Torchwood Trilogy

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Three short science fiction stories.

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Torchwood Trilogy

  1. 1. TORCHWOOD TRILOGY Geraint J Day
  2. 2. CONTENTS 2 Kingdom14 Power26 Glory
  3. 3. KINGDOMPierre Mélotte strained for the fifth time to look up at the imposing grey stonyedifice. He was getting really tired after his long journey. His neck had begunto ache as well.“Am ... gu ... ed ... fa,” he muttered slowly. “Non.” He stopped and frowned.“Je répète. Am ... gwed ... far”. “Merde! ... et encore ...”He struggled to remember the rules. It was not a problem in his country. Twomain official languages. “Pas de problème.” Yet here he was, tryingdesperately to remember the rules for pronunciation of the local language.“Am ... ji ... ed ...fa, ”he tried again.“Am ... gee ... edth ... va ... It means Museum,” said the young womandressed in black leather who rushed closely past him coming from theBoulevard de Nantes and heading for the front steps of AmgueddfaGenedlaethol Cymru.“Merci beaucoup,” he said with genuine appreciation. He then shouted afterher in the minority tongue of the region he resided in, “Dank u voor u helpen.”By then all he could see of her was a mane of flowing black hair disappearinginto the entrance of the National Museum of Wales. She hadn’t heard him.Pity. “C’est la vie,” he shrugged.Then it began to rain. It seemed so like Brussels.At the reception desk on the left-hand side of the imposing entrance hallway,Gwen Cooper stopped to ask the attendant the way.“Up by there, love,” said the man. He thought for a moment and added, “Oh,didn’t you used to work for the police or something? Honest to God, I’m sureI’ve seen you here before. Some trouble with yobs trying to nick rocks or thelike, I think.”“Yeah, something like that. Tell you on the way out. In a bit of a rush justnow,” was Gwen’s answer.When she arrived outside the Head Curator’s office she knew that she had adifficult job ahead of her. So she paused for a moment. This could be tricky. Itshouldn’t be, but it always seemed to take a while to explain to officialdomexactly what Torchwood did. Not that she intended to elaborate on the“exactly” part during this afternoon’s conversation.“Mr Lloyd-Evans has made time to see you now,” said the woman seated atthe desk, rather condescendingly, Gwen reckoned. 2 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  4. 4. “Has he, now? Well, we’ll see if I’m free to see him,” retorted Gwen. “... Ohyeah, I’ve checked my engagements and I see that I am free.”“Mr Lloyd-Evans is a very busy man,” said the woman.“He is, is he? Maybe. Well, we’ll see how busy he is after he’s listened to me,”snapped Gwen, not to be outdone by some aspiring Lady Muck. “Tell him I’mon my way in, will you?” Gwen glared at her for a moment. “Ta,” she added.The woman at the desk looked gobsmacked. She was enraged. Then shetook a deep breath. “Who’s she think she is?” she muttered faintly beforepicking up the phone to call the Head Curator. “Sounds like some Valleys girl.Not the sort we want barging in here. No way.” After all, Cardiff was verymuch on the up and up these days.There were very few living dinosaurs in Cardiff nowadays. (Unless youcounted some of the members of the City Council, according to somecorrespondents to the South Wales Echo.) That was mainly because most ofthem had become extinct about 65 million years before the present. IantoJones knew from personal experience of only one species that was classed inthe popular mind as dinosaurs. That actually wandered the streets of Cardiffin 2009. Well, not so much walk the streets so much as fly about under someof them. It was the pterodactyl that now had the caverns of the TorchwoodHub in Cardiff Bay as its home from home.When he had picked up a message from the museum curator in Cathays Parkhe had not really been paying attention. He had been trying to sort out someof the voluminous Torchwood archive boxes full of alien and human artefacts.The man had been babbling about dinosaurs being on the loose. Cleanerswere getting terrorised. The man had eventually told Ianto at length and ingreat detail that the whole thing could get out of hand and lead to all sorts offrightening outcomes. He certainly didn’t want the Welsh AssemblyGovernment to withdraw any funding. Or any of the private benefactors hehad so closely worked with, he shuddered to think, to persuade them tosupport the Museum. Things were tight enough already.Eventually Ianto had managed to shut him up and get him to explain what theissue was.The whole thing had originally been referred to Torchwood by the desksergeant at police headquarters. That was why Gwen had ended up rushingoff to the Museum that morning. At any rate, she had to, as Captain JackHarkness was away in London.That, and the fact that about half past nine the previous evening her formercolleague, PC Andy Davidson, had phoned her directly. He had asked her to 3 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  5. 5. come down to Lavernock Point near Penarth. Some idiot had been reported torunning around there shouting his head off about the dinosaurs that weregoing to kill him. That was what Andy had told her, anyway.She had turned up around half ten. Andy had been first on the scene.They were greeted by a man who said that he had his own show on one ofthe local radio stations.“What do you mean, you’ve never yeard of it?” Cosmo Probert looked aghastat the woman in the black leather jacket. “Funky, yeah?”Gwen and Andy looked at each other with an expression of more than justsurprise. It was more like irritation.“I’ve got my own show,” repeated the radio presenter. He then began staringinto the distance dreamily.He did indeed have his own show on Dragon FM, so he was already not verypleased to have been used by the technical department to try out somesignal-boosting tests for their outside broadcasts. His own show, he thought tohimself with pride. If only he had not insulted that pompous bloke from Londonhe had bumped into in the foyer in Llandaff he might well have got thatprimetime BBC job instead. So what if he had turned out to be one of thedeputies to the Director General? Or was it an assistant to the deputy?Anyway, he felt sure that the BBC did not make its presenters traipse aroundSouth Glamorgan carrying a load of wires and radio antennas in the middle ofthe night.Gwen broke his reverie. “Look, what’s this about a bloke and dinosaurs? Andby the way, I’ve been listening to Nation Radio lately. That’s when I get achance, which isn’t often, mind you.”“Oh, yes. Over here.” Cosmo was slowly coming back to reality.“The crew found him. He kept rushing around and getting the soundengineers all worked up while they were doing their measurements. I had torecite some standard script and they had to look at the numbers on themeters. All very proper. But we had to do it hundreds of times. I ask you.”Cosmo looked very dejected. “I was the only one with a working mobilephone. Typical. Among a load of techies, too.”“Yes, but where is he?” interrupted Gwen. She was beginning to feel gladabout her listening choice. This man could well drive her bonkers if she had aregular dose via the airwaves.Cosmo pointed to a huddled figure just visible in the shadow of a streetlight.He looked exhausted, with streaks of dirt running in all directions over hisshabby jacket. And terrified. Another drunk, thought Gwen. That sort tended 4 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  6. 6. to hang out in the City centre these days, rather than round here. But anythingwas possible, of course.When Gwen and Andy had calmed him down they did manage to prise someodd pieces of what looked like knurled and dried meat from his shakinghands.“There’s alright now,” soothed Gwen. “Let’s be having you.”“Keep him away from me! He wants to bloody lock me up.” The dishevelledman glared at Cosmo Probert out of the shadows cast by a streetlight. Gwenrevised her opinion. Terrified and drunk? No, just terrified.“No, I don’t. I just wanted to make sure you were all right,” Cosmo said,looking quite hurt.Perhaps he wasn’t so bad after all, thought Gwen for a moment. She began tofeel a little sorry for this Cosmo fellow.“No, I’m not ... bloody ... alright,” muttered the man on the ground. “... Not ...used to having to run around being followed by ... ,” the ruffled up manpaused for breath. “... some sort of things out of that kids’ dinosaurprogramme. What’s it called?”“Primeval,” suggested Andy helpfully.“Well bloody evil, I tell you,” said the man.“Look, give me that rock you’ve got there,” said Gwen. She held it up towardsthe light.“I think I’ll put that in the sample bag,” she said slowly after looking at it closelybut gingerly.Getting a pair of protective gloves from the holdall she was carrying, she liftedthe piece of rock or meat or whatever it was and dropped it into the plasticpouch. Sealing it, she quickly closed up the bag. ““Andy, I’ve got to be off now,” announced Gwen “Can you look after the poorbloke and get him home?”“Oh, I suppose so,” answered Andy. “Do I get to know what that thing is andwhat all this is about?”“No, sorry.” Actually, she had no idea herself what was going on. “Mind you,Owen will have some dating to do this evening, after all,” she thought. Of theradioactive kind, probably, rather than Owen’s own usual preferences.“Well, I suppose I’ll see you about.” 5 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  7. 7. What? Oh, yes. Andy was looking as mystified and as left out as usual.“Yes, see you, and you too, Cosmo Probert,” waved Gwen with a smile. “Bestof luck with the programme. And on helping Andy with his enquiries.”“PC Davidson will take down all the details,” she added as she disappearedback towards the road in the darkness.It had reminded him of something. Years before he had looked at a similarobject. It was when he had decided that he really had to pass an exam inbiology in order to get on the path to study medicine at university.Doctor Owen Harper looked once more into the eyepiece of the microscope.What he looked at - for about the tenth time – resembled something he hadseen before. But what was it?Cutting up frogs had been an essential prerequisite to getting his biologyqualifications. The small piece of limb that he was looking at looked like a tinyfrog’s leg, that was it. When he prodded it with the piece of wire thathappened to be in the field of view. The leg jumped! Not so much jumped askicked. He poked it again. The same reaction. Who was who had looked atthe effect of electricity on the leg of a frog? Some Italian guy, Galvani, Volta,he couldn’t remember. Anyway, Owen had a vague memory of somethingabout an Italian scientist – or was he Swiss? – getting a dead frog’s leg totwitch when it was struck by a spark. Electricity. “Eureka!”, he shouted. It wasGalvani, and he had been cutting up the frog to try to prove that its testicleswere actually in its legs. That had been a load of cobblers.But this thing was not a frog’s leg. It was far too old for that. Jurassic morethan haute cuisine, he thought. Well, that was what the radioactive dating ofthe surrounding rocks in which these odd shaped pieces of tissue had beenfound. Nowadays looking at these sorts of unusual specimens was part andparcel of his job as medical adviser to Torchwood. If he was lucky theyweren’t trying to kill him at the time.“Ah well,” he thought. If Jack Harkness hadn’t handed him the object on hisway out of the Hub on the way to UNIT headquarters, he would have not hadthe chance to add another experience to the rich tapestry that made up thedaily routine of working for Torchwood.“Now, my old mucka, what’s this, then?” Owen pulled his eye away from themicroscope, stopped for a moment, then returned to the eyepiece.“What’s this bit of metal doing here anyway? Or corroded metal, more by thelook of what it’s attached to.”Carefully he tweezered the tiny pieces of material away from the gooey mess.It was mostly white with just a few flecks of bluish white streaks here andthere. 6 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  8. 8. It didn’t look like a bullet or anything that might have led to the creature’sdemise. “Looks like zinc and zinc oxide, attached to the copper wire,” hemuttered to himself.He whipped the specimen into the receptacle of the chemical analyser thatJack Harkness said he’d ‘borrowed’ on his travels to some research facilitythat Owen had never been to (and was unlikely to frequent, as it had in factcome from a lab a hundred years in Earth’s future).“Well, blow me down. All that chemistry course had been well worth pursuing.”So had his experiences with the course supervisor, he reminisced about herwith a leery grin.Now all he had to do was to find out why Jack had thought that this stuff foundon a nearby beach was something that Torchwood should at least take acloser look at.Just as he had finished Gwen Cooper came bounding into the Hub and swunga sample bag onto the working surface next to him. It was getting late.“I was just off for a nightcap. Fancy one?” Owen looked up at Gwen.“No, gotta go, now. The meal that Rhys and I were having has probably gonewell cold by now, but I’d better get back in case he thinks any funny businessis going on. You might want to have a look at the gunk in the bag, though.”After Gwen had related the circumstances of the find Owen opened the bag.“Looks like the same sort of thing I’ve just been gawping at,” he said.“Leave you to it, then. Tarra.”Gwen was sitting at the desk and listening to the Head Curator’s account.“I know that the animated mammoth exhibit attracts a lot of attention,especially among our younger visitors. A couple of little boys from Swindon,they come in every few months and ask to see the ‘real mammoths’ as theycall them,” explained Mr Lloyd-Evans to Gwen. “Actually, one of them is so tallthat it’s hard to believe he’s only five. His younger brother was the one whocalled them ‘real mammoths’. It really is a good animated display we havethere, have you seen it? But the things aren’t real, of course. They don’t gorunning around and attacking visitors, let alone the staff here. That wouldcertainly frighten away the visitors.”“Apart from that, we don’t get a lot of excitement,” he continued. “Well, if youdon’t count the people coming in to film parts of their TV series from time to 7 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  9. 9. time. Of course we have to do that when we are closed, mainly.” (Mind you, itbrings in a lot of much-needed funds, he thought to himself.)“That’s fascinating but it’s not why you called us in, is it?” interrupted GwenCooper.“Er, no,” said Mr Lloyd-Evans. “We look after all the staff here, and we evenoffer assistance to people with, er, ‘nerves’ – that’s what what we used to callit in my day.”“What do you mean?” Gwen looked puzzled. Surely the Museum didn’t thinkthat Torchwood was some sort of counselling service.“I mean that, er, one or two of the cleaning staff made some reports aboutseeing the exhibits move. More than move, try to run them down, one of themsaid.”“Go on,” encouraged Gwen. “That’s what my colleague told me you had beenworried about.” This began to sound more like a job for Torchwood after all.“We offered them the staff support service. Trouble was that some of themstarted saying the same things.”“What, you mean about exhibits on the move, that sort of thing?” asked Gwen.“Yes. Yes. Very odd. It all started the day after that new exhibition on‘Communication in Wales’”“You mean how they sing those songs to each other across the oceans?”The Head Curator looked at Gwen closely. “No. ... Ah, not that sort of‘whales’. It was about media in Wales going all the way back to the start ofbroadcasting. Right up to S4C and all the new Internet and social networkingstuff. A lot of it would have been out of place in St Fagans so we set it uphere.”“Mind if I have a look?”“I can do better than that. One of the cleaners with the, the screaming abdabs,was found clutching this lump of metal that she swore blind one of thedinosaurs had knocked over in the exhibition hall. Oh, by the way, we did askthe Museum doctor to check for any signs of drugs or alcohol. We have a verystrict policy on all that sort of thing. Can’t have people damaging the valuableexhibits on account of being incapable.”Mr Lloyd-Evans waved a hand towards a table in the corner of the room to hisleft.“Come over here,” he beckoned to Gwen. 8 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  10. 10. Back in the Hub in Cardiff Bay, Toshiko Sato suddenly jumped as she heardone of the loud alarms from the Rift monitor. They usually meant trouble. Bigand often highly dangerous trouble.She looked at the screen and started her highly skilled routine to try to localisethe source. She had done that often enough for her fingers and brain to worktogether rapidly to identify just what Torchwood was up against. No! It was inCathays Park, where Gwen had set off to visit only half an hour ago.Not only in Cathays Park but in the very building that Gwen would be havingher meeting with the Head Curator at that very moment.This time the Head Curator’s personal assistant was having none of it. Lettingone member of the public barge into the inner sanctum where her boss heldsway was one thing. Having another woman and a rough-looking man bothwaving heavy guns at her and demanding to see Mr Lloyd-Evans wasanother. Enough was enough.“Look, you can’t go in there. Mr Lloyd-Evans has an important meeting, andhe is not to be interrupted!”“He’ll be more than interrupted if we don’t get in there soon, love,” snappedOwen as he indicated to Tosh to move towards the office door. “Disruptedmore likely.”“But, but, I ...”“Trust me, I’m a doctor,” said Owen with the best bedside smile he couldmanage given the circumstances. As he never bothered with bedside smilesat the best of times, this was a truly amazing display of acting ability.Owen grabbed Tosh by the hand and they both disappeared into the HeadCurator’s office.Elspeth Brown thought to herself that things were getting a bit much for herhere at the Museum. Women barging into meetings, doctors waving guns.What was the world coming to? Perhaps all this 24-hour drinking in the barsoff Queen Street was contributing to the lack of civility she was seeing lately.Maybe she would take that posting to St Fagans after all. It could be a littlequieter down there.When she heard the gunshots a few moments later, that decided it. St Fagansit would have to be. In a daze, she started looking for the HR part of theMuseum intranet.Owen and Tosh rushed into the room. At first they could make out nothingunusual. There was a desk and chairs. Bookcase. Not out of the ordinary. 9 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  11. 11. “What’s that purple glow?” whispered Tosh.From behind the open door a purple-red pulsating aura edged around thedoor. There was no sound.Owen beckoned to Tosh to crouch down and point her gun to cover him. Heslowly peeked around the edge of the door, all the time clutching the gun withboth hands. He felt so tense that he believed he would snap at any moment.“Owen, aim for the energy source,” Tosh said faintly.“I said I’m a doctor, not a killer,” snapped Owen, a little unkindly, thoughtToshiko.Out of the corner of his right eye he could see the back of Gwen Cooper anda man. They were motionless. Frozen rigid in the beam of some sort of ray.Tosh had told him to watch for that. Before they had rushed from the Hub tothe Museum she had told him exactly what to look for.“Sorry about this, chaps,” said Owen just before he fired two shots point blankinto the hole on the desk from where the shimmering beam was so obviouslymesmerising Gwen and the curator. “This will be a bit noisy.”Gwen, Owen and Toshiko were sitting having their second cup of coffee. Thatwas one way to try to wind down in the Hub from the morning’s skirmish.“Well, at least nobody’s got killed or worse,” said Gwen. “Even the HeadCurator at the Museum is happy that his employees aren’t a bunch ofdelusional drug-takers.”“Not so good news for the source of that energy beam,” disagreed Owen.“What was it you called it?”“A radiophile,” responded Toshiko. “At least I don’t know what it’s really called,but what it does is absorb energy from living things and pay for that by settingup currents that cause hallucinations and eventually death. Jack wouldprobably know.”“Don’t know that I do, mam,” chirped Jack, who came striding into the Hubrest area just at that moment. “But I do know that Ianto has something to say.He called me just as I was getting off the train.”All eyes turned to Ianto Jones. He was leaning on a desk and looked ready togive a lecture. “Yes, I’ve done a little digging into some of what’s been goingon,” he announced.“Go on,” encouraged Jack. 10 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  12. 12. “Well, it’s like this. Guglielmo – that’s Italian for William, by the way - Marconimade the first radio broadcast across water. It was all done in Cardiff, in 1897.It was beamed from Flat Holm Island to Lavernock Point in Penarth. The bit ofzinc that Owen found with the first lot of tissue seemed to have been part ofthe apparatus. Marconi had a 30-metre pole at Lavernock Point,” explainedIanto. Well, that’s what it says on the BBC website here, anyway.” Ianto readout the extract studiously and looked pleased to see that all his colleagueswere paying close attention.“Well, it was meant to be a receiver, apparently. Says here that it didn’t workfirst time,” Ianto continued expounding from his source. “But it did after they’dmade a few adjustments. Had to take it all down to the beach.”“According to this bit, the transmitter was pretty powerful. That was on FlatHolm. Apparently it could chuck a spark 20 inches through the air,” continuedIanto, obviously enjoying his role as a potential Discovery Channel narrator.“But surely that’s not enough to have caused the Rift to open,” chipped inToshiko Sato.“You’re right. The ghetto blaster had not yet greeted the unsuspecting world.Yeah, in those days that sort of power wasn’t your everyday occurrence, leastways not in every home. Alice and Emily would have been on one of their firstassignments for Torchwood Three then,” said Jack, who had been listeningintently after his recent return from UNIT HQ. “Quite some gals.”“Who are those two?” Owen showed some keen interest.“Emily Holroyd and Alice Guppy worked for Torchwood. Alice had only startedthat year. Here in the Hub. Well it wasn’t exactly a Hub back then. A couplarooms and a holding cell. What more could a guy ask for?” Jack began to looka little dreamy.“Tell us more about Alice and Emily,” piped up Owen, clearly paying evenmore attention.“Some other time, Owen. Look them up in the archives. Or, in the case ofAlice, in Bay 12 of the morgue.”“I will.”Ianto looked on in disgust. So much for his lecture.“Emily told me a few years later about some Torchwood assignment involvinglarge lizards down in Penarth. Folks panicking because they’d seen sadisticcreatures terrorising the neighbourhood. Actually, Alice and Emily could bepretty mean when they wanted to be.” Jack broke off and looked wistful for amoment. 11 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  13. 13. Picking up rapidly, he carried on, “Could have been the dinosaurs orsomething similarly shifted in time by the release of Rift energy.”“Why then?” asked Gwen.“Aw, the godamned transmitter must have been noticed by some passingaliens,” continued Jack. “Picking up radio waves on Earth must have causedsome stir, especially as it was so close to the Rift running through Cardiff.Back in those days Red Dragon FM was a thing of the far future. Getting abook from the lending library was the height of mass communication backthen. But that tiny bit of radio energy must have been enough to trigger a Riftreaction elsewhere ... Kinda appropriate - red dragons linked with dinosaurs.”He paused and mused for a moment. “Eventually the living creatures musthave got fused with the bits of the antenna – leading to the gooey metallicgunk that Owen was playing with under the microscope, from what Ianto toldme. And the stuff that Gwen got via that radio presenter. Got a slot on theshow yet, by the way?”Gwen glared at Jack.“It all ties in now with one of the things they told me while I was helping theTorchwood ladies with their inquiries,” went on Jack. He did not really want togo into details just now about how the two Victorian Torchwood operativeshad kept him locked up in a cell while they tried to figure out who or what hewas.“I remember them asking me about dinosaurs in Penarth. As if I didn’t havebetter things to do in the bars there,” joked Jack. “I’d never seen any, butmaybe it fits into the picture.”“I thought they were crazy at the time. As they thought I was crazy, that madethree of us,” explained Jack.“So, no surprise about somebody finding a piece of Marconi’s equipmentmixed up in dinosaur flesh. Owen, thanks for that piece of work,” said Jackwith a bow in the general direction of the medic.“The antics in the Museum sound to be linked with some residual and time-shifted energy after they put that piece of the antique Lavernock Point gear inthe new display.” Jack sounded well pleased.“At least there was nothing much worse than some panicking and generalmayhem. People running around having delusions is better than finding localswith their necks bitten open by Weevils or having been blasted by Cybermen,”commented Gwen.Thoughtfully, Jack did not stop to expand to his colleagues on one of thepresent uses of Flat Holm Island. That was another place with a Torchwoodlegacy, as he knew from visiting the tortured souls kept there for their ownsafety and who had somehow survived a journey through the Rift. If “survived” 12 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  14. 14. was the right word for some of those poor bastards. He might let hisTorchwood colleagues in on the secret one day. But some things were bestkept under wraps, even from Torchwood operatives, for the sake of theirsanity, if for no other reason.He still, of course, had to break some news that he had been given during hisvisit to the HQ of the Unified Intelligence Taskforce. His trusted colleaguesweren’t going to like it, but it was all in the finest family traditions ofTorchwood. It had somehow seemed even more appropriate to have beentold about it in the premises under the Tower of London that UNIT used as aBritish base.How was he going to tell them that they had to be on parade the next day atten o’clock sharp? Their official visitor would be arriving for one of her annualinspections of the Torchwood estate. As her great-great-grandmother hadfounded Torchwood up in Scotland it was all part and parcel of the strangemix of reality and fantasy that made up the normal work of the hardy, braveand truly unusual bunch of Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Ianto Jones, ToshikoSato and himself, Jack Harkness, at Torchwood Three.Queen Victoria had founded the original Torchwood Institute in 1879 toprotect Earth from extraterrestrial threats. Thinking of that, Jack grinned tohimself.“How am I gonna protect Her Majesty from these guys? ... and better keep theWeevil off the official tour, I reckon. Ianto’ll have to keep that pterodactylgrounded, too.”“Now, which braces do I need to wear to see the Queen?” © Geraint Day2010 September 9 13 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  15. 15. POWERThree pieces of bluish slime smacked straight into the front windscreen of theSUV. Jack Harkness stared at them in horror as they began to slide down theglass, leaving an oily iridescence in their wake as the light of the setting Suncaught their slow congealing progress. Thoughts flitted rapidly about in hishead. What could he do now? This must be the end, surely? “OK,” he thought.“I’ll die again. And come back to life again.”But how had these deadly creatures tracked him down? The terrors that theycould inflict he had seen for himself. And suffered. To have to go throughthem again, right now on a Friday evening, just as the city was gearing up forits weekend revelries, seemed even to Jack, to be just asking too much.“You’re a menace to the planet! Gas-guzzler! Stop climate change now!” heheard from his left through the partly wound down side window.Startled again, he looked and saw the young woman holding a rainbow-coloured placard and a bag of goo, as she was about to lob another load inJack’s direction. Then he realised that the slime wasn’t the remnant of theliving creature from inside a Dalek, and that he wasn’t going to die. Well, notstraight away, as long as he moved off from the traffic lights in CallaghanSquare and didn’t hold up the line of traffic behind him any longer. The lightsmust have been on green for two or three seconds by now. Impatientterrestrial motorists could put the Galaxy’s fiercest marauders to shame whenit came to displays of sheer hostility.“Jeez,” he said aloud. He was thinking, “Man, I need a break.” Mistaking theprotest of a girl from Friends of the Earth for one of the many deadly aliensthat he had fought must surely be a sign of overwork. What’s more, he hadnot had even a fleeting thought to ask her out for a drink. “I think I’ll do somecatching up with record keeping for the next day or two,” he sighed.Captain Jack Harkness, leader of Torchwood Three, turned the SUV intoLloyd George Avenue and headed towards the Hub in Cardiff Bay as the Sunslid slowly down towards the western horizon.Toshiko Sato was not known for her interest in environmental issues. Manypeople would have thought her the opposite, with a passion, indeedobsession, with science and technology. One problem was that, for her,“many people” was not a very large number. The real reason that she hadturned up for the one-day ‘Save the Planet Festival’ that Saturday morningwas that she might meet and get to know a few more people. Or one, even.Owen was elusive and probably unattainable, she had concluded for the timebeing. Anyway, he was away for a few days doing some post mortems onseveral mutilated corpses that the North Wales police had contactedTorchwood about after also having logged some unexplained lights in the sky.CSI: Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogochuchaf 14 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  16. 16. didn’t quite seem to have the right ring to it, but looking into strange deathsand injuries was quite often part of the Torchwood routine. It was part andparcel of their job investigating and defending Earth from the many hostilealiens that the rift running through Cardiff brought to the planet. One of theother attractions of the festival today was in fact that Toshiko was reallyinvolved in saving the planet. Most days, as it happened. It made her feelquite smug, in fact, to think that she knew the real routes to saving worlds.Anyway, the fact that the festival was in Roald Dahl Plass meant that shecould always slope off back into the Hub in a jiffy if today’s attempt to improveher social life went badly.Toshiko glanced down again at the printed programme then walked slowlydown towards the marquees and tents that were dotted about forming part ofthe festival.She could see a host of the usual rainbow insignia that for some reason werethe hallmark of ‘green’ and peace movements. Jugglers, stalls, half a dozenpeople handing out leaflets. Coloured lights, helium-filled balloons hoistingmessages up into the air, such as “Save the planet”, “Save the whales” and“Fill in the open-cast pits now!” Toshiko wondered for a moment whether theevent organisers had done a life cycle analysis of the environmental impact ofthe event itself. That was a typical piece of analytic thinking on her part.As she headed towards the red Pierhead Building she noticed a placardproclaiming a public debate on “Is space research creating an environmentaldisaster?” “No,” she thought instantly. “I’ll give that a miss.” Then,remembering why she had come along in the first place, corrected herself andstarted walking towards the Senedd building of the National Assembly forWales, where the debate was billed to start in ten minutes.As she climbed the slate steps towards the public entrance she froze. “I can’tgo in! Wait a moment ... Ah, I’m not carrying any alien artefacts or Riftscanners – it’s my day off,” she thought to herself with relief. It would havebeen difficult to explain away any to the uniformed personnel on the X-raymachine whose job it was to check all visitors in case of any securityproblems.“Hajime mashite”, said the tall man with a flowing moustache.Startled for a moment, Toshiko looked up with surprise.“I thought you might be Japanese,” he said. “I’ve been to Japan many times.It’s a lovely country.”“... er, yes,” she answered. “Pleased to meet you, as well. I am Toshiko Sato.”“Bill Kravitz.” He shook her hand. “What brings you to the festival? You can’thave flown in from Tokyo for the day, surely?” 15 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  17. 17. Toshiko took another look at the stranger. He was strikingly impressive.“No, I work here in Cardiff,” she said hurriedly, thinking that she didn’t reallywant to say exactly how close her workplace was to where they werestanding. Then she added, “I thought I’d come to see what they all had to say.Er, I think that there’s a lot being said about the environment these days.”“The debate will begin in a moment, so please could you all settle down”, saida man in a green boiler suit on a raised platform in front of the audience ofsixty or so that had gathered towards the café end of the visitor area abovethe Senedd Chamber.Chairs had been placed out, so Toshiko and Bill moved towards the nearesttwo, at the end of a row.“Looks like they’re expecting a confrontation,” observed Bill Kravitz.“What do you mean?”“Well, green groups tend to go in for sitting in circles. Having serried ranksmakes it look like they’re setting it up for a formal ‘them and us’”“Oh, I see,” said Toshiko. “It is advertised as a debate, so I suppose that is inkeeping with formality.”There were five people seated at the top table. She recognised one of themas the local Member of Parliament for the area. MP for Torchwood. That wasquite a concept. Gwen Cooper had met him on some Home Office issuesconcerning security of the Torchwood Hub entrance that looked from theoutside like a tourist information centre. Toshiko recalled that Gwen seemedto have taken rather a shine to him. He was probably the only person presentin today’s gathering, apart from her, who knew that the Torchwood operationscentre lay spread out underground, beneath where they were sitting.On that supposition she was so wrong.Megan Jones looked down from the balcony. She stopped walking for amoment, to admire the quaint scene. Cardiff’s shopping arcades seemed tohave been frozen in time. In an age where towns and cities across the countrywere increasingly looking similar when it came to chain stores and brandsigns, it was a good thing, she thought, that some places still managed tomaintain their individuality and character.She moved on round the corner, stopping when she noticed something else.Somebody had scribbled over the “r” in the first word, making the Englishversion of “Friends of the Earth” take on a new meaning. It hadn’t been likethat when she came the day before. Although she was a strong supporter of 16 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  18. 18. the green movement, she did admit that she found the slight modification tobe just a little amusing.Opening the door she caught sight of Mr Oriel. That was all she knew of hisname. She had first met him on Friday morning, when she had called in tovolunteer to help out with some of the pre-publicity activity of the weekend‘Save the Planet Festival’. He had a swarthy beard and wore a wide-brimmedhat that he never seemed to take off, at least throughout their first encounter.He had also seemed rather a cold character.“Did you do as you were told?”, he asked her. Snapped at her would havebeen a more accurate description, which took her aback somewhat.‘Yes, I gave out the leaflets in the Hayes and around St David’s Hall, and in StDavid’s Shopping Centre.”“And did you visit the punishment on the transgressor?” Mr Oriel had definitelyasked that one with a hiss and menace to his utterance.“What? Transgressor? ... uh, if you mean did I throw the goo at the man in theblack SUV that you told me to look out for later, um, yes, I did”, answeredMegan with a slight tremble in her voice.Mr Oriel smiled. It more resembled a sneer. “It is vital that the enemies ofEarth are duly punished. They will answer for their crimes. They will burn inthe darkness. We will not allow them to continue.”Now, Megan was beginning to feel a little less committed to the green cause,at least to the one that Mr Oriel seemed to stand for.“Is there anything else that I can do today - at the Festival, perhaps?” shesaid, more of out duty than enthusiasm.“No, we have that in hand, very much in hand ... Thank you. You have donewell. Very well indeed.”“Well, I suppose I’ll be off now, then,” she said slowly.As she closed the door behind her she could not help but think that the newversion of the sign outside was quite appropriate – at least in the case of MrOriel. On that supposition she was along the right lines, unbeknown to her.Megan shrugged her shoulders. “Oh well.” She had better get back to StDavid’s. There was a sale on at that new trendy fashion store, according tothe leaflet in last night’s South Wales Echo. Tidy.Sleep was not his normal habit yet he felt as if he could use some. He hadspent several hours catching up with Hub records on some of the recent, and 17 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  19. 19. not so recent, Torchwood cases. A visit to the Weevil had led to anunexpected chase. The Weevil had lunged at him. Although Jack knew that itcould not get through the armoured glass that effectively caged the strangealien creature from the rest of the Hub, it had given Jack a shock. He wasdefinitely not himself. If something like a little ol’ Weevil could do that to him,what sort of state was he in?With Owen Harper away cutting up dead bodies, Ianto Jones visiting Glasgowto gather some archive materials from that strange man Archie in TorchwoodTwo, and Tosh off on some uncharacteristic visit to a green event, he couldn’teven have some of his witty banter with his colleagues. He knew that Toshwas actually just above the Torchwood Hub this morning, and that he couldalways call Gwen on some pretext, but he knew that all of his team deservedtheir time off. Protecting Cardiff and the rest of the planet was time-consumingand stressful enough, especially for humans.After the incident last evening with what he at first thought was part of a livingDalek, Jack Harkness was definitely not himself. What was it that girl with thegoo had said last night? “Menace to the planet? No way! He was one of itssaviours”, he thought to himself. “I could use another coffee though, to pepme up.” And today there was no Ianto to prepare it.Toshiko was definitely feeling upbeat. Bill Kravitz had asked if he could meether again. They had both listened to the debate in the Senedd building thatmorning. It had taken a not unexpected turn. On one side there seemed to bepeople who would send everyone back to the Stone Age if they got their way.They did not have a good word for technology. She had shuddered a little,though, when the main proposer of the motion had advocated the end ofspace exploration and had actually accused the world’s space agencies ofbeing devils incarnate. The way he had expressed that had seemed rathermenacing to her. The opposing speakers, including the Member ofParliament, had taken it in rather good humour and in their stride, shethought. It was only a debate, and she knew that the local greens could havelittle influence over NASA, the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency andkindred organisations. It was a good job that they had not mentioned UNIT orTorchwood, she had thought with relief, however.Talking afterwards over a cup of tea, they had seemed to have a lot incommon. Bill was interested in space travel. She had talked a little aboutcomputers and the latest commercially available technological gadgets (takingcare not to accidentally introduce any of the features that she had readyaccess to among the many alien artefacts in the Hub, that Torchwood hadaccumulated over the years).They had agreed to meet the next day. So on Sunday morning Toshiko hadset off from home to the City Centre. The arrangement was to meet for lunch.As she headed along the middle of the pedestrianised Queen Street she hadalmost a spring in her step. 18 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  20. 20. The meal and conversation passed very pleasantly. Then they had walkedacross Bute Park, crossed the bridge over the River Taff, and stopped off inthe Mochyn Du for a drink. They now found themselves wandering backthrough Sophia Gardens towards the bridge.Toshiko felt elated. She had also begun to feel a little woozy. That wasperhaps not unexpected. She had had a few glasses of wine, after all. Thesound of water gurgling in the waters below began to resound in her ears asshe leaned on the rail to look down. The sparkle of light off the ripples almostseemed dazzling. Then the bridge itself seemed to be oscillating up anddown. Up and down. Up and down. Up and down. Very gently ... The lastthing that she remembered before regaining consciousness was the arms ofBill Kravitz embracing her. “Stunning,” she thought.Jack must have dozed off. Now that was something. He made it a rule neverto do that. He was right about not feeling himself. An annoying sound fromsomewhere was burning into his brain. It was coming from his phone. Helooked down at the display. Emergency distress code. From Tosh. He clickedon the alert symbol and found a GPS location.Rapidly he decided that he would need help in order to assist Tosh. He couldnot seem to summon the energy to even get up out of his chair. “What thehell’s wrong with me?!”He called up Gwen’s swift dial number. “Hello, Jack. I thought you must havephoned to find out the times of the nearest chapel service or something, itbeing Sunday evening. Quick chorus of Cwm Rhondda, do you the world ofgood.”“Gwen, great! No time for chat. Tosh is in trouble. Get down to the Hub anddrive me to Newport.”“Why, you gone over the limit and frightened of getting breathalised? I couldalways pretend not to notice - and fail in my duty as a police officer, if thatwould help,” said Gwen as cheerily as she could. Despite the jokiness, shehad already put on her jacket and slung her handbag over her shoulder asshe headed for the door. If Jack had called her like that it must be serious. Healso sounded, well, not quite like Jack.Half an hour later, after she had had to help Jack Harkness into the frontpassenger seat of the Torchwood SUV, they were on Western Avenueheading eastward.Jack had been peering at a Rift monitor and looking worried when she hadarrived at the Hub. He had looked a little off colour and definitely did not seemhimself. That tallied with the phone conversation, she thought. 19 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  21. 21. “While I was waiting for you I managed to give myself the once over with oneof Owen’s whole-body scanners. Not quite a clean bill of health. I’ve gottraces of what look like Huon particles in my spinal chord,” announced Jackgrimly as Gwen had bounded into the Hub and towards his desk.“Shouldn’t you get hold of Owen for a second opinion?” Gwen had piped up.She did not know what Huon particles were, but if Jack was alarmed theymust be something menacing. That was Torchwood all over.As they headed towards Newport Jack managed to fill Gwen in with somemore information on what was going on. Or what was occurring according towhat he knew, which was somewhat hazy in his present weakened condition.“Tosh is holed up in Uskmouth Power Station”, announced Jack. “Don’t askme why. All I know is that she went to a green festival in the Bay yesterday.Funny thing is that I’ve been feeling low after a chick lobbed some goo at thewindscreen on Friday evening. Look, see, you can see a little of the bluishresidue there. Thought I’d wiped it all off. Never was much good at thedomestics. Especially before they invented the vacuum cleaner.” Was that abit of the usual Jack coming back to life?, he wondered. He hoped so.He pointed to a tiny area on the outside of the windscreen. Slowly he pulled asmall scanner out of the dashboard compartment. He moved it across thepatch of blue.“Damn! I wasn’t so wrong after all.”“Jack, what are you nattering about?” said Gwen, who was still finding thisSunday evening Torchwood outing more than a little puzzling.“I had some sort of hallucination when the girl with the rainbow placard threwa gob of blue stuff at the windshield. Thought for a moment I was back fightingthe Daleks. You know, the actual living creatures that are housed inside thosemetal cases.”Gwen had never met a Dalek. Clearly she had seen the news coverage whenthe Battle of Canary Wharf had destroyed the tower used by Torchwood One.But she knew enough to know that they spelled very bad news. That, and theghastly incident involving the Lisa Hallett-Cyberwoman creature and Ianto,formed a very real link with that encounter between Daleks and Cybermen.One that would forever live in the annals of Torchwood history.“Anyway, it wasn’t a Dalek, but the goo did have ET written all over it. Look atthe readings here,” Jack interrupted Gwen’s brief reverie. That was just aswell, as she also had to swerve to avoid a cat for an instant.“Phew!” that was close. “Down to eight lives now, you little bugger,” she said.“Huon radiation, second opinion or not, I’m sure of it. That’s probably linked towhy Tosh and I don’t seem to be having a great weekend,” Jack opined. 20 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  22. 22. “What, the cat?” asked Gwen. She still wasn’t getting the hang of thesedevelopments.“Na, something in the blue goo has irradiated me with Huon particles. Youdon’t find those in the centre of Cardiff on a usual Friday night, I’m telling you.Rainbows, environment, green movement. Must have been from Friends ofthe Earth, I guess.”“With friends like that who needs enemies?” responded Gwen, trying tolighten the conversation a little, and to take her mind off what Tosh might begoing through just now.When Toshiko had opened her eyes again she could not see a thing. She waslying on a table. A hard and cold metal one at that. There was somethingcovering her face. Moving her hands upwards, she took off the black cottonbag that was covering her head. Slowly she managed to focus on somethingthat she could just make out on the floor. It looked like a Mars bar. She wasfeeling a bit hungry. Reaching down to pick it up, she realised that it was vitalthat she got hold of it. Really vital, absolutely critical in fact.Just before he opened the door and hit her, Toshiko managed to press abutton on the mobile phone to send an alarm signal to the Torchwood Hub.Bill Kravitz shouted at her, “No, no, you won’t do that again!” He stamped onthe phone with all his might. Its case went scudding across the floor in adozen pieces.“Uh, oh, no ...” Toshiko Sato had lost consciousness for the second time thatday. This time she had been thinking that gadgets could be so useful, beforethe darkness engulfed her.She came around to find that she was sitting on a chair. Bill Kravitz – the firstthing she recognised was the moustache – was standing directly in front ofher. She scowled at him. So much for meeting new people. That hadhappened, with a vengeance. It did not exactly square with the theme ofpeace and love, though. New people? Out of the corner of her eye she saw ahat. It moved towards Kravitz. Then she saw that there were indeed twopeople standing there with her.“I am sorry about the abduction and for hitting you earlier,” said Kravitz.Toshiko continued to glare at him. “Are you? I have noted your opinion.”“We have to have access to Torchwood,” he continued.Silence. 21 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  23. 23. “I know that you work in the Torchwood Hub, just under Roald Dahl Plass.That’s why I made sure that I would meet you at the festival yesterday. It isvital that we enter the Hub and gain control over the Rift monitors.” Bill Kravitzclearly knew a lot about Toshiko’s work. Asking about Japan had merely beena front. Another letdown.“Who are we?” she ventured.“We – Mr Oriel and I – want to stop the wanton destruction that Torchwood isprotecting,” answered Kravitz. “The transgressions must cease and the planetmust be allowed to return to its natural state.”To Toshiko he was beginning to sound like one of those green activists whosurely would have us all living in trees. Not thinking of her own predicamentparticularly, she despaired.In the growing twilight the SUV pulled slowly into the carpark next to theadministration building of the power station. Jack had been studying thereadings on the monitor and had asked Gwen to drive a sliently as possibleup to the building. Luckily the woman at the security gate had not questionedher South Wales Police identity card. It still came in handy, even if they arenot paying her wages these days, Gwen often had reason to think that,despite having changed career to work for Torchwood. In any case it made forless of a scene than using the SUV to plough through the gate regardless.Gwen and Jack wanted to rescue Tosh, not give her unknown andundoubtedly alien captors cause to harm her – that is, if she were still alive.“Gwen, take your gun and get into the main manager’s office. It’s here,” saidJack, passing her a screen monitor showing a floor plan of the building. Findout how many of them there are and call me. I’ll stay here. Godamn it, but I’mstill too weak to run around just now.”“Don’t worry, Jack,” she said, drawing her Glock pistol and checking thesafety catch. “You pick up a few tricks after a few years of nicking villains forbreaking an entry.” Gwen’s police training would hopefully come in handy yetagain.The lock picking was a breeze. She now crept past an empty reception deskand along a corridor, towards the only room that showed a light. That was theone that Jack had pointed out as the target.She had switched on a low-light pocket torch to project only red light. It wasenough to make it easier to avoid any obstacles.As she approached her destination she heard sounds. They were those of aman talking. She inched up to the closed door and put her right ear to thewood. 22 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  24. 24. “... and the fact that your country has done so much to help destroy thenatural resources of the planet Earth is something that we hold humanityresponsible for.”“What are you talking about?” This time it was Tosh speaking. Great. She wasstill alive, Gwen thought to herself.“The coal mining came to Wales to fuel the evils of industrial production. Thatprecious fossil fuel was burned, burned, to fire the iron-ore furnaces,” spat outthe unknown voice, which in fact belonged to the man known as Mr Oriel.“The beautiful forests were cut down. Wildlife was displaced. The heritage ofour descendants was cruelly, cruelly, destroyed. Wales must suffer forinitiating these outrages against the world,” continued the monologue of MrOriel. “Wales must be returned to its natural state and humanity restored to itspeaceful and non-destructive state. We will tolerate it no more.”Gwen’s ears had pricked up, and she had begun to get angry. It was onething abducting a colleague. It was another bloody thing to insult the Land ofHer Fathers in that way. It was as much as she could do to stop herself fromkicking the door in and barging in right away, gun blazing. “Calm down aminute, girl,” she thought. She needed to assess the situation before throwingaway what might be her only chance.Mr Oriel went on. “The bomb that we have fitted to the main turbine in thispower station – this evil coal-fired powered station – is activated by thisdevice. You will see that it has five minutes to go before it sets off theexplosion. A small blow at human industry but a necessary signal, I amafraid.”Gwen assumed that he was showing a device to Tosh. She shuddered as towhat her colleague had been going through.“We must have access to the Hub to use the Rift to restore the country to itsrightful state. You, Toshiko Sato, will help us, and also play an honourablepart in this noble act. You will help atone for the sins of humanity.”Whoever was speaking was a nutter, decided Gwen, albeit some sort of aliennutter or a throwback from Earth’s history. Anyway, this idiot did not evenseem to realise the irony of the situation that this particular power station wasnow owned by Scottish and Southern Energy, hardly a paragon of localbusiness. They had not even bothered to read the sign at the entrance, inEnglish, let alone Welsh, she fumed silently.Before Gwen bit her tongue to calm her herself down for the second time sheheard Tosh’s response.“I am not going to let you get access to the Hub, about which you clearly knowso much. Do it yourself if you must, but I shall not help you. Never.” 23 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  25. 25. “We have already taken steps to weaken your commander,” said Mr Oriel.“My colleague, whom you know as Bill Kravitz, also read your mind andlearned that your other Torchwood companions were not at hand. They werenot at their work and were too far away to meddle in our mission. He did well.”“Not so bloody well,” thought Gwen. “So they were responsible for Jack’scondition, and had figured out that Owen and Ianto were out of the picture forthe moment. But their so-called mind reading wasn’t all that it might havebeen, thankfully. They’d missed her out. Not for much longer, though,” shedetermined.Three minutes to go. No point in waiting for one of those clichéd movie cliff-hangers where the timer stops at 00:01. Nor for calling in Jack. He couldhardly move when she had left him in the SUV. Gwen moved away from thedoor, swivelled around on one heel and kicked the door in. Clutching thepistol, she ran straight into the room holding her pistol firmly with both hands.She caught sight of Tosh sitting between two men. One was holding a pieceof equipment with a digital display. The detonator, it must be.At one and same time, Toshiko looked up, Bill Kravitz and Mr Oriel turned.They all looked at the woman in the black leather outfit wielding a gun.“Put that thing down!” ordered Gwen. “Gwen Cooper, if you must know. FromTorchwood. Your mind-reading wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be, was it,you bloody buffoons.”“No, we shall complete our mission.”Mr Oriel reached for something on his belt.“Gwen! He’s going to ...” shouted Toshiko in horror.But Gwen was taking no chances. Mr Oriel dropped to the floor as she fired.Something green and sticky started to spill onto the floor.Kravitz tried to pick up the detonator device and to grab Toshiko’s throat atthe same time.“I’d watch that, blokes aren’t that good at multitasking,” said Gwen grimly, justbefore the second shot was fired.Gwen and Toshiko watched with surprise as Kravitz slumped to the carpet.“... and I’m not that fast a shot,” said Gwen, breathing rapidly withastonishment and relief.“Glad you said it, not me,” came a voice from outside the office. The end of ablack revolver appeared at floor level from around the bottom of the door,followed by a blue woollen-clad arm. 24 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  26. 26. “Jack! You’re supposed to be in the SUV,” said Gwen with surprise.“And you, my lady, were supposed to give me the gen on what washappening,” said Jack Harkness weakly from his prone position in thecorridor. “Voilà, I give you the wonders of Torchwood teamwork.”Toshiko and Gwen looked at each other. They both began to smile.“Something like the survivors from an earlier section of the human race,”announced Jack. “Or maybe from an alternate timeline, I’m not sure. Owencan give us the low-down on the green blood. That bit is strange.”Gwen and Toshiko had carried the bodies of Mr Oriel and Bill Kravitz out tothe SUV, as Jack had been in no fit state to do so, even after summoning upthe energy to crawl along the carpet at Uskmouth. The two corpses nowjoined the growing and often macabre collection in storage in the Hub. Theirformer occupants had clearly had some knowledge of time travel. The Huonparticles had indicated that. Who knew when something similar would showup? They could form important reference material for the present or futurestaff of Torchwood.Jack had by now perked up. “Owen told me that the effects should wear off inanother day. He’ll be back in a couple of hours, he said. Got some more stiffswith him, I’m afraid. Crashed alien spaceship stuff, no survivors, by the look ofit. Wish some of these folk would look where they are going when they trybuzzing Earths air bases. You can get a seriously heavy fine for flying aspaceship without due care and attention.”“He can stick ‘em in storage himself,” said Gwen. “I for one have had enoughof lugging dead bodies down there.”“It makes a change from the usual weirdos who say they have been abductedby aliens, though, I suppose,” said Toshiko. “As far as I can tell, if youbelieved them, you’d have to explain why most sightings occurred to peoplewith habitual hallucinations.” Then she added with slow deliberation, “Or likethat unpleasant pair we just stopped from throwing us all back to the DarkAges.” She stared in front of her looking quite uncharacteristically angry.“Yeah, good job that the aliens we deal with come up against a bunch ofnormal, fun-loving healthy human beings with not a care in the world,” offeredJack. “Anybody for a game of strip poker before the others get back?”At least he was back to normal.© Geraint Day2009 November 23 25 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  27. 27. GLORYIt was Sunday. A day of rest for some. At least for the tourists awaiting flightsfrom Cardiff International Airport it was, if not for the airport and airlineemployees. It certainly was not for the workers in the minor shopping mall andthe food hall that had been built to cater for travellers. Or was that to deal witha captive audience?It was, however, a fine and sunny day and generally restful for many. Yet afterwaiting in the departure lounge for over two hours, one group ofholidaymakers was in no mood for any other problems. So it was a welcomerelief for them to hear over the public address system, “Thomas Cook Airlinesflight to Malta is now ready for boarding. Please have your boarding cardready and have your passport open at the photo page ready for inspection.”There was all round movement among the assembled travellers. It had beenpretty roasting sitting in the glassed-in area that had served as quite a goodgreenhouse for the last 120 minutes. Now they would all be off. It was theusual mixture for a package tour to Malta. There were lots of late middle-agedtravellers, a wheelchair and a few walking sticks. But they would soon be off,and the atmosphere seemed to clear with a bustle made up of a bothexcitement and apprehension. Plus one or two people who, having dozed off,were asking their neighbours if that was their flight that had just beenannounced. In all it was a typical scene at a fairly busy airport.One by one, or in pairs, the band of Mediterranean bound travellers passedthe boarding desk, next to which stood two young Thomas Cook ground staff.Away from the desk, and down towards ground level filed the hundred or sotravellers.As the first few passengers started moving out of the terminal building andacross the tarmac towards the aircraft boarding steps, a loud voice shoutedout. It seemed to come from the flybe plane parked about 50 metres off. Thathad come in from Paris all of fifteen minutes ago.According to the report that was subsequently written up by the Health andSafety Executive, what many of the passengers to Malta heard that sunnyafternoon was a man exclaiming, “No, no, no! I’m going to have to bail out! ...Oh god, the cockpit’s on fire. My hands, my hands, they’re ..." The rest was,from the consensus of the eyewitnesses, unintelligible and drowned out by hisscreams.Both the HSE and police accounts recorded that, according to several dozenwitnesses, a man’s head had shot out horizontally from an open baggagehold. He was a baggage handler. He had had his hands over his head andthey had been flailing wildly in the air. The next thing that happened was thatthe rest of him came of out the hold. Head down straight onto the ground. Apool of blood had then started to seep around his cranium onto the concrete. 26 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  28. 28. To cap it all, at that moment several of the Malta holidaymakers startedscreaming and crying. It was clearly no longer a day of rest.Even before the Monday mid-afternoon downpour started, the building hadlooked gloomy. The huge edifice managed to pull off that feat on most days.At least in the rain it blended a little more into the dark cloudy background of aSouth Wales downpour. “A blot on the landscape,” bemoaned some of theresidents of the suburb of Llanishen, where the complex of GovernmentBuildings on the Parc Ty Glas Industrial Estate exerted its forebodingpresence over the surrounding area. “A baleful influence that costs us all toomuch money,” said one cheery commentator. Perhaps she had been thinkingof the fact that one of the main occupants was the Cardiff office of HerMajesty’s Revenue and Customs. That was always good for the butt of a joke.Looking for all the world as if it had been built to fit into the depressing scene,a shiny black SUV turned off Ty-Glas Road. After the driver had impatientlyshouted out his identity into an intercom so that the barrier would be raised,the vehicle sped down a slope and sent spray all over the windows of theentrance lobby as it braked sharply to a halt.The driver got out. His large blue overcoat and peaked cap kept the rain offwhile he bounded across into the lobby.“Hi there, where’re the Health and Safety guys?” said the driver to the baldingman at the desk, who looked like he may have seen better days.“The HSE’s up in the lift by there,” answered the man behind the desk. “Butyou have to sign in first,” he added, trying to sound as if he had some sort ofauthority.“Sorry, no time for that. I’ll do you an autograph when I take the elevator backdown.”Bounding towards the lift, the man in the overcoat pressed the button and wassoon dripping water over the floor of the lift.“Americans!” moaned the man at the desk. “No bloody manners. Didn’t eventake his hat off.”There was no point in calling security, he decided. So he went back to filling inhis National Lottery ticket for the week. “I’m not having it. I’ll give him what foron the way out,” he resolved.In the Torchwood Hub in Cardiff Bay two people were going about theirduties.“Where’s Jack? I just brought his coffee,” said Ianto Jones. 27 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  29. 29. Gwen Cooper replied, “Gone with the wind, as far as I know. Well, not really.Truth is, he’s off to those big Government buildings in Llanishen.”Ianto observed, “That’s appropriate. Depressing place; it’s where they dealwith death and taxes. They’ve got the Revenue and Customs, and the Healthand Safety Executive to boot, all in together. Horrible-looking monstrosity.Should never have got planning permission.”“Jack said he was off to put the HSE straight on those deaths at work they’vebeing going on about in the Western Mail these last few weeks,” said Gwen.Then she added, after a slight pause, “Mind you, Rhys wouldn’t be toopleased. The Health and Safety had one of his blokes in the other day ...something to do with his transport business - risk regulation, or something orother.”“I’m sure that Jack will keep your dearly beloved out of it. Jack’s got biggerthings on his mind, judging from all the Rift activity lately,” said Ianto seriously.A staid looking civil servant sipped his mug of tea, sighed and said, “Look,Peter, I know you’ve got these fantastic notions, but those deaths are not outof the ordinary. Tragic though they are, of course.”Peter Watts, a young and enthusiastic HSE inspector retorted withdetermination, “I don’t agree. There’ve been too many deaths and injuries insuch a short time. And the places where they happened! There’s somethinglinking them all. No, there’s definitely something odd been going on in Cardiff.”Another sigh of annoyance emanated from the civil servant. But it was cut offas the meeting room door opened suddenly, and a man in a blue Royal AirForce greatcoat bounded in and sat down in an empty chair that happened tobe conveniently placed nearest to the door.“Sorry to spoil your tea party, but he’s on to something!”“Who the devil are you?!” blustered the staid looking civil servant.“Captain Jack Harkness at your service. Torchwood,” came the swift andsnappy reply.The Monday night shift had just begun at the distribution terminal in CardiffDocks. The foreman had just told Huw that one of the Maersk containers thatlay by the dozen in the storage area had been reported to have a bent hinge. 28 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  30. 30. “Could you have a look at it?” said the foreman, looking up from the sportspages of the South Wales Echo. “It’s the third one on the left in the secondrow over there.”“No worries,” said Huw Eriksson. He picked up a stepladder and his toolboxfrom the storeroom, put the ladder under his arm and walked briskly towardsthe container area. It was a fine night with a fresh breeze. A straightforwardstart to his working day. Or was that night? He had worked these shifts for solong that it did not seem to matter.The shadows of the stacked metal containers stood out clearly under theglare of the high-power lighting. Now he could see the one with the dodgyhinge. It looked like something had walloped it and blackened part of it at thesame time. Maybe one of the crane drivers hadn’t been looking where he wasgoing with some load or other. Anyway, he’d soon have it fixed and then beable to put the kettle on for his first cup of coffee for the night. He’d probablybe able to clean up the hinge as well. Huw stopped, unfolded the ladder andbegan climbing the steps, toolbox in hand.As he reached the top of the ladder he noticed that one of the shadows castby the bright artificial lighting moved for a moment. He turned around to see adazzling flash of light almost overhead in the night sky high up over CardiffBay. It was followed a few seconds later by a loud explosion. Huw Eriksson,together with his toolbox, were hurled to the ground before he had time toeven protect his head.When he gradually came to consciousness three hours later he kept sayingover and over again to the nurse, as he lay in the hospital bed trembling, “Nomore bombing. I can’t stand it no more. I thought surely to God the ack-ackwould have had them this time.”The nurse had looked mystified. Head injuries could do strange things.Equally perplexed were the police constable and the Health and SafetyExecutive inspector when they were investigating the mishap, later thefollowing morning.Jenny Marks had not seen her close friend Peter Watts for weeks until thisTuesday evening after work. His work took him all over Wales. Just gettingfrom South to North often meant a couple of days away. Her career was inorganising events. That took her all over the UK, as well as abroad every fewmonths. Their meeting in the Old Brewery Quarter in Cardiff was a welcomecatch-up. They had ordered the expensive drinks and nibbles that had cometo be associated with many of the trendy redevelopments in the City Centre.“I saw it,” said Jenny anxiously.“Saw what?” 29 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  31. 31. “It was up at Cardiff Castle a week ago. I had some clients attending aconference. It was for business analysts. Some of them had wandered out ofthe wine reception in Lord Bute’s bit of the Castle and they were heading offto the old Castle Keep. Well, staggering, more like. So I thought I’d go andsee that they didn’t come to any harm. Those old stone steps are tricky even ifyou haven’t had six glasses of our best champagne. With the Recession wecan’t afford to lose too many more customers. Even if they are pissed. Andoccasionally obnoxious. Mind you, this chap from Liverpool, who was incharge of them, was very nice and very helpful.”“I suppose you have to do risk assessments for your events, especially in aramshackle place like the ancient part of Cardiff Castle”, mused Peter.“Yes indeed. Don’t worry. We do. Anyway, I toddled along with this little groupof merry men,” continued Jenny. “More to keep an eye on them – sorry aboutthe pun there – than anything else.”“Another poet who didn’t know it,” joked Peter.“What? Oh, never mind. Anyway, Two of them got ahead and disappearedinto one of the rooms, you know, more like remnants of rooms these days.One of the other lot was asking me if they served more champagne in thispart of the Castle,” explained Jenny. “Cheek. I said I’d see about that whenwe got back to the Victorian bit of the Castle, but I just wanted to check wherethe other two had got to.”“The next thing – I can’t remember it all, as it happened so quickly, was thatthis little man with glasses – I mean spectacles – and a beard came runningpast me,” she added.“He nearly knocked me over. I looked back to where he’d come from and Ican swear that I saw this figure with what looked like a ... a sword and somesort of, what do you call it, knight’s uniform. It was standing there in theshadows at the back of the room.” She paused and gazed into her glass.“What?!” said Peter with astonishment. “A knight in armour?”“Yes, like those kids’ toys they sell in the souvenir shop on the way out,”replied Jenny, looking up slowly. “I only got a quick look because the nextthing was that the bloke with the glasses was hurling himself off from the topof the stone steps. He shouted something like, ‘Owain’s men have brokendown the West Gate of the City. God help us all!’. Bonkers, if you ask me. Idon’t mean to speak ill of him, in the circumstances of course.”There was a moment of silence. “Phew,” gasped Peter. “I didn’t know you’dbeen there.”“The rest you do know, because that’s when your lot in the HSE got involved,”muttered Jenny slowly and as if in a dream. 30 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  32. 32. Before she had fully woken from her reverie she glanced up, blinked twiceand saw a man striding rapidly towards their table.“The fancy dress party’s round the back, I think,” she called out to him.“Whaddya mean fancy dress? Can’t a guy take a walk without being noticedin this City?” He pronounced “City” with that “Cidy” sound that many residentsof North America habitually used.He stopped and said, “Hi, Peter, glad you agreed to see me to fill me in, after Idrove over to your office yesterday. Hush hush, of course. Not a word toanyone.”“Ah, Jenny, I forgot to say that Captain Jack Hartnell would be joining us,”said Peter sheepishly.“Harkness, Captain Jack Harkness,” interrupted Jack.“Thanks for keeping me informed. Eventually. But why’s he dressed like anRAF officer?” asked Jenny looking quickly back and forth from Jack to Peter.“Jeez, thinking of it like that, it reminds me of when I first saw the Doctor.”“Have you been ill?” enquired Jenny.“No, not that kinda doctor. It was when I was in the RAF in London, England,World War 2. Group Captain Jack Harkness.”“Are you sure it isn’t a psychiatrist you’ve been seeing?” said Jenny trying tosuppress a giggle. She had now come back to reality. Even if the ratherstriking man in the greatcoat showed no signs of doing so.“Nah, The Doctor. One of the most amazing characters in the Universe.Centre of attention. Fun. Attractive - personality and every other way.Everybody wants to be with the guy. Can be dangerous, though. But wouldn’tmiss him for the world.”“Tell me more. Do you have his email address?” She was still suppressing alaugh.“Jenny!” said Peter, trying to bring the conversation back to normal. That is, ifthe evening’s conversation was going to be on subjects that bore any relationto chit-chat.“Aw, the Doctor can be a bit of a killjoy at times,” said Jack as he leaned backin his chair. “I remember the time he wanted to stop me inviting those two ...Anyhow, let’s talk about the present.”“Oh, sorry, I’m Jenny. I organise events.” 31 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  33. 33. “Pleased to meet ya, ”said Jack, adding a flourish as he laid his hat on thetable. “Maybe you could organise one for the two of us later. I had in mind alittle ...”Peter Watts butted in firmly, “She’s with me. Anyway, I was just going to saythat – with all the Iraq and Afghanistan stuff in the news every day of the week– it annoys me that most people know sod all about the military history in theirown local area.”“What do you mean?” Jenny sounded hurt. “Aren’t you interested in what Iwas telling you about what I saw at Cardiff Castle last week?”“Yes. I am, and I’ll come to that in a minute,” answered Peter.Jenny sighed, turned to the new arrival and said, “He’s always going on aboutmilitary history. What was it you said the other week? The Duke of Wellingtonpopped down to The Mumbles to inspect the troops, wasn’t it?”“No, no. It was Admiral Nelson who went to Merthyr Tydfil,” answered Peterlooking very studious.Jenny snapped, “What for? Why’d he want to go to Merthyr? Took the wrongturning on the way to his ships at Barry Docks, did he?!”“He was inspecting the making of cannon for the Royal Navy, as it happens.”“Enough of the military past. What about the ongoing situation?” asked Jack.“By the way, mine’s a coffee, a large latté,” he said to the passing waitress. “Ineed a clear head. You guys want a refill?”After a quick glance at Jenny, Peter said, “Thanks, not for now. It was reallygood that you came along to the meeting yesterday.”“Now you can do me a favour,” responded Jack. “I need to have some moredetails on those workplace deaths in unusual circumstances that you pickedup on. We need to get a handle and correlate some of those commonfeatures.”“Pity the Head of the unit in HSE didn’t pick up on it. He thought I was off onone, making those links that had started to dawn on me.”“You mean those military links you were on about?” asked Jenny.“Exactly,” said Peter with a certain intonation of satisfaction.“Yeah, your boss he seemed a bit of a boring guy,” observed Jack after takinga swig of the large cup of coffee that had just arrived. “I guess it takes all sortsin your line of business. Now, apart from the incident at Cardiff Airport, andthe one at the Docks last night, there’ve been several more, haven’t there?” 32 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  34. 34. “Jenny was talking about an incident at Cardiff Castle and a man in armourwith a sword, just now,” responded Peter.“We logged that one at the Hub,” said Jack.“What, you mean another incident? The Hub’s that new night-club near therailway station over the road, isn’t it?” said Jenny.“The Hub’s what we call our base,” said Jack.“Oh. I see.” She didn’t really, but asked, “But what’s the military connectionwith Cardiff Airport? I’ve been on holiday from there loads of times. And onbusiness trips. I’ve never seen any guns or bombers or anything like that. Andtalking about bases, isn’t MOD St Athan the main military airbase aroundhere? I’ve run a few events there for some of those Ministry of Defenceorganisations ... and the odd overseas people who looked like arms buyers tome,” she added with a look of disgust.Jack carried on, “Back in 1942 Cardiff Airport was a base for training RAFpilots. I’ll never forget some of those Spitfire rookies. It was called RAFRhoose in those days. I got friendly with a few of them. Some good times inthe country pubs nearby. And afterwards. Great times.” He paused andsighed. “They’d missed out on the Battle of Britain, but there was still a war tobe won.” He drank the last of his latté. “The coffee in those days was godamnawful! Calling it coffee caused damage to the language as well as to the tastebuds. Nice change having this one. Think I’ll have another.”“Are you ... sure you don’t need that psychiatrist?” Jenny asked, lookingclosely into Jack’s eyes. “I’m organising an international conference for someof them in Swansea soon, and maybe I could put you in touch with one ofthem.”Jack simply grinned.Peter looked as mystified as Jenny. There was definitely something odd aboutCardiff these days. There was also something unusual about Torchwood,although he was not entirely sure about the exact details. There had beensome confidential briefing down at the Welsh Assembly Government inCathays Park a few months back. He was not considered senior enough toget an invitation. Also he had never had security clearance. Maybe he wouldget that after the present situation was resolved.Anxious to carry on with the business, Peter said, “Anyhow, as far as I knowthere was the delivery driver who swerved into a loading bay who swore he’dseen a Roman soldier complete with shield and helmet. I thought at first it wasdown to the firm making its drivers work excessive hours and the driver beinga bit too tired in the early hours of the morning. We’re not keen on that at thebest of times. But when the transport people checked the tachograph wecouldn’t pin that on them. The driver wasn’t too badly hurt, but very shaken 33 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  35. 35. up. And insistent about a Roman soldier. Drugs and booze didn’t show upeither, before anyone asks.”“Can you get me some more of the file records on that one?” asked Jack.“Post mortem results on the deaths, too. I know your boss-man didn’t seemtoo keen on giving too much away at yesterday’s little get together. But it’s thesort of detail that we need to stop any more of this type of event threateningCardiff.”“Threatening Cardiff?” asked Peter with astonishment. “I know that strangethings are going on, but surely they’re not a danger to the whole City?”“You wouldn’t want to know,” said Jack. “Believe me.”At that moment he picked up his mobile phone, which was glowing. “Yeah,sure. I’ll be back right away.” He turned to Peter and Jenny, stood up and said“Sorry, got to go now, but if you can get me the details ...”Jack put a £10 note on the table. “That should cover the coffees”, he said.“And call this number,” he added, as he walked towards the exit, tossing apair of business cards towards Peter and Jenny.“I’ll see what I can do,” called out Peter, waving goodbye to the retreating RAFgreatcoat.“Wow!” said Jenny. “I’m not sure that I know what’s going on, but he’s in ahurry.”Peter thought for a moment and said, “Yes, and I think we both seem to havebeen of some help. Another drink?”Jack strode into the Hub. It still seemed quiet since they had lost Owen andToshiko. And Suzy, of course. Twice, in her case. And all the rest over theyears. It was a dangerous business defending Earth from hostile aliens anddealing with all the weird and monstrous things that the Rift running throughCardiff could throw at them. But Torchwood still had to go on. There was notime for reminiscence. Even with all the time in the world, which Jack’s uniquecondition seemed to have granted him.“Whaddya have for me?” he asked Ianto.“I have a lot to offer, and we can see about that later,” said Ianto.Gwen yawned and said, “Can’t you two keep this to business?”“Who said it wasn’t business?” responded Jack with more than just a twinklein his eye. “I didn’t notice that Ianto said anything other than that.” 34 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  36. 36. Ianto straightened his tie, which was a pointless exercise, as it never neededstraightening, such was his usual immaculate demeanour.“I’ve been looking into the war and military history in and around Cardiff,” hesaid, producing a file containing pages of detailed printouts. “We know aboutthe World War 2 connections. Those tie in with the incidents at the Airport andthe Docks. The description from Cardiff Castle links with Owain Glyndŵr’smen entering the gates of Cardiff in 1400 AD. The local council and HSE hadthat one about the building worker who ran into the front window of Tesco inCaerphilly, screaming that one of Cromwell’s Roundheads was trying to stickhim with a pike. Didn’t do much for their sales that day. Then there are severalancient Roman connections all around Cardiff, of course. That links with a fewsightings of centurions and other Roman soldiers linked to half a dozenserious injuries and a couple of deaths.”Jack said, “It looks like we are dealing with an alien that loves to conjure upthe violence and dangers of war to frighten the locals.”“What’s it doing that for?” asked Gwen.“I don’t have the faintest idea,” answered Jack. “Probably gets its kicks, itsenergy, that way. All I know is that we need to put a stop to it right now. TheHSE guy I saw earlier is going to get us some more background on some ofthe other events, by the way. Before we do that let’s have our own energy –from some coffee.”“I’m onto that right now,” said Ianto. Then, a moment later, he called back,“Jack, I’ve just noticed an alert about a radio message from the police.They’re saying that there’s group of hoodies being attacked by an eight-foothigh creature with green skin and claws up in Canton.”“Leave them to sort it out, then,” said Gwen. “The hoodies were probablytrying to beat up the local Asians. Looks like the locals are getting their ownback.”“Did you say green skin and claws?” Jack said slowly. “That sounds like oneof the Slitheen family. Don’t you remember the plan to build a nuclear reactorin the middle of Cardiff? The folks behind the Blaidd Drwg Project were theSlitheen family from the Planet Raxacacoricofallapatorius. I don’t really thinkthat any of the Slitheen are back but I think our alien or aliens may be livingoff the fears that event stirred up. The Slitheen were gonna make the reactorexplode and open up the Rift. The Doctor put a stop to that little game. We’dbetter get down there. I’m off to the SUV.”Jack halted for a moment, then added, “Gwen, we may need you tosmoothtalk your police colleagues.”“At your service, Jack,” piped up Gwen as she ran along towards the exit.“Thanks for the offer. Not a word to Rhys, though.” 35 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  37. 37. For a moment, Gwen’s expression resembled a scowl and a smile at thesame time.“Ianto, I hadn’t forgotten you, so come along too. The coffee’s gonna have towait,” Jack said.The SUV screeched to a halt just behind a row of police cars. Ahead in thedarkened corner of a cul de sac was a group of six or seven youths whoseemed to be cowering and whimpering as they lay prone on the tarmac.“Got it all under control, have you?” Jack shouted to the nearest man withHEDDLU written on the back of his fluorescent jacket. “Captain JackHarkness, Torchwood.”The police officer turned round slowly. He gave Jack a disapproving look upand down, then said, “Torchwood. Eh? Alright? No, the funny thing is thatthese yobs were making the running all evening. Menacing the locals. Racialsort of stuff, you know. Now they are sitting there yelling about being attackedby big green monsters. Probably on substances, if you ask me. They usuallyare.”Ianto, handheld monitor in hand, said, “Excuse me, but there’s definitely adisturbance.”“Of course there’s a bloody disturbance, my butty just told you that, didn’t he?”said another policeman standing nearby. “They’ve been chucking bricks andtaunting local residents all night, on and off. We don’t need no Torchwood totell us that.”“Enough of that, Trefor, ”said Gwen. “We only come when we’re needed. Andtonight’s one of those occasions.”“Gwen flipping Cooper, haven’t seen you for yonks,” said Constable TreforJones. “Thought you’d packed it in.”“No, and you won’t be seeing me or anybody else for a while unless we getthis alien sorted out good and proper now,” Gwen said with annoyance.Jack pulled out his Webley pistol and started to advance, leading Gwen andIanto through the now parting line of police.“Keep a lookout for alien presence,” ordered Jack.“What sort of alien?” Ianto started to ask. Then, a moment later he exclaimed,“Look! Over there! 36 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  38. 38. Just behind a wooden fence loomed a dark figure. Although almostcompletely black it had a very faint pulsating bluish glow about its edges.Some said later that it sort of flowed down towards the prone youths. Well,that was the best thing they could think of to describe it.“Don’t hit me again!” bleated one of the boys, tightly holding his arms over hishead, trying to cover his eyes and ears at the same time. “We’re not going tostop you building your nuclear whatsimacallit. We’ll go home. No moretrouble, honest, mon.”The dark figure stopped its creepy descent when Jack called out, “That’senough! Leave them alone.”There was a moment’s silence.Then a growing hiss started to fill the night time air.“Stop that!” cried Jack.The shadowy figure started to move towards Jack. Jack Harkness stoodthere. The menacing figure flowed on.“C’mon. You know darned well that there’s no war, no Slitheen, no air raidhere. And I’m gonna put an end to your mind games.” Jack stood defiantly inthe path of the alien. “Go, vamoose, quit, find a real war someplace else.”He aimed the gun at the head. The shape kept advancing.“Jack, for God’s sake get out of the way!” shouted Gwen.“No way,” said Jack as he stood his ground. “It can’t fool me. I’m not seeingthe Slitheen that those kids were probably seeing just now. All I get is thevibes of this evil entity. It’s alone, by the way. That’ll make things easier forme.”The shape was looming, right up in front of Jack. There was no sound.Everybody – police, Gwen, Ianto and the youths – was silent.“Damn you,” said Jack through gritted teeth as the shape engulfed him.Gwen and Ianto looked on in horror. Why hadn’t Jack moved out of the pathof the creature, if that was what it was? All that could be seen was the shape,now with flashing pulsations, changing from blue to red to yellow. There wereflames, and was that a view of a gun, and a plane, and sabre, an airship, thatseemed to come and go out of sight against the outline of the dark andforeboding figure?Then suddenly the dark shape disappeared. They could see Jack again. Hewas falling to the ground, gasping, his legs giving way beneath him. 37 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  39. 39. Gwen rushed forward. She put a hand on his shoulder. He was breathingrapidly. Then a slow smile spread across his face.“I’m OK. Cardiff is OK. It’s gone.”“What’s gone?” asked Gwen.“There’s been enough frightening the locals and filling their heads withimagined fears. Of war. And death. War and death. And all the otherhappenings that the thing thrived on. It conjured up the terrors of past warsand conflict to terrify the people of the present. Its whole life force relied onthat. Sucking the very fear out of people. I’ve seen enough death andmayhem to last loads of lifetimes, so picking on someone who knows what itmeans did it no good at all. I think that I probably managed to frighten it.”“Sometimes you scare us too,” said Gwen softly.Back at the Hub the following morning, Jack, Gwen and Ianto were sittingquietly.Ianto looked up. “Good job that creature didn’t get onto another of the linkswith Ty Glas.”Jack looked puzzled.“What I mean is that when I was looking into some of the military links withCardiff’s history I came across the Royal Ordnance Factory. Except that it’snot there anymore. It’s now the Parc Ty Glas Business Park. Where the HSEand the Revenue and Customs are,” Ianto said. “Apparently, after 1940 theGovernment built a whole series of them in areas of the country that werethought of as ‘safe’. By that they meant being away from populated areas.Cardiff lost out – or gained, depending on your point of view – becausepoliticians said the City needed the jobs after the high unemployment of the1930s. So they put one here. It was there until 1987 but then it ...”Gwen interrupted. “The only military action in Cardiff that I came across whenI was in the police was on the weekend in St Mary Street. Proper set of fieldhospitals they set up there on a Saturday night. Especially when a load offootball hooligans had been let loose on the Millennium Stadium. Realbloodbaths they had. The only good thing was the extra overtime. Oh, and abag of chips on Caroline Street afterwards, if we were lucky.”“As I was saying,” continued Ianto, as he was determined to let his colleaguesknow of his thoroughness. “In 1987 the Ordnance Factory got turned into partof the Atomic Weapons Establishment. That lasted until the Nineties. That’swhen it was closed down.” 38 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  40. 40. “God knows, we’d have been dealing with reports of little glowing UFOs fromArea 51 or from the planet Zog,” quipped Gwen.“Or maybe even from Raxacacoricofallapatorius.” It was Jack’s turn tointerject. “Now, you both know as well as I do that we only deal with the realworld. We’re not sci fi nuts,” he added.“That’s true,” said Ianto. “Just another normal day at the office. I’ll go andhave a look at what’s showing on the Rift Monitor. And at the coffee pot.” © Geraint Day2009 November 2 39 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9
  41. 41. Title font from: http://sostopher.deviantart.com/art/Torchwood-Font-143341310. 40 Collection © Geraint Day, 2010 September 9

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