Astride the Rift
Chapter 1

'So, its a museum. I thought we were looking for your friend.' Kara looked around. She was beginning to narrow it down. They must be on one of the moons orbiting Caprica. They were always a bit funny when it came to the usual distinctions between tribes.

Right now they were standing at the steps of a large stone building. Stone! Hadn't these people heard of Concrete? 'Actually its an art gallery. I'll know when he arrives. If and when he does.' the Librarian frowned. 'Ever had the feeling you're being watched?'

'What? Sure, a couple of times.' she answered.

'Good, keep on the look out for that.' He was looking at the building like it shouldn't be there. Rubbing the back of his neck and trying to look through the windows without out moving.

'What are you doing?' Kara asked they were earning no end of odd looks from the people passing in the street.

He sighed 'How to explain. You know when your certain somethings going to happen only you don't know what? No that's not it. It's like the feeling you forgot to turn the oven off.'

'Any time you want to make sense I'll be standing right here.' she supplied.

He turned to her 'There is something in there. I can taste it, I know it. Only I've never been in there in my life. I don't know what it is I'm looking for or why only that it's in there. It's vital I get in there before something happens to it.'

'Is there some sort of secret club you have to be in to understand a word you said?' Kara planted her hands on her hips.

'Just come with me please. I'll explain when I know.' She followed him in after he paid with more paper cubits. If they had waited a moment she might have noticed the black vehicle pull up silently. a small group of people getting out and looking for something.

Inside the gallery Kara was taken aback it wasn't like any art gallery she'd ever seen. Usually they were boring as hell but this one was strange. Instead of a few landscapes and a couple of dusty pre-colonial artefacts this had walls covered in paintings. Paintings like explosions of light and colour, they reminded her of the work she had done herself.

And no art gallery in all the Colonies, let alone a back water moon like this one, would display something like that. It just wasn't done that way. 'Where are we?' Kara whispered to herself.

Looking around she saw her guide to this mad world half run out a side door. Chasing after him as fast as she dared she saw bored children dragged in font of these paintings. One was just black and white patterns, another an explosion of colour. Dimly Kara noticed that the "art" was changing, becoming bolder more abstract.

Another thing she noticed was just how gods damn fast the Librarian moved. Without quite running he was going a lot faster than a walk, pausing for only a moment at a time, as if he knew where he was going.

Distracted by one painting that was a riot of dark colour Kara almost ran into him 'Ah!'

'What is it doing here?' he asked while looking at a sculpture. At first she thought he was talking to her, but it didn't take long for her to see he wasn't. He was looking at something about the size of a hand, maybe a bit bigger. It had a flat hand grip and a small box on the top. 'Looks intact, even the positronic neutraliser and the wave topography particle generator.' The Librarian pointed at the wire finger guard around the handle and a knobbly thing at the bottom. 'It might even still work, but his thing is from before the age of Rassilon. What is it doing here?'

He was walking around this thing. It was in a glass box on its own little pedestal. 'Better question; What is it?' Kara asked while looking at a little plaque next to it. It read, in perfect Caprican:- "The Unknown. Unknown Welsh artist in gold and hard wood."

'It's a... Well it's a...' He began waving his hands before dropping them in defeat. 'It's a time machine. Sort of.'

'How can it be sort of a time machine? It's either one or it's not.'

He winced and she could tell he was deep in thought; 'Try to understand this would be like trying to explain Viper mechanics to a Dagget.'

'What did you just call me?' That had got her attention

'It's the only thing I could think of that could fit, sorry. My TARDIS is a type 75, otherwise known as a mark seven. It can do a lot of very special things because it's that advanced. This isn't as advanced, not even close. It still allows the user to travel in time, only nothing like what my people can do now.'

'So it's a prototype time machine, from your home. What's it doing here?' Kara didn't get an answer as three little black disks spun into the large room, one landing near the two of them. Three explosions followed.

'So what is a Time Lord?' Gwen asked again, this time they were inside the SUV and Jack was driving like a mad man.

Owen turned around and answered; 'Basically they're your average time travelling intergalactic super-being. At least that's what the legends say. Really we don't know. One called the Doctor visits Earth every so often and lends a hand in stopping the odd alien invasion but...' Jack took a corner so fast everyone was thrown to one side of the car and it lifted onto to wheels.

'Sorry about that, that curb was WAY to high.' A quick jerk of the wheel and the SUV was back on four.

'Anyway, we don't know much. He was there when UNIT was set up and was part of the original Torchwood charter over a hundred years ago but other than a few completely silly and contradictory descriptions we don't know who he really is.' Owen finished.

'I saw him once.' Ianto supplied. 'Back at Torchwood One. He was there when the Cybermen and Daleks attacked. Right in the middle of it. He saved us all that day, at a terrible cost. Tall thin guy with messy brown hair and a pinstripe suit.'

Tosh looked up from her computer. 'I've seen him to, only he didn't look like that. He wasn't tall and had short black hair. Also his nose and well... features stuck out.'

'That sound's like the Doctor.' Jack laughed before pulling a turn at speed that almost ripped the tires off.

'Which one?' Gwen asked.

'Both. When a Time Lord dies he regenerates his body. Changes everything he ever was. Both of them were the same man, sort of at least. The Doctor's more an intergalactic legend than a Time Lord anyway and he's supposed to be the last one.' Jack pulled the car to a stop behind a black van and they jumped out. Jack took command and waved his wrist strap. There was a blue light flashing on it. 'Right this is tuned to Time Lord wave patterns, they're here. Tosh, scan the area for any body with two hearts in them. Take Gwen and Ianto, I'll take Owen. Stay in contact and don't split up, not ever. Got me?'

Everyone nodded. 'Good and one last thing. If you see former Prime Minister Harold Saxon, shoot on sight.' He must have read the confusion on everyone's faces because he added:- 'Long story, so don't ask.'

It was at that moment the Cardiff modern art gallery they had parked next to exploded.

Gwen hadn't noticed that was where they had stopped until then. The windows exploding out ward in a way that was all to horribly familiar. The back door of the van burst open and a man began firing a pistol.

Gwen flinched, noticing the way he held the gun in both hands. The set of his shoulders, the way his head rocked back with each shot. She saw the ill fitting ski-mask and black featureless hoodie that almost swaddled him. A kid, maybe not even twenty, with a gun. The part of her brain that would have told her to duck, or at least get out of the way, was busy telling her all this and so she crouched right in the firing line.

Something hit her, it was hard and she snapped out of the shock. She'd been shot she thought. Any second now the pain would come, a part of her had always wondered what it was like. To be shot, to die. She was almost disappointed when she opened her eyes to see Owen's grinning face. 'Now you don't want to end up like me do you?' he laughed half heartily.

The sound of Jack's old revolver barked twice and Gwen saw the boy take one of the bullets in his shoulder. 'Jack he's just a kid!' she shouted.

'And now he's just a wounded kid.' Jack answered flippantly. 'Secure the, agh!' Four men jumped out of the ruined windows, firing on them. At least one of them knew what he was doing and Jack was hit, bad. Just another normal day at Torchwood then.

Owen rolled off and tried to get up but Gwen pulled him back. and the pair of them rolled under the SUV. More bullets bouncing around them. 'What you do that for?'

'You're still dead remember you idiot. You can't heal anymore.'

'I know that, so I don't have to worry about bullets do I'

'One lucky shot and the rest of us spend time thinking of headless Owen jokes. Now stay down and let me look at your side.' Gwen ordered. She was right, he'd been hit by the round he'd saved her from. Another gaping hole in his torso.

'Oh perfect. Now they've just got me mad.'

'Didn't feel it?' She had to ask. One of the side effects of being, well of being deader than a doornail was that Owen couldn't feel anything.

'Not a thing. Bastards.' He swore as the black van pulled away. The two of them crawled out and were offered a hand up by Tosh and Ianto.

'They had us pinned behind the SUV.' Ianto offered as way of explanation. 'Good thing it's bullet proof.'

'What isn't that proof?' Gwen asked, the things she'd seen the SUV do since her joining Torchwood were bordering on impossible. While the others were thinking of something she saw two people stumble out of the building.

The couple looked completely out of place with each other. The woman had mid length blond hair and gold necklace with a hexagon pendant. Dressed in a two piece black and grey sleeveless shirt and dark green trousers. 'They got away, if I brought my gun I could have stopped them.' she shouted and Gwen noticed the empty holster on her thigh

The man shook dust out of his hair and brushed his shoulders. 'It's considered impolite to walk around with a Kinetic energy weapon. And I don't believe in violence.' The last bit he almost ordered before catching sight of Gwen. He was in a formal suit with a dark shirt and waistcoat. Only he had rolled up his sleeves, undone the top two buttons and lost both his tie and jacket somewhere.

Jack got to his feet, 'Now that sounds like a Time Lord.' he smiled. The man's face dropped in flat shock before twisting in revulsion. It looked like the very sight of Jack was enough to disgust him. 'Oh, I forgot about that.'

'Jack what's wrong?' Ianto asked.

'You should not exist.' The man stood up strait, eyes digging into Jack. 'He's suspended in time, sheathed in a riot of temporal energies. Keeping him alive no matter what. How is this possible?'

'Short version; I died.' Jack winced. 'And got brought back. And back and back again.'

'He can't die?' the blonde asked her partner. 'Your people can do that?'

The man half growled his answer 'It goes against every natural law in the universe Kara. No one should be able to do it, to suspend a man in time so that he cannot die but still effect the world around him. It's wrong, in every way.'

'Well at least I'm consistent.' Jack quipped. 'Now we're going back to the hub, your coming back with us to answer some questions. Like who are you and what the hell just happened.'

'That's what you think frakker.' the woman, Kara, called out but the man put a hand on her arm. There was a long moment while he never broke eye contact with Jack, hand on Kara's arm.

'Kara, this is more important. It looks like this little city has a few more secrets than I first thought. Besides you need to be a Time Lord to use what they stole and I think you can help me find who did it.'

The man in the long coat, Jack, came with them, along with the one in the sharp suit and one of the women. Ianto and Tosh They took a taxi the other two, Owen and Gwen, Jack called them, drove their own vehicle. There was something up with Owen, clutching his side. They must be getting him to a hospital.

On the other hand they themselves were heading to a wharf. When the taxi transport stopped next to a large body of water the five of them got out. Jack thanked and then flirted with the driver to Kara's amusement. There was nothing wrong with it but the Gemonise would have thrown a fit. This little moon was full of that sort of thing. 'Ahh smell that sea fresh air.' he said with a huge smile to her.

'Its awful.' Kara admitted. It was salty and quite dark. Fresh was nothing like the way she would describe it.

Ianto smiled, 'It's Cardiff.'

'I got that, for a moon Cardiff wouldn't rate high on my holiday plans. No offence.' She walked on, completely missing the looks she and then the Librarian got from the other three.

'Hold on there blondie' Jack called 'Door.' She had walked right past it. Inside was a small shop where Jack leaned over the counter and pressed a hidden button. A whole wall section unfolded.

'Oh no.' Kara sighed. 'This looks like a bad entertainment about the secret police.'

'Exactly, so who would think it really exists. Score one for torchwood.' Jack smiled.

'I didn't know we were playing. What would I win?' she asked

He just gave a her a long look that spoke volumes. 'I'll let you know.' he winked

The Librarian actually took a step closer to the self titled Captain. All through the journey he even refused to look at the man. 'That's a fifty first century attitude if I ever heard it.'

They got into a lift. 'Good guess.' the man in question admitted ruefully.

The Librarian actually laughed. 'A Time Agent, I should have known. The CIA spent half a millennium fixing your mess.'

'The who?' Ianto asked in shock

'Our mess?' Jack burst out at the same time. 'We were policing time travel, most of the time.'

'The Chronological Integrity Agency.' The Librarian said on the way out of the lift to a huge bulkhead. 'Their job was to maintain times pattern. Your lot spent most of their time making a little ripple a major act of temporal re-engineering.'

The door rolled back and Ianto opened the cage on the other side. Kara had to admit she was impressed by the shear amount of security. 'How were we supposed to know.' Jack whined.

"A Time Lord is said to be the avatar of time and order in the universe. According to Rassilon. You're not. You should have asked.'

'Oops?' Jack supplied. Kara rolled her eyes and looked around. It was a vast under ground cavern. Obviously hollowed out to make use of a underground tunnel network and storage. The centre was dominated by a tall mirrored tower that stretched up and into the ceiling, possibly past the surface. Water ran down the out side and fed a sort of underground river that the complex bridged. A internal building to one side with glass walls was possibly office space while a couple of oversized computer consoles were part of the main, well den.

The whole place looked lived in with takeaway boxes scattered on tables and drinks on the desks. Near the waterfall a large piston hissed and retracted, another lift came down that was basically just a slab of stone. The other two members were on it and coming down. 'Nice place.' Kara supplied. In fact it looked like a nuggets bunking quarters after a party but she wasn't going to say it.

'We like to call it home.' Ianto said. 'I'll get the coffee on.'

'I'll have tea.' The Librarian supplied before jumping up a few steps and looking intently at one of the computer consoles.

'We gotta Billy to a hospital!' Jim said ripping off his mask as the Van screeched along.

Mark just grabbed him by the shirt and pulled him up. 'That was Torchwood we just shot at you idiot. You've heard the stories, they don't care about the whole trial thing. They'll just kill us.'

'Over some silly peace of tat?' Jim had to ask. 'It's my brother damn it, I'm not going to let him die.'

'Look we take him to the hospital and Torchwood will find us. You shot that guy in the coat remember. They ain't going to give up.'

John looked over his shoulder from the divers seat. 'So what are we going to do?'

Mark finally let go. 'The old man's going to give us enough money to get out of here. Somewhere they'll never find us. We'll get a doctor,after getting paid. So put your foot down.'

Billy wasn't good, still bleeding and white as a sheet as they pulled up outside the back of the clock shop. The skinny old man came out with a large suit case. Mark got out with the thing. 'Easy as pie.'

'Really. There was no incident?' he asked with an raised eyebrow

Mark took the Suit case and then gave the trinket to him. 'None Mr Manger, Easier than taking candy from a baby.'

'Good, I might call on you again. If I should ever need you. Good day.' With out another word he turned and went back inside.

Mark jumped back in. 'Let's get out of here.' John drove slowly away trying not to draw attention. 'Old git. Cloak and dagger and suit cases full of money. Told you it was easy. A lot better than bank robbery.' Opening the case he pulled out a wad of cash. 'Clean money. now let's get your brother to a doctors, one that won't ask too many questions.'

Billis Manger turned his newly acquired toy in his hands. Yes his master might be dead in body but his will lived on through him. It sung to him that this little toy could fulfil his revenge on all.

There was a dull crunch and the walls shook slightly as the land mine Billis had acquired on a quick trip to the second world war went up. Always burn your bridges behind you he thought as a young woman ran screaming in the opposite direction. A police siren began to sing.

Now he needed to learn how to use this thing to it's full potential, fortunately for a man of his talents it shouldn't take too long But first a short hop back in time to plant that mine at the right time...

End Chapter 1

Authors note
This one's going at speed so I think it will only be a couple more chapters, but don't worry a third story is already in the works!

Oh for those who don't know. Not to give too much away, Billis is the bad guy at the end of the first series of Torchwood and like all good Who villains can travel through time.