“Catch a flight within a few hours?” the Doctor repeated, “That would be marvellous…only,” he paused. “Captain, what’s the situation down there? ‘Been a while since I was last on Earth, any change?”
“Well, I’ve just neutralised the situation down here in London…for the time being,” he reported. “The old breach to the void in Canary Wharf, formerly known as Torchwood Tower, that reopened, but I managed to get it sealed off. It’s holding, but for how long I wouldn’t wanna guess. I’ve called down Torchwood 2 from Glasgow HQ to help keep an eye on it, and UNIT doesn’t seem to be doing too bad a job down here. Cardiff in Wales, that’s really where we need the help at the moment. Not to mention, what with our facilities and technology at Cardiff, if we should need some sort of a base…” The Captain looked to the Doctor.
The Doctor nodded in agreement. “Cardiff it is. Just make sure you and your team look after them, Jack.”
“Will do, Doctor.” The Captain acknowledged. He held a hand to his Torchwood ear-piece, switching on his blue-tooth. “Toshiko,” he said down the line in a clear voice, “Tell the team to prepare the base.” Jack glanced at the screen with a smile, “Torchwood’s getting some VIP guests.”
“Onto it now, Sir,” spoke a female from the other end, her soft voice just about audible over the Subwave. Captain Jack switched off his blue-tooth again, nodding to the Doctor. “All set.”
“Captain Jack,” The Captain repeated, reading the next message, “Yeah kid, I get that a lot…my team never lets it drop,” He sighed. “How I love late 20th-century pop music…not a bad song, though. Kinda suits me.” He smiled.
“And good, glad you got the message,” the Doctor continued, reading the message further. Then he quickly added in a sotto voce, “Still need to work on the ‘professor’ bit, but, guess that’s only to be expected…” He read on further. “Yep, making sure the aliens behave here is exactly what I need you to do. Among other things…but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”
“And meeting me in London sounds good to me, if you’re already here,” nodded the Captain. “In fact, I’m just about to head off back to Cardiff now, so – this goes for all of you - if you’re in London, you can meet me down here and we can travel down together. I’m at One Canada Square, just outside Canary Wharf. Shouldn’t be too hard to find me.”
Emerald Marie Ivy
“Yeah,” said the Doctor, scratching the back of his head. “Your grandmother…I can see how it might be difficult to explain. In fact, I can see a lot of you might have that problem.” He paused a moment, “Jack,” he said, addressing the Captain, “Torchwood wouldn’t happen to have any Psychic paper in stock, would you?”
“Torchwood One left a whole crate behind,” Captain Jack replied. He began to smile, realising what the Doctor was getting at. “…I think we might be able to solve your problem, Ivy. Same goes for the rest of you. I don’t have mine with me so…” He handed back over to the Doctor. “Doctor, if you’d like to demonstrate.”
“Not a problem.” The Doctor reached a hand into the inside of his suit jacket, pulling out a plain wallet. He opened it, holding it up to the screen. Inside was what looked like an ordinary blank piece of white paper. “Now, having worked with Torchwood Mikeal should know what this is, but I better explain it to the rest of you,” said the Doctor brightly. “This, is psychic paper. Might look like a blank piece of paper, I know…but if you show this to anyone else, it’ll show them whatever you need them to know. Trust me, it’ll work. Think of it as a fake ID card or fake documentation, only a lot more clever. If you need some way of explaining things, or a fast track to get yourself on a plane, this should help you. All you need to do is look confident and hand this paper over to whoever you need to show it to. The paper should do the rest…although I imagine some of you may need a verbal explanation to back it up.”
“Oh yeah,” Jack Harkness added, “but no abusing it. That goes for all of you. Only use it if you have to, and as soon as you reach Cardiff, we’ll be taking it back. If you’ve used the paper to get large sums of money out the bank, or any other method of abuse, we’ll know about it. So please only use it to explain your absence to people and get yourself on a flight over here.”
The Doctor nodded, “I endorse that. Psychic paper’s not to be used lightly. Only use it as an escape route; no cheap tricks.”
“Right,” said Captain Jack, “Thanks to the Subwave network and our database, we’ve got all your addresses and locations now, and we at Torchwood happen to have a small teleporter on our hands, so issuing you all with psychic paper shouldn’t be a problem. In fact…” He spoke into his ear-piece. “Toshiko, did you get that?”
“Loud and clear Jack…should only take a few minutes to prepare the teleporter and lock on to everyone’s co-ordinates.”
“Let us know when it’s ready,” Captain Jack nodded.
Sgt. Mini Fillmore
The Doctor frowned a little, as he moved on to Mini’s message. “Oh. Sorry to hear you plan to stay on Earth.” The disappointment in his voice was evident. He took a deep breath, his voice taking on an accepting tone. “But that’s fine, that’s fine. It’s your call. It would’ve been good to have your help though – after all, this situation isn’t just global, it’s universal. Earth’s at the heart of the problem, but there are other planets out there that need help too, but…ah,” the Doctor realised, “Your worried about your brother, aren’t you? I’m sure he’d be fine. I could get Torchwood to keep an eye on him, if you’re worried for him.” Then he added casually, “Oh, did I forget to mention my ship travels in time? In theory you could leave Earth and be gone for only a few seconds. But, if you really want to stay on Earth…” he trailed off. “Guess there’s no stopping you.”
The Doctor’s frown only got deeper as he read on. “Oh and Sergeant,” he said, his voice gentle but showing authority, “This is not a military operation. I’m asking for your personal help – not your team’s. If that’s going to be a problem for you, then by all means dispatch your team…but trust me, they’re only going to be a liability. I’d prefer it if you just brought yourself. This isn’t a military affair – not yet it isn’t, not if I can help it. Neither is it a situation where ordinary armed forces are going to be of much help. If the worst comes to the worst, then yes your team could prove useful – but certainly for now I’d strongly advise you to not get them involved.”
“Not to mention, sorry, but I’m not letting the military anywhere near Torchwood,” added Jack, keeping his tone as polite as he could. But the message the Captain gave off was clear: No way.
“Thank you for your input, Jack,” said the Doctor, moving along swiftly, “But the point is, Sergeant, I could’ve easily asked your commanding officers for help. But I didn’t. I asked for your help, and you alone. I know what you can do as an individual, I’ve seen it. And not as a Sergeant, but as a friend, I’m asking you, Mini Fillmore…” the Doctor looked directly to the screen, pausing mid-sentence. He couldn’t see Sgt Fillmore…yet unnervingly even through the screen, the Time Lord’s eyes looked almost as if they could see into her soul. “…Can you help me save the Universe?” He waited for a moment, letting what he had said sink in. Then he said quietly, “I’ll leave you to think that over.”
Then in an instant, the Doctor brightened up as he moved on to Mikeal’s question. “Well, Mik-eeeal,” he said, addressing him in exactly the same way as he had been addressed, “Looks like you’ll be meeting in Cardiff.”
“Or alternatively if you’re in London, you can meet me and travel to Cardiff that way,” added Jack Harkness, “It’s your call. Whichever route you decide on, you should all meet up at the Roald Dahl Plass near Cardiff Bay. It’s just outside the Wales Millennium Centre, not too hard to find. If you could all arrive there at say…3pm Greenwich Mean Time tomorrow, that would be ideal. You can choose to arrive at Cardiff for that time tomorrow, or you can come early and find some accommodation in Cardiff for the night, it’s up to you.”
“Right,” said the Doctor, glancing around him, “I’ve got an escape to plan, so…I’m going to leave you all now in the capable hands of Captain Jack. Captain,” he said, addressing Jack Harkness, “I’m leaving you in charge. I’m transferring control of the Subwave Network back to you as I speak. I’m also going to be sending Torchwood any information you might need, including the co-ordinates for the Tardis.”
“About that, Doctor,” Captain Jack spoke up, “I have some questions of my own. How I’m I going to fetch the Tardis? I gave my Tardis key back to you...and you disabled my Vortex manipulator so that I couldn’t use it anymore, remember?”
The Doctor paused. “Ah…” he said. He clearly hadn’t thought of that.
“But,” Captain Harkness continued, “If the feature hadn’t been disabled by you, my Vortex manipulator would still be capable of Transporting small ships as well as people through time and space…so theoretically speaking, if I told you I’d managed to re-enable that feature – which of course even if I knew how, I wouldn’t dare – but if I had…?”
“Then you could use it,” finished the Doctor, “Yes, that would be immensely helpful. But of course, you wouldn’t have gone against my wishes and done that –”
“-No way, of course not,” Jack Harkness agreed. “I’ve learnt my lesson, no space-hopping with a Time Agent vortex manipulator.” Then he grinned. “Thanks Doctor.”
“Don’t mention it,” the Time Lord replied. Then he addressed everyone, “Now I really have to go, so sorry if you have anything else to say, it’s going to have to wait. Or you could just ask Captain Jack, if it’s something he can answer. Hope to speak to you again soon, but in case I don’t…good luck.” The Doctor’s side of the screen became static.
“…Jack,” came a voice over Captain Jack’s blue-tooth, which was just about audible to the Doctor’s contacts, “Owen noticed one or two problems with the teleporter but it’s been fixed now. I just thought I’d let you know before we start sending the psychic paper over,”
“Thanks Gwen,” replied the Captain, glancing to the screen. “I think we’re about ready. Send it through.”
“Oh,” said Gwen’s voice over the Torchwood Com, “And tell ‘em to be careful, it’s hot. A slight side-effect of sending it through the teleporter.”
“Maybe we should call it ‘Hotmail’?” suggested another voice in the background.
Captain Jack almost laughed, then nodded, “Doesn’t rhyme, but not bad Ianto.”
“Teleporter primed and ready,” stated Toshiko over the line, “Co-ordinates, ready. Sending psychic paper in 3…2…1…”
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Where ever the Doctor’s contacts happened to be, a bright hot-white glow appeared next to or near to them for the briefest of seconds. It was accompanied by a futuristic sweeping noise, like something being sucked out of the air very fast, only in reverse. As the light disappeared, a thin black leather wallet fell out of the space where the light had been, dropping until it hit whatever surface was beneath it with a soft thud. The corners of it were steaming, as if someone had just taken it out of a microwave. Once the wallet had cooled down, if one were to open it they would find a blank piece of thin white card, similar to the one the Doctor had shown them earlier.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
“I’m assuming everyone got that ok?” Captain Jack Harkness asked them all from their screens. “Now is everyone clear what’s going to happen? Any last questions? I wouldn’t like to end this transmission with any of you still confused.”