Characters: Ianto, Nosy, Owen, Jack, OCs.
Summary: It’s late at night in the Hub, everything’s shut down for the night, but the peace and quiet is about to be shattered.
Word Count: 2140
Written For: Challenge 110: Block at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“Ow!” Ianto yelped as he caught his foot on something and almost fell over. He bent to pick up whatever it was and scowled at it. Talk about stumbling blocks; this one was literal, one of Nosy’s building blocks. It must have gone astray when the Rift alert went off earlier and Andy had come running from across the other side of the Hub, tried to hurdle whatever it was the Fluff was building, and sent the wooden blocks flying in every direction. Nosy hadn’t been pleased at all its painstaking work being destroyed, but it knew what the alarms meant and was therefore apparently willing to forgive Andy’s clumsiness, perhaps judging that it should have picked a more out of the way place to play.
Ianto made his way across Nosy’s play area to where the Fluff was putting its toys away for the night. It was very late, well past midnight, and most of the team had already left; only Ianto and Jack remained, since they lived there, along with Owen, who was on night duty. “Found one of your blocks,” he said, holding it out. “I hope there aren’t any more stragglers. Nearly broke my ankle on that one.”
Nosy hummed its thanks, taking the block from him and placing it in the old but sturdy plastic bin Mickey had provided for storage purposes.
That was when the alarms started going off again, but this time it wasn’t the familiar blaring of the Rift alert, or even the cacophony that accompanied the cogwheel door opening; it was the intruder alarm. Someone else was in the Hub, someone who didn’t have authorisation to be there, and possibly more than one person.
Ianto immediately crouched down in the shadows to make himself less noticeable, while Nosy’s usually grass green fur faded to a dark smoky grey, all the better to blend into the shadows. The Hub’s lighting was already set to night mode, and non-essential equipment powered down so it was hard to see in the gloom, which was why Ianto had stepped on the block in the first place…
The last time Ianto had seen Jack he’d been in his office, just finishing up some paperwork before bed. Glancing in that direction now, he could see that his lover was no longer at his desk; he’d probably be slipping down the back stairs, Webley in hand. Ianto reached for his Torchwood special and silently cursed as he remembered he’d already locked it in Jack’s desk drawer for the night, along with Jack’s gun. Hopefully Jack had it now and would be able to get it to him. If not, he’d have to improvise.
Where was Owen? He’d most likely been in the Night Duty room when the alarms started to blare out. He’d be armed too, whoever was on night duty always kept their weapon close to hand, in the unlikely event that someone might breach the Hub’s defences. At least it should have been unlikely, but clearly someone had found a way in. Thankfully the security sensors were spread throughout the Hub so they’d known about the incursion almost immediately.
From where he was, Ianto couldn’t see the computer screens that would have told him which sensors had been tripped, but it he had to guess, he’d say the ones on the garage entrance; it was the most likely point of ingress. Either that or through the sewers, or the underwater dock where the mini sub was kept, but those secret entrances were far more difficult to locate, not to mention harder to access, while Torchwood’s garage entrance conveniently led straight into the underground parking below the Millennium Centre.
Eyes on the garage doorway, Ianto saw half a dozen shadowy figures slip through it into the Hub proper and begin to spread out, one of them moving to Tosh’s computers and silencing the alarms. He’d have to talk to Tosh about that in the morning, have her make it so that anything to do with shutting off the intruder alarms required inputting pass codes. For the moment, as silence fell around him, he knew he had more important things to think about.
These half dozen people, aliens, whatever they were would most likely be the advance troops, with more to follow once security had been disabled. The one who’d turned off the alarms was now sitting at Tosh’s desk, a second intruder guarding his back, as he set to work, perhaps giving his comrades access through the other entrances.
They clearly realised the Hub was unlikely to be left completely unmanned at night, judging by how alert and watchful they were. The other four spread out, weapons at the ready. They all appeared to be wearing night-vision goggles, but sadly Ianto was not in a position to turn the main lights on. There was no guarantee doing so would dazzle the invaders anyway, and it would only serve to make himself, and probably Jack and Owen as well, more easily detectable. Perhaps best to leave everything as it was. Ianto wished he had a weapon of some description, but all he had close to hand was Nosy’s building blocks… which when he thought about it, could prove useful. He took half a dozen, one at a time, shoving them into pockets. Watching him, Nosy carefully plucked out several more and placed them silently in a little basket. Ianto smiled his approval.
As soon as everything was in readiness, Ianto took another block, waited until all the intruders were looking elsewhere, then carefully tossed it into the darkness over near the invisible lift. It made a faint thump as it fell and the nearest man, or whatever he was, turned in that direction, moving to investigate. Ianto and Nosy slipped in the opposite direction.
The next block Ianto skittered down the stairs leading to the interrogation room, making it sound like someone was hurrying down there. He ducked out of sight as someone approached, then as soon as the stranger was past him, Ianto slipped out of cover, grabbed him from behind, and slammed him headfirst into the nearest wall. Noisier than Ianto would have liked, but it couldn’t be helped. As one of the others started in Ianto’s direction, there was another skittering sound off to the left in the area where Suzie had once done her welding and the shadowy figure changed direction. Nosy slithered silently back to Ianto and picked up its basket again. There was one less block in it. The Fluff had caught on fast.
Leaving Nosy on guard at the top of the steps, Ianto hoisted his unconscious captive over his shoulder and carried the limp body down to the interrogation room, where he pulled the hood and night vision goggles off. This intruder was human, which was unexpected, but Ianto just shrugged, stripped the man’s boots and socks off, balled up one sock, and shoved it in his captive’s mouth. That should keep him quiet for now. That done, he used the old shackles fastened to the wall to secure the prisoner. They hadn’t been used in years, but had been left there for intimidation purposes. Ianto used to think that was a bit tacky, but perhaps it hadn’t been such a bad idea. Leaving the interrogation room, he locked it behind him and made his way back to the main Hub.
One down, five to go, preferably before the one at the computers could disable the security systems. Thanks to Tosh, that wasn’t going to be easy; the moment the intruders had got inside, the Hub had gone into lockdown. Security could not be disabled until the lockdown was cancelled, but the lockdown couldn’t be lifted until the intruder alarm was reset, and while it had been silenced, Ianto could tell from the rhythmic flashing of certain lights around the Hub that it was still active, just in standby mode. If anyone else entered it would go off again.
Scanning the Hub, Ianto counted only four intruders. Where was the other one? Pulling another block from his pocket, he tossed it towards the garage entrance. One of the remaining invaders headed in that direction, drawn by the slight sound. They’d left the door to the garage open, which was a bit amateurish; perhaps that was where their main force was to enter by. If they had a main force, which Ianto was beginning to doubt since they could all have come in that way to start with instead of messing around with the security systems…
Then it clicked; they weren’t after turning off security to the other entrances but to the other parts of the Hub, the armoury perhaps, and the archives. Not an invasion force then, nothing but common thieves. They probably had a vehicle parked in the garage, perhaps with a driver behind the wheel for a quick getaway once they had what they wanted.
No more than fifteen minutes could have passed since they’d broken in. At a faint sound in the shadows beside him, Ianto whirled, raising the weapon he’d taken from his captive to find Owen a couple of metres away. He had his gun in one hand and a filled syringe in the other. Ianto raised an eyebrow at the medic, who sidled up close.
“Sedatives. Got one sleeping it off in one of the empty storerooms. Blowfish.”
That made a weird kind of sense. “I got one in the interrogation room. Human.”
“Huh.” The kept their voices so low they could scarcely hear each other.
Owen shook his head. Ianto only hoped Jack was doing something useful and not just leaving the two of them to do all the work. He glanced around the Hub again, seeing only three intruders now; the two at Tosh’s computers, and one other, the one who’d gone to investigate the noise over near the garage. He had something in one hand; the wooden block Ianto had thrown. The person or Blowfish Ianto had last seen near the kitchen had vanished. Ianto would have laid odds Jack was responsible for his disappearance.
That made three down and three left, not counting any who might have been left with their transport. Much better odds.
Abruptly the lights came on as Jack used his VM to take the Hub out of night mode, and before the intruders could reorient themselves, a single shot from his Webley disarmed the one standing guard by Tosh’s desk. Almost at the same moment, the one coming from the direction of the garage suddenly crashed to the floor, his gun skidding away from him across the concrete. Half-blinded by the unexpected illumination, he’d failed to see Nosy, whose fluffy tail whipped out and around his ankles. A swift tug and he was flat on his face, all the breath knocked out of him.
As Owen and Ianto took charge of the three in the Hub, Jack made his way though to the garage where the getaway van’s driver, another Blowfish, sensing his accomplices’ daring plan had gone to Hell in a handbasket, was desperately trying to get the door open and make his escape. That wasn’t going to happen; lockdown was complete, and he gave up pretty quickly when Jack stuck the barrel of his Webley against the side of his head and threatened to blow his crest off if he didn’t drop his gun.
Half an hour later, five Blowfish were securely locked in separate cells. Jack had already put a call through to representatives of The Shadow Proclamation, who promised they would arrange for the Blowfish to be collected sometime over the next few days. There was no rush; they weren’t going anywhere.
The two humans, brothers with criminal records involving petty theft and aggravated assault, were waiting fast asleep to be taken back to their rented flat, just as soon as Mickey could get into the Hub to collect them. Several months of their memories had been wiped thanks to the strong doses of Retcon Owen had administered so it was unlikely they’d cause Torchwood any more trouble.
All that was left was to reset all security protocols and take the Hub out of lockdown, which Jack was already attending to, and clean up the mess. Nosy mooched about with its basket, collecting the building blocks that had been used as distractions, while Ianto picked up discarded weapons and knocked over furniture, then mopped up the head Blowfish’s blood. Hardly more than an hour had passed since the alarms first went off and now everything was just about back to normal. Ianto smiled in satisfaction; Torchwood at its most efficient.
Something would have to be done to improve security on the garage entrance though. The next breach of security could be something far worse than a bunch of petty thieves.