Friday, 28 June 2013

Fans Fiction Viva Torchwood by Doreen Freitag

By Doreen Freitag

Chapter 3

A few hours later they had checked in for their flight to L.A. and found their seats on the plane. Gwen had already fallen asleep during the climb flight; she hadn’t even noticed when the light for the seatbelt was turned off. Rhys and Anwen had turned up at the airport to say goodbye and Catherine could see how hard it had been for Gwen to leave her daughter and her husband behind. But she also knew that her colleague would put one hundred per cent of her effort into Torchwood once they would arrive in L.A.
Jack, who was sitting next to Catherine, had immersed himself in the in-flight magazine and was looking at the duty free offers for designer watches. This day, he was wearing his light green shirt and the red braces. Catherine hadn’t really been into men wearing old-fashioned clothing, but everything had been different with this man right from the start. To be honest, she didn’t even know yet how she was supposed to survive the next ten hours sitting next to the Captain. This indefinable, dizzying fragrance coming from him made her head spin. She saw his slim hands holding the magazine, she heard the rustling of his shirt fabric and from the corner of her eye how he was inhaling and exhaling.
Couldn’t he hear her heart beating loudly? It was even louder than the turbines of the plane. As if Jack Harkness had read her thoughts he looked up from his magazine and glanced at her.
Catherine could feel herself blushing and bent down towards her bag. Of course she hit her head at the seat in front of her. Just to be on the safe side she stayed there for a moment, wondering what she was looking for in her bag. Luckily, Catherine’s fingers found the book she packed in at home when she was about to leave. She unpacked the book from her bag and leaned back in her seat.
Of course the Captain looked at the cover immediately. ‘Pride and Prejudice,’ he read, grinning. ‘I kind of didn’t expect you to read Jane Austen.’ And before Catherine could answer he added: ‘Although I think it is totally justifiable to read Jane – even today. Back then, the ladies were really crazy about her novels.’
Catherine could neither file this statement nor the subsequent nostalgic smile. She answered, hesitating: ‘I usually don’t read these kind of books. A friend of mine gave it to me and told me to read it so now I’ll do her the favour.’
‘You won’t regret it,’ the Captain said. ‘But before you immerse yourself in your book, I’d like to invite you to a glass of champagne.’ Whilst saying this, he raised his arm to call the stewardess in the aisle.
‘Champagne? Anything but that!,’ Catherine shouted and the next second she was surprised herself about her blunt refusal. Jack Harkness lowered his hand again and looked at her, puzzled. Could she really see something like disappointment in his gaze?
‘You are aware that you’re about to thwart my attempt to raise our glasses in a toast to dispense with formalities?’ he asked and the sad look on his face made Catherine laugh, next to a warm feeling in her stomach.
‘I’m sorry,’ she replied quickly. ‘I won’t miss out on that. But could we have coke instead of champagne maybe?’
He nodded to agree with her. ‘You’re right. It’s also far more in proper style as we’re on our way to America.’ Now he raised his arm again and ordered two glasses of coke. As soon as he received them, he handed one to Catherine.
‘Well, Miss Bonnet,’ he said solemnly and his blue eyes looked at her piercingly. ‘Would you do me the honour of calling me Jack from now on?’
Even if she had been prepared for the question, she couldn’t suppress the prickling she now felt. Suddenly she was very happy that she wasn’t about to add to that feeling with champagne. Before losing herself completely in his eyes she tried to find a laid-back answer. Which she managed to do – just the laid-back attitude could have been better. ‘I’d love to. But then I insist on you calling me Catherine from now on.’
‘Well, I fear I can’t fulfil you that desire because I know that you prefer ‘Cathy’ and I’ll shamelessly use that.’
Catherine laughed and raised her paper cup. ‘Well, Jack, I can’t ask for more.’
‘We’ll talk about that later,’ the Captain replied, smiling. ‘Cheers, Cathy!’

‘That’s how headquarters have to look like,’ said Rex Matheson and pointed through the ultra-modern open plan office. ‘And mark you this is just an unimportant CIA outpost. FBI agent Mulder at that time would have jumped at the chance.’
Catherine had a look around and was amazed. They really had top-class facilities. There were about a dozen people in a huge and bright room. They were busy analysing data, being on the phone and operating modern technology.
A side glance towards Jack, however, showed her that he wasn’t really impressed. He wore his coat open and had put his hands in pockets. He replied, smiling: ‘I think agent Mulder has always been quite comfortable in his broom closet office.’
‘Yeah, sure. You had to say that.’ Matheson shook his head contemptuously.
Catherine and Gwen smiled at each other. Already at the airport Catherine had noticed that it was a very special friendship that both of them cultivated.
‘World War Two, I hoped to not see you in a long time,’ Rex Matheson had welcomed them.
‘Likewise, CIA,’ Jack had answered and pulled a surprised Rex towards him. The hug that followed showed, that both of them didn’t mean all of the superficial unfriendliness. Even if they were to argue very often in the future – Catherine had seen in their eyes that there was a bond between them. And something had caused it that lay back in the past.
‘Well then, let’s not waste too much time in civilization and drive out there to that godforsaken hicksville.’ Rex plugged a USB drive into his computer and copied all of the data they had so far in the case. ‘Jim, keep me posted. The on-site base should be ready by now,’ he said towards the young man at the next table.
‘It already is ready, boss,’ the addressed replied and turned towards his monitor again, smiling.
‘Rex, are you starting to lag behind technology?’ Jack showed a big grin.
‘Don’t you dare say I’m too old for this shit!’
Jack raised his hands in defence and left the room quickly. The CIA-Agent followed him, swearing quietly.
‘You better get used to it, they can’t act differently,’ said Gwen when she and Catherine left through the office door.
Catherine laughed. In some way, the men had been right. Captain Jack Harkness really didn’t fit into such an office.
‘Wow. A smokey blue Chevrolet Orlando! Rex, I’m impressed.’ Jack circled the car in the basement garage in awe and opened the doors to the back seats for the ladies. Rex Matheson, who knew exactly what would follow handed the keys to a happily smiling Jack and rolled his eyes. ‘You’re so easy to understand, old man.’
‘Only with things or occasions that are useful to me. Just like now,’ Jack replied, laughing and sat down on the driving seat while Matheson took a seat on the passenger’s side.
‘Welcome on board. Your Captain wishes you a pleasant ride,’ Jack said and started the engine.
Gwen and Catherine had just sat down and sorted their stuff on the backseat when they were already pressed into the back of the seats because the car started so fast.
Almost simultaneously they said: ‘Men and their toys!’
When Jack had to stop at the bar of the car park, Gwen tapped him on the shoulder. ‘Remember, ALL of us want to get there in one piece!’

Just about three and a half hours and two police controls later, Jack’s enthusiasm wasn’t gone but had considerably cooled down so he had only set the cruise control at five miles per hour above the limit. He had mastered the first police control only with his charm, against all US police logics. But he wasn’t successful with that technique with the second police control and Rex Matheson had to save him with his CIA passport.
For the rest of the ride, Jack had felt obliged to explain the landmarks at the border of the road. However, they had become less and less once they had left L.A. Gwen had already been sleeping again.
But Catherine enjoyed the ride. She especially liked the Joshua Tree National Park, which they passed after about half of the distance. The impressive dragon trees had been beautiful. But she had declined Jack’s offer to stop for a minute because she caught the eye of the CIA agent. He didn’t seem happy about the offer.
After that, the area had become more and more meagre and when they finally reached their destination Vidal Junction even Catherine had to admit that the ‘godforsaken hicksville’ Rex Matheson had talked about was just about that. Or even worse.

The main attraction of Vidal Junction were the crossroads of the Interstate 95 and the State Road 62, which at the same time was the only reason for the existence of this village. Arranged around them was a petrol station, a car service station, a short row of very simple houses and a mini market with a huge plastic cockerel on its roof. Next to the Interstate to Las Vegas there was a motel on the right hand side and about three hundred metres behind it was a storage building at the border of the road. This had to be the destination of their trip because it seemed to be damaged and lots of vehicles which didn’t usually belong there were parking around it.

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