Summary: Some aliens invade with sudden force. Others seep through the rift, biding their time until their numbers are strong. Throughout history the Curiantoe have been invading, but their conquest starts now. A Torchwood story set between Adam and Reset of Season 2.
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood or any of its characters. However, if Jack and Ianto were real, I would be tempted to steal them.
Ianto Jones stepped into the Torchwood archive and took a deep breath. A reassuring musty dankness filled his nostrils. The archive contained row after row of storage units containing alien artefacts collected throughout Torchwood's 130 year history. In the older sections artefacts were stored in rosewood shelves and mahogany tea-chests labelled with neat cursive letters. Later additions were stored in large metal compactus. Most of the archives were coated in a thick layer of dust.
Ianto liked the idea that these rooms demonstrated the past activities of Torchwood agents back to 1879 when the institute had been set up. Yet the shelves contained technology that mankind wouldn't encounter for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Ianto loved that each object had a story to tell of far away places and distant times.
Ianto relished in his role of archivist. He knew that the rest of Torchwood's staff thought the job was tedious and menial. It wasn't. Ianto was responsible for objects that few other humans could even dream of. When time permitted Ianto would spend hours sorting and cataloguing. The archives were quiet and orderly yet the artefacts it contained could destabilise the planet.
Ianto had come to the archives to deposit a small puzzle box which had fallen through the rift. His boss Jack Harkness had managed to open the box only to find it full of fine grain sand. Ianto imagined the sand coming from some distant planet and wondered what sort of people, or creatures, lived there.
Ianto placed the puzzle box inside a slightly larger cardboard one, sealed it with masking tape and labelled it with a printed sticky label containing a date, item description and reference number. He wound open the compactus and placed the box next to similarly boxed and labelled artefacts.
As Ianto stepped out of the compactus he thought he heard a shuffling noise near the older section of the archives. He tutted. Probably rats again. He'd have to lay more baits. As he walked towards the older section he hoped they hadn't caused much damage. Such precious items shouldn't be at the mercy of rodents. He found the source of the noise back in 1926. It wasn't rats.
A small round object, around the size of a cricket ball, wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, was quivering on its shelf. Ianto eyed it cautiously. This couldn't be good. Tentatively Ianto reached out and flicked over the small paper label that hung from the object. 'Curiantoe stone' it read in faded handwriting.
Ianto put his finger to his earpiece and activated it. "Jack."
"Ianto." came a cheery American accent through the ear piece.
"Jack, I'm down in the archives and one of the artefacts is moving. It's called a Curiantoe stone. Do you know what that is?"
The item was rocking more violently now and Ianto felt his voice must have betrayed some of his concern because "Hold tight Ianto. I'll be down in a moment." was the reply.
Ianto stood back and watched the item rocking backwards and forwards. His curiosity made him want to pull the string and find out what was inside the package, but his natural caution kept him back. A violent shake and the package rolled dangerously close to the edge of the shelf. Ianto couldn't help himself. Caution was one thing, but having a precious alien artefact falling to the floor and braking was out of the question. Ianto reached forward and pushed the package towards the back of the shelf. As he did so the brown paper split open and a bright light pushed through the tear. Before Ianto could pull his hand back something black emerged from the light and scuttled up his arm. Ianto yelled and shook his arm violently. The black shape flicked across the room and smashed against the wall. It lay still. Ianto could see that it was oval in shape with six legs opening out like segments of an orange.
Suddenly it rushed towards Ianto. It launched itself at him, and although it was only small, he felt as if someone had hit him in the chest with a sledgehammer. Then there was a sharp pain as its legs dug into his flesh and pierced his heart. Ianto fell forward clutching at his chest. Blood poured from the wound. His last conscious act was to wrench the creature out and fling it from him. It skittered away.
If Ianto had been conscious he would have smelt the acrid stench of blood overpowering the moist, dusty scent of the Torchwood archives.
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