Characters: Team, Others.
Word Count: 683
Spoilers: Nothing specific.
Summary: There are a lot of rumours about Torchwood and aliens, but who’s really responsible for spreading them?
Written For: Challenge 312: Rumour at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
Rumours abound in Cardiff of people who’ve seen or been attacked by vicious alien creatures. Most folks brush such tales off as urban myths, or say the people concerned, always a friend of a friend, must have been drunk or on drugs at the time. Or maybe they’d been under the influence of a gas leak, hallucinogens in the water supply, something along those lines. Such things happen all the time in Cardiff, but aliens? Absolutely not, there are no such things, and even if there were, why would they bother coming to Cardiff? Surely they’d pick somewhere more important.
Well, that’s what they tell anyone who asks, but at the back of their minds there’s always that little niggle… There’s so much weirdness in Cardiff; could it be true?
Only a handful of people know for certain, and they’re not exactly publicising the fact. The fair city of Cardiff is a victim of circumstance, having the misfortune to have been built right on a Rift through space and time. It’s a fluke of course, could have happened anywhere, except that it didn’t. While one end of the Rift wanders around, plucking things and creatures from other worlds and other time periods, the other end is anchored smack in the middle of the Welsh capital. Tough luck for its citizens!
If not for the Rift, Torchwood Three wouldn’t even exist. The little outpost is there solely for the purpose of dealing with whatever gets dumped on Cardiff, whether that’s alien tech, artefacts, objects from earth’s past or future, or actual aliens. The small team, comprised of only five people, has the dubious honour of being probably the best-known secret organisation in existence. Ask almost any of the city’s residents about Torchwood and they’ll point you towards the bay. They may not know the exact location of the organisation’s base, but it’s close enough.
A lot of folk have seen the team tearing through the city in their flashy big, black, modified Range Rover with the word ‘Torchwood’ stencilled in yellow along the edges of the roof; it’s impossible to miss. Wherever there’s weirdness, you can bet that car will show up and the Captain and his team will take over. The police hate them, and so do a lot of ordinary citizens, but Torchwood is a fact of life, something the locals and the cops, despite all their complaints and grievances, still have to put up with.
There are rumours about Torchwood as well, of course; that they’re some kind of government special ops team, that they deal with terrorist threats, that they’re a shady scientific think tank whose experiments keep getting loose… Some people say they’re alien hunters, but they’re dismissed as cranks and crackpots. Aliens indeed!
The funny thing is, most of the time the Torchwood people make no effort to dispel the rumours that surround them and what they do. If anyone asks them outright they’re told they don’t have the security clearance to know; after all, Torchwood is a top-secret organisation. The irony isn’t lost on anyone; the local pizza place knows them by name, and even delivers.
If only people knew that the team themselves are responsible for spreading a lot of the rumours. They know that tying to deny them will only serve to make people even more certain that they’re true, so instead they take the rumours that already exist and add to them, gradually embellishing the stories until they become so outlandish that even the most die-hard conspiracy theorists find them beyond belief. They post grainy photos that are obviously people in masks and costumes, throw in the words ‘alien abduction’, and ‘UFO’, then sit back and let the stories circulate. Misinformation is far more effective than any kind of cover-up, and a lot easier to control.
Most people think the Torchwood team is Cardiff’s biggest secret. They’re wrong of course, there’s more going on right under their noses than they could imagine even in their wildest nightmares, but they’ll never know how many of the rumours they dismiss out of hand are actually true.