A/N: Protectors of the Plot Continuum was founded by Jay and Acasia. Excerpts taken from It's All In The Genes by pixiespryte. This mission was chronicled by IndeMaat
The hardest part about moving to a new Mary Sue Division, and a new Response Center to go with it, was reassuring Trent that she would still come and visit him as regularly. Being the only adult that had been remotely parent-like to the boy in the years since his mother had died, the boy had quickly grown attached to her. She finally got him to stop crying when she told him that she was going to Torchwood subdivision: a scifi series that dealt with aliens.
"Aliens?" The boy's eyes had grown big. "You'll tell me all about them, won't you? When you get back, you'll tell me about your missions?"
"Sure." She'd make something up; she still didn't think Sue stories were suitable narration for ten year old boys. She gave him a kiss and a hug and tousled his hair before she left.
Now, all her belongings packed into two duffel bags and a cardboard box, she walked into her new Response Center. It was empty. That is, it had all the standard Protectors of the Plot Continuum office equipment. Along one wall was the console that allowed for viewing of and stepping into fics. Across the desk lay strewn a number of useful gadgets, such as a Character Analysis Device and a Remote Activator for the Portal. That these were here probably meant that so was her new partner. Just as Tasmin was about to announce herself a girl walked in from the bathroom. She paid no attention to Tasmin for she was talking to a doll in her hand.
"Really, Jack, you ought to wear that suit more often. You look very handsome in it."
Tasmin quietly retreated from the room. She turned around to make a run for it when a voice called out to her.
"Hey, you must be my new partner."
Tasmin froze. What should she do? Ignore it and keep on walking? Too late. She had been standing still for too long. The girl knew by now she had heard her. Tasmin turned around.
"Hi. You're right. But I just remembered I had left something in my old office. I was just gonna go and pick it up." And never return here.
"Oh, never mind that. Whatever it is I'm sure you can borrow it from me. Come in, come in."
Reluctantly Tasmin stepped back into the office. She studied the girl that now stood in the middle of the room. She was lanky, tall and flat-chested. She wore her orange-brown hair in a big braid on her back. High-school must have been a ball for her, Tasmin assessed. The doll was gone from her hand.
"I've never had a black partner before."
Tasmin gave her a blank look.
"I'm sorry, that was insensitive of me."
"No, not insensitive. Stupid, though."
"I'm sorry. I'm Emma Julia. You can call me E.J."
"Hi Emma, I'm Tasmin."
"I prefer E.J."
"I prefer Emma." Thus having set the first of the social boundaries between her and her new partner, Tasmin thought it time to explore the spacial boundaries. "Where can I put my stuff?"
"You can put some on these two empty shelves. And there are also three empty drawers for you. So you can store five items."
Tasmin raised an eye brow.
"If you put one item on the shelf it is no longer empty." Emma gave her a slightly condescending smile.
Tasmin appreciated this comment. She was pleasantly surprised her new partner knew logical puzzles. "I was just wondering where to put the rest of my stuff."
Emma shrugged. "Underneath the sofa, I guess." She sat down on one of the desk chairs by the console and started to undo her braid.
Tasmin unpacked her two duffel bags and the cardboard box of books she had brought. She ignored the directions to only put stuff on empty shelves. When she was done she studied the things her partner had put on her shelves. On one shelf stood a Captain Jack Harkness action figure in the middle of a small version of the Hub. The other shelf held a large collection of sporks made of different kinds of metals. There even were a number of glass containers holding sproks with little notes attached to them. Natrium, don't get wet one of them said.
"What's in the lead boxes?" Tasmin turned to Emma.
"Sporks made of the unstable elements."
"They were a welcoming gift. Didn't you get one when you joined the PPC?"
"I guess I sorta snuck in through the back door."
"I didn't even know we had a back door."
"So, what is Torchwood like?" Tasmin asked. She sat down on the other desk chair. "Fandom wise I mean."
"Well, it's relatively new of course. I guess the Flowers finally got wise and started putting agents in before things got out of hand. You have to admit: taking Sues out of LotR is like trying to put out a house on fire when all you have is a bucket with a hole in it."
Tasmin nodded. She wondered whether the bucket could be a metaphor for agents slowly loosing their sanity.
"But Torchwood itself. I think we'll have relatively easy jobs. I mean, Torchwood is pretty much an anything goes fandom. Slash? That's canonical. And other problematic issues? No problem. MPreg--"
"Not another word."
"I'm warning you. I don't want to hear it. You could only put ideas into people's minds."
Emma gave her a frown. "All right. So, basically all we have to do is look out for the Mary Sues lusting after Jack. And Ianto, and Gwen, and Toshiko."
Emma curled up her nostrils slightly before she added "and Owen". She finished braiding her hair and threw the tail over her shoulder.
Tasmin ducked her head between her shoulders. Emma dove to the floor.
"I guess I'll never get used to those things," Emma said picking herself up from the floor.
"Well, this one was extremely loud." Tasmin started tapping the keys on the console to view the fic.
"What have we got?"
"Jack's younger sister drops through the Rift."
"Sister, 'ey? I have the feeling Jack turns out the be from a very large family, in which he was the only boy. Kinda like Joey Tribiani."
Tasmin frowned at Emma. "Any suggestions for disguises?" she asked to bring her partner's attention back to the matter at hand.
"Let's go as Weevils." Emma vigorously nodded her head. "First we scare the Sue and than afterwards we get to ravish her."
Tasmin quietly rubbed her forehead. She feared she would be wearing a permanent scowl working with Emma.
"Or let's go as fairies. They're invisible, most of the time, and they can fly."
"That sounds better. Pack your bag." Tasmin tapped the keys on the console and a portal opened up. She grabbed one of her duffel bags and weighed it in her hand. Yep, everything she needed was in there, and a little more. She jumped through the portal after Emma.
Emma pushed herself up with her feet and started flapping her wings the moment she hit the ground inside the fic. She didn't really have the hang of flying yet, but she managed the hover a few feet above the ground nonetheless. Tasmin, however, had never flown anything other than second class or luggage space and needed reminding to flap her wings every time she hit her feet back on the ground. It took her a few minutes to get her balance, and then she lost it again when she threw her duffel bag over her shoulder and hit one of her own wings.
Emma couldn't help laughing as her partner bobbed across the road.
"Just you mind yourself and the Words." Tasmin tried to hoist her duffel bag over her shoulders and wings properly.
Emma looked up and focused her attention on the Words of the fic they had just entered.
She was an ordinary girl in an ordinary world.
"I think those are words from a song." Emma started to hum a tune to see if the words fitted it.
"Where ever the words are from, they're not true in this case or we wouldn't be here."
Here was a fic that was set in the fifty-first century, location Massachusetts. Tasmin noted the surroundings were featuring the common elements of future stories: sky scrapers and gravity defying transportation. She smirked. So much for originality.
According to the fic things had been 'Weird'.
People had started disappearing, from all over the galaxy. People from the colonies, Vogons, Venusians, Humans, at least fifty people from every species centred around the galaxy.
Emma chuckled. "Seriously. Unless they were all on the same bus when they got missing, I hardly think anyone has noticed much. I bet more people get themselves missing annually in the US alone. And no one calls that 'things are getting Weird'. Or staying weird, or what ever."
"You forget that in the future they have probably better means of tracking people than we have in our time. So they probably would notice if they suddenly lost their means of tracking people."
"You have a point. But if this Big Brother that is watching everyone lost track of a few people, I doubt they would advertise that fact. I mean, it kind of undermines their position as know-it-alls."
Tasmin shrugged. "I think this fic is too short for a full explanation of culture and society of the fifty-first century. If the author had done that this would have been a novel before Torchwood would have even gotten a mention."
Emma grinned. "Nothing wrong with that."
"Nothing wrong with that at all."
Nobody had been able to stop it from taking her family. Who knew where they'd gone. Her mom could be in the year five billion and her dad in cavemen times. And her siblings could be scattered in time and space. And not necessarily where there was oxygen.
Tasha sighed and carried on walking aimlessly around the city. She'd been spotted by The Services the other week. Social. Urgh. She'd been shoved in a Home and had had no freedom since she'd finally had her pleas for a bit of freedom heard.
"Well, she would notice if her family went missing."
"Of course, family always notice, as long as they're close. And it has affected her, 'cause that," Tasmin pointed at the last sentence, "is grammatically odd: after her pleas for freedom were heard she ended up with no freedom."
"It's a typically nineteenth century orphanage," Emma smirked. "We learned about them in Oliver Twist, Jane Eyre and Kruimeltje. The Sue could have avoided these problems by making herself a few years older."
"Haha. No!" Tasmin's smile suddenly dropped from her face. "I won't have it. People are always complaining about societies that don't take care of their children properly and here we have a society that is taking care of its children, well, at least doesn't let them roam about in the street, and now there is someone complaining they do just that. I won't have it."
"You're right. Even if it is a run-on sentence." Emma ignored her partner's scowl. "But she's sixteen and sixteen-year-olds always think that any form of discipline is a violation of their human rights."
Tasmin grunted. "Get the remote activator. I think we should move on."
Emma nodded and got the remote activator from her shoulder bag. A portal opened and both agents flew through.
It was twilight. Evening rush hour Tasmin figured. She had finally gotten the hang of flying as a fairy. Flapping her wings she hovered eight feet above the pavement. She watched the hovercars and hoverbuses go by.
"Why is it that half the future stories imagine that in the future there will be no gravity?" Tasmin asked.
"Uh, they probably think that something has been invented that keeps the cars afloat."
"Like what? An unlimited power source?"
"I don't know. Gravity is a funny thing in future stories, anyway. You have it in space, but you don't have it on Earth."
People passed underneath them, but took no notice. Tasmin was glad the invisibility thing of the fairies worked. She didn't know how it worked, but that it worked was most important. She had spotted the Sue and nodded Emma to follow.
The Sue overheard someone in the street making a phone call in which he mentioned the name Harkness. Because that wasn't a common name it had to be about her family. She decided to address the person making the phone call.
"Erm, I was just wondering, what were you talking about, to whoever you were on the phone with? Because I was just walking by, and I heard you mention 'Harkness?'"
"Oh, yeah, well you know Torchwood?"
"Yes, I too would immediately start explaining my phone calls to a total stranger," Tasmin remarked.
"If you don't want others to overhear you shouldn't hold phone conversations in public."
"Still, would you answer someone who just asked you about something from your phone call or would you look at them funny?"
"Depends on the question, but I probably look at them funny no matter what the question."
The stranger explained that the Harkness he was talking about was head of Torchwood about three thousand years earlier. The Sue decided she had heard enough and ran off.
The agents looked at each other and shrugged.
"People have phone calls about the strangest things."
"True, but kindly write up this Sue for applying a contrived plot device to get the plot moving."
Emma chuckled and dug through her shoulder bag to find a notepad and pen. After she had made the note she took the remote activator to take the agents to the next chapter.
For the third time they found themselves in the same street. Emma mumbled something about Pleasantville. A SUV hovercar with the word Torchwood engraved in the paint hovered by. Closely followed by a running Sue. The road was crowded with cars. There, however, were no other pedestrians so the Sue was able to keep up with the car. The two agents followed suit.
The SUV pulled up in an alley and its passengers got out. The Sue hid in the shadows.
But not smart enough to hide the code from Tasha were they?
Before the guy could type in the code, Tasha quickly got her hiding-pen out of her pocket and threw it in the opposite direction to where she was, so they would look over in that direction and give Tasha a chance to find her trioculars. She quickly unfolded them from the impossible position they could be folded up in. Thank heaven she lived in the fifty first century and not somewhere like the twenty first.
God, the tech they had in those days!
"But apparently the Torchwood people still use all the old stuff." Tasmin rolled her eyes. "Seriously, an identification code! You'd think the retina scan would be perfected by this time. Or the partial or full body scan, or a subdermal computer chip that can be read out. Anything that is a little more high tech and a more unique identifier than a number code!"
"I guess we can start tallying the number of times a contrived plot device is employed." Emma grinned. "Too bad we can only charge her once with it."
"Well," Tasmin made allowance, "perhaps we can charge her with each plot device individually."
"I bet, by the time we come to charging her, we want to do it as quickly as possible so we can kill her."
Tasmin hummed her agreement. The hum turned into a growl as the Sue saw the code and after the Torchwood people had gone into their secret lair the Sue got up, punched in the code and went into the lair as well.
The agents tried to quickly fly in after her. Emma managed, but Tasmin got stuck at the alley side of the wall. She rolled her eyes, glared at the Words and copied the code from them on to the keypad. The wall opened a third time and Tasmin went in. Emma met her on the other side and cheerfully slapped her on the shoulders. This did not improve Tasmin's mood.
Behind the wall was a long corridor with silver walls, a silver floor and bright white light. Their surroundings hurt their eyes. Tasmin groped around her back to reach her sun glasses in her duffel bag, but couldn't manage. Her wings were in the way. She growled under her breath about never again letting her partner choose the disguises. Emma shielded her eyes with her hand.
"The Sue's over there." Emma pointed ahead.
The Sue had stopped in the corridor. Just outside the visual range of a camera.
"Stupidity on the part of who ever installed the CCTV network of Torchwood also counts as a contrived plot device," Tasmin said putting a hand over her own eyes.
Emma grinned and reached into her bag to get her notepad, made the tally and returned the notepad to her bag. One of the Torchwood people shouted they were losing electricity and it effected the lights and CCTV. The lights started to flicker and the corridor became dimly lit.
Tasha grinned, this was her lucky day.
"And she hasn't even met us yet," Emma chuckled.
Tasmin chuckled too. Meeting two PPC agents was surely the icing on the cake of any Sue's day.
The agents flew ahead of the Sue and entered a control room where the five people that had come from the SUV were gathered around a few computers that, because of the power failure, were all showing a black screen. One of the women explained how the Rift was working, in layman's terms.
"DaVinci Code Movie moment," Emma snorted and grabbed her notepad from her bag. "I might as well keep this one in hand."
Tasmin nodded. She looked around the room and was not much impressed by it. Where the twenty-first century Torchwood Institute had been on the cutting edge of technology - thanks to their policy of 'if it's alien, it's ours' - Torchwood of the fifty-first century had hardly moved on. It might even be said it had technologically regressed. It seemed to be the dialectics of progress in action.
When the woman who gave exposition left the room to do some paper work, Tasmin first commented that probably wasn't an expression that had stuck around because it was so catchy, and then suggested going outside: Torchwood's power failure had also effected their air-conditioning system. Emma suggested they'd see how the air-conditioning at the Hub was functioning.
One step through the portal and the two agents found themselves at Torchwood Three. The portal materialized a few feet above the midsection water feature and Emma had to catch Tasmin or she would have made a splash. They perched themselves on the banister of one of the catwalks and watched the Torchwood Crew sitting at their workstations across the Hub. Tasmin wished there was a way she could check whether their fairy disguises still meant they were invisible. Canon characters would not be able to see them courtesy of the SEP field, but she wasn't entirely sure such a thing also worked on Jack. Invisible fairies, however, did work, she knew that.
Tasmin wrestled her duffel bag off her shoulders. "Want something to drink?" Tasmin held out a bottle of water. Emma smiled appreciatively.
"I see the Sue has gotten home." Emma took a swig from her water. "And gotten grounded."
Tasha also had all of the information she had been able to find on Torchwood. Luckily, she knew how to break encryptions and get past firewalls and
'Classified Information' blocks. Courtesy of her older brother. She missed him so much. Her J-
"Super hacker Sue," Emma commented.
"If that really were true she also would have been able to get herself past a more complicated security system than one blocked by a ten-digit code."
"That's still bothering you?"
"Kinda." Tasmin shrugged.
"Sounds like more than kinda." Emma checked her notepad. "How does 'not having thought more than five minutes about what a future society would be like' sound?"
"Sounds good." Tasmin bobbed her head in approval. Emma took a note and both turned their attention back to the Words.
Three thousand years in Natasha Harkness's past,
"Either I don't know what meanwhile means, or she doesn't know what meanwhile means," Emma said shaking her head.
"Meanwhile means at the same time. Meanwhile, on the other side of Gotham City The Joker got away."
"I'm having a drink, meanwhile, I got up this morning."
"Or something to that effect." Tasmin chuckled.
"I'm cracking jokes. Meanwhile, Owen is portrayed as a slacker."
"That sounds better."
"The use of meanwhile that is. Owen as a slacker should probably be noted as Owen bashing." Tasmin turned her attention from the Words to the scene before her.
Tosh had finished a computer program that allowed her to monitor Rift activity more closely. She had noted that the Rift was opening wider. Jack went into his office while the other Torchwood Crew members huddled around Tosh's computer.
"Oi! I heard that!" yelled Jack from the depths of his office.
The rest of the Torchwood team sniggered and then ducked as several pens came sailing towards their heads.
"A rather childish reaction from Jack."
"I don't know what it is with Jack, but for some reason authors think his mental age is about two decades off from his physical age. Perhaps we should do some canon measurements," Emma suggested.
"Canon's not going anywhere. And if they are it's probably in the wrong direction, I'm afraid. We can do measurements when the Sue is actually with them."
The Torchwood team found themselves being thrown about like they were on a boat in the storm.
It was several minutes later that the 'Earthquake' subsided, and by that time, three of the five Torchwood members were unconscious and the other two very battered and bruised...
The earthquake also affected the two agents. They were thrown from their perch and when they found their bearings again, they found it weren't exactly their own bearings.
Honestly, twenty-first century barbarians.
Oh, there's Ianto saying some sarcastic comment abouut me. And sniggering people. Right that's it. I pick up some pens and chuck 'em as best I can aim through two doors and some bends.
"What the ..." Tasmin shook her head. She suddenly stopped when she noted the scenery flashing by her eyes was the insides of Jack's office. "How did that happen?" She brought her right hand up to her face, but stopped that mid-motion: the hand that was approaching was male and white, and she was neither. "What happened? What is this?"
"You remember that movie: Being John Malkovich? I think we're being Captain Jack Harkness. And we just chucked some pens out of the door, and are about to be hit by that earthquake again."
Emma was right. The earthquake shook them from Jack's head and landed them in the midsection water feature. Neither agent was amused.
Tasmin quickly turned to the Words to see if she could make out what had happened. Emma, on the other hand, flapped her wings and got herself out of the water.
"It seems there was a scene entirely from Jack's POV. Which in this case meant interior monologue," Tasmin told her partner as she got to her feet.
"Nice. What ever happened to using italics for interior monologue? Not that I can't see the attraction of being inside Captain Jack, or vice versa." She mumbled the last words and quickly made sure she was at least at arm's length from her partner. She smirked at the glare she was thrown. "But still, italics."
"Write her up, I'd say." Tasmin started flapping her wings and slowly raised herself back up to the catwalk, and back to her perch.
Emma sat down next to her a moment later. Down below in the Hub the Crew of Torchwood Three were picking themselves up and licking their wounds. Jack had a head wound, but didn't like it much that Owen wanted to examine it.
Colourful language came in Gwen's direction from Jack's.
Words in German, English, French, purple and lime green came fluttering into the Hub. Emma pointed at them and laughed.
"I hate it when fics take metaphors, similes and euphemisms literally," Tasmin growled.
Tosh sat back behind her computer. Unlike in the fifty-first century, twenty-first century power systems weren't affected by an earthquake slash unstable Rift.
"By the twenty-fourth century the concepts of circuit breakers, fuses, and uninterruptible power supplies will have been lost," Tasmin muttered under her breath.
She narrowed her eyes as Tosh started reading out loud the information the computer had picked up on all the people falling through the Rift. There were people from Tudor times, Weevils, people from the thirtieth century, even from the fifty-first.
Jack jumped and went white. "What did you say?"
"That's what you get when you have a concussion and jump up." Emma shook her head. "The blood vessels of your skin contract, you turn pale and you faint."
"Jack is starting to get a very strange look in his eyes."
"It looks like were going to be Captain Jack again."
Tasmin reached over to her duffel bag which had been left behind on the catwalk and picked it up. She rummaged through it and emerged with a small device.
"I've set the Fic Location Follower to manual. We should be all right."
"Just in case I'm keeping my thumbs crossed."
"Uh, sure." Tasmin watched with interest as Emma alternated at quickly bringing her right thumb to left forefinger and her left thumb to her right forefinger.
The switch to manual seemed to work. While the fic showed the POV of each of the five employees of Torchwood Three in turn the two agents remained sat on the banister following the thoughts of Jack, Owen, Gwen, Tosh and Ianto from across the Hub, rather than form inside their heads. When all were done with their introspection they went back to work: Owen tended to Jack's head wound; Tosh and Gwen snuck peaks at them from their computers.
Meanwhile, in the 51st century….
"All dictionaries were recalled because of a faulty entry for the word 'meanwhile'," Tasmin remarked.
The Sue was also experiencing an earthquake. Then the chapter ended, with some author's notes.
Ha ha ha!! Cliffie!!
"I hate authors who are trying to be cute in their author's notes," Tasmin growled.
"We're all going on a Summer Holiday," a voice sang.
The agents frowned and slowly turned their heads to face a little man standing on the catwalk behind them. He was about two and a half feet tall, had a full head of dark hair and a twinkle in his eyes. He sang to them.
"No more working for a week or two."
Emma jumped onto the catwalk and grabbed the little man. He stopped singing and gave her a startled look.
"Look, Tasmin, our very own living doll!"
"Got myself a cryin', talkin', sleepin', walkin'," Cliffie began to sing.
"Livin' Doll," Emma hollered.
"Got to do my best to please her just cos she's a--"
Emma and Cliffie both gave Tasmin a startled look.
"You!" She pointed at Emma. "Let go of the little man. You!" She pointed at Cliffie. "Stop singing. And that goes double for you." She pointed back to Emma.
A moment later Emma and Tasmin were sitting on their perch again the little man between them, gagged. He had made an attempt at singing when he climbed onto the banister. He had been unable to duck Tasmin's clutching hands quick enough. The agents turned their attention to the Words as the action of the story continued in the fifty-first century, and they were still at the Hub.
The earthquake forced the Sue to run out of the house, where she saw the Torchwood car pass, and decided to run after it once again.
Tasha took one look and began to run after it. A J.Harkness was in the 21st century, working for Torchwood in Cardiff…
"I'll accept it if she says that Harkness is a rare name, but surely there is more than one J. Harkness in all the Universe in all of Time?" Emma shook her head. "I mean: Jack, John and Joe are three of the most common first names!"
"Welcome to the world of Sue logic. Or rather, the absence there of."
After the Sue corrected herself for the grammar she used she was pulled into the Rift.
The two agents smiled at each other.
"She's here," Tasmin said.
"Let the games begin," Emma added.
The games began with wailing computers and flashing red lights. A security breach had been detected. Jack wanted to destroy the computers, but Tosh spoke in defense of them.
"So far, Tosh seems to be the only one that is in character," Emma remarked.
"Sure, but how hard is it to write a technology geek with dry wit?" Tasmin retorted.
Jack suggested that someone had come through the Rift and ended up in the Hub. It took some convincing before the rest of the team believed him, but then they all went in search of the intruder. Collectively.
"Because ever since Countrycide they know it's a bad idea to split the team up in smaller entities," Tasmin explained to Emma, who listened intently. "Even if you can cover more ground that way, or make it less likely that the entire team would get captured."
"Let's go with them."
The two agents got up from their positions and flew after the team.
Not much later the team found a man lying sprawled out on the floor. Jack went catatonic. Owen, Tosh and Gwen hurried forward to see to the guy on the ground.
Ianto, after muttering something about coffee, went upstairs,
The agents watched him go.
"I'm not doing character measurements on him," Emma said. "The CAD would probably not even find enough character in him to give a reliable reading."
"That is if it hadn't gotten overheated and exploded after registerings Jack's OOCness."
Owen searched the man for identification.
'Torchwood' was written very bold and clear on it. As well as 'James Smith'. The guys name, obviously. The material felt strange to Owen, but he quickly dismissed that thought. The expiry date was also on there.
It was: "Enero 54th '13".
"Ugh, why not write the date properly? Number of day, number of month, full length of year."
"Another contrived plot device," Tasmin growled. "Now Jack can show of his superior future knowledge, by telling by the material where this guy is coming from."
"I wonder what 54 Enero translates to in a 365 day year," Emma mussed to herself.
"Why say that Owen didn't recognize the material? Is he the materials expert? Does he recognize whether something is made out of PP, PET, PVC, PE, HDPE, LDPE, ABS, PMMA, PTFE, PS, PC, PLA?"
"The Sue was born on 33 Enero 5005. She's sixteen. So if this is one of the Torchwood people she saw before, he's either carrying ID that expired seven years earlier, or will be valid for nearly a hundred years."
Tasmin turned her head to her partner. "Sues and maths, it never was a happy marriage."
As predicted, Jack knew immediately where the man was coming from.
"Let's just say I, er, umm, recognise the…'card'."
"How?" asked Gwen.
This was the one question Jack had been hoping would not be asked.
"Then don't give any reason for Gwen to ask that question." Tasmin narrowed her eyes.
"Hmm. Jack, without the personality altering concussion, would have said: 'Tosh's computer said we were getting incoming from Tudor times and the fifty-first century. I recognize this material as not being from Tudor times.' Thus leaving Gwen baffled."
"And her question answered."
Ianto called in to tell that the computer had detected someone with unidentified technology on them. Jack said they would investigate.
Tasmin suggested taking a portal to the outside world, rather than follow the Torchwood Crew through the Hub.
It was dark outside. There were some street lights that gave off an oily yellow light. Emma and Tasmin flew across Roald Dahl Plass. Emma had misassessed the location where to open the portal. The full Torchwood Crew had emerged from the Tourist Office and soon after turned into a backstreet that wasn't as well lit as the main streets.
As they walked towards where the reading was coming from, Jack's heart sped up, and once more, hopeful thoughts began to enter his mind. He couldn't help it. Could it be someone from his family this time?
"Sure," Tasmin panted. She was a long-distance runner; she was in good shape. Flying just wasn't her thing. "The chances of that are only slightly less than a million to one."
"That's too bad," Emma replied, who was not at all out of breath from all the flying. "Cause if it had been exactly a chance of a million to one it would have been possible." She chuckled.
"Who taught you maths?"
Tasmin rolled her eyes. She would have smacked her partner, but she just didn't have the strength for it. Emma suddenly put her hand out and stopped Tasmin.
"They've found her."
As the team got to the girl, Jack's heart leapt.
It was Tasha. His sister.
"Guess it was a million to one chance after all." Emma chuckled again, ignoring Tasmin's glare.
Jack nearly went catatonic again, but managed to tell his surprised team that this was his sister. As they all stared at him, the Sue woke up.
Jack and Natasha Harkness simply stared at each other. Then Tasha got to her feet, as did Jack.
Tasha burst into tears and threw her arms around her brother, who hugged her back tightly.
"Is anyone else bothered by the twenty year age gap, or is it just me?" Tasmin asked.
"Oh, I think Jack is a lot more than twenty years older than the Sue." Emma saw Tasmin's scowl deepen from abuse partner to torture partner. She hastened to add: "The age gap bothers me too. I'm sure there is a logical explanation for that."
Tasmin's scowl deepened to slowly torture partner.
Gwen was surprised as to how similar the two of them looked. They both had the same hair, same eyes, same faces.
"The sixteen-year-old Sue has the face of a thirty-five-year-old man. No amount of beauty products are going to help that," Emma said. She glanced at Tasmin to see whether the scowl had lifted any. Not discernibly so.
The Sue not only was a female version of Jack in looks, she also had his accent and even the same pose to show annoyance.
"I wonder if this Sue knows that it is not possible to make a female clone with male source material."
Still, no smile from Tasmin.
"Are you going to ignore me for the rest of this mission?"
"Works for me." Emma shrugged and got her notepad from her bag. She wrote up a few charges for the Sue. She put the notepad back. Tasmin still hadn't as much as twitched. "I suggest we sit the rest of this one out in a nice pub or something. I'm in need of a hot drink." She tried a half smile on Tasmin. "Oh, no, we can't. Cliffie's still at the Hub."
This finally got a reaction from Tasmin. "Very irresponsible of you."
Emma waved it away. "He would have been a burden to carry around with us." She got the remote activator to open a portal back to the Hub.
When the agents returned to the Hub Ianto, Tosh, Owen and Gwen were sitting in the conference room, cups of coffee in front of them. Emma and Tasmin quickly took their places on the banister again, Cliffie in between them.
"Has Ianto done anything else in this fic other than make coffee?" Tasmin asked.
"Not on my watch," Emma replied after a few moments' consideration.
"I was afraid so."
Jack and the Sue were in his office. Where the Sue noted that Jack was unusually confused and inarticulate.
"Well, at least she noticed too."
"I don't think that will exonerate her from causing that situation."
Jack gave the Sue a hug and the both of them laughed and cried together. Owen came to get them, because the rest of the team were dying to hear some gossip. Jack thought that now was the time to tell his team that he too was from the future.
"We're from the fifty-first century." said Jack, looking at the floor.
Eventually he looked up to see four people gawping at him.
The two agents were gaping too.
"I think I like canon Jack better," Emma said.
Tasmin closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "Of course you do," she said sweetly. "That's why we are Protectors of the Plot Continuum."
"Huh?" said Owen intelligently.
"Just what he said lamo." cut in Tasha, smirking at Owen.
"If there was any chance that we would think the Owen bashing was an incident," Tasmin indicated to Emma to get her notepad, "here is proof it wasn't."
Jack continued his story. He gave his team the short version: he was working for the Time Agency, went rogue when he found two years of his memories missing ...
"That always puzzled me," Emma said. "How does he know it's two years? He traveled through time. Did he have a solid anchor in time? And was it like: I remember February fifth of 5046, but not February sixth of that year."
"We're not here to question the logic of Russell T. Davies," Tasmin cut in.
Jack continued by telling about his travels with the Doctor and Rose, and about the day he died, but didn't stay dead.
"That knock he got on his head, must have been really, really hard," Emma said. She made a note on the charge list she was keeping. "Jack has forgotten who he is."
The two agents watched as the others let the news of Jack's immortality sink in by cleaning up the Hub. Tasha helped by complaining about backward technology, which Jack said was her cue to be taken to bed. He carried her off to his room.
Emma petted Cliffie on the head. "Do you know any lullabies?" Cliffie nodded. "Want to sing them to the Sue?" Cliffie nodded more vigorously. "Let's go then." Emma picked up Cliffie.
Tasmin grabbed Cliffie by his leg and pulled him back down. "Don't even dare think about it. We're going ahead to when she wakes up."
"Know any wake up songs?" Emma asked Cliffie.
"Give me the remote activator." Tasmin held out her hand. Emma handed it over reluctantly. Tasmin opened up a portal. Grabbing their belongings and Cliffie the agents went through.
The agents looked down the hatch into Jack's bedroom. Tasha was sitting up in the bed; Jack had just thrown a pillow at her to wake her up.
"It's 9:30 darlin'," said Jack, deliberately imitating his old Gran, who had been a Saturian.
"Ah, alright, love." Responded Tasha, imitating their Grandpa, who had been half human and half Berendian (from Berendia IV).
"Right, earlier she mentioned taking history lessons form Star Wars. Now she adds insult to injury and also took her biology lessons from space movies," Tasmin said. "Don't kids these days get taught proper biology anymore? The one that says that species per definition can't crossbreed."
"You know, if one of their parents had been alien, they would have been sterile, and we would at least not have to worry about either of them sprouting off-spring."
"I sincerely hope that this story is not going anywhere near the direction of having off-spring."
Emma and Tasmin quickly jumped out of the way as the Sue started up the ladder. She then told Jack she wanted to go clothes shopping. Jack didn't want her to go alone, but the Sue won that argument and left on her own, Ianto on her tail. After the Sue had gone past the cogwheel door, Jack froze in his position at the door.
Emma gave him a curious look. "Did he go catatonic again?"
"No, I think it's because the Sue didn't give him anything to do in her absence." Tasmin scanned the Words. "And he's too out of character to think of anything to do for himself."
"Talking of out of character, I think this Sue got a dose of that medicine too."
"I mean, not so long ago this girl was pining over how much she was missing her brother. Now she finally sees him again after many months, and she goes shopping on her own. Even after her brother has said he'll go with her."
"Sue's a big girl she doesn't need her big brother baby sitting."
"Yes, that would be the bottom line of her argument why she could go shopping alone in a time and a town she has never been. But how big a drag would Jack have to be to not be a fun companion to go shopping with? I'd take him shopping. I go shopping with my dad, and he much rather sit down somewhere and have a coffee."
"I take it you shop at places that serve coffee."
"You take correctly." Emma took her notepad from her bag to add this charge to her growing list.
"Grab hold of something; there's a time rift coming." Tasmin grabbed hold of the handles on Jack's safe.
Emma quickly jumped down the hatch and clasped the ladder. A strong wind picked up and Tasmin held on to the safe with all her might. Time rifts felt much stronger indoors than outdoors. When the wind died down five and a half hours had passed. Emma climbed back into the room and shook her head.
"What a rush. Oh, Cliffie." Emma rushed over to Jack's desk. Cliffie had not been secure when the time rift started and had been flung against the desk. He looked like he was about to cry. Emma wrapped her arms around him and slowly rocked him back and forth, comforting him.
Tasmin rolled her head around to loosen her neck muscles. Jack was still standing in the door way. He hadn't moved at all.
The Sue returned to the Hub; this brought Jack back to life. She had bought many items, but seemed to have shaken of Ianto. The alarm on Tosh's computer went off, and as she explained what it meant, Ianto snuck back into the Hub.
"It's a weevil." said Tosh.
"Oh, is that it?" said Jack disappointedly.
"No…hang on….five weevils."
"One each for you." said Ianto, grinning.
"Now why would Ianto say a thing like that?" Tasmin asked.
"There's five people in the Hub other than himself," Emma replied. She gave Cliffie a kiss on his head and a light pat. Then she put him down on the couch.
"Yes, but why would he assign a Weevil to the Sue? A sixteen-year-old he has just met the other day."
"I think it's a toss up between Ianto OOC and the Sue wanting to play hero." Emma made another note on her pad.
Jack gave the Sue a gun while waving away the neutrally put objection Gwen had by saying that the Sue had had training with a stun gun to defend herself from nasty creatures.
"Yet, the gun he gives her is going to fire bullets," Emma said.
"Not to mention that a stun gun is not the most appropriate weapon to ward of nasty beasties, as it requires making contact with the skin," Tasmin explained. "You'd think a longer ranged weapon would be used on nasty beasties."
Jack, Tosh, Owen, Gwen and the Sue left the Hub. Emma threw a pitiful look at Ianto and opened a portal to go to the Weevil situation.
The sight they got when they reentered the fic was not pretty. Five Weevils had cornered three people. Then the Torchwood Crew plus auxiliary came in. The Weevils forgot all about the three unarmed people and went for the five that were armed. Owen shot one in the leg.; he got slashed in his arm in return. Tosh and the Sue took out a Weevil. Jack got slashed in his face. The Sue shot one Weevil trying to get to her brother. That was enough for Jack; he had his sister locked in the SUV.
"Is that smart to take the one person on your team that takes out one of the baddies out of the fight?" Emma posed a rhetorical question.
"Contrived plot device," Tasmin grinned, which was not a pretty sight on a fairy by any means.
Jack shot the last two Weevils, and let the Sue out of the car.
Only Emma and Tasmin took stock of the carnage that had been done.
"Still think we should have gone in as Weevils?" Tasmin asked.
"If we had, we could have avenged our brethren."
"You know," said Tasha, looking around at the rest of the team, "He followed me whenever I went out until I was about twelve in case "something happened"!"
Tasmin and Emma turned around to the Sue when they heard her point out that her brother was overprotective.
"Besides that overprotectiveness is disproved by the fact he takes her Weevil hunting," Tasmin said. "Jack is twenty years older than you! He was busy fighting wars and joining Time Agencies when you were a kid!" she shouted at the Sue.
Emma put a hand on her partner's shoulder. "You are starting to draw attention to yourself."
Tasmin nodded and swallowed. It wasn't often she let herself go like that.
The Sue had thrown a look in their direction, but was quickly distracted again as the boy who had been under attack by the Weevils earlier stepped up to her. The Sue immediately put on a flirty voice. The boy introduced himself as Rory Smith.
"Smith, Smith. I know it's a common last name, but it's an unwritten rule that to avoid confusion you don't give characters the same name unless they are related," Emma said.
"Don't jinx this," Tasmin warned.
Rory looked at them. Dishevelled as they were, and in Jack's case, bloodstained.
"Owen, who got cut in the arm, managed to not bleed on himself." Tasmin smirked.
Rory asked for the Sue's phone number, and she wrote her cell phone number with a pen on his hand. Then he walked away. The two agents stared after him without speaking. Emma broke the silence first.
"She's been here a day." Emma shook her head before she continued. "In that time she has slept and gone shopping, yet she knows how to use all kinds of twenty-first century technology that may not exist anymore in the year 5021. Such as hand guns that have recoil, ball point pens, cell phones. She actually mentioned cell phones don't exist anymore in that time."
"I guess she has bought one here."
"Yeah, right. She's sixteen and hasn't got a valid ID, at least none that was mentioned, she can't get a mobile phone in this century. She needs an adult signing for it, and she made Jack stay at home."
Tasmin chuckled. "I guess 'not having thought for more than five minutes about the twenty-first century society' is another charge."
"Let's go charge her before that boy turns into a full blown doting Gary Stu." Emma turned around, but found that the Torchwood SUV had already left. The carnage and the two other humans that had been under attack had also disappeared. Emma looked at Tasmin and got a shrug in reply. She took the remote activator from her bag and set the coordinates.
Back at the Hub a few days had passed. Jack had been teaching the Sue about twenty-first century technology and decided it was time for a pop quiz. Tasmin and Emma flew past them unnoticed into Jack's office. Cliffie was still sitting on the couch, looking very unhappy and slightly nauseous. Emma quickly gave him a comforting hug. She dug into her bag and found a banana which she offered him as a peace offering.
Tasmin took her Beretta 92SB from her duffel bag and checked the magazine. "Let's rock," she said as she walked out of Jack's office. Emma nodded and followed.
Gwen was showing the Sue how to use twenty-first century make-up.
"Oi, over here," Emma hollered.
The Sue quickly turned her head around and got lipstick smeared all over her right cheek. "Who, what are you?" she stammered as she saw the two agents who were now full fletched fairies.
"Fairies," Jack said as he caught sight of the two monstrous appearances before him. He frowned as he noted one of them was sporting a shoulder bag and the other a semi-automatic.
"We want a word with you." Emma pointed at the Sue. She stepped up to her, grabbed her by the shoulder and flew out into the middle of the Hub, just a few feet underneath the ceiling.
"What are they doing?" Gwen asked a little frantically. "Is your sister a Chosen One?"
"No," Tasmin answered. "We're just picking her out."
Jack reached for his gun, but Tasmin quickly pointed hers at him.
"Do that and I'll give you a very nasty headache."
Jack seemed to consider this for a moment, then returned his gun to his holster. Tasmin nodded and made a running leap over the banister. Just in time she remembered to start flapping her wings. Emma in the mean time had wrapped her legs around the Sue in order to hold on to the Sue yet have her hands free to get the charge sheet from her bag.
"Hi, I'm Tasmin," Tasmin said as she was at eye-level with the Sue. "That's Emma."
Emma scratched the Sue on her head to make her presence known. The Sue struggled to get out of Emma's grip.
"Careful there, it's a long way down," Emma said. "And you're good, but I doubt you're made of rubber."
"We're Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Emma will now read you your charges."
"Right, Natasha Rose Harkness, nice touch on the name, by the way."
"Thanks," the Sue said a little hesitant. She had stopped struggling and was now gripping Emma's legs tightly.
Emma put on her serious, charging voice and started reading out the charges. "We charge you with offenses against the plot: you used many contrived plot devices to keep the story going, while the story would have worked excellently without them. We charge you with not thinking about what a future society would be like for more than five minutes."
"I have thought about it for more than five minutes."
"Well, it doesn't show."
"You're constantly complaining about how backwards twenty-first century technology is, but all you've shown is that it is more advanced than the technology used in the fifty-first century," Tasmin said.
"My partner has a gripe with you about technology."
"Not just technology. I also have a gripe with you about learning your history, your biology and your science from Star Wars and other such movies."
"Just history," the Sue protested. "And only as an example of what people in the twentieth century thought space was like."
"Sure." Tasmin gave the Sue a smile as if she was taking that charge of the list. "That would be like kids these days would learn about Jules Verne in their history class."
"Actually, we did that," Emma said.
Tasmin and the Sue both looked up at her.
"I went to one of those alternative schools. Half the kids in my class couldn't spell their way out of a paper bag, but, boy, did we have fun."
"Moving on. Charges for character abuse."
"Right." Emma tucked her notepad under her arm and crossed her arms. She stared down the Sue looking at the back of her head. "I can do this from the heart. We charge you with making Jack OOC; Jack is not insecure and angsty. Tormented yes, angsty no, insecure not during his lifetime. We charge you with reducing Ianto's character to the part of walking coffee machine; this is a man that built a life support system for a Cyberwoman. He can do more than make coffee. It was not his brain that Lisa took. Cut him some slack. Do you even know that Torchwood people on several occasions brought coffee into the Hub from the outside? You even have him thinking inane thoughts about making coffee. It was like hearing Homer Simpsons' thoughts in that episode where he was on the jury. 'Boy, I know you can't hear my thoughts. Poompa-poompa-poom. Poompa-poompa-poom'." Emma did an imitation of Homer.
"Emma! Moving on."
"Uh, right." Emma went back to her charging voice. "We charge you with bashing Owen. So, you don't like him. That does not give you the right to portray a man that is dedicated to his job as a slacker, and to only let him make snide remarks. Owen gives witty retorts, except to you, and that is wrong."
"There isn't that much you can wittily retort to an ad hominem argument like 'lamo'," Tasmin grinned.
"You want me to drop this charge?" Emma asked calmly.
"No, no. Keep that and keep charging."
"Good." Emma consulted her notepad. "Let's see, plot abuse, character abuse. Abuse of the term Point of View to show people's thoughts. That's what italics are for. Further we charge you with wanting to be a hero: you break into a Torchwood Institute; you go Weevil hunting; you go shopping on your own in a strange town."
"So? I can handle myself."
"So, you're a Mary Sue."
"Am too. You were asked for your phone number by a guy who had just been scared shitless. No man asks for a woman's phone number with his underwear full of number two."
"Unless that woman is a Mary Sue," Tasmin said.
"QED," Emma added. "Do you understand these charges?"
"Doesn't matter. Your punishment is death. Do you have any last words?" Tasmin got her Beretta ready.
"You can't kill me." The Sue started to struggle again.
"She's right. I can't shoot her at this short range. I'd get her blood on me."
"I have an idea. You hold her."
Emma thrust the Sue in Tasmin's direction. Tasmin grabbed hold of the struggling Sue. Emma flexed her fingers then forced her right hand into the Sue's mouth and down her throat. It didn't take long for the Sue to stop struggling. Emma retracted her hand. Rose petals fell from the Sue's mouth.
"That was disgusting," Tasmin commented.
"And it's going to get even more disgusting." Emma swooped down. A moment later she returned and squirted protein sauce over the Sue. "Bombs away."
Tasmin let go. The Sue fell down and about one point seven seconds later made impact with the concrete floor. Tasmin and Emma looked down at her.
"What were you thinking of?"
"I was thinking feeding time for the pterodactyl."
"It's nocturnal. It's a few minutes past three."
"This place doesn't catch daylight. How would it now?"
Tasmin paused to think about this. Her thoughts were interrupted by a loud screech. The pterodactyl circled the Hub and then swooped down to the Sue. The Sue was too big for her to pick up in one so she started hacking at it to make smaller pieces.
"Right." Emma dropped the bottle of protein sauce. "That's that taken care of." She looked over at the workstations where the Torchwood Crew were slowly starting to become themselves again. "I'm a little surprised none of them has tried to stop us."
"They couldn't have. The Sue had made it impossible for them to undertake any action without her right there with them."
The agents flew over to them and landed next to Gwen's workstation.
"Attention please," Tasmin shouted. Five heads turned to her. "We'd like to know where James Smith is."
"Who?" Gwen asked.
"Boy, they get back into character quicker than I had thought," Emma commented.
"No, I think this is a case of truly having forgotten. James Smith, he was one of the people that came through the Rift. You took him to Med."
"Fuck." Owen, who had been lying rather leisurely behind his computer, jumped up. "He's still in Med." Owen ran down the stairs.
The agents exchanged a look and quickly followed.
Owen pulled the plugs of his stethoscope from his ears. "Shit. He's dead." Owen rubbed a hand in his face and through his hand. "I can't believe I lost a patient due to neglect."
"It wasn't your fault," Emma said.
"He needed medical attention; I'm the doctor; I didn't give him medical attention; it is my fault he died."
"No." Emma shook her head lightly and put a hand on his arm. She pulled it away quickly when she realized that she still looked like a monstrous fairy. "It was the Sue. She made you negligent. She's gone now, and you will become a good doctor again."
"And we will take him away, so you will never be reminded of this episode again."
Owen humphed as the two agents started pulling James Smith off the bed. Emma opened a portal and grabbed James by his feet.
"Shit, Cliffie." Emma dropped James' feet and rushed out of the room.
"Not again." Tasmin sighed and rolled her eyes.
"And your duffel bag," Emma shouted from the corridor.
Tasmin threw her head back and stared at the ceiling as she took a deep breath.
"It's a good thing you've got your wings attached, otherwise you might forget those too," Owen remarked.
"Shouldn't you be upstairs making sexual innuendos at your co-workers?"
"I thought for a change I'd make sexual innuendos at a non-sexual being." Owen smirked at her. Tasmin tried to glare back, but Owen didn't seem impressed.
"Right, got them." Emma came rushing back in with Cliffie under one arm and the duffel bag under the other. She assessed the situation. "Uh, you'll have to drag him through on your own. Bye, Owen." Emma hopped through the portal, followed by a grumbling Tasmin dragging a dead James Smith.
Tasmin dropped James to the floor as soon as she had pulled him all the way into the office. She was glad to note she was herself again. "He's dead," she said. "He can go into the incinerator. He isn't, so he can't." She nodded at Cliffie.
Emma put the duffel bag and Cliffie on the ground. She knelt down beside the little man and removed his gag. He opened his mouth and was about to start singing, but one slightly raised eye-brow in Tasmin's face made him shut his mouth again.
"You have got to be kidding! We just got in."
"I think it's something else this time." Tasmin walked over to the console and tapped the keys. "It's an invitation: Mara and Isaiah are throwing a Welcome Back party."
"Mara and Isaiah, Department of Technical Errors. I can't believe those guys aren't dead." Tasmin smirked. "Are you going?"
"Sure. Always love a good party." Emma picked up Cliffie. "And this time I can take care of the live entertainment."
"Good. Then I'll dispose of this guy." Tasmin prodded James in his side with her foot.
"Aren't you coming to the party?"
"I try to avoid places where insanity gathers."
Emma gave her a puzzled look. "Then what are you doing at the PPC?"
"Target practice," Tasmin replied.
"Right." Emma turned around and quickly left the office.
Tasmin wondered if there was somewhere she could get a cart from to move James.
A/N: Protectors of the Plot Continuum go into stories and take out
the elements that disrupt the canon continuum. Most often these are
Mary Sues. As was the case here. This story had some gaping plot
holes and grave out of character behavior, but also some great ideas
- Someone from the future in the twenty-first century is a reverse of Out of Time and can be a great story of discovery. You know, bananas could be extinct by the end of the century.
- Jack sees his sister means room for disclosure of his past and character development (and by that I don't mean that Jack becomes insecure and angsty).