Monday, 1 June 2015

Articles Episode Breakdown: A Day in the Death S2 Ep8




Episode Breakdown: A Day in the Death



Original Broadcast 27th February, 2008
Written by Joseph Lidster
Directed by Andy Goddard
Breakdown by DJ Forrest

“Jack, I'm dead. I'm permanently chilled. You know, you get to live forever. I get to die forever. It's funny that.”


Owen Harper, dressed in a claret red shirt and black leather jacket and blue jeans stands in a busy street in the city of Cardiff, where the pedestrians around him walk backwards.  The day is bright but Owen doesn’t notice, or seem to care. 

   “My name is Doctor Owen Harper and this is my life. A life that is full of action and violence (Owen runs along the towpath after Burnie Harris.  Fires open the padlock at the Harries and Harries meat plant.  Stares at the broken needle after it fails to puncture the skin of the ‘Sleeper agent’ Beth). and work and wonder (he stares at the large slab of alien meat.  He sprays the cologne that attracts people to him). Secrets and sex and love (he dances with Diane on the rooftop car park at night) and heartbreak (he’s shot by Aaron Copley) and death. (his body on the autopsy table cold and dead) My death. (sits bolt upright on the table) The death I survived.  The death I am now living through. (Opens the fridge lifting out the smoothie bottle, pauses then puts it back) Except, this isn't living. Every day is the same. I get up; get ready for work (Squirts the shaving lather onto his hands) the same as everyone else. The thing is I'm not the same. (the Weevil howls as Owen watches it from the cell) I get to work and everyone's doing the same old thing. Babbling away about aliens and weddings and…I'm not real. (Is beneath the water of the Bay, wearing the same attire.)Three days ago, I died. (realises that he can’t drown and screams.) And they think I'm fine, but they're wrong.”

Up on the roof of a multi storey car park, sitting on the ledge beside a young blonde haired woman, Owen stares ahead.
   “So, are you ready to jump?"


   “Would you just piss off. Get off my roof.”  Maggie insists.
   “Your roof?”
   “I’m going to jump, so just leave me alone.”
   “Look darling, you know, I’m not here to stop you.  Seriously.  You think you’ve got problems?”  Owen unbuttons his shirt. “What, did your man dump you?”
   “Sorry love, were you talking to me?  It’s just, you know, I’m a bit busy right now.”  Maggie doesn’t notice that Owen is now facing her on the ledge.  “I’m not really interested in list….”  She turns to see the gaping wound in Owen’s chest.  “What is that?”
   “I got shot.”
  “Yeah right.”  Maggie pokes her finger into the hole in his chest, in total disbelief before stepping back onto the proper roof in horror.  “Oh my God, what the hell are you?”
   “I’m dead.”  Owen nods, climbing back over also. 
   “That’s not… Look, you can’t be dead.  You’re standing here, you’re talking, you’re moving.  You’re not dead.  You’re…you’re dead?”
   “Yeah, I was brought back.”  Owen tells her.  “Like Jesus, really, but without the beard, you know. Shit, I'm never gonna have a beard. Not that I wanted one, you understand, but you know, one day I…”
   “Okay. Okay. You're dead and that's, that's clearly a bit shit and I'm sorry and everything but, if you are dead, then why are you here? You can't be wanting to jump. You can't die twice.”
   “Sorry, are you an expert?”
   “Sorry, are you an idiot?”
   “Yeah. I'm a dead idiot.”
   “So, come on then, what's it like?”
   “What?”
   “Well, being dead.”  Maggie asks lighting up a cigarette.  “What delights have I got to look forward to?”
   “Darkness. Nothing.”
   “Cheery. Thanks. Look, why are you here?”

Earlier that day…

   “Doctor Owen Harper, Torchwood Officer five six five, I'm relieving you of your position.”  Jack Harkness informs Owen as he faces him across the desk in his office. Ianto looks on from beside the safe.
   “Bollocks. I'm sorry, Jack, this is bollocks.”
   “Hand in your weapon and your security pass.”
   “But why? I'm fine.”
   “Three days ago, you died. We need to examine you. We need to find out what you are. We need to be certain you're okay.”
   “Yeah, well, it almost sounds as if you care. Well done.”
   “Until I'm confident you're fit for duty, Martha Jones will replace you as Torchwood's new Medical Officer.”
   “She's doing all right out of this, isn't she?”
   “She's worked out a series of tests and examinations.” Jack rises from his seat and meets Owen at the other side of the desk.
   “What if I refuse?”
   “You'll be confined to the cells, the tests will be done, and if the results show that you're a danger to the team, appropriate steps will be taken. I'm asking you, Owen. Please, let us help you. Let us make sure you're safe.”
   “I'm gonna need your gun.” Ianto asks.  Owen glances over, eventually surrendering his side arm.
   “And your security pass. Please.”
Owen glares at Ianto.  He casts a glance outside of the office window at Dr. Jones before reluctantly giving up his security pass.                                              
   “And how long are Dr Jones's tests going to take?”
   “As long as they need to.”
   “And what the hell am I supposed to do in the meantime?”
   “We always need someone to make coffee.”
   “Oh, no.” Owen says as Ianto frowns and shakes his head.

Ianto demonstrates the exact way to brew a proper cup of coffee.

  “Voila. Fresh and strong.”
  “And, we couldn't just have a jar of instant, no?”
  “I thought you liked your coffee.”
  “Have you seen what happens when I drink these days?”
  “Yeah. Thank you, Owen. Do you want a go?”
  “Ooo, please.”
It’s not as easy as it looks and Owen’s brash attitude towards the machine results in a raised temper and smashed cups when he struggles with the lever.  Jack looks over.

  “You okay?” Ianto asks.
  “What do you think?” Owen says turning to face Ianto, with a sigh.  “I bet you're loving this, aren't you? It's like you've finally won.”
  “I didn't realise we were in competition.”
  “Oh, come on. Even Tosh had more of a life than you used to. And now you’re always out on missions, you're shagging Jack and I'm stuck here making the coffee.”
  “It's not like that, me and Jack.” Ianto says stepping up to make the coffee instead.
  “Yeah, yeah, you and Jack, Gwen's getting married. Martha's got her bloke. God, even Tosh had Tommy. This is really shit.”
  “We've all gone through shit.  I've seen you dissect alien corpses. I've seen you save so many lives. Are you really going to let this beat you?”

Later in the day Martha monitors Owen running on the treadmill. 

   “So, you’re choosing me over the boyfriend?” Owen says stepping from the treadmill to lift weights.
   “Yeah, that’s it.  You really don’t need to worry, you know, I don’t want your job.”
   “Yes, I know.  You just find me irresistible.”
   “Oh yeah, that’s it. Every morning I wake up and think of ways to get you alone like this.”  She says, taking the readings from the monitor and checking the details on her computer.  “There is no sign of any muscle decay.  You’re in great shape, as ever.”
   “Hmm. No use coming onto me, Jones. I'm a changed man.”  He grins.
   “And er…no stiffening anywhere?”
   “Well…”
   “Just answer the question.”
   “No.  No signs of rigor mortis.” He says putting down the weights.  “So, if I keep up the exercise, I won’t atrophy.”
   “Yep.  And a bonus, it definitely looks like you’re not going to age either.”  Martha replies scanning his body with Toshiko’s constructed hand held scanner.  “There’s no further sign of cell mutation.  You’re one hundred percent human.  Hundred percent Owen.”

Over the Intercom, Gwen messages Martha.

   “Hi Martha, meeting in the boardroom, can you come down?”
   “You’d better go, doctor.”
   “What about you?”
   “Cappuccino with chocolate sprinkles.”
   “What?” They laugh.
   “That’s what you drink, isn’t it?”

In the boardroom Jack has the floor.  On the screen on the wall is a photo image of an elderly man.
   “Henry John Parker used to be a looker. Now he's eighty odd and even I have my limits. Your basic millionaire collector of alien hoo-hah.”
Owen enters the room with a tray of drinks. 
   “Didn't we file him in the Mostly Harmless category?” He says handing out the coffees.
   “So, what's the problem?” Martha asks.
   “I detected this at five seventeen this morning. Parker's house. There's an energy spike coming from it. I've never seen anything like it before.” Toshiko says bringing up the details on the screen behind Jack’s seat.  As Owen puts away the tray, the team quickly swap their mugs to the rightful owners.
   “Okay. So, the big question is, what's our Mr Parker gone and found this time?”
   “Why? Do you think he's a threat?”
   “Well, he hasn't been up until now. He's a bit Howard Hughes. We know he's there, we know he's not a threat, but, as the story goes, he hasn't left the house since his wife died. Nobody's seen him since 1986.” Gwen explains to Martha.
   “We've been monitoring Parker for ages. There's nothing to be scared of is there?” Owen pulls up a chair and takes a seat.  All eyes rest on him.
   “Unlike, say, Tintin?” Ianto adds.
   “Okay, I never liked Tintin.” 
Toshiko smirks.
   “What, he's weird. Funny face and his hair is just horrible.” Owen defends.
   “I always loved Tintin.” Ianto admits.
   “Yeah, well, you would. And he never had a girlfriend did he, just the dog.”  Jack hides a grin behind his coffee mug.  “So I reckon he was actually shagging the dog.” Owen adds.
   “Okay, meanwhile, back at Torchwood.” Gwen pulls the conversation back to Parker.  “Alien energy pulse. We've got to check this Parker out, okay? Tosh, can you get me a complete schematic of the house? Ianto, find out exactly what he's got. Get me an inventory of everything that he's bought over the last ten years. Martha, can you get a hold of his medical history?” Gwen instructs the team. 
   “Sure.”
   “Okay, let's get to it, guys.”
As the team leave, Owen remains at the table.  No errand to run, no mission to follow, quite redundant.  It hurts not being part of the team.  Owen hears Jack and Gwen talk in the corridor.
   “Hey, Gwen, any news on Banana Boat?”
   “Can you believe it? Best Man, arrested in Lanzarote.”
   “What for?”
   “Ah, dodgy CDs.”

Back on the rooftop

   “Worldwide, nearly a million people kill themselves each year. That's almost three times the population of Cardiff. Makes you think.”
   “What are you, some sort of suicide geek?”
   “No, just a doctor. In fact, I'm not just a doctor. I'm a bloody brilliant doctor.”

Autopsy room earlier on in the day…

   “I know you are.” Martha replies as she stares at the computer screen as Owen sits on the operating table.
   “So why are you doing my job?”
   “Because Gwen asked me to.” She replies turning to see Owen flipping a scalpel in his hand.
   “That's not what I mean.”
   “Because you died and because you need help. That's not a bad thing. Well, it is a bad thing that you died, obviously, but it's not bad that you need help, if you know what I mean?”
   “You're kinda cute when you babble.”
   “And you're kinda cute when you're not chucking a scalpel about.”
   “But I'm making the sodding coffee!”  He growls jumping down from the table. “I mean, come on, won't your bloke be missing you? How about Jack? Has he seen Jack? They always get jealous when they meet Jack.”
   “Owen, I don't want your job. I just want to do mine.”
   “Okay, I'm dead, but I am one hundred percent human. I'm fine.”
   “You've sliced your hand open.” Martha replies bluntly.  Owen drops the scalpel and stares at the deep cut in the palm of his hand.  It no longer bleeds. 
   “The wound's not going to heal, so, you're going to have to re-stitch it every week or so. At least you don't need anaesthetic.” Martha tells him as she stitches the wound, a few minutes later. 
   “Yeah, I can't feel anything. I can't feel the needle or thread. I can't feel your hands on mine. Yet, I can touch things, I can hold them. I know they're there, but I just can't feel anything. I'm numb.”
   “Do you see why Jack's worried? Bruises won't heal, bones won't mend. You're fragile.”
   “Yeah, well, I'd better get used to doing things myself.” Owen takes over the stitching.

Back on the rooftop…

   “So she offers to help you and you push her away? Charming.”
   “Yeah, hole in the chest. Sorry if I don't follow social niceties any more.”
Maggie is back on the ledge, Owen climbs over to join her, as she lights up a cigarette.
   “You mean you did before?”
   “God, you're a pain in the arse, aren't you? Is that why your man dumped you?” She turns to face him.
   “Oh, I hit a nerve. What, did you get your heart broken?”
   “No, actually…he died.”
   “I'm sorry.”
   “No you're not. You couldn't care less about me and I don't care about you. Just because we're both planning on jumping, it doesn't mean we have some sort of special connection.”
   “You don't know the half of it.”

Back at the Hub, Owen makes the coffee in the wrong mugs again.  He’s bored and begs Jack for something to do.
   “You know I can't. Rules and regulations.”
   “Fine. I might as well go home then.” Owen says, collecting up the empty dishes from Jack’s desk.
   “Okay.”
   “What exactly do I do when I get there?”
   “Watch TV. Chill.”
   “Jack, I'm dead. I'm permanently chilled. You know, you get to live forever. I get to die forever. It's funny that.”

In Owen’s spacious apartment with wooden beam rafters he sits watching the large wide screen television.  It’s day time telly – mind numbingly boring!
   “Oh, hello, welcome to ‘To Buy or Not to Buy’.  The property show that let’s you indulge in your long…”
Owen mutes the sound.  He sits forward and rubs his face.  Hauling himself up, he grabs the black bin bag from beside the sofa.  He switches on his iPod resting on the top of his fridge, selects the ideal song – Battles ‘Atlas’ and empties the refrigerator and the bathroom cabinet and the collection of toilet rolls and the contents of his table.  His boredom is broken by the sound of the doorbell.  It’s Toshiko with a Jubilee pizza.

   “Do you mind if I eat? I'm starving.”
   “No, help yourself. So, Jack asked you to come round, did he? Talk to Owen. Get him to open up, godammit.”
   “You haven't changed, have you? It's all about Owen. I've actually had a hell of a morning, you know. Do you have a…” Tosh asks as she grips her beer bottle by the neck.
   “Top drawer.”
 Tosh lifts out the bottle opener.
   “So, Jack calls me in at five this morning. He could have waited until I got in, but no, strange energy spike and it's let's get Tosh in. Oh, and when Gwen got in, first thing she did? Say sorry for not asking me to be bridesmaid. I mean, me, a bridesmaid?”

On the rooftop…

   “You sound like an old married couple. Brian used to say I talked too much.”
   “Tell me about him.”
   “Today's my wedding anniversary.”  Maggie remembers that one perfect moment in her life, stepping out of the registry office a married woman, then the whole world turning to shit.  “My perfect day. It was an accident.” She staggers towards the car, her wedding dress blood red.  Her husband dead at the scene, their car off the road, crashed and overturned. “We'd been married less than an hour. I was picking confetti out of my hair when it happens.”
   “Shit. I'm…”
   “Sorry. Yeah. I know.”
   “You waited until your wedding anniversary to kill yourself? Why?”
   “Does it matter?”
   “Why have you waited?”
   “Because I believe people, I believe them when they said it would get better. So, what do you think, doctor? Do you really think it's going to get any better?”  Maggie draws on her cigarette. 

Back in the apartment Toshiko is still bitching about her day as Owen sits but doesn’t listen.
   “…A message from the stars, and guess what? It's Croatian. I ran it through the language translator and it's flipping Croatian.”
   “Why are you here, Tosh?”
   “I want to help you.”
   “And how are you going to do that? How are you going to help me? I mean, am I going to be a new special project?”
   “Come on, Owen, I just…”
   “That's not why you're here is it? For some reason you want me. You know, I don't know why, but you always have. You're always looking at me, watching me screw all those other women, your heart breaking and now it's different, because I'm safe now, aren't I? And it's all cosy and it's romantic and isn't it beautiful, you know?”
   “You can say what you like. I'm not leaving you.”
   “Well, of course, not. This is it, isn't it? This is the date that we were talking about. You know, you've got your beer; you've got pizza, you and me. It's just how you wanted it. All we need now is a sodding pool table.”
   “Stop it! What's wrong with you?”
   “I'm broken, Tosh! I don't work. I've got no heartbeat, no feelings, no tears. I have got nothing to give you.”
   “I…”
   “Do you understand that? Maybe that's what you want. Maybe you want somebody who's as screwed up as you. Who's twisted and screwed up like you are. Well, you want to see broken? Do you want to see broken, Tosh?” Owen breaks his little finger on his cut hand.  (at which point I squirm and shut my eyes)
   “Owen, stop it! What are you doing?”
Realising what he’s done, Owen runs from the apartment, heading for the Mermaid Quay, along the jetty and into the water.  It’s peaceful, calming, but impossible to drown.  After a while he hauls himself out of the water and lies on the jetty, at Jack’s feet. 

   “Thirty six minutes. Not bad.”
   “You were watching?”
   “Skinny guy in tight jeans runs into water? I was taking pictures.”  Jack walks away then stops when he hears Owen behind him.  “How long's this going to go on for, Owen?”

In the boardroom Gwen has the floor while Jack, Ianto and Martha sit listening to her.
   “Ianto, what have you found out about Parker?”
   “I’ve identified some of the things he’s purchased over the past year.  We’ve got a Dogon Eye, a pair of Myakian wings, some meteorites, an Arcateenian translation of James Herbert’s The Fog.  But there are a few things we’ve never seen before.”  Ianto replies reading off the list in his notebook.
   “So one of these is causing the energy spikes?”
   “Looks like it. And they're getting bigger. Dangerously bigger.”
   “Right, okay, we need to get in there.”  Gwen hands Ianto a folder across the desk “Parker employs a Mr Philip Farrington to run security. There's at least six guards, CCTV everywhere, all of which we can bring down by taking out the generator. But then there's these.”  Gwen brings up a schematic of the building.  “Heat sensors.”
   “As in body heat?” Martha asks.
   “Yep. Solar powered. There's one on every doorway, every window.”
   “So, how do we get past them?”
   “Sounds like you need a dead man. Someone with no body heat. What have you got to lose?” Owen enters the room, a towel around his neck.  After much thought, Jack gestures for him to take a seat.  Ianto returns Owen’s gun.  Toshiko enters the room.
   “Tosh.” Owen replies, quietly.  She drops keys into his hand as she makes her way towards her seat.
   “I turned your telly off.”

Back on the roof…

   “You screamed at her. You said all those things, and that's it?”
   “That's Tosh. Always the professional.”
   “I don't care. I'm not interested in you, in old men or alien meteors. I came here because my husband died. I just want to jump.”
Taking Maggie’s hand Owen rushes her towards the edge of the building, as she screams at him.
   “Let's get on with it.”
   “Get off me!”
   “You, you're too scared.”
   “Aren't you? How did, how did you get from that to here? What happened?”

A few hours ago outside Parker’s house, Owen prepares to enter the secure property.  Dressed in black, hood up, Owen surveys his fresh bandage on his cut and broken hand. 
   “If you hurt yourself, you will not recover. So like I said, any bruises you get, they're not going to heal. Do not engage in physical combat. One punch, you're gone. Be careful.” Martha tells him.
  “I understand. I'm made of glass.”
  “Owen. Just take care.”
  “Oh, and you'll need this.” Jack throws Owen a clean white cloth. 
Owen heads off at a run towards the back gate.  In the grounds, around a lit swimming pool, two guards are on patrol. 
   “Owen?”  Tosh calls from the Hub.
   “Yeah.  Hi Tosh.”
   “Okay, the power in the house is supplied from one private electrical generator.  There’s a backup unit but take the main one down and you’ve got one minute twenty of black out time.”
   “You can only get rid of one of the blokes, yeah?”

   “It might look a bit suspicious if there were two phone calls.”  Ianto says from the Hub.

   “Try and make it the big one, okay?”  A phone rings out but it’s not the burly bloke but the other.  Owen curses.  “Arse.”
   “Hello?”  Taylor answers his phone.
   “Mr Taylor?”
   “Yeah, that’s right, who’s this?”
   “I’m calling from St Helen’s hospital.  Mrs Christine Taylor was brought in an hour ago.  She’s been involved in a car accident.”
   “Is she hurt?”
   “She’s going to be fine but she’s asking to see you.”
   “Of course.  I’m on my way.”
  
   “You alright?” Webb calls over.
   “It’s Chrissie, she’s been in an accident.  Look I’ve got to go.”
   “Yeah, of course.”

As Taylor leaves, Webb reports in to the boss. Owen crosses from one side of the gate to the other to avoid detection.
   “Mr Farrington?  Ben’s had to go.  His wife’s been in an accident.”

Owen enters through the gate and heads on past the Victorian greenhouses, keeping low to avoid detection.  He crosses the grounds towards the generator.
   “Ok, guys, I’m here.” 
He opens the generator door as Webb spots him.
   “Move away from there.  I said…” 
Owen knocks Webb to the ground.  He opens out the white cloth to discover it’s a t-shirt with Tintin on the front.
   “Yeah, ok guys, very funny.”
He winds the t-shirt around his hand.  Webb makes to get to his feet but Owen is quicker with his gun.
   “No, no, no, no, no.  Do you want to see what I can do?”
   “What?”
With his hand wrapped in the t-shirt, Owen plunges it into the generator box, judders from the power, as the lights flicker in the house, and wrenches the cables out, Webb can only stare in disbelief.
    “I’m dead already, mate.”
    “Webb? Dave, are you there?” Farrington calls.  As Webb goes to answer, Owen lays him out.

   “One minute twenty until the backup generator comes online.”  Toshiko announces as Owen runs towards the house.
   “Farrington to all units. The backup generator will be running in forty five seconds. Stay at your posts, please. Mr Parker's personal generator is unaffected.”
   “Sorry, Owen. They've obviously had some work done.”

Inside Parker’s house Owen enters through the double doors. 
   “Heat sensors.”  Owen waves his hand in front of them.  “I am literally too cool for school.”  He shines his torch around the dark rooms.  “Right, I’m in.”
   “Ok, the energy reading seems to be coming from the first floor.  A room at the back of the house.”  Toshiko relays.
   “Can you give me anything else?”
   “No, the energy source is playing havoc with the system.  Sorry.”
   “No worries, I’m getting used to being in the dark.”
The power comes back on as Owen heads through the kitchen.  He runs for the stairs, past the stacked bookcase of old covers.  Owen climbs up the stairs and is surprised by a man on the landing brandishing a gun.  It’s Farrington.
   “Hold it there.”  Farrington calls as Owen continues to climb the stairs towards him, slowly.
   “Evening.  Nice place you’ve got here.  Love what you’ve done with the pictures.”
   “Who are you?  Why aren’t the sensors picking you up?  Ok stop.  Stop or I’ll shoot.”
   “No you won’t.  You’re a security guard.  That gun’s just for show, innit?  Do you know what a bullet does to a living person?  It’s not like a knife through butter.  No, no, no.  It rotates, tears into the flesh and the gooey stuff behind.  Rips into the organs, and uff, it’s not nice.  But anyway, I haven’t got any body heat.  You must know what that means.  You can’t kill a dead man.”
   “What are you?”
   “I'm wrong.”
   “What are you?”
   “I'm broken. I'm Dr Owen Harper.” He snatches the gun from the security man.  “And I'm having one hell of a day.” Using the butt of the gun, he smashes it into Farrington’s face, knocking him out.  Dispensing with Farrington’s gun, Owen cocks the hammer on his own and heads towards Parker’s room.

Outside, Jack and Martha wait to hear from Owen.  Inside the Hub, Gwen, Ianto and Toshiko also await news.
The stone corridors are narrow and adorned with pictures along the walls.  Owen continues towards the old man’s room.

He pulls open a door and enters.  In semi darkness he picks out a cabinet containing alien artefacts on glass shelves.  Raising his side arm, gripping the handle tightly he walks carefully to the double doors leading into Parker’s bedroom and slides them open, putting away his gun as he does so.  He faces a bed shrouded by a veil curtain, monitors and medical equipment either side of the bed, an old man lying in striped pyjamas in the bed appears asleep as he edges closer.  Owen takes his eyes off the man and looks at the array of alien artefacts in glass cases near the window, while the heart monitor bleeps by the bed.   
   “Yes?” Parker says slowly from the bed, startling Owen.
   “It's okay, mate. I'm not going to hurt you. I'm a doctor.”
   “You're a very violent doctor. I've been watching you.” Parker points towards the CCTV monitor beside the bed.
   “Henry Parker, yeah?”  Owen pulls back the net curtain to reveal the old man. 
   “You're Torchwood, yes? Did the American send you?” Jack and Martha hear through Owen’s ear piece, while the others pick up the conversation at the Hub.
   “Yeah, he sent me. How do you know so much about us?”
   “They could've sent that Japanese girl. I liked her.”
   “Yeah, well, I'm sorry you got me.”
   “Is she on your phone thing? The earpiece?”
   “Yeah.”
   “Hello! Just to say that you've got very lovely legs. You should show them off more.”
Toshiko smiles at the compliment.  Parker coughs.
   “What's wrong with you?”
   “Three heart attacks and a failed bypass. But I'm fine because I have this.”  Parker reaches under the bed covers and pulls out the shell shaped alien artefact that glows red. 
   “It's called the Pulse.”
   “You know what it is?”
   “I named it. It's keeping me alive. No, you're not taking it.” Parker pulls back the alien artefact as Owen steps closer to analyse it with the scanner.
   “It could be dangerous; we've been detecting massive energy readings.”
   “I don't care. All I know is it works.”
   “Well, I'm sorry, it doesn't.”
   “What?”
   “The energy isn't going into you. The power's just building up inside that thing. That's what we've been detecting. But it isn't actually doing anything for you.”
   “You're wrong. I can feel it. No, no. I'm not going to die.”
   “Listen, please. Listen to me. There are loads of peoples' lives at risk. If that explodes then we don't know what the fall out will be.”
   “You're young. You don't understand what dying feels like.”
   “Believe me, I do. I really do.”
   “There's nothing there.”
   “Where?”
   “On the other side, nothing. I'm dying. Take away my Pulse and I'm gone. My body decomposing.”
   “You can't stop it, Mr Parker. I'm sorry, but it's going to happen one day.” Owen pulls up a chair.
   “It'll be dark and I'll be alone.”
   “Where are you now? It's dark and you're all alone, so what's the difference?”
   “I don't understand what's keeping me here.” Parker begins to cough, his monitor bleeps erratically.  Owen gives him the oxygen mask.
   “Deep breath, deep breath. It's hope. That thing, it's just hope. Do you really think all this is better than death?”
   “It's got to be. It is better.”
   “You're just scared of the darkness. Join the club. Trust me; I know how shit everything can be.”
   “Don't you sit there pontificating you're just a boy, what do you know about anything? I've travelled the world. I fought in the war. Started my own business, I made a fortune. Married. Widowed. My collection, all of it I've done so much and this is where I ended up. Alone, lying in my own piss. And do you know what I want?”
   “Clean sheets?”
   “I want a steak medium rare, black pepper sauce. Look at me fed through a tube. I might as well be dead already.” The Pulse emits a ray of light and a burst of sound.        
   “I might as well be dead. Why don't you take it? Take it.” Parker hands Owen the Pulse as it makes a light and sound display.
   “Well?”
   “Oh Christ, its dark. I'm alone, I'm so alone.”
Owen takes hold of his hand.
   “It's all right. I'm here with you.”
   “I'm still stuck here, though, in this bed, in the dark.”
   “You know what? I'm going to come back. You and me, we're going to face all of this together. I'm going to help you.”
   “Torchwood.  If you come back, you can tell me all about it tell me what it's like. I want to hear about the aliens and everything. I need to know that there's more out there. That this isn't all there is. Oh come on, I'm dying, who am I going to tell, the Angel Gabriel? If you come back, I won't tell the Japanese girl that you're still holding my hand.”
   “Well, maybe.”
Parker laughs before suddenly coughing and gasping for breath.  The monitor bleeps loudly.  Owen fetches the oxygen mask and ups the oxygen level.
   “Take a deep breath. Mr Parker?”
The monitor flat lines.
   “Henry?”
Owen attempts CPR but realises he has no breath, is crushed that he can’t save the life of the old man. 
   “I'm sorry. I'm so sorry!”

Up on the roof, Maggie listens to Owen

   “I couldn't save him. He needed me to give him air but I couldn't. I've got no breath. Everything I've seen, everything that's out there and it was an old man dying of a heart attack. Just another person dying because of me. Everything that's happened and that was the final straw. Because at that moment, I just wanted it all to end.”  Owen stands up on the ledge and faces out across the dark city. 

Inside Parker’s room, the Hub, outside by the SUV, everyone calls to Owen. 

   “Owen? Owen, can you hear me? Owen, come in!”
   “Yeah, yeah, I'm here.”
   “The device is it doing anything because the energy levels coming from it are. Owen. It's going off the screen. It's going to explode!” The Pulse is radiating light, flickering with colour.
   “Tosh, what can we do?” Jack asks from the SUV.
   “Nothing! There's nothing!” Toshiko replies afraid.
   “It's okay. I'm going to hold it.”
   “Owen, what are you doing?” Jack asks leaning against the bonnet of the SUV.
   “See if I can absorb it.”
   “Owen, the energy reading's off the scale. You won't survive.”
   “Yeah, well, it's okay. These things happen.”
   “There must be something we can do.”
   “Martha, Martha.”
   “Owen?”
   “If it destroys me, they're going to need a new doctor. You've got all the credentials. Medical skills and a cracking arse. Jack? If you even attempt to bring me back again. Gwen, Ianto, it was fun. Mostly. Thank you. Tosh. Tosh, come on, answer me.”
   “Owen.”
  “I'm sorry.”
  “I love you.”          
The Pulse bleeds energy rays around the room, reaching out as Owen holds it against him.  He’s basking in its essence.

On the rooftop…

   “What happened?” Maggie asks standing on the ledge beside Owen.
   “We all assume life's going to be shit, don't we? That it's all just darkness. But you know what? Sometimes, it's not.” Owen steps down from the ledge and takes The Pulse from his rucksack.
   “What is it?” Maggie asks crouching down to get a closer look.
   “Do you remember in the seventies NASA sent messages into space? A map of our solar system, pictures of what we look like. It had images, voices, music. Even a bit of Chuck Berry. Well, this is a reply. Not that we know who from.”
  “Well, what does it do?”
  “It sang to me. It's a glimmer of light in the darkness. See? Sometimes it does get better.”

In Roald Dahl Plass earlier in the evening, the SUV parks up, Ianto and Gwen walk through the basin, to meet up with Owen, Martha and Jack.   

   “Well, I'm sorry, Dr Jones. No vacancies in Cardiff just yet.”
   “That's okay. I reckon you're…I was going to say fine, but you're a hell of a lot more than that.”
   “Thank you…for everything.” Owen hugs Martha. 
   “Oi.” Jack calls over, then laughs.
   “It's what I'm here for.”
Martha receives a hug from Gwen and a kiss on the cheek from Ianto. 
   “You take care.”
   “Thank you.”  She looks at Jack and smiles.  “Well, it's been interesting.”
   “Oh, it's been fun. You know it has.”
Martha reaches up and kisses Jack twice on the lips.  Jack is taken aback.  Martha laughs it off.
   “Well, everyone else has had a go.”
   “You can so come back any time.”
   “Well, maybe I will. One day.” She salutes Jack casually.  Jack returns it, formally.  Martha walks away along the basin.

In the Hub Toshiko has a heart to heart with Owen.
   “Promise me something.”
   “What's that?”
   “No more locking it all away. You tell me when it's bad. Share it with me. Okay?”
   “Okay. Tosh, I'm scared. I'm scared that if I close my eyes I'll get trapped in the darkness.”
Toshiko hooks her arm through Owen’s.
   “I'm here.”
He places his hand on top of hers as he looks at her, knowing she would never desert him.

A short time later Owen walks along the quiet street when a photograph falls to the ground by him.  He picks it up; its Maggie Hopley and her husband in happier times. He looks up at the woman standing on the ledge of the multi storey car park. 

   “That's when I saw you.”
   “I thought you came here to jump?”
   “No, I came here to help.”
Digging out the photo from his pocket, he hands it back to her.
   “What do I do now?” She asks opening up the photo, her heart breaking all over again.
   “You've got a choice. If you think that the darkness is too much, then go for it. But if there is a chance, just some hope. It could be having a cigarette, or that first sip of hot tea on a cold morning, or it could be your mates. But if there's even a tiny glimmer of light then don't you think that's worth taking a chance? What's your name?”
   “Maggie. Maggie Hopley.”
Owen takes hold of her hand.
   “Well, Maggie, it's up to you. Your choice. Do you still want to jump?” Owen holds the Pulse in his left hand as tentacles of light reach out from the alien device. 

   “My name is Owen Harper, and this is my life.”

A wonderful light display swirls from the Pulse stretching out from the rooftop and beyond.


Next month:

Something Borrowed...



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