A New Age Dawns
Chapter Three
by Apollymi 

Series: Torchwood
Pairing: General
Rating: 15
Word Count: 3343
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.

The door to the holding cell closed with barely more than a hiss. Like all the ones on this floor, it had gotten some frequent use after the Rift had been opened the first time. When it had been opened the second time, anything that had slipped through time disappeared again. From then until now, the only thing that had been in a cage here again had been a couple of Weevils. Hopefully this wasn't a sign of things to come, that they were once again starting to use more of the cages.

At least Ianto had met them at the door with another Taser. Lucky break, that was, especially with their new... friend starting to wake up again. And starting to of course meant the damn thing was trying to claw through the cage in the back of the SUV. They were definitely going to have replace the entire back seat, at least the rear portion of it facing the cage. And replacing the cage might not be a bad idea either. Amazing; it held up so well against Weevils. Hell, two Weevils could go in it without too much damage to the SUV, but in less than twenty minutes, this thing had nearly ripped the back to pieces.

"Never thought I'd start appreciating Weevils," he muttered to himself. And he was resolutely ignoring how the Weevil in the cage just across from where he stood, the one Jack had named Janet, if he remembered right, was eyeing him. He'd been doing his best to avoid coming down here too often since that night in the cage and then Bilis and Abaddon, or at least trying not to stop near any of the Weevil-occupied cells. He still wasn't too sure what to think of Janet cowering before him or the way the creatures went silent and tried to make themselves small around him. It had been hard to hide, especially after the Rift had been opened the first time, and the Weevils started going mad, coming up out of the sewers and attacking the good, ignorant people of Cardiff in greater numbers than ever before on top of every other bit of hell that had broken loose, which in turn meant more Weevils for them to bring in. Ianto had equated the reaction once he'd seen it to the law of the jungle, weaker beasts cowering submissively before a greater predator. They had to be daft if they thought he was a better predator than the Weevils themselves, no matter how mighty he had felt baring his teeth and hissing at the creature.

Well, their new guest was definitely on a level above that, given the damage it had done to their equipment and those two poor bastards unlucky enough to get in its way. A pissed off gigantic iguana with extra long claws, extra big teeth, and an extra bad attitude, that was what this thing was. And, strangely he could almost get why Jack insisted on naming everything down here: it made it so much easier to keep up with which one was which. So... Charlie. Yeah, the thing looked like a Charlie. At least it wasn't Sandra or Kate or whatever it was Jack called that thing they fished out of the Bay that one time, back before Gwen got recruited. Suzie had hated the smell of that... thing, Sandra-or-Kate, which he recalled being far from pleasant but not quite bottom of a rubbish bin awful. Maybe more like those dirty socks you found hidden under your bed that may or may not have belonged to the person who lived in your flat before you; yeah, from what he remembered of Sandra-or-Kate and its particular odour, that was about the best analogy.

"Owen?" And that would be Tosh's voice, echoing in the holding room. She stood in the doorway, dressed a thousand times more casually than he ever seen her at work, jeans and a simple blouse. No make-up, of course, but the opposite there was much more of a rarity. Why was he noticing all this now, he had to wonder. But he also immediately figured it's another of those Jack being missing things. Suddenly their team of five had been reduced to a team of four, when they'd lost the one who inexplicably knew the most about the aliens they were up against. Well, most of the time anyway; Abaddon had been a bit beyond Jack, and if it hadn't been bloody terrifying, it might have proven enjoyable to see the Captain as much in the dark as the rest of them.

"What?" And snarling off his words wasn't hard, not with Charlie and Janet around. Charlie and Janet: they sounded like the Odd Couple like that. It meant they fit in perfectly around here. It meant everyone and everything was odd. About par for the course, if anyone asked him.

"I'm sending Ianto and Gwen home for the evening. We've all been here entirely too long. We're not going to do any good if we're falling asleep on our feet." She was clearly building herself up for the argument to end all arguments, and quite right too. "If our new friend here is secure, why don't you go on home as well? I'll close down the Hub for the evening."

He glanced over his shoulder to where their new friend was slowly climbing to its feet. Charlie didn't really look too bad for a creature that had been Tasered twice in one night. Obviously electricity had an effect, but not a permanent one. The last jolt Ianto had given it had been less than half an hour ago; that seemed to be about the amount of time it needed to shrug off the effects and get back up again. "The Tasers do a lot more good than guns," he had to admit. "Shooting it only made it angry, after all. Where do you suppose he fell through from?"

Tosh had slowly crossed the room to stand next to him before the cage. "I don't know." She jumped, catching her breath in a gasp as it leapt, snarling, towards them. Admirably, she recovered quickly. "I do know, though, that identifying its species can wait till tomorrow. You need to go home as well, Owen. We all do."

"There's still so much to do," he paused, tossing her a reassessing glance. "Besides, are you trying to send us home like bad kids, Mum?"

And there went a faint flush across her cheeks, and she glanced down to find something on the floor near her feet very interesting, somehow managing to completely ignore Charlie's scrambling, trying to claw his way through the clear wall. He wouldn't be able to, of course - or at least that was the running theory - but it was a bit odd that Toshiko was actually able to completely ignore it.

There was new resolve in her eyes when she looked up again, though. "Jack's gone."

"I thought that was completely obvious by this point."

"No, Jack is gone. We don't know when he'll be back, how he'll come back, or even if he'll come back at all."

He held a purely mental shudder in. "He'll be back. The bastard made it through Abaddon, the pug-faced so-called destroyer of worlds. He'll make it through the Doctor. I reckon that alien bastard probably isn't figuring on Jack being nigh on immortal."

"It's hardly common knowledge. The point is, until we manage to find and rescue him or Jack escapes, he's gone. We're short one person, unless you really want to call Glasgow or the Prime Minister and beg for a replacement branch leader and hope it's someone we can stand."

"Someone we won't have to shoot, you mean?" he drawled. No way was he going to let his distaste at the idea of calling in help be seen. Sure, Harold Saxon was a great guy and all that, but all the same, he didn't want to see who the man might send out to replace Jack, much less if the guy would do something like order them to stop searching for Jack. He had a bit of trust for Saxon, but not for other government officials; always looking out for their own asses, they were. "No thanks, I think we can manage on our own till Jack's back."

And she was nodding, a small, almost (no, scratch that almost) shy smile on her face. Obviously he said what she was leading up to. "I couldn't agree more. We can manage as a team of four for a little while, just till we get Jack back."

"Then what are you still wittering on about?"

"We can make it as four, but only if all four of us pulls his fair share and a bit more. We each have to do our own job. And then there's Jack's as well."

Seriously, what was she leading up to? Sometimes he really had no idea what Tosh was talking about, especially when she decided to beat around the bush like this. "I've been-"

"No, Owen," she interrupted boldly then looked surprised at herself for the intrusion. He couldn't help agreeing. It wasn't very like her to do something like that. "We're going to have to split Jack's jobs and duties among us. One person can't do all their own tasks and Jack's."

And the penny dropped. "That's what you've been building up to?"

"What did you think I meant?" Thankfully, she didn't give him time enough to answer that before pushing on. "You did a good job leading in the field today. I'll handle the Hub-side of things and deal with U.N.I.T.; I've had some experience with B ambera before now. I think we should delegate relations with the Prime Minister and the regular military over to Ianto and have Gwen step up relations with the police in general; we'll need all the extra resources we can get if we're going to get out of this fix quickly."

"And the police are supposed to be another great resource?" He didn't even bother pretending to keep the scorn out of his voice. The closest the Cardiff police had come to helping in any productive way had been either tossing Gwen over their direction or putting Roman soldiers in holding cells till they arrived. It was a bit better than the helpless flailing the hospital had done with the bubonic plague, after all, though not by much as far as he was concerned. "Think they can manage to pick the alien out of the line-up?"


"You're absolutely right, might be a bit much for them. Think we can, I don't know, get them flashcards or something? Match the aliens? Should bring it about down to their level."

She was smiling for real at last as he began to wind down. It hadn't taken nearly as long as he thought it might. "Thank you. I needed that."

"What you need is to go home and get some sleep. You look like you're dead on your feet."

"So do you." She sighed, sparing Charlie a long stare before speaking again. "I need to make sure Ianto and Gwen are leaving before I can do anything."

"Good luck getting her to go home," he muttered sullenly. And if Gwen asked, she was absolutely not sleeping on his couch. He made a point of not involving himself with an ex after the dumping was done. It would be a whole other thing if they'd broken it off a bit more amicably, but as it stood, he'd just as soon let her sleep on the door step. Well, no, maybe on the kitchen table. But that was it.

"I'll get her a hotel room if nothing else, but she can't stay here another night."

He couldn't resist a little barb. "I don't think she's that kind of girl, Tosh. You would have to catch her on a bad day or buy her a drink first." He paused, reconsidering his words. "Actually, you either have to catch her on a bad day or get her drunk - or lock yourself in a room with her and a bunch of alien sex pheromones."

"I think I'll have to take a pass on that. It's much more like your sort of thing to do. I would just like to know she's spending the night somewhere besides here - and perhaps taking a real shower. I don't think she's done that since Abaddon."

"Which is just a nice way of saying she smells about as bad as Charlie here," he tossed back, giving said alien a nod, which just seemed to make him even more angry. Yes, the glass should hold, but all the same, he almost wondered if they should give him another shock and move him to a level all of his own. A private suite, as it might be, rather than risk him getting out and killing the Weevils they had imprisoned.

"You named it Charlie?" She needn't sound so incredulous. The way she sounded, she was at most a few seconds from laughing hysterically at him. "Charlie?" And it was slipped out, the first giggle. "Why Charlie?" She cast a glance over her shoulder to Janet and burst out into more laughter.

"After the stinky, ugly kid who used to live next door to me, not that it makes any difference."

Another twitter of amusement escaped her. "So do you think... Charlie here will be all right till morning?" And she was entirely too amused by the whole thing. On the other hand, though, how long had it been since this place had heard any laughter? Any just plain relaxed laughter, not nervous or hysterical? Well, that was something even Jack hadn't managed lately. "The Weevils don't seem to like him much."

Well, that was true. Janet had flattened herself against the back wall of her cell when they brought Charlie in and scarcely moved since then. Abruptly he couldn't help but remember what Ianto had said about law of the jungle and recognising a better predator. Weevils were really less predators than scavengers, but they were definitely adept at killing their own meals if needs be. Charlie, on the other hand, was either a true predator or a sadist; it hadn't eaten the two men it had killed, but that might have been because it was on the run. With teeth and claws like that, it definitely was a carnivore. That, or wherever it was from had some vicious plant life, perhaps truly carnivorous plant life. That was a plant he never hoped to meet if he had anything to say about it and if the theory was correct; then again, he could kill cacti. Jack said he had a gift for killing plants - a "brown thumb" was how he'd put it - so he should be fine against carnivorous plants. Unless of course they were after revenge for all the plants he'd killed over the years; at that point, he'd be in a lot of trouble.

In fact, it'd probably be a lot like going through Jack's back catalogue of dates: a long, long list that would take a long, long time to go through. And that just brought up entire new worlds of questions: just how many guys could Jack have slept with? Sod what Toshiko said about him going for anything gorgeous; the man had to be gay. He was shagging Ianto, after all, so gay and desperate, as far as Owen was concerned. But how long could Jack's back catalogue be? He paused in consideration: it depended on just how old Jack was, a fact none of them had discovered yet. There was no record of a Captain Jack Harkness in the United Kingdom since 1941, and from Tosh's story, while he'd seemed to fit in in the Forties, that didn't fit some of the very few other clues they had.

At least Gwen hadn't gotten it into her head yet to put out a missing poster for him. There wasn't enough information they knew to even begin to fill it out. Hell, they wouldn't even know what to put down for his name. "Captain Jack Harkness" wasn't even his name, according to the info Toshiko had pulled in from her trip with him to 1941. They had his height, photograph, and physical description - but not any of the important things the amateurs in the police would need: name, age, or even where he was originally from. America, perhaps, based on his accent, but even that was a guess. Ianto had suggested C.I.A. or Black Ops once, and it made a degree of sense; if he'd been C.I.A. or even maybe in a special section of U.N.I.T., they may have erased his identity.

And he must have been exhausted for his mind to be wandering like it was. What was it Tosh had asked? "He should be fine till morning. I'll need to take a closer look at him and find out what I can about his species. If he's an example of what we're going to be getting from now on, we need a better idea of what to expect." He sighed tired. "Jack picked a hell of a time to swan off."

"Owen? Do you really think the Doctor took him?"

He shrugged one shoulder, the one that didn't have a great bloody bullet hole through it. If Ianto had been aiming for his shoulder, he supposed he had to be glad he hadn't been aiming anywhere more vital. "You're the one who's met the Doctor, not me. What do you think?"

She shifted on her feet, eyes locking on the floor. "The Doctor I met sounded like he was from the North. It wasn't the same Doctor as Canary Wharf." She paused, apparently thinking over what she was going to say before she said it. "If it was the Doctor I met... If he thought we did something wrong, he'd probably come here and tell us off for it. The Doctor from Canary Wharf, I don't know. I just don't know. I mean, all those people..."

"He'll get a shock if he tries anything on Jack." His smile was feral at best as a dark thought occurred to him. "He'll get an even bigger surprise the first time Jack sits right back up."

She laughed shortly, finally turning back towards him. "Owen? Can we agree to share Jack's responsibilities for the duration of however long he's gone?"

Another shrug. "I don't see why not. I hate paperwork, though, so that part's yours."

She laughed before spinning towards the door. "All right, then I'm sending them out of here. Start closing up the Hub for the evening and go home as well, Owen."

"After I make certain Charlie's secured. Last thing we want is him to get loose and wreaking havoc."

She nodded. "Oh yes. The pterodactyl might not approve. You are going home, though, right?"

"Of course. Why would I want to sleep here? I mean, the couch isn't that great, and have you seen Jack's little bunker under his office? I might not mind close quarters, but I'd prefer to share them with someone."

"I don't think Jack stayed - stays down there very often. He and Ianto seem to go to Ianto's flat on Mermaid Quay. Before that, though... I don't think he slept down there often." She smiled and shrugged. "Jack may well be the reason we have a couch."

He had to laugh at that as well. "Yeah, can you picture Yvonne Hartman letting anyone crash in her perfectly clean and sterile Canary Wharf building? She'd have probably died of an embolism before you got ten minutes into your nap, then come back from the dead, and disinfect after you."

"Well, you'd have never survived there. But we knew that a long time ago. Now, go home, Owen. I'll be waiting upstairs till you're gone."

That remained to be seen. He fully anticipated Gwen putting up a fight against leaving now. Now that he could stand to see.

06 July 2007

Finished my daily word count! With... 4 minutes left to spare... Okay, not my best.

You know, for the record: Owen is not my favourite character. In fact, my favourites list goes something like this: Jack first, Gwen and Tosh tied for second, Owen in third, and then Ianto. (I'm not rating Suzie, evil genius that she is.)

Thank you to everyone who's left a review so far; you guys are just fantastic! I'm doing a fairly good job answering all the comments fairly quickly, but I know I'm at least one behind. I'm going to work on that tomorrow. Err... later today; it's now after midnight getting this posted, so I'm going to bed while I'm still coherent.


07 July 2007 - P.S. from Apollymi
My beta-reader and I have made a bet. For every 500 hits you guys give me on this, I get ice cream. Today is my first treat! Keep them coming: I love ice cream :-D

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