ANOTHER WORLD

Ross almost threw his phone away from him as static suddenly ripped through the line. When he brought it back to his ear, it was as he feared. The connection had been lost, and all he could hear was the desolate sound of a dial tone.

He slammed the phone down angrily, and had to brace his hands briefly on the edge of the desk as he fought to regain his composure. Goren had been trying to tell him where they were, but the static and electrical interference had effectively stymied that. All he’d heard was ‘power plant’, and even then he couldn’t be absolutely certain.

“Captain?”

Ross looked around to see Mike Logan standing there in the doorway, looking at him worriedly. The captain motioned to his phone.

“Goren called me.”

“What!?” Mike burst out, striding into the office. “You're kidding! They got away?”

“Apparently,” Ross confirmed grimly. “He was just trying to tell me where they were when there was all this static, and then the line cut out. I think it just caught up with them again, and there's not a damn thing we can do to help them!”

Ross uttered an angry shout and slammed the palm of his hand against the desktop.

“What did he manage to tell you?” Mike asked, taking care to close the door behind him. “Did he tell you anything useful at all?”

“I think he might have mentioned something about a power plant, but I couldn't be sure.”

“A power plant...?” Mike wondered. “Well, that thing was made of energy, right? That's what Harkness said, wasn't it?”

“Yes...”

“So, a power plant would make sense. Not an active plant, though. It'd have to be one where there are no people around, or that would bring too much attention.”

“A decommissioned plant,” Ross said in shock realisation, and Mike nodded.

“Exactly!”

“Don't get too excited. There are three altogether,” Ross reminded Mike soberly. “By the time we searched all three... even if we get lucky and hit the right one first...”

“We have to try,” Mike cut him off. “C'mon, Captain, we have to try.”

Ross nodded his concession. He'd never intended to say no. Mike went on quickly, sounding relieved.

“So, there are three decommissioned power plants. One of those is the Foster Plant. It's been shut down since February last year, so it's probably not that one. Been shut down for too long. Other than that, we've got two that were only decommissioned in the last couple of months.”

“Staten Island, and Long Island,” Ross said. “The question is, which one? We don't have the time to waste searching the wrong place.”

Mike suddenly wheeled around and all but ran from the office. Ross hesitated for just a moment before going after him.


Gwen was in the process of trying to piece together what little they knew about the Grysliaak. She had been writing anything and everything they could think of on the whiteboard, but there were a pitifully small number of facts to show for it. The stress was starting to show on her face as they strained to piece together any little snippets of information that they could. It was proving to be a fruitless exercise, and everyone in the squad room knew it.

So, when Mike approached Gwen, neither he nor Ross was surprised when she rounded on him defensively.

“Detective Logan, if you're here to make petty comments, then you can just turn around and walk away. I do not want to hear it.”

Mike blinked, and then grinned wryly.

“Truce,” he said, holding up his hands, palms out. “Listen, Cooper, can you guys scan the city for things like power fluctuations?”

Gwen looked across to Tosh, who nodded in confirmation.

“Yes, but it would be impossible to differentiate between normal and abnormal fluctuations.”

“Well, what about specific locations?” Mike pressed. “If I could give you specific locations to target?”

“Such as...?” Owen asked.

“Such as a couple of recently decommissioned power plants?”

Tosh's eyes went wide.

“Oh my god, of course! Yes, just give me the locations, and I'll be able to determine if there's any sort of energy being generated that can't be attributed to residue power.”

As Mike went with Tosh to give her the information she needed, Owen looked incredulously at Ross.

“How'd you think of that?”

Ross smiled ruefully.

“I'd love to say that it's pure deductive reasoning, but I can't. The truth is, Goren called me. He said they'd managed to get away, but I suspect the Grysliaak caught up with them again, because the connection was cut fairly abruptly by what I think was a pretty damned big power surge.”

“Bloody hell, I hope they're okay,” Owen muttered. Ross hesitated, and then spoke in a low voice to Owen and Gwen.

“Logan told me earlier about trying to contact that woman...”

“You mean Martha Jones?” Owen asked, and the captain nodded.

“Yes. Any luck with that?”

Owen sighed and shook his head.

“No. We've tried half a dozen times since coming back from the hospital. No luck. We can't reach her.”

“This... Doctor. Could he really help?”

A grim and rather unpleasant smile filtered onto Owen's face.

“Oh yes, Captain Ross. He could. And because it's Jack who's in trouble, it's a fair bet that he'd come on the fly. The thing is... this Doctor is the reason Torchwood even exists. No one knows the real story now, but rumour is that he pissed off Queen Victoria, and she set up Torchwood to protect the Earth from him.”

Ross blinked, puzzled.

“But if he's dangerous...”

“Of course he's dangerous,” Owen retorted. “But the Queen got it wrong, The Doctor has always defended the Earth, not threatened it. God only knows what sort of state we'd be in if it wasn't for him.”

“But we can't reach him,” Ross said. Owen shook his head.

“No.”

“Then we're on our own, Doctor Harper.”

Abruptly, Tosh and Mike emerged from the task room.

“The Brennen Plant, on Long Island!” Mike announced anxiously.

“There was a massive power surge through there just ten or fifteen minutes ago,” Tosh added. Ross felt a chill go down his spine as he remembered the power surge that had cut communications between him and his detective.

“All right!” Ross shouted, immediately garnering the attention of everyone in the room. “People, get your gear together. We're moving out immediately! Our target is the Brennen Power Plant on Long Island. Let's go!” He turned to Owen once more, as the squad exploded into action. “Detective Logan and I will come with you three, if that's acceptable.”

“Fine with us,” Owen said blithely. “You can help carry our gear.”


Minutes later, they were on their way, a convoy of police cars heading towards Long Island and, hopefully, the safe recovery of their colleagues. Ross called ahead to warn the relevant precinct that they were coming, but to stay right away. Consequently, Ross was not the slightest bit surprised find a contingent of officers from the Three-Six waiting for them, led by Lieutenant Alan Dimitri.

“Danny,” Dimitri greeted him soberly as they Major Case detectives joined the officers of the Three-Six. Ross offered no pretence of friendliness.

“I told you to stay away, Alan.”

Dimitri raised an eyebrow in amusement.

“Right. You say you’re coming onto my territory, out of your jurisdiction, to search a place that no one has set foot inside for two months, and you expect me to stay away? You should know better than that, Danny. Now, what’s going on?”

Ross clenched his jaw and his fists in aggravation. He hates this, but there appeared to be no way to get around telling Dimitri at least the basics of what was happening.

“We have three people missing,” he answered tersely. “One of them is one of my own detectives. We believe they’re being held in here.”

Dimitri snorted softly.

“Okay. So where’s your search warrant?”

It took considerable effort for Ross not to react. Surely, he thought with a sinking feeling, Dimitri was not going to insist on a warrant…

“We don’t have one,” he answered, starting to feel more than a little angry at the delay. “We have reasonable cause, though…”

“Bullshit!” Dimitri shot back, a smug grin on his face. “Oh, I’ve been waiting for you to fuck up, Danny. You’ve been a pompous bastard ever since they gave you Major Case, but this… Oh, this is beautiful!”

“We don’t have time for this, Alan…”

Again, Dimitri snorted derisively.

“You’ve got plenty of time, because I am not letting you go through those gates without a search warrant. It’s still private property. You ought to know damned well that I can’t allow you to go in without a warrant.”

Angry and frustrated, Ross decided it was time to defer authority.

“Miss Cooper?” he asked, turning to Gwen. “Would you please let Captain Dimitri know exactly where he stands here?”

Gwen came forward, pulling out her ID and all but thrusting it into Dimitri’s face.

“Gwen Cooper, Torchwood,” she introduced herself brusquely. Dimitri frowned, peering at the unfamiliar identification.

“Torchwood? What the hell is Torchwood?”

“We,” Gwen said in a chillingly calm voice as she indicated herself, Owen and Tosh, “are Torchwood. And we are the ones who will have your balls in a sling if you don’t get the fuck out of our way! You have no authority here, Lieutenant. Torchwood has priority, and if you didn’t get the memo, then I suggest you call your Commissioner. He’ll happily confirm it for you.”

Dimitri blanched, visibly taken aback by the young woman’s aggression. As he was recovering from the shock, Owen stepped forward and spoke as well.

“In other words, pack up and clear off, and maybe when you wake up tomorrow, you’ll still have a job to go to.”

Dimitri looked incredulously at Ross, who didn't as much as blink.

“They're not kidding, Alan. You get in the way now, and you'll be lucky if all that happens is you lose your job. Now, take your people, and get out of here!”

It looked for a moment like Dimitri was going to argue further, but then his shoulders dropped, and he spoke angrily.

“You haven't heard the last of this, Ross.”

He wheeled around and stalked away before Ross could answer him back, taking a squad of disgruntled cops with him.

“About bloody time,” Owen growled, once they'd finally gone. “Tosh, get that gate open, love.”

“Way ahead of you,” she called back.

All eyes turned to look as the gate slid open, and Tosh held up a device that was flickering with odd lights. She smiled faintly, though there was little humour in that smile.

“Opens any lock in thirty seconds – even ones that have been disabled.”

Owen and Gwen shot through the open gate, with Ross, Mike and the rest of the squad close behind.

“Crap, can you smell that?” Owen muttered.

“Smells like electricity,” Ross said, looking around grimly. “Like something... or someone... was electrocuted.”

Silence met that statement, and uneasy looks were traded amongst them all. None of them wanted to think too heavily on that.

“Here!” Mike called out suddenly, drawing attention to where he stood nearby. He pointed to what looked like a scorch mark on the ground. “What do you make of that?”

Gwen crouched down for a closer look. When she finally looked up again, her face was the colour of ash.

“It's a body shape. Someone was held down here and...” She faltered, unable to bring herself to say it. “It caught up to them again. They escaped, but it caught them again.”

“Ah, fuck,” Owen swore. All eyes turned to see what he had just picked up off the ground a few metres away from the scorch mark. “It's Jack's wristband,” he explained grimly.

Ross looked around, struggling to contain his own distress. He suspected that it was a pointless exercise, but they had to look.

“Okay, people. We need to search this whole place. Let's get moving... and for God's sake, be careful.”


Two hours later confirmed what Ross had suspected. The power plant was empty. Granted, it only seemed to have happened recently, but it was empty nonetheless. With the exception of what they had discovered inside the gate, there was no sign at all of Bobby Goren, Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, or the monster that had taken them.

“Too late,” Owen said in a strained voice. “It's moved them somewhere else.”

“There's nothing more we can do,” Ross said quietly. “We may as well head back to One Police Plaza.”

“They won't get away from it again,” Gwen said softly. “It won't give them that chance.”

“Well, if you have any ideas for us, Miss Cooper,” Ross said, a little more harshly than he really intended, “then please enlighten us.”

Gwen's shoulders slumped. She had nothing to offer at all. Ross nodded, not unsympathetic to her, and spoke up for everyone else to hear.

“All right, people. Let's pack it up and get back to One Police Plaza.”

“So that's it?” someone asked. “We're just giving up?”

“Did I say that, Reilly?” Ross snapped. “We have other options. Now, let's get moving!”

“Care to tell us about these other options?” Owen asked Ross once they were back in the Torchwood SUV. Ross twisted around in his seat to look at Tosh.

“Can you keep monitoring for power surges? Like the one that happened back at the power plant?”

Tosh nodded, and from the look on her face Ross guessed that she had already thought of doing it.

“Yes, I can. And now that I have a record of the specifics of that surge, it should make it easier to differentiate between normal power fluctuations, and surges caused by the Grysliaak. We should be able to track it down, except...”

She trailed off, suddenly uneasy.

“What is it, Tosh?” Gwen asked.

“Well... it seems that the surges happen when the Grysliaak is... you know... feeding. Which means...”

She hesitated again, and this time Ross spoke up.

“Which means we'll only get our next lead on it when it's attacking one of them.”

“Crap,” Mike muttered. “No offence, but I hope to God that it sticks to feeding off Harkness.”

“None taken, mate,” Owen retorted. “None taken.”


Jack came back to life with a wheeze, rather than a gasp, feeling like all the air had been squashed out of his lungs. He lay still for a minute, taking the time to reassure himself that he was, indeed, alive before opening his eyes.

At first, he couldn’t see anything. It was dark – almost black. He blinked, straining to see through the darkness. They were underground… or so he guessed, by the dank scent that invaded his nostrils. Also, it wasn’t true to say that it was totally dark, he realised distantly as his senses began to regain strength. There was a faint light coming from somewhere… although, where he didn’t know and wasn’t bothered to speculate.

As his vision slowly cleared and the dark became a little less absolute, he was able to make out a figure sitting close by. It took him just a moment to recognise who it was.

“I… Ianto…?”

His voice was little more than a hoarse, and he coughed painfully in a wasted attempt to clear it. Ianto looked down at Jack, but made no attempt to move.

“Welcome back.”

Jack frowned. There was something off in the other man’s voice, and as he became more aware, he realised Ianto was holding his right arm very gingerly against his body. Grunting softly, Jack pushed himself awkwardly up into a sitting position.

“You’re hurt.”

It wasn’t a question, and Ianto made no effort to deny it.

“Just my arm,” Ianto told him. “I think it may be broken.”

“Son of a bitch…”

“I’m all right, Jack. Really, it’s just my arm. I’m not the one who needs help.”

It took a few long seconds for Ianto’s words to sink in, but then Jack suddenly realised what Ianto was talking about, and he looked around in shock. Bobby lay nearby, pale and unmoving and, by all appearances, barely breathing.

“What happened?” Jack asked hoarsely as he crawled over to the unconscious detective.

“The Grysliaak,” Ianto answered in a strained voice. “It came back. You hadn’t revived, and it was angry. It wanted to feed, it was screaming that it was hungry. Then… It came at me. Bobby was quick, though. I didn’t think someone as big as him could be so quick. He pushed me out of the way, but he couldn’t get clear himself, the same as with the weevil. The Grysliaak attacked him, Jack. He was dying, and I couldn’t just sit back and do nothing… so I hit it.”

Jack blinked, stunned.

“You… hit it?”

“It’s in human form now, Jack. Completely solid human form. There are some advantages for us in that. I hit it, and knocked it away from Bobby… split its lip, actually.”

Jack winced involuntarily at that. He had been on the receiving end of a punch like that from Ianto, and he could just imagine the Grysliaak’s shock.

“You stopped it from killing him,” Jack said, but Ianto ignored the statement and continued talking quietly.

“It was angry… so angry. It threw me into the wall. I think that’s when I broke my arm. Then it left. That was about ten or fifteen minutes ago. I tried to help Bobby, but… Jack, I think he’s dying.”

Jack crawled over to where Bobby lay, taking in his ashen face with a distinct chill of fear. Ianto was right. Bobby was fighting for his life, and it was a fight that he was steadily losing. His breathing was shallow at best, and his pulse was so faint that Jack nearly couldn’t find it at all. He was dying, and he had just a few minutes left at the most.

“Wh… What are you doing?” Ianto asked in confusion as Jack sat down carefully and lifted Bobby’s upper body up off the floor to cradle him in his arms. “Jack…?”

Jack glanced up at Ianto in the dim light.

“I’ve got a surplus of life, remember?”

And then he leaned over and closed his lips firmly over Bobby’s, sealing the other man’s mouth with a life-restoring kiss.

Ianto knelt there, staring with wide eyes as Jack appeared to kiss Bobby fairly ferociously. For a moment, he couldn’t understand what Jack was doing, but then a memory came to him. He remembered waking up in the Hub with Jack’s face hovering above his own, and a very distinct and unmistakable taste on his lips.

Jack had said nothing about it to him afterwards – not even weeks down the track – and Ianto had shoved the memory to the back of his mind, attributing it to the Captain’s apparently permanently aroused state. Now, though, watching as Jack pressed his lips to Bobby’s in a crushing kiss, Ianto began to realise for the first time how wrong he had been.

He watched in breathless hope, not entirely sure what he expected to see. Nearly a minute passed, and Ianto thought he could just make out a soft, golden glow. Then, abruptly, Jack pulled away and Bobby came to with a start.

Confusion adorned the detective’s face as he realised that he was currently being cradled in Jack’s arms. He tried to push himself up, but Jack wouldn’t allow him to do so.

“Stay still, Bobby,” Jack advised him softly. “You’re going to feel fairly weak for a little while yet. I couldn’t give you back everything the Grysliaak took from you.”

“Wh… What did you do?” Bobby asked hoarsely. Jack smiled faintly and, unable to help himself, he allowed his fingers to play lightly through Bobby’s salt and pepper curls.

“Just gave you a little boost, that’s all.”

A slight frown flickered across Bobby’s face, and his tongue poked out slightly to run briefly over his lips.

“Did… you just… kiss me?”

Jack’s smile widened just fractionally.

“If it makes you feel any better, just think of it as mouth to mouth resuscitation. I won’t apologise for it. Damned if I was going to let you up and die on me, after you saved Ianto’s life.”

Bobby finally relaxed, then.

“Well… He saved me, too.”

A wistful smile flickered across Jack’s face. Here was a strong, intelligent and, dare he add, handsome man who had come face to face with some true horrors, and barely flinched. Screw the Doctor, he decided. Not literally, of course, but he could always hope…

He shook himself back to reality, and smiled down at the pale man still held securely in his arms.

“If you ever feel like you’ve gone as far as you can with the NYPD, Bobby, and you want a real challenge, call me. I’d love to have you in Torchwood.”

Bemused, Bobby slowly pushed himself up, and this time Jack let him.

“Trying to poach me from my squad, Captain Harkness?”

Jack grinned.

“Yep,” he said, utterly unapologetic. “Interested?”

In all honesty, he hadn’t really expected Bobby to show any serious interest. He could see all too clearly how devoted Bobby was to the NYPD, and he wasn’t going to make a serious effort to take the other man away from that if he really didn’t want to go. Subsequently, he was more than a little surprised when Bobby appeared to be seriously considering the offer.

“Who would I have to answer to?” he asked softly.

“Just to me,” Jack answered seriously. “We might have to kiss political ass once every few years to get extra funding, but beyond that the only one who has any influence over what we do, and how, is the Doctor.”

“I… might be,” Bobby admitted finally, quietly. Jack glanced across at Ianto, then, anticipating disapproval from the other man, and was both surprised and relieved when Ianto smiled and nodded.

“Good,” Jack murmured. “Well, now we have another reason to get out of here in one piece.” He got to his feet, and promptly collapsed again as his still-weak knees buckled beneath him. “Ah, crap…”

“Take it easy, Jack,” Ianto told him as he edged closer. “No point rushing to get up. All we know is that we’re underground somewhere now. We have no idea where.”

“And if we go walk-about down here,” Bobby added tiredly, “odds are we’ll never get out again.”

Jack conceded, if only because he knew that his body wouldn’t be going anywhere under its own steam for a little while yet. Giving so much energy back to Bobby after having only just come back to life himself had left him feeling drained and weak. He dared not say so, though. The last thing he needed was to give Bobby a guilt trip that was completely undeserved.

“Okay,” he conceded with a sigh, his shoulders slumping a little. Silence followed for the next few minutes, and was broken finally by Bobby.

“I don’t suppose you worked out why I was getting sick at each of those crime scenes?”

“No clue,” Jack admitted. “Maybe it’s something the Doctor can explain… if he comes.”

“He will,” Ianto assured him quietly. “Detective Eames is smart. She’ll have told Owen… or Gwen, and they’ll call Martha. You’ll see. We’ll be fine.”

Jack looked down wordlessly at his bare wrist, where his vortex manipulator had once fitted so comfortably against his flesh. And, perhaps for the first time ever, in the silence and the pervasive dark, Jack Harkness doubted.


Mt Sinai Hospital

Alex had long given up trying to sleep. Firstly, she was worried sick about Bobby. Secondly, her head was still pounding, and the drugs she’d been given were starting to wear off. And thirdly… Thirdly, she was worried sick about Bobby.

Thoughts of Ianto also occupied her mind, too, although admittedly to a considerably lesser degree. After all, Ianto had the mighty Jack Harkness to protect him. She couldn’t envisage the enigmatic Captain going out of his way to protect Bobby as well. As far as Jack went, her concerns most certainly didn’t stretch to him. The man couldn’t die, so what harm was all of this going to really do to him? Bobby and Ianto were the ones whose lives were in danger.

Even as she thought that, though, she couldn’t help feel a twinge of guilt. She knew as well as anyone that in some cases there really were worse fates than dying. She suspected that Jack Harkness knew that as well, and probably better than she or anyone else ever could.

A soft moan escaped her lips as a fresh wave of pain rolled through her head, but she resisted the desire to summon a nurse and ask for more painkillers. What she needed was a distraction, like that which the young Torchwood doctor had given her after she’d been formally admitted. Granted, it must have seemed strange to Mike to walk in and find her laughing when her partner was God only knew where.

In her defence, though, she’d been suffering a monster concussion, and had only just been given drugs to combat the effects. Truthfully, she really hadn’t been too clear-headed when Mike had arrived.

She sighed again, wishing that she had something… or someone… else to focus on, in order to distract her from the god-awful pain in her skull, even if it was Owen bloody Harper telling some moronic and patently unbelievable story.

Gradually, her eyes strayed to the telephone. She’d tried the number of that Martha Jones woman several times throughout the later afternoon, after wheedling the number out of Mike earlier. He’d been on his way out to Long Island, if she remembered rightly, after getting some lead on the whereabouts of their missing colleagues. She could keep trying the number, she’d insisted, while they did whatever they had to do, and she would let them know if she had any luck getting through.

So far, though, nothing.

Alex felt the frustration creeping up on her once more. There wasn’t even an answering machine. Who, in this day and age, didn’t have an answering machine?

She could feel the urge growing to try again, and resisted it. What point was there when it was now… what? Just after midnight in London. Who in their right mind would answer their phone at that time of the night?

No, she thought miserably. It was best to just lie back down, shut her eyes and try to get some sleep. Except, sleep would not come, and she found herself engulfed by a wave of nearly paralysing fear for Bobby’s safety.

The Long Island lead had come up empty. Apparently, according to Mike, Bobby and the other two had been held there at the target location at some point. It was estimated that they’d missed them by perhaps just a matter of minutes.

Tears spilled down her cheeks. So close, and yet so far, literally, and now they had nothing. Sure, Mike had been spouting all sorts of semi-coherent techno babble that she doubted he even really understood himself, but it all came down to the same thing in the end. Bobby was still missing, and they still had no idea where he was.

Gradually, she became aware of something smooth and solid in her hand, and she looked down in surprise to discover she’d picked up the phone without realising it, as though some deep instinct was urging her to try just one more time.

Stupid, she thought dimly. Stupid and pointless. And yet, she couldn’t stop her fingers from dialling Martha Jones’ number once more, despite the lateness of the hour. One more, she assured herself. She would try just once more, and then that was it. They would officially be on their own. The very thought sent nauseating chills through her body.

Grimacing, Alex Eames finished dialling the number, waited for the connection and then listened in heavy silence as the phone rang at the other end.


London
Approximately midnight

Martha Jones groaned softly to herself as she awoke to the unwelcome sound of the ringing phone. Deciding it was far too early to even consider answering the phone, she grabbed a pillow and pulled it over her head. A moment later, the ringing stopped, which meant that either whoever was calling had hung up, or someone else in the house had answered the call. The latter proved to be true when she heard her mother’s irate voice, even through her bedroom door and through the pillow she was holding over her head.

“…Do you have even the slightest idea of what the time is…”

Martha smirked to herself. Whoever it was, they would never dare to call again after her mother was through with them. Still grinning, she pulled her head out from under the pillow and settled back down in bed, with every intention of going back to sleep. Her hopes were dashed, though, when the bedroom door opened, and her mother spoke.

“Martha, it’s for you.”

Martha groaned again.

“It’s the middle of the night, Mum! Tell ’em to call back tomorrow, whoever it is.”

“It’s a police officer, Martha, from New York in America. She said it’s about Jack.”

Martha snapped awake, her heart skipping a beat at the mention of Jack’s name. Sitting up, she took the phone from her mother, and spoke into it anxiously.

“Hello?”

Martha Jones?”

“Who is this?”

My name is Alex Eames, Miss Jones. I’m a detective with the New York Police Department’s Major Case Squad. I’m sorry about this, but I was told to call you and pass on a specific message.”

“Well, spit it out, then,” Martha growled. “What message?”

It might sound a little strange

Martha couldn’t resist laughing.

“You’d be surprised at what I think is strange. Just say it, would you?”

There was a momentary silence on the other end of the phone.

Okay, here goes. The message is, the Captain needs his Doctor.”

Martha went cold all over, and any hints of amusement evaporated from her face in the space of an instant.

“Martha, honey, what is it?” Francine asked softly. Martha looked up at her, fear in her eyes.

“Something’s happened to Jack.” And then, to the disembodied voice on the phone, “Is that all? Is that the only thing you can tell me?”

One other thing. Grysliaak.

Martha frowned, confused.

“Grysliaak?”

Behind her, Francine uttered a strangled gasp, and Martha twisted around to look at her.

“Mum? What is it?”

“When we were on the Valiant,” Francine said shakily. “The Master brought a creature on board. He called it a Grysliaak, and he set it onto Jack. It survived by draining the life of its victims.”

Shaken, Martha spoke into the phone once more.

“Please tell me, where is Jack?”

Missing,” Alex answered grimly. “Along with one person from his team, and one of our detectives. Apparently Ianto Jones was supposed to call you with that message if something happened to Jack, but then he was taken along with Jack. We’ve been trying to reach you for hours, and this is the first time we’ve gotten through.”

Martha was starting to feel sick. She knew as well as anyone what could go wrong in a matter of minutes, let alone hours.

“Okay,” she said, fighting to calm down. “Thankyou.”

Miss Jones, about this Doctor

“Never you mind about him,” Martha interrupted before Alex could go any further. “Just tell whoever’s there from Jack’s team that the Doctor’s on his way.”

She ended the call before anymore questions could be asked, and then drew in a shaky breath.

“It’s okay… It’s gonna be fine. Jack can’t die, he’s fine…”

“He may not be able to die, Martha,” Francine said softly, “but he can still feel pain. And that thing… Oh God, poor Jack… We could hear him screaming, Martha… It was agony for him. And the Master let that… thing have its way with him over and over again…”

Tears filled Francine’s eyes at the memories, and spilled down her cheeks. Martha felt the nausea roll through her stomach as the implications of her mother’s words hit home. Somewhere, Jack was in the clutches of a monstrous creature that was capable of causing him absolute, unending agony…

Her heart in her throat, Martha switched the phone back on and dialled a long-remembered number, praying that the one at the other end would answer it.


Somewhere in the Vortex

When the mobile phone began ringing, at first he didn’t realise what it was. To start with, he thought the Tardis had begun to make bizarre noises again. He listened to it for half a minute and was just reaching for the mallet when Donna spoke up with a mixture of amusement and irritation.

“Are you gonna answer that?”

And then he remembered. The mobile phone Martha had given him, with the words that he’d better be ready to come running when it rang… His two hearts skipped just slightly. Martha…

Fumbling through his many pockets, he finally produced the phone and flipped it open. Feeling slightly foolish, for he was fairly certain he knew who was on the other end, he still spoke very tentatively, just in case.

“Hello…?”

Doctor? It’s me.

The Doctor sighed faintly with relief, and spoke with exaggerated enthusiasm.

“Martha! How are you?”

I’m fine, but Jack isn’t.”

He started a little at the abrupt statement.

“What…?”

Doctor, you have to come back to Earth, right now. Jack’s in trouble. He’s in New York, and I think he’s been captured by a… a… Oh, Mum, what was it again?” The Doctor heard the muffled voice of Francine Jones speaking, and then Martha’s voice came through again. “Right, a Grysliaak.”

The Doctor froze, a feeling of horror permeating his entire being that was rapidly replaced with a white-hot rage. He didn’t stop to think. He didn’t need to. He spoke four simple words in a quiet voice that was full of threat for the thing that was hurting… nay, probably torturing his friend.

“I’m on my way.”

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