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Myfanwy 2

November 2017

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Tim's Balls

Archangel - Chapter Five

Title: Archangel
Author: Milady Dragon
Artist: the_silver_sun
Beta: totally4ryo
Series: Tomorrow Torchwood
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Gwen/Rhys, John/Elena, Ianto/Lisa (Past)
Warning(s): Language, Violence
Spoilers: Up through "Last of the Time Lords"
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the properties this story mentions, including Torchwood, Doctor Who, The Tomorrow People (both TV and Audio Versions), Castle, The Sarah Jane Adventures, and anything else I might have added just because I could.
Author's Note: This was written for the Torchwood Classic Big Bang, and is a sequel to my story, "Contagion".  It goes completely AU from that story onward.

Summary: When the Tomorrow People are incapacitated by a mysterious, low-level telepathic field, Torchwood investigates.  Evidence leads to a company called Magister Innovations, the Archangel Network...and the last of the Time Lords.




Chapter Five

‘Ianto,’ Alexis’ mental voice called, and she sounded excited.

Ianto was glad of the interruption. He’d grown increasingly frustrated with their lack of success in discovering where the telepathic burst had come from. Not only had he been acting as go-between for Torchwood and the Lab, he had tried to conduct his own line of research into the source of the signal, to no avail.

Also, there had been the couple of times when he could swear he heard that friendly yet cold voice telling him that he could trust it, that it was Ianto’s friend. When that happened he would reach out with his mind and attempt to locate where it was coming from, but there would be nothing. The one time he’d brought it up to John the elder Tomorrow Person had claimed not to have heard it, although John had admitted that he sometimes believed he’d heard it as well.

Neither admitted it to Owen, despite Jack’s admonition to let the medic know if they heard anything. They just couldn’t be sure that it was their own imaginations.

So, when Alexis spoke to him telepathically, Ianto was more than willing to put down what he was doing and listen.

‘What is it?’ he asked, sitting back in his desk chair and trying to rub the kinks from his neck and back.

‘I think my Dad has something.’

That announcement made Ianto sit up and pay attention. ‘Let’s bring John into this.’ At Alexis’ agreement, Ianto sent out a message to John, inviting him to the conversation.

Once John was in both of their minds, Alexis repeated what she’d told Ianto. ‘Are you certain?’ John’s stern yet warm voice asked.

‘Pretty certain,’ Alexis answered. ‘It makes sense.’

She explained what her father had discovered, and Ianto couldn’t help but think she was on the right track. ‘Let me get Toshiko on it,’ he said, getting up from his chair.

‘I shall speak to Tim as well,’ John replied. ‘If this pans out, we should meet. The boardroom there at the Hub would be large enough.’

Ianto agreed, and then broke the connection. He practically ran across the Hub, his haste catching the rest of the team’s attention immediately, and they followed him toward his destination, radiating their curiosity.

“Toshiko,” he exclaimed, coming to a stop at his friend’s station, “what do we have on the Archangel Network?”

**********

The boardroom was crowded, to the point where Ianto had to bring in extra chairs.

Plus there weren’t enough mugs for everyone to have coffee, so a grumbling Owen had headed to the nearest Tesco’s to pick up some disposable coffee cups. Ianto had had to bribe him with the good stuff, but it had been worth it, giving him time to get things prepared for the meeting.

The team had taken their usual seats at the large table, while the Tomorrow People had taken the extra chairs and a connection to Tim had been set up on a dedicated conference line. Rick Castle had been offered a seat next to Toshiko, the better for them to give their presentation.   Alexis had pulled her chair up next to her Dad’s, and Castle had his arm around his daughter. He said something and she rolled her eyes, and Ianto caught the echo of her thought as she jokingly told him off for being egotistical.

Jack was the only one standing, and while he tried to look calm, Ianto knew he really wasn’t. He could make out the signs of stress on Jack’s face, and all Ianto wanted to do was get up from his own chair and give him a hug, but both men had professional lines they would not cross, especially in crowd conditions, as it were.

“Let’s get this started,” Jack called the meeting to order. “First, thank you, John, for letting me run this meeting.” The elder Tomorrow Person nodded in response. “Now, it looks like we finally might have somewhere to start. Castle?”

Castle sat up straighter and looked as if he wanted to preen a little, but then Ianto had come to realise that the man was a bit of an attention-seeker, perhaps even on Jack’s level. “Okay, about five months ago I had an idea for a new novel, and went online to do some research into up and coming technology and new breakthroughs, especially in wireless and telecommunications. In my search I found a rather new company called Magister Innovations LTD, with an office in New Jersey.”

At those words, Ianto could feel John sit up and take notice. He sent a silent enquiry to the older Tomorrow Person, but John simply said, ’Later,’ in a tone that would have had Ianto bristling if he wasn’t used to it by now.

He also caught something from Elena, who didn’t sound happy with being dismissed. Ianto wanted to grin but refrained; she could be sharp when she wanted to, and she often did with her lover.

Then he realised that John had been in New Jersey when the telepathic burst had incapacitated them all.

That couldn’t be coincidence.

“The idea for the novel fell through,” Castle went on, “but Magister sounded like it was onto something, so I had my business manager sniff around for any sort of stock options that might be available. I also got onto Magister’s e-mail list. Now, I hadn’t had time to check my e-mails over the last couple of days, but when I did this morning I found this.” He grinned at Toshiko. “Doctor Sato, if you please?”

Toshiko tapped a command into her laptop, and a copy of an e-mail appeared on the large screen behind Jack. Ianto sat forward as he read it.

Alexis had told him about the e-mail, but actually seeing it was a bit different. It was obviously an official company document, judging from the letterhead on the missive. Everything about the e-mail was meant to catch the eye.

And there it was.

We’re excited to announce that the Archangel Network has passed its first test! We managed to route several services through it earlier today with minimal loss of data. There are still some tweaks needing to be made, but we don’t doubt we’ll meet our goal of having the entire Network up and running by the beginning of July.

The date of the email was the same day as the telepathic burst.

“How do we know this has anything to do with anything?” Owen asked. “What the hell is the Archangel Network anyway?”

“Toshiko,” Jack replied, “give us what you and Tim have dug up on the Network.”

“The Archangel Network,” the technician began, “is actually a joint project between Britain and America, although the bulk of the work was done in London. It’s a system of fifteen satellites, circling the entire planet.”

She tapped some more keys, and the visual changed, this one to a scan of Earth from space. “This was taken with the Tomorrow People’s Watchdog Seven satellite. “ The picture changed once more, this one with an overlay showing where the actual satellites in question were in orbit. “Tim and I plotted the orbits of the relevant satellites, so we know exactly where they are.”

“At optimum position,” Tim said from the fancy conference phone in the center of the boardroom table, “any signal generated by the network would be detected anywhere on the planet, and quite possibly from low-Earth orbit.”

“And this network is supposed to be for…?”   Elena questioned from her seat next to John.

“Wireless communication,” Toshiko answered. “Phones, computers, you name it. Anything with a wireless connection is compatible with the network.”

“According to the propaganda,” Castle added, “any signal in the network is twenty times faster than current technology.”

“Which shouldn’t be possible,” Toshiko put in.

“Bloody hell,” Paul whistled. “I bet people are jumping all over it. The faster, the better.”

“It’s not being advertised publicly yet,” Castle answered. “The Magister Innovations website says that won’t start for another week, and then a boatload of Archangel-compatible devices are gonna flood the market. I’ve already pre-ordered a couple myself.”

“What I don’t understand,” Gwen said, “is how this has anything to do with that signal. Yeah, I see that Archangel ran its test on the same day as it happened, but what would the company gain by attacking anyone with telepathic abilities like that?”

“That’s the question.” Jack rubbed his forehead. “Tosh, have you or Tim come up with any reason for the low-level telepathic signal?”

Toshiko looked frustrated. “Nothing, Jack.”

“The problem,” Tim added, “is that we have both been unable to gain entrance into the Magister Innovations computer systems.” He sounded very apologetic.

“There’s way too much security,” Toshiko said. “Sure, I understand there’s all sorts of industrial espionage, but not even Microsoft is this paranoid.”

“There’s something else as well,” John announced, getting to his feet. “Tim?”

“John is correct. Several weeks ago rumours reached us as to certain…practices Magister Innovations might have been doing, as to their technological advancements.”

Ianto looked up at the elder Tomorrow Person. He could sense the others’ understanding of just what Tim was saying by the rise of mental chatter at the back of his mind.

“This was what you were in New Jersey for,” Paul practically accused.

Jack frowned. “Okay, what’s going on that we don’t know about?” He looked a little put out.

“To be honest,” John admitted, “I had no idea that Magister Innovations was also behind the Archangel Network.” He practically glared at the conference phone. “Didn’t you think you could have told me, Tim?”

“Yes, perhaps,” the supercomputer answered, “however I thought that we should have all the pieces laid out at once. It would not do to draw the incorrect conclusions when all of the facts are not known.”

John rolled his eyes, but didn’t call Tim down any further. “There were rumours that Magister Innovations had gotten a hold of alien tech and had reversed engineered it. I had gone to New Jersey to take a tour of the facility…which of course I missed, as I was too busy being unconscious in Allison’s flat to make my appointment.”

“How were you going in?” Jack asked.

“As a science writer for a small-scale technical journal,” John answered. “I needed to see first-hand what they had in their labs, and if I could identify any of it.”

“Do you think you could reschedule?” Jack asked.   “We really need eyes in there, to see what they’re up to. And, if it’s alien technology, it would explain the reach and power of the network.”

“That shouldn’t be a problem,” John said.

Voices broke out around the table as everyone began discussing the ramifications of what it would mean if Magister Innovations had gotten their hands on alien technology.   Ianto sat there, biting his lip as he considered what had been revealed during the meeting. He followed along with the suppositions his teammates were making, and for some reason he couldn’t shake the idea that something was wrong with their deductions.

‘Ianto,’ Elena said to him mentally, ‘what is it?”

Trust Elena, the empath of their group, to recognize Ianto’s uncertainty. ‘We’re not taking everything into consideration,’ he answered. ‘I can’t shake the feeling that we’re going in the wrong direction.’

“Everyone!” Elena called out, both telepathically and aloud. As she didn’t often raise her voice, it got the entire room’s attention. Once it was quiet, she nodded to her friend. “Go ahead, Ianto.”

He sent her a rather sarcastic mental thanks, which she happily accepted. He wasn’t quite ready to share his musings, but Elena had forced his hand.

“I have the feeling we’re going about this the wrong way,” he repeated for everyone’s benefit, somewhat embarrassed by the sudden attention. “I think we need to ask the question: why would anyone imbed a telepathic message within a data signal? What would be the reason?”

“Ianto has a point,” Elena agreed. “We’re all so into the actual technology that we’re not asking why.”

Jack chewed his thumb thoughtfully. “It could have been a function of the original technology and no one at Magister knew about it.”

“That would assume it was Federation technology,” John said, frowning.

John was right. The only true telepathic technology belonged to the Galactic Federation, since all of their member planets were mentally advanced.

“Would Federation technology do what this did to all of you?” Jack asked. “Because, while I don’t know how the rest of you were affected, the team here saw how Ianto and Alexis reacted just when they were thinking about that signal.”

“The voice…it wanted to convince us that it was our friend,” Alexis murmured. She shivered slightly.

None of the Tomorrow People had reacted as he and Alexis had that one time they’d tried to describe it, for which Ianto was grateful. There were still those few times when he thought it echoed in his mind, but those were also becoming few and far between, and he’d begun to keep his shields up constantly.

“It might have wanted us to like it,” John snapped, “but there was something inherently wrong with whatever it was. I’m hoping that, if it happens again, that we can mostly block it out.”

Ianto nodded. “It took me be surprise, but I don’t think it’ll be able to do it again.”

“But, if this signal is deliberate,” Owen mused, “then why trigger you lot? How do they even know about you, anyway? It’s not like the signal actually accomplished anything except knocking you all on your collective arses and bringing out several new Tomorrow People. There was no rhyme or reason to it, and if there’s one thing we’ve all learned by now is that the bastards don’t do anything that doesn’t subscribe to some sort of plan. Sure, the bad guys might posture and gloat, but they always have a reason for doing what they do. So…why is this signal so important, and if it’s deliberately aimed at one very tiny section of the human population, what can you all do that they need you to do?”

There was silence at that, because no one knew the answer to those questions.




Chapter Six


Comments

Hmm, Archangel Network. Not good...
Nope, I'm afraid not... :)