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Myfanwy 2

December 2017

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Ghosts of the Collider - Chapter Six

Ghosts of the Collider - Chapter Six
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto, Toshiko/Kathy
Warnings: Language, Violence
Spoilers: Both series up to S2, E4, "Meat" and the radio play, "Lost Souls"
Disclaimer: I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.
Author's note:  This is the Dragon-Verse version of the radio play, "Lost Souls".  I decided to use the real-world dating for the activation of the LHC instead of what the radio play inferred, and that put this right in the middle of Series Two.  It actually makes a really good segue into "Adam", which you'll see later. 

A/N2: The next chapter will be delayed, because I'm going to Florida for the next week.  So I hope this will tide you over until I get back.


SummaryAfter a call from Martha Jones at CERN, Jack sends Ianto, Toshiko, and Patrick in to investigate.  Can they discover the secret of the Collider before it's too late?




10 September 2008

“So,” Toshiko said, her fingers dancing over the computer’s keyboard like it was some sort of musical instrument…and maybe, to her, it was. “How are you?”

They’d gone back to the office that Toshiko and Patrick had used in order to access the CERN computer system, Toshiko booting the system back up and settling herself comfortably in the chair behind the metal desk. Martha had found herself standing by the door, playing lookout. However, the place was practically deserted, all of the personnel being on hand for the switching on ceremony.

Martha was a bit surprised by the question, to be honest. It didn’t exactly seem to apply to the mission they were currently on. “I’m fine,” she answered, barely keeping the confusion out of her voice. “Considering people are vanishing and might actually be glowing like mutant fireflies…”

The technician snorted. “I suppose I deserved that. No, I meant, how are you doing with Patrick? You seem to be flipping between tense and relaxed around him, and I just wanted to make sure you were okay with him being here.”

Now that made a bit more sense. Martha dragged one of the rolling chairs over to sit next to her friend as Toshiko worked to hack into some satellite or other. She hesitated, considering her answer.

“Well,” she began, “I admit it was a bit of a shock seeing him in person. I mean, I knew he was coming, and I knew he’d been hired for the team, but actually setting eyes on him again…” She sighed. “You know, I never did find out what happened to him after Ianto and I left New Saxon. He was the one to arrange our passage on Captain Dalton’s ship, you know? Personally vouched for the captain, and escorted us to the rendezvous point. It was like, he saved my life, so he wanted to make sure I stayed alive the entire time we were with the SHIELD resistance cell.” She grinned. “I think it amused Ianto.”

“Were you in love with him?”

The air was knocked out of Martha’s lungs as if Toshiko had punched her in the chest with something heavy. “No!” she finally gasped. “Why would you even think that?”

Toshiko’s fingers paused, and the technician turned to face her. “I’m only asking what Ianto was assuming. Only he has enough tact not to ask.”

Martha was stunned. She wanted to find out just why Ianto would have thought that she’d had any sort of romantic feelings toward Patrick. She opened her mouth to reply, but reconsidered. All right, maybe her behaviour during their time with the SHIELD resistance might have caused Ianto to believe that she might have fallen for Patrick, but that simply wasn’t the case…

“I admired him,” she admitted. “Why wouldn’t I? He completely discarded months of undercover work in that warlord’s gang in order to get me to safety. Sure, Ianto was on his way to rescue me, and he would’ve burned that compound to the ground if that’s what it would’ve taken, but Patrick didn’t know that. All he knew was that I was important, and that what I was doing superseded any orders he might’ve been given. He did his best to save me, and almost died as a result. So of course I’d feel something for him.

“But, Tosh…” Martha shook her head. “It certainly wasn’t ever love. At that point I was still so hung up on the Doctor that I doubt I would have felt like that about anyone. It wasn’t until the Valiant that I realised the Doctor wasn’t what I wanted, and then Tom found me after the paradox was rolled back…so no, I can honestly say I don’t feel like that toward Patrick.”

Toshiko was smiling. “I’m glad you said that. Tom’s really good for you, you know? I can’t tell you how happy Owen was when we all found out that you two were dating. I’m not saying Patrick isn’t a good person, but Tom is much more…I don’t know, maybe compatible? And he came through that Year almost intact, which is amazing. Patrick…he doesn’t want to know what happened, and I can’t blame him, but I do know that Jack’s wanted to thank him so many times, and he can’t because he can’t explain it. Tom knows what you both went through, and the two of you can talk about it when it gets too much to deal with.”

She went back to her hacking, or whatever it was she was doing, and Martha decided that turnabout was fair play and she’d ask a few personal questions of her own. “So…have you and Kathy set a date yet?”

There was a faint blush on Toshiko’s face, but she kept her eyes firmly on the computer screen. “No, but we’re thinking sometime in the spring. We do know we’d like to get married at Ddraig Llyn, and we fully expect you and Tom to be there.” She paused for a second, then looked back at Martha. “If fact, I’d like you to be one of my attendants. I'd planned on asking you in about a month or so, and in the middle of a mission isn’t exactly the best time, but…”

Martha couldn’t help the squeal she let out, but then this was a special occasion even if they were currently trying to hack into a satellite. “Of course!” she exclaimed, throwing her arms around Toshiko’s shoulders. She gave her friend a fierce hug then settled back into her chair. She could feel herself grinning like a maniac. “Just so long as the attendant dresses aren’t hideous, that is.”

Toshiko shook her head fondly. “I think I can promise that the dresses will be in good taste. I don’t dare risk Ianto’s wrath over them.”

“Oh good lord, no,” Martha giggled. “His disappointed look is worse than my Mum’s.”

The computer chimed, cutting off Toshiko’s own bout of laughter. “We’re in,” she said, leaning slightly forward.

“You are brilliant,” Martha congratulated, also leaning toward the computer. Displayed on it was an overhead view of CERN, with the nearby town of Meyrin also visible to the south and east. On the screen Martha could make out individual buildings on the grounds of the complex, and she took out the visitor’s map in order to compare the two views.

It took her a few minutes, but Martha was able to identify a small outbuilding on the satellite view that wasn’t on the map itself. “Here,” she said, pointing toward the monitor toward the area to the west where the building seemed to be. “This isn’t on the site plan.”

“Think you can find it?”

“No problem.”

“Good.” Toshiko gave her a few seconds to memorise the satellite image, and then she shut down the computer. “I managed to erase my tracks in the system, but it was a quick job and I can’t guarantee someone won’t find it eventually.”

“Then we should get this show on the road,” Martha said, standing.

“Be careful,” Toshiko warned.

“You, too.”

They headed out together, parting at the doors leading into the Collider control room. Martha could hear voices within, and guessed that the activation would be happening shortly. Her hand grasped the comm that she’d been given, wanting to call Ianto and Patrick to warn them, but she abstained. The pair knew very well that the ceremony was almost over, and they all trusted Toshiko to do her best to get Professor Johnson to not push the on button.

Martha practically ran toward the lift, passing a couple of dignitaries lagging behind the main group already in the control room. She didn’t spare them a glance as she stabbed the button to call the lift, and it opened at once, already on her floor. Martha darted inside, pressing the up button several times in rapid succession before calling herself silly for doing it and stopping.

The lift started upward, and Martha fidgeted. She really didn’t know what was going to be in that building she and Toshiko had found; it could be completely innocent, a storage shed or something equally innocuous.

Or, it could be the solution to what was going on.

Her ears popped, signalling the lift getting closer to the surface. Martha once again thought of the Torchwood team – her friends – and was so very grateful that they were there. It had only taken them a short time to discover something going on, unlike her superiors who had dismissed her out of hand simply because she was young and didn’t have what they considered experience in the field. It made her wonder what would have happened if she hadn’t called Jack; if she’d just kept quiet and let events happen.

No, she could never do that. If there was one thing her travels with the Doctor had taught her, was that she would never again not get involved where she could help. The moment Julia had contacted her Martha had been determined to find out just what was going on there at CERN, and the dismissals from Dr Harrington and the Major had stung. A part of her had been feeling slighted when they’d both told her to basically mind her place, so she couldn’t help the vindictiveness that finding out something was indeed happening that washed over her.

But then, she and Ianto had met Dr Harrington in the medical bay on their way to examine Leon Foiret. Had her supervisor known something else was going on besides people becoming ill?

Martha considered that as she passed through the security checkpoint and out onto the grounds. It was raining, and she took a second to curse herself for not stopping to get her coat as she began cutting across the wet grass in the direction of the outbuilding she knew was out there. Certainly, Dr Harrington had the security clearance – being the highest-ranking UNIT medical officer on site – to move things he wouldn’t have wanted seen. He’d been quick to dismiss her concerns, and had gone to the major in order to discredit her even further. Could he be up to something?

But then, there was also Professor Johnson. Martha had first-hand experience with scientists who were so into the research that they’d do anything to keep anyone from finding out something was wrong with their conclusions…Richard Lazarus came to mind immediately. He’d paid the ultimate price for his hubris, but he’d also taken innocents with him, and that had almost included Martha’s sister, Tish. In fact, it was now a running joke in the family to watch out for whoever was Tish’s boss, because they’d inevitably end up being evil and trying to take over the planet.

The Large Hadron Collider was Professor Johnson’s life’s work. Could she be covering up something going on within the Collider itself because she couldn’t bear the idea that all of her hard work had been for naught? Certainly people had done a lot worse for a lot less. The professor could be disposing of those who’d been affected by something wrong with the mechanism…something that was tearing people apart by sucking up all of the neutrons in their bodies.

Martha turned her thoughts toward the latest victim and his condition as she trudged through the compound, the rain dripping from her hair and inside the collar of her suit jacket, making her shiver in the cold. Foiret was dying; there was no denying that. Unless they could somehow replace the missing neutrons his body would slowly unravel, fading away.

How many of the victims had this happened to already?   Would they find any of them alive?

Martha shivered, and it didn’t have anything to do with the rain.

“Mar…c’n…hear?”

She recognised Ianto’s voice even through the static on the comm she’d been given. “I can hear you…barely,” she answered as she walked.

“H…going?”

Of course she should have known that there was too much concrete and stone between the aboveground sections of CERN and its underground complex for the comms to get a decent signal. In fact, she’d have been willing to bet that Toshiko had, and that Ianto had given it thought but had decided to try anyway. “It’s raining,” she complained, not sure if Ianto could hear her.

There was a burst of white noise from the comm unit, and Martha muttered a curse under her breath. “I didn’t catch that,” she said, irritated.

Off in the distance, Martha could just make out a smallish building through the drizzle. “I think I’ve found it,” she went on. “As soon as I know anything I’ll call you, but I don’t think you’ll hear me until I get back into the main parts of the complex.”

There was another burst of static, but just under the loud noise Martha could just make out, “Be careful.” She didn’t bother to acknowledge the dragon, instead moving toward her destination, quickening her pace the closer she got and hoping her shoes would be salvageable.

The outbuilding was constructed from concrete, almost like a bunker of sorts. That didn’t surprise Martha; the majority of the structures on the ground of CERN were built the same way. The heavy metal door was closed, and the padlock looked formidable.

She sighed in frustration. “I couldn’t half use a sonic screwdriver right now.” Martha cast her eyes about, finding a large stone that looked sturdy enough to take on the lock. She bashed it against the padlock several times, and eventually the hasp twisted, allowing her to pull it off and open the door.

Martha took a deep breath, and entered.

It would have been dark inside, except there were several sources of light within the choking blackness of the interior. Martha counted twelve sources…

The exact same number as the missing victims.

It looked like Toshiko had been correct in her assumption about the victims being moved somewhere close by.

The bodies were lying on pallets on the concrete floor, silent and unmoving. It was just a bit creepy, and Martha gave into the shudder that wracked through her.

Then she knelt beside the closest victim, recognising her instantly. “Julia!” Martha called, hoping to get some sort of response from her friend. There was nothing, only that eerie glow, and she wrestled with the laptop case looped around her neck in order to get the Bekaran scanner out, thankful that Ianto had insisted she take it with her. She needed to check on Julia and the others, at least to see how far the cellular degeneration had gone.

Would it possible to save them all? Or were they too far gone?

Martha’s fingers were chilled, and she fumbled slightly with the controls. Eventually she got the device turned on, and ran the scanner over Julia’s body, dismayed at what she was seeing. Her friend was slowly unravelling, and if she had to guess she would’ve said that Julia had about twenty-four hours before catastrophic collapse.

She fumbled the scanner to one hand, reaching for her mobile with the other. These people needed a hospital and she was the only one able to summon the authorities, now that she was aboveground and could get a signal on her phone.

Just as her finger was hovering over the dial pad, there was a creaking noise; Martha turned, her eyes following the heavy door as it opened further, the damp light of the day protruding deeper into the shed. A shadowy form filled the doorway, and Martha had to blink twice before she recognised just who it was.

“Doctor Harrington?” she asked. It took a heartbeat before the truth of what she was seeing.

He knew these people were there.

And, to do that, he had to have put them there.

“Doctor Jones?” Harrington echoed, confusion in his voice. Of course he hadn’t expected her to be there. He didn’t think that much of her to begin with, so why would the thought even have crossed his mind that she’d find his stash of affected people? Even though she’d suspected something going on, Dr Harrington probably hadn’t considered her going against orders or being able to figure things out on her own.

Martha stood, the better to face him. “It was you, all the time,” she accused. “You knew about these people. You had the authority to hide them. Your UNIT credentials gave you free reign of CERN so you could go anywhere and no one would question you.”

Harrington sighed. “Doctor Jones…Martha…it’s too bad you found this place.” He reached into his lab coat pocket and pulled out a gun. “Please don’t try to resist. I really don’t want to shoot you.”

And the funny thing was…Martha believed him.

That didn’t make him any less dangerous, though.


Chapter Seven




Comments

Loved the update! Hopefully someone will stop Dr. Harrington before something happens to Martha.
Yikes! I'm hoping either Ianto or Patrick (or perhaps Hawkeye?) will save the day here.
Thanks for the update...no thanks for the cliffie like ending..
That's exactly it! Professionals are able to hack a base while talking guy, dresses, wedding witnesses ....
I love it.
I speak what demandede Ianto and Patrick...

It seems that Ianto would need a holiday to relax in the mountains and his cave ... after this case is over, we will have the right to an interlude in their valley ??
Great update! Love that we got so much from Martha's PoV.

And I'm sure the next chapter will be worth waiting for :-)
Awww. Tosh is worried about Iantos approval of her dresses... He is such a mother! I love that the story of Patrick is starting to unfold and that he is a true Jack-level of hero. :)