30 April 2009
The entire Torchwood team erupted into happy shouts as Martha and Tom appeared.
“Nightingale!” Ianto cried, not bothering to stop the happy tears from flowing. “I sang the Song of Mourning for you!” He tried to sound accusing, but failed utterly.
Martha was laughing as well. “I think you jumped the gun just a bit, Dragon.”
“Don’t make me do it again, alright?”
Both Harriet Jones and Sarah Jane Smith looked a bit confused by the exchange, but Ianto didn’t care nor was he going to explain. His heart was far too filled with joy knowing that he hadn’t lost his sister to an accident with alien technology. The hope he’d lost roared back with a vengeance; suddenly Ianto felt as if, perhaps, they really could save the Earth, if this was the sort of miracle that kept on happening.
“How?” Jack demanded, trying to sound commanding but the sheer pleasure in his voice wouldn’t let him.
“It turned out that Project Indigo was cleverer than we thought,” Martha answered. “One second I was in Manhattan…and the next…I don’t know if it somehow tapped into my mind or something, but I was right where I wanted to be.”
“At the end of the world,” Tom said, awestruck, “she came home to me.” He leaned forward a little and kissed Martha on the temple, and she beamed at him.
“It’s not the end of the world yet,” Jack vowed.
“That’s the spirit, Captain,” Harriet Jones commended.
“But the laptop just turned on,” Martha went on.
“That was me,” Ms Jones admitted. She once again held up her identification. “Harriet Jones, former Prime Minister.”
Martha grinned. “I know who you are.”
“And this is Doctor Martha Jones, former Companion of the Doctor and currently with UNIT,” Harriet Jones went on. “Doctor Jones, this is Sarah Jane Smith, and her son, Luke. You have the Doctor in common with each other. Of course, you know Captain Harkness, Mr Jones, and the rest of Torchwood.” She looked slightly bemused; apparently, Ms Jones hadn’t been aware of their tight-knit connection.
“I’ve had the honour of following your work, Ms Smith,” Jack said.
“Well, I tend to stay away from you lot…too many guns.” She made a gesture toward her son, and Ianto understood that she hadn’t wanted to expose her son to their particular brand of violence. He could certainly not blame her for that, but he also couldn’t help but wonder if Torchwood Three was being tarred with the same brush as Torchwood One. Perhaps he’d have to go and visit her, after all this was over, just to clear the air.
“Might I say you’re looking good, ma’am.” Ianto could hear the wink in his mate’s voice.
Sarah Jane looked quite pleased at the compliment.
“Jack,” the dragon warned, letting the warmth and humour in his voice show.
“Don’t make Tea Boy jealous, Harkness,” Owen snarked. It was strange to hear him use that, and not the usual ‘Dragon Boy’, but then they were on with people who weren’t cleared to know of Ianto’s true nature. “I don’t want to have to deal with him being all pissy in the middle of the invasion.”
The ripple of laughter around him finally settled the last of the nerves that Ianto hadn’t even been aware that had been colouring his actions. They were his family, and with them they’d figure out what needed to be done.
“Captain,” Harriet Jones was shaking her head, as amused as the team surrounding the monitor.
“But how did you find us all?” Martha asked, getting everyone back on track.
“This,” the former Prime Minister said proudly, “is the sub-wave network. It’s a sentient piece of software that’s been programmed to search out anyone who might be able to contact the Doctor.”
Ianto wasn’t so sure this was a good thing. Yes, the software would be incredibly useful, but he’d like to have Toshiko to look it over, and perhaps make some changes. Having software that can be programmed to seek out someone over long distances could actually work really well. She’d have to check the parameters and see how it worked…
“Can’t the Daleks trace it?” Martha looked very nervous, and Ianto couldn’t blame her. If the Daleks found her family…
“They can’t,” Ms Jones assured her. “That’s the beauty of the sub-wave. It’s undetectable.”
Ianto wasn’t sure how that worked. Any signal that was out here stood the chance of being intercepted. Once again, he wished that Toshiko wasn’t affected by the moving of the Earth. He really wanted to ask her opinion on this network.
“And you…invented it?” Sarah Jane Smith looked intrigued. Ianto took a look at her surroundings, and he was surprised that the room she and her son were in appeared to be an attic.
He knew that Jack kept an eye on all of the Doctor’s former Companions, and so there was a file on her and Luke, who didn’t seem to have existed until a couple of years ago. Jack had been curious about the young man, but hadn’t really done any more research into his origins out of respect for Ms Smith.
“I developed it,” Ms Jones admitted. “It was actually created by the Mister Copper Foundation.”
Now, Ianto had heard of the Mister Copper Foundation. It hadn’t been around for more than a few months, but already it was making a name for itself with its technological advances. They knew for a fact that the aforementioned Mister Copper was an alien, marooned on Earth after the near-collision of the spaceship version of the Titanic into London.
It was yet one more thing that the Doctor had done to prevent a cataclysm. The dragon might not care all that much for the Time Lord, but he couldn’t deny that the Doctor was a force to be reckoned with and had saved this planet many times in the past.
And here was Harriet Jones, contacting those who knew the Doctor and who might be able to get in touch with him.
Sometimes Ianto wondered if they relied on the alien far too much.
“This is all nice,” Patrick piped up, “but right now we need some sort of weapon that’ll be effective against the Daleks.”
“What was it that General Sanchez gave you, Martha?” Jack asked. “That key thing?”
Martha held up a small, plastic square, a chain dangling from one end. “The Osterhagen Key.” Her face had lost all of its happiness, and her hand was shaking slightly.
Ianto frowned, wondering just what it was about that device that had Martha so rattled.
“That key is not to be used under any circumstances,” Ms Jones snapped, her voice steel.
“But what is it?” Jack demanded. His mate didn’t like knowing something, and now it looked as he was being bulldozed.
“Forget about the key,” Ms Jones ordered. “It cannot be used.”
Whatever it was, it had Harriet Jones on the defensive. Somehow, that worried Ianto more than the Daleks.
He didn’t even have to look at Jack to know that he was about to argue. Anything that dangerous Torchwood should have been notified about the moment it was put into play, but UNIT was keeping them in the dark. Ianto didn’t like it, but at least Harriet Jones knew, and was ordering Martha not to even consider it.
“What we need,” the former Prime Minister went on, firmly changing the subject, “is the Doctor.”
Ah yes. Ianto had known it would come down to that.
“Excuse me,” Sarah Jane Smith interjected, sounding almost apologetic, “but didn’t the Doctor depose you?”
“He did.” Ianto had to admire Harriet Jones for not sounding bitter about it, because the dragon certainly was. “And I’ve wondered for a long time I was wrong. But I stand by my actions that day, because I knew that, one day, the Earth would be in danger and the Doctor would fail to appear.” She sighed. “I told him myself and he didn’t listen.”
“And you should also know that Torchwood doesn’t have the best relationship with him,” Ianto felt he had to add to the conversation. Honestly, he didn’t think the Doctor would come if it was he or Jack calling.
“I’m aware,” Ms Jones said. “But we cannot let our feelings get in the way of saving this planet.”
“I’ve been trying to reach him,” Martha said. “He has my phone on the TARDIS, but I haven’t been able to get through to him.”
“That’s why we have the sub-wave,” Ms Jones replied, “to bring us all together. To combine forces.”
“To come up with some sort of plan,” Jack mused.
“I might have an idea.”
The weak voice had all of them turning. Toshiko was standing shakily, her face pale, and Ianto was glad that Rhys moved forward to support her by taking her arm and leading her forward.
Ianto was so incredibly glad to see her awake. He gladly vacated the chair, letting her sit down in front of the screen. She didn’t look well at all, and he knew that what he was feeling about the Earth’s distress would have been a hundredfold for her. It was a miracle that she was even up and aware at all.
“I’m Doctor Toshiko Sato,” she introduced herself over the sub-wave, “Torchwood’s head technician. I’ve overheard everything, and I think I know how we can get through whatever the Daleks have done to keep us from reaching the Doctor.” It shouldn’t have surprised Ianto that she’d been listening in.
“Thank you, Dr Sato,” Harriet Jones said gratefully. “But pardon me for saying so, you don’t look very well.”
“I’m not. It’s difficult to explain, but I’ll just say I’m…linked to the Earth, and I can feel how the move through space has affected her. She’s dying, ma’am, and we need to get her back to where she belongs.”
To her credit, Harriet Jones only blinked once at what Toshiko had just admitted. Sarah Jane Smith looked as if she wanted to ask questions, but she refrained, for which Ianto was grateful. Explaining the Earth Dragon and their connection would have been too much at the moment. “What’s your suggestion?”
“I think all we need is power,” Toshiko answered. “I think we can boost the phone by using the power of the Rift.”
It really was an elegant solution, although Ianto didn’t know if it was such a good idea. Messing with the Rift was never something a sane person wanted to do, but at the same time, they had no idea where they were, and what was blocking Martha’s phone. The Rift tunnelled through both time and space, so it would give them the best bet of getting the signal out.
“And we’ve got Mr Smith!” Luke Smith exclaimed excitedly.
Torchwood was well aware of Mr Smith, although they didn’t have a lot of information on the supercomputer. The files assume that it’s alien, like Torchwood’s own mainframe, and Ianto was willing to go along with that.
Sarah Jane Smith didn’t look happy, but Luke wasn’t paying her any attention, far too enthusiastic for his idea. “He can link up with every phone on Earth! He can get them all to call the Doctor at the same time. Billions of phones, all calling the same number at once.”
“That’s brilliant!” Jack applauded. “Well done, Luke.”
The blush on his face was evident over the sub-wave network.
According to their files, Mr Smith shouldn’t have been that powerful. Ianto wondered if Jack would want to do a little more investigating after this was all over, or if he would just leave Ms Smith to do what she did so well. He wouldn’t blame his mate either way. Sarah Jane and her gang of children were doing good work, and they certainly didn’t want to interfere with that. If anything, they’d want to help if they could.
“If we start transmitting,” Toshiko said quietly, “then the sub-wave network would become visible to the Daleks.”
“And they’ll trace it back to me,” Ms Jones answered calmly. “But my life doesn’t matter. Not if it means saving the Earth.”
Jack snapped to attention, saluting the brave woman who’d brought them all together. “Ma’am!”
Ms Jones smiled tiredly. “Thank you, Captain. We need to get the Doctor. There are people out there, dying on the streets, and the sooner we can get this set up, the better.”
“Then let’s get to work,” Toshiko replied. Her fingers began dancing on her keyboard like a concert pianist.
Ianto stood by for her orders. There would be plenty to do for everyone.