When Toshiko opened her eyes, everything was dull orange mist.
She blinked twice, expecting that the Hub would resolve itself in front of her as the dizziness subsided, and then she blinked a third time, just to make sure. No Hub. Just mist.
Tosh drew in a deep breath, and told herself not to panic. She'd been in worse situations, and there didn't seem to be any immediate danger—and she was able to breathe the air, at least. She looked around, turning slowly, trying to get a sense of her surroundings, looking for any gap in the swirling fog that surrounded her.
Turning her gaze downwards, Tosh realised that she couldn't even see her feet through the haze. She could feel some sort of solid surface beneath them, though, so she knelt down, and ran her hands along something that felt like—metal?—plastic? Some sort of flat, smooth material that she couldn't identify by touch.
Tosh sighed, wishing that she had some of her equipment here; something that would allow her to analyse the chemicals in the air and the hard, cold substance underneath her—and then she gasped as her left hand closed around something warm.
She drew her arm back sharply at the unexpected sensation, and then she extended it again, more cautiously. This time, when she found the small object, she grasped it tightly. Lifting it close to her face, Tosh saw that it was a small hemisphere, its widest diameter roughly the size of her palm. Angular symbols covered its curved surface, and Tosh peered closely at them. Before she could even begin to make an assessment of the language or this object's origin, however, the entire hemisphere began to emit a soft pale pink light.
And then Tosh remembered—she'd been studying this artefact, or something that looked exactly like it, at her workstation in the Hub, when there had been a flash of light and then—this. Clearly, the hemisphere was some sort of transporter then—or part of one, anyway.
She traced her fingers along the symbols, searching for some clue, for anything that would provide her with some hint as to how she could operate whatever technology was hidden beneath its domed surface. As Tosh ran her forefinger along what appeared to be an upside-down V, which pointed out towards the circumference, the symbol began to glow red.
Tosh turned the hemisphere around so she could inspect the symbol more closely, but the moment she let her right hand slip away from it, it spun around on her other palm so that the V once again pointed away from her. Well—not directly away from her, Tosh noticed. If she followed the point, it actually veered slightly off to her right. Tosh frowned, considering the object for a moment, and then slowly, she stood and turned herself around one hundred and eighty degrees, holding the hemisphere out in front of her.
When she became still, the hemisphere spun again, so that now the V was pointing towards her. Some sort of compass then? Tosh turned around again, and again the hemisphere quickly righted itself, so that it once more pointed in the same direction. Clearly it was directing her towards something. Without any other options that she could see, Tosh began to walk forward, taking care to find her footing with each step, fearful that the hard surface beneath her feet would drop away in the fog.
As Tosh walked on, she felt her confidence growing, and she realised, after a minute or so, that the mist was beginning to thin slightly. She could see her feet clearly now, and although it was difficult to judge exactly, she thought that her range of vision had expanded to at least two metres in front of her. Tosh quickened her step, turning first left and then right when the hemisphere told her to.
And then—a sound. Tapping—like footsteps. Tosh came to a halt, as she realised that she wasn't alone here. For a moment, she felt a surge of hope, that maybe one of the others had been transported with her, but she forced herself to restrain it; for all she knew, she was sharing this—place—with some hostile alien intent on killing her and using her as a conduit to the Hub, or to the entire Earth.
Carefully, Tosh drew her gun from her shoulder-holster with her right hand, and held it out in front of her. She wished that she could use both hands to steady her aim, but she wasn't willing to put her only source of direction in this place in her pocket, so instead, she began walking again, at a slower pace, trying to remain as quiet as possible.
The footsteps grew louder as Tosh continued on her way, and before too long, she saw a silhouette in the mist, moving towards her. It appeared to be humanoid—a woman, Tosh guessed.
"Hello?" came a voice from the fog—definitely a woman's voice, with an English accent. "Luke? Is that you?"
Tosh felt her breath catch. The woman didn't sound dangerous, but Tosh knew all too well that that didn't mean anything. "Walk forward slowly," Tosh said at last. "Let me see you."
The figure came closer, and Tosh raised her gun a little higher. The woman who emerged from the mist also held something out in front of her—for a second, Tosh thought it was a lipstick, of all things, but almost instantly she realised, with a twist in her gut, that it was actually some sort of sonic tool.
"Why have you brought me here?" the woman asked.
"I—I didn't," said Tosh. Looking at the woman, Tosh realised that she was also holding a hemisphere in her left hand, identical to the one Tosh had found earlier. "I just—ended up here."
"Well—" the woman pursed her lips slightly, "—you can put that gun away, at least. I promise, I have no intention of hurting you."
Something inside Tosh squirmed at the disapproval in the woman's voice, and another part of her felt astonished that she'd react that way at all.
"I'll lower my gun when you lower your sonic device," Tosh said, hoping that her voice wouldn't betray how disconcerted she actually was.
The woman appeared surprised, but she nodded. "It's a deal. On three?"
"Right then. One, two..." The woman was already lowering her arm. "Three."
Tosh sighed with relief, and quickly returned her gun to its holster as the final word left the woman's lips.
Their weapons safely stowed away, Tosh allowed herself to look more closely at the woman. There was something vaguely familiar about her, Tosh thought, though she couldn't remember where she might have seen her before.
"So..." Tosh paused a moment, then plunged in. "I'm Toshiko Sato. From Torchwood."
"Torchwood," muttered the woman. "I might have known."
"Are you from UNIT?"
The woman didn't look like a UNIT operative, with her civilian clothes, but Tosh couldn't help shivering a little as she remembered the tiny cell that had been her home for eight months.
The woman shook her head. "No, I'm not UNIT—not really, anyway."
"I'm more of a freelancer," said the woman. "Sarah Jane Smith."
"Oh!" Tosh exclaimed. She remembered where she'd seen this woman before now—in a report she'd found on Jack's desk a few months ago, something about some Slitheen and underground railway networks. "I—I've heard of you."
"Really?" Sarah Jane's expression seemed to convey a mixture of annoyance and gratification. "I suppose it was too much to hope that I would stay off your radar."
"Well—we like to keep track of things."
"Too many things, sometimes," said Sarah Jane. "Still—I don't suppose you've managed to keep track of where we are now, have you?"
Tosh shook her head. "All I know is that this—" she held her hemisphere up so Sarah Jane could see it easily, "—seems to have something to do with it."
Sarah Jane nodded and raised her own hemisphere. "I received mine in the post this morning, in a brown cardboard box, addressed to me."
"Same here," said Tosh. "It was sent to the tourist office above the Hub, with my name on it. There are only a few people who would know to do that."
"Clearly someone wants us here," Sarah Jane mused.
"Or something," Tosh added.
"Well, I don't know about you, Toshiko," said Sarah Jane, "but I don't take kindly to being spirited away from my home against my will."
"Me neither." In spite of her words, however, Tosh felt a small thrill of excitement course through her—there was a puzzle to be solved here, and new things to learn, after all.
"In that case," said Sarah Jane, stepping forward, "I propose an alliance between us. We'll help each other get out of here."
Tosh found herself smiling. "It's a deal," she said. She closed the distance between herself and Sarah Jane, and extended her right hand.
Sarah Jane smiled back at her. "Done."
As their hands met, the two hemispheres flashed bright green.