Fourteen


In the early hours of the morning Jack woke. Ianto was fast asleep by his side. Stretching, his mind filled with Ianto's tender embrace. Perfect moments don't come often and Jack accepted the gift for what it was...a most welcome surprise and an apology. It was a wonderful, sweet moment of loving consideration just for him. In that moment nothing mattered except being held and kissed as if he was wanted, needed and loved.

The problem was it left him even more confused if that was possible. Firstly, Jack admitted the kisses were exactly what he had asked for, a moment where they were being honest with each other; and secondly, Ianto had kissed him. One moment they were like wild tigers tearing at each other where he was left marked followed by sweet, tender kisses. That equalled four now. Four astounding kisses, each unique in their intensity and intent, on some sort of scale Jack couldn't even begin to put a name to because each kiss was way beyond anything he had ever experienced. Right now the cause of his confusion was spooned up against him with his face buried in his shoulder, arm draped over him, his morning erection gently pressing into his backside.

Ianto stirred, yawned then began to nuzzle into Jack's shoulder. Appearing to realise what he was doing, sat straight up then pulled himself up quickly to standing and headed up the steps towards the top.

Holding back for a moment to allow time for Ianto to finish his morning ablutions Jack looked around. He was going to miss their small hovel; it was dry, food was plentiful and water was steps away. Going to a new place meant leaving this small sanctuary to who knew what. The only constant so far was each location had breathable atmosphere and tropical climates. It suggested the beings who created the portals were like the vast majority of beings in the known universe: carbon based, oxygen breathers, able to live within a specific temperature range called the Goldilocks zone; not to hot or cold but just right.

A cool hand on his shoulder broke his reverie. 'You awake?' Ianto asked.

'I am now.' Jack stretched then sat up.

Making his way to the top of the steps Jack saw Ianto busy checking over the bags of fruit. From the filled bags, Alfred had been busy because there was twice as much as there had been the night before. By the looks of it he had been up and down those stairs a dozen times if not more.

'Wow you have been busy.' Jack slapped Alfred's upper arm. Alfred seemed to stand up straighter at the comment.

'Set to go,' Ianto said as they loaded up.

'Ready as I'm ever going to be.' Jack evened out the weight of his filled trousers over his shoulders and picked up another bag of fruit.

On their way to the portal they took a last long drink then made their way to the portal.

Once inside it took several moments to fit themselves, Alfred and the supplies under the arms in the centre in such a way they would all fit.

'We are all agreed we are choosing the middle panel,' Ianto checked.

'Agreed,' Jack said.

'It's blank which could mean that picture was removed for a reason.'

'Or just fell or wore off,' Jack pointed out.

'I'll just do a quick final check.' Ianto patted himself down. 'I've got the knife.'

'Supplies.' Jack did a visual check over their trousers and bags full of fruit and nuts. 'And Alfred.' Jack smiled at the being.

'I'm going to whack the lever.' Ianto reached out with a length of branch he had fashioned for just this purpose. In an instant they were surrounded by blinding blue light.


'Jack?' Ianto called out into the dark in panic.

'It's dark,' Jack noted the the roar of the water had been replaced with dead sound.

'Thank you for stating the obvious,' Ianto said trying to hide the relief in his voice that Jack was there.

'Alfred still with us?' Jack said as he felt the being next to him.

'Yes,' Alfred replied at hearing his name.

Hands outstretched, Ianto moved forward cautiously. 'Did I ever tell you how I escaped the pirates?'

'No I don't think you did,' Jack admitted trying to free himself from his wedged in position.

'I was climbing on the holodeck. When I came to I was lying on my back in the dark. I had to creep forward to find the wall, I then moved sideways until I came to the door.'

'So you are saying you are good in the dark?' Jack said trying to shift the trouser bag from his shoulder.

'I crawled forward till my head touched the wall then moved my way around the wall sort of shuffle.' Ianto felt something familiar. 'I found the three panels,' he called out.

'What happened when you reached the door control?' Jack asked, curious as to exactly how Ianto had remained free.

'Well nothing worked. My wrist strap was dead so I sat and counted.'

'Counted?' Jack asked still trying to lift the bag off his shoulder but it was heavy and lifting it off was not an option so he bent down hoping it was wedged in enough so it would remain.

'Around eleven thousand I think then emergency lights came on and I managed to open the doors a body width.' Ianto felt his way past the interwoven rope vines on the wall then moved to the right.

'Ianto don't keep me in suspense.'

'I decided as I couldn't raise anyone so I needed to find a way to get to either engineering or the bridge when I came across some of the crew and several slavers in the corridor, after a bit of skirmish…'

Jack laughed. 'Ianto stop understating what happened and tell it like it was.'

'I laid one of them out then bolted back to the holosuite.'

'So if you made it back to holodeck wouldn't they have followed?'

'It was awkward.'

'Ianto!'

'Okay, okay, I created a holo image of the holo-suite inside the holo-suite. The problem was I didn't have time to calibrate it. I figured they couldn't see me because I was still alive. But I have to say it was very unsettling feeling so exposed.'

'Ianto, you are the king of understatement.'

'The only good thing was the slavers were very unguarded and I learnt a lot about what was going on. The only tricky moment was when I thought they had left. I was stretching when one of them burst in trying to see if they could disturb anything. I tell you I my heart was beating so hard and fast I swore it was audible. After the slaver left I counted to around nineteen hundred that time.'

'I think I can see slightly better,' Jack announced.

'That's just wishful thinking.'

'No I can see,' Jack said finally freeing himself. He moved across to where he could see a thin sliver of light and traced it with his finger.

'You're right,' Ianto agreed.

'Has the lake of Tarsus frozen over?' Jack said.

'Why is it every time we agree you are so surprised?'

'I think it's just so…so surprising and nice.'

'Me being nice that, doesn't sound like me,' Ianto said.

'You can be nice. Very nice.'

'Nice is such a bland word.' Ianto now reached Jack. 'Like something an elderly aunt would say 'that's nice dear.' Ianto ended the sentence in a falsetto voice.

Jack laughed. 'Ianto you are a nice man.'

'That's nice dear,' Ianto joked in the same tone of voice.

Jack continued to trace the sliver when the room flooded with light. They both turned to see Alfred standing by what looked like a bank of knobs and saw one was pressed in.

'Do you get the impression Alfred knows a lot more about these portals than he is saying?' Jack said.

'Technically he's not said anything but his actions suggest you are right.'

'You are agreeing with me again?' Jack joked.

'Yes I'm as stunned as you are,' Ianto admitted and Jack smiled.

The interior of the portal was in the best condition they had seen; even better than the one they had worked on Zeta Sigma Three.

'I don't think the state of this bodes well for their being much water,' Jack spoke out about the extremely dry interior as the light began to dim.

Alfred now pointed to the door and a panel to his left then pushed in another knob.

A deep scratchy scraping sound filled the dome and the door shuddered. When it reached the width of a finger gap it stopped. Positioning themselves either side Jack and Ianto placed their fingers in the slot and Ianto pushed and Jack pulled. Even before the door was opened a sickening smell of deep rot mixed with a tang of rotten eggs roiled into the portal making them both cough.

After several jerks and jolts the gap was wide enough to allow them to squeeze through. They found themselves on a raised stone circular platform creating a walkway two meters wide. The sky was a deep green which gave everything a sick dark hue. From what they could make out in the poor light they were surrounded by a swamp interspersed with wide bottomed angular trees festooned with long fingers of growth that seemed to hang down in huge sheets. The area around the portal did appear clear except for structures of long sticks covered in what looked like cloth. It was hard to tell if these were deliberate or some sort of strange plant but there were a lot of them. Ianto went down on to his knees and dipped his fingers and took a tiny taste.

'Rot water?' Jack asked as Ianto grimaced.

'Worse, imagine that laced with a filthy sour aftertaste.'

'And I'm double betting there are no solar panels.' Jack looked about.

'Maybe but then again perhaps this sun gives out a spectrum of light that has equal value.'

'I knew it was too good to last,' Jack pointed out.

Alfred looked between the kind one and the other wondering if the tone of the conversation meant there was about to be another disagreement.

'Too good to last? What are you talking about?' Ianto asked.

'You agreeing with me,' Jack said as they reached the back of the dome.

At the back there was a raised stone bench. In the centre was a model of the dome surrounded with fruit and vegetables, several of which they had never seen before. Covering the surface of the dome was a series of drawings in black.

Jack picked up a fruit from the bench and after giving a sniff he recognised it as a Noaga then bit into it.

'What do you think you are doing?' Ianto asked alarmed as Jack chewed.

'Checking if there is anything edible,' Jack replied, his mouth full.

'It's clear these are offerings,' Ianto pointed out.

'They offered, I accepted,' Jack said, chewing.

'Listen, this was possibly left as an offering to some kind of deity.'

'How do you know I'm not?' Jack said.

'I'm not going to dignify that with an answer,' Ianto said, irritated by Jack's actions. 'The dome must have some sort of significance, and if we get stuck here offending the locals may be a very bad idea.'

'Hey as far as I'm concerned this is a primitive form of delivery service.' Jack threw the core into the swamp with a splash and helped himself to another fruit.

Taking a bite he spat it out and gagged. 'Not as fresh as I would have liked.' It followed the core into the swamp.

'It this is a shrine then this could be considered holy ground. Our best option is to power this thing up and get out of here.' Ianto looking around, suddenly feeling very exposed.

'Any ideas how this could be powered?' Jack began to do a more serious visual examination of the outside of the portal.

'I think we can rule out solar panels.' Ianto found Alfred by their side pointing out the same panel under which they had found the pipes at the waterfall dome.

'So the sun doesn't have a spectrum that might be just as potent,' Jack said and Ianto threw a withering glance.

Opening the panel, instead of pipes they found a clear empty flattened vessel which looked like it could hold several litres of water. Two-thirds were filled with an intricate maze of clear tubes. The surface of the top third appeared to be coated with flakes from some kind of residue. The top of the vessel tapered off and led into the dome.

'We know it needs water which explains this.' Jack pointed to a stone aqueduct to their right. A delicate arrangement bridged across the walkway and connected with the top of the dome.

'So water and whatever is held in the vessel,' Ianto reasoned.

'That's a thought,' Jack said and using the bench as a foot hold he climbed up onto the top of the aqueduct, followed by Ianto. At the top was a large square slab, broken in two. Heaving it aside they saw it revealed a channel.

'I'm betting this leads to a water source.' Jack bit his tongue in thought. 'And it makes sense because the dome needs to be soaked in water.'

'That's the one constant for every portal,' Ianto agreed.

'That doesn't answer the question of how this portal get its power up energy from.'

Ianto nodded. 'This is about available resources. We've come across two portals that needed sunlight and a third that needed the force of falling water. I bet depending on the location some portals are wind driven or use waves. It's my guess who ever built the portals utilised the most abundant resource.'

'We have water,' Jack pointed out.

'Agreed. Water appears to be the most important factor, but there's no sun, no force of running water so how do we fire this one up?'

'Now I am worried,' Jack said.

'First things first.' Ianto smiled. 'Let's go ask our intrepid android.'


Pointing at the flask and at Alfred Ianto tried to make himself understood. After several seconds Alfred realised they were asking him about what filled the vessel.

He pointed to the aqueduct then directly at the swamp then at the flask.

'So water goes in here…but what are these for?' Ianto pointed at the intricate tubes that filled one-third of the vessel.

Ianto and Jack watched and listened as Alfred tried to explain. He waved his arms which at first seemed to suggest everything. To help Jack and Ianto named objects at which Alfred shook his head.

He began to move again this time only with open hands seeming suggesting something that was all around them.

'Is it something in the air?' Jack asked demonstrating breathing in and out loudly.

Alfred watched for a few seconds then nodded.

'So something in the air,' Ianto added as Alfred now began to waft air towards Ianto.

'Definitely something in the air, something we know is abundant but what?' Jack said.

Alfred looked around, trying to find a way to get them to understand it was the very smell in the air was the clue. He recalled something Jack did with everything he ate. Leaning down he picked up then handed one of the fruits from the bench to Jack.

Jack, not sure why Alfred was handing him fruit, took an instinctive sniff.

Alfred clapped loudly, startling them both.

'Something in the Noaga,' Ianto reflected, confused. Alfred shook his head and now mimicked Jack sniffing. 'Something in the air, something we can smell,' Ianto made the connection.

'All I can smell is rotten eggs.' Jack coughed, the smell was so overpowering.

Ianto bit his bottom lip, pointed at the flask, and narrowed his eyes in thought. 'I bloody know what that smell is but I can't remember. It's infuriating!' he suddenly burst out.

'The rotten egg smell…sulphur?' Jack offered.

'Yes, sulphur of some kind. It's on the tip of my tongue,' Ianto confessed.

Moving forward Jack checked over the flask as best he could in the poor light. 'This looks in good order. Now we know it's something in the air, something super abundant. The flask is sealed, suggesting we don't have to add anything other than water so I say let's do just that and let this contraption do its thing.'

'I think you're right.'

'Is this real?' Jack patted himself down. 'Am I awake? Or is this some amazing dream I'm having, that's nearly three times in a row, once more and I may pass out from the shock.'

Ianto gave him another disdainful look which Jack responded by throwing him an air kiss.

'Are you trying channel John Hart?'

'Do you want me to?'

'Please no.'

'Begging, I can see an interesting day ahead,' Jack said

'You wish.' Ianto indicated Alfred remain then climbed up onto the top of the aqueduct.

'If this is about wishes you can start by telling me why you left a bite mark just above my heart.'

'I did no such thing!' Ianto burst out, mid-step.

'Did so.' Jack stuck out his chest and pointed.

Ianto took a quick look. 'That could be anything.'

'But it isn't,' Jack said

'Could be an insect bite.'

'An insect with human teeth?' Jack questioned.

'Or several,' Ianto suggested.

'Several insects with several sets of teeth?'

'You know, this day sort of started out so well,' Ianto said with a sigh.

"Oh it did, I woke up with you wrapped around me, at full mast deliciously pressed up against me with your face nuzzling my shoulder.'

Alfred listened as the kind one and the other moved away from him, glad to miss whatever argument was now brewing. He was not sure why he had been left behind but he was pleased and relieved he had been.

Hurrying inside he went to check the panels again to see if what he had seen was right.

Standing before them he felt his entire being tremble. The design was unmistakable; a peaked island topped with a lone tree. He had seen this before because Master friend had even shown him images of the actual dome. 'One Tree Island,' she had called it.

Not just the location of a portal but the underground psionic research facility on Brogan Five. After all the decay if any of his kind were still functioning they would be there. But could he trust the kind one and the other to request this be their next destination, or should he just change the indicator?

He shook his head. Part of him told him they could be trusted. They had never treated him as an object and even though he did not trust the other 100% he had smiled and thanked him for his efforts.

Even if there were no others like him left there would be translator units. He would finally be able to tell them about Master Friend, give them her true name, and how much she had cared for him and how much he missed her. Then he could shut down. A guttural shout caught his attention. He looked to see if it was the kind one and the other returning so he stepped outside. A huge force met his chest and sent him tumbling backwards. A second force hit his arm; the force spun him onto the bank of knobs and the door jerked and after a second it shuddered closed.


'Changing the subject,' Ianto said as they meandered along the top of the gently sloping aqueduct.

Jack threw Ianto a huge smile and answered with a long, 'Yes?'

'Considering this is built in a swamp you would think it would have sunk lower.'

'I figure it must have been built on bedrock.'

'And I've noted something else…the swamp water is moving.' Ianto threw in a scraggily dry stem. 'Look,' and with almost infinitesimal slowness it moved.

'Which means what?' Jack asked.

'I'm not sure. Why build the portal in the middle of a stinky swamp so far away you have to build this to bring water to it?'

'But the portal is surrounded with water,' Jack pointed out. 'My question is, why is the portal so dry inside?'

'The inside of the portal on Zeta Sigma Three was as dry as this, remember? The portal took litres and litres of water but from the outside.'

'Why water has to be added outside to inside is a mystery,' Ianto agreed. 'And the bottom line is I don't care. We soak it with as much water as possible and hope the flask arrangement is nothing more complicated then add water.'

'A double hope that whatever caused the aqueduct to stop flowing is easy to fix because I want out of here.' Jack gave a shudder as they ducked under one of the many strange trees that had grown up and towered over the top of the aqueduct they were following. 'This place gives me the creeps, everything looks either black, or blood red and the smell…I keep thinking maybe the removal of the picture on the panel was a warning not to come here.'

'And we walked or transported right into it.'

'Or it could just be the landscape. I keep expecting bats or something nasty to fly out at us.'

'Other than the swarms of insects.' Jack waved his hand in front of his face to clear the small cloud of tiny insects that seemed to be surrounding his head every time they stopped moving.

Spitting out those that seemed to reach his lips, Jack kept moving. The walk seemed endless when a round platform created from the same rock as the aqueduct appeared out of the low light. In the centre was clear water bubbling up, and it was immediately evident why the water was not flowing down the aqueduct: it had been diverted.

Taking a long drink to slake their thirst, they examined the diversion. A number of substantial trees had been halved, hollowed out, and then slotted together creating a pipe line. The pipe headed directly into the swamp supported on stout stilts.

'This could get awkward,' Jack said what they were both thinking out loud.

'Can you remember how much water it took to drench the first dome?' Ianto asked.

'It was several hours to pump up the water from the lake into the top of the dome.'

'If we divert the water fully who or what this supplies are going to notice and come looking for the cause,' Ianto pointed out.

'Can't we partially divert?' Jack said

'I think we can only try, the other option is do this at night.'

'Under pale sickly moon.'

'What if this place has no moon?'

'Set this up and sit here in the dark,' Jack repeated what sounded like a plan.

'In the dark,' Ianto repeated. 'Right now I think we had better be getting back,' Ianto said as the light began to fade and they both drank as much water as the could and headed back.


A few steps later it became clear that except for a few moments of deep twilight instead of getting darker the light increased in strength. The light was more yellow and if anything with the green sky seemed to make the landscape look even more sinister.

'Double suns,' Jack suggested.

Ianto stopped mid-stride and clicked his fingers. 'Hydrogen sulphide,' he stated out loud.

'Hydro what?'

'The horrible egg pong…it's Hydrogen sulphide. There must be a seep where the dome is located.'

'Is it harmful?'

Ianto nodded. 'And flammable. That's in confined areas like pipes; out here in the open we should be okay. It's heavier than air so if it becomes overpowering all we have to do is climb onto this structure.'

'So what's with the flask?' Jack asked.

'That I'm not so sure but I think if I recall correctly if you if you pass hydrogen sulphide through water it creates hydrosulfric acid.' Ianto gave Jack a huge grin

'What?'

'Prepared to be shocked; you were right.' Ianto slapped Jack on the arm to kill a particularly large insect which had settled to drink on his sweat.

'I was?' Jack sounded surprised.

'All we need to do is add water and the aqueous catalyst flask will do the rest. And let's be honest here; the operation of the dome is hardly difficult. Three panels, with an indicator, one activation lever, add water then stand under the arms. All the hard work has come from trying to either find or repair the power source. And even then it's just a matter of muscle.'

'Or clearing panels or tubes,' Jack laughed.

'Exactly,' Ianto said and they continued on their way along the walkway.

Even before they reached the end they sensed something had changed. There was a sweet, sickly smell that seemed to invade the air around them like a smoke that got heavier and heavier as they approached the dome.

Climbing down the saw the source. The bench had been tided and on each end was a brazier filled with some sort of resin that was slowly burning.

'Alfred,' Jack spoke their fear out loud. Five steps and they found the door was closed. Several attempts later it was clear it was stuck fast.

'Do you think he might have been taken?' Jack heaved on the door using all his strength. Ianto joined him and after some effort it opened. However it opened not due to their efforts but the door control was released. As it opened fully to their respective relief they saw Alfred.

Relief turned to concern as they saw two projectiles had pierced him; one through the upper left shoulder, the other his arm.

Jack looked around anxiously as Ianto examined the smaller of the two projectiles embedded in Alfred.

Looking around they entered the dome and sealed themselves in.

'I'm almost too scared to remove them,' Ianto said after a few moments of examining the arrows.

'Start with the smallest,' Jack suggested.

'If I pull it out it will do more damage.'

'Push it through.' Jack moved forward and broke off the feathered end, leaving just a shaft exposed.

Hoping he was not doing any more damage to Alfred Ianto pushed the arrow until he felt a point then as the tip immerged he pulled it out in one action. Moving his arm Alfred demonstrated he had come to no apparent harm

Together Ianto and Jack examined the larger. It was more substantial and spear-like. Ianto indicated that Alfred brace himself as they worked it through his body. Anxious moments passed as they checked each push then finally Ianto held the spear in his hand and Jack examined the entrance and exit hole.

'I think we got lucky the spear appears to missed anything vital or structural,' Jack said his voice tinged with relief. As much as he might have mistrusted Alfred to begin with, the being had grown on him. Aside from his being incredibly helpful he had shown a high degree of intelligence and knowledge that might be their key to getting home.

'I think we can safely say we need to get out of here as quickly as we can,' Jack said as he helped himself to several piece of fruit from their own larder. 'And hope to the five moons of Agethea that the water channel is not blocked.'

'How are we going to do this?' Ianto joined with Jack and took a denoga pod.

'Alfred needs to stay here. He knows more about the dome than we do. We seal him in then we both head back to the source, divert the water, the other checks the flow as it runs down towards the dome.'

'Do we rest first?' Jack asked.

'I think the threat is clear. We need to move on.'

'But to where?' Jack examined the panels to find Alfred by his side pointing to the panel on the far left in a manner that suggested its importance by tapping it hurriedly, almost wide eyed if that was possible.

'Interesting,' Ianto noted

'You know Alfred has asked for nothing up until now.' Jack spat out a large seed.

Ianto nodded and pointed, demonstrating his agreement. Alfred bowed and Ianto got the feeling the being wanted to beg thanks on his knees.

'One tree island it is.' Jack pointed at the panel. Alfred took his hand and placed it on his own forehead.

'Let's get moving,' Ianto said pressing the knob that opened the door.

Looking cautiously they checked the area. From what they could see it was clear and moved into phase two.


Moving swiftly along the top of the aqueduct they kept a keen eye open for anything that might be a threat.

They were very out of breath by the time they reached the round platform.

On immediate inspection the log pipes were too heavy to move.

'It's a pity we can't divert some of the supply,' Ianto said, 'because as soon as we do this they will know. The only good thing is that the water will take some time to travel to wherever it's going and if we are lucky there's a tank rather than direct supply so the our actions won't be so noticed until the tank runs out.'

'Let's do this,' Jack said as he used every piece of cloth they had to damn the flow of water. It took several minutes for the water to build up and begin to slowly at first then with more vigour ran towards the aqueduct channel.

'I'll follow this down.' Ianto looked at Jack. 'Any sign of danger and you move.'

'I will.'

'Promise me, Jack…no heroics. Just get back safe.'

'Ianto a few more hours and we will be on our way.' Jack watched as Ianto hesitated to leave. Moving forward Ianto drew him into a hug and Jack could feel the man trembling. 'Now get out of here and check the flow.'

Without another word Ianto took off back along the walkway. Mentally he was willing the water down the incline. A few checks and it became clear the water was flowing with no obstruction. It was with some relief that once he reached the end he found water was flowing into and over the dome.

At first the seemed to run off but as the water kept coming Ianto could swear he could hear the dome re-hydrating. To keep his anxiety in check he kept by checking the flow of water and saw the flask was also filling with water. Several checks later and he could now see the water was now fizzing. Alfred was also keeping himself busy checking over the fruit they had brought with them and stacking it such a way they would fit better under the arms in the centre.

Checking the inside of the dome, the interior seemed to be pumping up before his eyes. Inside the effect was clear, the vine line ropes were swelling towards the panels.

The sun changed twice and the re-hydration of the dome was reaching some sort of critical reaction made evident as the edges of the panels had begun to glow blue. Ianto moved the indicator to the panel Alfred had chosen. Moving to the outside, Ianto called for Alfred to join him to check the flask which looked like it had stopped fizzing. Alfred looked over the flask then nodded towards Ianto.


A shout caught their attention and they looked up to see Jack running along the top of the aqueduct. As he reached the end four dugout canoes appeared out of the gloom. Ianto shut the door protecting of the flask as Jack jumped down, heavily out of breath.

The beings in the canoes began to gesture wildly and speak in a series of loud clicks and coughs, pointing at them, clearly agitated.

Seconds ticked by and the gesturing became even more frantic as the beings pointed at towards them, making stabbing motions.

'Jack,' Ianto said as the standoff continued, having caught his breath. 'We need to reach the door,' Ianto said moving slowing forward.

As he did one of the beings stood up and gestured in a way that suggested Jack and Ianto move aside.

'I think Alfred they see as the threat,' Jack suggested.

'Well they did kill him and he's still here uninjured,' Ianto added not taking his eyes off the beings facing them.

The now standing being began a speech revealing large flattened teeth, pleading with them to move.

Ianto shook his head. 'No, the being is with us,'

'What the hell are you doing?' Jack hissed.

'All we want to do is leave.' Ianto indicated the door. Almost as one the beings looked in that direction.

The being growled and snarled, lifting the spear.

'I count five steps,' Jack said. 'And please tell me the dome is ready to go.'

'All set, but just what are you suggesting?'

'We holler and run,' Jack offered.

'Holler and run? That's your suggestion?'

'And you have another idea?'

'We kick over the shrine for good measure.'

Jack thought about it for a second and nodded.

'Take the long way round,' Ianto interjected and Jack looked at him as if he was mad. 'They will expect us to go the shortest route.'

'Good idea but in this case the less steps the better,' Jack argued.

Before he could reply he heard Jack begin to count down. Taking a deep breath they screamed. Ianto twisted and kicked over the shrine, scattering the contents some of which splashed into the water. A cry of dismay went up as two of the canoes tried moved forward at the sacrilege of Ianto's actions.

His heart pounding Ianto reached the door and pushed Alfred inside. A flurry of spears and arrows whistled past him and several clattered into the inside of the dome just missing him by a hair's whisker. In slow motion Ianto saw an arrow heading towards his chest, in a split second Jack appeared as if out of nowhere. He slammed into Ianto as three arrows found their mark. Screaming Ianto fell backwards, dragging Jack over the threshold. As he did Alfred hit the door close mechanism and the door scrapped closed.

'Why?' Ianto frantically ran his hands from the arrow in Jack's right upper shoulder, and chest as blood began to seep out.

'Promise,' Jack gulped out.

You promised you wouldn't!' Ianto cried out holding him close.

'Vow- my- life- for –yours,' Jack gasped out and sagged against him.

Alfred almost threw himself on top of the pair and with his foot hit the activate lever.