A New Age Dawns
Chapter Two
by Apollymi 

Series: Torchwood
Pairing: General
Rating: 15
Word Count: 3096
Note: The title comes from the Epica album Consign to Oblivion. Yes, I still suck at titles. This is the first of my fan novels for Torchwood. It is set to bridge the gap between Series 1 and Series 2. Whether or not it will be Series 2 compliant is left to be seen, but it does take into account information released in "The Sound of Drums" of Doctor Who.
Summary: Set immediately following End of Days but prior to the beginning of Series Two, Torchwood Three's leader is gone. What will happen in the meantime?
Disclaimer: Doctor Who and Torchwood belong to the BBC. I'm just borrowing.

It was perfectly obvious to Toshiko what was happening around here. There were entire planets of denial circulating around, each one more oppressive than the one before, and for all that he might be trying to hide it, Owen might be the worst of the lot of them, with Gwen running a close second. At least Ianto was fairly honest in his utter misery - and wasn't that fun to sit around the Hub with - and she was keeping herself busy with their newest alien guest, as well trying to write a program to track the Doctor's TARDIS from the limited information they had on it.

The Torchwood One files had been no help in the matter whatsoever in the matter. Any information they may have had from trying to study it before everything went pear shaped was lost when the Cybermen and the other aliens (Jack had called them Daleks, and she was quite willing to go with that) started taking over. And it wasn't just the information the alien technology, including the TARDIS, that had been lost; the technology itself had been lost. Most estimates that had been done since the Battle of Canary Wharf, as it was now being called, about ninty-three per cent of the alien technology in Torchwood One's holdings had been lost or damaged beyond repair. To make matters all the worse, all of Torchwood Four's info and tech had been there in storage since that entire team's disappearance.

In the end, though, it meant she was flying a bit blind when it came to this program. She just didn't have enough information and was having to extrapolate nearly as much she knew with any degree of certainty. She couldn't exactly trace it just by the noise; otherwise, she'd end up tracking every backfiring Volvo, as Owen had put it, around the world. Chasing that many false leads would spread them too thin, which would leave them in no position to help Jack, should they eventually actually find the TARDIS that way. She'd briefly considered calling in Torchwood Two to help them find their missing leader, but no, if Owen's theory was correct and the Doctor was after Torchwood, then they'd need a unit in reserve. Still, she could set up a back-up program, so that if they didn't log into the Hub's interface, either mobilely or from one of the computers here, an alert would be sent to Edinburgh. She'd have to make sure it didn't send prematurely (perhaps she could set it for nine hours without a single log in) and that it sent all the information they'd collected so far, however much or little it was by that point.

She was well aware that she had something of a reputation in Torchwood, not for her intellectualism as she'd prefer, but for being the only living person in Torchwood to have met the Doctor. To this day, she was still amazed at how many people had called her from the other branches for information about him in the days and weeks after the aliens faking aliens incident. When all she could say was he was a brooding Northern-sounding man who made her feel stupid, the phone calls had begun to peter off. To her that was the amazing point: it wasn't often that she felt stupid. She could count them all on one hand, after all, and all but one of them had occurred since she'd joined Torchwood. The other had been she had been very young and was something she generally preferred not to think about on most days.

Right now, she wished she knew as much about the man as people had thought she did. Any information more than she had would be wonderful at the moment. Most of the files U.N.I.T. sent Jack had been on a different Doctor, an elderly chap with odd taste in clothing, though there had been files on other people called "the Doctor". Perhaps it was a title that was passed on, perhaps father to son. How many Doctors could there have been since Queen Victoria founded Torchwood? How many Doctors had there been since the missives retrieved from Queen Elizabeth I's personal documents? Just how many Doctors had there been?

But if it was a title passed from father to son, then how quickly did these aliens age? The Northern Doctor she'd met hadn't seemed old enough to have a son the age of the Doctor caught on Torchwood One's CCTV. Different maturity rates, perhaps, from humans? She almost hoped that was the answer. The only other option she could immediately come up with, the one that kept drifting back into the forefront of her mind like a portent of doom, was that all these Doctors were the same person, that there was just one Doctor, an alien capable of changing his face; in other words, a chameleon masquerading among humans. But that would mean he was either as immortal as Jack was or extremely, extremely long-lived. And she couldn't see the Northern Doctor she'd met at Albion Hospital being willing to let so many people die, not when he hadn't wanted the fake alien killed, not when he'd shown such sympathy for it. It had to be the former theory. There had to be more than one Doctor.

Any other idea was just too monstrous, even for Torchwood's number one enemy. Besides, the father-to-son theory explained why the current Doctor matched descriptions of the Doctor Queen Victoria had met. As for the descriptions of the woman who'd been with him, that London girl named Rose Tyler, matching the Victorian descriptions of the "timorous beastie" and the "wee naked child" with the Doctor then... Well, maybe there was a familial preference for blondes. Of course, Rose Tyler was on the list of the dead from Canary Wharf, the list which had arrived mere days before Ianto. When it had arrived, Jack had locked himself in his office for hours and had quietly drunk himself into a stupor. She supposed they'd all mourned Torchwood One in their own ways, since Owen had spent three days away from the Hub and come back looking like something she'd throw back in the rubbish bin.

Owen... She supposed he was blaming himself for this and that was why he was acting like he needed to be both himself and Jack for the rest of them. He was bound to stretch himself too thin, trying to both be their medic and a temporary leader, especially since they'd yet to follow procedure and call in Jack's disappearance to the proper people, namely the branch head of Torchwood Two, Bambera over at U.N.I.T., and the Prime Minister. Yes, Mister Saxon seemed like a great guy, and she'd even voted for him herself, but she didn't fancy telling him they'd managed to lose their branch leader.

Maybe if Owen wanted to play at being their temporary leader, he could make the calls. Better him than her, after all, she figured. And if he wanted someone to yell at him and punish him for whatever role he thought he'd played in Jack's vanishing, then she was sure Bambera was up to the task. No nonsense, that was how Bambera had struck her the one time she'd gone with Jack to meet the woman after the incident at Albion. There hadn't been a lot of U.N.I.T. officers left after that, as she recalled, and they had yet to assign a new Torchwood liaison, so they'd gotten to go straight to the top. As she also recalled it, Bambera had made a veiled reference to preferring Jack over Yvonne. She wouldn't be happy to know they let Jack get taken.

And if Owen was trying to be Jack for them, then Gwen was throwing herself further into work than even she was. At least she went home at night. She didn't think Gwen had been home since checking to make sure Rhys had been restored. She'd lost count how many times Rhys had called her personal mobile since then, till Gwen's phone's battery had died. It had been silent since then, two days ago, the day before Jack woke up and was taken, so she had to assume Gwen had yet to recharge the battery. If they bothered to cut on the police chatter, there would probably be a missing persons report being broadcast on her.

Now there was a halfway decent idea: if nothing else, she could set up an alert for all the versions of the Doctor she knew about (just in case) and Jack, both on the police bands and in the media (also just in case, better safe than sorry and all that). It wouldn't take any time at all to do that, and then she could get back to her research. Hastily she pulled up another window in her far right monitor and working on the new program.


She started, having almost forgotten about Ianto also being in the Hub in her preoccupation. "I'm setting up a second program, to monitor the police and media for the Doctor and Jack."

"Do you think they'll show up on the news?"

She shrugged. "It's a long shot, but it's worth a try. I'm having trouble setting up the program to track the Doctor, so this will have to do till it's finished."

"How long do you estimate on it?"

Poor Ianto, she thought to herself as she kept inputting information into the second program. There was absolutely no doubt what Bilis, if that was indeed the man's name, had shown him, they'd killed Jack, Jack had woken up, Jack had died again, come back, and been kidnapped all within a few scarce days of each other. The relationship between Jack and Ianto had been cause for more than a few late-night drink discussions between the other members of the team. The most they'd ever decided was that it was the most confusing thing they'd ever dealt with, which was saying a lot given where they worked and what they dealt with on a day-to-day basis, and it would be best for them to drop the subject before it became too much for the ale to deal with.

"I'm not really sure, Ianto. A few hours, if I can find something to trace the TARDIS. A few days, if I happen upon some lucky breakthrough. A few weeks, if I have to keep making it up as I go." She half-glanced over her shoulder at him, trying not to see the pervasive sadness in his eyes or the exhaustion in the slump of his shoulders, but they were so hard to ignore.

"Of course."

"It really is hard to say at this point. None of us are giving up on finding him though," she rushed to reassure him. "We're going to get Jack back, I know it."

"Do you think Owen's right? That the Doctor took him?"

"It's the best theory we have to run with right now. If he's wrong, then we'll come up with a new one. I promise you, Ianto: we're going to find Jack."

She really shouldn't be making promises like that, not when she had no idea if she'd be able to keep it. But it felt right. It felt like something they'd be able to accomplish somehow. They would get Jack back, and hopefully they would accomplish it before U.N.I.T. or Torchwood Two or even the Prime Minister found out. After all, they'd dealt with fairies (that one hadn't gone well), cannibals (well, Jack had shot the cannibals before the rest of them could become dinner), falling back in time (okay, Owen had had to open the Rift to save them, and things had gone distinctly south thanks to that rescue), a Cyberwoman in their basement (the less said about that the better), and Abaddon (again, that one had gone horribly, horribly wrong, and if she had been in Jack's position, she wasn't sure she could have forgiven them for what they'd done). Maybe their track record wasn't stellar, but they usually got some sort of resolution on the cases they took on, even if it wasn't always a pleasant or pleasing one.

No, they would get Jack back if it was the last thing they did. Jack wouldn't give up on them; they couldn't give up on him. The closest Jack had come to giving up on any of them had been in 1941 - and after they met the other Captain Jack Harkness. She couldn't even imagine how that must have felt for him, but she knew raw pain when she saw it and that was the look that had been in his eyes when they began to realise how trapped they were, when they left to come back to their own time, when they toasted to the other Captain Jack in his office. That impenetrable sadness had been so devastating to hear when he promised to take care of her that she'd wanted to cry and ask who would take care of him, especially watching him break slowly at not being able to save the other Captain Jack.

And yet she'd let herself be complicit the very next day in shooting him. She may not have pulled the trigger herself, but she certainly hadn't stopped Owen. She'd frozen, at first unable to believe the things Jack was saying to them, then unable to believe Gwen had punched him like that. But then Owen had had Jack's gun, and everything had happened so quickly. She'd frozen; that was the only way to put it. She would have no more been able to do anything then than if she'd been asked to fly. And she'd still gone along with their hastily made plan to open the Rift after seeing Jack's body on the floor; there was no stopping then. Even Ianto had carried through, despite his shock at Owen's actions. They were all equally guilty. Owen may have pulled the trigger, perhaps thinking at the time that death wouldn't be permanent on Jack either, just as it wouldn't be for Rhys, but they'd all had a part to play in the act. They were all guilty.

If her calculations and Jack's predictions were true, and the Rift was going to become a lot more active, then she wouldn't blame Jack in the least if he didn't forgive them this time, didn't trust them again. The Rift opening might have even been the impetus for the Doctor's visit; it might be their fault Jack was kidnapped. No, she wouldn't blame him in the least if he never trusted them again. Owen's betrayal was bad enough, actually killing him as he had, but the other three of them had betrayed him in much worse ways that couldn't be atoned for: Ianto and he had a relationship of some sort, so he had broken a lover's confidence; Gwen, he had trusted with the secret of his immortality, long before any of the rest of them had known (and only then they'd found out because Gwen had told them), so she'd broken a confidante's trust; and she was the only one who knew that Jack Harkness wasn't even his real name, that he'd been in 1941 before, that he'd been a conman, sometime in his past, so she'd betrayed a friend's trust, because that was what he'd called her, talking to Mary.

Somehow she didn't think it was a word he tossed around lightly. And she was none too sure he'd still use it. She'd liked it. She'd never had too many friends before, and she liked the idea of Jack being hers.

"Owen and Gwen are coming back with our new guest." Damn, she'd almost forgotten he was there again. How embarrassing. "I'll go get a cell ready and meet them upstairs."

She nodded absently. "Take an extra Taser. I'm not sure how long it will have been knocked out. It might be waking up soon." It had been fairly large. The electrical current may have diffused itself by now, or its neural synapses might still be firing. As an alien they were having a first encounter with, it was hard to say. They may have even accidentally killed it, but Owen probably would have said something if they had. If he was in doctor mode, that was, and not in a pretending to be Jack state of mind.

No, she shouldn't fault Owen for trying to find a way to make things right for them till Jack was back. They all were in their own way, after all, but Owen needed to be doing something that benefited himself as well, not just the rest of them. It just wasn't like the Owen they all knew to be selfless; he was supposed to be sarcastic and a bit crude and completely irascible. He was also supposed to be second-in-command, not the leader. He was supposed to be Owen, in other words, not Jack. Yes, they needed Jack right now, but they also needed Owen.

Right now, they couldn't afford to be even one person short, much less two. They needed a medic especially now, while they were all running themselves ragged. Till Jack was back, they'd just all have to equally share the burden of leadership. She'd made certain they all went home tonight, even Gwen, or at least slept some place that wasn't at their desk, on the couch, in the conference room, or in Jack's office; if they wouldn't got home, she'd just rent them all hotel rooms. She might even demand Gwen call Rhys and let him know she was still alive, if she wouldn't go home and reconcile things with him.

With a few last keystrokes, she set the secondary program to begin, with expanded search perimeters: it wouldn't just search Cardiff's media and police wavelengths - it would search throughout the United Kingdom. When she had the time to work on it further, once the main program was completed, she'd reset it to search throughout the world. It'd be a nice back-up to the Doctor-TARDIS search, a sort of fail-safe measure. It was a good idea. Jack would be proud of her.

After all, if they did things her way, when Jack got back, whether he freed himself or they found him, there would still be a team left to come back to, not a group of bedraggled has-beens in their place. Her way, there would still be a Torchwood Three left for Jack to come home to.

04 July 2007

Wow. Err, I actually meant to change narrators part of the way through there, but once Tosh got started, I didn't want to stop her. She's fun like that.

Well, I'm caught back up on my word count. In fact, I'm a little over (a very little, like 33 words), but I'm going try to build that gap as time goes.

Thank you to everyone for the reviews so far, as well as the well wishes. I slept about thirteen or so hours, being that I had today off, and generally lounged about writing like a fiend to make up my deficit from yesterday. Of course, that required turning on various episodes from time to time to make certain I had things right.

Hopefully more tomorrow, work permitting, but probably not this long. Thanks for sticking around, everyone. Talk at you guys more after Chapter Three.


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