Characters: Ianto, Owen, Jack, Tosh, Gwen
Summary: The team have been rendered speechless by an alien device.
Word Count: 478
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, any, Muted,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
It was ridiculous really. Such an innocuous little device, what harm could it possibly do? Quite a lot, as it turned out.
Oh, physically they were all fine, not a mark on them; they just couldn’t speak. It was as if someone had pressed the mute button on a remote control; their mouths were moving but no sound was coming out. They knew they weren’t deaf, they could clearly hear the humming of the computers, the drip drip drip of water into the pool at the base of the water tower, the clicking of computer keys and scratching of pencil on paper as they found alternative ways of communicating with one another. They just couldn’t speak.
Ianto glared at Owen, who shrugged sheepishly; he was the one who’d dropped the damned thing in the first place. Butterfingers. Weren’t surgeons supposed to be good with their hands? Ianto didn’t bother even trying to ask if anyone wanted coffee, just headed over to the machine to make some. In a crisis like this, no one would have said no even if they could. Owen was getting decaf though. See how he liked that.
Jack and Tosh were studying the device, a plain, smooth, bluish ovoid, trying to figure out how to undo what it had done and discussing their options via computer screen and notepad. Gwen watched them, fascinated by how easily they overcame the communication problem, both seemingly unfazed. She wished she could feel that way; the whole situation was creeping her out and yet the rest of the team were treating it like business as usual. Even Owen.
Ianto brought coffee, the aroma alerting everyone to his presence. They helped themselves to their own mugs and sipped the hot brew, the silence broken only by soft slurps, as the careful scrutiny of the device continued, this time with Ianto’s input. As far as Gwen could tell, they weren’t making any progress.
Eventually, after several hours of careful study, Tosh shrugged helplessly, throwing apologetic looks at everyone. It wasn’t often she was stumped, but try as she might, she could find no way into the object, and there was nothing on the outside resembling any kind of control, whether button, knob or dial. It was completely featureless, simply glowing softly from within.
Jack and Ianto looked at each other, seemingly carrying on a silent discussion. Ianto looked at the device, then back at Jack, raising one eyebrow. Jack frowned. Ianto tilted his head and Jack shrugged. Ianto picked the device up and raised both eyebrows. Jack frowned again and finally nodded. With a shrug of his own, Ianto dropped the little ovoid on the floor. With a soft beep, the inner light went out. Ianto smirked.
As he was heard to say later, sometimes the best thing to do with something that doesn’t work right is to hit it.