Characters: Jack, Ianto.
Spoilers: Set in my ‘Ghost of a Chance’ ‘Verse
Summary: Jack and Ianto travel to the oldest planet in the universe.
Word Count: 500
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Prompt 37: Continuously at anythingdrabble.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“The oldest known planet in the universe,” Jack said reverently as he and Ianto stepped down the ramp of the Happy Wanderer. “The wind blows continuously here these days, there’s not really anything to stop it anymore. The hills and mountains have eroded until the entire world is almost flat, and the few plants that have managed to keep a roothold spread out sideways instead of trying to grow upwards. Most of the oxygen is produced by the rafts of weed floating on the oceans.”
Ianto stood on the smooth, bare rock, breathing in the cool air as the wind buffeted him gently. He fancied he could almost feel the age of this bleak and desolate, yet strangely beautiful place. “How old is it?”
“Billions of years, trillions, more… No one’s been able to put a precise number on it, just that if there’s anywhere older, nobody’s found it yet.”
“Was it ever inhabited?” Perhaps it was a silly question, but all this was still new to Ianto. He and Jack had only been out here exploring the universe for just over a year and he knew he still had a lot to learn.
Jack laughed. “It still is otherwise there wouldn’t be much point coming all this way. The people who live here now are probably not the race who originally evolved here though. Planets change hands from time to time, through war, or natural disaster, or even because the original inhabitants left for some reason, perhaps colonising other worlds. Anyway, the current inhabitants have been here as long as they can remember, living underground in vast caverns dug out a mile or more beneath the surface. No one now living knows how they were built, or who built them, most of their historical records were lost a few thousand years ago when someone tried to add an extension to their home by using explosives to blast out a hole in the bedrock; the sea flooded in and drowned the whole settlement, or so the legend goes. These days they’re a lot more careful.”
“I should hope so.” Ianto looked at the ground beneath their feet. “Down there it must be something like the Hub’s archives and the tunnels beneath them,” he mused. “Just on a much larger scale.”
“Something like that,” Jack agreed, “except that people live most of their lives down there, grow crops, raise families…”
“Do they ever come to the surface?”
“Oh yes, nobody would want to live their entire lives underground if they didn’t have to. People come and go continuously, there are always fleets of ships out fishing the oceans; they regularly bring their catch back to shore to be sold in the underground markets. People have to eat. Come on, we’d better start unloading; someone will be along soon with whatever they’re trading for supplies this time.” Jack started back up the ramp and after a moment, Ianto followed. Perhaps they’d have time to visit one of the underground markets Jack mentioned.
Sequel: 'Business Before Pleasure'