a Torchwood story
Dislaimer: Oh, really! They're the BBC's. I only borrowed them to explore what the series didn't show us.
Summary: Torchwood Three and Ianto Jones' point of view of the Battle of Canary Wharf... with a twist. starting with Army of Ghosts and Doomsday and going on
A/N: Finally! Finally I can post this! I think I started writing on it even before I wrote Time To Be Bled. I know some of you are still wishing for the sequel to my Countrycide story, but that would be in canon and after CoE I'm not that fond of writing canon anymore. At first I wanted to write Doomsday in canon as well, but the characters soon didn't act to plan anymore. When I realized where they were going I liked the idea even more. :D I think this story makes an interesting ride and I hope that you'll enjoy reading it as much as I loved writing it. Once more I want to thank Mandassina and Kitsa for their help and encouragement, as well as Galadriel1010 for enduring my rambling and test reading. This story is for the three of you and for blucougar57 who got me hooked on Torchwood in the first place! And now for us all… enjoy!
Chapter 1 – Mysterious appearances
Seeing their boss and captain leave his office Suzie Costello asked, "Jack? Do you have anything new?"
"Yeah, I do," he said, coming to a halt between the workstations. "I finally got in touch with the headquarters in London. My contact confirmed my suspicion that the management is testing a new power source and that the ghosts are a side effect."
"How close was the contact?" Dr. Owen Harper snarled in his usual dry and sarcastic fashion.
Despite the implied insult he made Jack smirk.
"I only know him from the phone," Jack told him, knowing full well that he offered his medic a golden opportunity.
Chuckling mischievously Owen rose to the bait and teased, "Telephone sex isn't beyond you."
"I must admit that his voice really does sound sexy," Jack replied with a small leer. "Maybe I'll get an opportunity to meet him when I'm in London the next time…" Remembering that they had more important things to do he trailed off and started anew, "Toshiko. Are you finished with the new adjustments you wanted to do? I want scans of those ghosts the next shift."
"It should work now," their computer expert Toshiko Sato told him, typing on her keyboard rather furiously to get it done in time for the next time the ghosts would come. "Knowing that the headquarters is experimenting with producing power I just recalibrated the…"
"Whatever, Tosh," he interrupted her. "Will it work?"
"Yes, Jack. We should get more detailed scans now."
"Good." Thoughtfully the captain rubbed his chin. "I don' know… there's something about them that bothers me… and I certainly don't want to rely on London's…" in he thought wryly, "competence. Not after Hartman brushed me off that rudely."
"You're not the only one worrying about the appearances," Suzie murmured. "I'm not comfortable with ghosts wandering through my flat either."
"Your flat's one thing," Jack grunted. "Our Hub's another."
"Why thanks, Jack!" Suzie huffed. "It's just my apartment we're talking about, though, in my opinion, ghosts are a rather weird side effect of producing power, no matter where they show up."
"Others seem to like it," Toshiko said distractedly, glancing at Owen.
And really, the young doctor had succumbed to the world wide hysteria about the ghosts and wore a sweat-shirt with print, two ghosts spoofing Casablanca reading Humphrey Bogart's famous quote 'Here's looking at you'.
"He doesn't count," Suzie chuckled. "He's always been weird."
"Look who's talking," Owen shot back. "Doing this job you have to be."
"Then you're overqualified."
"It's almost time," Jack interrupted their banter by picking up a plush ghost from Owen's desk and tossing it at the medic. "Tosh, are you ready?"
"Yes, Jack," she confirmed, pushing a few buttons. Then she turned in her chair to look at the posts and cables she had rigged up over the walkway crossing the tidal basin. The first ghost usually appeared there, so that was where she should get her best readings.
Now Jack stepped up beside her, hovering over her to have a better look at the monitor.
"Jack!" she scolded.
Staring at the screen with full concentration he ignored her protest, "Scan along all frequencies."
"Yeah, Jack, I will. We already discussed that."
"Just want to be sure."
"It will work. You'll see."
Still he leaned over her, making Toshiko feel trapped.
"Jaaack… Stop. Breathing. Down. My. Neck! You can see from behind my chair as well as pushing your nose against the screen."
The captain made two steps back, crossing his arms over his chest, pouting.
Before anyone could say anything more the first ghost appeared and they all concentrated on the task at hand.
Ianto's gaze was fixed on his computer monitor, browsing the internet for information about an artefact. His job was to make sure that no second specimen showed up on eBay. So far he had not found anything. So he tended to believe that no other alien toy would be auctioned. Ianto had found the offer a few days ago during a routine check and Torchwood bought the item.
Now Ianto was about to complete the file and take both the folder and the artefact to the archive. A second after he hit print a window popped up on his screen, startling Ianto as he assumed that it was an error prompt. Instead it was an instant message sent on the intranet.
'Meet me at the staff restaurant?' it read.
Canteen coffee? Ianto hesitated. But then again, it's a small price to pay for spending time with my fiancé. Her ruddy shifts. We hardly get to see each other. When I get home she's still working. Later she slips into bed not long before I have to get up. Smiling to himself he typed his answer, 'Sure.'
'Did you already hear?'
'Hear what?' he sent back.
'Tell you when we meet.'
Ianto smirked. That was typical Lisa, making him curious first only to let him wait. Well, waiting was something he was good at.
'See you in ten.'
Getting up from his chair Ianto switched off his monitor. Then he left his cubicle to go to the printer and fetch his form.
"Secret date?" Larry from the workplace right across of his own teased.
"What makes you think I have a date?" Ianto replied calmly which was easier said than done as Larry was one of few colleagues Ianto rather liked to avoid. In his opinion Larry did not have all of his marbles.
"Your dopey grin, Romeo," his colleague chuckled.
Scowling Ianto contemplated if he really looked somewhat stupid. "I don't have a date."
"Sure…" Larry shrugged and twisted in his chair to pick something up that he threw at Ianto. "You should give her that," he smirked. "All the girls are crazy about the ghosts."
Reflexively Ianto had caught the item. Frowning he looked at the plush ghost holding a red plush heart with love stitched on.
"Thank you," he muttered.
"No problem," Larry grinned and returned his attention back to work.
Rolling his eyes Ianto marched to the printer.
Larry really is nuts, he thought. His whole desk is adorned with that rubbish.
Ianto dropped the plush ghost into the bin and sorted through the papers until he found his own, and went back to his cubicle. There he put the form into the manila folder and the folder into a box, together with the artefact. Tucking the box under his arm Ianto strode to the exit to the hallway.
"Ianto," Dr. Markham called out urgently as he passed his office so he stopped. Information Retrieval's supervisor got up from behind his desk and came to the door, asking, "Where are you going?"
"To the archives, sir. Then I'll head to the canteen for a cup of coffee. Shall I get one for you, too, sir?"
"May I have a look?" Markham indicated the box.
"Of course, sir," Ianto replied and held the box out at him.
"This is the artefact you found on eBay, right?" Markham said as he picked up the file. "Well, let's see…"
Ianto waited not quite patiently while his boss skimmed through the file.
"Canteen coffee?" Markham murmured without looking up from the documents. "Should I be worried?"
"Ianto, you make by far the best coffee of the whole Torchwood Institute," Dr. Markham said with a small smirk. "Why do you want to drink the washing water they call coffee up there?"
Ianto shrugged, hoping Dr. Markham would get finished. Finally his boss nodded and put the file back into the box.
"This is good work, Ianto," he said. "You're our best junior researcher. Keep at it. It'll pay off."
"Thank you, sir," Ianto all but stammered. Usually flattery did not belong to Markham's vocabulary.
"Now go get your coffee," Markham said with an amused wink. "Don't keep her waiting."
"No, sir," Ianto rushed to say, grabbed the box tighter and hurried off to the elevator.
After a stop at the archives Ianto rode up to the forty-eighth floor where the staff restaurant was located. When he entered he spotted Lisa at a table near the windows.
"Right in time, Welsh Man" she smirked as he approached her. "Here. I got some coffee for you."
Accepting the offered mug, Ianto dropped in a chair across from her and took a sip from the hot and strong drink.
Washing water, indeed.
"So, what's the news?"
"I know what today's Code 200 was about!" Lisa murmured excitedly. "The grapevine's buzzing. Oh, Ianto. You won't believe it."
"Won't believe what, cariad?"
"They say that the Doctor is here. He's in her office I've heard."
Ianto knew exactly who Lisa was referring to. Her, that was Yvonne Hartman, Torchwood's current director. Ianto did not know who he should feel sorry for, the Doctor or Hartman, and that was only because of his lack of knowledge about the Doctor. In general anybody who was on Hartman's bad side had to be felt sorry for. She was both respected and feared.
Ianto had met her only once. It was just a brief encounter and he was not especially crazy about meeting her again any time soon.
"Tracey told me about him," Lisa chattered on excitedly. "She said Gordon saw him when the Director showed him the spaceship. He also said that the Doctor called it a Jathar sunglider. Isn't it strange that the Institute has had that thing for so long and didn't even know where it came from?"
"Yes, it is," Ianto agreed, though he did not think that it was strange. By now he knew that Torchwood was pretty advanced in many respects… and awfully ignorant, naïve, and pretentious in others.
Back when he, the simple Welsh boy from Newport, had first joined the Torchwood Institute he had been thrilled. After drifting from job to job the employment at the top secret organization appeared to be the position he had always dreamed of.
Actually it had been Lisa's idea that he applied for a job at the Institute.
On a Friday afternoon the rain had washed her into the café Ianto had been working at. For Ianto it had been love at first sight. So he used the first opportunity he got to ask her out on a date and was surprised when she agreed to meet him for lunch on Saturday. After a few dates she suddenly asked him if he wanted to keep working at the café or would like to find something permanent. Her firm searched for new employees, she said. So Ianto filled in the form she brought for him and a week later he was invited to his first interview.
Ianto stood on the plaza, tilting his head back as he looked up at One Canada Square that housed the Institute's offices. As long as he could remember back he had wanted to work in London, in Canary Wharf to be exact. The skyscrapers made him feel as if he was in New York City instead of London. The prospect of working there felt like a quantum leap.
Before he even got to talk to anyone Ianto had to sign the Official Secrets Act which showed him just how secretive the organization was. Of course Ianto's job would mostly be administrative work, but he did not mind at all. With fresh enthusiasm he started into his new job.
"Ianto?" he heard Lisa call out for him. "Ianto!"
"Where have you been? Woolgathering?"
"I'm sorry, Lisa. I've been distracted."
"You weren't distracted," she chuckled. "You were on another planet."
"That comes with the job," he replied earnestly before he offered her a broad smile. "Now I'm all yours. What did you want to tell me, cariad?"
His use of the Welsh term of endearment appeased her, but she was too wound up to be mad at him for long anyway.
"Oh, all those rumours. Everyone's so excited. First the mysterious sphere… you know that the tower was built to reach the breach where it came through? Well, first the sphere came and then the ghosts. Some say that finding a new power source was not the primary mission, but tampering with the breach to attract the Doctor was. Brenda heard from Darcy that Gareth was one of the operatives who apprehended the Doctor and that he said that the Director applauded when she welcomed him to Torchwood. I'm so curious to hear more about him. He must be an interesting individual. Though I wonder how he'll be doing here. After all of his travels it must hit him hard to be confined to the tower from now on."
Actually Ianto rather wondered about when and how the good Doctor would make his first attempt at escape and if it would immediately be successful or if he would have to try a second time.
He's declared an enemy to the British Empire, an Empire that doesn't exist yet, as the Director likes to describe it. But why should we fight him if he doesn't do anything but defend us? Ianto was a little confused about that. What he had read did not necessarily fit with the capture and secure attitude the Institute assumed towards the Doctor. Of course they want to study and exploit his ship, but if the stories about the Doctor are true I can't see how they want to do that. How likely is it that the man, person, alien… that he is here just to save us again?
"You did it again," Lisa chided him playfully, slapping his shoulder. "I must be boring you."
"No!" he rushed to say, but the truth was that he was still thinking too hard, barely able to listen to her words. "No, I just… we get a lot of work, you know. Everything you hear about the sphere and the ghosts may be exciting for you, but we have to file it all away. It's boring and takes a lot of time."
"So you could probably be better informed than I am!" Lisa suspected. "What do you know about the sphere?"
"Nothing, really. We're filing and categorizing all the stuff. I'm not reading the reports."
She looked at him sceptically. "Maybe you should read them the next time, Ianto. It must be exciting. Oh, I'd love to see it just once. Are there pictures in the file?"
"I have no idea."
Suddenly Ianto wondered who the woman on the other side of the table was. She looked like his fiancé but with all that babbling about the sphere and the ghosts - like she was discussing the latest celebrities news - it was hard to see the woman he fell in love with anymore. She had changed since she was assigned to the project. Ianto could not help but wonder since when she was so shallow.
"Oh, bummer. I have to hurry. The next ghost shift starts in four minutes," Lisa exclaimed.
Ianto sighed. Lately he did not really feel like he was living with his fiancé. They lived in the same apartment, but due to their shifts he had hardly seen her during the last two months. While this was his early afternoon break it rather was morning coffee for her. When he got home later he would enter an empty flat because she was going to work until the wee small hours.
"I'm sorry, Ianto," she apologized, seeing his disappointment. "Will we have lunch tomorrow? At one, here?"
"Yeah, Lisa. I'll meet you here."
"Great. Bye, Ianto."
She breathed a kiss on his cheek and off she went back to her assignment, leaving a brooding Ianto behind.