Murders were not, strictly speaking, Torchwood business, not unless there were aliens involved. If an alien was the victim, or worse, the killer, then things became rather complicated, but in the case of a human killed by another human, well, such crimes were best left for the Cardiff police to deal with. Humans were their responsibility.
That was the way such things usually went, but circumstances were slightly different at present because Torchwood needed to borrow the bodies. Not in order to solve the recent spate of murders, but rather for research purposes. It was disturbingly macabre, but Suzie got her colleagues onboard by insisting that the glove worked better on the recently deceased, the fresher the body the better, and since she was the only one who’d succeeded in getting the thing to work even momentarily, the rest of the team, including Jack, were compelled to accept that she knew what she was talking about.
She’d made the suggestion at a team meeting a couple of weeks earlier.
“I’ve gone as far as I can with insects and lab rats, and since the rest of you are squeamish about me killing larger animals to practice on, all that leaves me to work with is people,” she explained with strained patience.
“I can get you into the hospital morgue again,” Owen suggested. “The night attendant still owes me a few favours.”
“Not good enough. Most of the people in there died slowly from illness, and even the ones killed in accidents or by sudden heart attacks have been dead and on ice for too long. The longer they’ve been dead, the harder it is to bring them back. Ideally I need corpses that that are less than two hours old.”
“Not asking for much, are you?” Owen looked as disgruntled as he sounded.
“If I’m ever going to master the glove I need something to work with. Think of the benefits if I can succeed in restoring someone fully to life, permanently. We could conquer death, save victims of tragedy, bring people back to their loved ones, and if I could fine-tune it to heal as well… The possibilities are endless. This could be the most important discovery in the history of humanity and you want to quibble about testing it on the recently deceased? They’re dead anyway, so who would it really hurt?”
Owen shrugged awkwardly. “Well, when you put it that way…”
Suzie turned pleadingly to her boss. “Please, Jack? All I’ll need is a few minutes with someone who’s just died, and violent deaths create a stronger connection than peaceful ones. I’m not asking for much, just that we use Tosh’s police radio scanner programme to look for murders and violent deaths as well as the other key words it’s already set to search for. Then if we get a hit, we go to the scene so I can use the glove on the victim. After that, we don’t have to do anything else; we can hand the investigation over to the police. Everybody wins.”
“Except the poor schmuck who got knocked off,” Owen muttered.
“Someone who’s already dead isn’t exactly in a position to complain,” Suzie pointed out reasonably.
“What d’you think, Tosh?” Jack asked.
“I could easily adjust the search parameters on my police scanner programme. It wouldn’t take more than a few minutes; then it would just be a case of waiting for it to pick up something usable.”
“Alright then, do it,” Jack decided. “Cardiff isn’t murder central though, Suzie. It might take a while before we find you a suitable body.”
“That’s okay, I have plenty of other things I can do while I’m waiting.” She’d been so focused on researching the glove recently that her other work was starting to pile up.
“Good, then perhaps I might get the rest of last month’s mission reports before it’s time for this month’s to be handed in.”
“I’ll get on them right away, I promise. As soon as we finish up here.”
Suzie had been jubilant after the meeting, excited at the prospect of testing out the glove on a fresh human subject, but two weeks had passed since then without Tosh’s programme alerting them to a single suitable subject. She was growing increasingly impatient when the idea hit her as she was leaving work late one evening. There was one sure-fire way of getting the recently dead body she needed; if no one was going to be helpful enough to kill someone, she’d just have to do it herself. Problem solved.
Despite the late hour, Jack called everyone in as soon as Tosh’s programme alerted him to the murder. An elderly man taking his dog for a late walk had discovered the body of a middle-aged woman slumped just inside an alley. They learned later that the victim had been on her way home from her job tending bar at a local pub when she was killed. There were no witnesses, and no apparent motive since she’d neither been robbed nor assaulted, simply stabbed in the back and left. The police theorised that she might have seen or heard something and been killed so she wouldn’t be able to tell anyone, but it was just supposition and at that point, impossible to prove either way.
When the Torchwood team arrived at the scene, Suzie felt only vaguely sorry for the woman; killing her had been necessary, and as she said to Jack, at least if the woman’s body helped her to improve her control over the glove then she wouldn’t have died for nothing.
She learned less than she’d hoped though, and even with a newly dead body, she was unable to restore life to it for more than two minutes. It was frustrating; Suzie needed another body in order to continue her research. Perhaps her choice of victim was at fault. She’d thought someone in the prime of their life would be a good choice, but maybe someone with greater life experience would be better.
Suzie made herself wait almost two weeks before selecting her second subject, an elderly woman on her way from a very successful night at the bingo. This time she made it look like a robbery by strangling the woman from behind and taking her handbag, which she dropped into a dumpster after pocketing her victim’s winnings. She didn’t really need the money, but there was no sense in wasting it.
Again Torchwood attended the scene, and again Suzie was only able to bring the murdered woman back for two minutes, just long enough for her to fret about her husband and her cat. What a waste of time and effort. Maybe she should try someone younger next time, a stronger life force, and a man instead of a woman; if she picked someone coming from the pub at closing time, with any luck he should be drunk enough not to put up much of a fight. Perhaps if she used the peculiar knife they’d just found the day before, the one made of the same metal as the glove…
Killing got easier each time, but the results were always pretty much the same; she gained more control, better control, but no matter what she tried she couldn’t break the two-minute barrier. It was disheartening; this was her fifth subject but he might as well have been her first, considering how little they’d added to her knowledge regarding the glove. She must still be missing something, which meant she’d have to try again, and soon, only her plans got derailed because of the nosy PC snooping around. She never got the chance to find another subject.
Bloody PC Cooper! She just had to break the Retcon, didn’t she? And then she just had to come back to the Plas. Her timing couldn’t have been worse; Suzie was about to take off, leave Torchwood behind and maybe continue her research somewhere else, and there was bloody Gwen Cooper, nosing around again! And she knew, or at least suspected something; even if she didn’t remember everything yet, she soon would.
Suzie knew she should get out of there, but she dithered, torn; leaving was so hard. She was going to have to get another job somewhere to support herself; she wouldn’t be able to access her bank accounts because then Tosh would trace her and Jack would find her. All she had was the old lady’s bingo money and that wouldn’t last long. But how could she do any other job after this? Torchwood was everything to her!
How had her life unravelled so completely?
The next few minutes were a blur; before she could quite register what was happening, she’d shot Jack, her boss, her mentor, her friend, and now she was going to have to kill the copper too. PC Cooper knew too much, had seen too much; no amount of begging and pleading was going to save her. Her death had been inevitable from the moment she’d shown up. Killing her was different somehow, harder than acquiring the subjects she’d needed for her research. Those she’d dealt with quickly, she hadn’t needed to talk to them, try to make them understand why she had to kill them. She’d barely had to look at them, just a quick thrust with the knife and it was over. But this, pulling the trigger, shouldn’t it be easy? She’d already done it once; Jack. But she’d simply reacted instinctively with him, hardly more than glanced in his direction. He’d been so close she couldn’t have missed, she was too good a shot; weapons expert, see? It had been over before he could blink. Killing Cooper… She should have just done it instead of trying to explain. It was taking her too long.
“Put the gun down.” Jack’s voice
Suzie couldn’t believe her eyes. How could he be alive? She’d killed him, she knew that for sure; one bullet straight through the forehead and he’d dropped like a stone, yet somehow he was on his feet again, coolly aiming his gun at her, the hole in his forehead closing as she stared in disbelief. Impossible! It was like it had never existed.
“Suzie, it’s over. Now come with me.”
No. She couldn’t. If he took her alive she’d be locked away in the cells forever, a fate worse than death.
It was easier than trying to shoot PC Cooper. One last kill; all Suzie had to do was press the barrel of her gun under her chin and pull the trigger. Messy, but thorough, and she’d be the winner in the end. The hero too, in a way, ending Cardiff’s recent string of murders by killing the killer.
So that’s what she did.