Saturday, 1 June 2013

Viva Torchwood Pt 2





VIVA TORCHWOOD
by Doreen Freitag 



Chapter 2


Four weeks later, Catherine felt like she’d never done a different job before. She didn’t regret going to Torchwood Cardiff for even a second. In the beginning, everything had been quite new for her, but it didn’t take her very long to know the technology better than Gwen or the Captain would ever do. Both of them had given her a short orientation to the devices, but both of them shortly pushed their boundaries.
And they had always mentioned the names of Toshiko Sato, Dr. Owen Harper and Ianto Jones. Toshiko had always done it this way, Owen only kicked against some devices and they’d get started and nothing ever worked out without Ianto.
By that time, Catherine knew that those three former colleagues died during Torchwood operations and she was almost doleful that she didn’t have the chance to meet those three very special people.
She also knew that especially Ianto Jones must have been very important to Jack Harkness, since she noticed that the Captain still had problems talking about the loss.
Catherine also knew pretty quickly that those two men must have shared more than just friendship. When she had asked Gwen during a pizza-lunch, she nodded approvingly.
‘But Jack doesn’t only love men,’ Gwen added, smiling. ‘Jack is interested in everybody who’s in his grasp, you’ll notice that yourself. He doesn’t even stop short of aliens.’
But Gwen also had to admit that Jack Harkness had calmed down in the past few months. Very often he was lost in thought and didn’t talk very much and the next second he was personified glee.
‘Jack isn’t quite the same as he was before Ianto’s death and since Miracle Day,” Gwen finalised. “Both of us changed.’
Catherine spent most of her daytime sitting in front of the devices here in Colasanto Manor, how the Captain fondly called the house. One afternoon, she had asked him what this name meant. ‘Angelo Colasanto was a very good friend of mine,’ Jack Harkness answered, smiling wistfully. ‘Over a few years’ period, he created some sort of Torchwood archive and collected material and artefacts. He bequeathed me this house after his death. And now the Hub doesn’t exist anymore and it became refuge for me and Gwen – and also the new base.’
Curious as she was, Catherine had later searched for the name Colasanto on the internet, but she only found a rich, old American of Italian descent who had died in the course of Miracle Day.
Gwen and Jack Harkness often were on outdoor missions. They investigated in cases of the police and Scotland Yard, when they were at a loss, but they also spent much time rebuilding the Torchwood archive. It was destroyed along with the Hub, the former Torchwood base in Cardiff. Catherine still remembered the reports about the explosion in the city centre. A gas explosion, that’s what they called it.
During a long evening, Captain Harkness told her about a rift, a jag between worlds, which, until about two years ago, ended directly in Cardiff.
‘And now this rift is closed?,’ Catherine had asked the Captain.
Jack Harkness rose and looked out of the window, his hands in his pockets. ‘Yes, it is. And along with it, it took many things.’

As every morning, Catherine was analysing last night’s data. She checked every report on unusual incidents from Buenos Aires and Shanghai and also the measurement data from the stations on the ground. Gwen had explained her that beneath both of these towns, there lay the cause for Miracle Day. People on Earth had been immortal for several months, which eventually led to the collapse of the world system. Torchwood’s work was now to never let that happen again.
Catherine also had a special scan programme, which searched through thousands of newspaper articles. She then prepared the filtered data for the searching, which Captain Jack Harkness performed himself every morning.
Again, the Captain had arrived at the house earlier than the other two and was sitting in his office. Just like he had always been since Catherine’s employment. She could come to work as early as she wanted – he would already be sitting at his desk and would be doing paperwork. When she then entered his office to say hello, he would look up at her, a bit absent-minded at first, just to give her a radiant smile in the next moment. Catherine wasn’t quite sure, though, if he was happy to see her or if he realised in these moments, that he shortly would have his morning Bonnet-coffee standing in front of him.
In the evenings, it was just the other way round. When she stopped to say goodbye, the Captain didn’t really look like he was going home soon – and the regret that appeared on his face could again have something to do with Catherine herself or only her coffee.
She was quite aware that she already hoped it wasn’t only the good coffee she made he liked about her. Captain Jack Harkness was a mysterious man and Catherine also couldn’t help but notice how attractive her boss was. Because of his flawless face and his distinguished profile, she still couldn’t estimate how old he really was. But he was also aware of the impression he made on other people, since he never missed an opportunity to put himself in a good light. And Catherine had to admit that this also had the desired effect on her. But she liked the private moments better, the moments when the Captain almost let drop his mask. In these moments Catherine had seen a man who was deeply sad. A man who must have experienced things which were beyond her grasp.
When she had entered the building half an hour ago, she had heard him walking down the stairs leading from the attic.
Did he live up there? Catherine could hardly imagine Jack Harkness ‘living’ anywhere. Colasanto Manor almost seemed like his home. So a better question would be: did he sleep up there?
For the first time in four weeks she had had the impression that he was still a bit sleepy when he stepped up to her. His hair didn’t look as perfectly styled as it did before and he was red-eyed. But still he had smiled at her with his Jack-Harkness-smile before entering his office.
Catherine was just checking through the latest data on her screen when a window popped up, establishing a connection to a stony-faced, dark-coloured man. This had to be Rex Matheson, who was ironically called the ‘Torchwood US-outpost’ by Gwen.
The man looked at her, frowning, and then directly asked her: ‘Who are you?’
‘My name is Catherine Bonnet and I’ve already been working here for four weeks. Mr Matheson, I suppose?’
‘Uhm, yes, that’s me. Beg your pardon. So Jack has raised Torchwood Cardiff up to the incredible number of three people.’
‘Yes, he has and he is very pleased about the gain,’ the Captains voice sounded behind Catherine. ‘Good morning, CIA!’ Everything alright?”
‘Hahaha, World War Two,’ Rex Matheson replied derisively, ‘forget about the good morning. I’m already over and done with a fucking-long day and it only brought me more crap. So I thought why don’t I call my old buddy in Cardiff and ask him about his opinion.’
The sewer point in the next room opened and Gwen entered the room. She just quickly threw her coat over the coat rack and joined them.
‘Hi Rex,’ she smiled to the monitor.
‘Ah, that makes your illustrious group complete. Miss Bonnet, I hope you are aware what you got yourself into there.’
‘I’ve got a good guess so far,’ Catherine replied sincere. ‘But after all I now have the pleasure to meet you,’ she added.
The amused snort the Captain gave behind her almost let her let go of her poker face.
For a moment, Rex looked at her angrily, but then, finally, he grinned and shook his head. ‘Surely you had to fit into there.’
‘I’m always picking the right people, Rex!,’ Jack Harkness laughed, but the next second he was serious again. He leaned onto the table with his hands next to Catherine. ‘But lets get back to the point: What’s going on over there at your place?’
Rex Matheson’s face darkened. ‘Oh man, stop it. What a bummer. This morning, somewhere in the middle of nowhere in California, a road tanker rushed into a warehouse and the whole thing blew up. And now have a look at what we found in the burnt-out place. But I’m warning you, this is nothing for the faint-hearted.’
His face approached the monitor when he was typing something on his keyboard. The image changed and charred corpses appeared. Catherine could only just stop herself from breathing in sharply. But then, something else caught her attention. The less-burnt bodies weren’t human. Whilst the torso, the arms and the legs showed human proportions, the heads somehow were too big and the mouth more looked like the snout of an animal. The impression was completed by peaked teeth – these couldn’t be humans. And as far as Catherine could see from the photos, there were dozens of them.
‘Weevils,’ Jack said wearily and hung his head.
‘Weevils?,’ Rex asked via the still-open connection.
Gwen moved. ‘Jack!,’ she shouted. ‘Why the hell are there Weevils in the American desert?’
‘What are Weevils?’ Rex sounded upset and his face re-appeared on the monitor.
Jack pushed himself away from the table. ‘They’re creatures from another world,’ he replied. ‘We’ve had a plague over here, when the Rift was still open.’
‘But so far, none of them have made it over to America, have they?,’ Gwen asked.
‘No, I’d know that,’ Jack said and crossed his arms. ‘Rex, we’ve got a problem. Somewhere near there must be a Rift or some sort of gate which easily leads alien life forms into our world.’
‘Damn it,’ Rex said and threw his arms up in frustration. ‘And what am I gonna do now with that knowledge?’
Gwen approached. ‘For a start, just do nothing,’ she said. ‘Torchwood Cardiff has years of experience with Weevils so Torchwood Cardiff will come and help you. They will, won’t they, Jack?’ She glanced at Jack, who nodded and gave his consent.
‘I knew it!’ Rex leaned back into his chair. ‘As if this day hasn’t already been bad enough!’
Suddenly, he seemed to notice that Catherine was still there. He sat up again. ‘I hope you’re also coming, Miss, uhm, Bonnet!’
‘I don’t know,’ Catherine started to say and looked backwards for help to Gwen and her boss behind her. She would have loved to fly to America with them, but it wasn’t her decision.
‘Of course you’re coming with us,’ Gwen said. ‘I need some female backing. Jack and Rex in one room at one time – you can just about stand them when you’re two people.’
Rex snorted derisively.
The Captain grinned. ‘You’ve got a point there. So, Miss Bonnet, I would be very pleased if you accompanied us, even without Gwen’s detailed explanation.’
Catherine was all smiles and that was more than a good answer for him. ‘CIA,’, he said towards the monitor, ‘Salvation will come tomorrow. I hope they’ve got a motel with a coffee machine in that godforsaken area over there. That brown water you call coffee, that’s close to physical injury.’
Catherine could extract from Rex’s mumbled answer that he wanted to know when exactly they would arrive and that he would mail her the exact instructions later. Then he had cut the connection.
‘Miss Bonnet, would you mind and book the flight?,’ Jack said and turned towards his office. ‘Gwen, you’ve got a day off today. Take the opportunity to spend some time with Anwen and say hello to Rhys from me.’
Gwen grabbed her coat. ‚Thanks, Jack. I’ll see you at the airport. Tell me when we’re leaving, Cathy!’ The next second, she had disappeared through the steel door.
Catherine was lost in thoughts as he stared after her. It had to be hard for Gwen to balance this job and her family at home. But did Gwen really have a choice? Once Torchwood, always Torchwood.

Then Catherine had to smile about herself. After only four weeks, she already thought about it like that. She turned towards her computer again and started to deal with booking the flight. Next she would search for a motel somewhere in the middle of nowhere in California which definitely had a coffee machine. She didn’t have much hope.

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