Sunday, 30 November 2014

Articles Episode Breakdown: 'To The Last Man' by DJ Forrest


Episode Breakdown: ‘To The Last Man.’

Written by Helen Raynor
Directed by Andy Goddard
Music by Murray Gold and Ben Foster
Other Music by Moby – One Of These Mornings, The Beta Band – Squares

Hurrying down the wooden staircase of an old building, Harriet Derbyshire armed with her paranormal detection equipment looks up as Gerald Kneale peers over the railing at the top of the stairs, as keen as she is to locate ghosts.
   “Nothing so far, you get anything on that?”
   “Well hold on a tick.”  She replies checking the square wooden box hung around her neck, with a clear gauge indicator and switches and knobs and a lever on the right hand side that Harriet turns. “Yes, follow me Gerald.” She replies hurrying down the stairs to locate their quarry.  At the bottom of the stairs Gerald stops and looks over at Harriet. 
   “Well?” 
     The paranormal detection equipment crackles with static.  “Pretty close.”  Harriet declares and points off along the corridor.  “This way.”  A door closes loudly behind them and Gerald quickly pulls Harriet out of the way as a nurse startles him.  The nurse herself is equally as startled and drops her towels in fright. 
   “Don’t panic!”  Gerald replies.
   “I thought you were a ghost.”  The nurse replies.  “Scared the wits out of me.”
   “Sorry, thought you’d be used to us creeping around by now.”
  He says helping her up with her towels.
   “Have you seen any recently...ghosts?”  Harriet asks the nurse.
   “I’ve seen three today.”  She admits.  “It’s getting worse.
   “Well...”  Gerald hands the last towel to her.  “You’re a very brave girl.”  He smiles.
   “Thank you sir.” 
     Harriet clears her throat.  “Where did you see them?”
   “The ward.” 

Gerald and Harriet follow the nurse into the ward in St Teilo’s Military Hospital.  It’s 1918 and the hospital is busy with injured soldiers from the Great War. 
   “Mind half of this lot see things anyway.”  The nurse tells them as they walk towards a sleeping young soldier. 
   “Now shot to pieces, poor chap.”
   “As soon as they’re better they’ll be sent back to the front.”  The nurse tells them sadly looking back at the young man in the bed.
   “On Marshall Haig’s order, every position must be held to the last man.  Each one of us must fight on to the end...whenever that is.”  Harriet says although Gerald clearly doesn’t share her views.
     Light’s begin to flicker in the ward and the paranormal equipment goes off the scale.
   “Gerald!”  Harriet says a little alarmed.  Gerald notes the readings on Harriet’s device and they head off in search of the paranormal activity just as the soldier in the bed wakes up.
     Downstairs in a back room of the radiology department, the static white noise is louder and the stronger yet still no sign of an apparition.
   “We’re right on top of it.”  Harriet declares somewhat frustrated. The room begins to tremble and shake and Gerald pulls Harriet close to him for protection.  Something is coming!
     Suddenly a blinding white light pierces the room forcing both officers to squint against the light until it begins to dim revealing two people huddled against a far wall on the opposite side of the room.  Gerald identifies a soldier half dressed in uniform and pyjamas and a young Asian woman beside him wearing a dark leather jacket.
   “Hello?”  He calls to them.
   “Tell him.”  Toshiko urges the man beside her.
   “Tell us what?”  Gerald asks.
   “Tommy.  Tell him what to do.”  Toshiko begs.  “You’re the only one who can stop this.”  The young soldier seems reluctant and a little fearful.  “If you don’t it’s the end of everything!” Toshiko pleads glancing towards the two people for a moment.  “Please Tommy.”
     Tommy scrambles to his feet and demands that Gerald and Harriet go back into the ward.
   “Take me, I’m in the ward in 1918, you have to take me so I can be here now.  Just take me.”  He yells to the two bewildered people.
     Doing as they’re told, Harriet and Gerald return to the bed of the once sleeping soldier now very much awake.
   “Tommy, I think you’d better come with us.”  Offers Gerald.
   “Why?”
   “I’m Gerald, this is Harriet, we’ll look after you.”
   “Who are you?”  Tommy asks nervously from his bed. Gerald and Harriet exchange smiles before looking back at Tommy. 
   “We’re Torchwood!”


It’s Friday the 20th and Toshiko is getting ready for work.  Today is a special day and deciding what to wear, Toshiko adds the finishing touches and leaves for work.

Jack changes the date on his old fashioned desk calendar as Gwen enquires after the photograph of the uniformed soldier on Jack’s desk.
   “Thomas Reginald Brockless.”  Jack tells her.
   “Tommy.”  Ianto adds.
   “24 years old.”
   “Sort of.”  Ianto adds, smiling.
   “Well he’s either 24 or he’s not.”  Gwen says.
     Jack rises from his seat“Depends how you work it out.” 
   “Alright, when was he born?”
   “1894.” Jack replies as he heads out of his office followed by Ianto.  For a moment Gwen smiles, considering it a joke, it soon becomes apparent that it isn’t.  She hastens after them.
   “Owen are you ready?”  Jack calls as Owen hurries to his seat. 
   “Yeah, nearly.”  He turns as he sees Toshiko arrive.  “Is that a dress Tosh?”
   “I do believe it is Owen.”  Toshiko smiles broadly.
   “God where is he?”  Gwen asks following Jack to the crypt.
   “Been here 90 years that’s longer than any of us and you.”
   “Torchwood used cryogenics in the Victorian times.”  Toshiko tells her as Jack pulls out the drawer.  “They froze Tommy in 1918.”
   “So he’s 24 or 114 years old.  I know which one I’d choose.”  Jack says staring down at the frozen soldier.
  
   “We have to wake him up every 12 months or so, well defrost him, for one day only then back in the freezer.”  Owen tells her as he prepares to awaken Tommy.
   “Why?”
   “Check he still works!”  Ianto replies keeping a visual record.
   “One day we’re gonna need him.”  Announces Jack from the entrance to the medical room.
    Owen prepares the syringe of adrenalin to restart Tommy’s heart.  He glances around to see if everyone’s ready and fires the first course into Tommy’s neck. Owen feels for a pulse but there isn’t one. 
   “Come on Tommy.”  He mutters.  Jack looks on concerned.  Owen brings over the defibrillator when the vital signs are still at zero.
   “Charging 200 CLEAR.”  He shouts before shocking Tommy with little to no effect“Charging 360 CLEAR!”  He yells shocking Tommy again, this time with a reaction.  Tommy awakens gasping and disorientated.  He catches Owen with a left hook as many hands rush to calm the young man. 
     Through the cacophony of voices Tommy identifies the voice of Toshiko and hones in on her.  She drops her authoritative voice opting for softer tones.
   “It’s me, Toshiko.”
   “Toshiko.”  Tommy replies.
   “Remember.”
   “It’s harder every year.”  Notes Owen as he rubs his mouth.
   “Good left hook though.”  Ianto says.
   “Do you know where you are?” 
     Tommy takes a moment to view his surroundings, sitting up on the bed.   “Torchwood.”
   “That’s right.”
   “Is it that time again?”  Toshiko nods.  “Blimey.”
   “How are you feeling?”
     He coughs“I could murder a cup of tea.”
     Owen smiles and claps him on the shoulder, then all eyes rest on Ianto.

In the Boardroom the entire team and Tommy sit down to a Full English Breakfast.  Ianto pours out the tea.
   “Don’t expect best China.”  He says.
   “I’m starving.” Tommy says.
   “Visitors only.”  Ianto adds.
   “Tuck in, there’s enough to feed an Army.”  Tommy insists.  “Nice dress.”  He says to Toshiko noticing it properly now.
   “Thank you.”  She smiles.
   “You’ve got slacks underneath, is it that cold outside?”
   “Fashion this year.”  Says Ianto.
   “1968 they were mini skirts.  Thought all my Christmasses had come at once.  Shame they haven’t made a comeback.”  Tommy remarks to Owen who grins.
   “I still don’t get it, why is he here?”  Gwen asks Jack over breakfast. 
   “Like I said, one day we’re going to need him.”

   “And pull to me!”  Owen instructs Tommy in the Medical room after breakfast as he grips Tommy’s arms for one of the many tests he would run that day.  “That’s good, seems fine.  I just need to er...take a few...”  Owen reads through his notes.
   “Blood samples.”  Tommy remembers.
   “We wake you up once a year just to stick needles in to you, it’s not fair.”
   “Once a year to you, it’s every day for me.”
   “So while we wait...”  Toshiko says.
   “Tommy Reginald Brockless, born 1894, February 7th, in Blacken, Manchester.  Private officer in 10th West Yorkshire Regiment.”
   “Very good.”  Toshiko smiles happily.
   “Only son of Constance May Bassett, who died 1900 and Thomas Campbell Brockless, who died June 1931 age 57, heart attack.”  He says sadly.  “That’s right isn’t it?”
     Toshiko nods.  “Yes, sorry.”
   “It’s alright, I’ve never had much time to get used to it.”

   “St Teilo Hospital in 1918.”  Jack says staring at a brown and white negative magnified on a back lit screen on his desk“A fracture in the Rift means that the two slices of time are erupting into each other.”  He tells Gwen.
   “A slice of 1918 and...”
   “A slice of the future, but we don’t know exactly what slice.  It could be tomorrow, it could be in 100 years time.”
   “What will happen?”  Gwen asks.
   “Chunks of 1918 will start to appear at the hospital, a few at first then more and more.  When the time shift is complete it’ll start a chain reaction, unless we stop it. Time shifts will start all over the country, then all over the world.”
   “But how does Tommy fit in?”  Gwen asks looking at an old ID of Tommy’s, as Jack keys in details to the locked archives and pulls out a rusted red metal container. 
   “He helps us stop it somehow.”  Jack hands the container to Gwen.  “Torchwood 1918 left us sealed orders.”
     Walking towards the ceiling light to read the inscription, Gwen reads it out loud.  “Eyes only documents FAO Torchwood Commander overseeing Case 1918 TB.”  She pauses a moment.  “Tommy Brockless.”  Jack nods.
   “Hmm.”
     Gwen struggles unsuccessfully to open the tin.  “Ok, it’s stuck.”
   “No it’s locked.”
   “Where’s the key?”
   “It’s a temporal lock, tied in with the Rift frequencies at the hospital.”  Jack replies.
     Sighing Gwen puts the tin back on the desk.
   “When the Rift reaches completion, the box will open and we’ll find out exactly what Tommy does.”  Jack tells Gwen as she changes the photo over on the back lit screen.
   “But why would they keep us in the dark, Jack?”
   “Guess we’ll find that out too.”

     Tommy enters Jack’s office in his new clothes, some casual wear put together by Toshiko.  “Ta da!”  she says.
   “Seriously, what do you think?”  Tommy asks.
     Gwen chooses her words carefully.  “You look like a film star.”
   “Who, Charlie Chaplin?”
   Gwen laughs.
     Gwen and Jack watch from the doorway to the office as Toshiko and Tommy get ready to leave the Hub together. 
   “Jack, have you got any more of those pretty boys in the freezer?”
   “Hands of missy, Tosh got there first.”
  
   “Thanks for holding the fort while I’m out.”  Toshiko tells Owen as she gets ready to leave.
   “That’s ok.”  He replies.  “Be careful.”
   “Where are you off to?”  Gwen calls over.
   “A drink, film maybe a pizza.”  Toshiko replies.
   “Have a lovely time.”
   “Bye!”  Jack calls.
   “He’s a frozen soldier from 1918.”  Gwen says watching them go.
    Jack watches them leave then shrugs.  “Nobody’s perfect.”

Tommy runs on ahead of Toshiko along the walkway towards the Norwegian Church.  He wants to see as much as he can in his one day of freedom.  “I’ve only got one day, I want to see everything.”  He tells Tosh as they make their way to the white sculpture of Scott of the Antarctic. 
   “Captain Scott sailed from here when he went off to the Antarctic.”  Toshiko tells him.
   “1910, I was 16 at the time, the papers were full of it.”  Tommy says slapping a hand on the mosaic statue.  “It took him two years to get there and he snuffed it.”  He turns towards the harbour and wonders what Toshiko has been doing since the last time he’d seen her.
   “Oh, this and that...work mostly.”
     Tommy laughs as they walk towards the harbour railings. 
   “What?”
   “I knew you were going to say that.  It’s what you always say.  So, how’s the piano playing going, it’s what you said last year remember?  ‘Been learning the piano.’”  He mimics.
   “I never got around to it.”
   “I bet you never learnt Spanish neither?”
   “I bought a book.”  Toshiko replies.
   “Oh aye, you made of money?”
   “I haven’t got time.”
   “You talk about your life like you’ve got no control over it.”  Tommy says.
   “Well Torchwood is pretty much 24/7.”  Tommy frowns.  “Er, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.”
   “But you weren’t conscripted, I mean it’s your choice right?”
   “Yeah I suppose it is.”

In the Hub, a photo of two people sitting pretty for a photograph in the same building they were currently in, stares back at Gwen and Ianto.
   “He’s a bit of alright.” States Gwen, eyeing up Gerald.
   “He was the boss.”  Ianto informs her.
   “Nothing changes.”
   “She’s alright too.”  Ianto admits.  “Harriet Derbyshire.”
   “I wonder what happened to her.” 
   “She died a year after that was taken, 26 years old.”  He replies.
   “So young.”
   “They all were.”  Ianto says holding up a photo of another group of Torchwood officers.  “Nothing changes.”
     Gwen gets up and decides to check out St. Teilo hospital for herself, before she leaves she insists Ianto bloody well cheers up.


Playing pool in a local pub, Toshiko praises Tommy on his shot. 
   “You’re still winning.”  He points out.
   “It’s all just maths really.”  She replies poising to take the next shot.  “Angles...velocity.”  She sinks the ball into a pocket.
   “Ahh, we give you women the vote, equal rights and look what happens eh!  So, er, got a boyfriend yet?”  Tommy asks as Toshiko lines up her next shot. 
   “You sound like my mother.”  She replies potting the white and handing Tommy the cue.
   “Ahh so you haven’t then.” 
   “You had a girlfriend.”  Tosh says making small talk.  “In 1918?”
   “Yeah, Ellie, courted for 2 years.”
   “What happened?”
   “I, er, stopped seeing her last time I was on leave.  The War changed me.  I couldn’t just carry on as before.”
   “I’m sorry.”
   “Right pair we make.”  He jokes.

In the derelict hospital Gwen makes her way through the unlit corridors towards an empty ward at the end.  A plaque hangs above the doorway depicting nurses standing over the bed of a patient.  Gwen hears the flapping of bird’s wings and cooing in the rafters.  She glances about the room where windows beam in light from outside.  Lamps hang from walls and begin to flicker on and off.  Gwen glances back around the room standing stock still as she faces forward and sees an crippled soldier with one leg, using two crutches, staring back at her.  For a few moments neither moves.
   “Hello?”  Gwen calls.  “I said hello.” The soldier begins to move towards her, the crutches echoing against the dirty polished floor.  Gwen steps back as he nears her, aware that despite her attempts to attract his attention, he’s not stopping in his advancement.  “If you could just...” she screams as she backs up as far as she can and hits the paper dispenser on the wall behind her and quickly covers her face. 
     The room is empty.  Gwen quickly glances back down the corridor but there is no sign of the man, so is it a ghost?
Gwen runs along the corridors into another abandoned room after hearing a noise.  Heart in her throat she carefully walks towards the exit, distracted momentarily by birds flapping above her. 
   “Hello?”  She calls as the lights begin to flicker again.  Every light in the room flickers.  There’s no answer and suddenly the lights click off.  Gwen glances towards the clear plastic sheet as a door slams shut behind her and she’s startled by three workmen in green safety hats.
   “You alright love, you look as if you’ve seen a ghost.”
Gwen laughs nervously, clearly shaken.

   “They’re knocking down the hospital?”  Jack says as he stands in the empty derelict ward with Gwen some time later.
   “Yep, that’s what they said.  Could that trigger the time shift?”
   “Could have; psychic trauma and Rift energy could have charged it up like a battery.”  Jack glances around the room, getting a feel for the once busy ward.  “1918 this room was full of wounded soldiers.”  He squats on the ground, placing his hand to the dirty polished floor, closing his eyes as if feeling a sense of that time.  “They had four years of it.”  He shakes his head“Passchendaele, the Somme...a million British soldiers killed during the Great War.  It was like walking into hell.”  He stands up dusting the dirt from his hand.  “Believe me, I was there.”  He tells Gwen before patching into Owen’s Bluetooth back at the Hub.  “Owen, got anything?”
   “All quiet out here, just that little spike from earlier.”  He reports back while checking the computers.  “Look this is more Tosh’s thing than mine, shall I give her a call?”
   “Not yet, just keep watching.”  Jack insists.  He and Gwen exit the ward.

Tommy orders the next round at the bar and is distracted by the News 24 programme telling of an Iraq bomb that has killed 20 people, and Insurgents who have broken the ceasefire in Basra.  Toshiko sees the news also and walks over to him at the bar. 
   “Iraq.”  She says.
   “Seems like there’s always a war somewhere.” 
   “It’s not exactly a war.” 
   “Looks like one.”  He replies.  “The first year they woke me up in 1919 they told me it was all over, we won.  The War to end all wars, they said, then three weeks later you had the 2nd World War...after all that.”  Tommy looks away sickened by it.  He pays for the drinks and carries them to their table.
   “Do you ever wonder if we’re worth saving...the human race?”  He asks her after a bit.
   “Yes.”  Toshiko replies.  “I think we’re worth saving, warts and all.”  He smiles.  “What?”  Toshiko asks.       Scratching the side of his neck as if about to possibly embarrass himself he looks at Toshiko.
   “I’d do anything for you.”  He says bashfully.  Toshiko blushes.  “All you have to say is, Tommy, you are my brave and handsome hero and I need you.”  They laugh.
   “Is that all?”  She teases.
   “Whatever it is, I’ll do it.  I mean it.”  Tommy suddenly feels a pain in his head.
   “What is it?”
   “I don’t know, I just felt something.”
The wall to the hospital ward is being dismantled with a lump hammer. 

Jack and Gwen walk along the corridor in the hospital when Jack is distracted by a noise.  He slows to a halt and listens out for it as Gwen calls his name.  When she calls it again he holds up his hand to quieten her voice, shushing her for good measure.   He looks at her, flicking his head, indicating for her to continue up the corridor while he travels back the way they came.  He walks along a darkened corridor and switches on his powerful torch, the beam bouncing along the walls.  Suddenly he hears distinct voices and shines the torch back up the way picking out a nurse wheeling a patient, who is singing a wartime ditty while in his wheelchair.  They’re both from 1918. 
   “I love their dimples that curls...tick tock wind up the clock and I start my day over again...”
     As the nurse and patient round a corner, Owen comms Jack on the Bluetooth.  “Jack, do you see anything as I’ve got little mountain ranges this end.”
   “Yeah, we’ve got a few ghosts here.”  Jack replies.  He comms Gwen.  “Gwen, you ok?”  Hearing nothing he comms again.  “Gwen?”
   “I’m fine.”  She says airily, as she steps into a darkened room and locates the light switch.  A fluorescent light flickers on and off.  There’s nothing to see and she steps back into the corridor and immediately sees a soldier sitting forwards on a wooden chair, staring at the floor.  She gets an even bigger fright when a nurse seemingly walks practically through her towards the soldier, completely unaware that Gwen is standing there. 
   “They’re ready for you.”  The nurse tells the soldier, who gets to his feet and leaves through the double doors to his left.  The nurse then takes her leave and exits along the corridor to the right.  But the nurse has seen something and as she steps back for another look, Gwen realises from the corner of her eye that someone is watching her.  She turns and both women stare at each other.  As the nurse steps towards Gwen she calls out.
    “Hello?  Hello?”  Her ghostly voice echoes the corridor.  “I see you!”  She says to Gwen as she stands within spitting distance of her.  Gwen gasps and backs away into the room with the flickering fluorescent light. 
   “Why won’t you leave us alone?  You shouldn’t be here.”  The nurse says with as much fear in her voice as Gwen feels in her whole body.
   “I don’t mean you any harm.” Gwen pleads holding her arms out as if it would stop any attack from the 1918 nurse advancing towards her.
   “YOU SHOULDN’T BE HERE!  YOU SHOULDN’T BE HERE!”  The nurse screams till only the echo of her voice remains for a few seconds till Gwen stands in the fully lit room, alone.

   “I’m going to get you.”  Tommy declares as he chases after Toshiko up the promenade in Penarth.  She drops her bag as Tommy scoops her off her feet to her protestations.
When Toshiko eventually is put back on her feet, Tommy kisses her on the lips quickly.  She’s taken aback.
   “What?”  He asks.
   “Nothing...thanks.”
   “Thanks?”
   “Just caught me out.  Doesn’t matter.”  Toshiko retrieves her shoulder bag and takes a seat on the promenade bench.
   “What?”
   “I know it’s silly.”  She says.  “But I’m a bit older than you.”
   “I was born in 1894.”
   “You know what I mean.”
   “So I’m old enough to die for my country but I’m too young to give you a kiss?  You daft lass what goes on in that head of yours?”  Toshiko considers for a moment before quickly kissing Tommy back.
   “Thanks.”  He replies.
   “You’re welcome.”  Toshiko smiles.
     Tommy edges closer“Look I may be young but I’ve seen a fair bit in my time.”
   “So, what do you want to do now?”  Toshiko asks changing the subject.
   “Well, we could go back to mine, but there’s only room for one and it’s bloody freezing.” 
     Toshiko laughs before looking back at Tommy.  “Do you want to come back to my place?”
   “I might be rushing you.  You’ve only known me four years.”
   “Four days.” 
As the pair looked into each other’s eyes they kissed with more feeling before Toshiko pulled away.
   “Ok let’s go.”
   “I’ll race you.  Come on!”
As Toshiko gets up to follow after Tommy, her mobile rings.  It’s Jack.
   “We’re on our way.”  Toshiko replies and Tommy’s smile fades.
  
   “Demolishing the hospital is what triggers the time shift.”  Says Jack back at the Hub as he lays out documents onto the oval wooden table in the board room.
   “So don’t demolish it.”  Owen says.
   “Too late it’s already started.” 
   “So what happens next?”  Gwen asks.
   “Two different times shouldn’t exist simultaneously, you want to be in 1918 or now, not both.”
   “So when 1918 becomes fully manifested...”
   “It’s really going to screw us up.”  Says Owen.
   “Ok.”  Jack says picking up a piece of plain A4 paper and holding it up for everyone at the table to see.  “Linear time.”  He scrumples up the paper.  “Screwed up time.”  He chucks the paper at Owen.  “Imagine your life as a straight line from birth to death, now try drawing that line on the paper without straightening it out!”
   “It’s impossible.”  Gwen says.  Jack nods.
   “That’s why we’ve got to stop it.”  Jack quickly leaves the boardroom followed by the rest of the team including Tommy.  “Ianto, is that box doing anything yet?”  He calls to Ianto Jones as the man steps from his office clutching the tin in his hand.
   “Still locked.”
   “Ok we need to know how fast this time shift is happening, get an idea when it’s going to complete.  Tosh, Owen, go to the hospital, we need readings.  Cover the place with rift monitors, whatever, go through the files, see if there’s anything we’ve missed.”  Jack relays to the team.  Tommy and Toshiko exchange glances before she leaves for the hospital.

As Toshiko begins setting up the rift monitors in the empty ward, Owen comes over to assist. 
   “Need a hand?”
   “Just a couple more.”  Toshiko says.
     They begin to attach a few of the small monitors to the wall of the ward.  “Listen Tosh,” Owen says after a while.  “I’ve been meaning to say, er...just...be careful.”  Toshiko looks over whilst attaching the devices.
   “What do you mean?”
   “You’re very close to Tommy.”  Owen says walking over.
   “I’ve only known him for four days.”  Toshiko returns to the case containing more rift monitors.
   “Yeah, you’ve fallen for him haven’t you?”
   “I can be myself with him, I don’t have to pretend.”
   “No, I understand.  I didn’t think you had some weird fetish for some deep frosted men.”  Toshiko smiles.  “I just...erm, I don’t want you to get hurt, that’s all...if you have to say goodbye.”
     As Toshiko realises that Owen is being sincere in his concern for her, Gwen interrupts through the comms and Owen takes his leave.

   “I need you to go down into the east wing of the hospital, head to the second floor to what used to be Radiology section.  In that area contains clues to the time shift.”  Gwen tells him. 
     Gwen reads from the files at her desk as she relays the information to Owen.  “In Torchwood 1918 field report at the hospital, they descript in detail something they encountered.”  Gwen tells him.  “It reads, ‘through a hole in the external wall we hear the roar of great engines and outside is a woman in strange armour ripping a Union Jack,’ perhaps future heroine of the Empire...yeah, and what does it mean?” 
     Owen squats on the floor of the Radiology room, then gets to his feet and follows the path towards the next room. 
   “The time shift started but maybe it doesn’t complete until years in the future.”  Gwen surmises.
Owen peers around cupboards till glancing towards a hole in the wall, something piques his curiosity.  He grabs a chair and places it against the wall and peers through a hole in the wooden boarding.  Across from the hospital Owen spies a billboard.
   “It’s some kind of advert.”  He says, spying a raging illustration of a woman dressed in armour charging through a Union Jack.  “It’s car insurance, it’s not the ad, it must be traffic.”  He says hearing the peeping of car horns in the road.  “It’s not years in the future.”  He sighs.  “It’s now.”

As Toshiko sits beside the case on the floor, the monitors on the wall begin to react.  She gets up from the ground, carrying her PDA for a closer look when the lights begin to flicker, setting off the alarms on the rift monitors.  She runs from the room.

In the Hub, at his desk, with a pencil between his teeth, Captain Jack Harkness quickly flicks through a diary on his desk.  He’s about to write with the pencil he removes from his mouth when the temporal lock on the tin releases the lid.  He sets the pencil down and retrieves the contents of the tin.  It’s a white envelope sealed with a Torchwood stamp, on the front to whomever it concerns.

   ‘Dear Torchwood,
     I do not know when or indeed who will be reading this the most important of documents, but the very future of the Universe is in your hands.  It is imperative that you read this file carefully and follow the advice and instructions contained within these pages to the letter.  I can only hope that the rift sensitivity of our temporal gauge was calibrated to the right specifications or I fear that these instructions will have come too late.
     As per the general files on the acquisition of Private Thomas Reginald Brockless, two Torchwood officers were investigating complaints of ‘ghosts’ at St Teilo’s Military Hospital in Butetown when our existences collided allowed us to communicate with what we can only assume was the future.  We did not know but we witnessed a sudden tear, reasoning for the sheet, a swell of temperature from an unfamiliar environment, and encountered Private Reginald Brockless talking to us from another time along with a female who we can only assume is of Japanese origin.  He was dressed in much the same manner as when we removed him from the hospital bed, but there was a different air about him, an urgency as he insisted that we ‘took’ him now...’
     Jack read quickly through the first page and onto the second.
   ‘...... studied the activities of that morning , and the level of incidents in the St Teilo’s Hospital, we fear that there is a danger that two time periods are about to collide splitting the fabric of time and thus resulting in the end of the universe.  If you are reading this letter then the day has come and Torchwood cannot and will not allow this to happen.  There is only one hope for our future.  The last man.  Private Brockless.  You must ensure that Private Brockless is returned to 1918 where he must seal the breach using the rift manipulation key ......
You must also find his Japanese companion.  She holds the key to the nature of Private Brockless’ return.’
     Ianto enters, a smile of relief that the tin has unlocked.  “Instructions?”  he hopes as Jack continues to read.  Jack looks up, brows raised. 
   “Yeah, for Tommy.” 
     Ianto breathes a sigh of relief.  Jack puts down the second page of the letter and stares in shock at the third page before looking back at Ianto. 
   “And Toshiko.”  Ianto frowns stepping into the room.

In the Boardroom, Toshiko and the team hear more of the letter from Jack.
   “Twelve hours there will be a brief moment when both times will exist, before the time shift completes, before Tommy will be here now and in 1918.  He needs to be in the hospital when he will need to step from one time into another.”
   “So he will be right inside the time shift?”  Gwen asks.
   “And cause the fracture to close.”
   “But when the fractures closed?”  Tommy asks.
   “1918 will be back where it belongs.”  Owen replies.
   “So will I.”  Tommy says sadly.  Jack nods.  “For good.”  Tommy adds.
   “Yeah.”  Jack says.  Tommy and Toshiko exchange glances of sadness. 
   “You’re the only one who can do this.”  Jack tells him.  “We brought you from 1918 to now and when you go back to 1918 your life will be like a thread, stitching time back together again.”
   “A stitch in time.”  Tommy says sadly.
   “How?”  Toshiko asks.
Jack picks up the brass circular device from the table to show the team.  “This is a rift manipulator.  It’s basically a key.  Once you’re inside the time shift you can close the door behind you.”
   “That’s it.”  Tommy says.  “I’m gone.”
     Jack lowers the device as the team including Tommy take in the prospect ahead.  Ianto strolls up the corridor carrying a small storage box towards the Boardroom. 
   “Tommy, stay with Ianto, Tosh with me.”  Jack says leaving the room with Toshiko.

In Jack’s office Toshiko sits opposite Jack at his desk.
   “What happens to him?”  She asks.
   “Three weeks after we send Tommy back he dies.”  Jack explains.
   “How?”
   “He’s shot by a firing squad.”
   “I don’t understand.”
  “In 1918 Tommy was suffering from shell shock, that’s why he was in the hospital.  When Torchwood took him and froze him, they froze his most recent memories, when he returns to 1918 he’ll revert back to who he was.  He’ll be shell shocked and so he will be executed by the British Army for cowardice.”
   “They can’t shoot him for that.”  Toshiko says, horrified.
   “Lots of soldier who were shell shocked recovered enough to be sent back to the front.  Once they were there they broke down again.”  Jack says bitterly, remembering.
   “So they kill him?”
   “More than 300 of them.”
   “Then we can’t send him back.”
   “We have to.”
   “I can’t do that.”  Toshiko gets up, hand over her mouth, it’s all too much, she can’t send Tommy back to be killed.
   “Yes you can, he trusts you.” 
   “To send him to his death?”
   “To help him save the future.”  Jack impresses upon her.  He holds out the hand drawing of the Japanese woman seen with Tommy in 1918.  “It has to be you.”

Ianto opens the box in the boardroom.
   “We kept these in the archives.  You were wearing them in the hospital when Torchwood took you.”  Ianto says.  Tommy lifts out the green military jacket holding it against him.
   “Good job the moths haven’t got into them.”  He says setting down the jacket to lift out the pyjama bottoms.  He scoffs.  “So I’ll be saving the world in some pyjamas, how daft is that?”

   “Torchwood 1918 saw you with Tommy in the hospital telling him what to do.”  Jack explains as Toshiko appears stunned by the hand drawn portrait.  “I know you.”  Jack says.  “You’re strong enough to do this.” 
   “Does Tommy know what happens to him?”
   “No.”
   “If he asks what do I say?” 

   “Where’s Toshiko?”  Tommy asks setting the box of clothes down near the workstations.  Gwen points towards Jack’s office. 
   “Still in with Jack.”
   “So tomorrow morning.”  Tommy sighs.  “What time is it now?”  Gwen consults her watch but Ianto beats her to it.
   “Ten to nine.”
   “So what do we do till then?”  Gwen and Ianto look to Owen for ideas but he merely smiles apologetically.  Tommy laughs.  “You don’t know do you?”
   “What would you like to do?”  Gwen asks softly.
   “Night before we went over the top, we used to play cards, write letters, have a drink if anyone had some.”
   “We could do that couldn’t we?”  Owen says as Ianto makes to leave.
   “But you’re not coming with me.”  Ianto stops in his tracks.  “I’m going on my own.”

Toshiko steps from Jack’s office carrying the Rift key, she can barely look at Tommy.
   “Erm, we were just wondering what Tommy should do tonight.”  Gwen says for Toshiko and Jack’s ears.  As Jack is about to throw in a suggestion, Toshiko beats him to it.
   “He can come home with me.”  All eyes fall on Tosh.  “He’s not our prisoner, he doesn’t have to stay here, does he?”  She adds defiantly.  Jack looks back and agrees.
   “If that’s what you both want.”  Tommy and Toshiko exchange glances.  “Tomorrow morning six thirty.”  Jack adds. 

Toshiko invites Tommy inside her flat, a comfortable little place with a pleasant colour scheme. 
   “Very neat.”
   “Yes well only me here.”
   “And me, just for tonight.”  Tommy adds staring at Toshiko.  “Then I’ll be gone.”
   “Never thought it would really happen.”  Toshiko admits standing in front of Tommy, clutching her shoulder strap of her bag as it hung against her legs. 
   “I won’t be able to write to you.  Going to be so far away.”
   “I’d worry you’d see me getting old.”
     Tommy steps towards her cupping her face in his hands and kisses her deeply and passionately as the clock clicks to midnight.

In the Hub Jack reads through the documents again to be sure he’s not missed anything.  He hears Ianto climbing the stairs behind him.
   “This time tomorrow he’ll be in 1918.”
   “In his own time.”  Ianto adds, hands in his pockets.  “Would you go back to yours?”
     Jack looks up and smirks.  “Why, would you miss me?”
   “Yes.”
   “I left home a long time ago, I don’t know where I really belong.”  Jack says gathering up the papers into the folder on his desk.  “Maybe that doesn’t matter anymore.”
   “Don’t you get lonely?”  Ianto asks leaning against Jack’s desk looking down at his Captain. 
   “Going home wouldn’t fix that.”  Jack replies closing the file and crossing his fingers he looks up at Ianto. “Being here I’ve seen things I never dreamt I’d see, loved people I never would have known if I just stayed where I was, and I wouldn’t change that for the world.”
     Ianto without hesitation leans in towards Jack and they kiss passionately.

Lying in bed beside Tommy, Toshiko turns over to look at the time.  It’s 2am.  Tommy is awake.
   “What did he tell you?”  He asks but Toshiko avoids eye contact and falls silent.  “What happens to me?”
   “They send you back to France.”  She says eventually. 
   “Then what?”  Toshiko doesn’t answer“Do they find my body?”  Toshiko looks at him, stroking her hand gently against his cheek and nods sadly.  “That’s something.” He leans towards her and kisses her gently before holding her close.

Its morning across Cardiff and the son is already awake.  Toshiko, dressed in her white dressing gown feels wretched, aware of what she is about to lose, and looks over at Tommy who begins to awaken from slumber. 
   “It’s time.”  She says as he sits up blinking sleep from his eyes.

The team hurry into the hospital ward, Gwen and Owen carrying kit, Ianto carrying the box of clothes Tommy came in, Tommy wears his old uniform tunic and pyjama trousers and slippers.  Toshiko hands over the Rift key as Jack keys in data into his VM. 
   “You know we can’t be here when it happens.”  Jack tells Tommy who nods just as the Rift monitor alarms ring out across the room.  Tommy takes a few steps away from the group bringing a hand to his forehead.  Toshiko steps towards him. 
   “Come on.”  She guides Tommy from the room.  As they walk along the corridor with the Torchwood group following behind them, Tommy calls for them to hush, he can hear voices above him. 
     Jack places a hand upon his shoulder.  “We’re safe for now.”
    
     Up ahead a nurse crosses in front of them from a side corridor with a candle lamp and walks away from them, oblivious to them watching her.  Tommy follows after her.
   “Are you alright?”  Toshiko asks but Tommy quickens his pace and runs along the corridor to the ward that once held his bed and the injured soldiers and now sits derelict. 
   “Where is she?”  He asks“1918.” He steps further into the room as the lights begin to flicker around the room.  He hears Gerald Kneale’s voice as the officer encourages him from his bed.  “Torchwood took me.”
   “Tommy.”  Toshiko calls to him. 
     He looks at her but pushes past her and out of the room, followed by Toshiko, Jack and Ianto.  “Stay here.”  He instructs Gwen and Owen.

     Tommy runs to the Radiology room where large round lights hang overhead like saucers, a large radiator sits on the wall and large glazed windows throw in light to the room. 
   “I can’t do it.”  He cries as Toshiko enters.  “I can’t go back.”  He tells Jack who places a hand against his chest to steer him back in the room. 
   “You’ve got to.”  Jack insists.
   “No.”  He cries, frantically.  “I know what’ll happen.  They’ll send me back to the front.  They’ll have me back to the trenches.  Help me...”  He begs Toshiko.
   “You’ve got to.”  She says emotionally.
   “WHY ME?”  Tommy cries, holding up the Rift Key.  He lets it fall from his hand and both Jack and Toshiko can feel hope slipping from their grasp.  “You’re just like the Generals, sitting behind enemy lines.”  He snarls at Jack.  “Sending us over the top.  Any one of you can go back but you send me!”
   “We belong here.”  Jack growls back.
   “I’m sorry.”
   “I’ve been pushed from pillar to post all my life by the Army...by Torchwood...”  Tommy squares up to Jack but Jack calms the situation before it escalates. 
   “All this time I’ve had means nothing.”  Tommy says looking at Toshiko who hates this as much as he.  Tearfully, Tommy walks towards the window and leans against the wall, slowly sliding to a seated position. 
     Jack strides over, concerned that they will miss the one opportunity of fixing the time shift.  He takes hold of Tommy’s arm amidst Tommy’s struggling and attempts to pull him to his feet.  “Get up, Tommy, get up.”
   “NO.”  Tommy replies wriggling free of Jack’s grip.
   “Leave us alone.”  Toshiko interjects.  Jack stares at her.  “Please.”  Jack gets to his feet and walks towards the door, but not before placing a gentle hand upon her shoulder. 
   “You’ve got 2 minutes.”
    
     Collecting up the dropped Rift key, Toshiko sits beside Tommy.  At first he refuses to acknowledge her and shakes off her hand against his arm.  She sits closer to Tommy and looks directly at him. 
   “Listen, you’re a hero, do you know that, because you stop the time shift and save everyone.  You save us all.” 
   “I can’t do it.”  Tommy replies tearfully.
  We need you.”  Toshiko implores.
   “I don’t want to be a hero.  I want to stay here, with you.” 

Suddenly the static crackling noises grow louder distracting them both.  The time shift is nearing completion.  Tommy and Toshiko protect each other from the blinding light that shines brightly in the room.  When it clears Toshiko and Tommy see Gerald and Harriet from across the room.
   “Hello?”  Calls Gerald in a ghostly echo.
   “Tell them.” 
   “Tell us what?”  Gerald enquires.
   “Tommy, tell them what to do.  You’re the only one who can stop this.  If you don’t it’s the end of everything.”  Toshiko says.  As all three people look on, Tommy is still frightened.  “Tommy.”  She urges holding the key in her hands.  Tommy scrambles to his feet, taking the key with him and runs towards Gerald and Harriet, calling to them from their world.
   “Take me, I’m in there, in the ward in 1918.  You have to take me so I can be here now.  JUST TAKE ME!”  He yells. 
     The lights become blindingly bright in the room and Toshiko and Tommy are alone once more. 
   “I’ll be going soon.”  He tells her.  Toshiko nods and takes his hand in hers. 
   “Remember the Rift key.”  She reminds him.  “Use it.”  Glancing from the time shift into 1918, she kisses Tommy goodbye before straightening his tunic.  “You’ve got to get back into bed like you’ve never been away.  Use the key.  Tommy remember....it’s nearly time.” Tommy walks towards his own time looking back one last time to see Toshiko.

Back in 1918 Tommy reverts back to the shell shocked patient he had been before Torchwood had taken him.  He grips tight hold of the Rift key as he stands pathetically in the linen room.  A nurse collecting linen collars him and ushers him back to his bed.

In present time the team saunter along the corridor until they see Toshiko running towards them screaming at them to leave.  As they exit the hospital, Toshiko stops and glances back before Jack pulls her to safety.

In the hospital ward Tommy watches as the Torchwood officers lead his other self from the warm bed and away from the ward.  Ushered into his bed, removing his tunic first and slipping off his shoes, Tommy sits in the bed, terrified. 

Back in the hub and alarms ring out around the building.
   “What’s happening?”  Gwen says.  Toshiko slips on her glasses and views the screens.
   “I don’t know.”
   “The time shift hasn’t stopped.”  Jack says as the lights go out in the Hub, throwing panic to those inside.  “Toshiko, show me the city now.”  Jack calls bounding over towards her monitor.
   “It’s spreading out from the hospital.”  She says staring at the white dots spreading out from the source.
   “What the hell are they?”  Gwen asks.
   “Chunks of the past erupting into the present.”
   “They’re everywhere.”  Owen says looking away from his own computer screen.
   “What about the Rift key?”
   “Tommy isn’t using it.”  Toshiko realises.
   “Why not?” 
   “I don’t know, because he’s just gone back one hundred years and because he’s still SHELL SHOCKED.”  Toshiko snapped, glaring at Jack.
     Jack realises that Torchwood really hadn’t thought this plan through sending back a vulnerable shell shocked victim of the Great War.  “One of us will have to go back.”  As he makes plans to return to the hospital Owen calls him back.
   “Jack wait, you’ll get stuck in 1918, I’ve got an idea.”

   “The time shift is forcing the Rift open.”  Owen says preparing his idea in the Medical room.  “If we’re quick we can use it to our advantage.”  He pulls open the fridge storing different blood phials and lifts them out.  “A tiny amount should do it.”  Gwen is currently holding one phial in a syringe gun.  “We know Tommy’s exact location this time, we send an image of you through to him.”
   “I could go into Tommy’s mind.”  Says Jack hurrying down the stairs, his sleeves rolled up.
   “That’s a psychic projection, yes, if we’re lucky.”
   “And Tommy will be able to see you?”
   “I can make him use the Rift key.”  Says Jack jumping up on the bed and slapping his arm to find a vein.
   “Let me do it.”  Toshiko calls from the top of the stairs.  “He trusts me.”
     After a little thought Jack agrees.

Wearing a similar skull contraption to that of the mind probe that this time also runs down her back, and has wires with sucker patches that attach to her forehead and temple, Toshiko is ready to reach Tommy using psychic projection.  Jack supports Toshiko as she relaxes back. 
   “How long have I got?”  She asks.
   “Minutes.”  Owen replies.
   “We’ve got one shot Tosh, that’s all.”  Says Jack. 
     Toshiko nods. 
   “Alright.”  As Owen prepares the injection, Toshiko nods again.  He injects her and quickly dispenses with the syringe.  He takes a hold of her wrist and feels for her pulse.  Owen focuses his attention on Toshiko as she closes her eyes and searches for Tommy. 

There’s much chaos in St Teilo hospital ward.  The time shift is splintering out across Cardiff and frightened staff and patients scream and scurry for shelter, while Tommy remains in bed gripping the Rift Key.  Traumatised as his mind slips back to his recent memory he has no knowledge of Torchwood ever existing.  When Toshiko appears at the end of his bed he doesn’t recognise her.  She calls to him as she sits facing him.  Back at the Hub, they too hear her call Tommy’s name.
   “What just happened?”  Gwen says as Toshiko mutters again.
   “It’s me...Toshiko.”  She smiles at Tommy.
   “Who?”  He asks.
   “I’m here to help you.”  She replies feeling hurt at first that he doesn’t recognise her. 
     Tommy nods attempts to speak then looks at the key in his hands.  He offers it up to Toshiko, asking her if it belongs to her.
   “No.  Do you know what it is?”  Tommy is momentarily distracted by another patient.  Toshiko calls him back“Tommy, it’s a key.  You have to use it.”  Tommy looks petrified.

In the Hub Jack checks his watch, they’re running out of time.

   “I’m scared.”  Tommy admits.
   “It’s alright.”  Toshiko assures him.
   “That’s why I’m here, aren’t I, I’m a coward.”
   “No, you are not.”
   “What am I fighting for?”
   “For the future...for me, because you’re my brave and handsome hero, Tommy, use the key.”  Toshiko pleads.
     Tommy picks up the key and with the wingnut lever at the side, turns it, releasing Rift energy, that ultimately seals the time shift. 
   “Thank you.”  Toshiko smiles.
   “Goodbye.”  Tommy replies.

A blinding brightness separates the pair forever and Toshiko gasps back to the present day tearful but relieved that Tommy used the key.
   “He did it.” 

Later, Toshiko neatly folds away Tommy’s civilian clothing into the Archive box.  She places the lid on the box as Owen enters from the Medical room.  He lingers a while before walking away, aware that he above anyone knows how crushed Toshiko is feeling and no words would make that ache go away.
     Securing the strap on the box, Toshiko lifts down her coat and slips it on.  Jack calls to her from the door of his office.  “Hey.”  He calls, smiling softly.  “Thank you.”  Toshiko nods lightly before walking out into the damp air and resting her hands against the railing as she stares across the Bay. 
     Owen strolls quickly towards her, his coat collar pulled up against the rain. 
   “He trusted me...right to the end.”  She says as Owen stands beside her against the railings.
   “Because you were strong.”  Tosh stares at Owen so he explains.  “All of this is still here, because of you.”
     She shakes her head.  “Because of Tommy...let’s hope we’re worth it.”  She says emotionally and pushes away from the railings and back along the walkway, remembering Private Tommy Brockless.


The End.

Next month

'Meat'



  




    
      







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