Mitchell – Patience Part 3
By DJ Forrest
Mitchell watched as Marley secured the tape to the bandage around his left hand. She worked quietly but he could hear her thoughts.
“You know I would never hurt you.” He said sincerely as Marley began packing away the First Aid kit, each portion of tape, scissors and gauze neatly placed back in the box.
“I know.” Marley replied, her fingers clasped around the handle of the box that she drew towards her. “I have nothing you want.” She returned the kit to the space above the top cupboard in the kitchen, turning she lingered in the open doorway. He watched her, felt her words in his head, the doubt. Marley turned to face him. “But you killed a man, how do I know you wouldn’t do that again?”
“You don’t, but I know I would never hurt you?”
“But what if I hurt you?”
“But you wouldn’t.”
“You don’t know that. Something could happen, we could be partnered up, you could just snap.”
“I won’t.” Mitchell replied rubbing his thumb over the bandaged wound. “Look I know I did wrong, not a day goes by that I don’t regret it. But we shared something.”
“Did you share something with him? I did some digging and...” He felt her tension, her faltering decisions of whether to tell him what she’d discovered. He moistened his lips with his tongue and took a step towards her, as Marley took a step back. He stopped. She was scared of him, she didn’t need to say a word, Clark had already sown the seed to place doubt in her mind. It didn’t matter what they’d shared in the bathroom, that moment of fumbling, sex, not the best thing he could have done, now sullied even more by the fact she didn’t trust him.
Mitchell sighed, took a step back and went up to the roof.
It was cold on the flat roof, the wind buffeted the ledge pushing his hair back as if he were staring into a wind machine. He squinted against the sharp icy blast cutting in from the Atlantic and shivered. Since he’d arrived in Cardiff, since he’d stolen the card from Shepperton, taken the work of a rent boy and stolen the secrets now secured on an encrypted file somewhere on his laptop, he had become the most wanted man in the UK. He wanted to run, to escape but each time he’d considered that option something got in the way.
He rubbed his sore hand and already felt the skin pull tight and the scab begin to form. The R.A.T. was in pieces, the information safely stored in the safe in Jack’s office that Gwen had insisted he’d turned away from as she put in the code. He’d found himself smiling as she read out the sequence of digits in her head. But his thoughts came back to Marley. It didn’t matter to him that he’d hurt Jack’s feelings, it didn’t bother him that Gwen couldn’t keep a secret when he was around, it didn’t bother him either that Clark didn’t like him much, but Marley...she was different. She was lost, from another time, another dimension and he’d found her to be the one person whom he could confide in till now. Now it wouldn’t matter if he spilled his guts to her, she would never trust him, and that hurt more than the abuse he received at the hands of the man he’d killed, hurt more than the beatings he’d received from Shepperton’s thugs, hurt more than the rejection from Lexie or knowing that his Uncle was a wolf. He’d found a friend in Marley and thanks to Clark, had driven a wedge right through the middle of it.
“Penny for them?” Gwen’s voice and her soft perfume brought Mitchell back to earth with a clatter. Gwen’s hair plastered her cheek and eye as the wind blew hard against her face. She turned her body at an angle and rested her elbow on the ledge.
“She’s scared of me.”
Gwen sighed. “You still have feelings for her?” She turned her back on the wind and felt relief and warmth returning to her cheeks.
“As a friend, so please no lectures.” Mitchell turned his back on the world also and sat squat on the ground cutting the wind chill from his bones. Gwen joined him. She rubbed her hands to generate heat into them.
“Love is a complicated thing, that doesn’t help when you throw another into the mix. Affairs can get messy. But you love Jack yeah?” She asked gazing into his deep blue eyes and for a moment felt lost in them, her thoughts only on him. He turned away and she knew in an instant he’d read her thoughts. She cleared her throat.
“I hadn’t set out to hurt Jack, it hadn’t been on my agenda to seduce Marley in the bathroom, that just kinda happened. And I should feel regret...but I don’t.” Mitchell inhaled deeply and sighed. “Life made sense back in London. Just me and Wolf, that’s all I needed. Then I had to go and steal a card.” He shook his head, and lowered his gaze
“I believe in fate, and that everything happens for a reason. And I believe that you were meant to come here.” Gwen studied his features, his five o’clock shadow that was steadily creeping towards desperately needing a shave. “Jack told me once that he was on Earth for a reason, that the things that happened to him, and why he was here was for a reason he was yet to find out, and I suppose part of that is to protect the Earth, being with Torchwood you’re the last line of defence. So if Jack brought you here, he must know your potential, must know your value to the team...”
“No.” Mitchell interrupted and turned his head towards her. “That’s not the reason, whether it’s fate or not, I pose a risk to the human race, and the only reason I’m here at all is because of some stupid promise he gave my dad, that he would keep me safe. Except I don’t believe that.” He growled, a darkness slipping over his handsome features.
“Why not?” Gwen asked, her eyes narrowing. Ledge dust and lichen weed fell from the block behind her, and dusted her shoulder like a bad case of dandruff. She casually brushed it off.
“Because I know it’s not the truth.” He inhaled deeply and leant back against the wall and stared across at the open door that led back downstairs to the warmth of the offices. His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed and Gwen felt mesmerised by his beauty and really had to stop herself. There was something about Mitchell that made her want to commit to him, in more ways than one
Mitchell caught her thinking and smiled. Gwen blushed.
“Oh god you knew what I was thinking.”
He grinned. “I can’t help it. You think so loudly. You’re like Jack. He plays everything close to his chest, except when he thinks I’m not listening. He’d cry out as he comes and in that moment, its like the flood gates open, and every thought of who I am and what I pose a threat to, come over like a mantra. ‘Please God don’t let him change as I can’t go through this again. Please don’t make me regret this’...then there’s a bunch of other stuff...” Mitchell drew up his knees and hugged them, blinking back tears that he refused to accept.
Gwen put her hand on his shoulder and smiled sympathetically, giving his shoulder a gentle squeeze.
“Jack has lived so many lives and lost so many people over the years. I suppose he’s just...hoping...I’m sure it doesn’t mean anything. And you shouldn’t listen in on people’s thoughts.”
Mitchell turned to face her, his ear pressed against his knees. “It’s hard not to when I know that if I ever step out of line, lash out that I’d be dead before I hit the floor.”
“Did Jack say that?”
“Yeah. I don’t know who I am or what I’ll become, although given that my Uncle was a wolf I’ve got a pretty good idea. I don’t know how I’m going to react when it happens. Jack won’t let me out because he says it’s not safe, but who is he protecting, me or himself? I’m somebody he promised to protect. I have no special powers, I’m not a prisoner although he did often suggest I should be clamped in cuffs and have unspeakable things done to me.” Gwen smirked. “So I have to know how important I am to Jack, because other than knowing a few things about me, Jack hasn’t told me shit about my heritage, my family or what I can expect when I become another year older. Other than dead!”
Gwen smiled. “Jack doesn’t like talking about the past very much, if at all. I’m sure when he comes back, he’ll sit you down and he’ll tell you everything.”
“If he comes back.” Mitchell returned to face front.
“Oh he’ll come back. It’s what he does see, he always comes back, eventually. Now why don’t we go back inside, get a nice cup of coffee and find out who owns that vicious rodent, and maybe locate just where Jack may be hiding.” Gwen got to her feet stiffly and felt the immediate chill to her back and shivered. She held her hand down to Mitchell who after a moment’s thought took a hold and pulled himself up. She again looked deeply at his handsome features, his chiselled good looks, and inhaled deeply. Mitchell grinned.
“Yeah, Jack did suggest a threesome possibility but he didn’t think you’d be up for it.” Gwen’s cheeks reddened and Mitchell laughed all the way back into the warmth.
Clark stared ahead at the blackened skies as he sat in the parked car. It was somewhere between night and morning, the street lights were tinged with orange glow, and a milk van’s headlights bounced along the road towards him, as if on a rodeo bull, jumping in and out of the pot holes, without a care for the bottles or for the axle on the vehicle. A bottle bounced out of the crate and smashed on the roadway into the car park, it bled milk into the gutter, jolting Clark out of his own thoughts.
When Clark sat in the Major’s office and listened to the old man everything made sense, the plans, the instructions, the ‘what to do if she doesn’t comply’ the ‘what to do if He didn’t comply’ had been easy to imagine in his head, but now in the cold light of almost day, convincing Gwen and that little ‘shit’ Mitchell that he needed him and the laptop without drawing suspicion on his actions, felt less convincing thatn it did earlier. .
As the fire exit door closed with a thump behind him he took a deep breath. As he climbed the stairs he told himself, willed himself that it was a straight forward in and out operation without much interference and he’d be back with the Major in a few hours tops and his association with the old man would be over. It was after all the only reason he’d stuck around for so long. Debts had to be paid, life as he knew it would only reap rewards if he did as he was told.
As Clark pulled open the door to Level 17, the familiar smells welcomed him in, the strong aroma of coffee tickled his senses and he almost put aside what he had to do, for a seat at his computer, a cup of thick black coffee and an enjoyable eavesdrop of conversations. As he pushed open the doors into the office, the chatter that had floated lightly on the air ceased as he entered. He hated that.
All eyes were upon him as he entered the office of streamlined computer screens all depicting the swirl of the Torchwood alien software. He saw Jack’s office door closed, and Mitchell and Gwen together, was he getting a dressing down, or were they conspiring?
Then he saw it, the silver metal robot, in bits, coated in a red thick stickiness that on closer inspection looked like blood, with the bloody fingerprints around the barbed body. He paused at the side of it. “What the hell’s that?” he pushed the two split portions around with a pen from his pocket, the contents were empty.
“We thought you might be able to tell us Clark, given that it has all the hallmarks of being something that a man of your expertise might use.” Gwen replied taking a moment to gauge Clark’s reactions. He seemed to be looking for something.
“It looks like something futuristic, where did you get it?” Clark’s eyes connected with Gwen’s, having realised that the data was missing from inside the cracked machine.
“I found it.” Mitchell replied moving his bandaged hand so Clark could see it. “In the vents clamped to the cables that feed the data through the building that also link us to the outside world, every portion of data including security, firewalls, your missing computer data and maybe that game. Asshole!”
“Wait, are you accusing me of something here, because let me tell you something, you’re barking up the wrong tree.” Clark pocketed the pen and took a step towards Mitchell aiming the sarcasm directly back to the source.
“Enough the pair of you.” Gwen snapped. “You worked in Intelligence, this kind of device would be something that you or someone like you would use, am I correct?” Gwen studied Clark’s face for changes in his approach.
“It’s possible.” He replied. “But it’s not something I’d use. I don’t need to; I left that career behind me years ago.”
“That’s not strictly true is it? Your coming to Torchwood was on the merits of your Intelligence work in the field. Jack was impressed by your credentials, although also a little wary, given the connections with the Black Ops and what they mean for us as an organisation.”
Mitchell listened, he was unaware of Torchwood’s past, but this was interesting.
Clark sighed and turned his attention to the broken device on the desk.
“Why would I infiltrate Torchwood?”
“You tell us.” Gwen replied, aware of the tension in the room. “Jack is missing presumed kidnapped or dead, you keep disappearing.”
“I have a sick uncle who thanks to you lot is now in hospital.” Clark growled. He inhaled sharply and stared up at the ceiling a moment. “Alright.” He lowered his gaze and puffed out his cheeks. He focused on Gwen and Mitchell, blanking Marley who unbeknown to him was running a software programme that detected and isolated heat sources within the room. So far Clark was measuring 8.9 bels higher than Gwen or Mitchell. According to the manual this indicated nervous tension and unpredictability.
“It was Jack, he asked me to check something out for him. I thought it was a little odd that he didn’t trust his own team, given how long you’ve all been working together.”
Gwen eyed the Welshman suspiciously. She’d known Jack the longest, if anything he would have asked her to check up on something, why did he ask him, was it his training, she’d been in the police force for Christ sake, why didn’t he ask her?
Mitchell watched Clark edge closer to Jack’s office and stepped closer to the closed door. Clark was keeping his thoughts to himself. Did he know that Mitchell could mind read?
“There are people after Mitchell...” Clark continued. “government agencies mostly. He killed a man, an influential man in the Ministry of Defence, who although has a shady underside, he pays for sex...” Clark added. “He was killed for some official secrets, a blue print I believe. Torchwood did well to cover it up, but intelligence has it that the murderer is living and working in Cardiff after escaping capture in London. Now you tell me Gwen Cooper, why Jack Harkness would be holding a fugitive of the law if there wasn’t something in it for him? And if he’s after the blueprint, why hasn’t he accessed it yet?”
“But how do you know it’s Mitchell, there’s nothing in what you’ve said that indicates that it’s him?”
“Oh it’s him alright.” He glared darkly at Mitchell. “My sources tell me that he is the son of Jack Harkness, and he works for Torchwood. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work that one out.”
“If Jack was planning anything he would have told me about this.”
“Why, Gwen, why would he tell you?”
“Because he would, we’ve known each other long enough now.”
“Perhaps he didn’t want to involve you.”
“Or perhaps he wanted to test your loyalty?” Marley interjected looking up from her work. “We all know your connections with the Intelligence Forces Clark, your credentials are on the computer for us all to see, your data is spread across with links and associations and it’s evident that you want to continue in that field, but using that to work for Torchwood.” She added. “Question is though, are you working for us, or do you have another agenda?”
Mitchell smiled. She may have had her doubts about him, but she was certainly nailing it for Clark.
“Jack told me that Mitchell had to be kept safe at all costs. But every day he comes into work, in a place that sticks out like a great big neon sign across the city. For all you know, every agency is downstairs waiting to access this building. How many more of these rodents do you think there are, and right now they could be closing in on Level 17, while we’re here discussing if I’m a loyal member of the Scooby Doo gang.” He roared at them, angered by their lack of trust and their misplaced loyalty for a man who was locked in a military facility.
“It’s difficult to feel any kind of sympathy for a man who would sell his own sister for the secrets of an organisation purely on the basis of a hunch?”
“How did...?” Clark’s stomach flipped.
“You see working for Torchwood allows us the same kind of access if not more, than you Intelligence boys, and one thing we were able to glean from your information, was that you had a sister, something you failed to tell us about in your initial interview.”
“You had no right to know that. It’s private.”
“In this line of business, nothing is private for long. Mitchell stays with us. He’s part of us, and we’re a united front.” Gwen stared hard at Clark. Sometimes in her job she hated knowing the truth of a person. “Why did you keep her a secret?”
“It’s none of your damn business.” Clark snapped, his voice wavering. “It was a long time ago, but she was killed and everything was covered up, and if you want to know why I joined Torchwood, it’s because of her, and because I want to know the truth and I know Torchwood know EXACTLY what happened to her.”
For a few moments nobody spoke. Clark regained his composure, Mitchell, Gwen and Marley watched him, warily.
Straightening his jacket and toying with the tie that sat askew, Clark stared at each person in turn. “Mitchell is the reason your leader is missing, and if we don’t move him to a more secure location, the people who want him will stop at nothing to get him, which means going to the source of each and every one of your families and torturing them, do you think you can handle that?”
“I don’t have anyone.” Marley put in. Gwen stared at her exasperated.
“You have a family that you keep researching and monitoring, the other you has a mum and dad, do you not think that the powers that operate outside of Torchwood wouldn’t have already thought of that, given that you found one rodent, what’s to say there aren’t more and the information isn’t already feeding back on one very large computer system?”
Marley paled. Gwen felt sick, but she swallowed it back. She’d been in this situation before and they’d come through it, stronger and tougher and as much as she worried for her family, giving in now would kill them all!
A phone rang out on the desk and everyone jumped. Gwen and the team stared at the phone a few moments before Gwen pressed the button to the side for all to hear.
“Hello?” Gwen called stepping back from the phone as if it were likely to explode. The caller spoke. “Good evening.” An oily, well groomed accentuated masculine voice replied. There was an air of authority about the man, military, definitely. “By now you’re wondering who I am, and are probably running a trace on this call, so I’ll keep it brief.” Gwen raised a brow. “We have something you want, and you have something we need. I suggest a trade off.”
“What is it you have?” Gwen didn’t like the voice
“I’m sure you already know that answer Agent Cooper.”
Gwen scowled. “So you have Captain Jack Harkness and you’re going to give him over just like that. What is it that you think we have?”
The oily voice laughed. “I was under the impression that Torchwood was a higher authority, and therefore had the intelligence of asking intelligent questions. So far I’m not impressed. You are harbouring a murderer Miss Cooper and unless you hand him over with the documents that he has stolen from us, I’m afraid you won’t see your fearless leader ever again.”
“Jack can look after himself. There’s no deal on the table.”
“Come now Ms Cooper, do you think I don’t know how much you love your Captain? I’m giving you the option of handing Mitchell Harkness over for a simple trade off. If my demands aren’t met, in 60 minutes I will gain access to your building and take him by force. I would suggest you comply, because I can get very nasty when I want.” There was a pause and background noise then the line went dead.
“It’s gone. Sorry.” Marley replied having run a trace.
“Damn.” Gwen cussed and turned away from the phone, biting her thumbnail. Did they not know about Jack and his Lazarus qualities? Surely by now the military would know he couldn’t die. She glanced over at Mitchell before catching movement in the office. She caught sight of the backside of Clark Goodson as he leant over the desk in search of the missing laptop.
“Can I help you?” Gwen called, noticing a distinct freeze of the man’s movements. She stepped in and flipped the clip from her gun, her hand now gripping the handle.
“I was looking for an address book, a location to a safe house, I thought you’d want me to move Mitchell somewhere safe?” Clark straightened up and eyed Gwen with mild contempt.
“Nobody has access to this room other than me when Jack is away.”
“That’s a little discriminatory don’t you think.”
“Given the circumstances I don’t see a problem with it.”
“Circumstances?” He raised a brow. “You still don’t trust me? I’m on your side, but still you have your doubts.” He took a step towards her as Gwen took a step back. “I suppose it’s difficult to know who to trust these days.”
“I trust Jack. And I know when he tells me that Mitchell stays with us no matter what, I find it increasingly interesting when I see someone like you, desperate to remove him from the building. We work together as a team, yet so far, you’d rather work solo. Which makes me think that your agenda isn’t with us, am I right?”
Clark scoffed and in an instant had removed his pistol from his shoulder holster in much the same speed as Gwen, and both stared down the barrel of the other’s gun.
“That’s the thing about trust, it often works on hunches, and when my hunch tells me that one of the people we enlisted has outside interests, it’s worth keeping an eye on them.”
“So you’ve been stalking me?” Clark raised a brow and took a step forward, urging Gwen to step from the office.
“Put your gun down, let’s talk about this.” She backed into the office, Marley had already grabbed her gun, Mitchell, weaponless could only watch and pray nobody started shooting.
“If you don’t give them Mitchell, they’ll kill Jack, is that what you want?”
“Jack can handle himself. Mitchell is not going anywhere.”
“You don’t know what these people are like.”
“I have a pretty good idea. They hate Torchwood and they want to punish Jack for something, and they think by doing that, we’ll give up what he’s been trying to protect. So no, Mitchell stays with us.”
“But I could shoot you.”
“You could but then I would have already fired off a shot, catching you in the chest, or your neck and you’d have as much chance as me then in protecting Mitchell. Or Marley would take you out and we’d still be saved.”
“Do you value Torchwood over your own family?”
“Torchwood is protecting my family, and they can handle whatever life throws at them. I trust them, and they trust me.”
“But do you trust Jack?”
The arm of the clock counted down the minutes remaining.
“I don’t want to hurt you Gwen, but if that blue print falls into the wrong hands it could spell the end for all of us.” Clark said glancing momentarily at Mitchell.
“What’s the blueprint for?” Gwen kept her eyes on Clark.
“It’s important to the people who are holding Jack, to that man on the phone, to the people of the world. If that blueprint is used, we’ll all be dead.”
“So then the blueprint and the laptop shall remain the property of Torchwood.”
“But it’s not Gwen, it’s the property of the military.”
Mitchell sighed. He knew exactly what was on the blueprint. “Son of a bitch!” He muttered. He sighed heavily. Gwen glanced back for a beat.
“Mitchell?” Gwen turned to face him.
“That’s why I’m here. It’s because of my heritage, because of my family Gwen.” Mitchell took a step towards Clark, and into the line of fire. “Just give him the damn thing and let’s end this.” He glared at Clark and took another few steps towards him but Goodson raised his gun. “Put the fucking gun down, you want me I’m right here.”
“No Mitchell.” Gwen protested.
“It’s alright Gwen, if I go and give them what they want, you get Jack back, life continues as normal, and I get what I what I always wanted.”
“Which is?” Clark was curious.
“In the vaults, deep down in the bowels of a military silo belonging to UNIT is a cell where they keep prisoners from other galaxies, and in one of those cells is a woman who I have seen in my dreams every night since I was old enough to remember.” Mitchell looked at Gwen. “You get Jack back; I get to see my Mom!”
It was a long ride in Clark’s car, he’d hoped for a seat in the front, at best even a comfy ride in the back seat, but bound and gagged and in the boot along with the tyre lever and the spare tyre was not something he considered for the 160 mile drive to London. But it gave him time to think.
Gwen stared around the mess of the office, in less than twenty five minutes of Mitchell resigning himself to Clark, all hell had broken loose. The phone had rung again and this time the screams of Jack Harkness echoed around the room, whatever they were doing to him, it ended with a sickening crunch and silence had fallen across the office. Gwen still couldn’t shake the bone crunching pop that echoed over the speakers. It was after that, after the initial shock that Mitchell had lunged at Clark, Clark had fired a shot, Marley had been hit in the shoulder and Clark had used Mitchell as a shield to exit the building. Despite Gwen giving chase, Clark had disabled the lifts long enough to stop Gwen from pursuing them.
“So what happens now?” Marley asked biting down on two painkillers
“Allowing for the fact that Clark may have located the decoy tracker in Mitchell’s phone...” Gwen told her, as Clark tossed the tracker out of the window of the car. “...that leaves us with one possibility.”
“Which is?” Marley asked.
Gwen stared at the flashing red light on her computer screen that moved steadily towards London. “He’s not found the real one.” She tapped the screen. “If I’m right, he’ll be taking Mitchell to the same location where they’re hiding Jack, and if what he says is true about the military silo, then I think I need to make a few phone calls. I’ve a friend in UNIT that might be able to help. Marley, keep your eye on that flashing red light, I want to know where it’s going.” Gwen disappeared into Jack’s office and searching through a list of numbers on Jack’s desk, made a call to Dr. Martha Jones. UNIT’s finest.
Mitchell felt sick. He wasn’t naturally travel sick, but the smell of exhaust fumes belching from the pipe, and bleeding back into the boot from the rust holes in the chassis, he considered the possibility of choking to death before they arrived. He kicked at the back wall of the boot. The muffled thumps could be heard from the front of the car. Mitchell felt the car slow, the familiar bump of the cats eyes as the tyres ran over them and the steady stream of cars passing them to his right that shook the car.
He heard the car door close and the saw the boot lid open and blinked in the street lights as they streamed in. For a few moments Mitchell stared up at Clark, the gag in his mouth impossible to speak clearly.
Clark wasn’t in the mood for chatter. Pulling the gun from his side holster and appearing to check his rounds, Mitchell panicked. It sounded through the gag that he was begging for his life, but it came through as muffled cries. Clark pulled the trigger twice before closing the lid. He breathed a sigh of relief. They were two hours from base. Clark climbed back into the driver’s seat and closed the door, he stowed the tranq gun under his seat, and drove to the military base to rendezvous with the Major.
Jack’s eyes flickered open. His vision was blurred but soon focused. It was dark but a low hum could be felt vibrating through the metal and chrome work of wherever they’d put him. He could feel the nerve endings tingle. He swallowed painfully. He was upright, semi seated. He still couldn’t feel below his waist and that bothered him, because at some point, usually, given who and what he was, some kind of feeling would venture back but nothing. That wasn’t normal!
He listened out for the tiniest of sounds, the clattering of many feet as before, voices, men in uniform, scuffing their heels as they walked. There was a familiar smell and it wasn’t him. There was another, somewhere in the darkness of the room – he considered it was a room, he wasn’t out in a corridor. Corridors had different smells also, and this wasn’t it.
Jack found that he could flex his fingers, he could feel the hairs on his arms bristle as a cool air escaped from somewhere. Fresh air. Where was he? He tried to move but something was tethered to the back of his skull. He tried to dislodge it by moving his head but an intense burning sensation pierced through the back of his head, between his skull and his spine. His eyes widened. “You won’t need your limbs, not for what I need you for!”
“Oh my god!” Jack croaked.
Goodson threw open the boot and coughed at the exhaust smell from within.
“I wanted him alive, not dead you fool.” The Major growled.
“He is. He’s just sleeping off the tranquilisers.” Goodson replied hauling Mitchell out.
“Did you get the laptop?”
Goodson nodded. “Everything present and correct, now where do you want him?”
The Major nodded to two heavy looking gentlemen who stepped forward, with stocky necks and short cropped haircuts and broad shoulders. “Take him to the front of the ship and secure him well.”
Clark felt a shift in the command and watched the two men built like mastiffs half carry half drag Mitchell along the tarmac towards the giant hangar, where the Arakian space ship was parked.
“What about me, sir?”
“Oh you’ll be rewarded, come the morning your account will look the healthiest it’s looked in years.” The Major steered the wheelchair along the tarmac road towards the hangar.
“And Rachel?” Clark swallowed.
The Major stopped in his tracks and turned a sinister face towards the Welshman, whose striped suit was mottled by the spots of rain that began to fall in the early morning light.
“I’m almost suspecting an air of doubt in your voice Goodson. I’m a man of my word, you will receive everything in due course, now let’s go, before UNIT discover what’s going on.”
“Do you not have clearance?”
“This laptop contains valuable information about the ship, which will aid us in our journey. I have covered every avenue for this mission, while you played field agent with Torchwood, I was securing your future at my side. Now let’s discuss any further questions on board the ship.”
Inside the hangar, of the military base belonging to UNIT, a large alien cruise ship took up most of the room in the giant shed. Despite its crash landing 25 years ago, its body work was in fairly good condition, only the left wing showed any kind of damage and questionable as to whether it would hold in place long enough for it to be airborne. But the Major was confident that all would be good. The cruiser in its day had housed an army of thousands, most in the lower quarters and deployed in smaller battle tanks that were double seated fighter planes in Earth terms, now only three remained intact, abandoned in the hold, secured to their metal grips, pulled back and ready for launch.
Clark stared in awe at the alien space craft he was now walking inside of. The shiny chrome platforms led off into separate compartments, along corridors that lead off into a labyrinth of levels, yet on the outside, despite its size, the ship didn’t look as large. Clark had to remind himself that often things weren’t all that they seemed and alien life forms were often more advanced. The metal surrounds inside the ship smelt new, as if he were walking around a car factory, where nothing had disturbed the paintwork of a new model, everything had been polished, it was bright and clean. Noises below him could be felt and heard through the vents along the top level of the walls, feeding out along the corridors. They sounded animalistic. He wondered what they were but before he could ask, they had reached the front of the ship. It was half the size of a football pitch and along the walls on either side were compartments with wires and cables that fed through to the main power source beneath them. Screens were set along each individual wall panel for the various rooms on the ship, so that whoever was piloting the ship could see everything his crew were doing, no room for error, or was there more to it than that? To Clark it seemed more like an air of mistrust for the crew.
He caught sight of a beautiful woman with flowing dark hair who was incarcerated in a cell. She smiled at him and he felt a surge of unrequited love for her, without even knowing why. He wanted to know more about her and found himself smiling back, he also felt a stirring in his loins.
“Don’t even think about it, she’s out of your league.” The old man said as Clark made steps towards her.
Clark paused. “Who is she?”
“All in good time, just don’t listen to her, don’t let her out, and don’t have sex with her.”
Clark scoffed. “As if I would. Not on a first date.”
“Not on any date. Keep your mind on the job and your dick in your pants. This is important and I’ve not spent the last 20 odd years working towards this moment to have a human wreck it for me. Now go and take a seat at the controls, it’s a two man operation to get this ship off the ground, and I need you to listen and do everything that I say.” The Major snarled, and for the first time since he’d met him, Clark felt uneasy.
Mitchell felt sick. He felt his new confines to be different, he was out of the car, he was upright, two soft supports held him up under his arms, a bar prevented him from falling forward and his hands were secured in clamps rather like oversized cuffs. He couldn’t see much through the black cover over his head but he could hear voices, one familiar – Clark, and one older voice, the voice from the telephone. He opened his eyes and blinked several times. He strained his ears to hear anything from the noises the other side of the hood. His head swam with nausea. If he was with Clark and they were now with the guy who held Jack hostage, had the exchange happened?
Gwen slammed down the phone and Marley jumped.
“We have to go – NOW!” She said, snatching up her jacket from behind her chair. Marley did as she was told, grabbing her bag and equipment for the journey. Gwen filled her in on the way to the car. “Jack has been suspicious of Clark’s involvement with Torchwood since he joined. So he did a bit of digging, and it seems that the ‘Uncle’ he had us feel sorry for, is in fact some old disabled Major who according to UNIT doesn’t actually have any military credentials. He’s connected with the crash of that space ship 25 years ago.” Gwen unlocked the car and slid into the driver’s seat. Marley stowed her kit and bag into the back seat and took her position in the passenger seat. “When Mitchell was in London he stole a blueprint of the ship housed in S17 hangar at the UNIT military base in Sussex.” Gwen reversed the car then drove forwards out onto the road for London.
Marley glanced at the PDA, the red blip was static and bleeping. She broadened the area to locate exactly where the blip was. “They’re at the hangar already. If they’re in that ship, they won’t be there long. If you’ve got a ship like that you don’t hang around.”
Gwen shot her a look. She was right. She tore the car across the lanes of the bypass amidst a screech of tyres and angry car horns and sped towards the small airport, she needed a plane, helicopter, anything to reach them before they left.
Clark sat the controls, a series of buttons and levers, dials and knobs he’d never seen before on any control, anywhere on Earth. “What do I press?” He heard a clatter behind him and the side arm of the wheelchair was lying to the left side of the chair. The Major was on his feet, and what a lot of feet that was. Clark’s mouth fell open. Standing on his six pointed feet or toes, or pincers, was the Major. The man himself seemed grateful to be out of the metallic contraption that had hidden his alien self.
“I...I...what are you?” Clark stammered.
“In charge is what I am. I am Major Skelagh of the Confederate Fleet of Arakia, and I am going home.”
“He’s a traitor is what he is.” The voice came from the cage, the woman Clark had noticed as he’d entered. “A dirty rotten traitor who used the royal family to secure his status within the government and had the queen executed to cover up his crimes against the State.” She spat vehemently and grasped the metal bars of her confinement tightly.
“The only traitor is you my dear, and if the crew hadn’t declared mutiny on the ship, no thanks to you, we would have been home and you would have stood trial for your crimes.”
“My only crime was trusting you Skelagh.” The woman shook the bars but they remained secure. She was young, in Clark’s eyes only in her early 40’s, with olive skin and dark brown hair that bounced against her shoulders as she shook the bars. She was slim, but there was a bitterness to her features, perhaps the incarceration had taken it’s toll on her after all this time.
“Who is she?” Clark asked gazing into her eyes as he walked over to her cage.
“Dangerous, now step away before she seduces you.”
Clark looked back at the Major. “I worked for you for four years and in all that time I never saw evidence of that.” He pointed at the Major’s legs.
“Why would you? Your world is full of judgemental civilians who would sooner lock me in a cell and dissect me to see how I work. I was injured in battle, and during those war years, there was little in the way of replacements, we had to take what we could get, and fallen comrades from the Free Nations meant there was an abundance of these crablike pins. They work just the same, and it means I can move faster with six than with two.” He replied, proving the fact as he scuttled over and physically yanked Clark back to the controls. “Onboard are people who will be returning to Arakia to be tried and executed for their crimes and associations to the royal family, and I can’t wait to claim my reward for that.” He pushed Clark into his seat and edged with chattering feet towards the secured man wearing the hood, that Clark instantly recognised as Mitchell.
Mitchell blinked and winced at the sudden glare of light hit his eyes. He stared directly at the old man who with his six pins was a little short of 6ft. The old man laughed. Clark looked questionably at the Major and Mitchell. “I don’t understand, what has Mitchell got to do with this?”
Major Skelagh released Mitchell from his bonds and clasping a hand against the back of his shirt forcibly walked him towards the woman. “Because this boy is the new Prince of Arakia. She is his mother, the new Queen. Both of whom will be executed when we touch down on Arakia. Then I will take up my appointed position as governor of all, and introduce my new army, and there will be an unstoppable force.”
For the first time in his life, Mitchell came face to face with the woman from his dreams. She was shorter than he imagined but there was a familiar feel about her. He’d never known her in childhood, having been taken from her moments after birth, but she still registered in his memories earlier than those of human childhood memories.
Shalai glanced at the young man before her. She smiled lightly, not recognising him for a moment but for the dark blue eyes and the dark hair, the matinee look of a man she’d shared a few nights of passion with. “You look like your father.” She said at last, holding a hand out to him.
Mitchell stared down at her olive skin hand and held out his, slipping his fingers into hers, feeling the warmth and a gentle tingle as their senses connected. He inhaled sharply as the bond sealed itself between them and he learnt of his heritage and the life away from Earth.
Gwen drew up alongside the large padlocked gates of the small runway and swore, thumping her fists against the steering wheel. “Damn! Damn! Damn!” she cursed. She bit her lower lip, toying with a piece of loose skin and proceeded to chew it off as she weighed up the situation. “Right.” Shifting the gears into reverse Gwen steered herself back out onto the road, and doubled back until they reached the road to London.
“We won’t have time Gwen, look.” Marley held the PDA that showed the red blip moving, albeit slowly at first. “We’ve over a hundred miles to cover by car Gwen, we’ll never make it.” Gwen took the road back to Cardiff. “Where are we going?”
“If I know Jack, then the best course of action is to return to base and monitor from there. “ Gwen wasn’t completely convinced given the last cry from Jack earlier that Jack would be in any condition to do anything, but she couldn’t give up on him. She hoped that whoever did have him wouldn’t know him like she did, wouldn’t know that no matter how much he was hurt, he’d come back and he’d return. She really hoped that this was one of those moments but the closer to the city of Cardiff she reached, the less she felt convinced that she was right.
Light began to filter into the room Jack was secured in. He was able to see for himself just how incapacitated he really was. He was seated upright, his arms supported by soft rests similar to that of Mitchell’s status earlier. He was semi naked. No longer did he feel the soft cotton shirt against his back. Inserted into his chest were long pins that as he breathed felt them rub against the vital organs that pumped oxygen and blood through his body. He knew automatically what he was and it made him sick, Jack was the power behind the ship. He was wired into the main frame; he operated the electrics, the computerised system, the body of the entire cruiser rested with him. If he stopped working, the entire crew would be dead. He could live with that. When he died, so would the ship. The needle that was inserted into his cerebral cortex meant that he was the controller and an evil smile spread over his matinee idol face.