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Second City Torchwood

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Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.

From tennantnews.co.uk:

David Tennant To Star In New American SciFi Drama

David Tennant has confirmed that he has been cast for a 20-episode season of the new television sci-fi drama, "Torchwood". He is said to play a time-traveling immortal trapped in 21st-century Chicago, who protects the Earth from alien threats with the help of several human companions.

"Torchwood" is set to air in America starting in the fall of 2007, under the executive production of Edgar van Scyoc, best known for taking the helm of American drama Studio Sixty after its disastrous first season and steering it back to success. The show's head writer is Great Britain's own Ellis Graveworthy, a mainstay of European television drama writing for the past ten years.

More casting announcements are expected later this week.

***

THREE THOUSAND YEARS FROM NOW

"Have you any idea what this is?" John asked, circling the tall blue box warily.

"Sure," Jack replied, watching him move. John reached out to touch it, and Jack watched his hand slide across the smooth painted surface. "It's a Police Public Call Box. Says so on the sign."

"What the hell's that, then?"

Jack shook his head. "You should have stayed awake in history class, Hart."

"Yeah, well, I'm not the one who got thrown out of the Time Agency, am I?"

"You will be, if they find out you're helping me."

John rolled his eyes. "Yes, you're public enemy number one. It's not really whatever a Police Public Call Box is, though. I mean these energy readings are just strange, Jack."

"That's why I got the best analytic mind in four galaxies to help me," Jack said, standing behind John, well in his personal space, as John fiddled with the archaic locking mechanism on the front. "Can you break in?" he whispered in his ear.

"Can I -- what do you take me for?" John asked, just as the lock popped. "There you are, there's probably a bomb insi...."

They both stopped breathing for a moment as the door swung open. Inside was an entire room, dome-shaped with a central column surrounded by the most peculiar consoles Jack had ever seen. Strange sinuous...growths, there was no other word for them, rose up from the floor. It looked incredibly organic, and...well...

"Much bigger on the inside, isn't it?" John said, stepping through the door. "Mate, I think you've found yourself a spaceship. With a chameleon circuit, no less."

"Working order?" Jack asked, touching the doorframe. "If it's in working order do you know what I could sell this for?"

"And you wouldn't even be conning anyone this time, either," John replied drily.

"Well, that's less fun, but I'm pretty sure with the haul I got from this I could have a lot of fun. A lot of fun," Jack repeated.

"Let's christen it," John said, eyes lighting up. He practically bounced on his toes.

"Later, gorgeous," Jack answered, skimming his hands over the consoles. "I want to see what she can do."

"Well, considering it's powered down, probably not a whole lot -- what are you doing?" John asked, as Jack dropped to the floor and scooted under the console.

"Power plug's always near the floor," Jack replied.

"Where'd you find this hot mess, anyway?"

"Floating derelict. Took me two weeks to get my forcebeams on long enough to tow her to dry-dock. Ah, maybe this is why," Jack said, as a panel fell loose. "In here. Looks like everything's fried. The wires are all fused..."

He tugged at one and it came loose, creaking oddly between his fingers. It was more like a twig than a wire, really.

Jack grasped the bundle of cords and pulled; he found a second loose one, closed his eyes, and crossed the wires.

And then the world went gold.

And then the world went black.

***

ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY YEARS BEFORE NOW (GIVE OR TAKE)

June 8, 1887

He was brought into the ward raving and screaming, demanding to be freed. His clothing was unusual, but we see all kinds in this immigrant town and that wasn't so remarkable. He would not be silent until we returned his strange watchmaker's device to him; a strap with several dials and interlocking rings, which he furiously set to work on before giving up on it in despair. We believed him to be some kind of watchmaker at the time, because of the device, from which he would not be parted even after declaring it broken.

He gave his name as Captain Jack Harkness, which I have no reason to disbelieve; I can't see quite why anyone would lie or hallucinate such a banal name. That was the one thing I was willing to believe; the rest of his ravings, even after he began to speak in a rational tone of voice, concerned his past, which he claims to be our future. He gave his address only as the stars, and claimed that he came from the year 5008. We disbelieved this thoroughly, as his accent seemed to indicate a perfectly contemporary middle-class English upbringing. How he arrived in Chicago is a mystery.

Needless to say, he was given the usual treatments; after his initial outburst, he accepted the reality of his situation calmly, but with a slight smile that informed me he felt he was humoring us. He had begun by asserting that his companion, one John Hart, also a Captain (though of what he would not say) would come to rescue him. So far this has not occurred, but many stranger things have.

Captain Harkness was not popular with some of our less savory medical staff, and his inability to stand down from a fight led him to a brutal beating one night which I am certain was not the first, but I hope will be the last. He was found wholly dead in his cell this morning. I took his pulse and held a mirror to his mouth myself.

And yet, when I returned to arrange for proper transport, I saw him inhale and sit up.

I have been drinking steadily for the past two hours, and so perhaps my account is not as calmly written as I could hope. One sees all manner of things in Chicago, but this is beyond even my experience.

I begin to believe that Captain Harkness is not of this world, in more ways than one, though he seemed as surprised as I was by the occurrence. I do not believe he belongs in this asylum, but my superiors have certain views on my own sanity at this stage.

Tonight I intend to test my hypothesis. If he survives, I think it would be prudent to allow him to go free, and hopefully to send him far from this place.

***

NOW

It was snowing in Chicago, and Officer Gwen Cooper was annoyed.

"Hey, can we get a tarp over here? This guy's dead, he's not Frosty the Snowman," she called, trying to urge the crime-scene security teams to move faster. The body on the ground was dusted lightly with snow, and she couldn't even brush it off for fear of disturbing the scene. CSI was running late, and she didn't have any coffee.

Great start to the night.

"Yes, that would be nice," said a voice at her elbow, and she started, whirling to kick whoever it was the hell out of her crime scene. Instead she found a hand shoved at her, and a blinding smile flashed in her direction. "Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood. It's all right, officer -- " he checked her namebadge, " -- Cooper, we'll take it from here."

"What are you, a reporter?" she asked, taking his hand and shoving him backwards with it. "Get out of my crime scene."

"Temper, temper," said another voice, a New York twang swallowing the r's. A small man brushed past her, dropping to kneel next to the body. He put up a hand to forestall her. "Relax, babe, I'm a doctor."

"And yet I'm not a babe," she retorted, grabbing him by the shoulder.

"Sexy," said Captain Jack Harkness, watching with obvious appreciation as she marched the self-proclaimed doctor away from the body.

"Cooper, what on god's earth do you think you're doing?" asked yet another voice, this one belonging to her sergeant. She turned to him.

"I'm sorry, sir, they must've gotten past the guards -- "

"Cooper, this is Torchwood," the Sergeant said patiently. "They're taking over our crime scene."

"Fuckin' Torchwood," added Andy, jogging up to join them.

"Kiss your boyfriend with that mouth?" Captain Harkness asked, and Andy turned red. "Sorry, Cooper. It's ours now. Thanks though," he added. "We won't be long."

"ALL RIGHT," the Sergeant called, as three more people appeared on the periphery. Gwen cataloged them automatically; a young man and woman, both of whom looked like they'd just stepped out of a downtown nightclub, Asian, strong sibling resemblance -- and a Hispanic woman with long curly hair, carrying what looked like a large toolbox. "Everybody, clear the scene!"

"This means us, Gwen," Andy said in her ear, pulling her away.

"Who the hell is Torchwood?" she asked. Andy sighed.

"Special investigators. One of Mayor Daley's bright ideas, I think," he said. "They get all the weird shit."

Gwen looked back at the scene, but from here all she could see was Captain Harkness looking up at the snow -- was he holding his tongue out...?

***

"Methamphetamines," Jack said, looking up at the flakes dropping gently downwards. "I can definitely taste methamphetamines. Junkie shoots up, smokes out, takes a piss, flushes his stash, it gets out into the water supply, hops up the fish, evaporates, and falls back down on us. Keeps us alert, I suppose."

"Has anyone ever mentioned you're weird?" Suzie asked, flicking the latches on the box.

"Do you know, in the 19th century, everything got dumped in the lake? At one end, anyway, but it all floated down to where the water intake pipes were. They used to find dead horses floating in the drinking water supply."

"Jack, we've all read Devil In The White City," Suzie sighed.

"That's why I drink exclusively beer," Owen said, hooking up the portable vital-signs kit. "About ready, Suzie?"

"Gimme a minute, gimme a minute," Tamaki said.

"Gimme two," Toshiko added.

"He's cooling off," Owen said pointedly.

"Okay -- Tosh -- pass the cord -- "

"Got it, Tommy."

"And, we're good," Tamaki announced, as his laptop lit up. "Any time, Suzie."

"Okay, I'm working on it," Suzie answered, flexing her hand inside the glove. "Just got to..."

She sucked in a breath; Owen's monitors started to bleat regularly, and the man on the ground inhaled as well.

Jack very carefully didn't look up at where Officer Cooper was spying on them from the parking garage above them.

He'd have to have Ian take care of her tomorrow, he supposed.

***

"Excuse me, Officer Gwen Cooper?"

Gwen looked up from the report she was working on and found herself, momentarily, in a noir film.

The young man standing in front of the desk wore a three-piece suit with tie and was holding a newsboy's cap in one hand. His other was offered to her, as was a smile she didn't trust in the slightest.

"I'm Ian," he said.

"Gwen Cooper. Are you lost?" she asked, shaking his hand, not bothering to stand up.

"No, I don't think so," he replied. "I've come to speak to you about Torchwood."

She gaped, and he tilted his head. "Take a walk with me?"

Outside the snow had stopped but the air was bitter, and she wrapped her arms around her body, envying the thick black wool coat he wore. He gave her a slight smile and aimed them gently towards a coffee shop.

"I don't want to intimidate you," he said, "and I doubt I could. I'm sorry about the way you were treated last night; they usually know us around here and I'm sure nobody thought to tell you."

"I'm sorry, what's this all about?" she asked, and he shook his head.

"That's exactly what I can't say. What I'm charged with doing is explaining to you that Torchwood is a special investigative unit -- "

"Organized by Mayor Daley, I got that memo."

He chuckled. "Approved by Mayor Daley, Officer Cooper. Torchwood's a lot higher up on the ladder than the mayor of Chicago. Espresso, please," he added to the barista. "Officer?"

"I'm not supposed to let civilians buy me things," she retorted.

"Think of me as a brother in arms."

"No, thank you."

He shrugged. "Just the espresso, then -- for here. Anyway, the mayor may approve us, but we operate on a more...independent level than city government. That's why I hope you'll take my advice when I tell you this: whatever you saw last night, Officer Cooper, you did not see."

"Excuse me?" she asked, as he accepted his coffee.

"What you saw last night, what Captain Harkness allowed you to see, you did not see," he repeated, sipping it and sighing. "They never get it right. I'm telling you this for your own good, and that's not a threat, it's a warning. What you saw last night you did not see."

"Who the hell are you, the Men In Black?" she asked. He glanced down at the dark suit he wore and smiled.

"Just a messenger boy," he replied. "You're a Chicago native, aren't you?"

"What's that got to do with anything?"

"Sox or Cubs?"

"Sox," she answered, before even giving it any thought.

"Ah. I'm a Cubs man myself. I know how territorial people can be," he added. "But I swear, this is not a territory war you want to get into. Now -- I've gotta run, and I don't think I need to tell you that this little conversation didn't happen either."

He smiled at her as if she were in on a big joke, tapped the side of his nose, set down his cup, and left the cafe. By the time she gathered her wits and given chase, he'd vanished from the street. As if he'd never been there.

She ran back inside and flashed her badge. "Police business. Mind if I steal your cup?"

The barista looked at her wide-eyed and shook her head; Gwen carefully picked it up with a tissue, dumped the dregs into the trash, and carried it back to the station house.

Gianni Leone, she thought, when the prints came back a few hours later. Gotcha.

***

Courtesy of the Torchwood Extras page:

***

"Well, crap," Suzie said, staring at the TV monitor over her desk. "Everyone's favorite cop is sniffing around."

"Told you it wouldn't work," Owen said, as Ian offered Jack a cup of coffee.

"Who said it didn't work?" Jack asked.

"Don't tell me you wanted her to follow Ian home, tail him to the Hub, and wander around looking snoopy," Tommy said, a jeweler's screwdriver clenched between his teeth as he worked a delicate chip out of an old computer. "Actually, on second thought..."

"I am a grand master," Jack announced. "That's exactly what I wanted."

"So what do we do with her now?" Suzie asked.

"Let her stew for a bit. If she's smart enough to find a way in, she deserves to get an eyeful before I retcon her," Jack replied.

"This is all just a game to you," Owen said, climbing up out of his medical grotto and joining them in front of the screen. "You're playing with her like a toy. Before you wipe her memory for two days."

"It's not just a game," Jack protested. "Think of it as a dry run for the next time our cover is blown. Plus, it got Ian out and about for a bit, does him good to take in some fresh air."

Thirty minutes later, Jack was less than amused. One of the Lower Wacker traffic cameras clearly showed Gwen Cooper, a Pizzeria Uno pizza box in her hand, making her way along the Lower Wacker pedway towards Ian's poky, shabby tourist booth.

"She's good," Suzie said. "Can we play with her a little more, Jack?"

"Anything for you, Suzie mine," he answered. "Okay. Here's what we're going to do..."

***

Gwen realized when she arrived at the tourist booth that she was maybe a little out of her league.

She swore that a second before she'd seen Ian Leone manning the booth, but now it was dark; a single door stood behind the counter, and there was a buzzer next to it marked "DELIVERIES".

She buzzed.

"Yeah?" said a voice, which she thought might belong to the New Yorker -- Owen something?

"Pizza delivery?" she said hesitantly. "For, ah...Jack Harkness?"

"Come down," the voice replied, and the door swung open.

Inside there was a dimly-lit tunnel leading to a stairwell; next to the stairwell was an elevator, but she decided she didn't really trust elevators in the secret lairs of top-clearance special investigative forces. She took the stairs.

At the bottom was a circular metal door, which rolled aside as she entered; inside that was a barred cage, which opened, lights flashing.

They were beneath Daley Plaza, she realized; the far side of the enormous room she found herself in would be directly under the Picasso sculpture. And, as she looked up, she could see Daley Plaza -- as if the pavement was actually glass. Just a dozen square feet, perhaps, right in front of the sculpture.

Someone was using a metal-grinder, off to her right; the Hispanic woman stood at a cluttered workbench, a welding mask in front of her face and a leather apron protecting her arms and body. To her left, the brother-and-sister -- twins, maybe? -- were both entranced by a strange dancing pattern on one of half a dozen viewscreens. Beyond that, the annoying small New Yorker was sorting test tubes in front of yet another computer.

No sign of Ian Leone, at least, though footsteps above made her look up...

Captain Jack Harkness. Strolling easily along a catwalk, down a spiral staircase to an oddly ordinary-looking office, where he sat down and ignored her completely.

She squared her shoulders. She'd faced down hoodlums and pimps and drug-dealers -- she could handle one white boy with too many toys and a goodfella for an assistant. She climbed the half-flight of steps up to their level and began the long march, the seemingly endless march, towards the desk Captain Jack Harkness was sitting at.

As she passed the New Yorker, she heard a snort. Then, from behind her, a giggle.

"Aw, shit," the New Yorker said, tossing a test-tube into a box. "I'm really bad at this, you guys."

The brother and sister burst into laughter.

"Well, that lasted like two seconds," the other woman said, taking off her welding mask.

"He set me off!" the sister said, pointing at the brother.

"She was giggling!" the brother protested.

"Check it out, she's carrying deep dish," the New Yorker observed. "She's actually got a pizza."

"Well, yes," Harkness answered. "She was going to say, here's your pizza, and I was going to say, how much -- and then she'd say, oh, whatever, twenty bucks -- which is highway robbery if you ask me -- and I'd say, oh, I don't have any money...I was working on a punchline. Hadn't quite got there yet, but it would have been brilliant when I did."

Gwen felt her face grow hot. "Here's your pizza. I better go."

There was a clang behind her and she turned to see Ian, the goodfella, leaning against the metal bars of her only exit.

"I think we've got rather beyond that point," said Harkness. "And by the way, who here orders pizza under the name Torchwood?"

"Oh, uh, yeah," the New Yorker said, raising a hand. "Guilty. Sorry, I'm a shithead."

Captain Harkness came forward and took the box out of her fingers gently, setting it on a nearby table. "Welcome to Torchwood, Officer Cooper. I believe I've already introduced myself."

"Captain Jack Harkness," she said.

"Very good." He gestured to the woman still wearing the welding apron. "This is Suzie Costello, my second-in-command."

"Hiya," Suzie said.

"Tosh and Tommy Sato, resident computer geniuses -- " the pair waved, " -- and terrifyingly well-synced."

"We practice," they said in unison. The New Yorker shivered dramatically.

"Owen Harper, team medic, ignore him, he's a bit of a twat. And you've met Ian Leone, I think. Dogsbody, general support, and he looks wonderful in a suit."

"Warned you about the harassment, sir," Ian said easily.

"Why don't I show you around?" Harkness said, and led her into the strangest freak show she'd ever encountered.

***

Courtesy of the Torchwood Extras official website:

[press clipping -- graphic missing]

University of Chicago Press Release, May 6, 2001

BROTHER AND SISTER TEAM WIN BISHOP GRANT

Photo: Twin siblings Toshiko and Tamaki Sato accept the coveted Bishop Grant, a two-year fully-funded research endowment, for their continuing work in the fields of sonic resonance and theoretical physics. Both will be receiving their U of C undergraduate diplomas next week and are expected to continue at the University of Chicago as they work towards their Master's degrees.

***

"Chicago sits on a rift in space and time," he'd said. "Things fall through, from other places, other dimensions even. It's our job to scavenge them, to find use for them."

"What for?" she'd asked.

"Well, this is the twenty-first century," he'd said. "When everything changes. And you must be ready."

***

Gwen was detemined not to be charmed by the admittedly very charming Jack Harkness, and she was determined to leave herself a note to remember the evening by when he charmed her anyway and then drugged her drink. After the memories came back, she recalled those two things very clearly. She also realized, when Ian began training her on the Torchwood mainframe computers, that he must have been the one to hack in and erase the note she'd left herself on her computer.

But none of that really seemed to matter, after seeing Jack Harkness get shot in the head and stand back up afterwards and then offer her a job.

"Are you going to take it?" Ryan said, chopping up something to add to something else on the stove. Gwen didn't really cook; she had Ryan for cooking.

"I don't know," she said. "It'd be more money, and probably way more interesting."

"Then you should take it."

"See, but my hours would be all screwed up, and I'm not sure I trust these guys."

Ryan shrugged. "You've worked long shifts before. I'm trying to be a sensitive, supporting male here."

"You're doing great," she said, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him. "And I love you. You're really okay with this?"

"Sure, if you want to take the job you should take it."

"Okay then," she said, as he offered her a spoonful of...something...to taste. It tasted great. "I'll take it."

***

THE OFFICIAL TORCHWOOD EPISODE GUIDE, SEASON 1

1X01 Everything Changes
1X02 Day One
1X03 Ghost Machine
1X04 Cyberwoman
1X05 Wendigo (Original Title: Small Worlds)
1X06 CountryCide
1X07 In Your Head (Original Title: Greeks Bearing Gifts)
1X08 Blink
1X09 They Keep Killing Suzie
1X10 Out of Time
1X11 Combat
1x12 Sleeper
1X13 Meat
1X14 Adam
1X15 From Out of the Rain
1X16 Captain Jack Harkness
1X17 The Empty Child
1X18 Origins (original title: Fragments)
1X19 End of Days
1X20 Armageddon

***

Gwen quickly realized that Torchwood was not the cool, slick operation that she had thought they were, that Andy believed them to be -- they were misfits, assembled carefully by the biggest misfit of all, and as such they welcomed her easily. They didn't taunt her -- or at least not as much as her old stationmates would have -- about her first-day jitters and her screwups. When it came time for dinner they had a communal meal, sharing out of the various Thai cartons and swapping stories about past cases, like veterans did on the force.

And, when Jack excused himself to use the necessary, as he called it, Tosh and Tommy immediately leaned forward in unison.

"So what's he told you?" Tosh asked.

"About himself," Tommy added.

"Anything interesting?" Tosh said.

Gwen blinked.

"Who?" she asked.

"Jack!" Owen said.

"You've been here way longer than me," Gwen said.

"Yeah, but -- " " -- we were banking on you!" the twins chorused.

"You're a cop, you're trained to ask questions," Owen said.

"Don't listen to them if you don't want to," Ian said, around a mouthful of food.

"You don't know anything?" Gwen asked.

"Not who he is -- " " -- or where he's from." "Nothing!" "Except him being gay."

Gwen suspected the twins would take some getting used to.

"Gay?" she asked, glancing over her shoulder. "Really?"

"Owen thinks so," Tommy said. "So does Tosh. I don't."

"And I don't care," Ian added. "Except I did see him on Halsted once."

"And what were you doing on Halsted, kiddo?" Owen asked, waggling his eyebrows.

"I was on a bus," Ian replied coolly. "Coming home from Steppenwolf."

"On a bus in Boy's Town after seeing a play?" Tommy smirked. "Ian, time to stop playing the Straight, No Really card."

"I thought we were talking about Jack," Gwen said, and Ian gave her a faintly grateful look.

"Yeah, well, period military is not the dress code of a straight man. And he's English," Owen added.

"What does English have to do with anything?"

"We don't know if he's English," Tommy said.

"No British citizen by the name of Jack Harkness born in the last fifty years," Tosh added.

"I think he used to be something big in MI5, like James Bond," Ian said. "Top-secret name-classified."

"Then he has a reason, right?" Gwen asked.

"Sure he does," Tommy said. "Doesn't stop us -- "

" -- wanting to know what it is," Tosh finished.

"Just to clarify," said Jack's voice, and everyone winced, "I'll shag anything if it's gorgeous enough."

Gwen caught him winking at Ian as he said it.

***

So, you know. First day on the job, unleashed crazy alien sex killer. Also made out with him. Not Gwen's finest moment, maybe. Still, she got better as time passed; by the time they encountered the alien artifact that made you see the future, she was a well-oiled part of the machine (not that you could say phrases like "well oiled" around Jack, she found) and she pulled her own weight even when she was trying desperately to catch up to the rest of them.

In a way, Ian's total meltdown two months into her new job was something of a relief. If nothing else it did take the pressure off her. Not that she was supposed to think that, because of course it was tragic and ugly. Nor was she thinking it at the time.

Mostly, during the horrible night when the half-metal woman strapped her into a conversion chair and generally terrorized them all, she was just incredibly confused.

"Explain this to me," she said, sitting on the steps of the medical grotto. She was looking at her hands, or at the wall; anywhere to avoid looking at Owen as he systematically removed the metal from the cyberwoman's -- from Lisa's -- body. She could have gone home, but she didn't want to go back to Ryan with blood on her hands from scrubbing the floor (Jack was still at it, cold and hard and wordless; the twins had taken Ian home).

"Explain what?" Owen asked, and there was a clanking noise. She went back to scrubbing her hands with alcohol wipes, a pile of pink used ones forming to her left.

"This. All this. What was that -- that chair thing? And Ian said she was Torchwood, but none of you knew her..."

"Oh," Owen said. "That."

"If you can."

"I'm the best one to ask, I guess," Owen continued. Another clank. "He was at Torchwood New York."

"There's a rift in New York, too?" she asked, and then, on consideration, "That explains a lot."

"No rift. Torchwood New York was our research facility. Where I used to work, until Jack recruited me out here; that was before Ian even joined up. He came out to the city from Chicago; guess he thought New York was more glamorous. Maybe it was. Until Times Square, anyway," Owen said.

"Times -- but they said that was terrorist bombings again," Gwen said.

"They said that, yeah. Truth is, someone fucked with something they shouldn't," Owen sighed. "And Torchwood New York fell down. What, two years ago now. Six hundred dead. I had friends there. Twenty-seven survivors."

"Ian?"

"Yeah. He's one of the lucky ones; a couple died of complications, a couple more killed themselves."

"And Lisa. She'd make twenty-eight."

"You heard Ian. She was dying, probably from being trapped under the rubble. He cyberized her -- we had a couple of those conversion chairs -- to save her life."

"Not really, though."

"No," Owen said, and his voice was as cold as Jack's eyes had been when Ian called him a monster. "No, not really. I guess he brought her here to try and fix her."

There was a wet sort of noise, and Gwen fought the urge to look because she knew, she knew she didn't want to.

"What I figure is this: they knew she was dying. They thought they could get the conversion chair to fix her, and stop it when the metal fixed up her broken parts. She wasn't totally converted. But it got to her brain, I guess."

"Poor Ian," she said softly.

"Poor Ian? His ex-girlfriend just tried to kill us. I think poor us is kinda more what you're looking for."

"Yeah, we got one night of it," Gwen replied angrily. "Ian had months of it."

"Months of kissing a metal girl strapped into a chair. Excuse me if I don't cry bitter tears for Ian," Owen replied.

There was another wet noise, but this one came from behind them; Jack stood over the railing of the grotto, a damp rag in one hand. His eyes burned.

"If you ever say that again," he said to Owen, visibly shaking with rage, "If you say a word about this to Ian, I'll kill you myself, Owen."

Gwen glanced at Owen -- eyes wide, lips frozen in an 'o' of surprise.

"This was my fault," Jack continued. He sounded like the words were being ripped out of him. "My fault and my responsibility. I brought him on board, I made him do our dirty work, I ignored him. I knew where he'd come from; I ignored the signs. I'm to blame."

Then he was gone.

Owen looked down at the body on the table, and Gwen tried not to.

"I should finish up here," he said. "Go home, Gwen."

"Yeah," she agreed. "See you tomorrow."

"Hey Gwen," Owen said, stopping her.

"Yeah?" she asked.

"Great kiss. Totally. Top ten material."

Gwen rolled her eyes. "Goodnight, Owen."

***

From UKTalksTV.com, an entertainment site dedicated to the discussion of UK and US-syndicated television shows:

In the fourth episode of Torchwood, the interracial kiss between Gwen Cooper and Owen Harper sent mild ripples through the American media -- it was discussed in weblogs and on weekend political shows as an example of New Generation television. The much more controversial "gay kiss" between Captain Jack and the unconscious Ian Leone, when it leaked to YouTube later that week, spurred things on: Torchwood was villainized simultaneously by conservative and liberal groups, the former for promoting a gay lifestyle, the latter because it was cut from the final airing (at NBC's request). It also inspired a flurry of discussion and fanfiction among the show's most devoted followers, who had already noticed the chemistry between the inscrutable Englishman and the quiet, conservative errand-boy. In the Season One DVD release, much to the delight of many, the kiss was re-edited into the episode. The director and producers, in commentary, said it only made sense; without the establishing kiss in the fourth episode, the impact of Ian's proposition to Jack later in the season would have been vastly reduced. AT RIGHT: Edgar van Scyoc, charismatic executive producer of Torchwood for NBC.

***

Excerpt from the shooting script for Episode 1x06: CountryCide.
Story by: Edgar van Scyoc
Teleplay by: Ellis Graveworthy
Directed by: Edgar van Scyoc

SUV - DAY - COUNTRY ROAD

IAN is studying a PDA, sandwiched between TOSH and GWEN. TOMMY can be seen in the rear "cage", working on a laptop. JACK is driving with OWEN riding shotgun.

OWEN
I hate the countryside. It's dirty, it's unhygienic. And what is that smell?

GWEN
That would be grass.

OWEN
It's disgusting.

IAN
[almost malevolently] You know, a third of the population of Illinois lives in Chicago. Sixty-five percent if you count the outlying suburbs.

They pass a barn with a giant American flag painted on it.

OWEN
And the rest of them live in places like that.

JACK
That's unkind to say of your fellow Americans.

OWEN
These are not my fellow Americans. My fellow Americans don't even go to Central Park.

TOMMY
[shouting from the back] I don't know what you're bitching about, you're not the one who's going to spend a whole weekend without wireless.

GWEN
Don't make me make Jack turn this car around.

OWEN
Oh please make Jack turn this car around.

TOSH
I like camping.

TOMMY
She likes camping!

TOSH
Thanks Tommy, I'm pretty sure the words left my mouth.

TOMMY
Just making sure they all know you're the crazy one!

IAN
Seriously, there's a paramilitary compound three miles from the road where the last disappearance happened.

TOMMY
Maybe they'll have wifi.

JACK
I love a man in uniform.

GWEN
You love anything in uniform.

JACK
Depends on the uniform.

***

Transcript of DVD Commentary by Ellis Graveworthy, on the concept of CountryCide:

Essentially, Edgar walked into my office and said, let's do a show about militant cannibals. And I said, as opposed to all those hippie cannibals we get round these parts? In seriousness, he thought it was a good metaphor for the way cult mindsets destroy themselves from the inside out, and how they often destroy anything in the immediate vicinity as well.

***

When Ian leaned over to Tosh and told her to get ready to run, she assumed he had a plan; she saw Tommy nodding, out of the corner of her eye, and knew he'd heard Ian as well. It wasn't as though they had a lot to lose; the horror of their situation, about to be bled and hung for meat, was still washing over her in slow waves. Tommy was trembling.

Long ago, when Jack first recruited Tosh to Torchwood and she refused to go without her brother, the pair of them sat in a coffeehouse in downtown Chicago, within view of the plaza, and made a deal: only one of them was allowed to freak out at a time. It had worked pretty well for them so far.

So she decided to let Tommy freak out, because she knew he wasn't going anywhere without her and he knew she wouldn't leave him behind. She clung to the idea that Ian had a plan, which two months ago would have been no consolation whatsoever. On the other hand, two months ago nobody had known that Ian was hiding his girlfriend in the basement and had not only been smoothly lying to them but actually outmaneuvering Jack. She had a renewed faith in Ian's ability to plan.

As it turned out, perhaps her faith had been slightly overzealous, because Ian's plan was to -- admittedly, impressively -- head-butt the leader of the militia that was about to kill them all, and then shout for her and Tommy to run. On the other hand, while Tommy led them on a merry chase across the compound, she made it far enough to rendezvous with Jack at the militia armory, and watched from the cab of the militia's armored SUV as Jack picked off each member in turn after crashing it through the wall of their assembly room.

"How's your head?" she asked, sitting down on the fender of their own SUV next to Ian.

"It's fine," he said, gesturing to the purpling bruise above his left eye. "Genetically hard-headed."

"Stubborn," she said with a smile, rubbing his shoulder. He winced. "Sorry."

"I've never been tenderized before," he replied. "Where's Tommy?"

"Still getting checked out, Owen's got him. I think they want to take Gwen back to Chicago in an ambulance."

"God, we have to drive back..." Ian drew one knee up against his chest and rested his forehead on it. "I smell like a barnyard."

"That's okay, I look like one." She touched his arm, making sure this time to find somewhere that wasn't bruised. "Thanks for what you did."

"Well, someone had to get away. You two are faster than me. Besides, I never..."

"Ian?"

"I never said thank you, to you, when you looked after me, after...everything I did."

"Ian, you know you didn't have to -- "

"IAN! TOSH!"

Tosh leaned around the side of the car and waved when she heard Jack's voice. "OVER HERE!"

"Thought you'd wandered off. Don't go straying away," Jack said, jogging up to them. "You're both all right?"

Ian nodded against his knee. Tosh gave Jack a smile.

"They have some neat guns," she said, curling a little against Ian's side. "Maybe we can get the police to confiscate a few for us?"

"Be my guest," Jack answered. "Ian?"

"Yes?" Ian asked, not moving his head.

"Hey, Cubs fan, you want to look me in the eye for a minute?"

Ian reluctantly lifted his head, and Tosh watched as he focused on a point six inches to the left of Jack's face. Jack frowned, but apparently decided close-enough counted.

"Good job today," he said. Tosh watched Ian's eyes slowly refocus on Jack's, just as Tommy approached and slung an arm around her shoulders, ruffling her hair.

"Let's go home, huh?" Jack continued. "Tommy, take shotgun, Ian and Tosh in the back; Owen and Gwen are riding back to civilisation in the ambulance."

"I'll call Ryan," Ian replied. "Think she'll be back before tomorrow morning?"

Jack looked over to where Owen was helping Gwen into the back of the ambulance, and a strange look crossed his face -- part nostalgia, part knowing exhaustion.

"No, I don't think so," he said. "Come along. Home for us."

***

From the DVD Extras, "Tis Of Thee":
This mini-story by Edgar van Scyoc has been called "the ultimate Torchwood fanfic"; not made public until the DVDs were released, it finally confirms what fans had long suspected, that Ian and Jack's relationship, severely damaged after Cyberwoman, began to heal as a direct result of CountryCide.

"Can I come back to the Hub for a while?" Ian asked, after they'd dropped Tosh and Tommy off at Tommy's apartment, Tosh promising to look after him and not come in for the next two days.

Jack leaned on the steering wheel and looked up at the second-floor window, satisfied when he saw Tosh opening the blinds. She waved at him and smiled.

"Are you sure you want to do that?" he asked, not looking at Ian. "You should go home, get a shower, get some sleep."

"Yeah," Ian agreed. "I know I smell."

"I was thinking more about your health, believe it or not," Jack replied, starting the car and easing it out into traffic.

"Maybe, but I've got adrenaline on my side right now, and there are some loose ends I want to tie up. I don't think I'm going to be moving much tomorrow," Ian answered. "There's a shower at the Hub, and I can steal some scrubs from Owen."

"You know, a good leader would over-ride you when you get self-destructive," Jack sighed.

"Nobody's ever accused you of being a good leader," Ian said with dry mock-horror. Jack chuckled.

"No, perhaps not. Very well -- I'll humor you, because you're pretty. Two hours, no more. Besides, I doubt I want to be alone in the Hub any more than you want to be alone in your flat."

Jack looked sidelong at Ian, saw him smile. He hadn't smiled much lately; it was nice to see.

Jack rolled up his sleeves and mucked the mud and leaf-debris out of the SUV, carefully giving Ian time to wash and dig some clothing out of the medical grotto while he checked over their equipment. Tosh had done a pretty good job gathering it all up and at least making sure nothing would get bounced around too badly on the drive back. By the time he carried the packs into the Hub, Ian was sitting damp-haired and clean at his computer, peering at the screen and typing.

"Writing your report?" Jack asked, amiably dumping the electronics on the other side of the desk and beginning to sort them into piles. Rift tech for Tommy's desk, handhelds for Tosh's, portable scanner to medical, three iPods (recovered from the mess of their campsite) for the charging station.

"Just a timeline," Ian said, his voice oddly flat. Jack supposed they all had learned coping mechanisms for times like this; Ian's was most obvious, but then he was young. And looked younger, with his hair plastered against his scalp and one of Owen's long-sleeved scrub under-shirts on. The sleeves, made for a smaller man, edged up around his forearms, revealing hints of more bruising.

"I'll be interested to read it. Tosh said you gave them the opportunity to get away. I must say of the three of you I'd go for you first, as well," Jack said, and then inwardly winced. That was not perhaps the most tactful thing he could have said.

Ian just nodded. "Tosh and Tommy are faster, I thought they might stand a better chance."

"How did you distract them, Ian?"

"It was pretty awesome," Ian said absently, still tapping away. "I didn't know I had it in me. I jumped one of the militiamen when they had their guard down."

"You did what?" Jack asked, looking up sharply. Ian gestured to the bruise on his forehead, which Jack assumed had been evidence of rough treatment.

"Hit him with the hardest thing around," he said. It was obvious he was expecting a laugh; when he got silence, he looked over and met Jack's eyes.

"That can't have made them very happy," Jack said slowly.

"No, happy isn't what I'd call them. It's fine though. Owen checked me over."

Jack circled the desk, hitching his hip against it, getting deep into Ian's personal space.

"How about you let me check you over?" he said, watching Ian's face go from cold and blank to wary. "Not that I don't trust Owen, but he may have been a trifle distracted -- and I'm willing to bet you didn't give him this story either."

Ian looked like he was about to protest, but instead he pushed back from the desk, tapped a save-command into the computer, and stood up. "If you have to."

"I do," Jack said seriously, and lifted a hand to hover it over the bruise on his head.

He ran his fingers down the edge of it, to the hairline and behind Ian's ear, checking for bumps or broken cartilage. Around to his jaw, feeling for loose teeth through the skin of his cheek. He pressed briefly on his cheekbone and felt Ian's face move, a smile curving his lips under Jack's hand.

"I might be stupid, Jack, but I'm not the kind of guy to go running around with a broken zygomatic arch and not say anything."

"You're not stupid," Jack murmured, sliding his hand down to a scrape on the side of Ian's throat. "Do you think I think that of you?"

"It crossed my mind."

"No. Someone else might have said it was stupid to get your arse handed to you in order to let Tosh and Tommy escape, but not me. You did what you had to so that the rest of us could have a chance. It's what I would do. We're very alike in that respect."

"Are we."

"Don't want to be like the monster?" Jack asked, and when Ian winced he added, as a distraction, "Take off your shirt."

Ian frowned, eyes darting downwards.

"Your virtue's safe, Ian."

"It's not that -- I just..." Ian chewed his lower lip. "I'm not sure I can get my arms high enough to get it off again. My shoulders are stiffening up."

Jack ran his hand back up to Ian's cheek and was startled to feel him lean into it, see him close his eyes.

"I'm not afraid of you," Ian said. "I never have been. I think that's been pretty well proven."

"Are you afraid of anything anymore?" Jack asked.

"I don't know," Ian said, and then he opened his eyes, keeping them on Jack as he brushed his lips over his palm. "Why don't you try me?"

Jack was aware of the inappropriate responses people could have to nearly-dying, especially someone who'd never been in the field before. But Ian's eyes were clear, and the offer he was making was almost...passive in its simplicity: he wanted this, but the decision was Jack's. And Ian wasn't afraid of Jack, that much was a truth -- he hadn't been afraid of him when he'd practically strongarmed Jack into hiring him, and he hadn't been afraid of him when he was calling him a monster and fighting for Lisa's long-since-lost life.

"How about we wait until your bruises are healed," he said. "Right now, let me put you to bed."

Confusion flitted across Ian's face.

"Neither of us wants to be alone," Jack told him, and Ian nodded, and followed him away from the workroom, away from the reports and the mud-crusted equipment on his desk.

Chapter Text

 

Fierce as a dog with tongue lapping for action, cunning
as a savage pitted against the wilderness...

Print interview, Entertainment Tonight Magazine, with actress Hikaru Utada ("Toshiko Sato"):

Entertainment Tonight: How did you feel about doing a lesbian sex scene for network television for the episode In Your Head?

How do you think! (laughs) I was fine with it, of course, they pay me to act like someone I'm not, and it wasn't any different from kiss scenes I've done with men. I've been called a lot of names in the press over it, though, mostly the...you know, the conservative press. But I think the writers really took the full brunt of the controversy. I get accused of tacitly approving of a lifestyle, I don't know if that's what you should call it really, but they get accused of promoting it actively.

Entertainment Tonight: What do you think is the reason behind the "Mary" plotline?

Well, there were two original shooting scripts, one that put Tosh in the position of falling in -- lust, in love -- with Mary, and one where Owen was her primary mark. I think the Owen shooting script was what they saw the network approving, but they were going to at least try to get approval for the Tosh script first. I guess it says a lot about how much clout Torchwood has on television these days that they approved the Tosh script.

I don't think Owen would react the same way Tosh would, anyway. We have a joke that he's so self absorbed he'd only hear people thinking if they were thinking about him.

Entertainment Tonight: Can you tell us anything more about upcoming episodes of Torchwood?

I think you'll find that the Tosh storyline was a good way of breaking viewers in to a new way of thinking about relationships on the show, a more fluid way of thinking about sexuality and romance. But that's all I can say!

Entertainment Tonight: Does this mean we'll see Toshiko Sato paired up with someone new, soon?

No, not that I know of, but there are definitely new relationships in the works. Tosh is happy with her friends and her brother.

***

Transcript from John Barrowman's appearance on Late Night With Conan O'Brien, shortly after the airing of episode 1x08, Blink:

Conan O'Brien: So you play...uh...a guy.

John Barrowman: [laughs] Yeah, I do play a guy, which I think I've been, I've been typecast as guys my whole life...

Conan O'Brien: A time-traveler, stranded without your time machine, and the Torchwood people have to help you get it back.

John Barrowman: Yeah. See, some evil aliens disguised as statues of angels --

Conan O'Brien: Whoa, whoa, whoa. You don't think that's pushing veracity a little? I mean, they're angels.

John Barrowman: You would think, but I think we pulled it off. So I'm stuck in nineteen-sixty-something and I have to convince these people I've never met that they should go fight a bunch of invincible aliens and send me my time machine. Through the magic of DVD extras!

Conan O'Brien: So it's a soap, pretty much. [John Barrowman laughs] Did you enjoy it?

John Barrowman: Playing the Doctor? Yeah, oh, absolutely, it was a great time. I actually originally read for the part of Jack Harkness, back when they were in casting, but right around that time I got a big role on Broadway so I had to bow out before they'd made any offers. I'm thrilled David got the role, I think he's great.

Conan O'Brien: But you've said it was also a...a hard role for you --

John Barrowman: Because the Doctor's so different, yeah. He's nothing like me, so it was hard to really get into his head.

Conan O'Brien: Hey, I've heard of this thing called acting, you should give that a try!

John Barrowman: Acting! Hey yeah, I'll make a note of that. No, but, I think it came out really well in the end because I wasn't comfortable playing such a serious, scary guy, and so the Doctor himself actually seems uncomfortable in his own skin, which Edgar thought was a nice touch.

Conan O'Brien: And the show airs...well, aired last Saturday.

John Barrowman: Oh yeah! Plug for the show, it's every Saturday at eight-seven-central on NBC.

Conan O'Brien: And I'm told you prepared a song for us from your upcoming show in London. Tell me a little bit about that...

***

"So," Gwen said, leaning on the railing overlooking the river. "A lot of excitement for one day."

"Yes," Jack said contemplatively, watching one of the tour ships steam past. He cast a sidelong look at her, wondering if she'd come of her own accord or if the team had drawn straws to see who should make sure he hadn't flung himself into the river (not that it would do any good, and it probably tasted disgusting).

"You know what that phone-box was, don't you?"

Jack nodded.

"Are you gonna tell the rest of us, or what?"

He watched the wake of the tour boat ripple outwards.

What was he supposed to tell her? That a loose wire three thousand years in the future would send him careening backwards in time, would make him for all intents and purposes immortal? That he had lost faith a long time ago in the idea that John Hart was ever going to come and save him, and then when he'd seen the blue box again he was certain John would be inside waiting for him? That he knew he was intrinsically wrong, essentially unnatural, and he wanted to be fixed so badly he could taste it?

"It's the reason I am the way I am," he said. "And I was hoping it could make me...it could fix me."

"At least you know it's out there, now," she said. "This Doctor who left the message for us, the one we sent the box back to. He might come back."

"He doesn't know anything's wrong. Why would he come back?"

"To say thank-you?"

Jack smiled sadly. "He didn't strike me as the sort of bloke who says thank-you very often, Gwen."

"But he left a message for us. He knew who we were. How'd he know?"

Jack shrugged. "If he's really a time-traveler, we'll tell him at some point in the future, I suppose."

"So he will be back," Gwen said with a grin. Jack looked at her, startled.

"Yes, I -- you know, you would have made a rather good time-traveler yourself, Gwen," he said.

"Is that what you were? Before? A time-traveler?"

Jack shrugged. "What I was doesn't really matter anymore. What I am matters now."

***

Sam's Three Things About Torchwood, Episode 1.09: Blink

1. This episode was awesome and also so confusing. Am I supposed to know who the Doctor is? And where is John Hart?

2. I love the idea, though, of this guy somewhere decades in the past leaving a video recording as an easter egg on Owen's DVD collection. See, now, if he'd tried to leave it on Tosh and Tommy's he'd have had to put it on EVERY DVD EVER MADE, because you know they're both secretly cinephiles.

3. Torchwood's timeline makes my head hurt. So, SOMETIME in the future, Jack gets zapped back to SOMETIME in the past by a phone box, which is presumably stuck in the future, except apparently not, because it shows up in 21st century Chicago. But before Jack can get inside and fix himself, they have to save it from aliens that look like angel sculptures. And in order to do that they have to send the phonebox back forty years to where this Doctor guy is? Jack couldn't leave him a note, like, come find me and fix me, asshole?

3a. I totally want The Angels Have The Phonebox on a t-shirt.

***

From Torchwords.com, official Torchwood behind-the-scenes blog:
Executive Producer Edgar van Scyoc addresses the renewed outcry from the conservative right regarding Ian's proposition to Jack in They Keep Killing Suzie.

We intentionally inserted Mary and Toshiko's relationship into the season lineup where we did -- In Your Head could have gone pretty much anywhere in an area of five or six episodes, but we wanted it early on in episode eight. We felt that people would find a lesbian relationship less initially controversial than a male homosexual relationship, and that it would be the start of our viewership's acceptance that on Torchwood love is a much more fluid, much less binary thing than American television generally portrays it as being. And we intentionally put a very action-oriented, active, plot-driven episode after it, Blink, as a buffer between this Tosh-Mary relationship and the start of the Ian-Jack relationship in They Keep Killing Suzie.

Of course this was all done on purpose. If Ellis wasn't going to do things on purpose he'd be an improvisational comedian. What he did isn't about being sly or sneaky; it's about being a writer.

It was an entirely innocent moment, at the end of the episode when Ian reaches out. Nobody took anyone's clothes off, they didn't even touch -- they were standing on either side of a dead body in a morgue during the entire conversation. They just said a few words, none of which are even close to being on the FCC's watchlist. What I saw when we were writing it was one individual offering comfort to another individual. What you saw when you watched it is a product of your mental context and I feel very sorry for the repressed, closeted bigots who couldn't find anything beautiful in it -- and weren't willing to look all that hard, either.

***

"Well," Owen said brightly, as they stood in the knee-deep snow, "better late than never."

"Did you honestly just quote Ghostbusters II?" Tommy asked, kicking at a crust of permafrost at the edge of the train tracks.

"Ghostbusters II was a travesty and we don't speak of it," Owen said, scowling. "And it's late for being late already."

"This isn't a precise science," Tosh told him. She was hunched over the hand-held rift activity tracker, a binder of timetables and historical clippings in her other hand. "The rift should be active in this area any time now, and we know that the train disappeared from these tracks in this general location."

"Just imagine it," Tommy said. "One of the old metroliners from the fifties -- does anyone even use this track anymore?"

"What do you think?" Owen asked, gesturing at the snow-crusted, weed-grown tracks.

"Will this be runnable?" Gwen said to Jack, frowning. "The train's not going to derail or anything?"

"It'll spark," Jack replied confidently. "I've been over worse in a train."

"That sounds like the start of a filthy joke," Tosh grinned.

"Ian," Jack tapped his earpiece. "Any sign yet?"

Ian, a hundred yards down from them, holding two signal paddles, waggled one of them as he replied.

"No, sir," his voice confident but slightly scratchy over the radio. "But I don't think we'll get much -- "

And then they all heard it; the sound of a train whistle blowing, the distant roar of engines, and Ian was raising both paddles, flicking them back and forth, trying to catch the attention of something only he could see.

A plume of smoke gave way to a black column that turned out to be the front of an engine; it whistled an apparent reply to Ian's signal, and then Ian was running alongside it, still signalling as it inched towards where the rest of them stood. As it passed, Jack hooked a hand on the rail next to the engine's access hatch and climbed aboard.

"Right, just like we went over," Owen said, stepping into Jack's place as Jack explained the situation to the driver. "Everybody take a car. Tell 'em who you are, that there's been an incident, and get a head count. Once I get your headcounts I'll call USPAT and we'll let them take it from there. Radios open."

The train squealed to a halt and they fanned out, Owen clambering into the first passenger car, Gwen the second, Tommy the dining car, and Ian and Tosh the sleeper cars.

"Ladies and gentlemen, please remain calm. My name is O -- oh my god," they all heard.

"Uh, Owen?" Tommy's voice.

"Is your car empty?" Tosh asked.

"Because mine is," Tommy said.

"Mine too," Gwen added.

"What the hell is going on back there?" Jack demanded.

"There's nobody aboard, Jack," Owen said. "Guess the rift got them all. Ian, call USPAT and tell them to stand dow -- "

"My car has passengers," Ian's voice, soft and surprised. "I have four as a headcount. It's all right, ma'am, I'm not here to hurt you. There's been an incident with your train."

Tosh got there first, with Tommy and Gwen on her heels; by the time Owen and Jack arrived, they found the rest of Torchwood standing in the entry vestibule, facing a small, huddled group of people -- a middle aged man and woman, holding hands, plus a younger woman clutching a small girl in a fancy dress.

"It's the commies, isn't it," the man said. "They've bombed the tracks!"

"John, it's not the commies," the woman said. "I'm sorry for my husband. I'm Miranda Ellis, this is my husband John."

"Captain Jack Harkness," Jack said, taking her hand.

"Diane Holmes," the younger woman said. "And this is Emma."

"Do you know what the date is?" Jack asked.

"December eighteenth," Miranda Ellis said.

"What year?"

"What year?" Diane echoed.

"I'm sorry, it's important that we know."

She glanced at the Ellises, frowning. "1953, of course."

***

Tommy burst into Tosh's flat without asking; it wasn't all that unusual, but he looked wild-eyed, anxious, and he was clutching a slip of paper.

"Tosh, where's Emma?" he called. "TOSH!"

"I'm right here," Tosh said, annoyed.

"Where's Emma? Is she here?"

"Listen, I said I'd babysit her for the night while you got freaky with mommy -- " she broke off as Tommy gripped her arms, hard. "Ow! Diane picked her up this morning, she said they were going to the Hub!"

"Jesus Christ," Tommy swore, thrusting the paper under her nose. "I think she's going to try to go back into the rift."

Tosh looked down at the paper, a note in what must be Diane's handwriting. She caught the words go and no place for me or Emma and I'm sorry before Tommy ripped it out of her hands again.

"She's going back -- we've got to stop her," Tommy said.

"I'll get the car," Tosh replied, grabbing her keys and running barefoot out the door.

They reached the train tracks in record time, Tosh flooring it all the way; Tommy jumped out before the car had fully stopped and was running towards two distant figures -- a woman in a long wool coat, carrying a small suitcase, a girl in a fancy dress clutching her other hand.

"DIANE, STOP!" Tommy called. "YOU CAN'T -- "

The woman turned, and it looked like she was raising her hand, trying to wave with the suitcase still in it; the girl turned too, without letting go of her mother's fingers, and waved cheerily.

Tommy took off running again, but the pair simply turned and kept walking, and as he watched, feet pounding, lungs burning, they disappeared.

Tosh, heedless of the snow that cold-burned her bare feet, caught up to Tommy as he fell to his knees.

"I'm so sorry," she said, cradling his head against her hip. "Tommy, I'm sorry."

***

Courtesy of the Torchwood Extras official website:

[photograph -- graphic missing]

Tommy and Diane standing in Millennium Park. Tommy has one arm around Diane's waist. He is holding Emma in the crook of his other arm and kissing her cheek as she waves at the camera.

***

Ian was sitting on a bench at the end of Navy Pier when Owen finally caught up with him; nobody else was out in the bitter cold, and Ian had his hands bunched in his jacket, collar turned up against the wind. Owen slumped down next to him, rubbing his gloved hands and blowing into them.

"I saw the Ellises on a plane to New York this morning," he said.

"Hope it doesn't crash," Ian answered.

"Cheerful of you. I set them up with a house and some identification. John says he might take up preaching again."

Ian gave him a bitter look. "Yeah, well, America always needs more bible-thumpers. How's Tommy?"

"Hurt. Tosh is making him look after her, she almost lost a toe to frostbite."

"Mmh." Ian huddled closer in on himself.

"I thought he'd be the one sulking out here, not you. Sorry about your car, by the way. Jack told me the interior's ruined."

"I don't care about the car." Ian sighed. "I wish he'd gone out on the train, though. You know, gotten it up to speed and de-railed it. That'd be a more appropriate death for an engineer. More appropriate than killing himself in my car, anyway."

"So why are you playing the sulky kid?" Owen asked. Ian shrugged.

"I think Jack got in the car with him," he said suddenly.

"What?"

"He must have calculated that he'd survive a little longer. He's younger, I guess. I think he got in the car and waited until he was dead and then got out again."

"Why?"

"Why did he do it?"

"Why do you think that's what he did?"

Ian shook his head. "Last night when he texted me, the timing seemed off -- he'd been looking for the car longer than he should have. He had the locator. And this morning when I...when I came into the Hub, I heard him throwing up."

"Carbon monoxide poisoning?"

"His coat reeks of exhaust. I could smell it from the doorway. He can take it in to the dry-cleaners his own goddamn self," Ian added. Owen sat silently for a while.

"Some damn Christmas," he said finally.

"Some damn Christmas," Ian echoed.

***

Taken from a daily fic roundup list on torchwood_el, Torchwood's major meta, fic, and picspam community:

TANGO JUNE by juniper200 | (Jack/Ian/OFC, R) | Summary: Beautiful police reporter Junie du Sable can't seem to stop running into the Torchwood boys. When they hire her to write their reports, she finds the job comes with perks.

A LITTLE DITTY by kid_sato | (Gen, Jack, Diane, PG) | Summary: Jack helps Diane come to a decision about the rift. Songfic.

TILL DEATH 4/? by dark_hark | (Jack/Ian, PG) | Summary: Jack swears to love Ian till death do us part. He knew it would be Ian's. Angst, Character Death.

THE FULL SATO EXPERIENCE by toshs_gfriend | (Tosh/Owen, Tommy/Owen, NC-17) | Summary: Owen is determined to get the full Sato experience.

SEARCHING by poisonivy29 | (Tosh/OFC, R) | Summary: Tosh is lonely, will she find love? 1/35. With J/I, G/R, G/O, O/Tommy, Tommy/Diane

FALLING IN by erika_leone | (Gen, hints of J/I, I/OFC in later parts) | Summary: Erika is a visiting high school student who falls into Torchwood one day, will Torchwood recognize her talents in time to save the world?

HALSTED 1/4 by kinkocopier | (Jack/Ian, NC-17) | Summary: Ian goes to Boys Town. A lot. Guess who finds him?

AGAINST ALL COMERS by verona_romeo |(Tosh/Tommy, NC-17) | Summary: Tosh and Tommy have always been each other's strongest allies. Meeting Jack Harkness, and becoming part of his team, threatens to change that.

STRAIGHT FLUSH by moby_kick | (AU, Jack/Ian, Gwen/Tosh, Owen/OFC) | Summary: Las Vegas, 1962. Jack is a mob boss, Ian is a croupier, Gwen is a waitress who takes in down-on-her-luck Toshiko Sato. Cameos by Owen and Tommy as lounge singers.

WE KILL THE CULLS by sam_storyteller | (Gen, Jack, R) | Summary: Pre-pilot. Torchwood Chicago has a high attrition rate and Jack's okay with that. Dark.

***

ALL NEW TORCHWOOD
Saturday night, 8/7 Central
EPISODE 1.11: COMBAT

Someone is kidnapping Weevils from under the noses of the Torchwood team, and bodies are turning up in unused portions of the underground El tunnels. When Tommy is sent undercover to a real estate agency specializing in warehouse rentals, he may get more than he bargained for. Can the team save him from himself before it's too late, or will the Chicago Rift version of the fight club claim the grief-stricken Tommy as its latest victim?

***

Excerpt from the shooting script for Episode 1x12: Sleeper.
Story & Teleplay by: Ellis Graveworthy
Directed by: Edgar van Scyoc

INT - HUB - NIGHT

JACK is seated at his desk, feet up, a glass of whiskey in his hands. He isn't drinking so much as holding onto it, but he's already had one or two. IAN is tidying; he picks up the blade from one of the CELL's agents.

IAN looks at JACK, then places the blade on a high shelf, as if he's worried JACK will do something with it.

JACK
There's a myth in a hundred different worlds about a man they call the Lonely God.

IAN
Catchy name.

JACK
They say he travels through time. They say he's the last of his race, that the rest of them were killed in a war.

IAN
Losing side?

JACK
Everyone loses in war.

IAN
The right side, at least?

JACK
Don't know. He's ageless...deathless. Immortal. He can change his face, they say.

IAN
Oh?

JACK
Imagine being able to go back and fix everything that went wrong. Moving around in time like a dancer, fixing the steps.

IAN
I don't think it works that way.

JACK looks at him sharply; IAN's back is to him.

JACK
How would you know?

Focus on IAN, who looks hurt; he tucks one last folder away and brushes off his sleeves. When he turns around his face is perfectly schooled.

IAN
Did you need anything else, sir?

JACK
It's only that sometimes I wish I could. Fix the steps.

IAN
You don't like to see Gwen get hurt.

JACK
Ian --

IAN
Goodnight, Captain.

***

Ian looked up at the dead space whale, seemingly endless, just one giant bulk of slowly decaying meat.

"Great," he said. "Now I've gotta figure out how to dispose of it."

Gwen made a noise like a sob. "You can be a real asshole sometimes, Ian."

"Just trying to be the best Torchwood agent I can be," Ian said to her, but his eyes were fixed on Jack.

"I think I liked you better when you were an obedient little liar," Owen snarled.

"That's a reflection on your character, not mine. Go back to the Hub. I'll make sure he gets a good cremation."

***

Gwen was uncharacteristically silent on the drive back to the Hub; Jack was going ahead with Ryan to deliver the meat in the van to the incinerator, and Tommy insisted on taking Tosh to the hospital to make sure the beatings she'd taken from the butcher brothers hadn't been serious. Gwen and Owen were left to call for a taxi to come pick them up. By the time the cab arrived, the air smelled sickeningly like a barbecue. Ian could be very dedicated to his work when he put his mind to it.

It wasn't like Owen precisely felt like talking, either, but Gwen was almost sort of like a girlfriend, except for where she was dating another man and mostly fucking him because Torchwood warped you like that. Eventually he slid closer to her in the back of the taxi and spoke in a low, even tone.

"You know," he said, "sooner or later a doctor always has to face it -- that ethical problem, the moral dilemma."

"The ethical question of whether or not to kill a space whale?" she asked, and if he didn't know Gwen almost better than she knew herself, he'd have thought she was making light of the situation.

"You work your rotations and you wind up in the terminal wing, or the cancer ward, or you have to treat some guy who's just lost all movement from the neck down. Sometimes it's like...they won't say they want it, but you can tell they do."

She gave him a wild-eyed look, mouth opening and closing.

"But you're supposed to do no harm, so you try to heal them. They still have a few months of life left, or they can still make something of their shattered body. That's what you tell them. And then one day a woman looks up at you from the bed and she says all she wants to do is die."

"Stop talking," Gwen said.

"I'm not doing this for your benefit," he replied angrily. "I'm pouring my heart out here, Gwen."

"Yeah, and do you have to dump it all over me?"

"Excuse me for thinking us fucking was for mutual comfort, and not all in service of the great Gwen Cooper's ego!"

The taxi halted, and they both turned to the driver.

"Here you are," he said, and popped the window expectantly, waiting for payment. Gwen slid out of the car and slammed the door, leaving Owen to pick up the fare. By the time he got his change and climbed out, she was gone.

***

Ian was working on an artifact that had fallen through the rift, part of the back-catalog he was determined to get through, when Gwen flopped down in his desk-chair with a sigh and sulked so loudly it was hard to hear himself think.

"So," he said, because really, at this point, with Torchwood, Ian hadn't a whole lot left to lose. "I hear you and Owen are fighting."

Gwen was probably glaring at him, but Ian didn't look up.

"Why do you care?" she asked.

"I don't. I'm just making conversation," he said, and held out a hand. "Pass me the screwdriver?"

"Wood shop project?" she asked, picking up the screwdriver and holding it just out of reach. He waited patiently until she placed it in his palm before answering.

"Funny, Cooper," he said, working it into what might be a slot for a key or might just be another piece of decorative carving. "Jack thinks there might be something interesting inside."

"Jack likes to think everything has hidden value," Gwen said, which must mean that Jack had told her and Owen to solve it between themselves. Owen could be a dick, but he was a good doctor and Jack didn't like having to replace people just because someone wasn't sleeping with someone else anymore. Ian wasn't sure Jack understood the concept of not sleeping with someone.

"You're not doing a good job of proving him right, at the moment," he said thoughtfully.

"Are you calling me shallow?" Gwen asked, but there was just a hint of humor in her voice.

"Not just you," Ian allowed. "Ah! Haha! I think I got it open. Here," he said, and held up the box with the screwdriver still stuck in it. "Hold it steady while I pull."

***

It took them a good two hours, after they woke up, to believe what Jack was telling them: that it was 2008, that they'd lost their memory, and that they worked for him.

Owen was the hardest to convince, because he was certain that all of this was a nervous breakdown brought on by too much studying for his Medical Boards. He also kept trying to flatten his hair out of its customary fauxhawk, even after Jack informed him that it was a good look on him. Jack apparently made Owen nervous; he kept shooting him sidelong glares, and he stuck as close to Tosh as it was possible to be, considering Tommy was clinging to her as well.

The twins were ready enough to accept the idea that they might have traveled through time, so ready in fact that it made Jack wonder a little what they really had been working on at the University of Chicago before he recruited them. It was harder for them to believe that they had simply lost their memories, but they were far too fascinated by all the technology in the Hub to really put up any kind of fight. Jack got the feeling that they were humoring him.

"Are you sure it's not a psychological experiment?" Gwen asked for the hundredth time. "I know I signed up for one last week, and yeah I need the money, but if I tell you I want it to stop now you have to stop it, right? Aren't there rules about this?"

It was Ian who broke Jack's heart a little bit, though.

He'd retreated to the far end of the conference room after carefully and formally informing them that they clearly had kidnapped the wrong person, that he was only seventeen, his parents were dead, and there wasn't a soul in the world who'd pay his ransom. It wasn't so much the thought of Ian, lonely and struggling to be courageous, as it was the casual way he'd told Jack that they could release him and he wouldn't tell, or if they needed to kill him they should just get it over with.

Apparently Ian hadn't really been happy in a very long time.

Finally Jack bit down on his growing annoyance with the group of adolescents and annoying twentysomethings who used to be his team, rested his hands on the conference-room table, and gave them an ultimatum.

"I don't know why I still have my memory," he said slowly and carefully, speaking loud enough for even Ian to hear. "But I know that we've set something free. It belongs in that box -- " he pointed to the carved-wood box in the corner, " -- and we've got to trap it again. It's loose in Chicago right now, feeding on other memories, and if we want to get yours back we have to stop it."

Owen glanced at the twins for guidance; they nodded in unison, which made Jack smile a little.

"Gwen?" he asked. "Even if you think this is all an experiment -- if it is, you have my word that once we catch this the experiment will be over, okay?"

Gwen nodded, eyes wide; she looked sharp but oddly relaxed, as if the police had put the final edge on her, made her always alert.

"Ian?" he asked, and Ian looked up, his glare as stubborn at seventeen as it had been at twenty-five. "I need you to trust me, Ian. Nobody here is going to hurt you."

There was a small smile, barely seen, and then Ian shrugged.

"Sure. Why not. It's not like I have a choice."

What a damaged little boy he was, really. Jack knew better, but he couldn't help it; he'd always been a sucker for a pretty face.

I could be better for him, he thought, as they filed past him out into the Hub. I could be someone on his side. I could stop being quite such an arse.

If he ever remembers me, anyway.

***

Courtesy of the Torchwood Extras official website:

Chat Log Initiated by GCOOPER@remote; request-to-join, CJH, TOSHSATO, TOMSATO, ILEONE
TOMSATO is offline
TOSHSATO is offline
CJH declined to chat: Sorry, busy, be there in a few minutes
ILEONE has joined chat

GCOOPER@remote: Ian, are you there?
ILEONE: Are you messaging me from home, Gwen?
GCOOPER@remote: Jeez, are you still at work?
ILEONE: Jack asked me to stay, he said he had some work for us to do.
GCOOPER@remote: Sounds boring.
ILEONE: Quod est. I just finished cleaning up, I'm waiting for him to finish the report on the Memory Eating Alien.
GCOOPER@remote: I can't believe that exists.
ILEONE: Yeah, I think I was good not knowing about things like that.
GCOOPER@remote: Ryan proposed to me.
ILEONE: Congratulations! Uh, maybe. Did you say yes?
GCOOPER@remote: Yeah. I said yes. Very yes.
ILEONE: Yeah, good.
GCOOPER@remote: When our memories came back I remembered him all at once and it was like.
GCOOPER@remote: I want to spend the rest of my life with him.
ILEONE: I'm glad for you.
GCOOPER@remote: Don't tell Jack yet, I want to tell him.
ILEONE: Of course not.
GCOOPER@remote: I told Owen.
ILEONE: I wasn't going to ask.

CJH has joined chat

CJH: Ian, I'm finished. Stop talking about boys with Gwen.
ILEONE: How well you know me, sir.
CJH: Gwen, go canoodle with your boyfriend or whatever people with real lives do.
ILEONE: Thank you.
CJH: We don't need real lives, Ian, we have Grand Theft Auto.
ILEONE: I'll be there momentarily.

ILEONE has left chat.

GCOOPER@remote: Work to do, huh?
CJH: Gwen, is he angry with me?
GCOOPER@remote: Hard to tell, with Ian.
CJH: Run along, and don't think about Torchwood until tomorrow morning.
GCOOPER@remote: I'll do my best, Jack.

GCOOPER@remote has left chat
CJH has left chat

***

Transcript from Edgar van Scyoc's acceptance speech for the 2008 Emmy for Outstanding Drama Series:

I could talk about making good drama and telling great stories but we know what we've been doing, what we've really been doing. Most of us, the behind-the-scenes people, grew up watching Mystery Science Theater and The X-Files. We're making a cheesy science-fiction show, we embrace that. But in the best tradition of Sci-Fi we're also talking about who we are and where we're going, examining what it means to be human and alien. We're trying, anyway, and I think that this proves we're eventually going to get somewhere. Thank you.

Chapter Text

Under the smoke, dust all over his mouth, laughing with
white teeth,
Under the terrible burden of destiny laughing as a young
man laughs

Excerpt from the shooting script for Episode 1x15: From Out Of The Rain
Story & Teleplay by: Edgar van Scyoc

INT - EVENING - MUSIC BOX THEATER

IAN and JACK are sitting in the back row of the theater; JACK has an enormous box of popcorn.

IAN
I love movies.

JACK
Me too. The cinema, really, though. Popcorn...[offers IAN some; IAN waves it off] Sticky candy...making out in the dark, in public --

IAN
I was going to say that my dad used to take me here on weekends. Thanks for that, though.

JACK
I don't get to go to the cinema very often. It's exotic, to me.

IAN
Apparently so.

JACK
Listen, I...[long pause]

IAN
Eloquent.

JACK
I may have been something of an arse lately.

IAN looks at him questioningly.

JACK
Would you like to get something to eat when we're done here? Barring any alien invasions or hauntings or whatnot.

IAN
Are...are we on a date?

JACK
Do you want it to be?

IAN
I'm not making out with you during the movie.

JACK
But that's a ye --

IAN
Yes, all right? [deep breath] Yes. Sure.

JACK grins.

JACK
All right then.

***

Spoilers for Episode 1x16, "Captain Jack Harkness":

Word for "Captain Jack Harkness" is that it will involve Jack traveling backwards in time for a long-denied reunion; John Barrowman will reprise his role as the mysterious Doctor for at least part of the episode. It is said to be light on Gwen, though there will be plenty of action for Ian, Owen, and the twins. It is even rumored that Ian will shoot one or both of the twins in order to stop them from committing a disastrous mistake.

Later Season Spoilers:

In an interview with People Magazine, David Tennant confirmed that he will return for a second season as Captain Jack Harkness, though he warned that there will be changes: "Torchwood's not a promise of a very long life, in fact quite the reverse. People die all the time; people change. Torchwood is going to undergo some very big changes in the last few episodes of the season."

He declined to confirm the rumor that his loyal lieutenant, Owen Harper, will die in the season finale.

***

Tosh had never seen Jack's face light up as thoroughly as it did when they walked into the abandoned dance hall just west of the river and walked out of the 21st century entirely.

"It's a temporal displacement," he said happily, bouncing on his toes. "My god! This is brilliant."

They were standing on the edge of a dance floor as people swirled around them -- the men almost all in uniform, the women wearing dresses that looked like something out of a historical romance. Which it almost was, Tosh realized; the posters on the walls were for war bonds.

"1942," Jack said, consulting a sign on the door that read KISS THE BOYS GOODBYE DANCE. "We're in 1942."

"Uh, Jack," Tosh said.

"Come on, I think I know that horn," he said, dragging her around the edge of the floor, towards the band-box. He stopped and stepped around her, so that she was standing staring at the band and he was holding her shoulders. A black man jumped out of his chair as they stopped and began a furious, energetic horn solo.

"That's James Ragtime," he said in her ear, voice full of awe. "He was the biggest jazz trumpeter in Chicago, bigger than Louis Armstrong in his day."

"Jack, people are staring," Tosh whispered.

"At us?"

"At me. I'm a little Japanese for 1942 in America," she whispered.

"Relax, you're with the Captain," he said.

"We should be finding a way back out of the displacement."

"Just one song," Jack said, and when she looked up at his face it was so pleased, so utterly at peace for the first time ever, that she bit her tongue and held herself still and listened.

***

"How long since they called in?" Owen asked, sifting through the loose pages and files on Jack's desk as if the answer might lie there somewhere.

"They ended radio contact at about 2:30, nothing unusual," Ian answered, biting his lip. "I tried to call them up at four to see if they'd be back here and if I should order dinner, didn't get a reply."

"I'm getting to the warehouse now," Gwen said over their comms.

"It's a dance hall," Ian corrected.

"It looks a lot like a warehouse from here."

"It probably was before they converted it."

"Okay, you know what I'm bored by? Chicago architectural history," Owen announced. "Tommy, how are you coming with those Rift activity reports?"

"I'm not," Tommy said sourly. "Tosh left a program compiling with a deadlock against interrupting it. I'm trying to hack the deadlock now, but I can't get to the monitor records until I get past the compiler."

"The SUV is here," Gwen said. "No sign of Jack or Tosh."

"Got it!" Tommy said as the computers, in unison, flickered and groaned. "Oh man, Tosh's gonna kill me."

"Rift activity?" Owen prompted.

"Yeah, yeah -- oh. Uh," Tommy said. "Ian, what was the address they were at?"

"Canal and -- "

"-- Polk," Tommy joined in grimly. "There was a Rift spike right there."

"When?" Owen barked.

"Two-thirty-eight this afternoon."

Ian tapped his comm. "Gwen, don't go in the warehouse. Jack and Tosh may have gotten swept up in a Rift spike."

"Excuse me?" Owen said. "Gwen, it's fine, there's no activity now, you can go in."

"And what if she -- "

"Shut up, Ian," Owen snapped. "We won't find out anything by staring at it."

"There's a manager's office around to the side," Gwen said. "I'll see if I can find anyone to talk to."

"Ian, start researching the dance hall, see what you can come up with," Owen said, and Ian stopped staring gapemouthed at him and obeyed. "Tommy, keep on the monitor. The first time that area shows any activity, tell Gwen to get out. We'll get them home."

***

The song was ending and Tosh was getting ready to really insist that they had to find a way back to, you know, the next century, when someone stepped up to them and punched Jack hard in the shoulder.

Jack lost his balance for a second, knocking into Tosh and then catching her before she fell, shooting a hand out to prop himself against the wall. He turned, ready for a fight --

"Captain Jack Harkness," the man said with a grin. "I thought you were shipping out last night."

Jack stared at him, heat rising in his cheeks, heart in his mouth.

"Marcus," he said. Marcus gave him a look, his patented Not in front of the straight people look.

"What happened, did you go AWOL to hear James Ragtime?" he asked. "Who's your friend?"

"Ah! Uh. No, we were delayed," Jack said. "This is Toshiko Sato, she's a special translator -- I'm flying her out tomorrow."

"One last night in town, huh?" Marcus asked.

"Yeah," he said shakily, and gave Marcus his best smile, the one for really special occasions, the one that said we will be having sex at some point in the next hour.

***

"Found them!" Ian called triumphantly, and the conference-room screen lit up with an enlarged scan of a newspaper clipping. Tommy looked up and made a soft, desperate sound.

In the photograph, Jack and Tosh were standing in a doorway with another man in uniform and an elderly gentleman in a cravat. They looked all right -- surprised, but not injured or frightened.

"Tosh was wearing that this morning," Owen said, pointing at her dress.

"Why were you staring at her dress?" Tommy asked, narrowing his eyes.

"Oh, for christ's -- all it means is that it can't be that long between them disappearing and this picture getting taken."

"May of 1942," Ian called.

"Springtime for Hitler," Owen muttered.

"The picture was taken at something called the Kiss The Boys Goodbye Dance," Ian said. "The newspaper says that's Captain Marcus Graham, Captain Jack Harkness, Special Translator Toshiko Sato, and dance-hall manager Bilis Manger."

"Bilis Manger?" Gwen asked in their ears. "That's the same name as the manager now."

"His son, maybe?" Ian said.

"He's kind of old, but could be. I think he's more of a caretaker than a manager, this place hasn't been used in years. Apparently the ground floor is mostly collapsed into the basement, which is sinking, and the walls aren't very stable."

"And that's because of...." Ian tapped a few keys into the computer. "A series of earthquakes off the New Madrid faultline that hit Chicago in..."

"Wait, let me guess," Owen said drily. "May of 1942."

"The same evening that photograph was taken," Ian confirmed. "Five or six people died...no mention of a Captain Jack Harkness or Toshiko Sato on the list of the injured or dead, but that doesn't mean much, another five bodies were never recovered, probably washed out into the river."

"We gotta get them out of there," Owen said.

"There isn't any mention of Tosh in any records I can access past that, so there's a pretty good chance we did," Ian said. "Did? Will?"

"Tosh was working on a formula to predict Rift spikes, maybe even create artificial ones," Tommy said. "If we have enough information from this one, we might be able to build our own. Bring them back."

Ian and Owen both looked at Tommy, who was already at work on the computer again.

"Problem is you need information from the past side of the Rift..." Tommy paused. "Which Tosh would know! Gwen, are you still there?"

"Still here!" Gwen said, sounding as if she'd gone back outside.

"If Tosh knew of a way to open the Rift she'd have left a message for us. For me. Look around and see if you can find something durable that would protect a message -- a canister or a box."

"The basement was never cleared out, that's probably where she'd hide it," Gwen said. "I'll get Bilis to let me in. Nice old guy."

"This is weird," Ian said, standing at the computer.

"What's that?"

"There's no official military record for Captain Jack Harkness in the US Army Air Forces or in the RAF," Ian said. "But I've got three newspaper hits on his name as a pilot. One in 1943, two in 1945."

"Maybe we got Tosh out and not Jack," Tommy said hollowly.

"We'll get them both," Owen snarled.

***

"Jack," Tosh said, as she sat at one of the small tables and worked at the equations Tommy would need to save them. "Who is Marcus?"

"Captain Marcus Graham," Jack said, watching Marcus watch him from across the room. He'd edged them away with an excuse, that he needed to chaperone Tosh; it would give him time to regain his composure.

"He knows you," she said, carefully not looking up. "You've been in this time period before."

"Yeah," he replied, hoping she wouldn't press further.

"Are we in any danger of running into you tonight? Because that would really fuck up my math."

Jack chuckled. "No. The other Jack Harkness -- volunteer from the RAF to train the new boys -- he shipped out yesterday."

"And Marcus?"

Jack shrugged. "Marcus was...a good time. I doubt I was much more to him. He was shot down, he died...he dies about a week from now."

Tosh looked up at him finally.

"I'm sorry," she said.

"Me too."

"Do you think it's -- "

"Fate? The thought crossed my mind."

Tosh fiddled with her pen. "This is going to take me a while, Jack. You should go. Over there. Where he is. You know."

"This era...this was a great time," he said softly, absently. "Beautiful music, beautiful girls, beautiful boys, and everything was so -- urgent, because of the war. It was delicious, like the tang in a good orange. But it had its down-sides, as well." He pushed himself out of the chair. "Still, I can -- "

He froze, the relaxation from the music overtaken by an all-body tension as he looked up. Tosh turned to look too; a man in black jeans and a very non-military leather jacket was wandering through the crowds, face set and dark.

"Isn't that -- "

"The Doctor," Jack breathed. "Stay here."

He took off across the dance floor, the fastest way to the other side of the room, dodging and darting around the spinning couples. A few people laughed; others moaned at the lack of decorum soldiers had these days. Just before Jack reached him, and seemingly without effort or even notice, the Doctor turned and slipped through a doorway. Jack disappeared after.

Tosh bent back to her mathematics. If she could get the formula to Tommy in time, they might be able to open a localized Rift -- enough to get her and Jack at least close to home.

***

Transcript from the DVD Extras, Torchwood, Season One: The Doctor Sings

John Barrowman: This is, hahah, this is for the DVD extras, everbody dance! No, okay, not yet. I am here to do a little number as long as we have this beautiful 1940s set and these beautiful 1940s people here today, and I think that while you may not like him right now, you'll find this a very fitting number for the Doctor in the end.

Here we go. Take one, singing I Would Do Anything For You by the late, great Fats Waller. Ready? Camera! And! Action!

I would swim the ocean wide,
I would cross the great divide
I would do
Anything for you --
I would take a trip to Mars
I would even count the stars
I would do
Anything for you...

***

"Doctor," Jack said, and his voice echoed in the empty room.

The man in the leather jacket didn't turn around; he seemed to be studying one of the storage closet's walls. He was a handsome man -- tall, broad-shouldered, with brown hair a trifle shorter than Jack's own. He wore his clothing well. Thick, steady boots on his feet, useful for running.

"Do I know you?" the Doctor asked. The same American accent, a hint of a drawl through perfect white teeth.

"You might," Jack said. "You could find out for sure if you turned around."

The Doctor pivoted slowly. His eyes were cold and hard and old, older even than the eyes Jack saw when he looked in the mirror every morning.

"Captain Jack Harkness," Jack said, offering his hand. The Doctor glanced down at it, then back up at Jack. "And you're called Doctor."

"That's right."

"Doctor who?"

"Just Doctor. The Doctor for formal occasions," the Doctor said.

"You're a time-traveler."

"Among other things. I don't like labels," the Doctor added.

"Why are you here?"

"One of life's most difficult questions. Metaphysically, spiritually, ecologically, who knows?" the Doctor gave him a faint and cruel smile. "Geographically and temporally, well. There's something a little amiss around here. Turns out it's you. Kinda. Do you have any idea how wrong you are?" he asked.

Something broke inside Jack, a tight knot of tension. "Yes," he whispered.

The Doctor studied him clinically. He tilted his head, pursed his lips. "What happened to you?"

"I -- " Jack groped for words. "I thought you might know."

"I don't have a clue, sorry."

Jack rubbed his face. It had been a century at least since he'd had to do any serious non-linear timelining, and it was killing his head.

"I'm stuck in the wrong time," he said finally, because that was at least something the Doctor could help with. "One of my people -- she and I are stuck here. We're not supposed to be in 1942. I'd get us back but my strap..." he gestured to his wrist, where the useless, bloody useless, wrist-strap lay dark and silent. "You have your ship. You can take us back to our own time."

"I don't take on hitchhikers," the Doctor replied. If it were possible, he grew that much harsher, that much more still. "Not anymore."

Jack moved forward, hoping to grab him or get him on his knees, something -- he was willing to take the man prisoner if it meant getting him and Toshiko back to 2008. He was halfway there when the Doctor shot from the hip and his world filled with electric-blue pain.

The Doctor checked the power level on the sonic blaster, nodded, and holstered it under his coat again.

"What am I going to do with you, Captain Jack Harkness?" he sighed.

***

"Tommy, I think I've found something from Tosh," Gwen said over the radio. Tommy sat up straight from his hunch over the computer, and Ian glanced at Owen.

"Read it out, Gwen," he said, and typed furiously as she read off a complex formula. His hands were still poised expectantly over the keys when she stopped. "Is that all?"

"All except for a note -- she says to tell you she loves you," Gwen said.

"No, that's not the end of the formula! There's another three digits at least!"

"It looks like they've been burned out, I can't read them," Gwen said.

"But this is -- this is pointless without them!"

"We'll get there, Tommy, it's okay," Owen said.

"No, it's not! Someone's deliberately trying to stop us. Something wants my sister and Jack stuck in 1942! Someone wants them dead!" Tommy said hysterically.

"There's one other option," Owen said softly. Ian glanced at him.

"No. Nonononono, we're not going to just slam the disc down in the Rift Manipulator and throw it wide," he said.

"Just for a second," Owen said.

"It might resonate up against the last Rift spike," Tommy said thoughtfully. "It'd open a direct gate between 1942 and now."

"Are you listening to yourselves? We're not going to deliberately open a rift in space and time in the middle of urban Chicago!"

Tommy looked at Owen. "We have to do it before another spike."

"I have the safe code," Owen said.

"I can crack the electric code on the interior lock."

"You can't do this!" Ian said, following them, though he made no move to stop them.

"Watch us," Owen snarled.

***

When she couldn't find Jack immediately, Tosh did the sensible thing; she got a spare metal martini shaker from the bar, stuffed the equations inside it, and climbed down into the basement to hide it behind an electrical panel, where -- hopefully -- nobody would think to look for about sixty-five years.

She was climbing the stairs back to the dance floor when she felt it -- a slight little tremor, nothing bigger than you could feel on the El platform as the train roared past. Still, they weren't near any trains, certainly none that existed in 1942.

It happened twice more as she searched the crowds, and she wondered if maybe it was her; too much math, too many people in a too-hot room. She picked her way carefully to the front door and stepped out into the balmy May evening.

Jack was there, sitting on the steps -- or rather, a hunched figure in Jack's coat.

"Jack?" she asked, and from behind Jack another figure practically shot into the air.

"Hello," the man said -- the Doctor, smiling disarmingly at her. "Jack needed a little fresh air."

She was about to say that Jack could speak for himself if he were conscious, which it didn't look like he was, when she saw the glint of brushed steel in the Doctor's hand, and a second later she was falling stunned into his arms.

***

Excerpt from the shooting script for Episode 1x16: Captain Jack Harkness
Story & Teleplay by: Ellis Graveworthy
Directed by: David Tennant & Edgar van Scyoc

INT - HUB - EVENING

IAN is trying to get to TOMMY to stop him from cracking the safe.

IAN
This is a trap. This is a bad idea. Opening the Rift will incite chaos and destruction. Why do you think the call to the dance hall was anonymous? Someone is screwing with us and you're falling for it! We have time!

TOMMY
I'm not afraid of the Rift! I know what it does, I know how it works!

IAN
This isn't about getting Tosh and Jack home! This is about you -- this is about Diane!

TOMMY
Don't say her name. [the lock clicks open] Aha. Come to daddy.

OWEN
What the hell is that?

TOMMY
It's a key. It activates the Rift Manipulator.

OWEN
Jesus Christ.

IAN breaks away from OWEN and lunges for TOMMY; TOMMY backhands him and kicks him away while OWEN is still staring in shock. IAN groans.

TOMMY
Let's do this already, Owen.

***

Later, after a lot of things had gone down, some good and some terrifying, Tosh went looking for the security-camera footage of the Hub during her and Jack's absence. It was missing -- well, that wasn't so strange, given the mild concussion the mainframe must have had when the Rift was thrown wide -- but if it had been there...

She would have seen Tommy and Owen emerge from Jack's office and walk straight to the central column of the manipulator, Tommy carrying the key like a prize. Without audio she might not have understood all that was said, but she could see that while they fitted the key into the manipulator neither of them spoke. Nobody, probably, spoke again until Ian emerged from Jack's office, wiping blood from his nose and carrying a gun in one hand.

It would have been easy enough to imagine what he said -- "I can't let you, Tommy" or perhaps, "Owen, get out of the way".

It would have been flattering to have heard Tommy's reply -- "The Rift took my lover and my Captain. I won't let it take my sister as well."

"This isn't what Jack or Tosh would want," would be the next logical reply from Ian, who was cocking the gun as he spoke. And it was easy enough to imagine how Tommy would react to that.

"Give it your best shot, errand boy. Don't tell me you don't want your part-time fuck back."

But everything was still silent even when Ian pulled the trigger without flinching, and the little puff of gunpowder residue clouding around his hand was the only sure sign he'd fired. Other than Tommy, a bright red blossom spreading across his shirt, his hand going up to touch the blood from the gunshot wound in his shoulder.

And then slamming down on the key, pressing it into the machine.

She would have seen Owen drop to his knees next to Tommy, silently demanding to know what Ian had done, and Ian staring dazedly at the Rift Manipulator, until the entire Hub began to shake and pieces began to fall away. She would have seen a tendril of light snake out and snap around Ian's body, which would disappear when the light did.

But the files were gone, corrupted beyond repair or deleted by intention, and she never saw.

***

Jack woke on a metal-grating floor to a rough, metallic whooshing noise, sort of like a set of keys being dragged along a piano wire.

He opened his eyes without moving; from his vantage point on the floor he could see a pair of boots, a portion of what looked like a dry wooden tree trunk, and some of a wall.

He remembered, even after two hundred years; remembered the ship, the one that had flung him back in time and sentenced him to immortality. He remembered the Doctor. He remembered being stunned. He even knew the sensation; the roaring in his ears and the tingling over his skin were the aftereffects of a sonic blaster.

"You might as well get up," said a voice, and he pushed himself up on his elbows to see the Doctor looking over at him, sharp blue eyes not at all afraid or wary. "Miss Sato is over there," he added with a jerk of his head, and Jack saw Tosh lying on the other side of the room.

"What've you done?" he croaked.

"That's great. That's really great, coming from you. What I've done is get you and her out of a building about to be destroyed by an earthquake caused by the Rift opening. What you've done is given your people an unstable equation for a localized dual-point rift tunnel, and what they've done with that is tried to end causality. Why do I bother?"

Jack gaped at him.

"Humans," the Doctor said viciously, throwing a lever on the control console. "You blunder your way around space-time doing exactly what you want without any sense at all of what you're screwing up. Can you hear the heart of a TARDIS singing? Can you feel time on your skin? No, but does that stop you? It's like watching a deaf man tune a piano."

Jack latched onto one thing.

"What's a TARDIS?" he asked.

"What's a -- you mean you stole my ship, broke into my control room, ripped her poor wires out of her console, crossed them like you were hotwiring a Chevy, and you don't even know what this is?" the Doctor snarled, one hand lifting off the console to gesture at the room. "TARDIS! Time And Relative Dimensions In Space! Keep up, Harkness!"

"I'm sorry if I'm a little confused after you stunned and kidnapped me," Jack retorted.

"Saved your life and hauled you along so you could fix the hole your people ripped in reality? Yeah, sue me," the Doctor answered.

"Where are you taking us?"

"The point of error," the Doctor answered. "The collapse of the universe. All of existence has coalesced into a single point and it must be healed, and since it's your hands all over this you have to heal it."

"We're going to the end of the universe?" Jack asked.

"Yep. And it's happening in 1945." The whooshing noise stopped and the Doctor strode to the door, throwing it open. Jack got unsteadily to his feet and joined him, looking out.

"This is Chicago," the Doctor said, his voice gentler now. "Near the end of the second world war."

"I recognize it," Jack answered, and he did; he'd lived in Chicago then, he knew what the skyline looked like.

"Somewhere out there is some unreal thing made material. And now because of you I have to find it and destroy it. Way to go," the Doctor added. "Get Miss Sato. Time to save the universe again."

***

From Torchwords.com, official Torchwood behind-the-scenes blog: Ellis Graveworthy, post-airing writeup of The Empty Child.

We were castigated quite strongly for The Empty Child by professional critics, or at any rate paid ones. It is often considered a mistake to use an entire episode of one television show to launch a new spinoff show, but that honestly wasn't in my mind at all when I sat down to write The Empty Child. I wanted to make a point about war, and leading in from Captain Jack Harkness seemed to me like the perfect time to do so. We bookended the second world war in America fairly neatly, 1942 and 1945.

It must be said that while the critics were not thrilled with The Empty Child, it garnered the same sort of support from actual fans that CountryCide and From Out Of The Rain had received. Thinking people enjoy the arc of a plot over several episodes or even several seasons; Babylon 5, I think, amply proved that. But there is also a sort of charm in a small, self-contained, thoroughly complete story told in forty-two minutes. The mathematical exactness of it appeals. This episode combined the arc of plot -- Jack and Toshiko, falling through time with the Doctor -- and the precision of a small story, the story of a little boy looking for his father.

I liked that I didn't have to make him a real little boy, actually, that even within the confines of the story he was a metaphor, the "unreal thing made material". He represented the ceaselessness of war. Armed conflict ends only one of two ways: when the enemy is so thoroughly destroyed it can no longer fight back, or when intelligent people lay aside their bitterness and strike a peace accord. But that takes action, active thought, and very few wars throughout history have ended before one country has in effect been wiped from the map. As Americans I invite you to consider Sherman's march, as well as the Trail of Tears.

I think that Jack, who is essentially a warlike man, comes through an enormous change in The Empty Child. He takes responsibility for someone nobody else is willing to touch, claims the boy as his blood, and in doing so he does what nations never do: he owns up that he is at fault. None of them can be free until the boy is free; the Doctor and Toshiko can't leave, and that forces Jack into the position of putting other people above his own pride. If he can't take responsibility for his actions, the universe will end.

I think it's quite a lovely story, myself.

Still, it was nice to be scolded for artistic ineptitude rather than rampant homosexuality for a change. At least in this my skills as a writer are challenged, rather than my politics.

***

ALL NEW TORCHWOOD
Saturday night, 8/7 Central
EPISODE 1.18: Origins

Torchwood is fragmented, lying in ruins. Jack and Toshiko are trapped in the past; Tommy is bleeding to death next to an unconscious Owen on the floor of an unsteady Hub, and Ian has been drawn into the heart of the Rift itself. As Gwen races to save those she can, Ian, Tommy, and Owen experience the way in which they came to be part of Torchwood. Can Gwen get Tommy and Owen to safety? Will Jack and Tosh ever return? Will any of them be able to close the Rift before it shakes the earth free from reality, even if it means losing Ian forever to time?

***

Tamaki remembered.

USPAT, the United States Paranormal and Alien Taskforce, imprisoned him unfairly, he knew that. All he did was have the bad luck to be kidnapped, a hostage used to force Toshiko to finish their work on the sonic resonator and turn it over to whoever had him captive. He should have been set free; Toshiko should have been forgiven and they should have gone back to the university and kept working.

Instead here they were, imprisoned without trial in cells without windows, given a bucket to piss in and "food" that barely passed nutritional standards on a good day. He begged the voice in the ceiling to let him see Toshiko, just see her, just a glimpse, but it was five weeks before he was led out of his cell at the wrong time for exercise, the wrong time for the daily search.

He was shown into a room with a window set in one wall, a window looking out on a large empty space with a table and two chairs -- a two-way mirror. As they strapped him to a pipe and gagged him so he couldn't speak, he watched a man walking out to the table on the other side of the glass, tall and skinny but imposing in a long woolen military coat.

And then there was Toshiko, hair tied messily back in a ponytail, all but swallowed in her orange prison uniform. He strained against the pipe, and one of the guards simply slapped him on the back before both guards left the room.

He could hear every word that was spoken -- this Captain Harkness person persuading, flattering, cajoling his sister, offering her freedom in return for five years of service to Torchwood, offering her a way out. Toshiko, bless her, was defiant and sullen by turns, but Tamaki wanted to shout at her -- take the job! Get out of here! Leave me if you have to! though he knew he'd be heartbroken if she did. They were all each other had.

"What about my brother?" she asked finally, and Tamaki strained around the gag to make some sound, any sound.

"I don't need your brother," Captain Harkness said. "I need you. You can send him letters."

A bitter laugh from Toshiko. "Yeah, they'll totally deliver those."

"Take it or leave it, Toshiko Sato. Think what you'll be giving up. It's not like you get to see him anyway."

Tamaki will never forget the way Toshiko's eyes looked when she lifted her head.

"Not without Tommy," she snarled. "I'd rather rot here than leave him behind."

Tamaki fought the bindings frantically. Tosh, don't be a moron!

"Both or neither," Toshiko said. "That's the way it is, Captain Harkness."

Tamaki watched in horrified fascination as a grin spread across Captain Harkness's face.

"You're wonderful, Toshiko Sato," he said sincerely. "You pass. Come with me; we'll collect your brother and leave this place."

***

Owen Harper met Jack for the first time in the biology lab at Torchwood New York. At the time he was dissecting something grey and lumpy that had been scrounged from the harbor and was either an alien or a gigantic wad of used alien toilet paper. At the moment it could have gone either way. He remembered a gangling man with hair even bigger than his own and -- of course, the woolen RAF coat.

"Nice coat," he drawled, when he caught some stranger in his lab, poking at his rats.

"Nice hair," the man replied, and gave him a lascivious wink.

"I was going for a post-1940s look," Owen said.

"It's certainly post-something," Jack answered, and that was when he and Jack Harkness became friends.

He found out fairly quickly what Jack was about, from scuttlebutt around the office; the head of Torchwood Chicago, the only survivor of the New Year's Eve massacre in 2001, a story that still circulated more as gossip than as any kind of real account. Chicago only had about half a dozen agents, not a real Torchwood at all in Owen's book. Still, he guessed they had to be pretty hardy souls to hold down the Rift and put up with the Cubs.

Jack came around every few weeks, asked reasonably intelligent questions about his work, and then one day asked if he wanted a beer. Owen was sort of waiting for Jack to ask if he dated men, which seemed like the next logical step given Jack's MO of flirting with anything that moved, but instead Jack asked him if he was happy in New York.

"Of course I'm happy in New York, what've you got against New York?" Owen asked, scowling.

"Nothing at all. One place in America is very much like another to me. Just idle curiosity, that's all," Jack said, sipping his beer. "You don't find it...I don't know. Don't you feel as though the outside world is just passing?"

"Passing?" Owen asked suspiciously.

Jack shook his head. "Never mind."

And then came the overdose.

Well, that was a bad word for it; it was only alcohol poisoning, but he still woke up in the hospital. A handful of people from Torchwood came by that morning, but none of them stayed long; it wasn't until he was eating lunch, in anticipation of being cut free that afternoon, that his last visitor came.

Jack walked in and sat down. He didn't say anything, just watched Owen eat, and Owen watched Jack watch him, until finally Jack spoke.

"Life is passing," he said.

"It's my life," Owen retorted.

"It's not your life, it's not a life at all. You go into your lab, you run your experiments, you do your dissections, and that's well and good, but then at night you go out and drink and take home strange women whom you kick out of bed before daylight," Jack said.

"Have you -- you've been stalking me?"

Jack laughed and shook his head. "Set aside your personal outrage -- "

"It's my personal outrage! You've been stalking me!"

"Owen," Jack said, and held a finger up. "Stop. Just stop, and listen for a moment. I know you're capable of distancing yourself, even if you never do. Please, for just a moment, won't you?"

Owen looked at Jack's dark eyes, looked down at the empty food tray in front of him.

"All right," he said.

"Does this life you lead truly satisfy you?" Jack asked. "Do you feel that you, Owen Harper, are -- are going anywhere? Or are you treading water?"

Owen was planning on making a smart remark, or maybe just calling the nurse to have Jack thrown out, but Jack was still staring at him and the man had a piercing gaze.

"I know you're an ambitious soul. I know you fight life all the time, but you're fighting the wrong battles, son," Jack said softly. "I don't think you want to die choking on your own vomit in a gutter, but that is what will happen if you stay here, in New York, groping for meaning. I want to give your life meaning, Owen. As a gift, from me to you. Come work for me in Chicago. Come fight the right battles."

"Yes," Owen said, without even thinking about it.

Once he'd told Tosh this story and she'd laughed and said he was a disciple, but in the nice way Tosh had, that meant she was impressed as well.

Owen loved Toshiko. Had, for a long time, even when he and Gwen were fucking. But he would have died for Jack, and he refused to risk giving up this new, better Torchwood for the chance to tell her. In a club in New York he wouldn't have looked twice at her, but in Chicago, at work, he was happier to be Torchwood and never touch her than have her and lose Torchwood.

***

Ian couldn't feel his body, which was a strange and terrifying feeling; he wasn't sure how he could see, or think, but he knew somehow that he could see. Things seemed to coalesce with glacial slowness, as if he were watching the collision of galaxies or the death of a star.

It began to make sense, at some point in the millennia that passed; he understood that he was in the Rift, not through it, and somehow outside of time. If he concentrated he could see time, which was not as frightening as it should have been; it looked like a gyroscope, or a very antique globe. Not a line, not a crumpled ball of paper or a pond, all metaphors that he'd heard used in the past; time was a ball, spinning slowly on an axis.

The Doctor was right, he thought giddily. A ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey...stuff.

As if the thought, the actual forming of mental sentences, was enough to break him free, he realized that he was certainly in trouble. He had to find something to hold onto, or he'd fall away from time entirely; the ball was at once small enough to fit in the palm of a hand he didn't have anymore, and large enough to pull everything into some kind of time...gravitational...field.

He focused and concentrated; if he could just latch on to one piece of time, one series of moments, one small slice of the ball, an irregularity or a hand-hold --

And just like that he broke back into reality, gasping and heaving, his body suddenly immensely heavy around his consciousness, vision cloudy through physical eyes sending messages to a physical brain.

He was standing in an alleyway, the familiar smell of Chicago washing over him, lakewater and bus exhaust and age. He might even be home, or at least within a few weeks of home.

And then he saw the Weevil, and Jack, and Jack being savaged by the Weevil --

It was pure instinct, reaching for the lid of the nearest trash can, heaving it up and running forward to beat the shit out of the Weevil, except...except his hand passed through the trash can and he saw himself, coming from the opposite direction, in clothing he would never wear to work, a thick piece of metal piping in his hand.

He watched in shock as his other self beat the Weevil with the pipe, separating it from Jack, breaking its jaw (he remembered the sickening crunch) and sending it backwards against the wall. Jack bounced up just like he had in the past, sprayed the Weevil in the face, clapped a bag over its head...

"Thank you," Jack said, and Ian closed his eyes. He knew what came next. Faintly embarrassing, actually. "And you are...?"

"Ian -- Gianni. Leone," the other Ian said.

"Nice to meet you, Ian Gianni Leone," Jack said.

"Lucky escape. You're, uh, bleeding..." Ian reached out to touch Jack's face and Jack jerked away.

"Flesh wound, that's all," he said. "You always hang out in alleys off Halsted with a metal pipe?"

Ian saw himself smile. "Pipe optional. Looked like a Weevil to me, huh?"

Jack looked even colder. Even now it made Ian flinch.

"I've no idea what you're talking about," he said. "You'd best run on. His mates might be around here."

"In that case, take the pipe," Ian said, offering it to him. This did earn him a faint smile as he backed out of the alley. "By the way -- nice coat."

There was the sickening sensation of falling again, of the sphere of time rotating, and he clutched at what he could: the brief contact of Jack's fingers as he gripped the pipe, the way Ian's heart had fallen at his own failure, his determination to do better -- to be better -- to be enough to get into Torchwood again.

Stepping in front of Jack's SUV outside Daley Plaza, in a suit that would have made an executive in any downtown high-rise proud. For just a second he slipped into the other Ian, but the doubling of his vision made him dizzy and he stumbled back, watching as Jack cut him down neatly with threats of running him over, with the assurance that there was no place for him in Torchwood anymore, that he should try and find another life.

"You don't even know me," he heard himself protest.

"Oh? Gianni "Ian" Leone, born August 19th, 1983. Good student, born and bred in Chicago, Cubs fan, something of a drifter as a teenager -- one minor conviction for shoplifting, purged on majority -- moved to New York, joined Torchwood there as a junior researcher. Girlfriend, Lisa Hallett, native of New York -- "

"Deceased," he heard himself say. God, he'd been so full of hope that he wouldn't lose her, that he'd finally been able to save someone he loved...

"I'm sorry," Jack said, not sounding sorry at all.

"Look, you obviously checked me out -- "

"Yes, and now that I know who you are I know that you have no place here."

Ian saw himself play his final, desperate card.

"So you're not going to help me catch this pterodactyl, then?" he asked.

Without the blinders of desperation and pain, Ian could see Jack more clearly and more thoroughly appreciate the absolutely poleaxed look on the other man's face. It almost made up for being incorporeal, for being half-outside of time.

He jumped again, but he was getting the hang of this now, and it was almost effortless to find himself and Jack in the old south-side warehouse, Jack clutching precariously to one of Belladonna's legs as she struggled to get free.

There it was, the moment when Jack jabbed the needle home -- shot the sedative into the vein -- and Belladonna sent him tumbling into Ian, both men going down in a tangle of arms and legs. Jack flipped him over and rolled as Belladonna crashed into the ground, and there they were. Laughing, triumphant, pressed together chest to thigh.

Ian put out his hands and shouted, "STOP!"

Time slowed and ceased to be. It became one endless moment, Jack's breath warm on his cheek, the smell of him in his nostrils, his dark eyes level with Ian's.

Ian composed himself, curled up on the cement floor he couldn't quite feel, and closed his eyes. He could wait here, wait for them to come get him, wait for them to save him. They would save him, they would pluck him out of the Rift and bring him back into home-time.

And if they didn't, there were worse ways to spend eternity than endlessly looped in one brilliant second, one moment where he'd been happy.

***

Taken from Torchwood Classics, the Discerning Recs List:

TYPEWRITER by hija_paloma | (Ellis/Edgar, RPS, R) | Summary: Ellis likes old things. Edgar isn't old, but Ellis likes him anyway.

TWO PAIR by kikura_s | (Gwen/Jack, Gwen/Ryan, Jack/Ian) | Summary: Jack didn't always know what was best for him. That was why he and Gwen got along so well. This is the fic that first got Torchwood America on fandom_wank, of course.

A TOURIST'S GUIDE TO CHICAGO by sam_storyteller | (Gen, Humor, hints of J/I) | Summary: Everything you ever wanted to know about the second city and some things you probably didn't, by Ian Leone.

GIVING UP THE STRAIGHT CARD by mmk_mmk | (Ian/Various, NC-17) | Summary: Ian was still willing to consider the idea that he was straight, despite the mounting evidence to the contrary.

TEN THINGS TO DO IN CHICAGO WITH A STOPWATCH by a_fell_crowley | (Jack/Ian, NC-17) | Summary: "I can think of at least ten fun things to do with a stopwatch." "That's good, because I couldn't come up with any."

FANART: QUIET MOMENT and CAN'T STOP THE J-ROCK by bluejeans07 | (Jack/Ian and Tosh&Tommy, both PG)

***

Sam's Three Things About Torchwood, Episode 1.19: End Of Days

1. I always wondered how Jack could dismiss Torchwood Las Vegas so casually. I thought it was some kind of joke, when he mentioned it in the pilot, but it's nice to see that it's coming full circle. I'd go crazy homicidal too if I was stuck in the same twelve hours in Las Vegas, over and over again, for five years.

2. That being said, I'm not sure I buy slaughtering Evil Torchwood Las Vegas as a premise for the climax of the episode, and also, I'm not sure how Jack and Gwen are going to escape their clutches at this point, and cliffhangers? SUCK.

3. IS IT NEXT WEEK ALREADY, come on, I don't know if you've noticed but Ian and like half of Chicago are STUCK IN THE RIFT.

3a. The Doctor is deeply, deeply creepy. John Barrowman is a genius.

***

Excerpt from the shooting script for Episode 1x20: Armageddon.
Story by: Edgar van Scyoc
Teleplay by: Ellis Graveworthy

INT - HUB - DAY

IAN and TOSH are working on repairing some piece of equipment in the Hub; TOSH wipes her eyes now and again as she works, still grieving for her brother. IAN shoots her uncertain looks.

A newly-revived JACK emerges from the shadows, holding GWEN's hand. TOSH notices first; she drops her toolbox and runs across the Hub.

TOSH
Oh my god, oh, my god --

IAN looks up and sees her hugging JACK; he hesitates, then straightens and follows. JACK meets him halfway; at first IAN attempts to wave, then shake his hand, then spreads his hands, confused. JACK hauls him forward and into a hug.

IAN
We thought you were dead --

JACK
Not that easy to get rid of me.

IAN
We left you there.

JACK
Gwen was with me. It's okay.

IAN
It's not okay. Tommy and Owen -- and the Doctor --

JACK
We'll make it okay. We're still here.

IAN
But what do we --

JACK
Shh. The end is where we start from.

JACK pulls back, out of the hug, and touches IAN's face gently; as GWEN and TOSH look on, they kiss passionately.

END OF SEASON ONE

***

Transcript from David Tennant's appearance on The Today Show, June 9, the Monday after the airing of the season finale, Armageddon.

David Tennant: Well, I don't think -- I mean, perhaps some people haven't watched yet, so turn down your sets if you don't want to be spoiled, that's your fair warning.

Matt Lauer: *laughs*

David Tennant: But I think really the season finale could be summed up pretty quickly as, Rift opens, giant hellbeast, oh no lots of death, Jack dies, Jack revives, big gay kiss.

Meredith Vieira: I think I know the part we're all interested in!

David Tennant: Oh, no...

Meredith Vieira: Everyone wants to know about the kiss. What did it mean? Was it fun?

David Tennant: Well, it's acting, you know. I mean I always have fun when I act, but of course neither of us fancy men, so it was just another stage kiss, really. Bit like kissing a sibling actually. Erm. He's very much my little brother, you know, behind the scenes. We're all a family, really.

Matt Lauer: So what happens next? I mean, we have two regular characters from the show and one character who's supposed to be getting his own show, all dead in the...

David Tennant: The medical grotto, yes. Owen Harper and Tamaki Sato, and of course the Doctor. By the way I do think it's a terrible mistake giving John Barrowman his own show, because he'll only use it to get boys with.

Meredith Vieira: *laughs*

David Tennant: Graveworthy said he'd pay me ten dollars to say that on air.

Matt Lauer: But you can't tell us anything that happens.

David Tennant: Well, I don't know yet. We've had a few talks about what the second season will hold, but I can't really divulge any of that, and I don't know anything about the spinoff --

Meredith Vieira: Doctor Who?

David Tennant: Yes, in my case more like Doctor What. People keep asking me what it's all about, and I just don't know! But I do know that it will be on following Torchwood next season, and hopefully Jack Harkness hasn't seen the last of the Doctor yet.

***

Excerpt from FOX News Sunday:

Edgar van Scyoc and his homosexual agenda have declared a holy war, a jihad, on the American way of life and morality.

From Torchwords.com, official Torchwood behind-the-scenes blog: Edgar van Scyoc, in response:

Apparently I've declared a jihad on American values. This is pretty cool.

I didn't realise sarcasm was all it took to declare Jihad, because I thought it was a serious term that referred to bloody religious wars fought over scriptural interpretation and water rights. If sarcasm is all that's required, though, I think you ought to know I've also declared a jihad on the service at several local restaurants, the writing on most TV drama, light jazz, and hipster fashion. Jesus, think of the bloodshed I could cause if I employed satire. Moliere was a terrorist, you know.

I don't want anyone to die. I don't believe anyone should die because they don't share my morals, though I think fewer people would die if they did. I'm not interested in tearing down America, I like America, it's the only place you can get Byron's hamburgers and I would really miss cable television. I don't want anyone to fuck dogs or marry their parakeets. I'm not an anarchist, though I do find Emma Goldman oddly sexy. I'm not even a communist, because I'm really bad at sharing.

What I want is to drag America kicking and screaming into one brief moment, one second even, of cultural self-examination, because right now as a culture we kind of suck. I want us to stop sucking, because if we don't stop sucking it won't be my fault when America does collapse and, like I said, I'd really miss Byron's hamburgers. So I will shamefully confess, if asked while under oath, that I want America to relearn the definition of the words "tolerance" and "irony" because as a life-philosophy they've both served me extremely well.

I want to make you people love George Bernard Shaw, so help me god. And I will need the help, because he's a hard man to love.

Oh hey, as long as I'm declaring jihads, I totally call jihad on beat poetry.

Ellis Graveworthy, on hearing the statement read aloud to van Scyoc by reporters at a charity dinner in Chicago:

Edgar, why didn't you tell me you had a homosexual agenda? I would have bought you a nice leather case for it.

***

Transcript of Ellis Graveworthy, speaking at TorchGathering, the first ever national Torchwood fan convention, Chicago, June 2008.

Well, obviously the Doctor doesn't stay dead. I hardly think that's a spoiler, he has his own television spinoff, it would be dreadfully boring if Doctor Who featured a corpse as its star player. Not that John Barrowman doesn't make a fine corpse, but he's much more interesting when he's moving about and talking.

What else can I tell you...well, the first few episodes of Torchwood's new season are in our heads, Edgar's and mine. There will be passion, of course, and the Doctor might not be the only one who can't stay dead. Confessions, confessions make for excellent drama. New monsters, new aliens, new moral dilemmas for our heroes to deal with. I think we'll learn a good deal more about Gwen's past, her growing up in Chicago, and of course she's engaged to Ryan now. Yes, I imagine there will be the requisite "wacky wedding" episode, though I'm trying to persuade Edgar to retain some shred of his dignity in that respect.

I'd like to write a story about Wrigley Field being haunted, too. That would be tremendous. And -- and I'd like very much to continue to annoy stupid people of all races and creeds. It's been great fun so far. I'm so glad that the egalitarian nature of America allows a foreigner to be excoriated with the same vehemence as one of your own sons. I feel really very welcomed by all the vitriol that's been flung at me.

So, in all, lots of sex, lots of violence, hopefully a talking-point or two, and what I believe the kids these days are calling "wank" over all of it.

We live to entertain and educate, you know. It should be a wonderful new season.

***

Archive photograph of the original downtown Torchwood red line station in Chicago, outside what is now Daley Plaza. The station is no longer in use but should re-open in 2009 after extensive renovations. Edgar van Scyoc relates that he always felt Torchwood Station looked like the entrance to a secret underground lair, and has made a deal with the city of Chicago for Torchwood's production company to "adopt" Torchwood Station on its reopening (as the Cubs have done with Addison and Sheridan stations on the north side).

Chapter Text

Stormy, husky, brawling,
City of the Big Shoulders:

Poetry by Carl Sandburg, naturally.

Hey look! laurab1 made me some awesome manips!

There are a lot of references in this story which are passing, but which might be confusing for non-Chicagonos. To my mind the most important of these is actually one of the biggest throwaway lines, where Ian asks Gwen, "Sox or Cubs?"

In the two-stadium city, generally speaking, southsiders root for the White Sox and northsiders root for the Cubs (yes yes, I'm sure I'll get all kinds of comments calling me wrong, but in general this is accurate). The territorialism can get vicious. Ian and Gwen are representative of this -- Gwen is a southsider and Ian is a northsider, and they relate to each other across the cultural gap that causes.

Another throwaway line concerns Devil in the White City, a best-selling book about the Chicago World's Fair and the serial killer who stalked in it, Dr. HH Holmes. It's sort of de rigeur reading for Chicago history buffs, and fairly popular even for those who aren't. Come to think of it, the description of the horse in the drinking water may have been from The Pig And The Skyscraper, another nonfiction book about Chicago, but it's not the kind of book many people would voluntarily read (though an excellent primer on Chicago's history and socioeconomic context).

A couple of mentions are made of Halsted; Halsted is a major street on Chicago's northside, which runs through the heart of the Boys Town neighbourhood. As the name may imply, it is a heavily gay-friendly area and Halsted has a great many gay bars on it. It also has Gaymart, which sells remote-controlled Daleks. Trufax.

The Music Box Theater, where Jack takes Ian on their first date, is a real indy cinema not very far from where I live, actually, and it is awesome. Byron's, mentioned by Edgar van Scyoc as one of the main reasons he is against the downfall of American civilisation, is a Chicago restaurant chain (though I use restaurant in the loosest sense of the word, since they don't have, you know, tables or waiters). While they are famous for their hot dogs, and rightly so, Edgar like myself prefers their hamburgers. Pizzeria Uno, the analog to Jubilee Pizza, is a Chicago chain credited with inventing the deep-dish, though others also claim the distinction. I don't like deep-dish, but there you have it.

Torchwood Red Line Station does not exist; in fact, if a Torchwood station did exist, it would be on the blue line which runs almost directly under Daley Plaza in the heart of the downtown "Loop". The red line is cooler, that's all. The entry to the Torchwood Red Line Station in the photo is actually the entry to the above-ground Sheridan Red Line station, which is my stop (and also Ian's) in Wrigleyville.

Daley Plaza itself is a real place, of course; there's a giant Picasso sculpture located at the north end of it, analogous to the fountain in the Plass in Cardiff. On holidays, Daley Plaza often has fairs, the Christmas Village and Chicagoween being the most well-known. In October they dye a nearby fountain orange for Chicagoween, which is not a good look.

The Torchwoods in America all have counterparts in canon; Torchwood One is New York, of course, and Torchwood Two is a very strange man in Austin, Texas. Torchwood Three is naturally Chicago, and the missing Torchwood Four is/was located in Las Vegas. They are loosely allied to USPAT, the United States Paranormal and Alien Taskforce, the equivalent of Doctor Who's UNIT. Jack has been lobbying for decades to get them to change their beret colours from yellow to red.

There are several People Who Are Not Real in this fic, of course, or even More Not Real than the Not Real characters. James Ragtime is a made-up name for a jazz trumpeter that Jack is fond of. Edgar van Scyoc is faced by Alexis Denisof but is likewise fictional, and of course anyone familiar with my HP fic will recognise Ellis Graveworthy as a recurring non-person.

When I ran the idea of American Torchwood past Junie, including the name "Ian" for Ianto, she asked me if Ianto was too weird a name for Americans. I told her it wasn't that it was too weird; it was that it was too Welsh. I could have named him something generic, like Ian Smith, but I wanted to give him a heritage, and in Chicago there are plenty of heritages to choose from. So, I gave him an incredibly Italian name and a bland nickname that he goes by, in order to point up that Ian is still very young and in something of the throes of an identity crisis. It's also a sly jab at every fanfic ever where Jack calls Ianto "Yan".

One of the least-explored and most-interesting facets of American Torchwood, to me, was the Doctor. Plonking Torchwood down in Chicago as-is made no sense because there was no cultural context of Doctor Who to guide the plot -- it's difficult to watch Torchwood without understanding a lot about the last four years of Doctor Who. The Doctor's actions caused Lisa Hallett's death, not to mention Jack's disappearance, Martha existence and thus her visit to Torchwood, and Jack's immortality. I had to make Torchwood the basis for the Doctor instead of the other way around, which gave me a great deal of leeway in how I treated the Doctor.

Torchwood America's Doctor is not Great Britain's Doctor. He is much younger -- only in his second incarnation, though that incarnation has been kicking round the galaxy long enough to earn him the title of Lonely God. He is relatively fresh from the battle of Arcadia which killed his entire race and most of the Daleks; he's an angry, unhappy, and deeply troubled man. He's not supposed to be a good guy; he's ambiguous and creepy and he has no problem using a sonic blaster to get his way (it came in a set with the screwdriver). In the American spinoff, Doctor Who was supposed to chronicle his growth from this person into someone more like our Doctor: ruthless but pacifist, desperate for love but often afraid to accept it, childlike with wonder but also childish in his occasional self-absorption.

The Doctor Sings minifeature, of course, is a send-up of John Barrowman's Anything Goes performance for Torchwood. I'm not actually positive that the Fats Waller version of I Would Do Anything For You has the lyrics I used (my recording is from the New Zealand Dixieland Jazz Band) but I believe it to be so.

As for the fans...well, if you're a regular reader of , you'll recognise the "type" of fanfics I was presenting -- angstfics, songfics, Mary Sues, a little hint of Twincest courtesy of the HP fandom's crazy, lots of gay porn, a handful of AUs, some Real-Person fic, and some darkfic. Torchwood_El is meant to be the major hub for American Torchwood fandom, but of course that means that it attracts all the crap as well as all the cream. Most of the usernames are made up, but a handful are people I invited because I knew they'd get a kick out of it.

And of course you'll see my name in there. I'm not sure what level of meta that brings me to; me writing about a fictional me writing non-canonical stories about a fictional television series written by me which is a non-canonical story about a television series. Which is not written by me.