A/N: Nothing recognisable belongs to me. An absolutely massive chapter here, much of it filler as I work out what is going to happen next. I may not update for a while as I have mocks just after Christmas and am panicking slightly.
The Doctor's face froze as all the blood drained from it and Abby winced. Her attempts at teaching Connor tact had failed miserably. And this time it was obvious from this Doctor's face that he had struck a nerve. This Rose must have been very close to the Doctor to inspire such a reaction.
Connor continued to put his foot in it. "Only she's noted as a former companion of yours and she's also listed among the-OW!"
Jenny had drawn up beside Connor and tried damage limitation. In this case, standing on Connor's foot in high heels. Cutter had guessed what Connor had been about to say and looked sympathetic.
The Doctor's face thawed slowly, and he said quietly, "She's gone. Trapped in a parallel universe. She's fine though. You weren't to know."
Connor nodded uncertainly, and everyone save Lester let out a sigh of relief.
"Now." The Doctor said, pulling himself together. "What do you lot do?"
Everyone turned to Lester for permission, save Cutter who trusted his instincts rather more than he trusted Lester and trusted this mysterious man in the trench coat who was always wearing a cheerful mask and every so often, it cracked.
"We track anomalies, cracks in space and time, that let through creatures from the past and future. We find the creatures and if we have to, kill them, though we try and avoid that."
He said, watching this 'Doctor' carefully. The man's face went from interested to thoughtful and finally to admiring.
"Have you heard of an organisation called Torchwood?" The Doctor asked thoughtfully.
Lester was about to confirm, having delivered a withering glare to Cutter which was totally ignored, when the anomaly alarm went off. Connor immediately turned to the ADD computer bank, as did the rest of the team. The Doctor on the other hand was staring in the opposite direction with raised eyebrows.
"Have you got the co-ordinates, Connor?" Lester asked impatiently. Connor was tapping away, looking more and more confused.
"It's in 'ere, Lester." Connor said, confused.
"Right, I want everyone, I repeat everyone to search for it." Lester barked. Nobody moved. "Now! The damn thing isn't going to go away if you ignore it."
"No need. It's right here, unless I miss my guess." The Doctor said quietly.
Everyone turned. Indeed it was. Then everyone's blood turned to ice in their veins. The distinctive sounds of future predators were coming through.
"Everyone stand back!" Becker roared. Thankfully, everyone complied. He had never seen future predators, but if Professor Cutter advocated shooting them, then they must be pretty nasty, he reasoned. "That includes you Doctor! These things are very dangerous."
"They move faster than the eye can really see, they hunt by sonar, they're large, have sharp claws and are ruthless." Lester said, having been on the receiving end of one.
"I emptied a full SA-80 magazine into one and it didn't even notice." He added.
"How did you stop it?" The Doctor asked briskly, not turning away from the anomaly.
"I set the pet mammoth on it." Lester said flatly
The Doctor chuckled and set about changing the setting on the sonic screwdriver. He paused, as a blood curdling scream issued from the anomaly, closely followed by the screamer, bloody and battered in a torn and blood soaked coat, who having run past the Doctor, collapsed, seemingly dead.
The Doctor merely glanced down at the body, then up at the team. His face had turned hard, merciless and his eyes had the look that was known as 'the oncoming storm'. A future predator came through, following its erstwhile meal. It stopped. It detected several hearts beating with fear, and two, right next to each other, beating slowly. The predator sniffed, smelling fear and adrenaline off the humans, and what the predator had come to know as 'anger' off the unknown. The unknown thing raised its hand.
The team watched in fear as the predator closed in on the Doctor who still hadn't moved a muscle, his expression unchanged. Becker cursed silently. He couldn't for the life of him get a clean shot off. Then the Doctor raised his arm slowly but surely, with the sonic screwdriver in his hand, and pressed the button. The sound it produced set everyone's teeth on edge. That was nothing to the Predators reaction though. The Predator screamed. It thrashed about for a few moments, then fell abruptly. It was dead, with a large amount of blood and brain fluid leaking out of various orifices.
The Doctor looked at the dead predator, and then crouched to examine the body. "I am so sorry old friend." The Doctor said softly. Abby being the nearest thing to a medic went over to see if she could help what was almost certainly a lost cause, but was politely waved away. The team looked on in sympathy, believing they were seeing another in a long stream of tragedies for this enigmatic man who sat at his friends head. They were wrong.
With a massive gasp, the man came back to life. Lester merely quirked an eyebrow, as if he saw resurrections all the time, Cutter looked interested and bemused, Connor looked as if all his sci-fi geeks dreams had come true, Abby looked incredulous, Jenny and Sarah looked a bit scared and Becker was checking his gun was loaded. Anyone who could survive an attack by a creature like a future predator could be very dangerous indeed.
"Put the gun down action man," The Doctor said, without turning his head. His head turned a few seconds later when Jack, snarling with rage, punched him very hard in the jaw. As the Doctor stumbled backwards, Becker aimed and fired, hitting Jack in the head.
"What did you do that for?" The Doctor yelled furiously.
"He was attacking you. The look on his face suggested he was going to try and kill you." Becker said calmly. This was hardly the first time that someone (Usually Cutter) had bawled him out for shooting something he was not supposed to.
The Doctor's fierce expression held, and then faded as he rubbed his jaw and sat down heavily.
"I'm guessing it was something to do with the 456 a few months back. I am sure that at least you," he said, pointing at Lester, "Knew something about it. This is Captain Jack Harkness, the former I would guess, head of Torchwood Cardiff, an organisation that defended Britain from aliens, much like you do from those predator things." he vaguely waved at the deceased predator, "I use the past tense, because I think Torchwood is for whatever reason, disbanded." The Doctor said regretfully.
"The government was trying to cover its tracks. They put a bomb in my stomach, and it exploded in the middle of the Hub. All that's left is a massive crater." Everyone turned to Jack who had revived, and was speaking in bitter tones.
The Doctor looked like someone had sucked all the life out of him, while Lester looked distinctly uncomfortable, as Cutter directed a laser glare at him. It's actually true, he thought, there really is no intelligent life in the government.
"Your team?" he just about managed to say.
"Only one left, Gwen. In a matter of months we went from 5 people to 2. Owen and Tosh died just before the earth was stolen so you never saw them. Well, Owen was already dead, but still walking and talking because I brought him back. He hated every minute of it." Jack said softly.
"You mean he was like a zombie? ARGH!" Connor interrupted, and as Jack gave him a fuck-off-and-die glare Jenny impaled his foot. Again.
"My long lost brother killed Tosh, he shot her in the stomach. She managed to tell Owen how to stop the Turnmill power station from going into total meltdown by venting it into the control room where he was. Owen was going to set it on a timer but there was a power surge." At this point Jack sobbed. "His body decayed slowly in the fallout."
"What happened to your brother?" The Doctor asked softly, concealing his horror at what his old friend must have gone through. To be betrayed by his own brother then be hunted by the Government
"I cryogenically-froze him. I couldn't kill him, he was still my little brother whose hand I let go of on the Boeshane peninsula so many years ago. He was captured by the invading aliens and spent his life being tortured. An old associate of mine, Captain John Hart, another ex time agent, rescued him, trying for redemption I guess. But the time Gray, my brother, spent with those creatures taught him only two things. Cruelty and hatred. He tricked John into doing his bidding by molecularly bonding a powerful bomb to Johns arm. First, he made John blow up a building we were in. Then he had him blow up most of Cardiff with 17 bombs. These cut off important stuff like the power supply to Turnmill and every transport route out of the city, releasing Weevils, vicious aliens, 6 foot tall, faster than anything on two legs should be, rippled skin, teeth like a shark and in this case, a lust for human flesh. After that, he released John, and the bomb came off, ripping the skin it was bonded to off as well." At this point most people in the room went decidedly green, And he said John was free to go anywhere, any planet and time he liked." Here Jack paused for breath, tears running slowly down his face as all the hurt came back to him.
"But John went to the Torchwood hub to help. He and Gwen were trapped by Weevils, and Ianto and Tosh came back in time to save them. Tosh contacted Owen who was at Turnmill and tried to help him. The other three were down in the vaults securing the Weevils. Then Gray turned up again. He shot Tosh in the stomach and ripped out the wires to the computers, leaving her unable to help Owen and dying. He went down to the cells and locked the other three in. John managed to sound a recall for the Weevils, getting them off the streets. At this point I was in the Cryo chamber which was set to thaw around this time 'cos Torchwood found me in 1901, and I told them to cryo freeze me so I wouldn't run into myself, after Gray had me buried under Cardiff in 27 AD, and John had left a ring which lasted millennia and gave off a special signal that could be isolated and detected. I unfroze, got out, and I..." Here Jack drew in a deep rattling breath, then continued. "I told Gray I forgave him, even after all that he'd done. I asked he forgive me, and he refused. He wouldn't listen so I knocked him out with Chloroform. Tosh had got to a communicator, and tried to help Owen vent it into the room on a timer, but there was a power surge, and the doors closed before he could get out. They talked about the love they should have had until the meltdown happened and Owen went in peace. We found Tosh as she was dying, having saved Britain from the worst nuclear disaster in its history. I stuck Gray in a cryo unit, hoping that one day he would forgive me. I'm not sure if he's still alive after Torchwood exploded, but he might be, the cryo units are quite far underground. A few months later we were investigating the children thing, as every one of them was speaking. The government shut us down, took what was left of my body and hunted what was left of my team. We had an ally in the government a young woman called Lois Habiba..." The team listened, Abby with tears openly coursing down her cheeks as Jack described in torturous detail the 5 days of the 456, with particular emphasis on the massacre at Thames House. By the end almost everyone was crying save Cutter, who looked beyond angry, Becker confused and also angry and thinking of the depths the government had gone to cover up its own mistakes, and Lester just looked horrified. Jack was just crying, crying more than he had in all his centuries.