Part 1: Break-In
August 15, 2007
1507 hours local time
As the Torchwood landrover sped along the streets of Cardiff, Jack Harkness looked over at Gwen Cooper from his position in the driving seat. She was taking it hard, he could tell. It had only been just over twelve hours since Ed Morgan had died, impaled on the knife Gwen had been holding. She'd been quiet for most of the day, moping around the hub. Jack had been relieved when the alert had come in ten minutes or so ago. Something a couple of miles down the coast was sending out a strong signal and it was Torchwood's responsibility to find out what it was.
"Tosh, any matches on past encounters?" Jack asked into the comm. The reply from Toshiko Sato at the hub came back a second later.
"Nothing, Jack. It doesn't match anything we've got in the database."
Jack skidded the landrover around a corner, provoking a cry from Owen Harper in the back seat.
"Where did you get your license?"
Jack flashed a confident grin at Owen.
"I passed, didn't I?"
They cleared the last set of traffic lights and Jack floored the accelerator, drawing even more power out of the souped-up engine. The landrover leapt forward.
Behind the Torchwood Three reception counter, Ianto Jones was keeping an ear on the mission. He couldn't duck down and visit Lisa, not with Toshiko in the building. His eyes, however, were on the pages of a novel. It was an old one, published in 1976. The title was Time Chase, its author Sarah Jane Smith. Ianto turned the page. It wasn't the first time he'd read it, but it was one of his favourites.
A thump against the outside of the door caught Ianto's attention. He slipped a piece of paper into the book to mark his page then closed it. He then turned his attention to the security monitor showing the feed from the CCTV camera watching the front door. It was the middle of the afternoon, and he didn't expect to see anything. Three men in suits were standing outside the door. All of them were bald, and with a slight shock, Ianto realised that they were all identical. They were watching a fourth man adjusting a device that had been placed up against the door. Ianto swallowed as he realised what the device was. The fourth man straightened up, revealing a timer ticking down on the top of the device and confirming Ianto's worst fears.
"Code Zero incursion. Repeat, we have a code zero incursion."
Ianto didn't wait for a reply. He activated the switch that opened the hidden door into the hub. Then he grabbed his pistol and ran.
In the landrover, Gwen sat up straight.
"Say that again, Ianto?"
Ianto's voice came back over the comm, but it wasn't directed at Gwen or the others in the landrover.
"Tosh, record the door fe-"
A dull boom echoed through the comms.
"That sounded like an explosion," Owen said slowly. Gwen and Jack exchanged a look, one filled with pure disbelief. A feeling of rage went through Jack. There were people breaking into his house. Well, not if he had anything to do with it.
"Hold on. Tight." the commander of Torchwood Three said grimly. He then flicked on his indicator. A second later, he threw the landrover into a screeching hairpin turn that would have done a Hollywood stunt driver proud. Even before the landrover had straightened up Jack pressed his foot to the floor. There was a screech of tires and the landrover began barreling back in the direction it had come, towards Cardiff.
He glanced over at Gwen. Despite the situation, a sense of relief went through him. She was alert, and the air of melancholy that had surrounded her up to that point seemed to have vanished.
"Gwen, there should be some weapons in the glovebox. Fingerprint activated."
Gwen pressed her finger to the pad on the glovebox. A second later there was a soft bleep and the glovebox popped open. There were five pistols inside, four automatics and a revolver. She handed one of the automatics back to Owen before taking one herself. She placed the revolver on the dashboard, ready for Jack to grab when he needed it.
"Tosh? Ianto?" Owen asked over the comm. Jack was concentrating on the driving, leaving Gwen and Owen to concentrate on the crisis.
"Tosh here. Ianto's not responding."
Halfway down the corridor, the heat of the explosion singed the hairs on the back of Ianto's neck. He turned and looked back down the corridor, towards the door leading out of reception. He'd closed it behind him, but it was only a matter of time before the intruders blasted through the second door. Ianto spoke into the comms.
"They've breached the outer door. I'll try to hold them off."
Jack's voice came back a second later.
Tosh's voice came over the comm.
"Jack, that signal in the bay's cut out."
"It was a ruse," Gwen commented.
Ianto didn't let the chatter distract him. Walking backwards down the corridor, he reached the elevator door at the end. He brought his pistol up, ready to fire. A soft click drifted down the corridor as the internal door from reception was opened, and one of the intruders stuck his head around. Ianto fired two shots, causing the intruder to duck back into the reception office. Keeping the pistol pointed down the corridor, Ianto reached back and called the lift leading down into the hub. It arrived a second later. He fired one more warning shot down the corridor, then stepped back into the lift.
"They've breached the internal door," he reported over the comm as the elevator descended.
"Ianto, Tosh, we're about ten minutes out. Always fucking traffic when you're in a hurry." Jack reported.
The elevator stopped and Ianto stepped out. He strode quickly into the hub.
Ianto froze, just inside the circular door. He looked over, to see Tosh standing there, pistol in hand. He pointed his up.
Tosh lowered the weapon. There was a hum and the elevator began to rise. Ianto glanced over at Tosh.
"Can you cut power to the elevator?"
Tosh turned and ran, heading over towards the main switchbox. Ianto turned and brought his pistol up, covering the door. The hum of the elevator stopped for a second, then it began again.
"They're coming down," Ianto reported.
"I'm going as fast as I can!" Tosh exclaimed. She had to isolate the power conduit for the elevator before shutting it down. She couldn't put the base into lockdown, it would trap the intruders in there with them. The hum of the elevator stopped and Ianto swallowed nervously. The intruders had reached the hub.
The circular door opened and the intruders stepped through, silently. It was the first proper look Ianto had gotten at the intruders, and then and there he realised that they weren't human, despite their appearance. Their faces were of men around his age, but their eyes were a bright, almost glowing yellow. He raised his pistol and took aim, but before he could fire, one of the intruders got off a shot with their own weapon. A bright orange beam shot out and enveloped Ianto, and he could feel it overwhelming him. He slumped to the floor, powerless, as his vision turned orange then black.
Eight minutes later, Jack brought the landrover to a screeching halt in the Torchwood Three garage. The engine had barely stopped before the three operatives jumped out, weapons in hand. Jack went first, punching in the emergency override code to open all doors between the garage and the central area of the hub. Jack stepped through the first door and glanced quickly around.
The repeated the same at the second door. Jack paused outside the final door.
"We go in together. Gwen, you go to the right, Owen to the left. On my mark."
They burst through the door, guns drawn and covering the angles Jack had outlined.
They didn't lower their guns. There was always the possibility that it was a trap. Cautiously, maintaining a triangle formation, they moved into the centre of the hub.
Gwen was the first to spot one of their fallen teammates.
"Owen, take a look. We'll cover you."
As Owen made his way over to Ianto's limp body, Jack and Gwen turned to provide covering fire if needed.
"Tosh is over by the switchbox," Jack pointed out.
"He's alright," Owen reported. Gwen glanced over.
"What hit him?"
"I dunno, but I'd say it was a stun beam of some sort. I'll check Tosh."
As Owen did so, Jack strode over to the main computer desk, keeping an eye out. He ran a scan for life signs, and only found the five of them in the hub. Although he didn't know it, the scanner hadn't picked up the Cyberwoman in the basement based on the fact that she wasn't breathing for herself, and so didn't meet the criteria for a 'living organism'.
"Gwen, help Owen with Tosh and Ianto."
As Gwen helped Owen carry first Tosh then Ianto over to the medical bay, Jack accessed the security recordings. He watched the whole thing, from the initial explosion to the departure of the four intruders. They'd been after something specific, and they'd gotten it.
Jack called up the file on the stolen object. It was half of a sphere, made out of some unknown ceramic and glowed a yellow colour. The same shade of yellow as the intruders' eyes, Jack noted. There was evidence to indicate that it was one half of an object that had been split some time in the past. Aside from this, the only other thing of note about the artifact was that it gave off a rather unusual six-phase energy signature that crossed a variety of spectrums.
"What have you found?" Gwen asked as she joined Jack.
"Whoever they were, they got what they were after. How are Ianto and Tosh?"
"Owen thinks he can revive them. He's working on it now."
Gwen pulled over an office chair and sat down, her police instincts taking over.
"What have we got to go on?"
"The stolen artifact emits a distinctive energy signature."
Jack indicated the visual representation of the signature on the screen.
"Should be easy enough to scan for. If it's on Earth, we'll find it."
Although it was primarily Tosh's domain, Jack knew how to work the equipment. He initiated the scan. The signal went out to any and all satellites in orbit. Telecommunications, television, military, everything in Earth's orbit with scanning capability was instantly slaved to the Torchwood computer. The program itself ran discreetly, not drawing too heavily on the resources of the satellites co-opted. It brought back a result in seconds. One screen showed a blinking dot on a map, the other a live feed of the energy signature detected. Jack leant back in his chair, satisfied.
"It's in London."
"That was a quick getaway."
"Why stop in London? With a ship that fast, they could be on the other side of the planet in half an hour."
Gwen was looking at the live feed of the energy signature detected, and there was something that struck her as odd. She looked from the live feed to the recording, then back to the live feed.
"It's not the same one."
Gwen nodded to the screen.
"It's not the same signal. Two of the phases seem to be reversed."
Jack looked from the recording to the live feed, then nodded in agreement.
He paused for a second, then spoke slowly.
"The file on the artifact indicates that it seems to be one half of something."
Gwen nodded at the screen.
"Well, I think we've found the other."
"They must be masking the signal from the stolen one."
Jack accessed the GPS network, cross-referencing the coordinates of the signal detected with the national property database. After about a minute, they had a match.
"It's a private house. Owner's one Sarah Jane Smith."
"Where have I heard that name before?"
"Whoever she is, she's in trouble. If those men go after her..."
Jack knew Gwen was right. They were trained professionals, used to dealing with alien threats. And they had had an advanced warning. But a private citizen with no warning whatsoever was a different story. Sarah Jane Smith was about to find herself in a whole world of trouble.