Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs.
Summary: Ianto is starting to adjust to his new life as co-owner of a cargo ship.
Word Count: 1260
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 66: Ship at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Ianto was surprised by how quickly he adjusted to shipboard life. It had been almost two months since he and Jack had left earth’s orbit in Jack’s cargo ship, now renamed the Happy Wanderer, and since then they’d been wandering very happily indeed.
Their quarters onboard were smaller than Ianto’s old flat, but the galley was surprisingly spacious, the lounge was a good size, and both of the bedrooms were at least twice as big as Jack’s bunker at the Hub had been, before their base had been blown to smithereens, along with Jack. Ianto preferred not to think about that incident if he could avoid it, and thankfully there was plenty to do onboard to distract him from such morbid reminiscences as they travelled from place to place.
The Happy Wanderer was a lot bigger than Ianto had originally imagined when Jack had first told him about it. Being a cargo ship, it naturally had a large, open cargo bay, but it also had several small passenger cabins in case people wanted to travel with their cargo, plus a couple of smaller holds for carrying cargo that required more careful treatment, such as breakables, perishables, sensitive equipment, or medical supplies. Then there was the shuttle bay where the ship’s two small shuttlecraft were housed, a compact but well-equipped gymnasium so that the crew and any passengers could keep fit on long-haul flights, the engine room, which Ianto intended to steer clear of until he learned more about the craft’s propulsion and other systems, and of course, the flight deck.
Jack had been travelling alone for a long time, and it showed; the whole ship was a mess, although it looked like there’d been some attempt made at tidying up a bit. Nevertheless, Ianto had high standards and the state of the Happy Wanderer’s interior definitely fell far short of them, proving that he’d been right to insist on buying a good selection of cleaning supplies before leaving earth.
He had spent the first couple of weeks onboard familiarising himself with the ship’s layout, all the while tidying, cleaning, polishing, and generally getting his new home ship-shape. Once that was done, he’d finally got around to unpacking the personal items Jack had taken from the flat they’d more or less shared for the last few months of Ianto’s old life. That was how he thought of it now; his old life was everything that came before his ‘death’ at Thames House, and his new life was everything since Jack had successfully returned Ianto’s soul to his body. The couple of years in between Ianto liked to think of as him taking a well-earned break from responsibility and hard work, although according to Jack, he’d spent that time being a ghost and haunting all the places he used to go when he was alive. Not that Ianto had any memory of being a disembodied spirit, which on the whole was probably a good thing, but he did sometimes wonder what it had been like wandering around bodiless.
Several bittersweet days had been spent in putting books into bookcases, CDs and DVDs into cabinets, and flipping through his old journals and photo albums. He’d put his underwear and socks in drawers, casual clothes in closets, and with mixed feelings, had decided to stow his suits and ties in the spare bedroom. It wasn’t likely he’d need them too often, but neither was he willing to throw them out. They’d been expensive and there was plenty of wear left in them. Besides, he might want to dress up nicely for meals out the next time they visited earth, or perhaps even on alien worlds if it wouldn’t make him appear too incongruous.
The ship had been travelling through the vortex on automatic pilot since they’d left earth’s solar system, so there hadn’t been much to see on the flight deck’s viewscreen. They could have dropped back into normal space at any one of more than a dozen other inhabited systems they passed, but Jack hadn’t wanted to rush Ianto, giving him time to get used to being in space before introducing him to the dizzying sights, sounds, and smells of another world. Besides, the inoculations he’d had Martha give Ianto before leaving earth needed at least fifteen days to become fully effective. It wouldn’t do for him to catch some nasty but entirely preventable alien disease through a lack of patience on Jack’s part.
Once everything had been stowed to Ianto’s satisfaction, the next stage of his introduction to his new life had begun, namely instruction in space navigation and piloting. Flying a spaceship wasn’t at all like driving a car. Most of the complex calculations and actual manoeuvring were carried out by the ship’s computers, but the pilot still needed to select a destination, plot a course, decide where and when they would enter and leave the vortex… It was complicated, but Ianto enjoyed the lessons, though he knew it would be quite a while before he’d be able to fly their ship without any supervision. He’d also need to take the qualification exams and get his pilot’s licence before he could legally take the Wanderer’s controls, but there was no rush. Jack had been flying the ship by himself for years already and could continue to do so until Ianto’s training was complete.
After twenty-four days of travelling, they’d dropped out of the vortex at the edge of a solar system over a hundred light years from earth, and made their way to a space station orbiting the largest of the three inhabited planets, where Jack was hoping they’d be able to pick up a cargo.
The port had been a bit overwhelming, crammed as it was with dozens of species of aliens, all of them scurrying back and forth, pushing and jostling, while a constant hubbub of strange voices speaking unfamiliar languages filled Ianto’s ears, giving him a headache after the peace and quiet of the ship. It had been a relief to return to the Happy Wanderer after a quick look around, leaving Jack to deal with registering the ship’s change of name with the authorities, but they’d ventured out again later, when things were a bit less hectic. Ianto had sat quietly, watching, while Jack discussed business with several aliens, all looking to transport cargo, finally coming to an agreement with one and arranging to load the goods the following morning.
That had been nearly three weeks ago, earth time, and since then they’d delivered that cargo, transported another, smaller load of luxury goods to a very exclusive resort, where they hadn’t even been allowed to leave the port, and now they were at a bar on another space station in the same system, in talks with a consortium of Morvraks who needed to transport the fabrics they’d just purchased to their home system. It was another small load, but they’d already contracted to carry mining equipment to a colony planet, and Morvrakia was on their way. Taking more than one cargo at a time was standard procedure, because travelling with the holds part empty was wasteful.
Leaning back in his seat, Ianto sipped his Coolian Ale as he listened to the negotiations being carried out in Galactic Standard, a language with which he was familiar. He caught Jack’s eye and smiled at his lover. Even though everything was still very new to him, he could already tell that life aboard a cargo ship, plying its trade between distant worlds, was going to suit him very well indeed.