Characters: Jack, Ianto, OCs.
Spoilers: Set in my ‘Ghost of a Chance’ ‘Verse
Summary: Jack and Ianto will have to get business out of the way before they can indulge themselves in some sightseeing.
Word Count: 500
Written For: Prompt 40: Sponge at anythingdrabble.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
“Your brain’s like a sponge,” Jack said, amused by his lover’s constant thirst for knowledge, as he followed Ianto up the access ramp into the Happy Wanderer’s shuttle bay, where they also kept their ground vehicles.
“Soft and squishy? Thanks a lot.” Ianto started to pout but stopped himself; it wouldn’t do to have both of them given to petulant displays more suited to toddlers.
“No! I mean the way you absorb information; you soak it up everywhere we go and still want more. You’ve learned the ship’s systems by heart, you’re already a seasoned hand at trading, you’ve picked up several languages…”
“Always had a knack for those.”
“I know, but most alien languages are rather more complex than those of earth.”
“I’ll grant you that,” Ianto agreed. Some involved gestures as well as words while others required odd sounds and inflections that human physiology wasn’t ideally equipped to produce.
Climbing into the loader, Ianto started the engine as Jack released the clamps that kept the vehicle in place. It was a lot like a forklift truck, except that the front fork had sidepieces that opened and closed to grip whatever it was lifting. Ianto backed it down onto the rocky ground then waited while Jack raised the ramp out of the way and opened the doors to the main cargo hold beneath.
With Jack checking the manifest and directing Ianto to the crates marked for this world, Ianto began the process of unloading them, stacking them neatly for collection by the people who were now approaching over the dusty, weathered rocks. They were steering several anti-grav trolleys not much different from the ones he’d used back at Torchwood, except they were about four times the size, each requiring a dozen people to keep them going in the right direction. Empty trolleys had a bad habit of drifting off at a tangent if not kept under control.
As they got closer, Ianto realised the trolleys weren’t completely empty, but whatever they were carrying clearly didn’t weigh much.
“What’re they bringing?” he asked Jack, who was helping get the latest crate off the loader and onto the stack. It was heavy, packed with the kinds of things the people of this world weren’t able to produce for themselves: tools, canned foods, or machine parts.
“Whatever they’ve got that’s suitable for trade.”
“I’ll leave the trading to you this time, I think.” Ianto steered the loader back up the ramp to collect the final crate, this one loaded with solar collectors. Jack said the people here used solar and wind power, both of which were abundantly available if you had the equipment for collection and storage.
Approaching the lead trolley, Jack examined its contents before moving on to the others, returning to Ianto after making a full inventory.
“What’ve we got?”
“Seaweed fertiliser; that always fetches a good price. Lots of shells, they’ll sell for decoration and jewellery, and sea sponges. We should make a pretty good profit on this deal.”
TBC in 'Haggling'