"You're not going to believe this, sir," Ianto said, his voice crisp and clear in Jack's earpiece.
"Oh yeah?" he replied, tapping his pen on the report he'd been reading.
There'd been a rather small rift spike, opening over the middle of Cardiff Bay. Jack had sent Ianto, Owen, and Gwen, figuring it was a retrieval of some sort. That was the usual case. Space junk fell into the bay quite often.
"I'm not touching the bloody thing," was Owen's addition to the conversation. "Not this time."
Jack's eyebrow rose. "Anyone want to tell me what 'the bloody thing' is?"
"It's just a baby." Gwen, always the sympathetic one.
"Bloody whale baby." Owen again.
Jack was about to open the comms again when Ianto came back over the line. "It's a space whale, sir. Like the one in the warehouse."
Jack's finger hesitated over his ear. Another space whale. And this time a baby? In all his time waiting for The Doctor he'd only encountered the one in the warehouse. Quite frankly, that was tragic enough. He didn't enjoy the thought that they might have another such situation on their hands.
He clicked his comms. "Is it hurt?"
"It doesn't seem to be, sir," Ianto replied. "It's quite small. A couple of meters in length. We're going to try to bring it back. We'll see you in a while."
Jack dropped his pen and got up from his desk, stretching for a moment before heading out to the workstations. He planted himself on the stool next to Tosh, whose fingers were frantically flying over the keys. "What do you have?"
"I'm looking through the readings we took the last time, Jack. We don't know where they come from, so I'm pretty sure we can't get this baby home, but we might be able to create an environment in which it can thrive, right here in Cardiff."
"Any idea where?"
"We do have those buildings out in Splott. Once I see the baby I can send the dimensions to one of our contractors and they can start work right away. The caretakers won't mind keeping it fed, I'm sure."
Jack grasped her shoulder, smiling. "You're brilliant, Toshiko Sato."
She blushed, smiling shyly. "I try."
Forty minutes later Gwen was the first to enter the Hub. Her hair was messy, a product of the wind, and she was breathing heavily. "That baby weighs a ton, it does!"
Jack grinned. "Are the others with it?"
"They're just trying to devise a way to get it into the Hub. We were able to use the boat's pulley system to lug it up onto the deck, but trying to get it in here is going to be a task."
"We have trolleys in storage," Tosh supplied, getting up from her computer. "The one Owen has for everyday use will probably be too small, but I know there's a larger one on level four."
"Go ahead and get it, Tosh. Gwen, why not give Rhys a call? We're going to need one of his lorries pretty soon."
"Alright," Gwen agreed, taking a seat at her desk and grabbing her mobile.
"It'll only take me a few minutes," Tosh replied, heading across the Hub toward the tunnels.
Jack activated his comms. "Ianto?"
"Sir? Did Gwen speak to you? We're securing the boat but we need to move the baby into the Hub. She's a bit much to carry."
Jack chuckled. "Yes, Gwen told me. Toshiko says we have a larger trolley down on level four and she's gone off to look. So, she, huh?"
"Gwen is convinced it looks like a she."
Tosh returned a few minutes later, pushing what Jack would definitely consider to be a large trolley. It was easily a couple meters long and at least one wide, with two sets of handles. He wondered what Torchwood would have ever needed one for, but was thankful they had it at all.
"I'll bring this to them now, and then get the building situated."
"Thank you, Tosh."
When the baby space whale had been moved into the Hub Jack whistled. "Wow. She's a beauty."
"Down, Jack," Owen groused, narrowing his eyes. "She's not old enough to consent."
Jack laughed. "Contrary to popular belief I do not hit on everything that moves."
"And sometimes he flirts with things that don't," added Ianto.
"Of inanimate objects, sir? No."
"You know, I once met a D'Boola on the outskirts of the Laheeva galaxy. They resemble bridges."
"If this is going to get worse can you at least wait until I leave?" asked Owen, using a stethoscope to check vitals.
"They have male and female reproductive organs."
"Where?" asked Gwen, having gotten off the phone.
"Really, Gwen?" Ianto asked, eyebrow arched.
"I'm curious, is all," she replied, shrugging.
"Under one of their arches," Jack said, crossing his arms over his chest and grinning into space as he remembered. "Made missionary position quite interesting."
Owen blanched. "I think I may be sick."
"We haven't even had lunch yet, Jack," Tosh advised.
"You're making that up," Gwen said, laughing as she smacked his arm.
"Scout's honor," Jack promised, holding up two fingers.
"We've been over this, Jack," Owen said, shaking his head as he filled in a chart. "You've never been a Boy Scout."
"Have so. I earned my leatherwork badge just last night. Right Ianto?"
Ianto blushed and Gwen and Tosh started giggling. "Time and place, sir."
Owen visibly swallowed. "Definitely going to be sick. If you need me, I'll be the one pouring acid in my ears, down in the medical bay."
tw tw tw tw tw
It took a couple of days, with the team sharing babysitting duties for the baby space whale, but they were finally able to move the baby into its new home in one of their safe houses in Splott. Over the next week they discovered the baby liked algae, as well as the occasional fish, though that tended to give her indigestion. And no one wanted a repeat of the time, several weeks later, that Owen had fed her peanuts. Baby space whale gas was no joke. Jack was afraid the smell was bad enough they'd have to Retcon nearby residents. Luckily, they hadn't.
After cleaning up for the evening after one visit to the baby, Ianto was regaling Jack with tales of how much she'd grown. "I'm not so sure Tiny is going to suit her for much longer."
Jack leaned on his office door frame, smiling. "Gwen should have realized that when she named her."
Ianto finished drying the last coffee mug and made his way over to Jack. "The other options were Whaley, Bertie, and Maude."
"Those are awful."
"Hence Gwen suggesting Tiny."
"The lesser of evils," Jack said, putting his hands on both of Ianto's shoulders. "All done for the evening?"
"Care to join me for a drink? I was thinking the pub."
"We haven't even had dinner yet," Ianto pointed out.
"All the more reason to go to the pub. My treat."
Ianto smiled. "I think I can handle that."
Jack kissed him softly before heading into his office to get his coat. As usual, Ianto got there first and helped him put it on. Jack reciprocated with Ianto's. "Maybe after food and a few drinks I can convince you to let me get another badge."
Ianto chuckled. "You're not really getting badges, sir."
"Maybe, but the trying is the fun part."
"And which badge will you be trying for this time?" Ianto asked as they headed down to the steps.
"I was thinking photography."
"Sounds interesting," Ianto replied.
The cog door rolled open and Jack stepped through, turning to face Ianto with a smirk and a wink. "Did I mention it's naked photography?"
"Of course it is."
"And exactly how would that work?"
"Oh, I'd figure it out," Jack replied.
"Yes, I'm sure you would, sir. That's what frightens me."