Monday, 12 October 2015

Articles Episode Breakdown: Fragments by DJ Forrest



Episode Breakdown: Fragments

By DJ Forrest



Written by Chris Chibnall
Directed by Jonathan Fox Bassett
Original Broadcast 21 March, 2008.


On a dry day, on an old abandoned site with derelict red bricked buildings, the Torchwood SUV hurtles into view, skidding to a halt.  Four members of Torchwood Three exit.  Ianto, sends Gwen the co-ordinates of their location, while he follows Jack, Owen and Toshiko towards the building where suspect alien activity has been detected.  The four strong team are armed and ready.
   ‘So, sure they're not Weevils?’
   ‘Don't think so. Different energy patterns. I can't make sense of it. Not a species we've encountered before.’
   ‘Well, let's hope they're friendly, then.’
   ‘Owen, Ianto, take the other side of the building. Check the upper floors,Toshiko with me.’ Jack instructs.
Owen and Ianto run on ahead to a large mill dead ahead of them.

Inside the building Jack edges cautiously towards one of the empty corridors while Toshiko hangs back.
   ‘Okay? Go.’ Jack says, as both take an exit.  The large corridor is empty but Toshiko’s hand held scanner is bleeping erratically.
   ‘I'm getting mirror readings on both floors. One creature at either end of the building.’
   ‘Toshiko, split up.’ Jack replies, clicking his fingers.  Both head off in different directions. 
In another area, Owen and Ianto do the same.
   ‘You know, these creatures are very quiet.’
   ‘Maybe they're sleeping.’
   ‘Or hatching.’
   ‘Or maybe they aren't creatures at all.’ Toshiko replies, spotting a square boxlike object on the ground with a digital timer.
   ‘Just explosive devices.’ Jack locates one at his end too.
With three seconds on the object, Ianto is horrified.
   ‘Snap.’ Owen replies with 2 seconds on the clock.
The countdown from 5 reaches zero, the building explodes, belching dust and debris from all available windows….

All is quiet in Gwen and Rhys’ flat as the mobile sings out.  Gwen awakens with a gasp and realisation that she overslept. 
   ‘Shit.’ She says grabbing her phone from the floor. 
   ‘You have one message.’
   ‘Gwen, texting you the location. Appearing four or five signs of life.’ It’s Ianto with the co-ordinates.  Gwen scrambles out of bed.
   ‘Shit.’

In the ruins of the building, as ceiling brickwork continues to tumble to the ground, Jack, lies crushed under fallen brickwork.

Flashback…

1,392 deaths earlier…

Jack gasps back into life, wearing Victorian attire, side burns, with a broken bottle protruding from his abdomen. 
   ‘Oh, not again.’
He cries out at the bottle and leaning back against the wicker basket behind him, eases out the bottle, that’s as painful coming out as it was going in.  Two Victorian ladies Emily and Alice are watching him. Jack notices.
   ‘Ladies.’  He laughs.  ‘Torso of steel, shilling a feel. Any takers?’  He pulls himself up, still in considerable pain.  ‘Bar fight, got a little out of control. Flesh wound. Whoa. Whoa! Still not used to these…hangovers.’  He tells them, aware that announcing that he still can’t get used to ‘coming back to life’ might scare some people. 
The ladies walk casually towards him.
  ‘Captain Jack Harkness. How long have you been there? Silent types. That's okay. I used to date a guy with no mouth. Surprisingly creative.’
Alice, the brunette, punches Jack in the stomach, before bringing up her knee into his face.  Jack falls heavily to the ground.  Before he can react, Emily sits on his chest.  
   ‘Listen, you only had to ask. Can we get a room, though?’
Removing a cloth handkerchief from her sleeve, Emily forces it into Jack’s mouth, laced with chloroform, Jack passes out.

In the basement of their headquarters, Jack wakes up tied to a chair and sopping wet.
   ‘When I said about getting a room, I meant somewhere with linen.’
Alice throws more water at his face before Jack’s shirt is ripped open and brass pads are attached to his chest.  These ladies do like a thrill!!!
   ‘Time was electrodes to the nipples meant the start of a good night.’
Emily winds the handle of the torture machine, that generates electricity.  Jack laughs as it sparkles through his body. 
   ‘Full power charge and still breathing.’
   ‘Pretty advanced piece of equipment you got there. You ladies are ahead of yourselves. Now where the hell am I?’
Alice picks up a revolver and points it directly at Jack.
   ‘Put that down before somebody gets…’
She pulls the trigger.  A short time later he gasps back to life. 
   ‘Why aren't you dead yet?’
   ‘Been trying to figure that out myself.’
   ‘We've been monitoring you. You've been killed fourteen times in the last six months.’
   ‘Feels like more than that.’
   ‘Who's the Doctor?’
   ‘No idea.’
   ‘Hmm. The Doctor, he will be able to fix me. When the Doctor turns up, it'll all be put right. You wait till I see the Doctor. First I'm going to kiss him, then I'm going to kill him. Transcripts of your conversations with strangers, in various drinking dens, since you first came to our attention.’
   ‘You know no one likes a smart-ass.’
   ‘Tell us where he is and we’ll release you.’
   ‘Why do you want to know?’
   ‘You're in Torchwood, Cardiff.’  Emily tells him.  Jack studies his surroundings. ‘The Torchwood Institute was created to combat the threat posed by the Doctor and other phantasmagoria.’
Jack laughs. 
   ‘He's not a threat. The Doctor's the one who'll save you from your phantasmahoojits.’
   ‘Just tell us his location.’
   ‘I don't know!’  Jack snaps back, angry and frustrated he struggles in his bonds. ‘He left me behind. I came here to find him. He refuels from that Rift you have. Hoping if I stayed here long enough, we'd find each other. Now, can I go?’
   ‘No.’
   ‘You can't keep me here.’
   ‘Oh, we can. Unless’
   ‘Yes. Unless.’
   ‘Unless what?’
   ‘There are opportunities here, with the Institute.’
   ‘I'm not for hire.’
   ‘You're going to need currency.’
   ‘What's the assignment?’
   ‘Missing person.’
   ‘Well, when we say person.’

The Blowfish is thrown to the ground by Jack.  He sits up pleading his innocence.
   ‘I haven't done anything.’
   ‘Twelve burglaries, joyriding a horse and carriage, seven cases of pick-pocketing, twenty four instances of consuming food without paying for it. It's like an addiction with your species, isn't it.’
   ‘I’ll make it up, I promise.’
   ‘Oh, too late.’
   ‘It’s just a bit of fun.’
   ‘This planet's a century away from official first contact with alien life. You're upsetting the schedule.’
   ‘Who are you?’
   ‘I'm Torchwood.’

Jack throws the blowfish into the cell.  Just behind him is Alice, watching.
   ‘I said sorry. You can't lock me up.’
   ‘He's just a kid. Send him back to where he came from.’
   ‘If only we could. The Rift only goes one way.’
   ‘What do you do? Observe and profile the species and then transfer them to long term storage?’
Smiling, Alice raises the revolver and shoots the defenceless alien in the head.  Jack is aghast and pulls Alice away, knocking the revolver from her grasp. 
   ‘Why?’
   ‘It was a threat to the Empire.’
   ‘Like me?’
   ‘You're our ally now.’  Alice replies wrestling free of Jack’s grasp.

In the candlelit office, Emily sits behind her desk and counts out Jack’s money.  He sits quietly facing her.   
   ‘If you don't want it.’
Jack takes the cash and pockets it, rising to his feet.
   ‘Your next assignment.’
   ’No. I'm through with you people.’ Jack walks to the door as Alice enters.
   ‘Your liberty is at our discretion. Work for us, you assist the Empire. Sever that tie, you become a threat.’
   ‘And you've seen how we deal with threats.’
   ‘It's good money, Captain. How else are you going to earn?’
After little deliberation, he takes the envelope, stares at the Torchwood motif then flips it back at Emily.
   ‘See what you think in the morning.’
Pausing a moment at the door, Jack leaves.
   ‘He's pretty. But you're prettier.’ Alice adds.

In a dimly lit ale house, Jack knocks back a shot of liquor.  Grace, a young girl, with long hair tied in a pony tail, stands at the opposite side of the table.
   ‘Can I read your cards?’
   ‘No, thank you.’
She doesn’t take ‘no’ for an answer and clears the table. 
   ‘No, really.’
She looks at him a moment before placing three tarot cards on the table, face down.  Jack watches her.  The first card she turns over is the Tower.  Second the Knight in shining armour.  The third a little obscure.
   ‘He's coming, the one you're looking for.’ She turns over three more cards. ‘But the century will turn twice before you find each other again.’ Grace tells him. 
   ‘Ooo. Are you for real?’  Jack realises after picking up the card that Grace isn’t joking.  ‘You mean I have to wait a hundred years to find him? What'll I do in the meantime?’
Jack joins Torchwood, from freelance agent in the Victorian era right up to the countdown to the new millennium.  He goes from handwritten reports, typewriters to computers.

In the Hub, it’s New Year’s Eve, 1999, with only a few minutes before New Year’s Day.  In some parts of the world including Russia, they’ve already welcomed in the start of 2000. 
   ‘Some parts of the world have already welcomed in the New Year. Our cameras, of course, have been out in force across the UK tonight. Let's take you first to Cardiff.’ Says the reporter on the news broadcasting from London, Somerset House, where many people are on the ice.
   ‘Hey, when you joked about the Millennium Bug, I didn't realise it was gonna have eighteen legs stacked with poison.’  Jack shouts through as he enters the Hub, shrugging off his coat, hanging it on the coat stand a few feet from the roll back door. ‘Anyone home? You know you're supposed to party like it’s…’ Jack finds a colleague dead on the ground, a bullet to the head.  He sees a woman lying nearby.  Who could have done this? He draws his pistol.  Looking around he discovers his boss sitting on a barrel staring at the television screen, a sombre look upon his face. 
   ‘Alex?’
   ‘Jack. Just in time.’
   ‘Alex, what happened? Who did this?’
   ‘Me.’
   ‘What? Why?’
   ‘We got it wrong, Jack. We thought we could control the stuff we found. And what's it brought us? So much death.’  Alex opens his hand revealing an alien locket. Jack trains his weapon on Alex.
   ‘What happened to them?’
   ‘It's good you're here. Always did have great timing. This place, its yours. Torchwood Three. My gift to you, Jack, for a century of service as field operative. Give this place a purpose before it's too late. Please.’
   ‘Alex, listen. It's gonna be okay.’ Jack replies, lowering his gun.  Close to tears.
   ‘No, it's not. It's really not.’ Alex looks down at the ornate locket and closes his hands over it again.  ‘I looked inside. It showed me what's coming. They were mercy killings. It was the kindest thing I could do, so none of us see the storm.’
The countdown begins for the New Year.
   ‘I'm sorry I can't do the same for you. Twenty first century, Jack. Everything's gonna change.’
The UK welcomes in the New Year with a wonderful display of fireworks over London and the other UK cities.
   ‘And we're not ready.’ Alex presses a handgun against his head and braces himself.  Jack jumps to his feet and yells, but it’s too late.  Alex pulls the trigger splattering Jack with blood.

 In the destroyed building, Jack gasps back into life.  Gwen and Rhys are beside him.  He grasps Rhys’ hand, who is shocked to say the least.
   ‘He was dead! I checked his pulse. He was dead.’
   ‘All right. Shush. Jack, what has happened? Where are the others?’
   ‘What is he doing here?’ Jack points furiously at Rhys.
   ‘Look, I was late, okay? He gave me a lift. You okay?’
   ‘Yeah, yeah. Toshiko. She went the other way.’

Buried under fallen masonry and brickwork Toshiko can barely see through the minute gap.  She hears Jack, Rhys and Gwen call out her name.
   ‘Toshiko, yell if you can hear me!’
   ‘Toshiko! Toshiko!’
She screams for help.

Five years earlier at Lodmoor Research Facility, a division of the Ministry of Defence, the working day is almost at an end and as the office manager locks up his office, only Toshiko remains working at her station. 
   ‘Never thought I'd say this to anyone here, but you work too hard.’ He tells her.
   ‘Another hour and I'm done.’
   ‘I wish the rest of them thought like you. Half past five, they're out of here like a pack of dogs.’
   ‘You have a good evening, sir.’
   ‘I doubt it.’
Toshiko watches him leave before pulling open her desk drawer.  She flips over her drawer tidy and pulls the key taped to the underside and unlocks his office door.  Quickly, Toshiko accesses his computer and memorises the access code X74JGF813W.  The security guard is seen on the CCTV currently on his rounds.  Aware that time is of the essence, Toshiko exits the office, locking it behind her, and hastens to another side of the building, aware of the security cameras on every level.  She watches as the camera moves and hastens to the password controlled door, tapping in the access code from the computer.  She quickly enters as the camera moves back towards her.  In a secure unit of files and folders from floor to ceiling on metal shelving, Toshiko walks along the aisles till she finds the one she’s looking for.  Tied with white cord, she locates the folder ‘For Your Eyes Only’ and unties it, opening the bag.  Locating the plastic folder with secure press stud fastening, she pulls out the blueprint for a sonic modulator and stuffs it up her jumper.  She fastens the folder on the shelf and returns to her office, lifts her coat and leaves the building. As she reaches the entrance, George, the night security is on duty.
   ‘Another late one, Miss Sato?’
   ‘You know me, George. Married to the job.’
   ‘When you gonna let me whisk you away from all this?’
   ‘As soon as you clear it with your wife and grandchildren.’
   ‘Always an excuse. Take care.’
   ‘Goodnight, George.’
At home, in the warmth of her own home, Toshiko opens out the blueprint, and begins to construct the device.

Hurrying along the quiet streets in the dead of night, Toshiko raps the door of a secret location and awaits the metal door opening. 
   ‘I've got it.’
   ‘Get in.’
Toshiko is brought into an office in disarray, Milton, a bespectacled woman toys with a device, only stopping when Toshiko arrives.
   ‘I want to see my mother. I want to know she's safe. Now.’
The woman nods to the man that saw her in.
   ‘Show me the piece.’
Toshiko withdraws the device from her bag. She passes the hand held device to the impatient woman in the power suit who studies the craftsmanship.
   ‘Oh, its beautiful. A perfect sonic modulator. Toshiko, you've done so well.’
   ‘Toshiko!’ Her mother exclaims upon seeing her daughter.  The man prevents a welcome reunion by keeping a hold of Toshiko’s mother.
   ‘You've got what you want. Now let her go.’
   ‘Oh, except now you're the victim of your own success. Perfectly situated, proven ability. You can give us so much more.’
Mrs Sato speaks in her mother tongue to Toshiko.
   ‘And what if I refuse?’
   ‘Then your mother stays with us. And your brilliance is used against her. Like this.’ Milton replies, as she and her goon, wear ear protectors as she triggers the sonic modulator. 
   ‘No don’t.’ Toshiko begs, but it’s too late.  The frequency is loud and painful.   
   ‘PLEASE.’  Toshiko begs as her mother screams despite pressing her fingers against her ears. 
Milton lazily tosses a pair of ear defenders towards Toshiko. 
   ‘PLEASE STOP.’  Toshiko begs as she attempts to reach the ear defenders lying between her and her mother.  The goon kicks her arm away.  Her mother continues to scream as a trickle of blood creeps from her hairline down her forehead.
UNIT burst through the door, weapons at the ready.
   ‘Turn it off!  TURN IT OFF!’ 
Milton does as she’s told.  They handcuff Toshiko and frogmarch her from the building despite her protestations regarding her mother.
   ‘My mother. Is she all right? Is she all right?’

Roughly pushed into her cell, wearing a red all in one prisoner issue jumpsuit, Toshiko stares at her surroundings, a narrow room with dirty grey walls, floor and ceiling, with a tiny set of windows, high up above her.
   ‘This is a UNIT facility. Your rights as a citizen have been withdrawn. You'll be held here indefinitely. We are not required to provide you with legal representation. Anything you say will be recorded. You will be allowed no communication with any person or organisation outside this facility. There is no right of appeal. If you fail to comply with the rules, we are authorised to discipline you.’ The voice echoes through the ceiling microphone.
   ‘Is my mother safe?’
   ‘We cannot supply you with that information.’
Time passes.  Food is served on a plastic tray.  Sleep is on the concrete floor.  Exercise is silently with other inmates in a large red bricked room before returning to her squalid cell.

   ‘Prisoner Sato. Inspection.’
   ‘What for?’ Toshiko replies.
   ‘Prepare for inspection.’
She drags herself up, her clothing dirty much like the damp floor.  She has neither hope nor interest any more. 
As she stands against the far wall, the door opens to reveal a man in a blue military great coat.

Maybe there’s hope after all.

In the dull, dank communal area, seated opposite Toshiko, Captain Jack Harkness watches as Toshiko drinks the large mug of soup.
   ‘Catering's as lousy as they say, huh?’
   ‘Where's my mother?’
   ‘She's safe. She won't remember being kidnapped. I wiped it from her memory. I hope you don't mind.’
   ‘You did what?’
   ‘Really, just a little pill. She'll never have known.’
   ‘Who are you?’
   ‘Nobody. I don't exist. And for a man with my charisma, that's quite an achievement.’
   ‘Are you a lawyer?’
   ‘Do I look like a lawyer?’  Jack asks getting to his feet.  He walks around the table towards Toshiko.  ‘They're going to make an example of you. Stealing official secrets in today's climate they're going to keep you here without charge. Forever.’
   ‘They can't do…’
   ‘They're never going to release you. I'm sorry.’
Sitting on the table, Jack holds out the sonic modulator device constructed by Toshiko.
   ‘You made this, right?’
   ‘I just followed the plans.’
   ‘Yeah, kinda. But first you had to grasp the concept of what a sonic modulator does. Most people would struggle with that. And another thing…the plans don't work.’
   ‘What?’
   ‘The technical plans you followed, they were wrong. They had mistakes in them. That's why the plans were shelved. But you, Toshiko Sato, you automatically fixed things as you went along. What I'm trying to say is, oh baby, you're good. I mean, you're good now. Imagine what you'd be like with a little training. Oh. Shame you're gonna be locked up for so long.’
   ‘You've got to get me out of here.’
   ‘If you, come work for me.’
   ‘Really?’
   ‘Give me five years; I'll get them to wipe your record clean. They owe me a few favours.’
   ‘What do you do?’
   ‘Protect people. Least, that's what I'm aiming for. It's kind of a work in progress.’
   ‘What about my mother?’
   ‘Limited contact only. You can send her postcards. So what do you say?’
   ‘Why would you trust me?’
   ‘Instinct. It's going to be dangerous. Think you could bear a little danger?’

Toshiko continues to scream in agony from the fallen debris in the abandoned building as Gwen and Rhys try to alleviate her discomfort.
   ‘Stop. Stop. Stop. Tosh. Tosh, are you okay?’
   ‘You're making it worse. It's pushing down even more now. I think I've broken my arm. Gwen.’
   ‘Yeah?’
   ‘If this pillar shifts down even more, it will crush me.’
   ‘It's no good, Gwen. We're gonna need more strength.’
   ‘Look, Jack has gone to find Owen and Ianto. You're gonna be fine, darling, all right. You're going to be fine.’
   ‘You've got to hurry, please.’
   ‘Gwen, help Jack. I’ll stay here.’  Rhys suggests.
   ‘Are you sure?’
   ‘Yeah.’
   ‘I'm going to come back for you, darling, all right? You're going to be okay.’
   ‘Okay.’
   ‘Gwen, this could've been you, couldn't it, if you hadn’t been late.’   
   ‘Look, Rhys, I haven't got time for this now, okay? I've got to go and try and find the others.’
Under another pile of bricks and mortar, a hand pushes a brick aside.  With bloodied knuckles, desperately trying to grip something solid, Ianto tries to pull himself free of his prison, with no effect.  He cries out at the terrible pain in his shoulder.
Lifting his head up, he hears Jack shouting from somewhere within the building.
   ‘Ianto! Ianto!’

Twenty one months earlier in a wooded region of Cardiff Jack struggles to overpower a Weevil.  As it bites into his neck an unknown strikes the creature on the back with a stick.  The Weevil, switches its attention to the new attacker.  Jack scrambles to his feet and launches himself at the Weevil again, this time able to use the spray before putting a bag over its head and injecting it with a dose of tranquilisers.
Jack winces as he feels his neck after the savage bite.
   ‘Thanks.’
   ‘No, thank you. And you are?’
   ‘Jones, Ianto Jones.’
   ‘Nice to meet you, Jones, Ianto Jones. Captain Jack Harkness.’
   ‘Lucky escape.’
   ‘I had it under control.’
   ‘You think so? It looked pretty vicious. You're, er…’ Ianto says reaching a hand towards Jack, who edges away.’You were bleeding.’
   ‘Had worse from shaving.’
   ‘Looked like a Weevil to me. ‘
   ‘I've no idea what you're talking about. I’ll take him from here.’  Jack replies lifting the sedated Weevil over his shoulder.  He pauses beside Ianto. ‘Thanks for the assistance.’
   ‘Any time. By the way, love the coat.’

A sunny morning across Cardiff and Captain Jack Harkness exits the Tourist Information Centre and is met by Ianto Jones with a mug of coffee.
   ‘Morning. Coffee?’
Jack takes the mug and dubiously sniffs the coffee before taking a good sip. 
   ‘Wow’.
   ‘I want to work for you.’
   ‘Sorry. No vacancies.’
   ‘Look, let me tell you about myself.’
   ‘Ianto Jones, born August 19th 1983. Able student but not exceptional.’  Jack continues as he strides on by, Ianto eventually falls in behind him.  ‘One minor conviction for shoplifting in your teens. Number of temporary jobs, mainly a drifter, until two years ago you join the Torchwood Institute in London. Junior researcher. Girlfriend, Lisa Hallett.’
   ‘Deceased.’
   ‘I'm sorry.’
   ‘Look, you checked me out.’
   ‘You knew what a Weevil was. Thought I was gonna have to come deal with you.’
   ‘But instead you can see I have the right qualifications for the job.’
   ‘There is no job. We're nothing to do with Torchwood London. I severed all links.’
   ‘Yet when it burned, two members of your team scavenged the ruins.’ Ianto cuts in ahead, slowing Jack to a halt, his hand against Jack’s chest.  Jack gently eases the hand away.
   ‘I don't want the equipment getting into the wrong hands.’
   ‘And you're the right hands, are you? Trial period. Three months.’
   ‘No.’
   ‘Three weeks. Three days. Let me prove myself to you. I’ll work for nothing.’
   ‘No.’
   ‘I saw what they did at Canary Wharf.’  Ianto stops Jack again and cuts in front of him.  Jack sighs, impatiently. ‘What am I supposed to do with those memories?’
   ‘You are not my responsibility. And we're not hiring.’
   ‘Same time tomorrow then.’
   ‘There is no job for you here and there never will be.’
   ‘I really like that coat.’  Jack raises a brow and smiles.

Night time in Cardiff and the SUV is driven by Jack Harkness along the quiet streets. 
    ‘Toshiko, see if you can decode those hieroglyphics.’
    ‘Already on it.’
    ’Owen, take a cross-section of the paramedics brain. Check it against the list of chemical agents.’
    ‘Will do.’
    ‘Susie, were going to need to dredge the reservoir. See if you can find the other half…’
The vehicle slewed to a halt.  Jack groaned.  Ianto Jones was yet again, in front of him, this time in a blue suit, shirt and tie.  He climbed out, less than patient.
   ‘Okay, this has to stop.’
   ‘No, listen to me...’
   ‘I don't have time for this. Look, I don't care what your problem is, I want you out of this city by sunrise. There is no place for you here. Go back to London, find yourself another life. Keep stalking me, I'll wipe your memory.’
   ‘No, but the thing is…’
   ‘Look, any conversation between us, no matter what the subject, is over. Finished. Done. Forever. I'm getting back behind the wheel of that car. If you're still standing in the road, I'm going to drive through you.’ Jack strides towards the driver’s side as Ianto stops him in his tracks…again.
   ‘So you're not gonna help me catch this pterodactyl then?’

With his great coat removed, Jack prepares a large hypodermic needle, big enough to stun a….erm…dinosaur!!!
   ‘Okay, that is the only special equipment you've got?’
   ‘Yeah, because I keep dinosaur nets in the back of the SUV.’
   ‘Torchwood London would've.’
Jack hurries towards the fire escape of the stores deliveries warehouse.  Ianto follows.  The pterodactyl is flying around inside and dives for them as they open the door. 
   ‘Nope.’
They shut the door.  With their backs pressed against the door, Jack is curious to know where Ianto found the creature.
   ‘Rift activity locator. Torchwood London. See? Quality kit.’
   ‘Yeah, it's quite excitable.’
   ‘Must be your aftershave.’
   ‘Never wear any’.
   ‘You smell like that naturally? ‘
   ‘Fifty first century pheromones. You people have no idea. Ready for another go?’
   ‘I'm game if you are.’
   ‘Three, two, one.’

Inside the warehouse, Jack and Ianto split up as the pterodactyl flies towards them.  It lands on the ground flexing its wings.  Jack and Ianto meet up and stare at the magnificent creature. 
   ‘We're not gonna harm you. You can't stay here. Come back with me. I've got somewhere nice and big where you can fly around.’
   ‘Okay, so you let the pterodactyl in but not me?’
   ‘We need a guard dog.’
   ‘I can be that. Like a receptionist, building maintenance, food and drink. Dry cleaning, even. That coat of yours must take a battering. Like a butler, I could be a butler.’
   ‘We don't need a butler.’
   ‘Excuse me. Dried egg on your collar.’
   ‘It was a busy week.’
   ‘What exactly is your plan?’
   ‘I'm going to be the decoy.’
   ‘And it will rip you to shreds.’
   ’Dinosaurs? Had them for breakfast. Had to. Only source of pre-killed food protein after the asteroid crashed. Long story. Here you go.’ Jack hands Ianto the syringe.  ‘One injection to the central nervous cortex. I’ll keep it occupied. Move.’
   ‘No.’
   ‘What?’
Ianto gives back the syringe, he has a better idea.
   ‘It knows me. I’ll be a better decoy.’
   ‘Way too dangerous.’
   ‘No, I've got a secret weapon. Chocolate. Preferably dark.’
Ianto and Jack split up again. 
   ‘I got your favourite. Yeah.‘  Ianto whistles, as Jack prepares the syringe.  Ianto edges closer to the pterodactyl as Jack sneaks up from behind. He tosses the bar towards the creature who eyes it suspiciously before pecking at it.  
   ‘It's good for your serotonin levels, if you've got serotonin levels.’
Suddenly, the pterodactyl notices Jack and turns around to focus on him.  Ianto yells.  Jack runs towards the creature and grabs its legs as the creature takes off and flies around the warehouse, in a bid to shake Jack off. 
   ‘Whoa! Ianto!’
Still gripping hold of the syringe, Jack manages to inject the creature before releasing hold of its leg.  He falls onto Ianto. 
   ‘Sorry.’  He apologises.  Quickly, the roll out of the way as the pterodactyl falls to the ground, this time, Ianto is on top.  They laugh relieved, and for a few moments they can’t take their eyes off each other. 
   ‘I should go.‘ Ianto quickly gets up.  Jack remains on the ground for a few seconds longer.  As Ianto walks past, he gets to his feet.
   ‘Hey. Report for work first thing tomorrow. Like the suit, by the way.’

Clearing the fallen debris from off Ianto, Jack, with help from Gwen, helps Ianto to his feet.  Ianto is in obvious distress. 
   ‘You okay?’
   ‘My shoulder. I think its dislocated.’
   ‘Can you take this?’
   ‘Yeah.’  Ianto replies, certainly bravado kicking in.
   ‘Take a deep breath.’
With a sharp lift, Jack pops Ianto’s shoulder back into place.  Ianto screams.
   ‘Where are the others? ‘
   ‘We need your help to get Toshiko out’.
   ’Owen?’
   ‘No sign yet.’
   ‘If anything happens, he can't repair himself.’
   ‘Of course, he can't heal, can he?’
   ‘Okay, well help Rhys with Toshiko. Let us know when you find Owen. And be careful.’
   ‘Okay.’
   ‘Okay? You all right?’

At the other end of the building from where Ianto was discovered, Owen lies in the rubble, his only attention, the broken glass from a window frame hanging precariously above him.  Any movement could render him incapacitated or is it, decapitated?

Four years earlier and not in Cardiff, Owen sits on the bed with his fiancée, planning their wedding seating arrangements.  
   ‘Oh, go on, please. Please, please, please, please.’
   ‘No, you don't even like her, ever since she didn't pay for her share of the Chinese in Leicester.’
   ‘Yeah, but we want Julia to come and it'll look odd if we invite one without the other.’
   ‘Oh God, help me please. Help me, God.’ He groans placing the book over his head as he lies back on the bed.
   ‘Three tables done. Nine more to go. You want to back out? It's still not too late’.
   ‘Listen, I'm marrying you even if it kills me, okay?’
   ‘Good. Do you want a cup of tea? ‘
   ‘Yeah, I’ll make one.’
   ‘I think I can manage.’

In the kitchen, Katie stands with a mug in one hand and a teabag in the other, with little knowledge of what to do next.
   ‘Katie.’
   ‘Yeah?’
   ‘Er, water.’ 
   ‘Yeah. ‘  She smiles lightly and goes to fill the cup with tap water.
   ‘From the kettle.’ He says gently. 
She smiles politely again and tops up the mug with steaming hot water.
   ‘Milk.’
   ‘Stop nagging me. I don't want to have milk. I've never liked milk. I want to have…‘
   ‘Tea.‘
   ‘I want to have tea without…‘
   ‘Milk.’
   ‘Tea without milk.’
She starts to cry.  The sheer frustration she feels at not being able to remember even the little things.  Owen is by her side in an instant.
   ‘Darling, it's all right. It's all right.’

In the Consultant’s office, Owen stares out of the window at Katie, smoking quietly outside. A set of brain scans sit in the light box hanging from the dark blue wall beside the desk.
   ‘I got your invitation. Still going ahead? ‘
   ‘I promised her a summer wedding.’
   ‘Before all this.’
   ‘This changes nothing.’
   ‘Owen, it will change everything.’
   ‘You don't know for certain.’
   ‘We've been through Kate's test results more times than any patient in my whole career. You've looked through them yourself. All the evidence suggests she has early onset Alzheimer's.’
   ‘The youngest case in medical history. ‘
   ‘It doesn't mean we're wrong.’
   ‘Please. Run more tests. Let's just try one more MRI scan.’
   ‘An MRI isn't going to make any difference.’
   ‘You don't know that. Now, you have said yourself that this is unlike any case that you've ever seen. Now, maybe you've missed something.’
   ‘Owen ‘
   ‘You don't understand, Jim, okay? One day she's fine, she's perfect memory, the old Katie, and the next there's nothing. She's blank. Now, I am losing her and I don't know what to do about that, okay? So please. What's the point of me doing this job if I can't help my own fiancée? ‘
   ’I'll see what I can do. ‘
   ‘Thank you, Jim.’  Owen stares back out of the window and smiles down at Katie who smiles back.

In their bedroom late at night, Owen watches Katie sleeping.  At the hospital he watches as she has her MRI scan, desperate for a miracle.

   ‘It's like being lost in a place you know really well, you cant get your bearings. Sometimes it comes back to you, and sometimes. I'm sorry, Owen.’ Katie tells him.
   ‘What've you got to be sorry for?’
   ‘I don't want to put you through this. Last night, I dreamt that you left me.’
   ‘Oh, come on. Nobody's leaving anyone.’

Jim reveals the results of Katie’s scan.  Owen can’t believe it.
   ‘How is that possible? ‘
   ‘We don't know. I've never seen anything like it. It's not the brain deteriorating; it's a clear physical tumour.’
   ‘That wasn't there last week.’
   ‘Not that we saw. You were right to ask for another scan.’
   ‘So, what do we do now?’
   ‘We have to view this as good news. Katie, we need to take you into surgery soon as possible, and remove the tumour.’
   ‘Do you understand? Katie?’
   ‘I can't remember your name.’ 

   ‘Are you sure she's up to this?’ Owen asks Jim, who is scrubbed up and ready to operate.
   ‘We're going to do everything we can for her.’
The procedure takes a long time but Owen waits, and waits….and waits.  The theatre room doors rattle and move slightly, startling Owen.  From behind him stands a man in a blue great coat offering sincere apologies.
   ‘Who the hell are you?’
   ‘I tried to tell them you should prepare for the worst.’ Jack explains as he attempts to enter the theatre. Owen stops him.
   ‘No, you can't go in there.’
Jack pushes ahead and enters the room where he finds all the theatre staff dead.  Owen follows after him and finds his Katie in the same condition. 
   ‘Oh my God. Katie.’
As Owen takes a closer look, he sees something unusual attached to the top of Katie’s brain.  A starfish like creature, one raised tentacle reaching out.
  ‘What is it?’
  ’I'm sorry. I tried to stop them. She's dead. That thing in her head is an alien life form. It incubates in the brain, disrupting the shape and functions. When it's attacked or threatened, it emits a toxic gas that's fatal to humans. It clears pretty quickly.’
  ‘She can't be dead. She can't be dead. I'm calling, calling the police.’
  ‘Tell them that Torchwood's already here and dealing with it. That'll save them a call-out. I need to take her brain back with me.’
  ‘Don't touch her. Don't touch her. Don't touch her.‘
Swift as you like, Jack chloroforms Owen. 
Owen struggles, but he’s no match for the stronger man. 

Waking up many hours later in a hospital bed Owen Harper removes the drip from the back of his hand. A nurse comes to see him.
   ‘How are you feeling? ‘
   ‘Where is she?’
   ‘Where's who?’
   ‘Katie. Katie Russell. She's a junior doctor. She works here. We're about to get married.’
   ‘Let’s get you back into bed.’
   ‘Get off me. Where is she? Where is she? Where is she?’

Wearing a dressing gown over his hospital gown, Owen recounts the details after his fiancée went into theatre to a doctor in his office.  The man takes notes.
   ‘He was wearing a military uniform. He had an American accent.’
   ‘I promise, we have checked all the security footage. There was no such man. ‘
   ‘Jim Garrett was poisoned by some alien toxin, by some’
   ‘Jim Garrett was in a car accident.’
   ‘The American said that he wanted her brain, and there was an alien creature or. This happened, okay? This is not some trauma or delayed grief or whatever you're scribbling down.’
   ‘Katie's tumour was inoperable. There was nothing anyone could have done.’
   ‘This is just wrong.’  Owen cries. 
   ‘I'm giving you three months prescribed rest. Don't come into work.’
   ‘Yeah.’

In the Security Office Owen finds his account of Katie’s operation, different to the one he sees played back to him on the CCTV.
   ‘This isn't right. He was there. It wasn't just me. He was there too. That is not what happened. That's not what happened.’

Owen kneels down to read the message on the nearest arrangement of flowers over the grave of his fiancée.  As he tries to compose himself, wiping a tear from his eye, he spots a figure at the other end of the cemetery, a tall man in a blue military great coat.  He gets to his feet and runs over.  Jack Harkness braces himself.
   ‘You!’
Charging towards him, Owen throws an angry punch flooring Jack.  Within seconds he’s laying in to Jack, screaming at him, distraught and broken.
   ‘You could've saved her! You could've saved her! You could've saved her!’
Owen attempts to strangle Jack but in his emotional state he crumples and cries against him, tearing at the grass. 
   ‘I couldn't. I really couldn't.’
Jack comforts Owen.

Later after calming down, Owen walks with Jack through the cemetery.
   ‘You're not a figment of my imagination, and I don't know what's happening any more. Maybe this is what a mental breakdown feels like.’
   ‘You're fine. It's the rest of the world that's delusional.’
   ‘Why her?‘
   ‘There's no reason. Your life doesn't end with her. What are you gonna do now? Go back to work? See echoes of her in every corridor? You need a purpose. I'm building something. I need a medic.’
   ‘And you want me?’
   ‘You made them take more scans. You kept trying to track me down. You don't give up easily. I need someone like that to work with me in Cardiff. ‘
   ‘To fight aliens.’
   ‘Exactly.’
   ‘Look I don't know what happened to Katie, and I don't know who you really are, but there is no such thing as aliens.’
   ‘You think?’

Owen opens his eyes as he stands inside the large underground base known as The Torchwood Hub.  He can't believe his eyes.
   ‘I'm having a breakdown. Mental collapse.’
   ‘Owen, why did you become a doctor?’
   ‘I thought if I could save one life, mine would be worthwhile. But you save one and there's another, and another, all clawing at you, demanding to be saved. And even if you do succeed, you can never save enough.’
Placing both hands on Owen’s shoulders Jack smiles at him. 
   ‘Maybe here you can.’

In the abandoned building, Gwen has found Owen.
   ‘Heavens. Careful. If that falls…‘
   ‘Okay, softly.’
Gwen reaches towards Owen as the window frame drops a little further. Gwen yells.
   ‘Okay.’
   ‘Just be very careful.’
   ‘Okay, all right. I'm gonna get you out. Okay, this one?’
Gwen carefully and quickly begins to remove loose bricks from around Owen’s body.
   ‘Look, you have to do it very, very gently’
   ‘Okay. It isn't going to drop on you.’
As if it heard, the glass slips further still.
   ‘Whoa! ‘
   ‘Quiet.’
   ’Okay, okay, silent.’
   ‘I'm going to do this as quickly as possible. Listen to me. I'm going to get you out of this. Look at me. Trust me. Okay, Owen, hold my hand. ‘
   ‘Slowly.’
   ‘Hold my hands.’
With his eyes still fixed on the pane of glass, Gwen hauls him away just as the glass falls and shatters to the ground. 

Gathering outside the building, the team regroup.  The dust is still settling.
  ‘You okay?’
   ‘Yeah. You all right? Tosh, what happened?’
   ‘Broken arm, bruised ribs. About an inch away from being crushed by a girder. ‘
   ‘You were lucky.’
   ‘We all were.’
   ‘Jack, who's done this?’
   ‘And where's the SUV?‘
Jack picks up a holo-message on his VM.  It’s Captain John Hart.
   ‘Oh, no.’
   ‘Jack, what does he want?’
   ‘Ooo, deja vu. Or did I say that already? Hey, team. Of course, there might be a few less of you by now. Don't know if you liked my little gift. Of course, you can't die. And with all that life, all that time, you can't spare any for me. Oh. Say hi to the family.’
John Hart projects another hologram.
   ‘No way. It can't be.’
   ‘Been a while since you've seen your brother, eh, Jack.’
   ‘Gray? ‘
   ‘Okay, here's what's going to happen. Everything you love, everything you treasure will die. I'm going to tear your world apart, Captain Jack Harkness, piece by piece. Starting now. Maybe now you'll want to spend some time with me.’
The message ends. 
Jack is determined to settle this once and for all. 



Next month: Exit Wounds




No comments:

Post a Comment