"Well, what would Jack do?!"
He wasn't too sure what Jack Harkness would do in a situation like they found they were currently finding themselves in, but Owen was fairly certain it wouldn't involve shrieking like a banshee in his ear. If it did, well, he wouldn't put a lot of things past Jack, and that included shrieking like a banshee but only if it'd be for their own good. He hoped, anyway.
Jack may have said he was forgave him, after all, but he wasn't sure he entirely believed him. Not when he wasn't completely ready to forgive himself. Since Jack's disappearance (Had it only been yesterday? It felt like both ages and mere hours ago.), he thrown himself into their work. He had Toshiko and Ianto back at the Hub trying to find out what they could about the Doctor, and he and Gwen had left on what seemed to be another normal Weevil spotting. How wrong he had been.
Apparently Jack had told Gwen just before his disappearance, because it was just too hard to think of a bloke like Jack being kidnapped, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that the Rift would be getting more and more active. Either he was right and they were therefore getting new aliens they'd never seen before, or he was still right and they were getting evolved Weevils. Neither was a pleasant concept, especially not with Jack gone; the man sometimes seemed to have something more of a clue of what was going on than the rest of them, not that he was always willing to share what that clue might be, of course, but the fall-back had at least been there.
He'd love to get his hands on whoever had Jack. Never mind that if they had Jack and had managed to keep him this long, apparent immortality and all, they could probably hand him his own arse in a neat little pile. Never mind that; he wanted to get his hands around their throats, assuming they h ad them, and squeeze.
Toshiko and Ianto were dead certain it was the Doctor they were dealing with. To some extent that alarmed him: the Doctor showed up at Torchwood One, and hours later, over four hundred people were known to be dead - and half again as many as that still reported to be missing. Hell, it had been easier in the end to count the survivors (twenty-seven, out of eight hundred twenty-three) than the dead in the end, to say nothing of the civilians. That had been one of the days he'd hated being in Torchwood, cataloguing pieces of co-workers as best he could. No-one really knew what had happened with Torchwood Four, but if the Doctor was involved there, then what did that say about Jack's odds?
It was Jack, though. Whatever whoever had him was planning on, they were going to get a surprise, especially if anything... fatal happened to him. Owen almost wanted to be a fly on the wall when Jack sat right back up. Unless this Doctor got interested in finding out what made Jack sit right back up...
He needed to stop thinking up situations like that. Especially when they weren't one hundred per cent certain that it was the Doctor who had taken him. Tosh and Ianto were so certain, though, that the sound Gwen had heard was the Doctor's TARDIS. If it had been just the tea boy, even with the recording from Torchwood One, he might have room to doubt, but Tosh was equally as positive - and she'd heard the TARDIS in person, a couple years ago when Jack sent her to Albion Hospital in London on what was supposed to be an alien fished out a spaceship in the Thames.
Jack and Yvonne had been in heavy competition around that time, as he recalled it, and since Yvonne had sent them the widow of some nutter named Clive (Steve? Dave? He couldn't recall now) to deal with, Jack had sent Toshiko in to be the government's "resident alien expert", before Yvonne could even begin to mobilize her own people. Which in turn meant Tosh was the only surviving member of Torchwood, any branch of Torchwood, to have met the Doctor.
And he needed to quit worrying about Jack when his ass being on the line wasn't the immediate problem. No, the immediate problem was about a meter - but more likely a little more - taller than Gwen, smelled like a Weevil fresh out of the sewer, and looked twice as bad, with claws that were roughly triple the length. Maybe if the Weevil's mother had had a more than passing relationship with Abaddon, maybe then this thing could be related to Janet, the Weevil living in the basement of Torchwood's Hub. And where had Jack come up with a name like Janet for a Weevil anyway? Mentally he added that to the ever-growing list of questions he was going to ask the other man if - no, when they got him back. At the rate the list was growing and if he remembered them all, he'd be demanding answers from Jack till he was eighty. Not that he was likely to get many of them answered, but that wasn't the point.
The point was that he needed to start ducking faster.
Owen wasn't moving nearly as quickly as he should be, as he normally would be in the field, she thought in dismay. That had to mean he was still recovering from the gunshot wound Ianto gave him nearly a week ago. He probably shouldn't be out here yet, but...
They'd all gone out in the field with injuries before, of course. It was a necessary part of their job with Torchwood. A necessary evil, Jack had called it, not that he went out injured frequently. No, it was more common for Jack to die on a job than get hurt. Maybe that should have been a clue.
Owen ducked, rolling in a tuck that would make stunt co-ordinators weep, though whether from envy or derision she couldn't be absolutely certain, and coming back up with his gun aimed at the creature, firing three times in quick succession. At least one of them connected, striking high on its torso. Unfortunately, that just seemed to make it more angry, as if it wasn't enough already.
"Tosh! Tell me this thing has a weakness and you've found it!" she yelled into her earpiece as she tried to manoeuvre around Owen to get a clear shot herself. Maybe if she could just hit its head, no matter how freakishly small a target it was compared to the rest of the thing's body. Not while Owen's so close though. Not if lead bullets don't work. Insanity was doing the same thing and expecting different results, after all.
Right now they could really use Jack. Someone to cover for them, take the up close position till Tosh came up with a solution of some sort... and all the other things Jack did for them that they hadn't even begun to realise till he was gone. God, she hoped he was in better shape than they were, hope he was having better luck with whatever he was doing than they were against this thing.
How many times had he told her, after all, that he was waiting on the right kind of doctor. Two that immediately came to mind: standing above the city of Cardiff after everything with Suzie, the first time everything happened with Suzie, the one where Jack died, not where she almost did; and just before he was taken, like the words had summoned his kidnapper. Could it possibly be that Jack's doctor was the Doctor?
She hadn't exactly read the files on the Doctor since her second day on the job. For one thing, there were just so many and they were all so thick that they reminded her in a way of textbooks. Actually they did remind her of textbooks: each one was more dry that the one before. Whoever wrote the reports had apparently been trying to bore his audience to death. What she did recall was that every couple of files, the images of the Doctor would change into a completely new man, which made no sense, because she recalled a few of the dates overlapping. Granted, not all the notes were made by Torchwood employees: some of the files had been sent over directly to Jack by U.N.I.T. Ianto had admitted to her privately once that, even though he'd been at Torchwood One when the Doctor arrived that fateful day, he hadn't known nearly as much about the man (Alien? What she could recall of the files wasn't very specific.) they were supposed to be fighting as he did after seeing Jack's great amassed pile of files.
Maybe she should go back over those files. Hell, maybe they all should. There might be some sort of clue in there on how to get Jack back, if he wanted to come back. And maybe she should tell the others that Jack had been waiting on a doctor. But it wasn't her secret to tell, not really. But on the other hand, it might help them find him. She could almost place bets that even as Toshiko was rushing to find a solution to this problem, as well as research the latest information on the Doctor and his relationship to the other Torchwoods, the other woman was also working on a program to track their missing leader back down so that they could bring him home.
"Gwen? Do you have your Taser with you?" Tosh's voice asked in her ear.
She fumbled at her belt, but it was still clipped there. She'd started back carrying it after the Weevil Fight Club Owen had infiltrated. Not all the monsters were aliens after all; they should all know by now that sometimes humans were the biggest threats. And sometimes a bit of electricity was the best way to deal with a human. "Yes, I do."
"Do you see the small patch of skin under its neck that's lighter than the rest?" She almost nodded her agreement, still sometimes forgetting that Tosh couldn't see her. Though if Tosh could see the lighter bit of scaly skin that she herself could barely detect, then maybe Tosh could see her nod. "It appears that the scales are thinner there. If it's like cold-blooded animals here, the electricity may at least slow it down."
Well, Owen shooting it wasn't doing any good. "Owen!"
Obviously he heard Tosh as well because he was already moving back over towards her when she fired, praying to any deity that might be listening that her aim would be good. It was such a small target.
For an indeterminably long moment, she held her breath as the electric prongs flew through the air - then released it again in a loud triumphant whoop as it struck nearly exactly where she'd been aiming for but still in the paler patch of scales. The creature jerked and twitched its way to lie prone on the filthy concrete floor, and they shared an exhausted glance before slowly bending to collect the newest addition to Torchwood's basement's collection of aliens.
As they loaded it in the back of the SUV, she faintly heard Owen muttering, "Jack picked a fine time to disappear."
She couldn't really disagree that they could really use a fifth person right now, but... "Someone took him. Jack wouldn't leave us like this if he had a choice."
"I wish I had your faith." He looked surprised to have said that much and immediately got back to securing their unwilling passenger.
And she couldn't say why she had faith in Jack.
03 July 2007
I wish I had something witty to say here, but here's a chapter and it's probably loopy because I'm sick. Yep, seem to be picking up a July case of the flu. Kinda brilliant, huh? More soon.