“This is all your fault, Owen Harper!” Gwen snapped.
“My fault? How’s it my fault?”
“If you’d been paying attention instead of mucking about, we wouldn’t be in this mess!” Gwen folded her arms over her ample chest and sank down in one corner of the cage.
“Oh, like you were paying so much attention! You’re the one started the water fight anyway. I was just following your lead.”
Gwen glared through her fringe but said nothing. She wasn’t really in any position to argue because it was true, she’d dipped her hand in the sea and flicked water at him as they’d been searching the beach for the source of an odd signal Tosh’s instruments had picked up.
Tosh turned from examining the lock on the cage door. “If I had some tools I might be able to break us out. The locking mechanism seems fairly straightforward.”
“I’ve got a hairgrip,” Gwen offered hopefully.
“It’s not that sort of lock,” Tosh replied, smiling apologetically. “It’s a sort of combination lock. With the right tools I could trick it into thinking the correct combination had been keyed into the panel, but…”
“You don’t carry a toolkit around?” Gwen smiled faintly.
“I do, but my kit’s still on the beach.”
“So we’ve been abducted by aliens for reasons unknown and we can’t escape. That about it?” Owen wandered over, leaning on the bars beside Tosh.
“Jack and Ianto will notice we’re missing and rescue us.” Tosh sounded more confident than the others felt.
“Are you kidding?” Owen scoffed. “They’ve got the Hub to themselves, I’ll give you one guess what they’re doing right now.”
They looked at each other in silence.
Just then, an alien entered the room their cage was in, which Tosh suspected was probably the hold of a spacecraft. It was a tall, spindly, six-armed, bald, bipedal being, wearing a flowing blue robe. It was also carrying a tray, which it slid through a slot at the bottom of the cage door. It held two dishes, one filled with water, the other with what looked like dry kibble. The alien burbled something in its own language, reached a hand through the bars to pat Tosh’s head, then left.
“Okay, that was weird.” Owen looked at the tray. “Are we expected to eat that?”
“Looks that way.” Tosh sat down and went to scoop up some water in her hand.
“Don’t, Tosh! It could be drugged!” Gwen jumped to her feet.
“I’m thirsty, and getting dehydrated won’t help us. Whoever these people are, they’re trying to look after us. They’ve provided blankets, food, and a litter tray.” She pointed to the sandbox in the far corner. “I don’t think they mean to hurt us, they just don’t know much about humans.”
Tosh drank some water, and when nothing bad happened to her, the others drank too. Owen even tried some of the kibble, declaring it dry and a bit bland, but otherwise not bad.
Waiting was boring. They talked on and off, but there wasn’t much to say. Eventually, after several hours, the door to the room opened again to admit Jack and Ianto, accompanied by two of the tall aliens.
“Hey, kids! They been treating you alright?” Jack was grinning as he walked up to the cage. Behind him, Ianto was wearing that bland mask he’d perfected, but there was amusement in his eyes.
“What the fuck’s goin’ on, Harkness?” Owen demanded.
“Oh, just a slight case of mistaken identity, that’s all. The Hiibenix are traders who pride themselves on being able to acquire anything they’re asked for, for the right price. This family were hired for a very specific task, but none of their kind have ever been to earth before and their intel was less than accurate. Apparently they saw the three of you frolicking on the sand, their words, not mine, and decided you were just what they’d been asked for. Four-limbed, furry, playful, like chasing things, yap a lot…”
Owen gaped at Jack as the alien, looking apologetic, unlocked the cage to let the captives out. “What?”
Ianto smirked wickedly. “That’s right, Owen. Some very wealthy aliens decided they wanted something more exotic as pets than their neighbours had. They hired these good people to come to earth and find them some playful puppies. You were mistaken for dogs.”