Characters: Ianto, Jack, OCs, Giant Squid.
Summary: UNIT needs to borrow Torchwood’s Giant Squid.
Word Count: 1015
Written For: samuraiter’s prompt ‘Author's Choice, Any, signing the essential paperwork for borrowing the giant squid for a day,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
Jack hung up the phone and left his office to go in search of Ianto.
“So,” Ianto said when the captain found him tidying the kitchen, “what did UNIT want from us this time?”
“They’re asking to borrow the giant squid.”
Ianto sighed and shook his head. “I don’t know, you get a giant squid and suddenly everybody wants to borrow it. Did UNIT say why they need her?”
“They screwed up and lost a very valuable mini-sub over the edge of the Mariana Trench and they’re hoping our squid can retrieve it for them.”
“Ooh, that’s a big job. I’ll just pop down and ask Gloria what she thinks. If she’s willing to try, I’ll fax UNIT the requisition forms and they can send us the coordinates.”
Ianto headed down to Torchwood’s underwater docks and took out their own mini-sub, steering it out to the deepest part of Cardiff Bay where Gloria, whose true name was unpronounceable by humans, had set up home after falling through the Rift and getting stranded on earth.
“Iantoooo,” Gloria greeted him warmly. “This is not a scheduled visit.” Tosh’s translator technology allowed them to communicate quite easily.
“No, it’s not. UNIT have got themselves into a mess and were wondering if you might be able to help them out, for an appropriate fee of course.”
“Of course. Nature of problem?”
“They drove their mini-sub off the edge of the Mariana Trench and now they can’t get it back.”
There was silence for a few minutes as Gloria considered the problem, then she requested specifics on the submersible in question: dimensions, weight, and so forth. Ianto relayed the information via a vid screen, which Gloria studied before reaching a decision. “It can be done. I require live clams, one tonne, plus two dozen lobsters, preferably young.” Gloria liked to farm sea creatures, for amusement and study, as well as to eat.
“Payment to be made on your return,” Ianto agreed.
Back at the Hub, he faxed the forms and payment instructions to the UNIT general in charge of the matter.
“One tonne of live clams and two dozen young lobsters is a small price to pay for getting our submersible back,” General Thorn muttered to his secretary, “but these requisition forms are a bitch. In triplicate, no less!”
“Mr Jones is very strict about paperwork, I understand,” the secretary replied, wielding his pen as he neatly filled in the General’s answers to the questions on the form, using black ink. “Reason for requisition?”
“Retrieval of experimental submersible. I think the bloody thing needs more work done on it. Don’t write that last part!”
They went through the thirty or so questions, ticking boxes and filling in details, and by the time it was done, General Thorn felt quite frazzled. “All this just to borrow a squid.”
“An alien squid, Sir.”
“Yes, of course.”
“Earth squids we could probably get for nothing, but I don’t know how you’d go about training one.”
General Thorn ignored that. “And we only get it for twenty-four hours! I hope that will be long enough. Still, I suppose I should be thankful we’re being permitted to borrow it at all. It’ll be my ass if we can’t get that bloody submersible back; it’s already cost us a few of million to develop and it’s the only working prototype we’ve got.”
“Just sign all three copies at the bottom, Sir.”
The general did as requested. “Why is it always three copies, Corporal Black?”
“One for Torchwood’s records, one for us, and I believe the third goes to Torchwood House for Her Majesty’s files.”
“Oh. Makes sense, I suppose. Right, fax these back, file our copy, and then send a courier to Cardiff with the other two originals. Oh, and fax over the coordinates too, and make sure the Moorland is standing by to take the sub onboard when it surfaces.”
“Right away, Sir.” Corporal Black scurried away to do as he’d been told.
As soon as the completed forms arrived by fax, Ianto checked them and went back out to give the coordinates to Gloria. She had a very highly tuned sense of where she was at any given time, and would have no trouble finding the correct place. “I go now,” she replied, and in a whirl of tentacles, swam out of the bay into deep water. In seconds she was out of the sub’s sensor range. She could move at quite an impressive speed when she wanted to.
“See you later, Gloria. Safe trip.” Ianto knew Gloria wouldn’t hear him, but he felt better for saying it nonetheless.
“Gloria get off alright?” Jack asked when Ianto returned.
“Yep. I think she enjoys these little jaunts, gives her a chance to see more of the planet, or the oceans anyway. She always seems happy to get back to the bay though.”
“Well, it’s her home. Day trips are all well and good, but nothing beats home comforts and she really likes that wreck we set her up in.”
“Mmm. I just wish UNIT would be more careful with their toys. Makes me glad Her Majesty decreed that all aliens living on earth fall under our remit so UNIT has to hand over any they come across. They can’t even be trusted to look after equipment, never mind living beings.”
“That reminds me, General Persky sent in a request last week, he wants to borrow some Silverlings to deal with a rodent problem, but they were moulting at the time. Do you think we could send him three or four now? Once he’s filled in the forms of course.”
“When did Torchwood turn into an alien lending library? Never mind, don’t answer that, rhetorical question. I’ll see who fancies a trip.” Ianto set off again for the lower levels and Jack went to fax the requisition forms to General Persky. For once Torchwood were the ones holding all the cards. It was funny how much better the UNIT bigwigs behaved now that they could only get what they needed with Torchwood’s cooperation.