Thanks to Her Majesty providing the finances, and UNIT providing the manpower, the rebuilding of the Hub’s upper levels was finally complete. It was different of course, completely redesigned since there’d been no way to put everything back the way it was before, but it had everything Torchwood Three needed, and then some.
The water tower with its pool was still there, at one end of the main work area, which was now all on one level, complete with eight workstations, and room for several more, their computers hooked up to Mainframe. They were arranged in two rows of four, back-to-back so whoever was working there could talk to each other.
Beyond the computer stations, steps led down to the Rift pool, providing more depth in case of flooding, while the armoury and the garage had both been rebuilt, also on the same level as the workstations, for ease of access in emergencies. This was Torchwood, after all; in the event of an invasion or other crises, time was of the essence.
Off to one side was the new medical suite, with a dedicated autopsy bay, a well-equipped treatment area for the living, three rooms for patients, each of which could serve as isolation for anyone who might be infectious, and a small operating theatre.
At the other side were the conference room and Jack and Ianto’s offices, while on the level above, overlooking the Hub, was the hothouse, empty at present but ready and waiting for the next alien plant to arrive through the Rift.
Behind the offices was a suite of rooms, comprising a yet to be furnished lounge and bedroom, an en suite bathroom, and a modern kitchen. Jack didn’t intend to live there anymore, he and Ianto had bought a house only ten minutes’ walk from the Hub, but if necessary they could stay overnight in complete comfort instead of trying to squash into Jack’s old army cot. It hadn’t survived the explosion anyway.
Above the medical suite was the new break room, with several sofas and chairs, some small tables dotted around, and a proper kitchen at one end, complete with fridge, freezer, stove, microwave, and a state-of-the-art coffee machine. There was also a bunkroom where members of the team could sleep during busy periods or while on night duty. It was furnished with a dozen beds, screens that could be drawn around each one for privacy, if desired, nightstands with reading lamps, and lockers for personal possessions.
Jack, Ianto, Gwen, and Rhys wandered around, looking everything over; it was all very grand, with every floor tiled for easy cleaning, but all very empty and sterile, completely different from the original Hub’s concrete and metal
“So, what d’you think?” Jack asked at last.
“It’s… different,” said Gwen lamely. “Very smart, not at all what I was expecting. The old Hub had a sort of lived-in feel to it.”
Ianto nodded. “Urban grunge. This will be easier to keep clean and tidy, but it’s like a new office building. No personality.”
Jack sagged with disappointment. “But I got the architects to include all the things you guys asked for, and you all approved the plans. I thought you’d like it.”
“We do, cariad,” Ianto said, putting his arm around Jack and giving him a squeeze. “But it’s all brand new, we haven’t had time to add any personal touches yet, put our stamp on it. I know just where to start though.”
“You do? Enlighten me.”
Making a sweeping gesture with one arm, Ianto smiled. “The walls of course.”
“The walls? What’s wrong with them? I had them painted in a neutral shade, I think it’s called buttermilk. Wasn’t that what you wanted?”
“Yep,” Ianto agreed, “but that’s just our blank canvas.”
Jack gave him a puzzled look. “I don’t understand…”
“Murals.” Ianto grinned at his friends. “I thought we could start with a dragon, maybe two: a Welsh one, just to be appropriately patriotic, and then a Japanese one in honour of Tosh.” The dragon that had once adorned Torchwood’s wall had been just one of the many things lost in the explosion that had destroyed the upper levels of the Hub and left a gigantic crater in the Plas.
Jack grinned. “I like that idea! But if we’re honouring Tosh with a dragon, we should do something for Owen too.”
“We should, I’m just not sure what,” Ianto admitted. “I was trying to come up with something related to him being a doctor, but it’s all body parts and surgical instruments.”
Rhys pulled a face. “Sounds a bit gruesome.”
“Yeah, that’s what I thought too.”
“How about a bottle of beer?” Gwen said. “You know how much he loved his beer.”
“Now that’s something I could get behind,” Rhys agreed.
“On the wall in the break room,” Jack added. “Maybe a row of them, with an empty one lying on its side…”
Ianto looked slightly dubious. “That might take a bit more artistry than I can handle. Dragons are one thing, I’ve had some practice with those, but I could never really get the hang of still life.”
“I can do the beer bottles,” Jack said. “Rhys can help. Ianto, you can do the dragons. Gwen…” He trailed off, not sure what to suggest.
“I painted some seascapes in art class when I was at school. I could do a beach and the sea on a sunny day, bring a bit of the outdoors inside.”
Jack beamed at her. “Sounds perfect. That should brighten the place up.”
The four of them gazed around the Hub again, each of them picturing the brightly painted murals that would soon adorn the walls; a splash of colour would make all the difference.
“Right, I’d best see about ordering some paints and brushes.” Ianto looked thoughtfully at his friends. “And overalls, and stepladders, and some cloths to protect the floors from splashes. We’re only supposed to be painting the walls; the floors are fine as they are.”
“Right, while you’re doing that, I suppose I should start reviewing files for potential recruits. No point having a shiny new base if it’s only going to be us working here.” Giving Ianto a quick kiss, Jack headed towards his office to get started. There were still things needing to be done, but Torchwood Three was back in business.