Characters: Ianto, Jack, TARDIS, OCs.
Summary: Jack, Ianto, and their TARDIS go to the assistance of a spaceship that has crash-landed on a barren world.
Word Count: 867
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, Sunbaked,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
A/N: Set in my Through Time And Space ‘Verse.
The earth was hard and dry, the surface cracking, all the moisture baked out of it by the relentless heat of the sun. This was an inhospitable area; not the kind of place humans, or most space-faring races for that matter, could survive for long without proper provisions, which gave Jack and Ianto all the more reason to be there.
Their TARDIS was conspicuously out of place amidst the scorched earth, withered bushes, and tufts of dry grass. She stood there, a vast and spreading tree, green leaves fluttering in a breeze of her own making, looking like a mirage in the heat haze. She’d picked up a distress call a short while earlier from a damaged spacecraft that was having to make an emergency landing on the nearest planetary body, which just happened to be this barren, uninhabited world of salty oceans and vast, lifeless continents. It had, millennia in the past, supported life, but the people who’d evolved there had stripped it of its resources before leaving in massive ships looking for a new home.
Now what little vegetation remained was dying and the only living creatures remaining were either in the seas, or eking out a precarious existence in lightless caverns deep beneath the surface. In time perhaps conditions would change and new life would evolve, but that wouldn’t be for aeons to come.
Dressed in robes similar to those worn by desert-dwelling people on earth, Jack and Ianto set out on foot from their TARDIS for the quarter-mile walk to where the spaceship had touched down, carrying water, medical supplies, and a toolkit. They’d considered landing aboard the ship itself, but dismissed the idea until they could determine how severe the damage was. If it was in danger of imminent explosion then being on board wouldn’t be wise.
The sun-baked ground was hot beneath their feet; they could feel the heat seeping up even through the insulated soles of their shoes. Barefoot, their skin would burn; not a pleasant prospect even for two immortals. As it was, the heat was mildly uncomfortable, but not a danger to them. The walk could almost be described as pleasant if not for the heat, and the dust that puffed up with every step, hanging in the still air to be breathed in, robbing their mouths of moisture. Although the terrain was rough, they reached their destination in under ten minutes and surveyed the crashed ship.
The small cargo vessel had come down hard, but it looked to be intact, which was a promising start, and Ianto’s scanning device, monitored by the TARDIS, wasn’t picking up any traces of leaking radiation so there was a good chance the propulsion systems hadn’t suffered any significant structural damage during the crash. The crew aboard had even managed to bring the ship down on a stretch of softer, sandier ground, which might have helped to cushion the landing a little.
Ianto used his sonic to gain entry through the nearest airlock; it wasn’t as if they could just knock on the door and ask to come in.
Inside, there was some smoke, although the fire-suppression systems appeared to have put out any flames before they could spread. The crew, five in all, were more or less humanoid, shorter than Jack and Ianto, with blue-tinged skin and short black hair that continued down the backs of their necks, disappearing beneath their light brown coveralls. Each of them was nursing various injuries, although none appeared to be life threatening. A sixth being lay against one wall, covered with a cloth; apparently one of their number hadn’t survived the crash.
Ianto had encountered their race before; they were Veloosians, a mostly peaceful race who relied on trade with other planets to bring in the raw materials their world lacked and which made their own fledgling space programme possible. Their ship would have been built elsewhere and bought or leased for a share of the profits they made from trading the grains their planet produced in abundance, thanks to its fertile soil. This barren world would be totally alien to them.
The Veloosians were shocked by the arrival of the two strangers aboard their ship, although too dazed to do much more than stare, but Ianto bowed deeply to them and addressed them in their own language, thanks to the TARDIS’s ability to translate.
“We intercepted your distress call and landed nearby. We have come to render whatever assistance we can. We bring water, medicines, tools to help repair your craft. If repair is not possible at this time, we will gladly transport you aboard our vessel to a place of your choosing.”
One, presumably the ship’s commander, stepped forward and bowed deeply in response, wincing in pain as he did so. “We accept your offer of assistance with gratitude, noble beings. We are sorely in need of it.”
Ianto pushed back his hood. “Right, let’s do what we can for your injuries first, then we’ll see if your ship can be fixed.”
“As you say,” the Veloosian replied, bowing again.
Setting down their burdens, Jack and Ianto got to work; there was a lot to be done, but they had plenty of time.