Jack came back later in the evening with his clothes smelling like rotten eggs and his arms and legs covered in some kind of exquisite alien slime. The monster of week had once again exploded in front of him and his team, leaving them enough bio-samples to collect and paperwork to archive for the rest of the night, if they were so lucky to get to the showers first before the warm water ran out. Being used to work himself into messy troubles, the captain let the rest of mob-squad squabble about who was going to get cleaned up first, while he retreated into his office for a stiff drink and a smoke. He was just pouring himself half a glass full when the Doctor suddenly appeared and laid a hand on his shoulder like some eerie ghost from a Victorian horror story. It made him jump right up.
"Oh Doc!" He sighed, while steadying his drink. "It's only you! God, you startled me."
"Did I." The Doctor said, sounding not too friendly, while observing the yellow muck that clung onto the captain from head to toe. "Where have you been?"
"I've been busy." Jack nodded, grinning widely. "Gigantic egg monster filled with gruesome gunk. It was terrorizing east London, feeding on alley cats and homeless people. Long story short: we tracked it down, found it, and blew it up."
"Of course, the usual standard Torchwood protocol of practice. In case it's alien, it got to be evil. Hence it should be destroyed." The Doctor stated coldly.
"It was our last option after we reached the conclusion that we couldn't reason with it." Said Jack, his grin was quickly disappearing from his face. "Besides, I only opened fire on it because it was threatening to eat Tochiko." He added to his defense.
"Did you." The Doctor replied with an icy expression on his face.
The captain took a good gulp of his drink. "Yeah, I did, Anyway, what's it to you?" He blurted out before he realized how stupid the remark actually was. He knew exactly what it meant to the Doctor. Still, he didn't want him to think badly about the Torchwood gang. "You're acting like I've just murdered a litter of helpless kittens with my bare hands. That thing was a menace for the people living in that area, and we did nothing wrong by killing it."
The Doctor came up closely to the captain, and took a loud sniff.
"What are you doing?" Jack asked. The Doctor's unusual and somewhat hostile behavior was making him feel uneasy.
"It's a Avisovum." The Doctor said in a matter of fact voice as he identified the peculiar scent. "Or it was an Avisovum. Not much of it left. It's a primitive alien life-form that does not develop pass the embryonic stage. They are like gigantic soft-shelled eggs on legs, and they feed on protein. It doesn't matter to them if that protein happens to be part of a life-form of higher intelligence or comes from a species of mould. They generally don't mean any harm."
"Really? It growled at me when I asked if it could be so kind to spit out my team-member."
"Dogs and cats also growl at people, but you don't go around blowing them up with sticks of dynamite. Honestly, you could have saved yourself the trouble and the stench by simply pointing your menacing monster the way to the tofu-section at Sainsbury's."
"Look, I don't know what your problem is Doctor. But we don't have the knowledge about these creatures that you have to solve it peacefully. You weren't around to advice us, hence the stench and the guilt that you are successfully talking into me right now. But we just wanted to help."
"Like you wanted to help me with the Master?"
Jack halted, a dirty feeling crept into his guts.
"What do you mean by that? Did you find out about the -"
"You said you were going to keep him safe." The Doctor said accusingly. He brought the bioconverter back into life with one touch of his sonic screwdriver. Bio-data danced over the monitor. Already converted back into the English language, it told the entire life of Marcellus Quintus, a Roman slave from Londinium.
"It reads like a novel, one of those tragic ones." The Doctor muttered.
Something was stuck in Jack's throat, he swallowed hard. The dirty feeling in his guts sank to his feet. He urgently wanted to explain everything to the good Doctor, and he searched for arguments that would justify his deeds. He found not even one that sounded solid enough to even convince himself. For the truth was that he had known this from the beginning. He had known that what he was doing to the Master was wrong, and that he was betraying the Doctor's trust from the moment that he typed the first words of Marcellus's wretched life into the machine. He had felt that growing pang of guilt when he walked away from Marcellus to be branded with the mark of his new, brutal master. He had wallowed in remorse when he found out that he could not fix the time transporter to get the Master back into the presence. So now that he was being finally found out by the Doctor, there wasn't really anything that he could say that could make it up to them both.
"I'm sorry." He finally muttered. "It was wrong. I can imagine that you loathe me for this." Jack recalled the stories that Martha had told him about the family of Blood, and how the Doctor had punished them for their cruelty. He also remembered how protective he was over the life of his fellow Timelord. If the Doctor wanted revenge, he wouldn't stop him from taking it.
"I just want to know where he is." The Doctor said, shaking his head and pointed on the screen. "I cannot find this information on the bioconverter. You didn't lock it into his memories. I need a date and a place."
Jack took a deep breath, realizing that he had to confess to the Doctor the worst part of his crime.
"I've – I've sold him. To a brothel in Rome." He watched with a growing sense of culpability and unease how the Doctor's eyes widened in response. " It's located in a side street of Via Nova, close to the Antonian Baths. The patron of the brothel is called Simon Asinaria. If you ask around in that area people will know. And the date - " He closed his eyes for a moment, not because it helped him to remember, but because he wanted to block out the Doctor's accusing stare. "The date was July the 12th, 54 AD."
"You sold him into a brothel?" The Doctor gasped. "How could you –" He swallowed hard, his voice was trembling. "This is horrible. Jack Harkness, I would have never thought in a million years that you were capable of such a heinous, vicious deed, but you have proven me wrong. I have been wrong."
"I just wanted to teach him lesson." Jack replied, weakly. "I didn't mean to dump him there for the rest of his life. It was only for a couple of days, but then the bloody time-transported went broke and I couldn't fix it. Believe me, I've tried."
"Didn't you realize that he was human? After the bioconverter did its work, it was no longer the Master who you were going to punish with this demented prank of yours. This Marcellus Quintus that you invented has turned into someone of flesh and blood. You've condemned an innocent man into a life of suffering, of imprisonment and humiliation!"
The Doctor bit on his lower lip. There was so much anger cooking inside of him right now, he was afraid that if he allowed it to surface completely, he would do something that he would live to regret.
So he grabbed his sonic screwdriver and aimed it at the captain.
Jack's hart skipped a beat.
"Doctor?" He managed to blurt out.
A powerful blue beam exploded from the tip of the alien device. It came close by the captain's head, incinerating the ends of his neck-hairs, and collided with the filing cabinet behind him. It blew open the upper draws, sending a whole flock of papers files flying, while Jack was forced face down to the floor by a hot wall of air that pushed into his back. Dark, burnt pieces of what was once an electronic device rained down on him. When he opened his eyes to look, he realized that it was from the time transporter that he had so painstakingly tried to restore.
The Doctor fired again, this time aiming at the bioconverter. The blue beam bathed it in a harsh unnatural light, and incinerated the device within seconds, leaving little but a pile of blackened ashes when it was finished.
After the dust had settled, Jack finally dared to crawl back up, brushing the dust and debris off his clothes. "Doctor?" He asked hesitantly.
The Doctor did not speak a single word to him, but turned around and left.
Marcellus's life had become a string of continuous torments. After he recovered, Simon ordered Micranus to chain him up in the back alley as if he was a wretched dog, and left him there without clothes or shelter, even during the long cloudless November nights that were bitter cold. The men that came for his services were no longer educated, rich Roman citizens, but poor freemen and even slaves who paid little and took much of the battered young man. Particularly the slaves, who were abused by their cruel masters themselves, had such perverted and cruel minds that they could perhaps rival that of Marcellus's mad alter-ego. They took him harshly and shoddily, pinning his skinny frame to the wall till he opened his skin over the rough stones, and fucked him with their fists or empty wine bottles till he bled and screamed for mercy. They beat him till he lost consciousness when he failed to suck their cocks to their satisfaction. They cut in his arms and legs and urinated on him, while mocking that it would help to clean his wounds. Marcellus was slowly losing his sanity, the will to live tortured out of him by these sadistic men. The drums had returned, reaping the few hours of sleep that was allowed to him, filling his mind with fear and hatred for what he was being reduced into. The only hope that he had left was senator Cealus, and he wished with all his heart that he would soon return to the lupenare. The senator was the only one who could undo this terrible injustice that had happened to him, and his longing to see Cealus was the one thing that kept him from conceding to his cruel fate.
Days and weeks passed without any sign of his old friend, and little by little Marcellus started to lose his frail hopes. He feared that the noble man had just forgotten about him. For what could he be more than an insignificant bed-toy to someone as important and rich as the senator? But then one night, four weeks after was he brutality punished for the crime that he did not commit, a group of gladiators came by the lupenare. They were very drunk from celebrating in the nearby inn, and paid Simon too much in their intoxicated state. They were large and muscular men, with scars running all over their bodies in cross patterns that resembled the writings of some exotic script. They jested that Marcellus had enough scars at his back to be one of them if it wasn't for the fact that he looked like he could be blown over by the slightest breeze.
They were not too unfriendly, and Marcellus let them do what they wanted with him. There was very little use in trying to resist. He simple had no strength left. They gave him a slight push with their feet, and he dropped on his knees and hands. He was gently nudged forward till he faced a wooden crate. One of them sat down there and planted his face in his lap. The man's cock, hard and ready, stuck out from underneath his tunic. Marcellus did not feel nor think, but let the degradation overcome him as he had so many times before. He opened his mouth and started to lick and suck the cock as he was taught to by his former clients. Another man mounted him from behind, and he felt how one cock was forced into his ass while the other filled his throat. The two men started thrusting into opposite directions. His beaten body took it all in, working as a shock absorber.
He closed his eyes as the man above him began to grunt and moan, and the man behind him started to dig his fingernails into his buttocks. He finally swallowed the cum that spewed from the jerking member. The slippery liquid drowned his mouth before it slipped down into his throat.
The man who he had orally serviced pulled out of him, only to be replaced by another man, who was already waiting with his cock hard in his hand.
Marcellus did not need any more orders. As soon as the third gladiator sat down, he took the cock into his mouth and sucked it as a lamb would his mother's tits.
The second man was still inside him, but his cock twitched and pulsed and Marcellus knew that he was close. He tensed his buttocks after the last thrust, and pushed himself back, building up the tension, fucking himself into the man's cock. His client grunted loudly, and ejected a flow of cum that filled his stomach with a warm, familiar feeling. The man then pulled out, leaving his ravished asshole dripping wet with semen. When the last man of the group mounted him, his ass was so slick that he barely noticed him entering. He went through all this emotionlessly and obliviously, his body reacting and acting on autopilot, his mind forcefully blocking out everything that was happening to him.
He only caught fragments of the conversation that went on between the men.
"Tiberius, come over here and drink with us!" Yelled one of them. "Don't just stand there nursing your limb cock. Let's celebrate!"
His friend went over to his comrade and seized the wine carafe. He poured down the drink into his gullet, and burped loudly.
"To the future emperor Nero's good fortune!" He raised his drink for a toast. "And to his divine, generous mother Agrippina!"
"May she summon us more often for her services!" Was the boisterous response of the other men.
Marcellus recalled the senator mentioning those names to him the last time that they had met. He could not exactly remember what his friend had said about them, but it rang off alarm bells in his head nonetheless.
"Hey bum boy, snap out of it. Don't stop doing that thing that you were doing with that nimble tongue of yours." The gladiator who sat in front of him grabbed Marcellus's head and pushed his cock into deeper into the slave's mouth. Marcellus gagged, but managed to swallow the man's member deeper into his throat before continuing.
"And let us drink to senator Cealus Hortalus and his wealthy household for providing us little resistance and an abundance of loot!" roared the man who was banging the helpless slave at the moment.
"Little resistance?" Snorted one of his comrades in response. "Speak for yourself Adrianus! You only had to deal with his wife and his cute little daughter. I was the one who killed Cealus, and that old fart put up a hell of a fight. I can still feel the notches that his cane made in the back of my head. Hey, what did I tell you shitface! Don't stop. Keep on sucking!"
Marcellus froze. Did he really hear this man brag that he had killed senator Cealus?
"Hey! Cuntface! Didn't you get the message? What are you? A fucking retard?" The man barked.
"Dominus…" Marcellus looked up with hooded eyes, asking hesitantly with a voice that croaked of neglect. "Dominus, please forgive me for asking, but I beg of you, please, can you tell me what happened to senator Cealus Hortalus?"
First, the man was surprised that the seemingly docile slave dared to speak up to him, but the booze in his stomach made him more laid-back than he normally was, and he decide to humor the poor wretch. He smirked and pulled out a short knife from under his belt.
"If you so desperately need to know, I will tell you. Although I wouldn't know why it concerns you, unless the old goat was one of your regulars."
Marcellus must have looked flustered, for the gladiator noticed it and decided that they probably were indeed acquainted in such a way. The smirk on his lips widened into a malicious grin. He pointed the sharp end of the knife under the slave's chin.
"You did know him! You were fuck buddies, weren't you? Well, I don't think the old goat is going to pay you a visit anytime soon. The senator was so foolish to advise the emperor against the adoption of the empress's son. So wise lady Agrippina ordered us to eliminate him and his family. She paid us well for doing her this favor."
He showed him his knife. The blade was still crusted with dried blood.
"You see this?" He said with a proud grin. "I used this to slash the senator's neck from ear to ear. He bled like a bloody pig."
Marcellus face went pale, a cold nauseous feeling spread form his stomach over his entire body. He felt the veins pulse violently in his neck.
"Stop pestering that bum boy Appius! He's going to shit himself, and I still got my dick stuck inside his asshole."
The other men broke out in drunken laughter, while Appius just shrugged, and pushed his cock back inside Marcellus's mouth.
"Now you know what happened to that old pervert. Get back to work before I slip out with my knife and make an extra hole in that pretty cock sucking face of yours."
Something snapped inside Marcellus. The inertness that had wrapped his troubled mind in a false sense of safety had been ripped out of him. He realized that senator Cealus was gone. He lost the only friend that he had in this harsh, unfeeling world. There was nobody left to protect him from the cruel punishments he was forced to endure. It was a fate worse than death, a fate that the Doctor had condemned him to.
The pulse of his quickened heartbeat merged with the sound of drums that rose from his deepest sub-consciousness. He hated the Doctor for his ruthlessness, he despised the Master for having evoked such harsh retribution from the other Timelord, and he reviled the man in front of him who had murdered his dear friend.
Appius noticed the change that took place in the slave a little too late. He had just tucked back his knife under his belt and leaned back with his eyes closed when Marcellus bit down hard on the tip of Appius's cock. The gladiator screamed in agony, as the slave's mouth filled with warm blood gushing out of the flesh wound. It tasted sweet and satisfying to Marcellus, in a way he imagined revenge would taste if it had any kind of flavor. He tore off a scrap of soft, disgusting meat from the now blood drenched cock, spat it out on the ground, a drizzle of blood ran down the corner of his blood-red mouth. Appius kept howling, his hands searching desperately for his knife. He took it out from underneath his belt with sweaty, slippery fingers, and then dropped it in a crack between two wooden crates where it was completely out of reach.
"Help me you morons!" Appius managed to utter. "Get this madman away from me!"
But before the others could come close enough to do something for their unfortunate comrade, Marcellus jumped at Appius's thick neck, going for a spot what he hoped was somewhere near a vital artery. Bloodthirsty and crazed like a savage beast, he sank his teeth sank into the soft flesh of the gladiator till he once again tasted the sweet taste of blood.
He would have killed Appius, if it wasn't for Micranus, who had heard the screams and the turmoil coming from the back and had rushed outside to find Marcellus about to tear a hole in the client's mec. He ran over to the two men and knocked his elbow against the back of the slave's head.
The world suddenly faded in front of Marcellus's eyes. He sunk forward, the tangy taste of blood still lingered in his mouth while the drums thumped in his ears.