A small rift event had occurred in Bute Part, and since it was a very slow, very dull day with absolutely nothing else happening, the entire team had piled into the SUV to investigate. When they reached the coordinates, they found a small… something, huddled under a rose bush.
“Well look at that!” Jack exclaimed. “It’s a shrodlet, I haven’t seem one of those in I don’t know how long!”
“It’s a whatlet?” Owen was trying and failing to keep a straight face.
“Shrodlet. Don’t worry, they’re completely harmless. You can put your weapons away. They’re very popular as pets on Benobus 9, as I recall.”
Tosh crouched down for a closer look. “It’s adorable!” The little creature blinked up at her and whistled faintly.
“Poor thing,” said Gwen sympathetically, leaning over Tosh’s shoulder to look. “It must be scared.”
To be honest, it didn’t really look scared, just a bit bewildered, like it had settled down for a nap and then woken up somewhere completely different.
Jack stooped down and carefully scooped the small creature up. He held it out to the girls. “Go ahead, pet it, it can’t hurt you. The worst it can do is give you a nasty suck. They don’t have teeth,” he explained.
The shrodlet wiggled its little snout at them. It looked rather like a small piglet, but with a longer, more mobile snout and small pointed ears. At the other end was a stubby little tail that waggled almost as much as its snout. Also, it was a rather fetching shade of lavender. Tosh petted it gently, discovering it was covered in short, soft fur like velvet.
“It’s so soft! No wonder they’re popular pets.”
Gwen petted it too, cooing at it.
Ianto was frowning. “If they don’t have teeth, what do they eat?” he asked, reaching out and idly tickling the shrodlet behind a small, pale purple ear.
“Nectar, honey, stuff like that. Mashed fruit too. Anything soft and sweet will do.”
“Can we keep it?” asked Tosh, lifting the creature out of Jack’s hands and holding it close.
“Don’t really have a choice, do we?” said Owen. “Can’t send it back where it came from.”
“I’d better stock up on soft fruit then,” Ianto grumbled good naturedly.
Jack grinned at him. “Get some of that runny honey while you’re at it. If the shrodlet doesn’t like it, I know what we can do with it,” he said with a leer.
Ianto rolled his eyes. “Of course. Anything else, sir?”
“No, I think that’ll do for now.”
“Is it a boy or a girl?” Gwen wanted to know.
“It’s light coloured, so it’s a female. The males are several shades darker,” Jack told them.
“I think I’ll call her Velvet,” Tosh decided, “I’ve never had a pet! I’ll look after her, Ianto, you won’t have to do anything.”
“They like warm, humid conditions so Ianto and I will help you build it a pen in the hothouse. It’ll be safer in there anyway, we don’t want Myfanwy mistaking it for a snack. Ianto’s very handy at building things,” Jack added.
Chattering away happily to each other, the team headed back towards the SUV with the new Torchwood resident. It was good to know that the rift could occasionally hand them something that didn’t want to eat them or conquer the world!