"You really don't want to touch that," Owen advised, as Gwen looked with interest at several alien objects that were strewn across his work station.
"What would happen if I did?" she asked, curiously.
Owen shook his head at her, "I don't know, but I don't want to find out at your expense."
Gwen nodded. If there was one thing she had learned about working at Torchwood Three, it was not to touch things until they were sure what they did. There had been several catastrophes, when the end of the world had been narrowly avoided, all because one of the team wanted to touch something.
Still, that object didn't look harmful, and if you never touched it, you might never know what it did, right? Gwen's fingers hovered over the shiny black surface of the rectangular object, not quite grazing it.
Over at Toshiko's desk, an alarm began to blare.
"What did you do?" demanded Owen, " I told you not to touch it!"
"I didn't!" Gwen said, holding up her hands in surrender.
"Whatever you did, it's causing the internal sensors to go mad. There's actually some graviton emissions being sensed," cried Tosh, running from one computer screen to another, trying to figure out the problem.
Just another day at Torchwood, thought Gwen briefly. So much for catching up on some paperwork.
"I've pinpointed the disturbance," Tosh said, turning from her glowing blue screens, "It's coming from over there," she pointed to the open area of the Hub, where the air, strangely, was beginning to waive.
It was as if the air around that spot had suddenly become liquid, and was trembling. Owen gave a shout, as the image of a woman flashed for a moment.
In a second he had a weapon trained at that spot, as did Gwen. Tosh looked around wildly for something but, finding nothing, seized a metal ruler.
The image flickered again, and then became solid. It was of a woman, maybe 24 or 25, with blond hair, and crooked teeth. On her back she had a rather large back pack. She stumbled a bit, catching herself on the edge of a table, and looked around.
"Where am I then?" she asked, her accent pegging her as a Londoner.
"Who are you?" demanded Gwen, "and how did you get here."
"Well," said the woman, "That entirely depends on where here is."
"You shouldn't be here," Tosh insisted, "it's impossible. This place is shielded against all sorts of invasive tech. There's just no way someone could…. could… beam down here."
"Beam?" Owen mouthed, sardonically, "What is this, Star Trek?"
"I'm beginning to think so," the woman said with a smile, "and as to it being impossible, well if I am where I think I am, then that's two impossible things that have happened today." She began to look around herself at the cavernous room, complete with pterodactyl roosting on one of the rafters. When she caught sight of Torchwood written on the fall wall in bold black letters, a huge grin spread over her face.
"Am I in Torchwood?" she asked, her delighted smile lighting up her whole face.
"How do you know about Torchwood?" Gwen demanded, retraining her gun on the woman's face. She didn't want to be rude, but you could never be too sure about aliens, especially ones that broke through unbreakable defenses to appear in inner sanctuaries.
"Oh! Welsh!" the woman said, totally ignoring Gwen's question, "I'm in Cardiff, aren't I? Torchwood Three then, this is. Brilliant."
"How do you know about Torchwood?" Owen repeated, his face deadly calm.
"Oh, I know all about Torchwood," replied the woman, still smiling from ear to ear, "You could go so far as to say I helped found it."
"Torchwood was founded in 1879." Tosh put in, gripping her ruler tighter and attempting to look menacing.
"Yes," said the woman. She took a step forward, and stumbled again, obviously weak. Finding a chair, she plopped onto it, shrugging her back pack to the floor.
"You can put those guns down, I'm not going to hurt you." She said.
"That's what they all say," muttered Owen, but he lowered his gun a few inches.
"I'm sorry for scaring you, but I didn't know where I'd come out. Dimensional travel is like that, you know. Of course, I should have known it would be Cardiff. The Rift and all that."
"You know about the Rift?" Tosh asked, fascinated already.
"Yeah. I used to work at Torchwood One. You know, in London, before…." The woman trailed off.
"Canary Warf," Gwen finished for her.
A shadow passed over the woman's pretty face for a moment, and then her smile was back. She stood up slowly, as if unsure of her footing.
"I'm not going to hurt ya. Honest. I'm not an alien. Run some scans, I'm as human as they come," she said, holding up her hands in surrender.
Tosh hurried over to her computer screens, dashing out a scan for alien life forms. The only ones that registered were those in the cells. Everyone in the main Hub registered human.
"She's human." Tosh said, glancing over her screens to the strange woman who now was making her way up the stairs.
"My name is Rose," she said, "Rose Tyler. And I just accomplished the impossible. I jumped universes and I didn't tear a hole in the fabric of space-time!"
They all stared at her like she was mad. What was she talking about, jumping universes and tearing a hole in space? Rose made her way up to the metal stair to the main level, stopping in front of Gwen. She thrust out her hand.
"Rose Tyler. And you are?" Gwen gingerly shook it, almost flinching at her touch. This could still be come elaborate hoax. Just then, the main entrance doors opened with a familiar grinding sound.
"Hello team. I hope everyone had a good sleep, cos we have a lot of work ahead of us today," a familiar voice sounded out from the doorway. Jack Harkness, looking his usual handsome self in his World War two era greatcoat, and his trademark smile, strode into the room, with Ianto following close behind him. "We have an alien crash somewhere north of the city, and…." Whatever he was going to say was cut off as his eyes met those of Rose, and his mouth snapped shut. He stared at her like a man dying of thirst stares at a mirage of water: longingly, and with an ocean of sadness.
Rose seemed rooted to the spot as well. "Jack?" she managed, her eyes as big as dinner plates.
Jack shook his head. "You can't be here." He said.
"You could talk! You're dead." She said with certainty, "You're dead, I know you are. Dead 20 000 years from now on Satellite 5. So. You're not Jack. Who are you?"
"Rose, it's me. Jack Harkness. It's really me. And you… the Doctor said you were trapped on another universe. That you could never get back."
Slowly, they drew closer to one another, as if by some magnetic pull, until they were only a foot away. Jack reached over and touched her face.
"Rose?" he said, the plaintive note in his voice obvious, as if begging her to be the person he thought she was.
"Oh, Jack!" she cried, and then they were in each other's arms, and Jack was swinging her around as much as the cramped area allowed.
And he was laughing. It was the laughing that jarred Gwen more than anything. In her whole time at Torchwood, she had never heard their fearless leader laugh like this: a carefree, happy, relieved laugh, free from any restraint or trace of the sadness which usually crept into all his other emotions.
Jack set Rose down, still in the circle of his arms, and kissed her full on the mouth. She was surprised at first, but then broke away with a laugh. Gwen expected her to be offended, but she wasn't.
"You never change, do you, you old flirt?" she asked, hitting him lightly on the shoulder.
Jack just grinned, turning to face the others, "Everyone, I want you to meet Rose Tyler, the most courageous, crazy, amazing woman I have ever met."
Author's Note: Yay, new Doctor Who story! Please forgive my Torchwood inaccuracies, I haven't seen the second season yet. I am hoping to bring the Doctor in at some point, so it officially counts as a crossover. Wow, my first crossover. This is a momentous occasion.