30 April 2009
Jack and Clint had only been gone a few seconds when the sounds of an explosion above their heads had the entire team ducking, and concrete dust falling down about their heads. Ianto was glad that they’d moved Myfanwy, because that sort of thing would have freaked the pteranodon out badly, and the last thing they needed in the Hub was a terrified prehistoric creature.
Ianto spun on his heel, taking in his family. “Alright, I want everyone down in the Archives,” he ordered. “Toshiko, you can lock the doors behind you, and that should keep the Daleks from getting to you. If it looks like they’re going to break through, you can take everyone out through the sewers.”
“And what about you?” Toshiko asked. She looked tired, crumpled in her chair, one hand resting on her keyboard. The circles under her eyes made them look darker than usual. He hated putting the responsibility on her, knowing how she was being affected by the Earth, but with Owen and Patrick still technically off duty she was the logical choice to take charge of the rest of the team.
The dragon came out to play in the form of his eyes, changing into their normal, cat-slitted aspect, and he felt the evil grin spread across his lips. “I’m going to stay here and see just what my flame can do against them.”
“Fuck that!” Owen exclaimed. “They’ll cut you down!” He looked furious, his hands on his hips even though his posture was slightly slumped, as if he was still favouring his injury.
Patrick didn’t say anything, although his expression told Ianto that he believed the dragon was being stupid. He simply headed for the armoury, his very posture screaming irritation at the world.
“Owen’s right,” Rhys said. “We’re gonna fight them together.” It looked as if Rhys the Rant was about to make an appearance, judging from the belligerent glint in his eyes.
“Exactly,” Deborah finished. She was pale, but resolute.
Ianto was touched by his team wanting to stay, but he couldn’t allow it. “I might have a small chance of stopping them. But the rest of you…Jack took the only gun that might have worked, and the only other weapon that’s even vaguely powerful enough is the Dragon Killer but I’m pretty certain even that won’t cut through Dalek armour.”
“We have this,” Patrick said, reappearing from the armoury.
In his good hand was a duffle bag that didn’t look familiar to Ianto, but if he had to guess it held the American’s illicit explosives. Ianto wondered just how he’d gotten that into the Hub without anyone noticing, but mentally praised him for his sneakiness. He wasn’t about to do that out loud, however, since that defeated the purpose of the exercise of letting the team act in creative ways.
“If Rhys can help,” he went on, “I can get the entrance booby-trapped.”
Ianto considered that plan, and liked it. “Then hurry. I don’t think we have a lot of time.”
His better than human hearing could just make out the Daleks upstairs, alien voices speaking but he couldn’t make out what they were saying now that they weren’t shouting to exterminate anything. He really didn’t want to see the bill for the wreck they were making of the Tourist Office. It was bound to be catastrophic. He dreaded Deborah’s reaction to it.
Rhys and Patrick headed for the cog door, which alarmed at their approach. For perhaps the first time Ianto wished that thing was silent, because he was positive the invaders would be able to hear it and figure out how to come down into the Hub. Still, Patrick had a point: some explosives in the short hallway beyond the door would give them time and hopefully take out the Daleks that were currently invading. It would block that way out, but there were other ways of exiting if they needed to.
“Ianto,” Toshiko spoke up, “we can also activate the time bubble I created for the Hub. It will keep anyone out…but it also means we’ll be stuck inside until things are done, one way or the other.”
The dragon chewed his lip thoughtfully. “We’ll use that as a last resort,” he said. “I don’t want to be cut off from the rest of the world unless absolutely necessary.”
His technician nodded, turning back to her computer. The time bubble was a good defence, but for now they just couldn’t afford to lose contact with what was going on, especially if Jack needed them. They needed to be available.
It only took a minute for Patrick to finish up what he was doing. He and Rhys came back through the cog door, and Ianto ordered Toshiko to disable it once it had closed. “Put the Hub on partial lockdown,” he ordered. That would also make it more difficult to get in if the explosives failed to do their job.
“You still planning on making a one-dragon last stand?” Owen asked. Ianto could tell he was going for sarcasm but it didn’t work this time, and he just sounded worried.
“I still think the rest of you should take refuge in the Archives,” the dragon answered. “But as you’re all too stubborn to actually follow my orders…”
He said that last part with fondness. He should have guessed they’d want to stay. They were his family, after all. They would stand together, no matter what.
“We’ll follow orders when they make sense,” Rhys snorted, rolling his eyes.
“Besides,” Deborah added, “we really wouldn’t be any safer going out through the sewers. The Daleks are patrolling everywhere, and the moment we show our faces outside the sewers we’d be targets.”
She did have a valid point.
There was a small sound outside the cog door, and then an almighty explosion that actually rocked the Hub. Ianto wondered just what sort of bomb Patrick had been able to make in such a short amount of time that would have caused the damage that had been done, and despaired of having to bring in a repair crew and then having to Retcon them.
“That should stop them for now,” Patrick said, satisfied.
“At least we have other ways of leaving if we have to,” the dragon sighed, acting put-upon. In actuality, he was pleased that they seemed to have stopped the Daleks from entering the Hub through that route.
Still, if they decided that Torchwood was a big enough threat, they could just dig their way through. It was a possibility, and Ianto needed them to be ready to defend themselves if that did happen.
He wondered just were Jack and Clint were. Had they been able to find the Doctor? Were they with the Time Lord now? Or had the Daleks found them first? Jack had his comm with him, but the dragon hadn’t wanted to risk that the signal might be intercepted. Their communications systems were as secure as they could make it, but this was an advanced alien race. They could very easily have some sort of technology that could tap into it and find out exactly what they were up to. And Ianto doubted that Jack’s phone would have worked on the TARDIS.
He was desperately worried for them both, but especially for Jack. After Ianto had fulfilled his Vow of Vengeance against the Master, the Doctor had been angry at the both of them: Ianto, because he’d done the actual deed; and Jack, because he was Ianto’s mate and what Ianto had done had been in Jack’s name. Jack hadn’t even tried to stop it, either, instead backing the dragon’s actions.
Ianto mentally shook himself. They needed to get back into the game, and wool-gathering wasn’t going to achieve that.
“Rhys,” he said, “can we get CCTV running up on the Plass? I want to see what we’re dealing with up there.” He was a bit irritated that they hadn’t done that before, but then Ianto felt they could be cut a little slack for it, with so much going on.
“You got it, boss,” the Welshman said. He sat at his desk once more, getting to work, his usually jovial face set in stone as he pulled up the feeds. Ianto didn’t ask him about the cameras in the Tourist Office, assuming that the Daleks had taken those out in the attack upon the building.
“Patrick,” the dragon turned to their weapons officer. “I know you’re technically not on duty…”
“Give me a job, Boss Dragon, and I’ll do it.” In fact, Patrick looked raring to go. If it wasn’t for the sling that kept his left arm immobile, Ianto wouldn’t have guessed that he was most likely in pain.
“I need to know if there’s anything in the armoury that might work against the Daleks. I doubt there is but we need to make sure. Also, if you could rig up a couple more bombs, I’d like to set traps on the invisible lift’s mechanism, the hidden entrance to the sewers, and the sea dock. I don’t want to take any chances on the Daleks getting in those ways.”
“Sure can.” The American headed toward the armoury, duffle bag in hand, and whistling what Ianto could have sworn was, Whistle While You Work.
“Toshiko, set the sub-wave on stand-by. I don’t want the Daleks knowing we’re still around, just in case they think we’ve blown ourselves up. Not that I think they will, but if we run silent maybe we can fool them for a little while.”
“Already done,” she answered. “I do think though we should risk calling the constabulary and checking in on Andy, and maybe he can tell us if Kathy is doing better.” Toshiko looked very worried, and he couldn’t blame her.
He smiled softly at her, knowing that she’d need to know that her fiancée was still alright. “Why don’t I do that, and you can get a little rest.” She looked as if she wanted to argue, but he held up a hand to forestall her. “We need you at your best, and I know damned well the Earth is affecting you. If it’s bothering me, I can only guess what it’s doing to you.”
The dragon could sense just how off things were with the planet, so he knew it had to have been worse for the Friend of Earth. And things were most likely going to get worse before they got better.
The Rift was also in an odd sort of disharmony. Ianto knew that their end in Cardiff was fixed, that it couldn’t be moved, but how had it been affected by the planet’s being snatched out of its natural orbit? It felt stretched, in a way, and the dragon could guess it would be in an upheaval period once they got back to their proper place in the universe.
He couldn’t even consider that they’d be trapped where they were.
Ianto was aware that Jack was from the future, and he’d never once mentioned that the Earth wasn’t in its natural position. That didn’t mean it couldn’t happen, and his mate either didn’t know or had forgotten. The human mind wasn’t meant for immortality, and Jack could sometimes admit that there were things he simply couldn’t remember. No, he knew his mate was just as much in the dark as anyone else was.
They had to trust that the Doctor could fix things, and that galled the dragon in ways he couldn’t even begin to describe.