking, held something in his hand that looked like a Geiger counter and he was scanning the area. As they passed by them, the man turned and aimed the Geiger counter at them and suddenly the box let out a high pitched beeping sound that hadn't been there before. The man stared at them as they walked by and was still staring when Rose looked back over her shoulder at them. She was about to ask the Doctor who they were when he suddenly got her attention and pointed to Liza Minnelli who was near the front of the queue with Brooke Shields, Edward James Olmos, Gregory Hines and Yoko Ono among others. They were anchoring the line and Rose and the Doctor were standing fifteen people down from them. They were let into the queue and Rose stood next to the Doctor while they waited. The Doctor checked his watch.

"Nearly time," he said to her. "They start here at three and then we hold hands for fifteen minutes."

Rose nodded. The Doctor looked out over the river while Rose looked back at the men in black. She was shocked when she noticed that the grizzled man was now walking towards them with another older man. For a moment, she thought they were going to pass them and head for the celebrities but they walked right up to the Doctor, startling him.

"My I see your license, son" the grizzled man said to him.

Rose glanced at the Doctor and noticed he was completely flummoxed by the request.

"My license" he said to him.

"Yes, your license, show me your license," the man said as the older man stood behind him and watched.

The Doctor glanced at Rose, pulled out his psychic paper and flipped it open, holding it up in front of the man's face. The man snorted.

"Now let me see your REAL license," he said.

"I'm sorry, who are you" the Doctor said.

"Agent K and that's all you need to know, son. Now show me the license you were issued when you first came to Earth."

The Doctor stared at him in silent shock. He looked at himself, thinking something was giving away the fact that he was an alien to these people. Meanwhile, Rose had a revelation.

"Wait, aren't you those men in black people the nutters talk about on UFO sites?" Rose said.

In response, K held up his Geiger counter to her but it didn't beep. He then aimed it at the Doctor and it beeped loudly.

"She's human, he's not," K said to the other man.

"Look, creepy Man In Black Bloke," the Doctor said, holding up his hands. "What license am I supposed to have?"

"All aliens must be registered downtown with customs and receive their license if they're going to stay on Earth," K said to him. "The license proves you are registered and in our database, making you legal. If you are not legal, we will assume you are a threat to planet Earth and we will kill you with extreme prejudice."

Rose looked around and noticed the people near them were now listening intently to their conversation.

"Look, my friend and I are…not aliens," he said, glancing at the people around him. "You are a nutter and you're disturbing us. Now leave us alone before I go get a REAL person in charge."

K was about to say something back when his partner grabbed his shoulder.

"No, leave them alone, it's starting," he said to K as he pointed to the event organizers coming up to the front of the queue.

K sighed and looked at the Doctor.

"Fine, you and your…abductee here enjoy the festivities and after that, you have three hours to leave New York before the…nutters come after you and believe me, you won't like it if we have to come and get you."

"Fine, fine, go away," the Doctor said to him, waving his hand dismissively.

In response, K pulled a long silver object out of his pocket and adjusted some dials on the back of it.

"Is that a sonic screwdriver?" Rose said to the Doctor.

The Doctor was about to answer when K's partner suddenly jerked the Doctor out of the queue. The Doctor tried to fight him but the man's grip was strong. He looked back and noticed K was holding his device up to everyone in the line and asking them to look at it. Then there was an enormous flash and Rose and everyone else got blank looks on their faces.

"You folks are here to enjoy the Hands Across America thing, so enjoy it and have a fun day," K said before walking away.

K's partner let go of the Doctor and he walked back to the queue while everyone in the line blinked and shook their heads as if recovering from a stupor.

"That's that, I hope," the Doctor said, standing beside Rose.

"What's what?" Rose said.

"Them, that lot over there, the ones that bothered us," the Doctor said to Rose.

Rose looked at the men in black and looked at the Doctor.

"Who are they?" she said.

"Who are they? They're the ones that just manhandled me and did some flashy thing to you."

"They did? When was that?" Rose said, confused.

Then it suddenly dawned on the Doctor what K was doing to the crowd. Enraged, he looked over where the men in black were standing, hoping to go and thump them into unconsciousness. But to his surprise, they were nowhere to be seen. He looked all around for them and then with a sigh and a mental note to check Rose out in the med bay, gave up and took Rose's hand as the fifteen minute interval began.

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