Characters: Jack, Ianto, Tosh, Owen, Gwen.
Summary: For Torchwood, the middle of the night is the usual time for dealing with emergency situations.
Word Count: 1503
Written For: m_findlow’s prompt ‘Torchwood, any, “What is it?” “End of the world.” “Again?”,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Team Torchwood were used to being called to the Hub in the middle of the night; saving the world from aliens, and alien tech, was never going to be a cushy nine to five job. The Rift had no set schedule, or not that anyone had ever been able to figure out, and aliens attempted invasion whenever they damned well pleased. Why should they care if it was the middle of the night and everyone was in bed trying to get some badly needed sleep? Just made things easier for them, less opposition to contend with.
“What is it this time?” Owen grumbled as he slouched into Torchwood’s underground base, looking dishevelled and still half asleep. Tosh and Ianto were already there, working busily at their computers and drinking fresh, hot coffee. Jack was standing just behind them, looking over their shoulders at the information scrolling across their screens; Gwen hadn’t arrived yet.
Jack didn’t beat around the bush. “End of the world,” he said succinctly.
Owen groaned; it was worse than he’d thought. He’d been hoping for rampaging Weevils, or maybe a Hoix, but this… It was so unfair! “What, again?” he grumbled. “Didn’t we just deal with the apocalypse a couple of weeks ago?”
“AN apocalypse,” Ianto corrected him. “This is a different one. Two in a month is a bit unusual though,” he conceded.
“Bloody inconvenient is what it is. What are we looking at? Deadly alien plague? Invasion? Collision with an asteroid?”
“Technically it would be an asteroid colliding with us--” Ianto started, but Owen didn’t let him finish.
“Don’t split hairs; it’s too late at night. Or too early in the morning.”
“None of the above.” Whatever was going on must be bad because Jack usually had a lot more to say about everything but tonight he was keeping it short. “Bomb.”
Oh yeah, that was bad. “What kind of bomb?” Short and sweet made a refreshing change but it wasn’t very informative.
“A big one.”
“And how big is ‘big’?”
“Big enough that if it goes off the whole of Britain and the coast of France will be vaporised, and the earth will probably be knocked out of its orbit, if it doesn’t tear itself apart,” Tosh said, still busily working away. The atmosphere inside the Hub was tense, but nobody was panicking, not yet anyway.
“That’s… big. How’re we supposed to deal with something that size?”
“In terms of its physical dimensions it’s relatively small,” Ianto said. “Not much bigger than an oxygen canister. The explosives inside it are extremely concentrated though, and the whole device is pressurised. It took some very careful scanning to get that much information.”
“Nasty.” Owen wasn’t feeling at all sleepy now. Funny how impending doom just woke a guy right up.
“Very nasty,” Jack agreed.
The cog door alarms sounded and Gwen hurried in. “Sorry I’m late; couldn’t find my car keys. What’ve we got?”
“End of the world,” Owen said at the same time as Jack said simply, “Big bomb.”
“Oh. So what are we doing about it?”
“Tosh is trying to pin down a suitable negative Rift spike so we can shove it through and get rid of it, and Ianto is looking into alternative methods of disposal in case Plan A doesn’t pan out.”
“There’s a teleportation device in the archives that should have enough range to send the bomb out beyond the edge of our solar system, I just need to locate a compatible power source… and I think I’ve found just the thing.” Ianto abandoned his computer, heading for the archives to fetch the necessary equipment.
“How long do we have until the bomb goes off?” Owen asked. “And where is it anyway?”
“About…” Jack checked his watch, “forty-three minutes, give or take a few seconds, and it’s in the SUV ready for transportation.”
“Won’t it go off if it gets bounced around?” Gwen asked, looking a bit worried.
“If that was a possibility it wouldn’t have come through the Rift intact,” Tosh pointed out. “If we try to open and defuse it, that would probably trigger it, but from what I’ve been able to determine, it’s built to withstand a lot of punishment, which is understandable since whoever sent it is using the Rift as a delivery system. The timer was most likely activated on arrival.” All the time she was speaking Tosh was pulling up and discarding data from the Rift predictor.
“Anything?” Jack asked tersely.
“Nothing that will do us any good. Sorry. The next predicted negative Rift spike is in an hour and seventeen minutes. There’s a positive spike due in fifty-eight minutes that I might be able to reverse, but short of putting the bomb in stasis, which is risky at best, we’ll run out of time before it happens.”
“Looks like it’s down to Ianto’s teleportation device then.”
Ianto bustled back into the main Hub a few minutes later, loaded down with bits and pieces. Jack and Tosh hurried to help him put everything down on the coffee table, and the three of them were working on marrying the teleportation device with its new power source when Tosh’s computers started sounding another alarm. She dashed over to see what was happening.
“Long range detectors are registering a fleet of ships entering a holding position just beyond Pluto’s orbit,” she reported.
“Main attack force?” Jack asked.
“That seems likely,” Tosh agreed
“Why don’t we give them a really warm welcome?” Ianto asked, a wolfish grin on his face.
Tosh glanced over at her friend, immediately understanding what he meant. “Two birds with one stone? Clever!”
“Well, why waste a nice big bomb when we can use it?”
Jack chuckled. “It would be polite to send them a welcoming gift. Better hurry up and get it ready; we don’t have a lot of time.”
“Two minutes,” Ianto said, working faster. Tosh joined him, inputting the coordinates they wanted to send the bomb to, and then they were ready.
“Alright, let’s go; we have a special delivery to make!”
The team transported the bomb, with the teleportation device securely strapped to it, a few miles along the coast to a deserted beach where the night was lit only by scattered stars and a crescent moon. As they unloaded it from the antigravity trolley onto a smooth slab of rock jutting out of the sand, Tosh checked the position of the fleet; it hadn’t moved. The timer on the bomb was down to just under seven minutes now.
She double-checked the coordinates programmed into the teleporter. “All ready to go.”
“You’re sure this is going to work?” Owen wanted to know. “Damn thing weighs a ton.” It had taken all of them to lift it out of the boot.
“This form of teleportation negates an object’s mass; whatever’s within the field is essentially weightless while it’s in transit,” Jack explained.
Five minutes remained on the timer.
“How long will it take to get where it’s going?” Gwen asked nervously, watching the seconds tick away.
“It should be practically instantaneous,” Ianto said. “It ceases to exist in one place and reappears somewhere else. Look on the bright side; if we’ve got any of this wrong we’re not going to know it. We’ll be vaporised before we can feel anything, along with most of the British Isles and a good chunk of the continent.”
Gwen frowned at her colleague. “That’s not very comforting.”
Three minutes and counting.
“We don’t want to give the fleet a chance to realise what’s happening and get away,” Jack said. “Return their gift at sixty seconds?”
Ianto nodded. “Sounds about right. Tosh?”
“Sixty seconds should be fine.”
They stepped back from the bomb, Jack’s finger on one of the buttons of his VM, which was tied in to the teleporter controls so he could operate them remotely.
Everyone held their breath.
Ianto pulled his stopwatch from his pocket. “Sixty-five, sixty-four, sixty-three, sixty-two, sixty-one, sixty…”
A press of the button and the matt black canister winked out of existence. “Bombs away!” Jack announced.
Ianto’s attention remained on his stopwatch. “Fifty seconds to detonation. Forty… Thirty… Twenty… Ten…”
Five pairs of eyes were raised heavenwards, looking in the direction Tosh had indicated earlier…
Despite the vast distance involved they still saw the flash of light as the bomb exploded, followed by somewhere around a dozen smaller explosions as the ships of the enemy fleet blew up, caught in the bomb’s blast radius. It was a very satisfying sight; once again Torchwood had saved the day, and most of earth’s inhabitants would never be any the wiser.
“Pretty,” Ianto smiled, enjoying the distant and very brief fireworks display.
“Yes it was,” Jack agreed, “and we’re all still here! Good work, everybody.” He beamed at the members of his team, his teeth shining white in the moonlight. “Another invasion thwarted.”
“Does this mean we can all go home and back to bed now?” Owen asked.
“That,” said Jack, “sounds like an excellent idea.”