Characters: Ianto, Jack, Owen, Alien.
Summary: Torchwood have to deal with some truly bizarre creatures, thanks to the Rift.
Word Count: 1039
Written For: My own prompt ‘Torchwood, Any, "It's wibbling again!",’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own Torchwood, or the characters. They belong to the BBC.
“Jack…” Ianto sounded nervous. “It’s wibbling again.”
“I can see that, I’m not blind!”
“Well do something!”
“What do you suggest?” The retort was bitingly sarcastic, but Ianto ignored Jack’s tone; he had more important things on his mind right now than Jack’s moods. The alien’s moods, for instance.
“I don’t know, sing to it maybe. You have a great voice, and isn’t music supposed to be calming?”
“Why don’t you sing to it?”
“Somehow I don’t think rock songs would help the situation.”
Jack winced. “You might be right about that. Alright, I’ll do it.” There followed a deafening silence. “Um, Ianto? What do you want me to sing?”
“I don’t care, whatever you like. Just hurry it up before the wibbling gets any worse! Try something gentle and soothing, do you know any lullabies?”
“Can’t think of any offhand, but… okay, how about this…” He started to sing ‘All By Myself’. At first, nothing seemed to happen, but then gradually the alien’s frantic wibbling began to slow and it seemed to grow a little calmer.
“Keep singing; it seems to like it.”
Jack went through the softer songs in his repertoire, one after another, even if some were a bit livelier than he would have liked. ‘You’d Be So Nice To come Home To’ seemed to go down particularly well, especially when Jack started to dance. By the time he got to ‘Seeing Is Believing’, the alien had almost stopped wibbling and was shrinking, already less than half its previous size. Ianto let out his breath in a long, drawn out sigh. Looked like disaster had been averted, at least for the moment.
Sometimes, he reflected, the Rift really seemed to have it in for them. It was just their luck to get stuck with a creature notorious for swelling up and exploding violently when upset or stressed. If it blew, it could take out a good chunk of Cardiff, which would be bad. As defence mechanisms go, exploding didn’t seem to be a very practical one, at least to Ianto’s mind, but it was an alien, and by now, he was well aware that what seemed sensible to an alien and what a human would regard as making sense, were usually poles apart. He’d given up trying to understand why aliens did what they did, and if they could just keep this one from deciding that detonating was the way to go, he’d be a very happy man.
Right now, it was almost back to its original size, maybe about half again as big as the average sheep, which it didn’t resemble in the slightest, being a deeply wrinkled, leathery greenish grey ovoid, like an egg standing on its blunt end, supported by six short, stubby tentacles. It had three wide, oval, yellow eyes above a trio of horizontal breathing slits, a bit like a shark’s gills. Emerging from below them, a long, very flexible, trunk-like appendage doubled as both hand and mouth, with six stumpy fingers arranged in pairs around a tooth-filled opening. Half a dozen feathery antennae sprouted from its top, looking like nothing as much as the leaves of a carrot. Taken as a whole, it was bizarre, disgusting, but oddly cute at the same time.
Jack kept on singing as if their lives depended in it, which they very well might. Owen would be here soon with a pressurised spray of something he was busily concocting back at the Hub which should, when absorbed by the creature’s skin, make it go dormant. Then they could put it in a stasis chamber, transport it to the Hub, and wait for it to be collected and taken back to where it had come from. Even now, its owners were on their way, but even at their best speed, it would be several days before they reached earth.
The alien started to rock from side to side, bouncing slightly on its tentacle legs, a soft whistling sound coming from its trunk, in tune with the song Jack was singing. It was a very different sound from the one it had been making when the wibbling started. Then, it had emitted a high-pitched whine as it’s body shook and shuddered, expanding, its wrinkles smoothing out as it swelled. That had been a sound of distress, but this was obviously a sign of contentment; it bobbed enthusiastically and Ianto had to force himself not to laugh. Any sudden, unexpected sound might set it to panicked wibbling again.
Owen arrived on foot twenty minutes later, having left the SUV a good distance away, out of sight, so as not to alarm their visitor unnecessarily. He handed pressurised cans to Ianto and Jack, keeping one for himself, and surrounding the alien, they sprayed it in unison. It continued to whistle and bounce for a few more moments before gradually slowing, its eyes closing as it sank into its dormant state. Jack stopped singing and dancing, and sank onto the grass, looking relieved.
“Well, that worked.” He sounded a bit out of breath. “Never thought I’d find myself back in the alien Cabaret business; I’m out of practice, it’s been a while. I remember there was this one time…”
“We don’t want to know,” Owen cut him off. “We need to get this thing into the stasis pod before the sedative wears off, but before that, I want to take a few scans for my records.” He gave the now dormant creature a few more squirts for good measure. “Teaboy, catch!” Tossing the car keys to Ianto, he pointed back the way he’d come. “I left the SUV behind those bushes, go get it.”
Ianto rolled his eyes. “What did your last slave die of?”
“Boredom, so if you don’t want to go the same way…” Owen left his sentence hanging, turning back to the creature and starting to scan it with a handheld device he’d just pulled from his pocket.
“Fine, I’ll go get it, but only because you asked so nicely.” Trudging in the direction Owen had indicated, as soon as Ianto was out of Owen’s sight, he let a smile creep across his face. This was proving to be quite an educational, not to mention entertaining, day.