badly_knitted (badly_knitted) wrote,

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Fic: Giving Thanks

Title: Giving Thanks
Author: badly_knitted
Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs.
Rating: G
Spoilers: Nada.
Summary: Ianto and Jack come to the aid of a group of colonists whose settlement has suffered a disaster.
Word Count: 2371
Written For: Challenge 200: Gratitude at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters.
A/N: Set in my ‘Ghost of a Chance’ ‘Verse.

Ianto was feeling a little overwhelmed; the aliens’ gratitude was certainly welcome, it was nice to know their assistance had been so greatly appreciated, but it seemed a touch excessive. They hadn’t really done all that much. Still, he didn’t want to appear impolite, especially in the face of such generosity and kindness.

“Is it always like this?” he whispered to Jack.

“No idea,” Jack murmured in reply. “Never met these people before.” He ducked his head to have yet another garland of flowers draped around his neck. “It’s making them happy so just go along with it.”

“I am. Just not sure how many more garlands it’ll take before I’m too weighed down to move.” They were both draped with at least a couple of dozen each, but there were still a lot more townsfolk waiting to bestow gifts on their saviours.

The whole situation had started a few days earlier when they’d arrived to deliver a load of tools and building supplies to a relatively new colony in the Nortrix Sector. The colonists were Jovellians, a race Jack had heard of but never met before. They were humanoid, but quite short by human standards, none of them above four and a half feet in height, with pale, almost translucent skin, large violet eyes, long, graceful fingers and toes, noticeable since the always went barefoot, and glossy black hair worn in a range of elaborate styles.

According to Jack, Jovellians were known as master weavers, creating fine fabrics and intricate lace that were highly prized by fashion designers throughout the galaxy. They also made hardwearing but brightly coloured and patterned cloth for more practical purposes, such as work clothing, home furnishings, and bed covers. The threads they used in their weaving were derived mainly from plant fibres, and they grew the plants themselves. They also farmed a species of creature similar to small llamas, which had fast-growing fleece that they spun to make their softest, most delicate fabrics.

There was a flat, rocky plateau a mile or so from the settlement and that was where Jack and Ianto had landed the Happy Wanderer’s largest shuttlecraft, laden with the construction tools and materials the Jovellians had arranged to purchase through an agent on their home world. Jack had radioed ahead to announce their time of arrival and they’d expected to find someone waiting for them when they touched down, so they’d been surprised and a little put out to find nobody in sight. They’d waited a while, and when there was still no sign of anyone coming out to greet them Jack had put another radio call through to the settlement, but this time it had gone unanswered.

Becoming concerned, they’d unloaded the small anti-gravity sled that was part of the shuttle’s standard equipment and made their way towards the settlement, a picturesque village set at the bottom of a valley, the fertile slopes of which were a patchwork of fields, growing various food and textile crops.

They eventually found the villagers a couple of miles beyond the settlement in another, smaller valley that could best be described as their industrial complex. It seemed every single Jovellian, even the children, were gathered there, frantically trying to salvage what they could from what was, for them, an unmitigated disaster.

A severe storm the previous night had caused so much water to flow into the reservoir at the valley’s far end that the dam, which provided the colony’s hydroelectric power, had been unable to contain it. A tidal wave or water had swept along the narrow valley, all but destroying the buildings containing the weaving looms, and the looms themselves had suffered catastrophic damage, many of their delicate components broken and twisted out of shape.

Thankfully, no one had been injured, the looms only operated during daytime, for nine days of the Jovellian week, the following three days being set aside for rest and relaxation, family celebrations, and such. Completed fabrics, thankfully, were also stored elsewhere, in long warehouses built on higher ground and powered by solar energy, so it was only the looms and the buildings that housed them that had been damaged.

Nevertheless, for the colonists it was still a disastrous setback to production. The colony was designed to be self-sustaining; they traded the fabrics they made for whatever items they needed that they were unable to produce for themselves. It would take far more fabric than they had stored in their warehouses to buy new looms to replace those damaged beyond repair, and in the meantime, they had no way of making more goods for trade.

They were hoping to salvage enough components from the most severely damaged looms to restore a few of the least damaged to working order, but that was a task that could take weeks, and in the meantime the dam would have to be repaired in order to restore power to the machinery, which would take manpower away from the salvage efforts. The whole colony numbered only a little over seven hundred people, and almost fifty of those were children too young to help. Even with everyone who was capable of doing so working at full stretch it was a daunting prospect, and that was without all the other necessary day-to-day tasks, tending the herds, and the food and textile crops, harvesting ripe produce, preparing meals for the repair crews and those working on the salvage effort…

At first, Jack and Ianto’s arrival had put the proverbial cat among the pigeons; how could the colonists spare anyone for the unloading and transporting or the goods being delivered when they already had more work than they could handle? That at least had been easily enough dealt with.

“Just point out where you want everything put and we’ll handle the transportation ourselves, free of charge; it’s no problem,” Jack assured them. “We’ll hook up the trailer to the sled; it’ll take a dozen or so trips, but I think we can have everything delivered and stowed for you by mid-afternoon.”

“So generous, thank you, we would be most grateful,” the colonists’ Speaker said, touching fingertips to her forehead in a gesture of respect.

“We have a workshop aboard our ship capable of making replacements for damaged engine parts,” Ianto added. “Perhaps if we used undamaged components from your machines as templates and the broken ones as raw materials, we might be able to produce enough to repair most of your looms.”

Jack nodded. “That’s a great idea!”

Violet eyes grew wider in wonder. “You would do that for us?”

Ianto shrugged, a human gesture that was entirely wasted on the Jovellians. “Why not? We’re always happy to help those in need, and it certainly looks like you could use a hand. You’d just need to give us a rough estimate of how many of each component you want making.”

“We do not have much with which we could pay you,” the Speaker said apologetically.

“Payment isn’t required,” Jack assured her. “We’d mainly be using materials you already own and recycling them so they’re usable again. All we’ll be providing is some of our time, power, and the use of our workshop machinery, and we can easily spare that. Yours is the last cargo we have to offload on this trip anyway, so there’s nowhere we have to be.”

“This is generosity so great I have no words of gratitude that would be sufficient,” the Speaker said solemnly.

Jack brushed it off. “A simple ‘thank you’ is enough. Right, why don’t Ianto and I get your supplies unloaded and put away while you see if you can find an intact example of each component you need that we can use as templates. It would also be a good idea if you could collect up the broken ones and make a list of how many of each one you’ll need. Then Ianto and I can head up to the ship and start work on making your replacement parts, maybe take a couple of your people with us to speed up the process. Once they know what to do, they can help Ianto while I bring new components down and take more of the broken ones up for recycling.”

“It will be as you say.” The speaker bowed her head, hands crossed over her chest. “Thank you.”

After that everyone was kept very busy. As promised, by mid afternoon the cargo Jack and Ianto had been delivering was stored in a barn at the edge of the village for sorting and distribution once the current crisis had been dealt with. On every return trip to the shuttle they took a load of broken components, carefully sorted into crates, each one containing a different type of machine part since they weren’t all made from the same metallic alloy. On their last trip, they took with them a selection of undamaged components and three Jovellians experienced in the repair and maintenance of the looms.

For the rest of the day, and late into the night, Jack and Ianto trained their temporary apprentices on how to use the Happy Wanderer’s workshop machinery and set to work processing the scrap metals and creating new parts for the looms.

Sometime in the early hours, Jack flew the shuttle back down to the planet, laden with replacement parts, delivered them to the valley where the looms were, and collected more raw materials. This continued throughout the next day and night.

Half the colonists were working tirelessly to repair the dam, while most of the others, except for those needed for other tasks, continued to salvage what they could from the looms, of which there were forty altogether, five in each of the eight large sheds that had stood four on either side of the river that flowed along the centre of the valley. The sheds were now little more than wreckage, but the people were doing what they could to salvage any usable building materials too.

Most of the tools and materials Jack and Ianto had delivered had been intended for the construction of additional housing and a new communal meeting hall, but now everything would be needed to rebuild the weaving sheds. In a way, it was fortunate the delivery had arrived on schedule since it meant that the rebuilding work could begin as soon as the wreckage had been cleared away, building crews raising new walls around the looms while the weaving technicians were repairing the machinery.

Five days after the disaster, the dam repairs were completed; it had been strengthened and improved upon, now rising more than ten feet higher than it had before. Thirty of the looms had been fully repaired and the sheds housing them mostly completed, while the other ten were still being worked on. Jack and Ianto were already planning to pick up more suitable raw materials and make a stock of spare loom parts they could drop off next time they were out this way, which wouldn’t be long; the colonists were already making arrangements with their home world for more building materials to be delivered to replace what they’d had to use on the sheds.

With the most urgent work taken care of, and the repaired looms being tested prior to being put back into operation, the Speaker had announced a special day of rest and celebrations to show their gratitude to the two humans who had selflessly worked alongside them, giving freely of their time and resources, to assist in a time of disaster, even though they had not been obliged to.

There had been feasting, and singing, and dancing, and then the giving of gifts had commenced, leading to Ianto and Jack’s current predicament, sitting in the place of honour, and swamped with bright flower garlands. Not that Ianto was complaining; the flowers were pretty, and they smelled delightful, a delicate, subtle fragrance that reminded Ianto of the sweet peas his mother used to grow. The garlands weren’t really heavy, but if many more were added then neither man would be able to see past them.

It wasn’t just the flower garlands they were being gifted with though; there was fine clothing made from the fabrics the Jovellians wove, new rugs and cushions and bed covers, fresh fruit, little cakes and confectionaries, preserves, small sculptures carved from the local wood… Every one of the colonists seemed to have brought with them some small item as a symbol of their thanks; even the children gave gifts, colourful stones, dried flowers, shells, and feathers from the planet’s brightly coloured ‘birds’, which were really more like flying squirrels. Jovellians clearly took saying ‘thank you’ seriously.

From Ianto’s point of view, and presumably Jack’s too, none of it was necessary, they’d been happy to offer assistance, but it would have been unforgivably rude to refuse the villagers’ gifts, so they simply smiled and accepted everything, thanking everyone for their thoughtfulness. It was a good thing they had the anti-gravity sled and trailer; they were going to need both to carry all their gifts back to the shuttle.

The party finally wound down somewhere around midnight, the revellers simply falling asleep where they sat, and Ianto and Jack decided if it was good enough for their hosts it was good enough for them. The weather was warm and dry, two small moons and countless stars provided faint light, and the pile of cushions they were sitting on was wonderfully comfortable. Small creatures that glowed like fireflies were flitting around, helping themselves to the remains of the feast, and the air smelled of warm honey.

“This is nice,” Jack murmured quietly, so as not to wake their new friends.

“Mm,” Ianto replied sleepily. “Maybe when we come back with the fresh load of building supplies, we could stay for a few days, see the looms in action and find out what the place is like when there hasn’t just been a massive disaster.”

Jack smiled, leaning back against the cushions with his hands laced behind his head. “Now that sounds like an excellent plan.”

“Eep!” said one of the little flying creatures, landing on Ianto’s flower garlands and lapping nectar from the blooms.

Ianto chuckled. “Couldn’t have said it better myself.”

The End

Tags: beattheblackdog, fic, fic: g, fic: one-shot, goac-verse, ianto jones, jack harkness, jack/ianto, other character/s, torchwood fic

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