The Lucky Mama Mia Restaurant in Soho.
5 hours, 42 minutes before the inevitable alien incursion
"Dubby, I think we may have a situation on our hands,” the Middleman said, as they stood in the middle of the half demolished Chinese-Italian fusion restaurant. He picked up the glass of milk in front of him and sniffed it.
“Really, what makes you think that?” Wendy asked sarcastically as she picked up a menu that had fluttered to the ground. “Soy bean pizza is not the palate sensation you might think it is, is all I'm saying."
“Dubby, can you remember how we got here?”
“Of course I can, what a stupid...” She paused. “Huh.”
“Exactly,” the Middleman said. “Which can only mean thing.” He held his scanner up to the glass of milk.
“And what is that, oh wise and glorious leader.”
“We've been retconned. Quick, we need to get back to base soon as possible. This is a level one blue emergency.”
“Typical,” Wendy sighed as he sped out of the room. “We never have time to smell the pasta.”
In a Dark Van across the road from the Lucky Mama Mia Restaurant in Soho.
5 seconds later
“There he goes,” Jack said, eyeing the monitor.
“Why are doing this again?” Ianto asked, looking up from his newspaper.
“I know its been a while since we’ve had this talk but you do remember we’re supposed to be a secret organisation.”
Owen rolled his eyes. “I think we’ve already crossed that river, don’t you?”
“Yeah, well, lets go through the motions all the same,” Jack said. “Tosh, start the engine.”
10.35am, Greenwich Mean Time
“Well?” the Middleman asked impatiently.
“Searching,” Ida said
“But enquiring minds want to know,” Wendy said.
“Listen, toots, I may make this look easy, but it actually takes patience and skill,” Ida said sharply as she glared into the HADAR. “Two qualities you don’t possess.”
“Oh, fnar, fnar,” Wendy said.
“Great Gambolling Giants!” the Middleman suddenly burst out, ‘Do you two not understand the seriousness of the situation? We’ve been retconned, and there is only one organisation who has that capability, one organisation too secret to even be remembered, one organisation whose mandate allows them to operate below the radar, above the law-”
“They’re Torchwood,” Ida said.
“Who what now?” Wendy asked.
“They’re basically the British version of us,” Ida said. But with better pay.”
“Well that wouldn’t be difficult,” Wendy grumbled.
“You missing the point,” the Middleman said. “For years now, we've managed to elude their agents and maintain our own covert status, but if they were able to get close enough to us to use their Retcon drug on us, that means they could know...know everything.
“I'm still not seeing the problem here,” Wendy said, “Aren't they supposed to be allies?”
“It's not that simple, Dubby.”
“Uhuh,” Wendy said. “This is an ego thing, isn't it?”
“I rather hoped you had a higher opinion of me than that,” he answered stiffly.
“Well,” Wendy said. “I'm going home. Let me know when the British are coming.”
Outside Middleman HQ, in a dark van.
“How long do we have to stay here?” Owen sighed.
“Until we're sure they don't remember what happened at the restaurant,” Jack said.
“But why are we doing that, exactly?” Gwen asked. “I mean, these guys are in the know, right?”
“Code 9,” Ianto supplied, with a sigh. “And you know how he gets about you know who.”
“It's not like that,” Jack said, slightly defensively.
“Oh dear,” Tosh sighed.
“I still don't see why we couldn't get a bigger van,” Owen said. “It's beginning to feel like that time we played sardines in my Auntie's closet during my cousin's ninth birthday.”
“Let me guess,” Ianto said dryly. “There was snogging involved."
“Never mind,” Owen muttered.
“Wait!” Tosh exclaimed. “One of them is on the move!”
“I'm it,” Owen said, scrambling from his seat with relief.
Ianto and Gwen gave each other a knowing look.
“Owen Harper, volunteering for duty,” Jack said, amused.
“I don't know what you're inferring!” Owen said.
“Tosh, go with him,” Jack said. “Try to keep him out of trouble.”
Obigatory Johnny Cash reference.
“Yo, Wendy Watson” Nozer said, as she stepped out of the elevator.
“Whats on your mind?” he asked.
“I'm not really sure,” Wendy mused. “Although I'm pretty sure it's not going gently.”
“It never does,” Nozer said sagely. “It never does."
The illegal sublet Wendy shares with another young photogenic artist.
1.47PM Eastern Standard Time (North America)
“So, what happened?” Lacey asked, the moment Wendy entered the apartment.
Wendy blinked. “Huh?”
“Oh no,” Lacey said, “You're not going to get away with not telling me what happened by pretending you don't know what I'm talking about – spill!”
“Uh, lets pretend I've had a really bad day and parts of it are kinda fuzzy,” Wendy said.
“Oh, come on,” Lacy said. "You're telling me you don't remember that phone call you made to me earlier during which there was a huge explosion in the background and you went all mysterioso and said you had another temp emergency.” Her fingers traced the air with invisible quotation marks.
“Oh, right, that,” Wendy said. “Gas explosion. Wrecked the servers. Had to redo all my spreadsheets.”
Lacey's eyes narrowed. “Gas explosion, huh?”
“I swear that I don't remember anything happening differently to what I've just said,” Wendy prevaricated.
“Good enough for me,” Lacey said. “By the way, you've got mail.” She held up an envelope. It was blue and had curly handwriting and a weird looking stamp with lots of mathematical looking circles on it. Wendy ripped it open.
You don't remember me but we met this morning at a rather delightful Chinese-Italian fusion restaurant in Soho.
Long story short, there were Sontorans - not very keen on cuisine – who made an entrance through the kitchens and tried to kill me half way through my entrée. Needless to say, I was a bit miffed, and there was a ...sonic incident.
Sorry about that.
But of course that leads me to our next problem, which involves a very funny story about a jealous ex and a Sontaran fleet and, well, the upshot of it is the world is going to end in two hours.
But don't worry, I've got a plan. Well, almost a plan. Very nearly, on-the-tip-of-my-tongue sort of plan. Really.
P.S. You really should try the sweet and sour gnocchi the next time you're at the Lucky Mama Mia Restaurant, by the way, its really quite delicious. Way better than custard and fish fingers.
P.P.S. Now is a good time to open your apartment door and grab the two very British people lurking in your hallway.
P.P.P.S And you should probably bring an umbrella and a hammer with you.
P.P.P.P. S. And you really should return to the Lucky Mama Mia Restaurant, you know, say in about two hours. And bring your boss. I quite liked him. He's very earnest. I like earnest.
“Well S@%t,” Wendy said.
“Another problem with your spreadsheets,” Lacey asked dryly.
“Can I borrow your hammer?”
“Wendy, you know how I feel about using violence to solve problems – only as a last resort.”
“Trust me, Lacey, this is definitely a last resort scenario.” Wendy said, as she grabbed an umbrella and held out her hand for the hammer.
“All right,” Lacey said, giving it to her. “But be careful with it. With great power comes great responsibility.”
“My thanks to Yoda,” Wendy said, and stalked out into the hallway. Sure enough, there were the British guys – talking to Nozer.
“I don't see why you don't use Beatle lyrics,” one of them – the guy - was saying sulkily.
“What can I say,” Nozer said breezily. “When my heart needs solace, the man fills my soul.”
“Its still not Lennon, though, is it?”
Wendy stuck her fingers in her mouth, and blew a screeching whistle. “Hey, British people, are you being helped?”
They exchanged a look. Wendy knew that look. It meant she was about to hear a very long, very detailed lie.
“Before you say anything,” Wendy said, holding up the letter. “I've got mail. The Doctor says hi, by the way, and to bring a hammer.”
“Back of the neck,” the girl said. “Works every time – I'm Tosh.”
“Tosh,” the other one muttered. “We're supposed to be covert. Remember?”
“Is this a Torchwood thing?” Wendy asked.
“Well, thats torn it,” said Tosh.
“I'll call Jack,” Owen said resignedly.
The Lucky Mama Mia Restaurant in Soho.
2 minutes before the inevitable alien incursion.
:”Oh my God,” Wendy said, taking another forkful. "He was so right. This sweet and sour gnocchi is delicious - and didn't they repair the restaurant very quickly?”
“Dubby, try to keep your head in the game,” the Middleman said, eyeing the Torchwood team dubiously.
“Hey, just following the instructions here,” Wendy objected. “Grab British guys, bring hammer and umbrella, come back here and eat the gnocchi-”
There was blinding flash and a rather belligerent looking potato head was standing in the middle of the room.
“Die, puny humans!" he said, waving what looked like a trigger device in the air.
So Wendy hit him with the hammer. In the back of the neck. He melted to floor and the Torchwood guy called Jack - with the ridiculously good looks - snagged the triggering device just before it hit the ground.
“Just what I thought,” he said. “A mass teleportation device. They would have had ten thousand boots on the ground in a millisecond.”
“But what happens if they just send a second guy down when they realise something has gone wrong?” Wendy said.
There was a dull roaring boom in the sky and a brief flash of ominous red light.
“And that was the Doctor,” said the one in the natty suit. “He blows up quite a lot of alien ships.”
“But what about the umbrella?” Wendy asked.
“Well, its an umbrella,” Natty Suit said. “One should always have an umbrella.”
“Of course, “ Wendy said. “I don't know why I even asked."
Halfway between neverwhere and nowhere.
Tongue caught between his teeth, hair flipped over his forehead, bow tie askew, the Doctor hunched over his writing paper with his biro.
Yes, its me again, the Doctor. A funny thing happened to me while I blew up the Sontaran ship. I hope you still have your umbrella...