Characters: Tosh, mentions Jack and Team.
Spoilers: Tiny for Fragments.
Summary: Tosh is the best in her field, but she’ll never receive the acclaim of her peers.
Word Count: 641
Written For: theruinedcastle’s prompt ‘Author's choice, author's choice, being the best in their field,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Among her admittedly small team, Tosh is acknowledged as the best in her field, better than anyone else when it comes to computers, hacking, and figuring out alien tech. Jack says nobody at UNIT even comes close to her level of skill, but she takes that with a grain of salt, not being able to prove his claims one way or another, although… She’s hacked her way into UNIT’s computers often enough without getting caught that he might have a point. To her mind, their security firewalls are pitiful. It’s a miracle all their secrets haven’t already been spread across the Internet for everyone to see.
Tosh takes pride in her work without letting it go to her head; she knows she’s good but she’s not going to succumb to arrogance. As far as she’s concerned, she’s still learning, and there’s just so much to learn! At least once a week some new piece of alien technology drops through the Rift, giving her something else to study. That’s one of her favourite parts of her job; taking a piece of completely unknown technology and figuring out what it is, what it does, and perhaps most importantly, HOW it does whatever it does.
There have been times when one or another member of the team has found out completely by accident what a piece of tech does, and then it becomes her job to figure out how to reverse its effects. That, while admittedly fun, is also one of the more stressful aspects of being Torchwood’s tech expert since there’s always the worry that she might not be able to fix her friends, but so far it’s never come to that. Sometimes it takes a while and a lot of guesswork and ingenuity, but she’s always succeeded in setting things to rights, so maybe she really is as good as Jack thinks she is. She’d like to think so because the last thing she’d ever want to do is disappoint the man who freed her from her prison cell and gave her not only a job, but a home and a family. She wants to repay his belief in her.
When she’s not playing around with alien tech, either new arrivals or as yet unidentified items from the archives, she still has no shortage of things to do, developing ever more effective security protocols for both Torchwood’s computer systems and the Hub as a whole, coming up with ideas for better, more sensitive scanners, hacking the city’s CCTV system and developing software to clean up the images… Then there’s her translation programme, her Rift predictor programme, and sundry other bits of software that will improve Torchwood’s database search capabilities, among other things.
On top of all that, there’s Mainframe herself, a source of endless wonder for Tosh as she continues to learn the full capabilities of the organic technology behind Torchwood’s computer systems. Sometimes Tosh still feels like Alice, fallen down the rabbit hole into an incredible wonderland.
It doesn’t matter to Tosh that she’s unlikely to ever receive the acclamation of her peers, that most of her more advanced and exciting discoveries will never be published in the leading scientific journals, that she’ll never be short listed for a Nobel prize, and that when she dies, there’ll be no obituary filled with a litany of all her great achievements in her field. She’s never sought fame or fortune, has only ever wanted to learn and discover, and working for Torchwood has given her the opportunity to learn more than she ever could have anywhere else. It’s not just her job, it’s her life; she can’t imagine doing anything else, nor would she want to. Nothing could make her any happier than hearing Jack and her other friends congratulating her on a job well done. That’s all the approbation she’ll ever need.