Chapter 1

"You have got to be fucking joking!"

"There's no way you can ask him to do that!"

"I can't believe you, Jack - you bastard!"

"It's OK – I'll do it."

"Thank you, Ianto."


Earlier that day:

Sitting around the table in the boardroom, sipping the best coffee they'd tasted for what seemed like an eternity, the team reviewed recent events. It hardly seemed that only a week had passed since Gwen and Rhys' wedding.

It was apparent that Gates had been working with the Pharm and the Copley brothers since before the fall of Torchwood One, and that he'd continued to develop the incurable hybrid strain of the influenza virus in order to raise funds through blackmail and possible sales to unstable regimes or terrorists.

"The bastards used the virus to draw us out. Like you said before, Owen, if dead weevils turn up in South Wales, who's gonna pick 'em up? Us. It was a trap all along. And I wasn't on the ball soon enough."

"Jack – you're not making any bloody sense now," Gwen blurted out, thoroughly confused.

"Copley wanted revenge. Gates wanted something I had stored away here, something I took from Torchwood One."

"Gates can't be working on his own." Tosh shook her head slowly, there was something going on that bothered her. "There must be others."

"Yes, Tosh – I agree, if he was on the casualty list of the Battle of Canary Wharf and got away, there could be others. Others possibly trying to re-establish a Torchwood organisation under the lines that Yvonne laid out. I'm going to want you and Ianto to go through the lists, see what you can dig up." Jack looked apologetic, but there was no alternative.

Ianto took in a deep breath, he knew exactly what that entailed and suspected that it could only mean trouble. He sat quietly and tried to concentrate as he listened to the other members of the team relating their findings, but his thoughts couldn't help straying back to more pleasant memories of waking up to breakfast in bed … and Jack.

Whilst the rest of the team had taken the night off Owen had stayed over in the Hub, partly out of a sense of guilt, and he'd spent the time going through CCTV footage, tracking Gates' movements after he left there the previous day. He'd called for a taxi and Owen had tracked his movements back to the university. Gates had been dropped off at the opposite end of the campus to the lab.

"I wish I'd seen his face when he found his precious fucking lab burnt to the ground. Chances are he had a car in the main car park and left as soon as he could. But - the security cameras on the campus were all conveniently off line at the time. Inside job if you ask me…"

"That ties in with what I got from the police in attendance at the scene. Young copper told me that a bearded professor-type had approached the cordon around the site and asked about the fire, apparently worried that there may have been people working inside at the time."

"Sounds as if he was checking that we were dead," Tosh shuddered, recalling the close call they'd had and how grateful she'd been that Owen had got to them on time.

"Well unfortunately he was so sincere, seemed so upset, that they told him that the firemen hadn't found any bodies in the building."

"Oh great - so thanks to Cardiff's finest, he now knows that at least Gwen and Tosh are still alive." Jack was peeved, "I'd been hoping that Gates would have been under the impression that we'd all perished. That would have bought us some time."

He hated the feeling of powerlessness, he'd been wrong-footed and he was desperate for a break.

"Yeah and now he knows exactly where we are, I wouldn't mind betting he's got people watching us," Owen grumbled.

Then it occurred to Jack that if they had been under any form of surveillance, it would also be possible that he'd been seen leaving the Hub with Ianto the previous night. They were under threat and he didn't like it one bit.

"Yes, just like that copper down in the Gower that was spying on Jack and Ianto." Gwen had to agree with Owen.

"Any news on him?" Jack looked across to Gwen hoping she'd have something for them to go on.

"Yes – suspended pending an enquiry, but the general consensus is that there isn't enough evidence to nail him."

"Shit. I wouldn't mind the chance of questioning him myself," stated Owen.

"Maybe I could arrange that if I ask my contacts nicely."

"Get onto it, Gwen – he's the only link we have right now. Bring him back here if you can."

"Right, Jack."

"Owen – I want you to go over to the lab, see if anything can be salvaged from the bonfire you arranged."

"Sorry 'bout that – seemed a good idea at the time."

"Yeah, I can sympathise, I'd probably have done the same thing. Ianto and Tosh –"

"Casualty lists? We'll make a start straight away." Tosh looked over to Ianto and smiled softly as he stood up slowly and followed her out of the boardroom.

Before Ianto got through the door he turned to look at Jack, trying to convey in a glance that he knew that it was unavoidable and that he accepted the task. He could make out the words 'I'm sorry' on Jack's lips and nodded.

Jack watched his team go to work and wondered how much longer he could hang on to them.