Pairings and Characters:Series will eventually be Jack/Ianto. This part: Ianto. Jack. Suzie. Tosh. Owen. No pairings.
Rating: Mature (swearing and some adult themes)
Disclaimer: If this was real, I wouldn't share. As its not, I'm sharing with no personal gain or profit, other than perhaps to feed my attention whore complex. non-recognisable elements are mine! plagiarists will be eaten alive by weasels. Much information has been gleaned from the show (obviously), Dr Who eps, various Wiki's, other internet sources and my font of all Dr Who knowledge ttfan . I have not read the books, so if something was mentioned in a book, but not on TV, I probably won't have it.
Distribution: My Journal (jenexell), and quite a few other places too. (attention whore complex). If you want it, link back to my journal, don't steal its naughty.
Warnings: Some strong language, medical stuff, violence. use of guns.(so basically all the warnings for Torchwood). References to adult themes such as people trafficking and prostitution.
Spoilers: Everything and nothing. Set pre-series, so may make reference to things mentioned in the show, but not the content of actual eps. AU from 2004 onwards.
Summary: Second story in the Sempiternitas Series: Ianto Jones, prisoner of TW3, is settling into his new life, and things are as back to normal as they get in Cardiff. But the imminent arrival of a certain VIP stands to change everything.
Author's Note: So here it is, the second one. Thank you to everyone who commented and supported the first story. I've tried a few new things with this one so I hope it works as well.
Just to let people know. I know some people have mentioned it about the last story. This SERIES will eventually be Jack/Ianto but the stories in it won't necessarily be.
This story is part of a series, and probably won't make a lot of sense unless you've read the first story,"Into the Storm".
Author's Note 2: I'd like to say a huge huge sorry to all my lovely commenters. RL is really manic right now, and although I can keep posting (since the story is written) I'm really behind on my replies. Please know your comments and feedback are loved and appriciated and I will reply properly when things calm down (hopefully at the weekend)
:: Part 1 :: Part 2 :: Part 3 ::
Cardiff November 2004
Three days to Arrival.
Tosh glanced up from her workstation and rubbed tiredly at her eyes. It was gone one in the morning. Owen had given up and stormed out of the Hub mumbling obscenities about the Queen about an hour ago. Jack was once again tucked into his office, door closed. Suzie had fallen asleep at her terminal.
She could do that herself. Just fold her arms onto her desk, lay down her head and...
Tosh blinked as her head jerked back up. Apparently she wouldn’t even need to lay her head down. If she could just get this cross referencing done, she’d go home. She had various programs up and running now to monitor the power situation. There was nothing else she could really do on that front. That just left the actual work Jack had asked her to complete for the Queen’s visit.
Just a few more events to input into the program. She could do that.
Her head jerked again when a warm hand came to rest on her shoulder. Blinking rapidly, she looked around and stared confusedly up at the face of her Captain. He looked about as tired as she felt.
His mouth opened as if to say something, but it never emerged. Instead his eyes turned upwards as the lights flickered then failed, the emergency lighting bathing the central Hub in a red glow. All around the sound of doors closing and lock’s engaging thudded through the Hub.
At her terminal, Suzie jolted awake, but Tosh ignored her. Instead her fingers flew over the keys of her keyboard, data flashing across the screens before her.
“Again?” Suzie groaned, looking at her own terminal. “Secure Reset. The main power grid is back online but we’re in lockdown.”
“Tosh?” Jack didn’t have to say more to let her know what he wanted. He wanted answers; he wanted her to fix this. Or at least find the problem.
“One minute.” Tosh tried to put him off, grateful at least that she’d installed a back-up power supply for own computers. It wasn’t designed to last long, just long enough to keep the power-flow constant while they had an outage. On her screens her monitoring programs were working overtime. There. There she had it. “I’ve got it!”
Jack who’d wondered across to Suzie, practically ran back. “What have you got?”
“I know what’s causing the outages.” Tosh beamed, “It’s not a faulty system or a short somewhere... It’s being stolen. Jack our power is being drained from right out of the Hub.”
Owen squinted along the beam of light projecting from his torch, his hand-gun balanced on top as he made his careful way down one of the lower tunnels.
This part of the Hub was a maze. A veritable rabbit warren. Filled with junk, debris and other things he’d rather not think about. To say he hated it down here would be an understatement. But as usual Jack had called and he’d obeyed. Alright so technically that was his job, and he did feel a little bit guilty about the fact that he’d managed a few decent hours sleep last night when it was abundantly clear that the others had only likely managed to fit in two maybe three, if they’d slept at all. Didn’t mean he had to let anyone else know that. Nor did it mean he was happy about this current excursion.
“So what exactly are we looking for again?” Owen asked with a grimace. Whatever he’d just stepped in had squelched. God he hoped it wasn’t alive. You never knew with Torchwood.
“I’m not entirely sure.” Tosh’s voice came over his ear piece. “Maybe a piece of tech, random cables going to nowhere. Or it could be a life form. I don’t know.”
“Great.” Owen muttered darkly. “And whatever this is that we’re looking for, that’s what’s been stealing our power? This isn’t some hallucination brought on by sleep deprivation is it? Coz if it is...”
“I checked the readings four times.” Tosh huffed indignantly. “Something is definitely draining our power. Each time from a separate system.”
“So it’s moving.” Owen sighed.
“Or it’s tapped into a junction box somewhere. These schematics are a mess. Cross wiring. Power feeds taken from separate systems to augment new ones. I’m sorry. I can’t be more specific.”
“Deep joy. God it’s a dump down here.”
“Quit your bitching Owen.” Jack’s voice suddenly broke into the conversation. “We’re all in the same boat here.”
“Boat being the operative word, Captain.” Owen sniped back. “And this one’s sinking. If this water gets any higher down here I’ll be wading.”
“Junction box A3-181. Clear.” Suzie’s voice cut in.
“Move on to A3 -173. Should be just down the corridor, on your right.” Tosh directed.
“Remind me after we get through this weekend to organise a ‘clear out the tunnels’ week.” Jack sighed over the com.
“And suddenly I feel a sicky coming on.” Owen groaned as he spied a box mounted on the wall up ahead. Stepping towards it, he used his fore-arm to wipe the muck from the front panel.
“Tosh?” He asked. “B17-23F? Does that sound right to you?”
“Are you sure?” Tosh’s reply came across the line, her voice doubtful.
Owen looked at the stamp on the front panel again. “Yep. That’s what it says.”
“But that can’t be right.” Tosh moaned in disbelief. “According to the schematics that’s on the other side of the Hub!”
“Ah, you gotta love the way this place was put together.” Jack chuckled down the com. “A hundred years of ‘stick it anywhere’ and ‘I don’t care how it’s fixed as long as it was fixed yesterday’. Which considering we’re on a rift in space and time isn’t all that impossible.”
“So what you’re saying is that Tosh’s schematic is about as helpful as a chastity belt in a brothel?”
“That’s about it.”
Standing on the boardwalk outside the entrance to the tourist office, Ianto Jones stamped his feet and shoved his hands deep into the pockets of his long black coat to ward of the November chill. The weather had turned in the last couple of days; the rain had eased but now there was a bitter wind coming in off the sea. The kind of wind that made him really miss the hair he’d had cut off yesterday. Not even the turned up collar of his coat could protect his newly exposed ears, and he just knew his cheeks would be bright red against his pale complexion.
He should have brought those gloves Suzie had bought him. He knew why he’d left them behind though. It was a bit petty, but damn it gloves were a bit like underwear. OK. Not as personal as underwear, but still you didn’t buy gloves for people unless you were close and the idea of wearing them felt strange.
The fact that Suzie had had final say on everything he’d chosen for himself yesterday meant that she had pretty much selected every item of clothing he was wearing right now with the sole exception of his underpants. She’d even chosen his socks.
Was he resentful? Yes. Should he be? Probably not. Oh Jesus Christ it was cold.
Reluctantly pulling his hand from the warm confines of his pocket, Ianto checked his watch (also chosen by Suzie). Dead on 9am. He was nervous. Why was he nervous? It wasn’t like this was an actual interview. The woman he was about to meet couldn’t refuse him the job no matter how she might dislike him. That was part of the complicated contractual arrangement The Tourist Board had with Torchwood.
No. He needed to be careful here. Not Torchwood. The Elismotte Foundation. He was an employee of the Elismotte Foundation. And as such she could not fire him. But since he’d have to work with her, he’d rather she didn’t loath his very existence. Still no need to be nervous. He was good at interviews. He should be; he’d been doing them since he was fourteen. Did that first meeting with Mr Singh at the newsagent count as an interview? Probably not, but the one at Smiths when he was fifteen had definitely been one. Ianto found himself smiling bemusedly at the memory. He’d gone in his school uniform because they’d been the smartest clothes he’d had.
Tucking his hands under his armpits, he started to bounce on his toes, eyes closed, head tilted back as he blew out his breath slowly through chattering teeth.
It was the click of heels on the boardwalk that made him open his eyes again. A tall, slender woman, middle aged with extremely precise hair in a tan coloured coat was striding towards him with a face like she’d just attempted to suck on a mouthful of sour lemons. Oh this would be fun.
Putting on his best professional smile, Ianto held out his hand as she drew up to him. “Hi. Mrs Miggins?”
“Hmm.” The woman looked Ianto up and down. “And you must be what Elismotte sent over.”
“Ianto Jones.” Ianto provided, smile still pinned in place.
“Well at least you’re Welsh.” The woman remarked, clearly not impressed. “I’m told you have the key?”
“Ah, yes. Yes I do.” Ianto replied, fishing in his coat pocket and retrieved said key, holding it aloft. The action clearly didn’t win him any brownie points as the woman continued to look at him like his existence was mildly offensive. The look only increased in intensity as the moment dragged. Right. Engage brain, do something useful. Stepping over to the door, he unlocked it and held it open. “Please, come in.”
“I shouldn’t need to be invited into one of my own offices Mr Jones.” Mrs Miggins bit out as she crossed the threshold.
Stray thoughts about vampires crossed Ianto’s mind, and with her back now to him, Ianto dropped the smile and rolled his eyes.
Deep breath. Smile back on.
“Please, let me show you around Mrs Miggins.”
This was going to be a long morning.
“I’d call this a wild goose chase, but I doubt geese could survive down here.”
Suzie couldn’t help herself. She snorted. “I think the only thing that could survive down here would be Weil’s disease.”
“Yeah that and any number of other nasty bugs that love stale water, filth and mould.” Owen replied over the com. “Although Weil’s disease comes from rat piss, and most of the rats down here are dead. Oh no, tell a lie, that’s a living one.”
“You have live rats?” Jack asked with humour in his voice. “I’m actually jealous. I just get these occasional crunches under my boots.”
“Urrgh.” Suzie moaned in disgust, her own steps becoming a little more careful. “Thanks for that Jack.”
“I’ll have bio-hazard bags on standby for your clothes when you get back up.” Tosh spoke up kindly. “And you’ll be happy to know our boiler is gas powered, so lots of hot water for the showers.”
“Oh a Shower.” Suzie sighed in blissful contemplation as she waded through the ankle deep filth, the light of her torch trained on the wall mounted cables she was following. “A hot cup of coffee and doughnut wouldn’t go a miss either.”
“You can think about food?” Jack grimaced. “G12-7854. Clear. How many more Tosh?”
Tosh made a noise down the com that could easily be interpreted as ‘why did you have to ask me that?’ “I have no idea. I stopped bothering with the schematic an hour ago and have been trying to draw a new one as you go along. No wonder I couldn’t track down the fault. Jack, seriously, do you think the budget could stretch to a complete re-wiring?”
Jack let out a hissing sigh. “It might have to. I’m at a dead end. Tosh why am I at a dead end?”
“Umm.” Tosh replied. “Let me look. Oh... sorry. Tunnel collapse. 1964. Head back the way you came about fifteen metres and there should be a turning on your left. That should take you under the morgue to the backup generators. Well I say should...”
“Right, for all we know he could end up in Narnia” Owen laughed.
“I thought Narnia was reached through a closet?” Jack mused out loud.
“I’m leaving that one well alone.” Owen chuckled. “HG5-21B. Clear.”
Quiet drifted over the coms again. It was a pattern that had repeated over the last few hours of searching. A few minutes of conversation, then a stretch of quiet until finally one of them got fed up of the dark, damp and filth and would say something. Usually it was Owen, but as time had dragged on, even Jack’s focus had failed slightly and the bitter edge of frustrated aggravation had begun to creep into his tone. Suzie supposed it didn’t help that this little expedition had exposed a fundamental weakness in Torchwood Three’s base of operations.
That weakness being that the place was a dump. For decade after decade it seemed the Hub had only received any real TLC or maintenance when something went wrong, leading to a number of bodge it jobs and metaphorical sticking plasters being used to patch up aging infrastructure. What had Owen said? This place was held together with spit and cellotape? He wasn’t wrong.
Spit, cellotape and little flashing lights. Suzie blinked, unsure whether or not the ammonia vapours were playing havoc with her eyesight. No, definitely flashing lights. Just around the next corner. “Guys, I think I have something.”
“What is it?” Jack asked, but it was hard to hear him over the splashing she was making as she hurried to the corner. “Suzie be careful.”
Clearly Jack had heard her splashing too.
Pausing at the corner, Suzie remembered herself. She was so eager to get out she’d almost forgotten basic field training. Still, she was eager to get out, and she wasn’t about to wait. Stepping out, she aimed her gun down the passageway. Nothing. At least, no great hulking alien life form. Just a box, part way up the wall that was the source of the flashing she’d seen.
“There’s some kind of device attached one of the junction boxes.”
She stepped closer, aiming her torch at the box. It was... It was beautiful. Not in the way something could be beautiful because it was carefully crafted to look beautiful, but beautiful in the way someone had pieced together all sorts of random objects to create something completely new. “It’s... It seems to be made of parts of household electricals.”
“Say that again?”
“There seems to be... yes that’s a circuit board from a flat screen TV, a PC Motherboard. Well at least the part with the processor. Maybe something out of a microwave, a dishwasher.” Suzie explained in clear wonder.
“How can you be so sure?” Owen asked seriously. “It might just look like those things I mean...”
“Intel, Hotpoint, Philips, Sony, all the parts are branded!” Suzie exclaimed. Something caught her eye and she reached out. “Hold on, what is that under there?”
“Suzie don’t touch it!”
As her fingers made contact with the strangely organic amalgam of contemporary electrical components, something happened that Suzie did not expect. It moved.
And then it leapt.
The world went white.
“What do you mean, it moved?”
Jack leant with his fore-arms resting on the rail around the autopsy pit and stared down angrily at his second in command. Her scream was still ringing in his ears. Why was it that it seemed he had to remind his team every other day not to touch strange tech or unknown life forms? Had he actually managed to find three people who all shared the same kind of innate curiosity driven death-wish?
It had taken them over an hour to find her. An hour that felt like an eternity in the darkness of the lowest tunnels. And then when they had. Seeing her lying there in the water, pale as a ghost. God, he hated losing people. It was his curse to always lose people, but not so soon. He’d sworn when he’d taken over that he would do everything in his power to raise the average shelf life of his employees, and damn it they weren’t helping him.
“Like I said.” Suzie replied tiredly from where she sat on the edge of the autopsy table. Owen wasn’t happy about letting her sit up, but even he had to admit the table wasn’t the most comfortable thing to lie on. “When I touched it, it moved. It twitched, like if you pet a sleeping cat I suppose. And then it just... leapt at me.”
“Well you’ve got no marks to indicate a physical attack, but all the symptoms of having received a high voltage electric shock. Similar to what you’d get from a stun gun or a tazer.” Owen supplied as he looked over his clip board.
“Some form of self defence mechanism?” Jack mused out loud.
“Maybe.” Suzie deferred, then she shook her head. “Jack you should have seen it. It was amazing. So intricately put together.”
“Yeah well, it was gone by the time we got there but it’s still in the Hub somewhere, so maybe I’ll get my chance.” Jack replied darkly, “But don’t expect me not to destroy it. I get pissy when things attack my people.”
Owen snorted. “I’d be less worried by the extra from Batteries Not Included, and more worried about your own health Suzie. You’re done. Twenty four hours medical leave. Uh Uh” Owen cut Suzie off when she went to protest. “You need to take it easy. And when I say easy I mean no stress, no strenuous activity, no sex, not even a hot bath or a scary movie. Nothing to raise your heart rate. Go home, watch a chick flick, eat ice-cream and sleep.”
“Wow. Not every day you hear a doctor give you that kind of prescription.” Jack laughed. “Although the no sex part...”
“Save it Harkness.” Owen shook his head.
“Are you getting all soft on me Owen?” Suzie laughed.
Owen’s face suddenly didn’t look even the remotest bit amused. “If you’d landed on your front instead of your back you would have drowned. Forgive me if I would rather err on the side of caution and not have a patient I ran fucking miles through fucking sewage to save die because she couldn’t put her fucking feet up.”
“Owen. Back off.” Jack warned. There was something with those two. Owen was a loose cannon anyway, but Suzie knew every button to press. Owen would never admit to it, but Jack remembered what he’d seen and heard down in that tunnel. It wasn’t just Suzie’s scream that rang in his ears. Owen had been a few feet in front of him and when he’d turned the corner, in the shadows and torchlight they’d both thought they’d lost her. Owen’s reaction hadn’t been what Jack had expected. “Suzie. You heard the Doctor, go home. We’ll pick up here.”
Both parties nodded, and Suzie slipped off the table, climbing the stairs under their watchful gazes and finally stepping out of view. When she was out of sight, and Jack was fairly certain out of earshot, he sighed and relaxed.
“Did you see it?” He finally asked.
Still looking down at his clipboard, Owen nodded. “Only for a second. It was right on top of her. Just sitting there. Skittered off down the tunnel when I came round the corner.”
“I need to know what that thing is. Where it came from, what it’s doing.” Jack sighed.
“Yeah well, don’t ask me.” Owen groused. “I deal with the organic, not the robotic.”
“Guess this is another job for Tosh then.”
When the two men’s eyes met, Jack saw the flicker there behind the pain and bitterness that had prompted him to ask Owen to join them in the first place. The compassion. The doctor in him. He was thinking exactly what Jack was thinking. Tosh did not need anything else added to her already very full plate.