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30 June, 1908

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3:12 AM
"Well," Ianto says. His expression is difficult to make out in the dark. They're in a forest, and the moon is barely a sliver. As near as Jack can tell, though, Ianto is displaying an impressive degree of self control in the face of unexpected travel a la Rift. "Just…well. 1908."

"Also," Jack says as he snaps closed his wrist strap, "we're in Siberia."

Ianto says something under his breath that Jack can't quite hear. Whatever it is, it isn't a compliment. Still, Ianto bounces back quickly enough. "So. Taking stock. There's the two of us."


"We're dressed, thank goodness." Ianto looks around the clearing as if to satisfy himself that they're alone, then starts going through his pockets. "I've got about £2.80 in change, a pen, my keys, and what looks like today's lunch order. You?"

"Keys." Jack pulls a slightly linty object out of his pocket and squints at it. "A humbug."

"Oh good. That should definitely keep the two of us fed out here in the bear-infested, early Twentieth Century Siberian wilderness for the next hundred years."

"Well, if I'd known we were going on a field trip..." Jack checks his other pocket. He feels something smooth and unfamiliar, about the size of a key fob, and pulls it out to look at it. The disc flashes in his palm. One set of lights is clearly a half-finished progress bar. Another seems to be a compass of some sort, because it indicates the same direction no matter which way Jack turns the disc in his hands. The third series of lights dances in a pattern that looks uncomfortably like a countdown sequence.

Ianto gives him a confused look. "What's that?"

Jack remembers finding it on his desk. He'd pocked it without thinking, fully intending to help identify it later. It was junk, but looked familiar and mostly harmless. Not so much, now.

"Something I really wish I hadn't picked up," Jack says as he uses the disc to orient himself. It takes him a second, but he spots a path. "Let's go for a walk."

4:27 AM
The hike lasts a little more than an hour. The forest is alive with animal noises, which hopefully suggests the absence of large predators. The worst thing that crosses their path is a fox, and it seems just as startled as they do. They're at the edge of a clearing, near enough the tree line that Jack's almost certain they won't be spotted by a casual observer, when the disc lights up green in his hands.

"I take it that means we're here?" Ianto says, and indicates the disc. He's calmer, though some of that is fatigue and resignation. "Wherever we are."

Jack looks at the sky, then points toward a stand of trees. "If you go about eight kilometers that way, you'll find Lake Cheko. Or, rather, what's going to be Lake Cheko."

"Lake Cheko?"

"Want another hint?" Jack asks as he turns the disc in his fingers like a coin. "How about Tunguska?"

Recognition floods Ianto's features, followed by alarm. "Jack, why are we standing at ground zero for the biggest meteorite air burst on modern record?"

Jack holds up the disc. "Funny thing about stuff that happens in the future. It sneaks up on you when you're not looking."

Ianto shakes his head. "You've lost me."

"I was freelance in 1908. Torchwood picked up some kind of time ripple. I figured out what it was and thought I'd make a vacation of it. Call it historical curiosity."

A man-shaped shadow appears on the other side of the clearing.

"I was exploring the forest when two men came up to me. It was dark, so I couldn't really see their faces. One of them handed me this beacon, and then they vanished in a burst of golden light."

"Rift energy."

"You think?" Jack passes the disc to Ianto. "Probably best you do the honors. I'd rather not add a massive time paradox to tonight's festivities."

"Fantastic," Ianto mutters, and starts walking.