Episode Breakdown – Adrift
Breakdown by DJ Forrest
Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Mark Everest
It’s nightfall and there’s a full moon. Young Jonah Bevan is making his way home across the barrage. He receives a text from his Mum and grins, looking across the water at the flat where in a lit window his Mum waves to him. He sends her back a message
“Cheeky bugger,” she grins, turning away.
Out of nowhere a strong wind whips up a polystyrene cup into the air. Signs and sheeting begin to flap violently. Jonah looks about him and struggles against the strong gale. It’s impossible to take another step and he’s buffeted against the railings. Suddenly, a powerful light rages down upon him, he screams as he vanishes leaving behind only his mobile on the dark metal bridge.
It’s day time, the barrage is quiet, aside from the gulls that is mewing loudly. PC Andy Davidson paces the walkway back towards Gwen.
“Jonah Bevan, born 15th of February 1993, son of Nikki Bevan and Paul Millet, 14 Cliffs Rise, Penarth.” Andy indicates towards the new flats across the water. “Disappeared walking home from football practice, been missing now for seven months and eleven days. No body, no sightings since that night. Disappeared right where we're standing.”
“Which is where we found this,” Andy hands over a plastic bag containing Jonah’s mobile phone. “He sent a text to his mum, she was looking out the window and they waved to each other. She’s certain everywhere was deserted.” Gwen hands back the evidence bag.
“What about the investigation?” Gwen asks staring off into the distance.
“Usual procedure - searched the home, checked the computer, spoken to all known friends and relatives, made publicity appeals, but no significant leads... And look, sorry, is this beneath you now?” Andy suspects Gwen isn’t as interested as he is about the case.
“Then what's with the attitude? You've got a face like a slapped arse.”
“I’m waiting for you to tell me where you were.”
“Where I was when?”
“At the wedding.”
“I rang you. I had to work.
changed the rota at the last minute. You know how it is.” Temple
“I checked the duty logs. You weren’t working. You had three days off.”
“What, are you spying on me now?”
“I thought we were mates. And you just don't turn up!”
“I just thought being as Rhys has got a problem with me...”
“Rhys thinks you're great! It's you who has a problem with him! Ever since I’ve known you you’ve always made sarky comments about his weight!”
“Well, he could stand to lose a couple of pounds... “
“Let it go! Let it go.”
“Yeah, well, I can't! All right? I don't want to sit there and watch you pledge your stupid life to him! I've got better things to do of a Saturday! Happy now?”
“Oh, Andy!” Gwen turns back from the railings and nudges him. Andy shrugs her off.
“I thought we'd been through all this. I mean you're a lovely fella and stuff.”
“It's not like a bloody tap. I can't just switch it off.”
“But this was like what, three years ago. I mean, look I didn't know... I didn't realise you still had feelings...”
“Yeah well I don't, all right? I just had a moment. Don't flatter yourself.”
“OK! If you want to talk about it...”
“I wanna talk about this kid. Jonah.”
“Teenagers go missing all the time. I mean, why is this one so special?”
“I was the first one here. I sat with his mum all night and all the next day. Every time I tell her we've got nothing new, I see a bit of her die.”
“Anything strange about the case?”
“Like you don't know.” Andy mocks before walking away. Puzzled, Gwen follows.
On the other side of the barrage, Gwen views the CCTV from the night of the disappearance. She watches Jonah walk along the barrage in a series of shots then vanish.
“What just happened?”
“Exactly. The camera records one frame every six seconds.”
“He could've done a lot in six seconds, jumped over the side, hidden somewhere.”
“No, he's looking at something. Look, something’s glowing, just out of the camera's line of sight. Like a flare, it's not there in the previous frame... or the next.”
“Could be one of the lights on the Barrage.”
“All right, stop lying. You know what happened here. Why aren't you telling me?”
“What are you talking about, Andy?”
“Right... 45 minutes later...” Andy moves the clips along, while Gwen glances away from the screen. “What's your mate Mulder doing there?”
Gwen turns back to the images and spies her boss exiting the SUV.
“No recognisable rift activity around the Barrage on that date.” Toshiko tells Gwen as she reads from the data on her computer screen at the Hub a while later.
“What about if you tried...?”
“I ran checks for three months either side. Then extended the radius by a mile and checked again. Still nothing.”
“When did you say this was?” Jack pushes the Webley into its holster as he gets ready to go out.
“About seven months back. Were you on the Barrage that night?” Gwen reminds him, as she stands in his office.
“They have this cute little coffee shack. I sometimes stop by there.” He tells her as he fixes his belt with the side arm.
“A boy went missing. Just under an hour before you were there.”
”Jonah Bevan, 15 years old. I thought maybe you were out there because of him.”
“Maybe if we'd registered rift activity.”
“No. I just checked with Tosh. It was all clear.”
“Sorry, can’t help.” He heads towards the door, but stops and turns back to face Gwen. “Do you want me to look into it for you?”
“No, it's fine. So it was just a coincidence then?”
“Guess so. Gotta run. Weevil hunting with Ianto.” He says with a hint of excitement in his voice and his step.
Night time and Gwen shakes a sachet of sugar for her coffee as a couple stumble into the coffee shop, distracting her and Andy for all of a few moments.
“So, you're covering it up then?”
“Jack said it was a coincidence. I can't help.”
“Thanks a lot. Should've known, bloody Torchwood. Fob me off, why don't you?”
“No. If there was something going on, I would tell you.”
“Do you know what's happened to you, Gwen? You've got hard.”
“Yeah? Well, maybe I've had to.”
“You used to care. You used to be bothered about people. Didn't matter who they were, or what they did. And now you're talking about coincidence, like people go missing all the time. Like it's a fact of life. The old Gwen would have been up there to see Nikki Bevan in a flash. You're one of them now, aren't you? Too busy to bother with one missing child. What is it, not major enough for you? Not spooky enough? Sorry to bother you.” Andy takes his leave.
Nikki Bevan’s door bell rings. She opens the door to Gwen Cooper.
“Nikki Bevan? Gwen Cooper. I'm working with the police on Jonah's disappearance.”
Nikki smiles and steps aside. She leads the way into the lounge where the floor is covered with a large assortment of video tapes.
“Andy said you might be round.”
“Oh, he did, did he?”
“Reckons you've got a different area of expertise, what is it, forensics?”
“I'm just a fresh eye.”
“Sorry about the mess.”
“Wow, film fan, are you?”
“It's all crowd footage. Ever since he went. Football matches, concerts, festivals... Anywhere there's a crowd, I record it. Go through it, frame by frame, checking every face. Sometimes I think it's him, but the picture's so grainy, I spend hours looking at one corner of the screen. But then the next day, I check again and it's not.” She sighs heavily. ”It's the hope that's killing me.”
“Even if you saw him, what would you do?”
“Find someone that was with him. If I could just let him know I saw him. He's gotta be out there somewhere.” Nikki pauses for a beat. “Do you think I'm mad?”
“No, I think you'd make a great policewoman.”
Nikki shows Gwen her son’s room and sits down on the
duvet cover adorning the bed. Above the
headboard is an array of football lights.
Posters hang on the walls along with a skeleton. Gwen leans against the door frame.
“His room's as he left it?”
“I sleep in here some nights. Bury my head in the pillow. It still smells of him. Except, the more I do it, the more it smells like me. I keep his diary for him. I sit in here and imagine I'm him.” She says lifting down his diary with a skull and bones on the front cover. Nikki pauses, her mind full of doubt.
“What do you think I did wrong?”
“Maybe I was too nosey... or not interested enough. Maybe he felt unloved. All I've got is questions.”
In the hallway Gwen asks after Jonah’s dad.
“We were only together about six weeks. I thought when he first went missing and was on the telly, his dad might get in touch. But no, still manages to disappoint.” As Gwen reaches for the door handle, Nikki calls her back, lifting a leaflet from a side table.
“Oh, hang on! Andy tried to find me a support group, but there weren't any. So I thought I'd set one up myself. It's our first meeting. Will you come?”
“Oh, I dunno.”
“Andy'll be there. And I'm gonna do food. Oh, come on. I don't wanna be sat there on my own.”
“I'll try, I've got to go.” Gwen checks her phone and makes her exit.
Rhys is not best pleased as Gwen enters the flat, full of apologies. He switches off the television.
“It was a work thing, time just got away from me. Ooh, wine! We can do it another time though, yeah?”
“This is the fourth another time, Gwen! You said you'd cook.”
Gwen pours herself a large glass of wine.
“When are we gonna have this talk?”
“Let's do it now. Come on, now's good, I'm ready. Babies. Now.”
“Do you think I’ve changed?”
“Since I joined Torchwood. Am I different?”
“It's just something Andy said. OK, let me just tell you this one thing, OK?”
“He still fancies me.”
Rhys laughs hysterically.
“Don't laugh, Rhys. That's why he didn't come to the wedding.”
“Bloody hell. Poor sod.”
“Oi! I am a very sexy lady... and you are a very lucky man! Just remember that, OK?” Lifting the glass of wine, Gwen unzips her coat in a short sharp action that catches Rhys’ attention.
“We're not gonna talk about kids tonight, are we?”
“We could do some practising.”
Rhys doesn’t need any further encouragement as they make their way to the bedroom.
In the daylight hours, Gwen enters the bedroom loudly with a plateful of toast. Blinking sleep from his eyes, Rhys sits up in bed.
“Tell me you love me!”
“Gimme the toast.”
“Come on, tell me you love me first!”
“Gimme the toast first!”
“Tell me you love me!”
Gwen’s mobile rings.
She answers it.
“I've dug up some new data on that night at the Barrage. I think you might wanna take a look at it.” Tosh explains from the Hub.
“I'll be right there.” Gwen hangs up.
“Deserting me, are you?” Rhys chides.
“Yep.” She kisses him. “Ugh, crumbs.” Gwen climbs off the bed and leaves under protest.
Gwen arrives at the Hub and Toshiko’s workstation.
“Hey, what have you got?”
“It's barely a blip on the system. So insignificant, I've been ignoring it. But when I looked closer... This is what we recognise as standard rift activity.” Toshiko explains as the monitor displays bursts of energy on the screen in a series of graphs or stalagmites. “But what I've discovered is a negative rift spike that occurred at the time you're querying. Now, we've always assumed that these readings were residual rift flares. Like an aftershock. But, because this one coincided with Jonah's disappearance, I think we've been misinterpreting.”
“So, we've always believed that things can only come through the Rift one way. What if we're wrong? What if the rift doesn't just leave stuff behind? What if it also takes?”
“Who else have you told about this?”
“No-one. I called you as soon as I realised. But it could be a coincidence, or an anomaly. I can't be sure unless I can cross-reference it with other examples.”
“Tosh, Can we keep this to ourselves? There's something I have to do.”
“Whatever you think is best.”
“Thank you so much, you're such a sweetheart.”
Gwen leaves as quickly as she had arrived.
Gwen stares at the notice board outside a village hall. The poster for Searchlight takes her interest. The first meeting is tonight, Monday the 27th. Andy arrives casually dressed.
“You're looking into it, then.”
“Still the same old me.”
“Yeah, well, I dunno why I bother, you're so rude.”
“How's Rhys? Other than hungry.” Andy asks following Gwen into the village hall.
Inside, Nikki greets them. They’re the only people there. Nikki has prepared food and a tea urn sits on a folding table near the stage.
“Oh. It's you two.” She sounds disappointed.
“Oh, that's nice.”
“I thought there'd be more here by now. It's gonna just be me, isn't it?”
“No, I'm sure it won't. People will come.”
“Yeah, you know, "If you build it, they will come". Field Of Dreams? No? Just me, then.”
“Anyway, sit down.”
Once seated Andy leans towards Gwen and mutters quietly to her.
“It is gonna be just us, isn't it?”
“Hi. Um... We're looking for Nikki.”
“Yeah, that's me. Come in. It's brilliant you found us. There's food there, drinks, so help yourself.”
“Is this missing persons?”
“Yeah. Come in. Erm, do you wanna drink?”
The hall begins to fill with many people, from all walks of life. Nikki accommodates them all, with tea and food. Gwen and Andy give up their seats for them.
“Bloody hell! How many of them are there?”
Overwhelmed Gwen leaves the hall. Andy eventually finds her and comes over.
“It's getting a bit too much now.” She says leaning against the outside wall of the hall, behind the noticeboard. Andy comes over to join her.
“I dunno what you mean.”
“I said I'd help you look for one lad. What about all those people in there, what... 40, 50? Am I supposed to help all them, too?”
“Course not. Just focus on Jonah. The rest aren't part of this investigation.”
Suddenly it all makes sense to Gwen.
“But they are. Of course they are.”
“No, no, they're not!”
“Find a pattern. Find out what happens, we might find Jonah.”
“Brilliant. You're brilliant! I've gotta go.”
Gwen hurriedly races off.
“Where you going?”
In the Hub some time later…
“Cross-referencing?” Toshiko repeats.
“You said we need more data to be certain the rift takes people. List of all missing persons in
over the last ten years. I'll deal with the personal details, and I'm sending
you dates, locations and approximate times they went missing.” Gwen tells Toshiko as she taps away on her
“And you want me to check the dates they went missing, against negative rift spikes?”
“Yes, I do, and I'll dig out any CCTV footage.”
“What about Jack? Do we tell him what we're doing?”
“When we're sure. Tosh, if we can prove you were right, we can start looking for the people who've been taken, maybe even try and stop it from happening.”
Gwen and Toshiko research through CCTV, data on Rift spikes. They search through photos of missing people, their locations and when Rift spikes occurred, they narrow their searches.
Gwen begins to gather up the Missing Person’s posters and array them on the wall of one of the stone rooms in the Hub. While Toshiko compiles red dots on a map pinpointing clearly where the negative Rift spikes have occurred. A bell begins to toll as Gwen marks each document under RIFT SPIKE with a red marker. Soon the room is full of Missing Person posters. It’s more than just Jonah, it seems half the city have been reported missing.
Toshiko is horrified at the number as she enters the room.
“Oh, my God! There are really this many?” Toshiko says coming into the room finally.
“Now we tell Jack.”
The Boardroom shortly after…
has an epidemic of missing persons, totally out of kilter with any other
comparable city. And it’s all down to the rift.” Cardiff
“Are you sure they aren't just normal missing persons? People do go missing for other reasons.”
“No. Toshiko cross-referenced the locations with the rift spikes. The people we’ve identified here are definitely victims of the rift.”
“What do we think happens to them?”
“Scattered through time and space, I guess.”
“Cheery thought, thank you.”
“This is good work. But I don't know what you want us to do.”
“We find a way to prevent it.”
“Toshiko, can we predict when the spikes are gonna happen?”
“Er, No. And they're gone in a matter of seconds.”
“Then I don't know how we combat them.”
“Jack, we have a duty here. These people are victims of the Rift. If they’d been attacked by a Weevil...”
“Weevils we can catch. If they're victims, we fix their wounds, but this, we don't know when it's gonna happen; we don't know where they end up. Seriously, Gwen.”
“Practically, tell me what we should do.”
Everyone looks at Gwen.
“We help those left behind.”
Jack looks down.
“It's nothing to do with us. Move on.”
“Jack, you should see these people...”
“Some things we can't fix.”
“So we don't even try?”
“Look, Jack's right. They need counselling. Support. That is not us.”
“Ah, OK, is that what you all think? We are the only ones who know the truth. We can help them. We don't have to be this hard. It's not a badge of honour...!”
“Close this down.” Jack insists leaving the room.
“Jack!” Gwen calls after him.
Ianto gets to his feet and follows after Jack but turns back to Gwen.
“I'll talk to him.”
So, is that it, then? We just sweep it under the carpet?
"God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change".
“Oh, bollocks to serenity.”
“For a lovely girl, you've got a very dirty mouth.”
“I'm with Jack.” Owen takes his leave.
“We did our best.”
Jack glances back at Gwen from the corridor, before turning back to Ianto his anger rising. After a few moments, Jack leaves under his own steam.
It’s sometime later, after a trying time at work that Gwen sits under the spreading boughs of a tree in quiet contemplation while Rhys babbles on about babies while unpacking the sandwiches from the blue carrier bag at his side.
“So on the one hand, you've got blokes like Mo, who swears it's the best thing he's done in his life. And then on the other, you've got Big Dave, who says it feels like his life has ended and now he's a second class citizen in his own house. Although to be fair, he said his life had ended when Suzy made him ditch the bike...”
“Will you just stop wittering? Thank you. God...”
“It's not wittering. It's talking. We're supposed to be talking. I've been trying to talk to you for a week but for some reason you don't want to.”
“Oh wake up, Rhys! What's the point? We don't need a talk! It takes two seconds' thought! How are we supposed to have kids with my job? Torchwood does not do maternity leave! "Oh I’m sorry Jack, I'd love to help out with the aliens, but I can't get a babysitter! No no no I'll sort out that bomb once I've dropped Rhys Junior off at nursery". Stop dancing around it, it’s a dead question!”
Anger builds up inside of Rhys. He’s hurt by her outburst.
“You know, sometimes I fucking hate you! I mean, look at you, caught up in your little group, like nothing else matters. Like being a hero is an end in itself. Well it’s not. You save this city. Well done. You save the world, whatever. What for?”
“Why are you doing it? What are you trying to protect? What are you fighting for Gwen?”
“Because if I don't, Rhys...”
“Shut up, I'm talking now, right? You do it so people can live their lives. And there's nothing more important than that. Falling in love, getting married, buying flats, having kids, or not. But real life. That's what you're protecting. And if you're starting to think that your shit is more important than real life... then we're not gonna last very long here, love.”
“I'm sorry. There's this thing at work...”
“I don't care! I don’t care. When you're with me, we deal with us, right? Our lives. You got a problem at work, you sort it at work.”
Gwen turns a big key to open the cog door. The alarms echo around the building as she enters. The door rolls shut behind her.
She sees shadows upstairs in the Hothouse and heads on up.
Without thinking, Gwen pushes the glass door and walks in on an extremely busy Jack and Ianto.
“Jack, I...Oh, God!” She laughs, embarrassed and steps out. “I'm sorry.”
Completely unashamed, Jack grins, but Ianto can’t get dressed quick enough. He leaves the room as Gwen makes her way back along the gangplank. She turns back when she hears Ianto exit.
“Ianto, I'm sorry, I didn't realise.”
“It doesn't matter.”
“And I wouldn't have come in if I'd known...”
“Always room for one more.” Jack replies, shirt on but loose. Hand on his hip he teases Gwen as he leans on the railing. “We could’ve used you an hour ago for naked hide-and-seek.”
“He cheats. He always cheats.” Ianto laughs.
“Was there something you wanted?” Jack asks with more of a serious tone in his voice.
“Jonah Bevan. The missing boy. I'll make it my own special project, my responsibility, nothing to do with anyone else. I'm not letting it go.”
“I don't know how I can be any clearer.”
“Oh, well... Tosh has her projects, so does Ianto. Why can't I?”
“Leave it alone.”
Gwen digs in her heels, Jack refuses to drop it either. After a few moments he looks directly at Ianto.
“Coming back in? Work to do.”
“Jack! We're not finished!”
“Yes, we are.” He replies before entering the hothouse. The door closes behind him.
Ianto pauses before he enters. He looks back at Gwen.
“Er... There's a package on your desk.”
At her desk Gwen lifts the large package already open, and lifts out the device inside. Her phone rings. It’s Andy.
“You still working?”
“Thought so. There's a cup of tea here 'with your name on it.'”
PC Andy Davidson toys with the electronic device at the table of the café. Gwen sits opposite with her cup of tea.
“And you think this will help us with the Jonah Bevan case?”
“Andy Just leave it will you, this is high tech stuff.”
“Sorry, no. It's GPS.”
“Global Positioning System. About as high tech as...oh, my mobile phone. What you've got here is a glorified map. Ooh, X marks the spot, eh? X being the middle of the
Bristol Channel. Oh, no, hang on, sorry,
Who's sending you out there then? That's just deserted scrubland.” Flat Holm Island
“Couldn’t get us a refill could you?”
“While you bask in my technical brilliance?”
As Andy fetches more tea, Gwen calls Ianto back at the Hub.
“You left me that package, didn't you?”
“Ianto?” Jack shouts from somewhere in the Hub.
“I dunno what you mean.”
“Ianto What's going on?”
“IANTO!”. Jack yells.
Ianto glances up towards the Hothouse and bids Gwen a good night.
“Ianto don't you…” but he’s hung up.
“Right, so first thing in the morning, we hire a boat. I know a couple of boat skippers who owe me a favour. So we’ll head out to Flat Holm, poke around, see if we can't sort this out.” Andy says retaking his seat with two refills.
“Or even better, you get me the boat and I'll tell you what I find.”
“No boat trip, no boat. I'm part of this.”
“But you do as I say.”
“Yeah, course. Listen, I was going to ask - promise me you won't laugh - have you got any vacancies coming up? You know, with Torchwood. Cos I was thinking, I'm great to work with. You know you could tip them the wink.”
Entering her flat Gwen notices bedding on the floor outside of the bedroom. Clearly, she’s still in the doghouse.
It’s an early morning at the harbour. A vendor is selling hot food and drink from his van, while Gwen runs along the jetty towards Andy as he shakes hands with the boatman.
“Fifty quid.” Andy informs her as he strides over.
“That's a bit steep, innit? Offer him 35.”
“Gwen, I'm not being funny, if you wanna haggle, go to
“All right, 50 quid.”
“Open waves, here we come.”
“Get us a couple of teas before we go.”
“You're kidding? You're not kidding. I dunno...” Andy heads off towards the vendor as Gwen strikes a better deal with the boatman and leaves Andy onshore.
“Oi!” Andy shouts carrying two teas in plastic cups. But it’s too late, the boat is too far out.
“I’m sorry, Andy!”
, Gwen waves the
little fishing boat off and pulls out the GPS.
It bleeps steadily. She pockets
it and goes exploring. The island itself
has underground bunkers and a large white lighthouse. She goes inside, climbing the spiral staircase
right up to the large light room at the top.
She stares out and spies three people below her, two wearing red
trousers, one covered with a blanket over their head, and walking behind them
another, unmistakeable in his greatcoat.
Gwen watches them for a beat, spying the block of buildings the group are walking towards and heads off in that direction.
She hurries along the narrow pathway from the lighthouse towards what appears to be a derelict building. Cautiously, she peers in. It’s black as night inside. Gwen enters the building, with the red bricked walls and takes out her torch, switching it on. She continues to descend the steps.
At the end of a long corridor on the right hand wall, a box buzzes wildly. Gwen removes the cover to see a bright red light and a buzzer button below it. She gives it a good hard press, and repeats it a moment or two later.
“'Alright! Who are you?'” Comes a voice through the intercom.
“Torchwood, access code 474317432. I'm with Jack Harkness.”
“'He's supposed to warn us about visitors.'”
“Law unto himself, isn't he?” Gwen laughs.
The intercom falls quiet. The metal door opens and a woman greets her wearing red but a blue headscarf.
“And he knows we’ll always forgive him.” She smiles, gesturing for Gwen to enter.
With some hesitation, Gwen follows.
Along the corridor Gwen spies names chalked on boards. An orderly pushes a patient in a wheelchair to a room off to the left. Screaming is heard coming from a distant room.
In the television room, a woman with a scarred face stares at a television screen protected by a metal grille. She glances towards Gwen and Helen and quickly covers her face, ashamed of her looks and returns to her room.
“This your first time? We all find it difficult at first. Are you looking for anyone in particular?”
“Yes. How many people are down here?”
Gwen sees another chalked name: Earl, Saeed. She hears someone sobbing and looks in on one of the rooms. A man with his head in his hands is crying.
“Is he ok?”
“We do our best to help him.”
As Helen moves on down the corridor, Gwen passes another chalked name and whispers it.
Gwen rounds another corridor and is about to demand why these people are here when it begins to click into place. She gasps, clasping her hands to her mouth. Of course! Just as the bell tolled, she saw their names, their faces, their details on the wall of the Interrogation room. These were the names of the Missing People of the Negative Rift Spikes.
“Are you all right?”
“Oh, my God... They're here. What are you doing to them? What's going on here? Tell me!”
“I'll take it from here, Helen.” Gwen hears the all too familiar voice of her Captain. “It was Ianto, wasn't it?”
“What are you doing?”
“I can explain.” Jack takes a step towards her, but Gwen, backs away. Her sense of trust in Jack faltering.
“Nooo, no, no, no. You stay away from me!”
“Gwen Let's go outside and talk ... “
“These are the people taken by the Rift, what are they doing here? What have you done?” She sees another chalk name – Jonah!
“Gwen, listen to me.”
“He's here. He's been here all along.”
“It's not that simple.”
“Gwen, before I... “
The shift of authority grated on Jack. He was her leader, but Gwen’s emotional feelings towards the human race and especially the case of the missing 15 year old boy were too strong. His eyes never leaving hers, Jack walked around her and opened the door with a key card. Gwen entered. Jack stalked back up the corridor.
Inside Jonah’s room of grey green walls, made nicer by a pot plant in an alcove, Gwen called from the doorway.
She could hear heavy breathing coming from within.
“I’m looking for Jonah.”
A man’s voice answered. Gwen paused in the short hallway.
“Am I in the right room?”
“Yes, I’m Jonah.” The man replied getting to his feet. He was a tall man heavily scarred from goodness knows what. This isn’t the person she was expecting to see in Jonah Bevan’s room.
“Erm... I'm sorry. I must be in the wrong room. The Jonah Bevan I'm looking for is 15 years old and he went missing from the Barrage.”
“That was me. Who are you?”
“My name is Gwen Cooper... and I'm with Torchwood. What... what's happened to you?”
“I was walking home. There was a light.” He tells her retaking his seat back on his bed. “I woke up and the land was on fire, there were flames, for miles on end. A man pulled me from the flames. Took me to a building, where they tried to work on the burns. I thought I was going to die. I don't remember when the ground started shaking, and then I realised it wasn't a building after all. It was a rescue craft, the last off a burning planet. We watched the Solar System burn. It was so beautiful.”
“I am so sorry for what's happened to you.”
With much wheezing, Jonah gets to his feet again. Gwen backs away, unsure of his motives.
“Can I trust you to tell the truth?” He asks, holding out his hands.
Emotionally, Gwen takes hold of them both.
“Am I really home?”
“Yes. You're home.”
“Jonah, I've come because your mother is still looking for you.”
“She's still alive?”
“You've only been gone for seven months. She never stopped looking.”
“I tried so hard to come home. I was lost so long.”
“You're safe now, you are safe.”
“Can I see her? Can you bring her here?”
“Is that what you want?”
Sitting on a grassy bank in the sunshine, staring out to sea, Gwen is joined by Captain Jack Harkness who takes a seat beside her.
“When I took over Torchwood, there were two, just like Jonah. Ravaged from falling through the rift. Being kept in the vaults, neglected. I wanted them looked after. I set this place up. Told the staff these were experiments that had gone wrong.”
“How many are there?”
“Seventeen, last count. It's increased over the last year. Like the rift is trying to correct its mistakes.”
“But not all the missing return.”
“You can't keep them hidden. They have families who deserve to know...”
“Gwen, they're sick. In ways you could never imagine. We can't fix them. We just care for them.”
“Jonah's asked me to bring Nikki here.”
“She has a right to know. “
“She said not knowing is the worst part.”
“How are you going to tell her her child has aged 40 years in the last seven months? That he's scarred, that he cannot look after himself... “
“We don't have the right to hide it from her!”
“If you tell her, you have to tell her about the Rift and Torchwood.”
“Then I will.”
“What if she doesn't believe you?”
“I have to try. We owe her the truth. Jack, if you'd lost someone, wouldn't you want to know?”
Jack looks away.
“Let me try.” She asks, placing her hand upon his. “Please.”
After a few moments he looks back at Gwen.
alone. Flat Holm Island
From her flat, Nikki stares with hope at the Barrage. Smiling, she returns her gaze back to Gwen standing in her lounge, with news of her own.
“We've got another meeting on Tuesday. Will you come to that, or..?” Nikki senses from Gwen’s manner that something is wrong. She takes a seat on the arm of a chair and braces herself.
“You're not here for small talk.”
“I've found Jonah.”
“Is he dead? “
“ Is he hurt?”
“We're looking after him.”
“Where? Can I see him?” Relief spreads across her face, she gasps emotionally, on the verge of crying.
Gwen takes her hands as she comes over and sits opposite her.
“Nikki, there are things I have to tell you first, and all I’m asking is you trust me.”
Andy’s phone rings as he descends the stairs at the Police station. He sighs when he sees the caller’s name. Reluctantly he answers it.
“'Andy, I know you hate me right now.'”
“ I'm hanging up.”
“No, please don't. It's about Nikki. I found Jonah.”
“'I can't tell you that.'”
“Oh, here we go again! Piss off, why don't you?”
“I've got Nikki with me. I've told her about Torchwood and about what we do. I need you to confirm to her that I'm not mad or dangerous or a liar.”
“You used me, Gwen.”
“'That's how you see me, isn't it?' Occasionally useful. Worth stringing along, in case I can ever help you.”
“You'd never recommend for me to join Torchwood, would you?”
“I want to take Nikki to see Jonah. But you've got to tell her she can trust me. We can fix this, Andy. 'We can make it right.'”
“Put her on.”
Sitting content in her life jacket, Nikki looks forward to being reunited with her son, Jonah.
On Flat Holm, Helen escorts Gwen and Nikki to the door of Jonah’s room. It’s a hell hole of a place and not the sort of place Nikki ever expected to find her son in.
“OK... where is he?”
Helen swipes the card to open Jonah’s door.
“Remember what I said. You’re not going to recognise him at first.”
“He’s aged. He's been injured...”
“I just want to see him.”
“You understand what I've told you now, Nikki. He's not a child any more. “
“It doesn't matter. I have to see him. Let me see him.”
As the door opens, shedding light into the room, Jonah has his back to them. He wheezes heavily.
“I can't see you. Jonah?”
“No. No!” Nikki backs away from the room. This isn’t her baby, this is not her Jonah.
“It's OK, Mum, it's me, it's OK.”
Gwen takes hold of Nikki, afraid that she’d bolt.
“I'm sorry, I'm really, really sorry.”
“What're you doing? What have you done to me?” Nikki cries as she turns on Gwen.
“Nikki, I promise, this is Jonah.”
“That is not my son!” She points towards him.
Jonah lowers his head, upset by his mother’s tone.
“Get me out, I want to get out of here.”
“Will you listen? This is him.”
“You are sick!”
“All of you!”
“Did you fix my wardrobe door? We bought it flat-pack, made it together. The bottom left hinge keeps coming loose. You said you'd sort it.”
“Every evening you buy a bottle of beer. You let me sneak one sip. Just the one. Don’t want to get a habit, right?”
“You've two alarms cos you always sleep through the first.”
“ Make him stop!”
“You talk about the day when you can earn decent money and afford yourself some decent make-up.”
“I'm not hearing this! “
“You won't buy me a double bed cos you don't understand what I need it for.”
“When I ask why you haven't got married, you say, "I'll never be lonely, cos I've always got you." It's me, Mum. It's me.” He cries.
(Aaand I’m an emotional wreck..where’s the hankies)
“Jonah?” She smiles through the tears, the realisation that this is her boy, not wanting to know, feeling it was a terrible terrible sick joke.
“I’ve been so lost. I've walked for years, trying to get home. I'm sorry.”
“That night. I was late. I'm sorry.“
Nikki reaches a hand to touch his scarred face. Like a child, he pulls her close and hugs her, both crying.
“The sights I’ve seen, Mum.”
“It'll take time.”
“Look... It'll be OK.” Nikki has her boy back, she’s happy once more.
“You have to leave Jonah now.”
“Helen, I'm fine.”
“It's for your own benefit.”
“No. I'm taking him home now.”
“Nikki, stop for a second. You can't just take him out of here.”
Jonah retakes his seat on the edge of the bed.
“I know how to look after my child. I'll tell them he's my father. I can take care of him...!”
“We can't allow that. “
“He's my son, I say what's allowed! “
“Jonah?” Gwen notices a change in Jonah.
“It's started again.” He says.
“He's starting the downswing.”
“What’s a downswing?”
“What is it? Jonah?”
“You've seen him in the good phase. It gets briefer every day. It really might be best if you leave. “
“Oh, it's all right, sweetheart, I'm here.”
“Make it stop!”
“I ever wish I could. Please, it would be better if you didn't stay. “
“I'm not leaving. I'm not leaving him.”
“Then you should move away.” Helen tells them, ushering them back.
“Why? Will you tell me why?!”
Jonah can’t control the torment any more and let’s out a deafening scream. Gwen and Nikki clap their hands to their ears and back away.
'I'd never heard a sound like it. This primal howl. The scream lasts 20 hours every day.’
On the journey back from Flat Holm…
'Before the Rift returned him, Jonah had looked into the heart of a dark star. What he'd seen had driven him mad.'
Nikki is completely devastated. She finds her son only to lose him all over again.
One week later.
Gwen enters Nikki’s flat, Nikki, arms folded, dressed in grey, closes the door and walks ahead of her into the lounge. Gwen follows her in.
“They say you can visit... whenever you like. When he's in a good phase. “
“Promise me you won't do this to anyone else. Before, I had the memory. Whenever I thought of him, I'd see him laughing with his mates, playing football, scoffing his breakfast. And now I just hear that... that terrible noise.”
“I thought you wanted to know what happened to him.“
“I did. I was wrong. It was better when I didn't know. Before you I had hope.”
Gwen leaves hurriedly, Nikki watches her leave before looking down, broken.
In the Interrogation room, Gwen begins to remove all the notes of the missing people.
In her flat she once shared with her 15 year old son, Nikki bags up all the video tapes. She lifts Jonah’s diary and pauses a moment.
Gwen continues to remove posters from the walls of the Interrogation room.
Nikki folds away the
Liverpool football duvet and packs it
into a large cardboard box. She lifts
his figures and games from his chest of drawers and puts them into another
cardboard box sat on the bed.
Gwen puts the files away in drawers as Nikki opens the wardrobe and stares at Jonah’s clothes. She lifts out a green shirt, as Gwen stares at Jonah’s file and touches his face in the photo.
Nikki inhales the scent of the shirt until she can hold back her tears no longer. She sits on his bed and cries for the 15 year old boy she will never get back.
Gwen closes the drawer shut and leaves the room, unaware that Jack is standing in the archway. He spies the ‘Missing’ file on the drawer of the filing cabinet and walks away.
In the flat that she shares with her husband, Gwen lights a candle. The door closes behind her and Rhys enters. She turns to face him, the table behind her set for a meal with wine, and apology flowers.
“Apology is it?” He smiles.
“Tonight, we talk about what you want. Kids... the future, anything you want.”
“Are you all right?”
Gwen nods, but Rhys can see that something is clearly wrong. He walks over and embraces her.
“Hey, come here.”
“I’m sorry.” Gwen sobs.
“Do you want to sit down?”
Without removing his jacket, Rhys sits on the sofa with Gwen, who cuddles into him as he holds her close and kisses her forehead.
“Now then, you tell me everything…from the beginning.”
“There’s this woman, Nikki. She had a son…Jonah. He went missing seven months ago…”