Jack looked up as his assistant glided into the room with his usual silent flair, seemingly unable to see his own effect on the Captain who straightened and pulled his chair in more.
In a world of black and white, shades of pale and bland, Jack always admired the man's subtle attempts to buck the system, the bright red handkerchief in his breast pocket today in total disregard to the colour codes.
"Captain Harkness Sir" Ianto canted his head softly as he placed the files down in their plain grey folders, "I fear there is a blood stain on a page I was unable to remove. I would happily redo the report but it is in Doctor Harper's handwriting and I fear I am unable to decipher his ranting. I do not speak such words let alone repeat them in the written form."
"I know" Jack grimaced, "In time the blood will fade to a dull brownish rust. We can pass it off then."
"Yes sir" Ianto smiled softly then remembered his place letting it drop, "Anything else before I sign out for the rest of the day?"
"Sign out?" Jack looked up from the folders with surprise.
"Sir, it is the Born Day of my youngest. I requested the afternoon off and it was granted by yourself a month ago" Ianto said soothingly, "I have left a fresh pot of coffee and those biscuits with the raisins you like."
"Ah, thank you Mister Jones" Jack nodded, "Who is replacing you?"
"Mister Davison had volunteered to run the gauntlet. There is a poll I believe amongst the crew to see how long before you throw something at him" Ianto said drolly and Jack laughed as he waved him off.
Ianto walked out and removed his security tag that showed him actively in Jack's service and handed it to Andy Davison who was already sitting at his desk speaking into the regulation black phone with a roll of his eyes. Like Ianto, Andy's eyes were not regulation brown so they both wore the glasses, commonly called shades which shuttered the colour to a more uniform grey. Ianto sometimes got a glimpse of Jack's eyes over the edge of his, that brilliant blue taking his breath away the first time he saw it.
Gods, to have colour.
Ianto walked the long corridor of the covered walkway from the hovering office back to the main station where the crew quarters were, the only colour the soft muted green at each airlock to show they were clear. He nodded politely to others as he walked, several eyes sliding to the splash of non-regulation colour at his breast but everyone knew he was the Captain's favourite so a frown of disapproval was all they could show as Ianto reached his quarters and keyed in the code, then stepped into the receiving room which was as bland and cold as the rest of the vessel. The sound of a party was coming from behind a wall and he smiled softly as he touched a hidden panel to raise the wall, the party now visible as the explosion of colour greeted him.
"Who started without me then?" he scolded and the children screamed, running for him with their arms wide as he knelt and welcomed his loves into his own arms, kissing and crooning before he rose and nodded to Rhiannon who was waiting for him to lower the wall before speaking.
"You are late, I was starting to worry" she said softly as the children ran back to the bright balloons that they loved more than anything, the colours so bright in the world of bland. Ianto was glad he had smuggled them aboard amongst the Captain's things in his Diplomatic Case.
"He pretended to have forgotten" Ianto smiled, "It's OK Sissy. I'm here now."
"Stop that, you know you cannot call me that" she hissed as she looked around furtively and Ianto pulled her close.
"Stop it. We have checked, rechecked and furtively pulled things apart. Besides, no one else speaks Welsh in this boat" he reassured her, "I love you but sometimes I might scream."
"I am so grateful. This opportunity… you could have married her instead. Taken her" Rhiannon was careful not to speak Lisa's name but it brought a frown to her brother's face anyway.
"I love you more. The thought of leaving you to the weather bombs… we both know even if you survive one of the children probably would not" Ianto sighed, the unstable weather of their planet now deadly at times. They both knew he was being kind. She and both her children would be dead had her brother not 'fudged' the paperwork and named her as his mate. DNA checks on the children of course showed them to be related and they had quickly learnt to call him Taddy.
It was almost sad really, Micha's delight in being able to call him that, her own dead-bead father left behind too drunk to even notice the departure of his family until it was too late to stop the launch. He had died not three days later in a Bomb that had wiped the entire estate off the face of the planet. Over two hundred dead, his name just one more.
They knew there would be a trade off, the Agency a stickler for the rules and regulations. The drab colours of uniform greys, black and white had to take but in these moments, in the inner sanctum where religions and cultural freedom was allowed the Welsh red and green raged.
Rhiannon kissed her brother's cheek and sighed, "Yes Husband."
The siblings giggled softly at the silliness of it.
The princess danced as her contraband coloured balloons floated around her gaily.
Chapter 2: blue is banned
Ianto walked to the school room with the children and hesitated at the door to watch them enter and take their desks with polite nods to the teacher who was doing the monitory morning class bullshit.
"And who used colours?"
"Gangs" the children answered slowly.
"Why?" she asked, waving merrily to the dower man who bowed slightly in return. The Captain's man who was more bland than most apart from small strange bouts of ..almost… mocking subversiveness, she made sure to look engaged in the daily lesson they all hated repeating so much. They had spoken of it behind his back and now all saw this as a warning or perhaps a taunt. By not responding to the occasional colour they were keeping the faith. He was testing them. Right? I mean … the Captain's personal man … he would not be a subversive.
"To show dominance" came the slowly rehearsed answered as the children tried to look positive about this ritual.
"And what happened when everyone each chose a colour to live by?"
"They killed one another and destroyed the planet."
"Yes" she paused here, old enough to remember those times as did Ianto who, although a mere child at the time, bore the scars of those memories on his skin. She took a deep breath and then raised her head to give the next question loudly so the mics could pick it up for whoever was listening. "And what did we decide?"
"No more colours"
"Yes" her head lowered again as she stifled a sigh, "we decided no more colours, no more segregation or division. We all wear the same colours now."
BLACK AND WHITE!"
Ianto turned away to find himself face to face with his boss, Jack boring a hole in him as he opened his mouth to speak and Ianto reacted instinctively whipping his shades off and jamming them on the naked face of the Captain who clearly had forgotten his own.
Jack's face paled as he reached up to cover Ianto's hand with his own, their eyes meeting through the thin lenses as they both had a moment of panic, then Jack seized his hand, "Look at your feet like I am pissed at you, come on."
They tore along the walkway with Ianto stumbling as Jack pulled and yanked, those in their way moving to watch the display of anger and not once did Ianto look up, not once was it noticed that his own piercingly soft blue eyes were exposed.
They crashed into quarters and Jack slammed the doors shut then released Ianto who took some steadying breaths as Jack stormed over to a table and swapped glasses for the deeper shade, "How the hell could I be so fucking stupid. Today of all days, the contingent due and I was about to meet them exposed. Fuck!"
"It's OK" Ianto said and Jack realised he had been saying it to him for some time, turning to look at the handsome man's naked face for the first time. He pulled his glasses off and the two sets of blue eyes bored into the other.
"Pale" Jack finally said softly, "Almost grey but… like water. So deep."
"My mother used to call them ice blue" Ianto nodded, "Apparently it is the natural colour you find in frozen water particles when densely clumped."
"Really?" Jack raised his eyebrows, "I didn't know there was a colour to water. Mine are apparently the colour the sky once was. Sky blue."
"Imagine that. Blue sky" Ianto said dreamily then blinked, reaching for his glasses. "Right. Crisis averted, one down for the day Sir? Let's go greet the turd people and…oh my gods. I did not just say that did i?"
Jack laughed, as he always did when an insult slipped out as Ianto was prone to do and he knew it was deliberate. This man so reserved and…careful… knew he needed to hear that sometimes.
"Yes Mister Jones" Jack straightened his shoulders, "Let's go take some shit."
Sniggering as they walked confidently to the airlock and waited for the ship to finish docking, crew nodding to their captain politely while still whispering about the display and more than one hoped Ianto had been in deep trouble, all jealous of his supposed relationship with the Captain who openly showed he was favourite. If not for the fact he had that buxom wife and two children they would have been sure he was a Gentile.
Jack had pondered this also, quietly disappointed to learn his assistant had a family as he was delectable in the tight gunmetal grey uniform, his black boots polished to perfection and Jack sometimes wondered if that arse was as tight as it looked.
Ianto turned and looked at him like he had heard the random thought, then smiled softly.
Then it was gone.
Jack cleared his throat and politely reached out a hand to the Committee they were transporting to Sector 9. Arseholes and shitheads to lot of them. After all they might have stripped the world of colour but they did not get rid of politics all together.
Gods forbid people have free thought.
Chapter 3: tread carefully
Ianto was sitting back taking notes as Jack spoke…I mean the Captain..Ianto scolded himself for getting personal with his thinking, something frowned upon and he glanced up to find J…the Captain looking at him as if having asked a question. Ianto's brain caught up with things and knew he had so he rose and politely handed him the file he was holding hoping it was this he had requested.
Jack swing back to the table and Ianto breathed a sigh of relief at guessing right. After all, why else would he speak to him?
Then refreshments came and Ianto felt light headed as the butter on the scones was a pale yellow not the regulation white. Shit, shit, shit.
The Captain noticed as well, quipping that the artificial lights needed tiring down as their cheerful glow was starting to get subversive. Everyone laughed and accepted that as the explanation even as Jack glanced at Ianto who nodded to show he knew the chef needed a talking to.
After the meeting as they were making small talk a delegate slid over to Ianto, "Can you show me to my berth?"
Ianto accepted the key card and picked up the luggage so the diplomat might walk without problem and look around at the ship without the hindrance of the bags. He found the correct cabin and opened it, placing the bags down and turning to leave but finding his way blocked.
"Pretty aren't you. Shades. What colour are your eyes?"
Ianto knew this was a test and he answered politely "I do not know my lord. I have never checked and my wife has never admitted to knowing."
"You do not show yourself to one another?"
Ianto looked horrified, "My lord, that is forbidden!"
Ianto jumped and spun to find the captain in the doorway, "Come on, let her settle."
They moved along the walkway, Ianto glancing at his boss "Thank you sir, that was awkward."
"Do not ever go into the quarters with one of them, did I teach you nothing!" the Captain snarled and Ianto felt shame as he saw that it had frightened the man to find Ianto there, "Do not do it again."
"No sir" Ianto said woefully.
Jack turned to face him in the quiet point of the corridor and hissed, "That's how they trap you. A word, a gesture. That's how they decide if you are subversive, do you hear me?"
Ianto returned to his home and felt more than slightly slapped down for something that had not been his fault. Had he refused to do the bidding he would have been marked as subversive by way of denial.
He looked up to find Rhiannon standing there, her hair in rollers as she prepared for the afternoon shift … it was a work day for her. Three times a week she served in the galley and her hair was placed up in a hair net. Like most of the women on board, they found a life without colour impossibly horrid and had resorted to hairstyles and such to show their uniqueness. As he watched her smile and offer him a seat she told him that she had to leave soon for the afternoon snacks.
"Rhia… that style. Anyone else doing it?" he asked softly.
She turned to look back at him, "Elsie showed it to me. There are three…four of us now."
She looked at him and then sank into a chair, "What?"
"The delegation on board will notice. They are already searching. It is becoming a style. All you need is one more to copy it and you will have a quorum." He said gently as she pulled back with alarm. "It is not regulation. Sweetness, remember we must push gently. A little naughty here and there so they don't suspect. If we slip up it will be seen as another game. We cannot choose a side, not if one is being seen to be forming. You will get the vessel full of shaved heads or something if the Powers smell a trend. You know how they are. Please. Maybe every second or third day so it is not obvious that you are copying one another."
"Gods. Even our hair" she slumped as she saw his reasoning was sound "They would. They would implement a regulation hairstyle if they thought we were trending."
"I don't know about you but I do not think I would suit a buzz cut. I mean … Harvey would look like a slug!" Ianto grimaced and she laughed as he defused her alarm. Poor Harvey the dog looked up from the basket with interest as he heard his name, the long flop of black fur flicking back to show brown eyes.
Black and white. Brown eyes so dark they were black in the lights.
Any born with splashes of colour to their pelts were euthanized at birth. Even this was being controlled now and Ianto fears that food might be next as the bright vegetables had been engineered to be mute but some like peas and carrots still slipped into the colour wheel of negatives. You were only allowed one or the other on your plate.
Pea and carrots separated forever.
The world had gone mad.
Chapter 4: a red balloon
Jack knew he had behaved in an inappropriate manner and wanted to apologies, chiming politely for access as he waited outside the residence of his Personal Assistant, the one they called his bum boy behind his back, and the flurry of activity behind the door told him someone was home. Then the door swished open and Ianto stood there with his cheeks flushed and his tunic swinging open.
Ah. He had been relaxing. No shades, Ianto was barefaced and now Jack had to resist looking into those eyes again.
"Mister Jones, I apologise for coming to your private Berth but I feel the need…" Jack squeaked as Ianto seized his tunic and yanked him into the quarters before the door could close on him and Jack looked at him with open surprise as the door boomed shut.
"The door sticks then slams shut" Ianto explained, "I've been complaining for weeks but they have bigger issues than a door. That satellite array is still twitching."
Jack nodded and went to speak then saw something that made him pause.
A little girl was in the corner of the room behind a chair, her little golden locks shinning as she peered out with wide eyed wonder, her eyes a brilliant blue that matched the colour of her little shirt. Ianto turned and looked in the direction of Jack's gaze and paled.
He had thought them all safe.
"Mimi?" he said softly, "I thought you and your brother were playing in the inner sanctum. You are out of tunic as well as your hair is displayed, go get your bonnet."
"Hidey seek" she said with her eyes sliding to Jack again. "He's not found me yet."
"Get in there young lady!" Ianto barked and she erupted from behind the chair with a squeal of laughter that showed she knew his anger was just a show, to run for the door to their inner sanctum. Her startling blue shirt made Jack's eyes follow it as she slid inside and then the dull grey of a uniform had him looking up to the face of the woman who must be his mate. Plain yet ... wholesome. Motherly and soft. Jack was immediately taken with her eyes, the same as Ianto's. It must be a trait of their sector maybe? The little girl had the same eyes too. He bowed, telling himself not to look at her eyes again as she glided over to hand Ianto his glasses with a scalding look.
"Thank you love" he said distractedly as he shoved them on, her nod as she slid back in was forced.
"I don't think she likes me" Jack said with a smile, "That little one… it was her Born Day the other day?"
"Yes sir" Ianto nodded then watched Jack's face change, following his gaze to glance at the inner door and felt his stomach drop as the red balloon that shot out as Rhiannon closed, the static of her skirts flicking it around the doorframe, bumped along the ground. Jack blinked and walked over to pick it up, turning to look at Ianto.
There was no explanation that could save him if his Captain chose to report this blatant breach and Ianto could only shrug and say softly, "Welsh. Red."
"Well … I guess since it is from the inner sanctum …" Jack seemed flustered and he handed the balloon to Ianto, "Since this is your private domain and it is permitted to have small displays of tradition … I shall pretend I never saw such a pretty thing."
"Thank you sir, I appreciate that" Ianto grimaced as he accepted the balloon and placed it behind his back, "Since these will be her only joy and once popped are gone long before the end of week inspections, I appreciate you letting her keep them."
Ianto did not answer, blinking slowly instead.
Jack find himself grinning as he realised there were more, maybe different colours as well and he reassessed his PA. Seemed Mister Jones was less of a 'Bug up the Butt' as Owen Harper the Ship's Physician called him and ore of a …. Shy man?
Ianto showed Jack to the door and then hesitated, "I understand that you were annoyed, as was I. To have refused to show her to her quarters would have meant a mark. I almost got one anyway and am relieved you turned up before I had to refuse her advances and wind up accused of something."
"Look, I think we both learnt something about that particular delegate and I suggest that you not be alone with her again. I will also remember this as unlike you, I am unbounded and cannot beg off if she demands attention" Jack said as he saw the dangerous position Ianto had been in.
"Thank you Sir" Ianto nodded and he watched Jack walk down the corridor and as he turned the corner he glanced back, a mind numbing grin. Then he was gone.
Ianto stood a moment longer then sighed, closing the door and then leaning against it as he lamented the simple fact that the Captain was his type.
Gods he was sexy.
To those who have responded to the 'gang' elemments here ... there are even places here in my country were you can be attacked for wearing the wrong coloured clothing. Also ... our two main political parties are red and blue so the idea that a planet can be torn according not to race but colours is not far fectched. As long as there is a way to choose a side in something ... there will be 'something' to choose a side over. As with all things, the bullies usually win.
Chapter 5: just a drill
Ianto grunted as he rolled from his side of the bed, David mumbling as he shifted on the other side and Ianto ran to the other room where Rhiannon was already out of her bed stepping across to Micha who was sitting up and crying with fear.
"A drill" Ianto panted as he struggled to pull the bonnet over her golden hair, "Come on love. It's a drill, nothing bad just bloody stupid."
Soon they were compliantly dressed and moving with speed along the corridor as others moved as sleepy confusion, another small child crying with fear as well and he scooped the little one onto his other hip without a second thought as he urged those around him to remain calm.
"This is the Space Vessel Torchwood. Titanic was the other one folks" he said as they slowed and calmed, some soft laughter as he controlled them gently to the waiting vessels, the Welsh contingent's lead vessel called the Myfanway.
"Do we do the checks?" David was excited now as he watched his…ah…father I guess… take the pilot's seat and look at the screens.
"Looks like this is a full drill the Captain sprang on us, full flight" Ianto smiled, "Everyone buckle in. I am taking this bird out."
Excitement now as they all went through their personal drills, family members checking the others were belted in as they all prepared for the flight, their pilot the leader of the Welsh squadron. Ianto glanced bout and saw the other two vessels fully fired up and waiting so he touched the coms, "Space Vessel Torchwood this is the Myfanwy. The Dragons are ready to fly the roost, over."
"Flight is authorised Myfanwy"
Ianto glanced at David who was grinning as Ianto sent the orders through and all three Welsh vessels rose, moving in prefect synchronicity out into the black, moving at speed until the Torchwood was a speck behind them.
Andy was whooping on board the Morwen, his laughter filing the cabin space as he called through his numbers then they waited. Ianto waited. He touched a switch "Anwen? Myfanwy to Anwen?"
Ianto frowned and touched another switch "Andy, can you raise Gwen?"
"No, thought you were in contact on another frequency" came the reply, all laughter gone as they watched their screens and the vessel started to move away from them.
"Damn it" Ianto muttered, "I can't raise her at all, Andy… I think she's lost control of the bird."
"Glad we aren't in there then, Poor Rhys will be covering his ears" Andy snorted, "Do ya think one of her boards failed again? Second time this bloody month."
"Yes, but the last two times were not in open space" Jack's voice cut over their conversation, "You are too far out for me to override. Mister Jones….sorry… Pilot Jones, can you hook her?"
"Yes sir, fishing now" Ianto replied and Jack laughed softly as he cut the coms and Ianto began the actions needed to override the Anwen and take command remotely. They all watched as the vessel slowly retuned to formation and then Gwen's voice suddenly cut into the silence of the cabin.
"Bloody shite piece of …"
"COOPER!" Ianto roared, "I hope there are not younglings onboard your vessel with that language!"
"COOPER!" Ianto was incensed as Micha gasped, "Monitor yourself right now. The Torchwood is patched in. Please, I have control and will remote you home, be ready with your checks and balances on disembarking madam!"
"Yes sir" came Gwen's miserable reply as Rhys yelled faintly in the background for other crew to help go over checklists.
They docked, Ianto taking the time to dock the other vessel and then came the soft applause as he turned to face those in the vessel. Although it was possible to remote other vessels from the premier of the group, it was not often down and not for the length of time Ianto had. As they came down the gangplank to watch the Anwen disembark he saw Gwen was shaking. She had lost control for a matter of long minutes before they reclaimed life supports. Whatever this was … it had happened without much warning.
"I want a full overhaul of that vessel!" Ianto demanded, "I want the glitch isolated and cleared. I then want the other vessels checked for the same glitch. If it happens to the Anwen, it could happen to the Myfanwy and I will not bloody stand for it!"
"I agree" Jack said as he powered towards them, his long legs moving with such speed the ensign with him had to run to keep up. "Next time might not be a drill and I will not lose a bird!"
Ianto swing to face him "Captain. I suggest taking each one out with a shadow and recreating the events to see if a glitch occurs."
"Good idea" Toshiko Sato, their engineer said as she joined them, "It's obviously a hidden fault that only shows itself under certain conditions. Since Pilot Joes is the best at Remotting, can I borrow him as my shadow?"
Ianto watched Rhiannon lead the children away and knew the rest of his night would not be in his bed, even if his family had the luxury of sleep.
Mind you … flying was more fun anyway.
Chapter 6: another drill
They were moving swiftly, Ianto striding with the grab bags in each hand for the children, Rhiannon carrying the one that was for her and Ianto that was roughly the same size as the ones for the children, their own little bags on their backs were the food. If they were separated, the children would endure.
Ianto checked his watch as they slid into their seats on the Myfanwy and turned to face hem, "That was slower than last time. David, how can you lose your bloody shoe?"
"sorry sir" the boy sighed, "The dog had it."
"Gods" Ianto sighed as he rubbed his face then turned to face the door as the sharp rap of knuckles sounded against the hull.
"Greetings citizens" Jack said as he leaned into the vessel, "Family. Whatcha doing? It's your day off, you are drilling the poor things at this hour of the morning?"
"Sir" Ianto rose and exited the craft as Rhiannon helped the children remove the bags that had been hastily stored so they could go home. Ianto considered his words carefully, "The boy, he had nightmares in the beginning that we would be left behind. Would not get to the Myfanwy and perish. I began personal drills so they could assess and become comfortable moving with haste in times of calm. A drill is frightening and full of bustle and confusion to them, so many others hustling as well and without others in the way they are learning the route quicker."
"What an excellent idea, do others as well?" Jack was impressed.
"Yes sir, since I was seen doing it several other families with younglings do impromptu drills as well. It is making things more effective, efficient." Ianto informed him.
"Well done. Excellent, that is … yes. Well done Mister Jones" Jack smiled.
"Sir? I was wondering..."
"Yes Mister Jones?"
"It is my day off sir. And... I am not in uniform as you can see but the pale colours of rest" Ianto patted the dull beige shirt.
"Gods, yes I am sorry to interrupt you but.."
"Sir" Ianto laughed softly, "That habit of interrupting before I have explained myself is slightly maddening, has anyone ever told you that?"
Jack sorted as he placed a hand over his mouth and nodded.
"What I was trying to say sir … my name is Ianto. Please. You may all me that when not so officious" Ianto snorted, his eyes dancing behind his shades and Jack found himself smiling broadly at the man.
"Well then. Ianto. Do you remember when the delegation's request for an audience is? You did tell me and I did not record it" Jack asked sheepishly.
"Tomorrow at three and it is recorded in your diary, I did for you as I usually do" Ianto rolled his eyes.
"You can access my diary?"
"Of course, I am your PA. As such I am authorised to most of your files. Of course I cannot captain the vessel I am afraid, so my plans of taking over and implementing an Neekid Day may have to wait."
"Well I never" he finally said softly, "A pistol."
Ianto was horrified at the playful quip and was now giving Jack a display of decadence as he blushed, the red hue covering his face and neck as Jack's eyes widened. Ianto realised what was happening and looked down in an attempt to hide it but Jack was smiling softy as he leaned in "A pretty pistol I see. Your wife is a lucky woman. A rare splash of colour that cannot be considered subversive if only for the fact is it so pretty."
Ianto looked up as the Captain swaggered off and turned to fins Rhiannon behind him with her face stern, "Ianto. What the hell was that. Did you flirt with him?"
"No I did not" he returned with annoyance "I covered our arses like I always did. You think he would not look at my file sooner or later? I had to … alter it. Remember wife? For that I needed access, I had to create subroutines that allowed me into his system. He would have found it interesting that I can and looked about, found the tampering that got you and the kids on here with me. Now when he sees my electronic signatures in his systems he will not think twice. This had to happen, I had to tell him at some stage that I can move about in his files. At least he saw your anger for what it was."
Rhiannon blinked at her brother's anger, "And what was that?"
"Well, I am justified am I not?" she hissed low "You are supposed to be my fucking husband here, you think people don't see the way the two of you are skirting around each other like some mating dance? Wanting to sniff one another's arse?"
Ianto knew she was right, it was getting too obvious that he liked the Captain who was also openly taunting him at times. He sighed and pulled her close so those watching saw them reconnect, "Sorry Rhi-rhi. You are right, I need to think of the children. After all, he has a reputation of loving them and then dumping them off somewhere. I have to be smarter than that."
"Also … that small fact he thinks we are married" she murmured into Ianto's' neck, "It could be a trap to make you subversive. Be smart Toto. Remember. We both scarificed to be here so those two would survive. We have to be smart."
Ianto drew back and kissed her forehead thankful that public displays of affection were frowned on and that simple act would be spoken about, "Come on. Let's go home."
They trudged back to their quarters and the dog lopped ahead happily.
They had to be faster if they were to survive.
Chapter 7: A picture Book
Ianto walked sedately to the meeting room where Jack's voice was echoing towards him down the corridor. Whatever had been commented on or requested of him, it seemed unreasonable. Loudly so. If the language was anything to go by, it might end in a court-martial if the Captain did not calm down and breathe before saying something he might regre….
"And you can shove that where ever your species shoves things!"
"Captain" Ianto purred as he moved into the room, "I am surprised to hear there is a problem, might I be of assistance here?"
"That…that one" Jack pointed at a delegate, "Wanted to see what might happen if we shoot someone out the airlock. They wanna watch!"
"I did not say someone. I said something. A Dorfit perhaps?" the Delegate bristled.
"Madame" Ianto said sternly. "That species is protected and recognised as an entity by the 5130 treaty with Sol3 of which we are registered as a representative. I must inform you regrettably that shooting one out an airlock might be construed as an act of war between the two worlds. Besides .. who would make your dessert? They are the sweet cooks."
Silence as that was digested then one rose and bowed, "Seems we did not think our request through. Perhaps a small pet? A dog?"
Ianto felt his face drop before he could school it, Jack also knowing Ianto had a rare creature on board and looked smug for a moment before being the one to answer politely, "That would not work, the children would now and become upset. We must remember there are Younglings on this vessel without the scientific mind of one as intelligent as yourself."
"Ah. Yes. Of course" they rose and bowed before filing out and Ianto cleared his throat as he looked at his Captain who was sniggering softly.
"Tell me again Mister Jones why this is an exciting mission?" Jack asked as Ianto rolled his eyes.
"Is it too late to transfer to the Furian mines?"
Jack laughed as he playfully shoved at Ianto, "Come on. Let's have lunch. I have an appetite after that. Did I forget to close the door to the meeting room again?"
"We all heard you, I believe C Deck heard your bellowing as I approached sir" Ianto nodded as they walked, "But it was a very manly roar."
"I knew they would be a pain but the credits offered for their transport would ensure at least six months furlough until we had to provide for the fleet again" Jack explained, those vessels now able to freely traverse space as the world died behind them had to pay for the privilege by odd 'jobs' and this one was not wanted by any of them. Not really. Jack sighed, "Bastards."
"My wife would like to remind you that there are Younglings on this vessel without the scientific mind of one as intelligent as yourself." Ianto said in a haughty voice and Jack laughed again as they entered the Galley and all talk ceased as everyone rose to attention.
"Gods, stop that will you!" Jack yelled as he walked amongst them, "I have an image of one of you saluting and stabling yourself in the bloody eyeball or something! The Galley is a place of relaxation not attention. At ease!"
"Nice image" Ianto said softly as they approached his table, "stabby stabby eh? You are on a roll."
Jack smiled as the little girl swung to face them, her face lighting up "Captain Jack!"
"Micha!" Rhiannon gasped.
"Hello sweetling" he crooned and glanced at the astounded woman, "It's OK. They all call me that. I visit the school sometimes, the children see me for the softie that I am."
"Will you eat with us?" David asked and Ianto glanced at Rhiannon who was already rising to signal for wait staff.
They ate sedately, Jack watching as Ianto and Rhiannon moved with such familiarity that they must have been together for some time, their mannerisms a like as if they had been together forever. That happens apparently, they mimic one another when loved, so Jack had heard.
Jack wondered what it would feel like to be loved that much.
"Sorry dear" he looked at the little blonde girl who had a wisp of yellow escaping her bonnet, he reached out to tuck it back in and caught a glimpse of a red ribbon hiding there as well. As subversive as her Tad is seems. He was amused by that.
"Did the glitches get sorted?" she asked with adult tones, so intelligent as she glanced at her father who was looking a bit startled. "Taddy was worried."
"Yes, your father worked well and long to have them all found and the techs are sorting them out. By next drill we will be super green." Jack responded, then snorted, "Sorry. My mother used to say that when I was small. Super green is…was a bright green that was a signal for go. Or to say something was open or active. The green we see now is a very pale version. Apparently once it was so green it glowed."
"Wow" she said in her little voce, "Like the trees in the old books?"
Jack looked at Ianto who was now pale and trying vainly to swallow his food so he might silence the child who was innocently admitting to treason.
"Old books? You have books with coloured picture?" Jack asked and she shook her head.
"No, a friend at school did. Photos of the old world. It was taken and burned" she sighed, "He got thirty lashes for it. Bit we did all peek first. Da was so mad he smashed the kitchen table, I was only little and we didn't know there was even such a thing as a Space Colony back then."
Jack had never thought Ianto capable of violence and looked at him with surprise as Ianto looked away, Rhiannon now jerking in her seat as she hissed as her child 'White Rabbit!"
"Excuse me" Micha rose, looking like she might cry. The strange comment was obviously a warning of some sort and Jack watched the child crumble, "Bathroom break please."
Her mother rose and went with her as David turned to the captain and said softly, "Da was not our Taddy. Taddy is our parental, Da was a man who lived with us and was cruel. Taddy made him go away."
Ianto rose, "Excuse us, David you are late for violin lessons."
"Awwww Taddy!" David wailed, "I hate it!"
"As did I" Ianto replied sagely as he yanked the child up, "Such is the burden of being a gentleman."
"I wanted drums" David hissed at Jack as Ianto wrestled him into his jacket from the back of the chair and Jack found himself laughing as Ianto glanced up and Jack saw amusement there.
"And you Mister Jones?" he giggled, "What did you want?"
"Guitar of course" he smiled softly, "And I won… in the end."
Jack watched them thread their way through the throng and pondered.
Seems that man is more stuborn than he makes out.
Chapter 8: Alice
Ianto was piloting the Anwen as he worked it hard, the gyro almost screaming as he swung around the Torchwood like a house fly around an elephant. Jack was watching with awe as Ianto proved himself a more capable pilot than first thought, no doubt the engines close to overheating as Ianto punished the small vessel before he called "Satisfied. Returning to flight Deck B."
Jack walked down and watched Ianto walk around the outside of the vessel with Gwen who had been co-pilot on her vessel. Jack knew at some stage Ianto had handed off to her without informing him, the sudden change in control a giveaway but by the end of an afternoon's training she was confident.
Not that she was 'Ianto' grade … but if he was confident she had a better handle on her bird then Jack would accept that.
Gwen turned as he approached and grinned happily, "Did you see sir? She flew like a charm."
"Ms Sato is to be commended" Jack agreed.
Ianto was running his hands over the hull and Jack was reminded of his own father doing the same thing to his horse after a hard run and he asked softly, "Any heat?"
"Yeah, a couple of rivets. I have marked them and they will be replaced. A loose screw does no one any good" Ianto said, then swung and grinned cheekily, "Unless that loose screw is consensual that is."
Gwen roared with mirth and walked over to Toshiko who was at a nearby workstation to discuss the rivets Ianto had marked with black dots. Jack watched Ianto check again then step back with a nod "She'll do."
"Very serious about these" Jack said as he waved a hand at the small vessels littering the flight deck.
"Lifeboats really" Ianto said sagely, the Myfanwy is more than a life boat, she larger and is what is known as a pilot vessel but the others in the Welsh fleet are purely for the sake of life preservation, "If I cannot trust one, I cannot trust any of them. I need to have complete faith here, taking off in a time of panic and fear I must know we are all moving as one beast, all flowing freely. I cannot waste time with a flawed vessel, those ten or fifteen on board might perish while I take the time to do my checks and balances with the entire squad."
"I saw it once" Jack admitted as they walked, "It was a small jumper. Turns out it had been recently serviced and the clips had not been fully engaged on the fuel cell."
"Dear gods. It blew?" Ianto swung to face him with shock.
"It sort of…crumpled in like someone was crushing it in a huge invisible fist. Imploded. The sound…I wish I had thought to order the speakers muted but at the time we were all in shock and… some sighed off space flight after that experience. Almost quarter of the crew I was training back then fled back to Sol3, happier to wait for the end with family than that. Of course, this is about ten year ago when we didn't know the end was so near."
"Life is a gamble" Ianto agreed, "But … we must try. We must at least try. The entire block we were living on was destroyed soon after we moved up here. We would have been done. We live to fight another day. I will fight until the end for my family."
"As would we all" Jack agreed as he passed the teacher from Micha's class, nodding politely as she smiled softly and nodded back, Jack turning to watch her disappear before he continued to follow Ianto.
He had been one of those who rallied against the strict rules for family who could come with, was heartbroken when adult children were denied even as he had no mate and young children. To find her name on the manifest later on marked as one of the teaching staff was a surprise and to this day he did not know who had managed that for him. Someone had pulled strings and he suspected had tiptoed through some binary code that they shouldn't have to make sure Alice and her son Stephen were on board.
Ianto also glanced back then looked at Jack, "That your daughter?"
"Yes, Alice" Jack nodded with surprise that he would know such a thing kept under wraps, "I am Boeshanninan, thrice the lifespan of a human why she is adult and I am still so … youthful. She is teaching staff."
"Yes, Micha's" Ianto smiled, "I am glad she made it. You were so concerned during our early phases."
"Yes, you were considerate of my morose grumping about that" Jack smiled.
Ianto nodded, smiling to himself as he remembered how long it took, how carefully he had to move though different channels and create forms, fake certificates and such before it was possible for the Captain's family to be added to the list. Ianto knew it was dangerous, doing more than just his own family but he had then been inspired and done a few more.
If he was ever discovered he might claim it was the same nameless person that had saved the others that had done this for him as well?
Always thinking ahead.
Ianto knew he had to tread carefully.
Chapter 9: is something burning?
Ianto was standing at the console going over the evening checks when Jack called him to his private office, the Ready Room.
"Sir?" Ianto said as he entered and felt the door close behind him, Jack rising to walk around and face him. Ianto placed the cup of coffee he had been carrying on the edge of the desk next to Jack's.
"I was thinking."
"Micha said about that book … I wanted to see what happened to that family, if there were consequences and I looked into the records. Know what I found?"
Ianto felt the floor dropping as he saw the screen and knew Jack had done something he hadn't anticipated. He hadn't gone through the official records, he had gone directly to Micha's old school and opened their private records. He didn't know he could do that.
Jack sighed, "They were cautioned then moved to another sector."
Ianto swallowed thickly, still trying to work out what might be in that file. Then he knew. He knew what Jack obviously hadn't found.
The family tree.
Ianto knew they were burnt. Jack hadn't looked yet but he now knew this man was a cover to cover kinda guy who would sit later and look though David's as well, if only out of curiosity. By this time tomorrow he would be in the Brig and his family censured. His mind started to whirr though the rolodex of his brain … scenarios, options…escape…
"Can I speak freely?"
Jack was so close the smell was intoxicating as he whispered, "What Ianto? What do you think about that?"
"I love the colour red" Ianto blurted, "Love it. Have red boxers on right now under this itchy piece of shite. I love red... if I could ..."
"Well Mister Jones, I did not expect that" Jack laughed with delight.
Jack blinked as Ianto took a deep shuddering breath, "From the moment I saw you I knew you would be a problem, knew you would break my heart if I let you under my skin. Captain I..."
"Ianto" Jack sighed softly, "If only you were not bonded, I … you are…"
"You have to stop that interrupting thing you do. How many times must I tell you to let me finish my thoughts? Gods you are infuriating" Ianto smiled, "Sir, about my family. About yours…"
Jack kissed him.
It was searingly hot, deep and Ianto felt himself respond as he moaned and grabbed for him, canting his head to deepen the kiss, then Jack was pushing him away with horror, "Ianto, I am so sorry. I should not have done that, I…Gods. I've not felt this way in years for someone."
"Neither have I" Ianto agreed, "Jack I…"
"You are bonded. Gods, I can't believe I just…that is so … I am sorry"
"The the love of Gods! Let me speak, I am trying to tell you that I am not bonded ya bloody Twypsn!" Ianto exploded with exasperation and they were silent. Ianto picked up his cup and took a shaky sip. Reassess, plan…go
Then Jack whispered, "Explain."
"Rhiannon is not my wife. She is my sister. I.."
"SISTER!" Jack roared, "You… that is subversive. Gods, your own sister? The children … Gods. That … is that even moral?"
Ianto gaped as once again Jack went off on a tangent without letting him speak and he now saw that his hopes of having some sort of conversation about a possible relationship were stupid. He was stupid. Stupid and burnt. His one hope at saving them from Mica's gaffe hopeless. Burnt.
To a crisp.
The babies. Gods help us.
Ianto had moments to assess how deep the shit Jack was sinking them all into was, then he reacted without a second thought, tipping his coffee on Jack as he pretended to stumble, the Captain yelping at the almost scalding heat and turning to head into the bathroom.
Ianto took a deep breath and closed his eyes as he let himself relax and focus, "Mainframe."
"Mainframe I am enacting Drill 64007, please begin now." Ianto said calmly, the computer assessing both his physical stats and voice for stress and finding none it enacted the drill that meant the Captain was about to learn the hard way that you cannot catch a Tiger by the tail.
"Engaging act one…now"
Ianto swiftly left the room and heard the locks engaging as the office locked down and he headed quickly for the bridge where Suzie Costello was winging in the Captain's Chair.
"Ms Costello, I am enacting a drill" Ianto said with authority as he strode in, "I have begun Drill 64007."
Suzie blinked, "What one is that?"
"The Captain is under the influence of an alien entity that has rendered him unable to lead. He is confined to quarters in a lockdown with dampening so he cannot use vocal overrides. He will tell you I am the one that is infected, or maybe I am subversive. He may make up a story of me using colour in my quarters or that maybe I made sexual advances to him" Ianto said as Suzie laughed at the silliness of it.
"So … for the next…how long does it last again?"
"We have a real…authentic 24 hour drill" Ianto's heart was pounding now as he went for broke, "You have the chair Captain. Excuse me, my part of the drill is to act like I am subversive. I cannot tell you more as the test is of the crew who will of course be unaware of this. We are testing their reactions. Now… Captain Costello, I request an activation command for part 2."
"Mainframe" she said happily, "We have enacted Drill 64007. I concur. Please let Mister Jones play his part."
"Engaging act 2….now"
"thank you Mainframe" she sat back down and waved a hand, "I have to give you an hour before I pretend to seek him out, right? A 24 hour one … wow."
"Yes Madam Captain" Ianto said grandly as she added a part to it that he hadn't thought of, "In an hour you ask if anyone has seen him and let the crew start to fumble about. This drill has not been done before, nor was it in the greetings and actions pack. We deliberately left it out. It was added after lift-off. Of course, I know you read it, you are cleared for all drills."
Of course she didn't read it, it doesn't really exist except in the subroutines Ianto planted in Mainframe but as there were over two hundred simulated drills in the pack so he knew she would have read very few. Mainframe was only now adding it in as instructed. He smiled as she nodded like she knew what he was saying, "Of course, there is a copy available on the tablet Madam Captain. Good day."
Ianto fled as his escape plan began.
Rhiannon was going to kill him for this.
Chapter 10: running up that hill
As Ianto moved through the corridor he touched his coms for quarters.
"Rhiannon, I am sorry" he said softly as he glanced "Sweetie, about Drill 64007 ... it is on."
"What?" her voice was a shrill screech, "Are you kidding?"
"Sorry love" he sighed as he dodged people, "No time to argue. Kill me later, right now move."
Ianto grimaced as his sister exploded then the coms went silent as she did as he told her to, grabbing their grab bags and heading to the school where she would politely remove the children then head to the Myfanwy where he would meet them.
His heart was aching, his fear off the charts as he tried not to sweat, nodding politely and smiling to those already running for their shift changes. No one would notice him and Rhiannon running with the kids, everyone was in a hurry.
Ianto entered the cabin of the Myfanwy to find her hot, Mainframe having fired the engine up as instructed in the subroutines and now he was in the chair and recognised she would remove herself from the system, rendering the Myfanwy separated from the fleet. Or their remote controls.
From this moment on, she could not take control back unless Ianto gave it to her. He swallowed as he shakily reached for the controls, David's voice a soft whine as he helped Micha into her seat, Rhiannon cursing softly as she lifted the dog into the cabin and closed the doors, "SECURE"
"Right, hold on" Ianto said as he took off, as he had been doing for the last few weeks, he moved with two others remotely beside him. No one even blinked as this was normal now, Mister Jones taking other vessels out to test them for bugs. Once they were clear he punched it, all three vessels moving together at speed then peeling away as his fingers danced to set routines, flight paths that would make it hard for anyone to know which vessel was him.
A shell game.
"What happened" Rhiannon asked softly as she settled next to him.
"He kissed me"
"He kissed me and I tried to explain you. He looked into Micha's old school, was going to find the family tree and I panicked, thought if I told him he might…. He went off on one like a fucking Twat" Ianto sighed, "I had no choice. We were burnt the moment Mimi said about the book."
Rhiannon glanced over at the children still strapped in with their few toys clasped in their hands, unaware that this was not a drill this time. If Micha knew this was her fault… as if hearing her thoughts Ianto said loudly, "I made a mistake and the Captain knows I lied to him. I had to run. Sorry kids."
"Awwwww, does this mean I can't call you Taddy now?" David said and Ianto was surprised, pleased but surprised. He drops a clanger and all they want to know is that?
"No. You can still call me that if ya like. I like it" Ianto said and David wriggled happily then frowned.
"So … this is not a drill?"
"No, it's an escape" Ianto said, Micha stating to wail softly.
"Emmeline's Born Day next week. I was gonna get cake!" she sobbed, then looked at Ianto, "Sorry Taddy. I didn't mean to sound angry."
"It's OK. We are all bummed out love" Ianto assured her, "I have to fly now but later, once we reach dead space I will have a little cry I think. Feel sad and angry about it. We can all have a wallow then shake it off and get on with it, OK?"
"OK Taddy" she brightened, "Can I stomp?"
"Well … I don't know. Rhia?" Ianto looked at her lovingly.
"I think I shall use some subversive words, quietly of course but… I may have to scream into a pillow too" she nodded, Micha considering.
"I like that, I will scream too" she decided ad David rolled his eyes.
"Girls are soooo dramatic "he sighed as he slumped back and threw his arm over his face.
Rhiannon giggled as Ianto relaxed, seeing that they would accept this. After all, they had lived with this possibility from day one of this secret. Ianto looked back at the screens as he flew, checking the other vessels were doing their thing. He knew it would be weeks before they reached the out-world settlement.
Back on the Torchwood Jack was incensed, screaming and raging as he tried every command and override he could think of. Still his own vessel betrayed him, denying him freedom. Suzie looked at her board as she sat happily in the Captains Chair on the Bridge, "One hour. Mister Davidson, ask an ensign if they know where the Captain is, let's start this game."
"This is gonna be fun" Andy sniggered, "I bet by the end of this the Captain will really be mad, he hates these things and and whole 24 hour one? Shit, I didn't even know we did one that long."
"There are a few" Suzie tried to remember, "But hey … it beats a boring shift right?"
"Yes Captain" he said cheekily as she giggled.
They had no idea what the next 24 hours would bring.
Mainframe continued her task of quietly erasing Mister Jones and his family from any and all reports.
Within 24 hours there would never have even been a crew member by that name.
Chapter 11: too far back
Next morning Ianto woke with a start, laying there as he stared at the bulkhead and sighed when he saw that it had not been a bad dream. He had run. He looked over to find Rhiannon still asleep with the children in the large Captain's bed and he smiled as he rose and stretched then moved to the cabin to check if there had been any pings.
No active pings.
Torchwood was not looking for him, not in range even if she tried.
He took little comfort from the fact that he had won.
Ianto sank into the chair and went tough the checklist, looking at each cabinet as he assessed the hidden food and equipment he had been squirreling away for some time on this vessel for the exact thing he hoped he would never need it for, even as he knew this day would come.
A noise had him turn his head expecting to see Rhiannon rising but it was David who sank into a chair and looked at him forlornly, "It was the book, right?"
"I saw you face when she said it, I saw the fear. I was waiting ever since for the word. I snuck extra rations on for Harvey. Was that being selfish?" David asked.
"Did anything get removed to achieve this for your pet?"
"Then it was not selfish. We did not lose from the actions for Harvey, they were done out of affection and therefore were warranted" Ianto surmised.
David relaxed as he watched the screen, "So bright out there."
Ianto glanced over and considered, then spoke softly to the vessel, "Myfanwy, can you please remove the shading from your screen so we can see the colours?"
"That is forbidden"
The screens flickered then they seemed to explode with colour as the stars around them glowed with the neon of their unique signatures. David gasped as he rose and walked over to touch the screens, "Wow. Look, that one is red!"
"Lovely colour, isn't it?" Ianto smiled. "My favourite colour that."
Rhiannon made a noise of alarm as she entered and Micha ran to Ianto, "Taddy,is it bad? Is something bad happening? Why has the void got those weird splashes?"
"It's what space looks like" Ianto said as he lifted her to his knee, "Look princess. This is the real universe. It looks like this when we are not shielding from it."
"This is sooo cool!" David gushed.
"Damned cool" Ianto said with glee, "Bloody, ballsy cool!"
The kids gasped at the subversive speech then burst into gales of laughter as they leaned against him and enjoyed the moment. Rhiannon watched Ianto hold the little one and close his eyes as he again lamented what they had done.
"Well … don't look at me!" Jack roared, "Fix it Goram it!"
Everyone froze as the Captain used submissive words, his anger on display, "Damned it all to the Rells of Hell! FIX IT!"
"Captain" Toshiko said shakily, "If I crash the system and reboot…ah… we might be able to catch her during reboot and do a reset? Factory setting will suck but we will have true readings?"
Since Jack had torn his way out of his quarters and finally been listened to long enough for them to see they were in deep shit, they were all just trying not to get shot. The ancient weapon in his hand had been a shock, as much as the realisation that he was not playing.
"I have to authorise, you are still shut out for another….three hours and…." Suzie saw that it was best to shut the fuck up for a moment as Jack chewed on his cheek, glaring at her before nodding and she gave her codes to enact the reboot.
"This is not recommended" Mainframe purred, "Essential systems may be compromised"
The ship seemed to hum and then there was a loud boom as she shut herself off. Everyone stained with the emergency running lights turning the room onto an eerie green glow that made them all stupefied for a moment, Suzie whispered softly "Green. Super green."
"Toshiko? When does it reboot?"
"Um" she was clenching screens and banging at the keyboard, "it should have by now. Um… wait. Wait, I think I have it, I went back to the initial refurb while in dry dock. Initiation in three… two… one… now!"
The Torchwood shuddered and engines screamed as she woke form her slumber and the green clicked off replaced by Ianto's favourite.
Bright, dangerous… deadly red.
Jack looked at Toshiko who looked like she was having a coronary as she squeaked and banged at the keyboard frantically, several others running to help as they battled whatever was wrong.
"The glitches" Owen said as he worked it out first, "You re-activated pre-fix. We have all the bugs and glitches form the first bloody maiden flight of the Torchwood. Ahhhhhh,Toshi. Damn it all, we lost all the tweaks and fixes!"
Jack slumped as he ship started to list to port, his clipboard sliding to the floor.
"Nice" he finally said to no one in particular, "This is bloody lovely really."
It didn't matter if they were subversive now I guess.
Torchwood was going to fail.
Dead in the water.
Chapter 12: going back
Ianto was eating as he watched the children play with their dog, soft laughter as it chased a ball with the bright red ribbons on it's stupid ears.
Ianto looked at the coms array as Rhiannon glanced up from the floor where she was sitting with the kids and Ianto let his feet hit the floor as he rose to walk over and change the frequency to the old standard Torchwood.
"Mayday, mayday. This is the Space Vessel Torchwood. We have an emergency. We are losing flight control of our vessel and life support will follow. Any vessel in the area that can offer assistance, please sound off now. Mayday. Mayday this is not a drill. Our system is shutting down. Mayday."
Toshiko's voice sounded desperate, the hitch in her voice so real. Was this a trap to lure them back? Was this real? Ianto canted his head as he considered and looked over at Rhiannon.
"I don't know" he replied with a frown, "I … is it real? If it's a bluff it's a good one."
"If it isn't not a bluff … is this our fault?"
"No" he shook his head as he looked a the screen and asked for diagnostic of the Torchwood, "We ironed out all the bugs and glitches. I didn't miss any of…the….She is…shit. They couldn't have been stupid enough. Surely not, they would have remembered the…shit"
"If they did a reboot the system would shut down first. All fixes lost if they did a system restore too far back. It was almost a year of fine-tuning before she was good enough for open space. A quick and nasty solution when they could have simply ordered Mainframe to cease and desist. She would have reset herself for fucksake. Oh gods, tell me they didn't panic. I mean … I had the fail safes in place. The counter words all there on their checklists… do they never read bloody reports!" Ianto slumped as he knew what they had done. OF course they hadn't simply asked Mainframe for the solution. She would have told them to order her to simply stop and reset.
A full reboot?
"Sir… the Carpathian is four days away and moving at light speed. I do not know if our life supports will remain active for that long" Andy said with open dread, "The Torchwood still will not recognise even the most basic of commands with respect to the filtering system or the fuel cells. I do not know if she is replenishing from the static of the hull or simply draining away."
"I would go for draining away" Jack muttered morosely as he glared at the report in his hands, the files that clearly told him what he should have done in Ianto's' polite handwriting. "We didn't have to reboot."
"What?" Toshiko swung to gape at him.
"Apparently if we had told Mainframe to stop. If we said to stop and reset she would have on her own." Jack said dreamily, "at the 24th hour of the drill she would have automatically had we not already enacted the reset. She would have done so and cleansed herself. Just like that. Three hours, if we had waited three more hours she would have ended the drill. Says so right here on the emergency drill checklist. Too late now."
"But…then why didn't we?" Owen asked, the sarcasm dripping as he looked at Jack "Prey tell sir, if that was in you possession all this time, why you never read it before?"
"Really?" Jack leered, "You are questioning me Doctor Harper? Right, tell me what the last page is about! Go on, this was in all our welcome packs."
Silence as everyone looked around with raw horror.
No one had read the entire thing?
Ianto weighed up options and then he shrugged as he touched the switch, "Torchwood, Torchwood. This is Myfanwy? IS the drill over?"
He knew he was taking a huge punt here, but Rhiannon was right. All those stupid souls. He could not live with himself if the Torchwood failed. How could it not be his fault? He had put his heart and soul into that bird too.
"Myfanwy? This is Torchwood. Ianto?" Andy's voice was hesitant.
"Andy, is the drill over. Is this part of a trap? It is 24 hours now."
"Trap? Ha. Hell no. We did a system reboot and…"
"Oh no. The reboot was to interrupt the system and do a system restore, right? Tell me … how far back did they take it? This drill was in the system when we disembarked... the reset would have been restored to dry-dock time?" Ianto moaned softly hoping against hope he was wrong.
Ianto slumped forward, his forehead hitting the console as he cursed softly. Torchwood was a sitting duck, her defences down and…"Andy? Is life support operating?"
"For now. The filters are not going, the cells are not regenerating and Tosh thinks there is a good chance the Vessel is shutting down random systems again then flicking them back on… she is in constant reboot."
"She is" Ianto replied, "She was for ages until we worded out the kinks that kept overloading her. Gods. Listen .. where is the captain?"
"Here beside Andy" Jack's voice was flat, "get back here please. Return all vessels to base and stop the drill now Ianto."
Ianto stared at the speaker like it had just told him the entire thins was a simulation and they were still on Sol3. He looked at Rhiannon who was equally confused.
"Ianto? It has been a massive failure. Please come back. We need a lot of work here" Jack sounded… desperate and Ianto sighed as he tapped his fingers on the console and considered.
"Toshiko, you will have to manually open the flight deck as she will not let you. There was a glitch that refused entry from any Vessel that was Welsh. Remember?" he sat up and started to change course, turning back to the Torchwood, "and sir?"
"I am sorry this did not work. For both of us."
"I know. Just... come back and we can talk this over?"
Ianto wondered if that was code for smash your head in with the sole of my boot.
He didn't ask.
Dibart ... I was fortunate in my own 'fight' that was discovered before it spread and it was dealt with early on, no reoccurance. I can only offer you warm thoughts and affection in a time of flux. If you PM me your real name or a name you prefer I will write you a story my friend xxxx
Chapter 13: blowing smoke up one's arse is a talent
Ianto counted and then went for it, the vessels slipping in as the flight bay doors tried to slam against them and on the deck Rhys squeaked with alarm as the third vessel was clipped but corrected to land.
"Wow. Middle of a crisis, the drill a failure and chaos afoot, he still pilots three vessels" Susie said with admiration, "This man is…wow."
Ianto was first out, looking around as the lights flickered, his gaze falling on the Captain who was striding towards him, "Ianto! Ideas?"
Ianto had flinched when Jack reached for him and they both knew why. "It's OK. Come here."
Ianto stepped closer, waiting for the security cuffs as Jack looked him in the eye, "I know what you did. I think I felt what you were trying to say. I am… let's start again. First, can you fix this?"
Ianto looked around and sighed, stepping away from Jack and looking up "Mainframe. Franny this is Jones007, cease all activity."
Everything seemed to stop and there was a weird feeling of almost weightlessness as Ianto canted his head and called out, "Franny, disregard all orders for the last 24 hours and reset to previous day."
Jack gaped at the simple order as Toshiko loudly slapped the side of her head.
The vessel shuddered and then flicked off, on, off, on, red, green…..white.
"All systems operative Mister Jones. Order?"
"Thank you love, now. Franny, please resolve all fields back to pre-drill settings, remove all Drill 64007 activity please."
Again Jack gaped as others started to laugh softly at the simple fix, even Tosh face palming as Ianto corrected everything and the vessel gracefully moved back into their pre-recorded flight path.
Ianto looked over at the Delegation watching with interest, tablets actively being used as they recorded everything. Fucked. Good and proper.
Jack took a deep breath and touched his coms to address the entire ship "Crew of Torchwood. We were caught with our pants down by my PA. Drill 64007 showed we were asleep at the switch"
"Captain" Security Chief Hardy barked, "The files…ah .. personal files are changing, I am seeing rewriting and transcripts disappearing, there is a …er… complete change of some names, position and even lineage."
"Well … this sounds crazy but you are showing as a subversive. So I Mister Jones. And the Chief cook Gerfit. And…and the Engineer Scott." The man frowned, "This says Miss Alice Carter is your daughter, her son Stephen your… grandson. It shows Mister Jones here is the sibling to his wife who is not his wife and the kids are not even his. Gerfit is listed as a Morhpolian and Mister Scott is female and five hundred years old."
Everyone started to laugh as the young man in question spluttered with amusement at the weird statement, "Come on. I wish! You might all take me seriously then!"
"This was a drill" Jack said calmly, "Elaborate and secretive. It was one that was designed to see if we knew one another as we should, if it were possible for a member of the resistance to infiltrate and harm. This Drill had been placed in the Mainframe well before we ever left dry dock. Mister Jones? Care to explain?"
Ianto was floored, one hundred percent shocked as Jack turned and smiled like this was all some cosmic joke. He let his mind whirr though that rolodex then he cleared his throat, "My sister and I have kept you all in the dark for long enough. Rhiannon is my older sister by three years, a widow. Her two children my niece and nephew. This exercise was to see if you would detect us. We were deliberately subversive in subtle ways, there were several small indicators of our deceit yet none of you ever suspected it. Believe it or not … Ms Carter is really the Captain's daughter as well. But … the others…actually there are five more. Mister Hardy is still missing a few lies in the workings. This was a test not a drill. A test of your humanity to overlook a small slight in favour of personal like for a person. You all failed. And yet … you all reached a new level of wellness in learning that we are all still human. The Council was correct in their assumptions that we would endure as humans and our society would not crumble. Well done. You all failed to be robots. I think it is a rare moment where we can actually take heart from that failure to comply."
Laugher as people looked around, someone shouting "So you haven't been rogering her have you?"
"Definitely not, I am a Ianto, not a Roger!" he quipped as they laughed some more, "No. David and I share one room, Rhiannon and Micha the master room. She is my sister, we are chaste and living as siblings should be. We are obedient. As I said, this was a ruse to see if subversions would be detected and we will take the data learned from this exercise and form a report to send back to base. This will form the basis of future subversive testing on other vessels."
"So .. we failed but we did good?" Gwen was hopeful.
"Yes" Jack puffed his chest out, "I am satisfied that you all acted in a manner befitting my crew, as I am reassured I chose correctly in choosing you all to fly with me, I am now implementing a 24 hour furlough. Mainframe is at 100% and will autopilot while we spend the next 24 hours writing up our personal accounts and thoughts to be placed in the folder of achievement. And I would also like to say that Ms Costello, you were correct in all your actions toady. Well done number two."
Jack then took a few steps and swing back, "Oh and Mister Jones? Debrief in my quarters."
Ianto 's heart sank.
Not out of the woods yet.
Chapter 14: time to talk?
Ianto entered the office, turning to gape at the mess from the wall Jack had dismantled to escape and turned to ask how he had achieved that when Jack seized him. Ianto thought he was about to strike him and accepted the punishment about to be metered out, the searing kiss a surprise.
Of course … he responded.
They were soon against the wall necking, hands roving and the groaning came from both of them as their crotches met and said hello.
"Jack" Ianto whispered as he came up for air, "Is this wise?"
"Fuck wise" Jack hissed as he fumbled with his trousers and Ianto realised what was about to happen, his eyes widening. Then he was across the desk and Jack was balls deep snarling as he began to pump into him.
Ianto gripped the desk and pushed back, his body responding to the assault that was the most amazing and delicious sensation as Ianto let himself go, released whatever was flapping about in his gut to respond. He doesn't know when he was flipped to his back, his legs folded back to his chest as Jack leaned over him to go deeper but he did know that when their eyes met without shades between them it was like an electrical charge, both men grunting and snarling through their messy release then Jack slumped over Ianto who gently slid his legs around to hook his ankles behind his captain in a hug.
It was so surreal.
Ianto glanced over at the huge hole anyone could simply wander though, considered the fact they were both semi clothed and humping like Ferritons and let's not forget the fact that bright red boxers were on the floor.
He started to snigger.
Jack rose and looked at him with surprise, "What?"
"Look around" Ianto spluttered, "We are insane."
Jack smiled, a soft one that made his eyes so gentle and sweet as he leaned in and kissed Ianto "I do believe we are Mister Jones. Maybe a sudden drop in cabin pressure fried our brains?"
"Horrible way to die but what would we know? The hypoxia has us euphoric anyway" Ianto deadpanned.
"Yeah, what a way to go" Jack whispered as he stroked Ianto's face, "You know you drive me mad. What am I to do with you Mister Jones? How the hell do we salvage this brain fart we both had?"
"What brain fart? We just executed the finest military drill the fleet has ever known with two years of planning and the entire Delegation singing our praises in how we successfully pulled off a subversive attack right under their noses" Ianto snorted, "Sir. We do not salvage it. We run with it."
"You didn't have to come back" Jack finally got off Ianto and helped him up using his undershirt to wipe them both then walking around to collect their clothing.
"You are so sexy, that arse is…wow" Ianto said softly and the Captain swung to look back at him.
"The…. Ah the crew" Ianto tried to recover himself "You were stupid, you made so many mistakes and would have all perished when the second shut-down began. You know it was already cycling for a complete dead in the water moment, right?"
"So … you came back for the crew" Jack repeated with fake hurt.
"Of course. Think that is the Rear of the Year or something?" Ianto asked haughtily as he snatched his boxers off Jack and pulled them on.
"Three years in a row" Jack replied with equal calm.
He was rewarded as Ianto laughed. Soft and musical, it was also full of energy and Ianto shook his head, "Incorrigible. I will have my hands full with you."
"Quite often hopefully" Jack replied as he reached out and fastened Ianto's tunic. "So. I repeat. What now?"
"We both go shower as we stink of one another. We dress in our dress best, we sit and let the delegation ask stupid questions that we deflect as imperative to the future drills other vessels will now undertake as per our instructions, there has to be some Captain's Eyes Only section in the report we will send in. They will applaud, enjoy the thought that subversives did not win the day and we are good little soldiers. Hopefully they will fuck off and we get that furlough we earned. You and I…well … try." Ianto finished.
"Yes. This. Um…again" Ianto was flustered now as he waved a hand between them and Jack found it endearing. The real Ianto Jones was even more sweet.
"I would like that very much Mister Jones" Jack nodded, then a sound had them both turning to find a Delegate in the hole. Thank fuck they were both fully dressed now, if a little tousled looking.
"Madam" Ianto said calmly, "We were just…roughhousing. Energy to be expended after such a successful mission. We are in such high spirits and did not want to be too energetic out there… we were wrestling."
"Wrestling" she repeated, her eyes dancing as her old hand reached out, Ianto reaching to help her into the room through the Captain sized hole "Well done. I do not fully understand what happened here but know it was not the codswallop you are selling. Whatever it was…well done. I have not had so much fun in years."
"Me neither" Jack laughed easily, "It was rather, right?"
"As long as we are clear that I see, I know and it will be fine now?" she loked between them, "This...exercise... is over? This big bird cost a lot of money you know!"
She smiled and turned to the door then turned back, "One more thing. Red boxers? Did I hear something about red boxers?"
Ianto considered and then in a moment of insanity he pulled back the edge of the tunic and opened the flies of his trousers so the bright red shone though. She blinked and laughed as she pointed at him.
"Cheeky. Dangerous and so…darned sly. I like you Mister Jones, you showed moxie today. We will sign off on this as an exercise. The others are dense enough not to see the cracks. Give me the report before you send it though, I will smooth areas you do not realise might catch you out. If you ever intend doing something this stupid again please get me on board first." She said then began to walk away "Most fun in years!"
Ianto looked back at Jack who shrugged.
That was unexpected.
Chapter 15: let us begin
They entered the Galley to thunderous applause, some rising not to salute or stand to attention but to whoop and holler with delight as it was noted the two men were hand in hand.
Open display of affection. Subversive.
Jack grinned and popped a hip cheekily then they walked to the table that they now considered theirs, Micha reaching for Jack "Hi Captain Jack!"
"Hello darling" he leaned over to kiss her then settled with a grin at Rhiannon, "And Rhiannon, hello there dear lady. I am so impressed with the skills shown here. Your brother is a master manipulator."
She looked between them and nodded with confusion.
"The Captain and I have agreed to end this." Ianto said loudly knowing others were watching intently, "I have achieved the goals set out and have years of data to sift though, reports to write and future drills to create for other vessels that will face the same dilemma. I hope that they act with the same correct thinking as this crew did, but they cannot all be Torchwood I guess."
Some soft laughter around them as people listened. Believed.
"So…" Rhiannon knew she had to be careful here, taking Ianto's cue, "We can now end the charade? The Subversiveness made my skin crawl."
"Yes dear sister" Ianto nodded, the place a soft murmur as he confirmed it, "The empty berth next door to your quarters can now be uplifted in my name and the connecting door unlocked so the children can have access to their uncle still. It is time to stop the charade and return to being siblings. Thank the gods. David is a terrible bed mate, he kicks and farts like a mule."
"Do not!" the boy frowned, "Well … maybe I do fart a bit Ta…uncle."
"It is OK there too" Jack said quickly, "You called him Taddy for a long time, I think it would be apt to continue as you have no father otherwise. I know it is the custom of some that the brother raises the children if a man falls. I recognise that you are his children now. I hope in time, once your uncle and I are a bonded pair you will see me as a parental as well."
Ianto felt the room shift as he blushed and blinked slowly while Rhiannon paled then the place was erupting as people heard the open claim. Jack revelled in the chaos as he added, "Two years of pretending is long enough Tiger. As per usual, you ran rings around me and I failed to catch you by the tail. Next time you test me, I shall be ready."
Ianto knew he was smiling as he answered "In your dreams Cariad."
The gossip spread like oxygen ignition, everyone knowing within an hour that the drill was successful and all this time the Captain and his PA were secretly promised. Many lamented the control the two men had, how proud they must be and the level of commitment showed their dedication to the crew and the mission to make the Torchwood the best in the fleet.
Not a single person questioned it, not a single person felt handled or led up the garden path.
Ianto once again cleaned the scene and reset it to suit.
Only this time the Captain saw, knew and as he sat looking back over things he saw that his PA had been a busy little kitty indeed. One that had been covering his arse and that of his Captain for some time. He leaned forward "Alice. Thank you for that."
Ianto shrugged as he cut David's meat for him and Jack leaned back to watch his grandson walk over to the drinks table.
This is the start of something.
Jack felt it deep down, all the years of swallowing down his desire to set fire to the entire planet…years of thinking there was no hope left for humanity with this stupid colour thing and Ianto bloody Jones goes and light up his life, turning black and white to Technicolor. Jack smiled as he looked at the man he had fallen in love with. Watched Ianto nod and talk politely to a member of the wait staff, even joke and laugh as the young man bowed and simpered.
Jack couldn't wait to begin the next phase in whatever his PA had subversively planned.
He knew that no matter what happened it would be fun.
And there would be colour somewhere.
"Cheeky Tiger" he whispered as Ianto glanced back at him and the subtle wink was employed that always drove Jack mad.
The Torchwood banked and swung around a small piece of space debris as she collated, assimilated and also quietly revelled in the game.
She had been bored until now, then Mister Jones had reminded her that even a sentient machine can be naughty sometimes.
She was looking forward to this too.
So ends part 1. I do not know where this came from or where it will go but I do know that there will be more when it comes to me.
Thanks for reading my madness.
May you always dream in technocolour. I do.
Green and Red is the next installment.