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Myfanwy 2

October 2018

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Before the Fall - Chapter Eight

Before the Fall - Chapter Eight
Author: Milady Dragon
Series: Dragon-Verse
Rating: PG-13
Pairing(s): Jack/Ianto; Gwen/Rhys
Warnings: Language, Angst
Spoilers: Up through Series One, and Doctor Who S3 E11 and E12, "Utopia" and "The Sound of Drums"
Disclaimer:  I don't own Torchwood, I would have treated it better.  I also don't own Doctor Who.
Author's note:  This is the story leading up to the Year That Never Was.  Dating is, as usual, taken from "Ianto's Desktop" and the TARDIS Index File. 

A/N2:  This is the last part of this particular story.  The next story is The Dragon and the Nightingale, which will take up toward the end of the Year that Never Was.  I was going to have a PDF ready when I posted this, but it's late so it's not done.  I'll do it tomorrow and get the link posted as soon as I can. 

Also, I have two complete stories posting this week, one for the Ianto Big Bang and the other for Reel Torchwood, so the next story won't start until afterward. 

Summary:  Darkness is falling, and the Great Dragons have called the four Dragon-Friends back to Ddraig Llyn.   Ianto is in charge of a splintered team as he tries to figure out how to stop the end of the world.




6 June 2008               

 

Toshiko took her coffee and sat at her new workstation, the comforting hum of well-running electronics surrounding her.

The inn was dark, except for the one area her equipment had been set up in.  Johnny had found a heavy-duty wooden table that he said they’d had in storage and had last been used for a local wedding.  It would have usually seated six, but the two large flatscreen monitors took up most of the space, set on angles so she could between the two with little effort.  One PC CPU was set up between them, while another happily warmed her feet.  She wasn’t too fond of the keyboard, but it had been the better of the two that had come with the towers, and the mouse she’d decided on was quite nice. 

It had taken her hours last night to get things set up to her demanding specifications.  Yes, the processing power was no patch on the Torchwood mainframe’s but there wasn’t anything she could do about it.  She was just glad that the funds were there for her to buy all this, because it would be a lot more difficult fighting an alien invasion with just her laptop.

Difficult; but not impossible.

Her own laptop was networked into the cobbled together system, and Toshiko knew she’d be relying on it more than the rest of the set-up.  It had the codes and accesses that she’d need to get into the mainframe; but it didn’t have the processing power she’d need despite the upgrades she’d given it over the years.   

Toshiko took a sip of her coffee, enjoying the quiet as she booted everything up.  She’d worked well past midnight to get everything the way she’d wanted it, and it had taken the combined efforts of Kathy and Estelle to get her to finally go to bed.  Toshiko felt refreshed, glad that she’d let her friends force her to rest for a couple of hours.  But she was also used to working Torchwood hours, and was up before anyone else.  She’d get everything networked to the Hub before anyone was up, and she’d be ready to go by sunrise.

Well, if there was an actual sunrise.  The clouds that the Great Dragons had summoned blocked out pretty much anything, and it was only her watch that told Toshiko that it was still far too early in the morning for the others to be up and about.

Fingers moving between laptop and keyboard, the technician made and secured her connections, and before long the stylized “T” of the Torchwood server was rotating on all three screens.  Grinning, Toshiko made her way deeper, using her codes to make a direct connection to the mainframe, the oddly twisting strands dancing across her screen in a familiar pattern that made her feel a little less alone.

The first thing she did was check her internal email; and sure enough, there was one from Ianto.  It was time-stamped 0320; Toshiko glanced at her watch and saw that was a little under three hours ago.  She was going to have to have words with him about getting more sleep…

She read the email, frowning at its contents.

 

Toshiko:

I know you, and I know you’ll connect back to the server as soon as you can.  I want to keep you updated, not being certain you know what’s going on.

There was mention of the press conference where Saxon had claimed First Contact would be happening; she knew about that, so skipped past it.

I’m certain this is what the Great Dragons were warning us about, and so I’m going to try to get to London to find out exactly what’s going on.  I can’t get straight answers from anyone, and even Her Majesty seems to be incommunicado, which has me very worried.  That, and the fact that Saxon obviously tried to get rid of us by sending us off the Tibet…well, if Owen can grasp what that means, then I’m certain you can, as well.

 

Yes, she could.  Wanting to get Torchwood out of the way would be what she’d have done, if she’d wanted to lead some sort of alien invasion.  While Torchwood wasn’t at all like UNIT, they’d beaten off incursions that would have made even the hardest UNIT solider freak out.

There’s something else:  Jack is back on Earth, and he’s apparently involved with whatever’s going on with Saxon.  He, the Doctor, and a young woman named Martha Jones have been declared public enemies, and are on the run.

 

That made Toshiko sit back and take a deep breath.  Jack was back, and he was being pursued.   Which of course gave Saxon another reason to get rid of Torchwood: they’d go after their leader, and do their utmost to help him. 

I’ve attached some files that you might want to look over; they came from a journalist named Vivian Rook, who’d been investigating Saxon.  I specifically want you to look over the information on the Archangel Network; it looks as if Jack was right about refusing to have mainframe connected to it when Saxon had asked.

 

She opened the attachment, her eyes scanning the documents enclosed.  As the ramifications of what she was reading hit her, she cursed under her breath.  No wonder Saxon had won the election in such a landslide, if this was indeed true…

Toshiko would have to definitely hack into the Archangel Network now, just to see how it ticked.

I did get these files to Jack via his Vortex Manipulator, as well as a message saying we were safe.  He also managed to contact me, and from what little he’d been able to say it’s a foregone conclusion that Harold Saxon is going to lead an alien invasion this morning.  According to Jack, Saxon isn’t even human.  Ms. Rook does allude to Saxon’s mysterious appearance 18 months ago, despite all the information that’s supposedly online about his entire life, and that jibes with what Jack said. 

He and the Doctor and Ms. Jones are in London now, and they’re also going to try to stop Saxon.  Which is another reason I want to go:  I miss him, Tosh.  He’s my mate, and I need to help him.  I’ve set up the Hub to go into Protocol LD-Prime precisely at 8am this morning, and Owen and Gwen both know how to get in or out when needed.  Once I find Jack I’ll be going back to the Hub myself.  Hopefully I’m just being horribly paranoid but I get the feeling that just stopping Saxon isn’t the answer.  The darkness is still coming, and we have to be prepared.

Be well, Toshiko.  I’m glad you’re safe, but I know you: you’ll be ready for almost anything. 

I hope to see you soon.

Ianto.

 

Toshiko sighed.  She desperately wanted to call Ianto and tell him not to go to London, but she didn’t dare; the Archangel Network had been set up to also be able to spy on calls, and she couldn’t take the risk of tipping anyone off to Ddraig Llyn or her friend’s plan.   And, he’d already have left the Hub in order to get to London on time, so she wouldn’t be able to send a message that would be guaranteed to get to him. 

It was obvious that Ianto would be walking into danger.

There wasn’t a thing she could do about it.

Sighing again, Toshiko pulled back up the files Ianto had left her, wanting to get a deeper insight into the person who was apparently their enemy.

Harold Saxon.

**********

“How long have you been up?”

Toshiko practically jumped out of her chair.  She’d been so immersed in her work that she hadn’t heard Kathy approach, or smelled the fresh coffee the detective was carrying.

Toshiko relaxed, stretching her back.   “Since about 6am,” she answered truthfully, accepting the offered coffee.  “Thanks I need this.”

“It’s not a patch on Ianto’s but it has the requisite caffeine in it.”  Once she had a hand free, Kathy pulled up another chair, joining Toshiko at the workstation.  “Anything interesting?”

“You could say that.”  She explained about Ianto’s message, and the files that he’d included.  “I’ve done some snooping around, and that journalist was right: the Archangel Network does carry some sort of imbedded signal.  It’s very subtle but it’s there.”

“Can you hack it?”

Toshiko shook her head.  “I hate to say, but it’s beyond me.  The network is very much alien-based technology, and I think at this point it’s up to the Doctor and Jack.”

“And Jones is going after Harkness.”  Kathy sighed.  “Look, I know you all forgave Harkness for running off, but I still have problems with it.  Now Jones is off running into danger for him…”

“That’s what being in love means,” Estelle’s calm voice answered.  The older woman came to stand beside Kathy, holding a mug of her own.  “You help the one you love, no matter what.”

Kathy rolled her eyes good-naturedly.  “I have been in love before,” she answered.  “It’s just that Jones is walking straight into danger, even though he knows it, and he knows that Harkness can take care of himself.”

“Ianto can take care of himself as well,” Estelle said.   “And yet, I think we can all honestly say we’d leave here to make our stand with him, if we could.”

Estelle had a point.  Toshiko couldn’t help but nod.  She’d had her disagreements with the Earth Dragon over just such a subject.   “I thought about contacting him and asking him not to go, but by the time I found a message he would have already left, and I didn’t trust the mobile network.”  He explained the story once more, and as she was beginning Rhiannon joined them, along with Alice.   

“I heard on the radio that Saxon’s First Contact is gonna be broadcast this morning at 8am,” Rhiannon said, once Toshiko was done. 

She nodded.  “That’s when Ianto was going to trigger the prime lockdown of the Hub.  Whatever’s going to happen, I’d be willing to bet that’s when it will be.”

“The best telly is in our lounge,” Rhiannon said.  “It’s going up on time; we should head there to watch.”

Together, the four Dragon-Friends and Estelle trooped into the living space where Rhiannon, Johnny, and their family stayed.  It was in an area behind the inn, with access through a discrete door from the office.  A large-screen television took up nearly one wall in the fair-sized lounge, and Rhiannon motioned them all to sit on either the sofa or the chairs, while she stood against the wall, messing with the remote.

The TV turned on, and it just happened to catch the end of a news broadcast. 

“– thirty seconds,” the newsreader was saying, “we’ll be going live for First Contact.”

She droned on, but Toshiko wasn’t really listening.  Her heart was pounding fit to burst, and she nibbled on a fingernail absently.  This was it…whatever ‘it’ was.   Alien invasion, certainly; but just what would Saxon and the Toclafane do?  She felt the anxiety and the worry build, until it was almost hard to breathe.

But, when the newsreader cut to the scene, it wasn’t Harold Saxon that greeted them: it was the President of the United States, and Toshiko knew she shouldn’t be surprised to see him there.  She’d tapped into the air traffic control comms, and had known that Air Force One had diverted to Heathrow and that President Winters hadn’t been happy at Saxon’s handling of the situation.

“My fellow Americans,” the man began, and if a man could have been smarmier than Harold Saxon, it was the U.S. President, “patriots, people of the world…I stand before you as an ambassador for humanity, a role I will undertake with utmost solemnity. Perhaps our Toclafane cousins can offer us much, but what is important is not that we gain material benefits, but that we learn to see ourselves anew…”

“He’s talking a right bunch of bollocks,” Rhiannon scoffed.  Alice snorted into her mug, and Kathy shook her head ruefully. 

“He’s a politician,” Toshiko quipped.   “What do you expect?” 

Then she got a closer look at the screen, and her heart stopped.

Jack was there.

Toshiko could see him clearly, standing at the side of the room with a man and a woman, who had to be the Doctor and Martha Jones. 

Estelle saw them too, judging from her suddenly leaning forward.  “How are they not being seen?”

Her question brought everyone’s attention to the screen.  Winters was still speaking, but Toshiko let it drone on, not listening anymore.  Estelle was right; no one seemed to be paying any attention at all to the trio, as they made their way closer to the front of the room.  Jack leaned over to speak to the Doctor, and the Doctor answered, Martha saying something in return.  “Some sort of perception filter?” Toshiko mused, although she had no proof of that.  It simply made sense, with the lack of noticing the crowd was actually doing.

“I don’t see Ianto, though,” Kathy pointed out.

“I don’t either,” Rhiannon said. 

“He must not have been able to get in,” Toshiko replied.  “I’m sure he would have tried to.”  She only hoped his attempts hadn’t garnered Saxon’s attention.  She was afraid of what he would do if he managed to get a dragon under his thumb.

“You are not the Master,” one of the Toclafane whined, in a creepy, child-like voice.  The very sound of it made Toshiko shiver.

“We like the Mister Master,” another said, sounding just as petulant.

“We don’t like you,” a third complained.

The three Toclafane orbs bobbed around, one of them dive-bombing Winters, making the President duck hurriedly.   “I…” he ducked again as another shot over his head, “I can be Master, if you so wish.  I will accept Mastery over you, if it’s God’s will.”

Despite the horribleness of the situation, Toshiko couldn’t help but snort at just how inane that sounded.

“Man is stupid.”

“Master is our friend.”

“Where is my Master, pretty please?”

The childish tones took on an evil sound, and Toshiko was suddenly very glad that she was safe in the valley, watching this on television.  There was just something so very wrong about the floating orbs, it made her nerves spark and her brain cringe away from what it was being forced to process.

The five women watched as Saxon identified himself as the Master, his own voice and features twisting into something insane, his words rambling and yet there was a horrific purpose behind it, and Toshiko found herself grabbing onto the nearest hand…which was Kathy’s, as the detective sat beside her on the sofa.  Kathy’s own hand spasmed around Toshiko’s own, grasping tightly.

Everything happened so very fast.

Winters was murdered by one of the Toclafane.

The Doctor was captured, whatever that had been hiding him from the crowd obviously not working on Saxon.

Jack was killed…which drew a gasp from Alice, and Toshiko put her hand over her mouth to stop her own gasp.

And then, Saxon did something to the Doctor, and the once-handsome Time Lord was reduced to an ancient, crippled form.

Although Toshiko wasn’t paying all that much attention; everything she had was focused on her boss…her friend.  She saw Jack revive, then pass something to Martha Jones.   She shook her head, as if denying what he told her.

Three people were dragged in; Saxon identified them as Martha’s family. 

And then, suddenly…

Music played.

Toshiko recognized it as “Voodoo Child.”

She would never be able to hear that song, ever again.

Saxon gave the order for the Toclafane to attack.

A sudden squealing sound came from outside the room, making everyone jump.  Toshiko was out of her seat at once, running out of the room and toward her computer set-up in the outer lobby.

She slammed into her chair, fingers dancing along the keyboard even before she was completely seated.

What she saw made her let out a single heartbroken sob.

“What is it?” Kathy demanded, her hand coming down on Toshiko’s shoulder.

“The computer was set to monitor the Hub’s systems,” she explained, swallowing yet another sob.  “That includes the Rift Manipulator…” No, she didn’t want to say it.  To say what she was seeing would make it too real, and Toshiko didn’t want to make it real…

The hand squeezed comfortingly.  “Please, tell me.”

Toshiko looked up at her friend, unable to stop the tears that traced their way down her cheeks.  “I don’t know what caused it,” she confessed.  “But there’s a major Rift storm brewing…”  She pulled in a large, whooping breath, then tried to speak again…but the words wouldn’t come.  Horror choked her, and Toshiko shook her head, unable to continue. 

“Just say it, Tosh,” Kathy urged quietly.   “Tell me what’s happening.”

Toshiko looked into her eyes, taking the strength she found there.   “Cardiff gets Rift spikes all the time,” she explained.  “But this…this is unnatural.  It’s a Rift storm so strong the readings are off the charts.  It’s like…the Rift has been affected by…I don’t know what.  Something has disturbed time and space, and it's generated a storm so powerful…Cardiff isn’t going to survive it.”

It felt like she was calling down doom on her home.  But that was what the readings were telling her; that the Rift was about to sweep through Cardiff like a cyclone, and nothing was going to get through the disaster that was about to happen.

Arms wrapped around her, and Toshiko accepted the comfort Kathy offered.  Then others embraced her, and within that warm cocoon of friendship Toshiko cried…for her lost home, for the lost innocents…

And for her lost friends.   For Owen and Gwen, whom Ianto had locked down in a Hub that soon would no longer exist. 

For the dragon himself, who’d gone to London to find Jack…and who’d obviously failed.  Where he was, Toshiko did not know. 

She had a feeling she wouldn’t know for a long time to come.



Comments

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The end caugh me by surprise! Well done and, with little surprise, I'm still loving this universe.
Bloody hell, I really can spell. "caugh" my ass. *sigh*
God, you're EVIL to leave it there! *clutches heart*
I know, and I'm sorry. But more soon, I promise! :)
Wow there's a cliff hanger. Jack on the Valiant, Ianto who knows where. Cardiff destroyed. Gwen and Owen who knows where if the Hub survives. Martha Jones do your stuff. Looking forward to reading your new stories. My reel=TW is up Friday.
K
xx
It's kinda like a season-ending cliffhanger, isn't it? Everyone scattered and no idea what's going to happen next... *winks*

Oh, I'm looking forward to yours, too! I love all the story posting that's going on.
Eeeep!!!
That's a good way of putting it. *grins*
I was going to say something funny about Jeff Goldblum being the only one able to safe the world with a laptop, but now you have me biting my nails and I'm very, very afraid.
LOL! I love Jeff Goldblum, but Tosh is prettier. *grins*

Sorry about the nails.. no, not really. :)
I cannot wait for more. Seriously, this verse is like a drug! Honestly!
I've addicted you? I don't think there's a twelve-step program for this, sorry...nah, not really. *grins*


ummm was that a cliffy? evil cliffy? ummmmm *me iz not happy*

looking forward to reading the next soon and all the other things you promised ....
Pretty darned evil, I know.

More up in a bit, and Ianto Big Bang posting tomorrow. :)
go on...write on...wanna know more..need to know more....
More soon, I promise. :)
Bleeding hell talk about drama! You hear that RTD this is true drama, I have tears in my eyes here. Wow.

I loved the chapter, loved that it was all from Tosh's pov. It made it more hard hitting than the actual tv show. And the rift storm. OMG. Poor Owen... and Gwen. Oh and Rhys and Andy. Pouts. I just hope you still reverse the whole thing. Begs with puppy dog eyes.
Thanks! Glad it was dramatic enough. I was going for that, you know. *grins*

Glad you liked it. Well, it is called the Year that Never Was.. :)
Hell! Cardiff will disappear.? I guess that, despite the lockout, the Hub will not be secure?
For the Saxon part, U.S. President, the Doctor, Martha, Jack and his family we are in continuity with the episode.
The five women are cloistered to provide a defense? retirement? be a witness?
Now, it remains the great unknown: Ianto! where is it?

Anyway, I hope the year will be reversible as in the series. Especially if the Hub is gone!
Yep, Cardiff went bye bye.

All of the above for them, I think it's safe to say.

Yep, it will be reversible. I promise. :)
Eeeeek!!!
Can't think much more than that. What a cliffie.
Gxxx
I know it was a bad one, but there will be more soon. :)
WOAH! Miss Little evil Plot Planner what are you doing? Yes...I know the best what you can do, evil little cliffhangers..in that way you keep us addicted to you and you can run the world one day.


Man...I love this 'verse.
Oh, that's the nicest thing anyone's called me in a while! I like it! *laughs*

Nah, don't want to run the world...too much paperwork. :)

Glad you like it.
Oh wow! The drama begins!
It does, doesn't it? *grins*
One more....OMG

Can't wait for more
Thanks!

More soon, I promise. :)
AGGGGGGGHHH!!! How can you end it THERE??? Oh, you're crueeeeell!

lol
Well, it's just cause I'm evil that I left it like that! *laughs manically*
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