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Myfanwy 2

November 2017

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To Be Human - Chapter Ten

To Be Human - Chapter Ten
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, Toshiko/Kathy, Owen/Diane
Warnings: Language
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E2, "Sleeper"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better. 
Author's note:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of "Sleeper".    As usual, dating is taken from several fan-made chronologies, especially Ianto's Desktop, and other information from the TARDIS Index File.



Summary: An attempted home invasion puts the team on the trail of an alien sleeper cell intent on invasion, and Gwen gets a lesson on what it means to be human. 



29 June 2008

 

“I don’t know what happened,” Beth whimpered, as she sat on the ratty couch, rubbing her arm roughly.  “I remember going to sleep…and then the next minute I’m standing outside these drawer things, wondering where I am and how I got there.”

Ianto handed her a coffee as Jack stood, watchful.  “It had to have been the true personality,” he mused.  “It didn’t like being frozen so it made us think you were.”

Beth was shaking her head, and it was obvious to Jack that everything was finally piling up on her so heavily that her shoulders were physically bowed with the weight of it all.  He felt sorry for her, but at the same time, if the buried personality could do all that without her knowing…it had to be getting stronger, closer to the surface.  With her being able to remember what had occurred with the burglars and now this, Jack was worried that she was very close to activating.

“My first thought was to leave here and go to Mike,” Beth confessed.  “And I was going to do it…but then it hit me that whatever was inside me would want me out here.  I couldn’t risk it!  What if this thing was triggered while I was at the hospital?  Or on the street, around innocent people?   It was all I could do to turn around and come back, but I had to do it.  I trust you to stop me if something goes wrong.”  Her expression jibed with her words, and Jack couldn’t help but once again be proud of her for putting up what was the fight of her life. 

It must have been the hardest thing ever to give up seeing the man she loved once more.  Jack had a feeling that he wouldn’t have been as strong if something was keeping him from Ianto’s side.  Whoever had programmed this personality into this agent had done a piss-poor job of it, which was all the better for Torchwood.

And then the Hub shook.

“What the hell was that?” Jack demanded.  Whatever it was, it had sounded fairly far away, and yet it had been strong enough to rattle the Hub.

Toshiko, who had been among them watching Beth, darted back to her computer.  Ianto did the same to his terminal, and twin clacking across keyboards sounded as they worked.

“It was a petrol tanker,” she reported.  “It looks like someone wanted to take out the M4 road link for some reason…no, wait.”  Toshiko paused, squinting at her screen as if trying to make it tell her something besides what it was actually showing. “No, not the road…there’s an underground fuel pipeline, which is why the explosion was so large.”  She turned to look at Jack.  “It’s a special supply for the military.  They use it for emergencies.”

“Not anymore,” Owen growled.

“It’s begun,” Jack replied. 

“Also,” Ianto said, spinning in his chair to look at the rest of the group, “I’ve just got a report that Patrick Grainger has been murdered.”

“Who?” Gwen asked.

 “He’s the leader of the Council,” the dragon answered.  “He was stabbed several times in the chest, and once through the forehead.”

“I didn’t do that!”  Beth denied.   “I never left here!”

“We know, Beth,” Ianto soothed.  “If you had left we would have known.  Besides, you didn’t have enough time to get all the way across town and then get back here in the time the alarms went off.”

“There are other members of the cell out there,” Jack said, “and they’ve been activated.”

“But why not me then?”  Beth asked, the fear in her eyes almost chilling Jack to the bone.

“We removed you from their network,” Toshiko answered.  “When the signal was sent out to activate you all, you simply didn’t receive it.”

“Does that mean she won’t activate ever?” Gwen asked, looking hopeful.

“No,” Jack denied.  “It just means, once they figure it out, they’ll work on some other way to erase Beth so the buried personality can be free to do its work.”

“But why Grainger?” Owen asked.  “Why would they want to kill him?”

“He’s also the city co-ordinator,” Ianto supplied.  “He takes charge of the city in case of emergencies. He has all the security protocols.”

“How the hell do you know that?”

“I know everything,” Ianto said, managing not to sound too smug.  “And it says so on the bottom of my screen.”

“They’re putting all the pieces into place.”  Jack wanted to deny it was happening, but he couldn’t.  Just the look on Beth’s face was enough to convince anyone.   He turned to Beth.  “I know you’re not hooked into the cell anymore, but there might be a way you can tell us what their plan is.”

Beth was frowning in concentration.  “I can…access the implant.”  It suddenly flared to life.  “I think…someone’s taken out city-wide communications too…”

Toshiko turned back to her station.  “She’s right,” the technician confirmed.  “The network is down.”

“The network?” Owen pulled out his mobile.

‘Yes, everything.”

“Even mobiles?”

“Yes, and I can’t just rig something up.”  Toshiko looked like she wanted to tear her hair out…or maybe Owen’s, since he was being deliberately obtuse.

“What about the phone in Jack’s office?” the medic asked. “We should be at least warning the military that we have an invasion in progress.”

“The…entire…network…is…down,” Toshiko answered, very slowly, as if trying to explain it to a little kid.

Jack would have been amused if it weren’t for the seriousness of the situation.

“Mobiles, landlines, tin cans with bits of string,” Ianto explained.   “Everything.  Absolutely everything.  No phones, phones all broken.”  He raised a hand up to his head, miming a phone with his fingers.  “Hello, anyone there?  No?  Because the phones aren’t working.”

“You’re a sarcastic bastard,” Owen snapped.  “I got it.”

“Good,” Jack butted in before the two could turn this into a complete snark-fest.  “We need to find out if there are anymore out there.”

“One more, there were three but two are dead,” Beth answered.  “And I think I can track him, if I’m doing this right.”

That was good news, but at the same time did Jack dare trust her?  Yes, she hadn’t been activated with the rest of the cell, but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t happen; in fact, he was pretty damned sure it would at some point, and then they’d be helpless.  At least they could stop her though, now that her force field had been shut off.  Still, there could be no limit to the damage she could do if she got free.

However, it was the only option they had.  They had to stop whatever was going to happen, and it needed to be now. 

“All right,” he said.  “Ianto, you’re with us.  Toshiko, there’s a CB radio in my office, and we’ll get the other one from the Archives on the way out.  Once we know where the third alien is going, we’ll need all the information we can get.  Owen, I want you on standby.  There could be a lot of injured people before this is over, so get what supplies you’ll need together.”

“I want to go with you,” Gwen demanded.

Jack met her angry gaze squarely.  “No.  As of now, you’re restricted to Hub duty.  No more field assignments because I can’t trust you.”

“You can’t do that!”

“I just did.”  He turned away from her.  “Ianto, get the second CB and head to the SUV.  We’ll meet you there.” 

“On it.”  The dragon vanished down the corridor toward the Archives.

Jack glanced at Beth.  She looked determined, and Jack nodded once.  “Are you ready?”

“I am,” she answered.  “But if you need to stop me, I’m counting on you and Ianto not to let me hurt anyone.”

“Agreed.”  He took her by the arm to lead her away. 

“Jack!” Gwen called out as they were leaving.

“I don’t have time for this, Gwen,” he said sharply.  “The world is about to end and you’re worried about yourself.  Shut up and do your job.”

“I don’t trust either of you with Beth!”

“But I do,” Beth answered, stopping long enough to turn and glare at her.  “Jack and Ianto will do the right thing.”  She looked back at Jack.  “We need to go now.  He’s heading out of town, but I can’t get the exact direction yet.”

“Then let’s do this.” 

**********

Jack was behind the wheel as the SUV raced out of town, in the direction Beth was indicating.

They had to dodge emergency vehicles, and he was glad that most of the response teams had radios instead of relying completely on the now-defunct mobile network.  Ianto had flipped the CB over to the emergency channel for a few seconds, and the chatter had been so thick it was almost hard to make out what anyone was saying.  It reminded Jack of being in a war, and he didn’t like the feeling at all; if they didn’t stop that last sleeper agent, it could very well mean a war, and that was something Jack wanted to stop at all cost.

He glanced into the rearview mirror at Beth.  She was staring down at something, and Jack was willing to bet it was the implant in her arm.  He was worried about her, but at this point he wasn’t certain if it was because she could activate and try to continue her mission, or if she wouldn’t and would be stuck in a form of limbo forever.  At this point he didn’t know which was worse.

“He’s heading for an abandoned farm outside the city,” she murmured.

“Do you know why?” Ianto asked. 

“To gain access to whatever is out there.  I can’t tell what it is.”

Jack relayed the information to Toshiko back at the Hub, and after a few moments said, “There’s nothing there…nothing on the surface, at least.  Still checking.”

“We need to hurry,” Beth said.  “He’s almost there.”

“What happens when it starts?” Ianto asked.

“I…don’t know,” she confessed.  “I just know the arm stuff, and that’s all new since I got out of that drawer.”

“So no idea about how they get the heavy weapons.”  Jack wasn’t surprised that she didn’t know.  Beth would have had very specific instructions to follow, so she wouldn’t have had to be told what the others in the cell were doing. 

Jack wracked his brain, trying to recall everything he’d once seen about Cell 1-1-4.  The one time he’d gotten there it had been too late, the planet teetering on the edge of defeat, and no one seemed to have any information on just how the cell had gotten their initial foothold.  That world had practically been destroyed in the aftermath, so no evidence had existed any longer.

“There used to be an old coal mine out there,” Toshiko said over the radio.  “The Army sealed the records…let me get into the military files and see what I can find.”

Jack jammed his foot down onto the gas, and the SUV’s engine gunned as it sped up.  He had the distinct feeling that time was running out, that they needed to get to wherever they were going quickly.  The sleeper cell would not succeed in whatever it had planned, not if Jack had anything to say about it.

This was one of those times when he wished he was fluent in Earth history.  Although he did know very well that the Earth was fine in his own future, who knew what had gone on before?  Hell, the only reason he knew certain things now was because of information the Doctor had let slip…and that hadn’t been very much at all.

“That wasn’t even difficult…oh, God…”

“What is it, Tosh?” Ianto said into their radio.

“The old mine shaft.  The military is using it for storage.  There are ten nuclear warheads out there.  No one knows.  We’re not even supposed to know.”

“That’s how it starts,” Ianto murmured.  “They don’t need heavy weapons…they use ours.”

Jack cursed.  He was going to have words with whoever thought it would be a really good idea to store nuclear weapons near a large population centre, and then not telling Torchwood about it.  Their agreements with the various military forces clearly stated that Torchwood was to be notified if anything that could be used by a potential hostile force in order to take over the planet was being kept in the area.  Torchwood should have been monitoring the site from day one…not that Jack wouldn’t have argued against the very idea of putting nuclear warheads so close to Cardiff in the first place.

“Please tell us we can stop this,” Toshiko was practically pleading.

“We’re going as fast as we can,” Jack reported.  “But don’t worry…we won’t feel a thing if we don’t make it in time.  We’re right in the blast range.”

“That’s comforting,” Ianto said sarcastically.

“Come on!  We’re on the case!  And how can a dashing hero like me fail?”  Jack pitched his voice up, putting a chuckle into it.  He didn’t actually feel that way, although keeping his team focused and upbeat was part of his job description.  He certainly hoped they were buying the act.

Jack had been killed so many times, and he had to wonder just how he could survive a full-on nuclear blast.  Certainly he’d lived through that weird radiation back on Malcassairo, but this…this was different.  Even if he came back from the initial blast, what about the lingering fallout?  How would it feel to keep coming back only to continually die from radiation poisoning?

He felt a hand on his thigh, and looked over at Ianto.  There were times when Jack thought his mate was a mind reader, but it was just that he knew Jack too well.  The comfort of the touch and the sympathy in Ianto’s eyes were enough to tell him that the dragon knew exactly what was running through his mind.

Ianto smiled slightly, and then spoke into the radio’s mic.  “He is dashing, you have to admit.”

“What if they can’t stop it?” Gwen’s voice came over the speaker.

“They will.”  The confidence in Toshiko’s voice was heartening.  She’d obviously latched onto his projected enthusiasm.

“But if they can’t?”  Gwen argued back.  It hadn’t worked on her, obviously.

“Then it’s all over,” Toshiko answered, sounding annoyed.

Then Owen’s voice popped into the discussion.  “Let’s all have sex.”

Ianto laughed.  “Just when I thought the end of the world couldn’t get any worse.”

“Oi, Dragon Boy!  I heard that!”

“You were meant to!”

Jack shook his head.  He was going to reply but he didn’t get the chance as the distinctive sound of rapid gunfire could be heard even over the sound of the SUV’s racing engine.



Chapter Eleven



Comments

YAY for phone line :D

Love the changes
I love that line, it had to stay in!

Thanks, hon. :)
Loved the update - Gwen really needs to shut up!
She does, doesn't she?

Thanks! :)
Yeyyj..you put all favourite quotes in there..the phone lines, he's dashing, let's all have sex...
You almost made me forget how much I dislike Gwen in this 'verse
I had to have those in there. This ep gave me some of my favorite lines. *grins*

Oops, well next chapter I'll have to do better! LOL!

LOVE

LOL
You picked my two favorite moment of this episode
"" I know everything, "Ianto Said, managing not to sound too smug. "And it says so on the bottom of my screen." ""
and
"" Then Owen's voice popped into the discussion. "Let's all have sex."

Ianto laughed. "Just when i thought the end of the world could not get any worse."

"Oi, Dragon Boy! I Heard That! "

"You were Meant to!" ""


I repeats, but you watch while Gwen is unrecoverable :-))

Beth is marvellous

Re: LOVE

I had to have those lines in there, they're my favorites. *laughs*

Yes, I'm afraid Gwen really is. Glad you liked Beth though. :)
I laughed at Ianto's mobile monologue, as usual. Never fails.
I love that line! It just had to be in this version. This episode had some of the best lines in it. :)
I love the relationship between Ianto and Owen lol. They make me laugh whenever you write them together :) I really dislike gwen so bad lol Very interested to see how you write this scene, know it will be good :)
Thanks! Glad you liked Owen and Ianto. I have so much fun writing those two.

More up soon. :)
Things are moving right along now... I find it utterly hilarious that Gwen thinks that her trust makes the slightest difference, or that it is her job to make those judgement calls. This story is really working for me because of all the effort that was put in building the trust between Ianto and Beth, so that no matter what happens she knows he will do the right thing and follow her wishes. I wish there was a way out for her, but I can't see one at this point. Eagerly anticipating the next installment. :)
Well, that's Gwen for you.

Thank you. I'm glad you like the friendship between Beth and Ianto. It just makes sense that he can see things from her point of view.

More up soon. :)
I love the changes you've made to this.

Beth is a great character in this. She may be alien underneath, but she's loyal to the human part of her. I loved her coming to them for help instead of going to the hospital because she knew she could become dangerous and wanted Jack and Ianto to help her and make sure she didn't hurt anyone.

I also loved Beth telling Gwen where to get off when Gwen tried to stop them from leaving. It really is saying something when a person who's known the boys for such a short time trusts them completely and Gwen, who should know better, doesn't trust them at all. Even after being slapped down by both Jack and Beth, the stupid woman still can't shut her mouth. I'm still voting for cryo-freeze.
Thank you!

Beth really is human, but she's on that edge where she knows she can only be human as long as she's not triggered, and there's no idea when that will happen.

Well, Gwen is blinded by her misconceptions. We'll see more of this later. :)


O_O The end is near! And beth was very very smart when she was in a position to take a very difficult choice.

Poor Jack, what a horrible prospect of the future if the bombs explode.

:)
Yes it is, I'm afraid. And I'm glad you like how Beth is in this.

I can't help but feel bad for Jack having to consider surviving a nuclear attack.

Thanks! :)
Love your version of that scene.
Thanks! Glad you did. :)