Characters: Jack, Ianto, Owen, Team, Aliens.
Summary: The Rift brings more weird creatures for Torchwood’s menagerie.
Word Count: 628
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, Flat bats,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
The Rift was well known for bringing all manner of weird and wonderful alien creatures to Cardiff, but some were definitely weirder than others. Ianto couldn’t help but wonder if this was the Rift’s idea of an early Halloween prank, something designed to get them into the spirit of the season.
Bizarre though they were, there was no doubting that these things were alive, though exactly how would be up to Owen to figure out. Being less than a centimetre thick at their deepest part made them appear practically two-dimensional, and they grew progressively thinner towards their edges, with their side flanges, or wings it you could call them that, scarcely thicker than stiff paper. As they fluttered about they rustled like dry autumn leaves.
So far, the team had managed to carefully net around a dozen of the creatures, which were approximately the size of small birds, or…
“Bats,” Ianto suddenly blurted out. “I knew they reminded me of something; they’re like flat little bats!”
Jack looked at the blue one in his net. “Flat Bats, that’s good, at least we have a name for them now.” He grinned at Ianto. “The Namer of All Things strikes again!”
“Yeah, all we need to do now is catch the rest of the little buggers,” Owen griped, swinging his net at a yellow one, missing, and almost falling over his own feet as it flittered out of reach.
Although they could fly as well as any bird, or bat, for some unknown reason they’d remained close to where the Rift had dumped them. Ianto estimated that there were another thirty or so still on the loose, but while they could have scattered like leaves on the wind, easily eluding all of Torchwood’s attempts to capture them, they’d so far proved unwilling to leave the area, perhaps because it suited their needs. There was a flat wall that they somehow stuck to when at rest, like a bunch of colourful post-it notes, and it appeared that they were feeding on flakes of rust from a nearby fire escape and a battered dumpster, hovering or briefly landing and scouring the corrosion away with a rough patch on their undersides, leaving shining patches of metal behind.
Ianto netted an orange bat and popped it through the hatch in the top of one of the carrying boxes they’d brought with them, then paused in his efforts to catch its companions just long enough to break off some of the rust from the edge of the dumpster, dropping a handful in with the captives so they wouldn’t go hungry. Instantly, several Flat Bats swarmed around his rust-smeared hand, and thinking quickly, he broke off a good, big chunk of rusty metal and dropped it into a still empty box, leaving the hatch open. Like a magic trick in reverse, one after another, the remaining Flat Bats flew down and into the box. As soon as the last one disappeared inside, Ianto shat the hatch and fastened it.
“Is that the lot?” he asked, scanning the alleyway and the wall for any stragglers.
“Looks like it,” said Owen. “How’d you get them to do that? I thought we were going to be here all night trying to catch the blighters.”
“Observation, of course; you should try it sometime. Flat Bats eat rust so I baited the trap.”
“Clever!” Jack grinned proudly at his lover. “Y’know, I have a feeling the bigwigs at UNIT are going to be falling over themselves to rent these little guys. What could be more useful than a rust removal squad?”
Ianto smiled back. “At least our new little friends should get plenty to eat.”
When it came to earning their keep their new acquisitions should have no trouble at all.
Sequel: It''s A Flat Bat Life