Characters: Ianto, Andy.
Summary: Andy gets initiated into one of the less pleasant aspects of Torchwood’s work.
Word Count: 1159
Written For: Prompt 040 – Quick And Dirty at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
The Cardiff Police have it easy compared to Torchwood. They have laws to uphold, rules and regulations to follow that cover every contingency, codes of conduct governing the way they’re expected to treat the victims they need to question and the people they have to arrest. That’s the way it should be, although sometimes Ianto wonders whether certain criminals deserve to have their human rights upheld. The cannibals from a few years ago for instance; they didn’t care about the rights of their human victims, Ianto still has the scars to prove it, so why should anyone care about their rights? Come to that, why should they have even been granted rights? They certainly hadn’t done anything to deserve them and he’s still not convinced they could even be considered human; people shouldn’t eat people, the whole idea is just… inhuman, not to mention horrific.
Torchwood’s rules and regulations are on the whole rather more vague, partly because a lot of them have to be made up on short notice as previously unheard of situations arise. The main one is fairly straightforward however: Treat friendly aliens with respect and help them wherever possible.
When the unfriendly kind show up, which they inevitably do, it’s a whole different ball game. Then, the only sensible thing to do is shoot first and shoot to kill, as many times as is necessary to make them go down and stay down. Some creatures simply cannot be reasoned with, and the people of earth must be protected from them at all costs; it’s Torchwood’s job to defend the planet from outside threats, no matter what form they take, and by whatever means prove most effective.
It’s not the easiest thing to get used to, but it’s something everyone who works for Torchwood eventually learns to accept. When aliens show up on earth with every intention of killing people, enslaving the population, invading, or destroying the planet, they can hardly be arrested and put on trial and it’s not always possible or practical to send them back where they came from.
Andy’s only been with Torchwood for two weeks; everything is still new to him, so he follows Ianto’s lead, hunkering down beside him in the concealment provided by a convenient wall. “What are those things?” he whispers, feeling a bit out of his depth. Shouldn’t they call for backup? Better yet, wouldn’t it be prudent to leave handling this situation to some of the more experienced team members?
“Xenebrians,” Ianto replies, just as quietly. “Nasty buggers, they’re intergalactic drug dealers, members of the Kloosh Cartel. The drugs they peddle are highly addictive, and often fatal to humans; I’ve seen what they can do to people. The Cartel doesn’t care though; like drug dealers everywhere, all they’re interested in is making a profit.”
“Drug dealers? Shouldn’t we be arresting them then?”
Ianto shook his head. “Human law doesn’t apply to other species, even if it was possible to take them prisoner without putting our own lives at risk, which it isn’t. So we’ll have to deal with them on their own terms.”
“How’s that then?”
“Fast and dirty.” Ianto’s smile is tight and vicious, his eyes cold and hard, not at all like the genial, good-natured, unfailingly polite guy Andy is used to. Before Andy can say another word, his colleague is on his feet and firing his gun, not, to Andy’s surprise, at the aliens but at their transport, a small shuttlecraft. He empties a full clip into it then ducks back down behind the wall, pulling Andy with him, just as there’s a massive explosion, complete with an impressive fireball.
It’s a good thing the aliens picked such an out of the way place to land and conduct their business, tucked away behind a crumbling derelict warehouse; it means there’s nobody else around to see. The nearest inhabited area is half a mile away, but it’s still a safe bet that the residents will have heard and felt the explosion. They can probably see the fire too, or at least the billowing smoke. Considering how much there is, it would be a bit hard to miss.
“Hopefully the locals will buy the ‘gas leak causes explosion’ explanation again,” Ianto comments wryly as he slams another clip into his Torchwood special. “It’s such a convenient excuse on occasions like this.”
He jumps to his feet again, peering over the wall. Andy follows suit, which is ironically literal. Who but Ianto Jones would do this kind of work in a bespoke three-piece? Somehow it makes the situation even more shocking than it already is.
Looking over the wall, Andy notes that of the seven Xenebrians they’d seen before, only three are still standing, more or less, although they’re all oozing thick, greenish blood, if you can call it that, and none of them look too steady on their feet. The other four have been taken out by the blast. Ianto doesn’t hesitate, gunning down the last three, one after another, then cautiously approaching to make certain they’re dead. A bullet to each of their heads effectively takes care of that little detail. Andy looks on in horror, wondering if he’ll ever be expected to carry out what amounts to an execution. He’s not sure he could. Shooting at paper targets is one thing, but living… beings?
Ianto calls Andy over to assist with cleanup, which in this case means rolling the bodies of the dead aliens closer to the burning shuttle to ensure they’ll all be incinerated by the blaze. A couple of alien incendiary grenades help things along nicely, making the fire burn white hot; by the time the fire brigade gets there, nothing remotely identifiable will be left, just ashes and maybe some melted metal fused with the cracked and dirty concrete, the remains of the aliens’ shuttlecraft. No evidence whatsoever that anything not of a terrestrial nature was involved, which is just the way Torchwood likes it.
“Did you really have to kill them? Couldn’t you have just… I don’t know, confiscated their drugs and booted them off the planet or something?”
“That would’ve taken an army, which is quite a bit more manpower than we have available right now,” Ianto pointed out. “Even then there’d be no guarantee we could win if it came down to a fight, which it would, because Xenebrians don’t know the meaning off the word ‘surrender’. Literally. It doesn’t exist in their language. They wouldn’t have hesitated to open fire on us, and besides, we tried sending them away the first time they showed up here, but it didn’t work; they just came back somewhere else and set up shop again. Seventeen people died that time; another dozen will never fully recover from the effects of the drugs they took. This way of dealing with the problem may not be pretty, but it’s effective, and it saves lives.”
In the end, Andy supposes that’s what matters.