One and a Half Functioning Geniuses
Title: Rifts Over the O.Z.
Disclaimer: BBC & RTD own Torchwood, Sci-Fi owns Tin Man
Spoilers: Season 2 ‘Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang’ (nothing specific, just about Jack’s disappearance), and all of Tin Man
Summary: Getting back to Cardiff from the O.Z., interrupted.
A/N: Supposed to be all about Cain and Jack, and somehow Tosh and Glitch stole the show…go figure. Rifts Over the O.Z.
One and a Half Functioning Geniuses
Now that it had been confirmed that this indeed was the Outer Zone, the O.Z., Jack had to wonder what had changed the bleak future he’d seen in his adventures B.D., Before the Doctor. In fact, he’d met Cain back then too. He’d been in the Witch-Queen’s not so fun torture-chamber prisons. He’d been an old and broken man, going on and on about tin men? It’d been darker - literally, the sun had been blocked out for years and the entire Zone had been a nightmare realm. Jack grinned over at the sweet little D.G., which got him a glare from Cain and a confused look from her.
“This is quite the set up you’ve got here,” Jack gazed all around the spacious sitting room that the group had brought them to.
“Perks of bein’ a princess,” D.G. shrugged.
“Oh, I’d love to have some of those perks,” Jack sighed, winking at Cain, who flared his nostrils in a very manly way.
“Yeah, because all of the politics that go with it, and red tape crap are loads of fun,” D.G. rolled her eyes.
“Not to mention the assassination attempts,” Azkadellia said quietly, looking away from them. D.G winced at her sister’s comment.
There was a tense silence between the O.Z. natives that left a lot to the imagination of the Torchwood team. Tosh nudged Jack slightly, pulling him out of his own thoughts. Ianto and Owen were both watching the O.Z. folk and Gwen was reaching for her mobile.
“We should think about moving on,” Jack announced to the collective group. “Toshiko?”
“I’ve been running scans of the balcony since we arrived. It’ll take me a bit to run some simulations in my laptop, but I’ll find a solution.”
“Of course you will, you’re the brains of this entire operation,” Jack grinned at her, which made her blush a bit more.
“I think we’re supposed to be insulted,” Owen pulled a face, but tossed a wink Tosh’s way.
“It’ll take a few minutes. The battery’s fully charged this time, so no need for bloody messages hidden in tins.”
“Do we want to ask?” D.G. pondered aloud.
“We - Jack and I - were stuck in 1941 and had to get a message back to the team. I had to write it in my blood.”
“You take them to such thrilling places,” D.G. pursed her lips.
“I think I could probably help little Miss Sweet and Petite with anything she might need,” Glitch smiled. “Anything she might need. Anything she might need.”
“Glitch!” several of his friends groaned.
“His brain’s still in a jar,” D.G. explained.
“Funny, Jack had a hand in a jar,” Gwen smiled.
“Yeah, but it wasn’t my hand.
I was holding it for someone else.”
“He’s so clever, isn’t he just?” Owen smirked.
“Tosh? It’s your call.”
“An extra set of eyes couldn’t hurt.”
Gwen and Ianto both came to stand beside Jack. They wanted to ask him questions, they had the questioning look in their eyes. He guided them away from the one and a half functioning geniuses and closer to the princesses.
“How exactly does he function with his brain in a jar?” Gwen asked quietly, not really willing to be rude.
“Well, it’s not the whole
brain,” D.G. pointed out.
“They’ve had thirty annuals to perfect the procedure,” Cain pointed out.
“Why would anyone want to have bits of their brains cut out? Who would even want to cut out somebody’s brain?” Gwen shivered at the thought.
“Most of the Headcases are convicts,” Cain now looked more uncomfortable at Gwen’s shocked expression. “It’s a form of rehabilitation.”
“It’s a lobotomy,” Ianto‘s brow furrowed.
“It’s disgusting.” Gwen looked slightly ill.
“It works,” Cain and Jack answered.
“How did you get to be princesses?” Jack’s eyes widened as he turned to D.G. and Az.
“We were born them,” D.G. smiled. “Nice topic change, by the way.”
“I’m known for them.”
“Such a smooth operator.”
“Nah, not much of a Sade fan,” Jack chuckled.
“But you know about our world, how does a princess from here know about our world?” Gwen set herself down on the chaise across from D.G., hands held clasped on her knees.
“I was raised in Kansas, after … Az got possessed by an evil witch and,” D.G. coughed out the last bit.
“Did she say tried to kill her?” Owen shouted from where he was leaning against the wall, holding it up.
“I did kill her.”
“No, the witch
killed me after I accidentally set her free.” D.G. shrugged, though Jack could tell it was still a bit of a burden on both their shoulders. “Anyway, I got better.”
“And Mother sent her away with two robotic nurturing units.”
“And then the Witch found out I was still alive and a wrench in her works for world domination and got yanked back to the O.Z. I met up with Glitch, Cain, Raw and Tutor and we -”
“Were a four man revolution.” Jack grinned, putting the pieces of his previous visit to the O.Z. to this new world together.
“With a little help from my men,” Jeb cleared his throat before looking down at Az and D.G. “We took down the Longcoats while the princesses took down the witch.”
There was another tense silence as everyone reflected on that, and the only sound in the room was the tap-tap-tapping of Tosh’s fingers over the keyboard of her laptop and her quietly whispered conversation with Glitch. It took her a few minutes before she reported her findings to the rest of the group.
“The computer’s done numerous scans and collected all of the viable data needed to plot a possible shift in the fabric of the Rift, and I’ve got a pretty good possibility locked down,” Tosh called from her seat. She looked as uncomfortable as Jack felt. Of course it could be that Glitch had been chattering with her nonstop with Owen glowering with that adorable/annoying pout of his strapped onto his face.
“Good work, Tosh. Tell me what you’ve got,” Jack smiled at the blush on her cheeks at the praise.
“The next probable point of Rift activity on the balcony will be in one hundred sixty-four hours three minutes and twenty-four seconds.”
“How long is that again?” Gwen looked between Tosh and Jack, her eyes locking on his.
“Just under seven days,” Ianto and Cain answered her.
“Seven days, Jack? I can’t be gone that long! Rhys’ll think I’ve been killed or worse, run off with some random bloke!” Gwen cried, eyes wide in horror.
“I didn’t exactly plan this little trip through dimensions either, you know!” Jack snapped, reaching the end of his rope.
“It’s not that bad,” Az rolled her eyes at Gwen’s outburst. Gwen spun around, ready to pounce.
“Seven days without contact with my fiance isn’t that bad? Letting him imagine what sort of fate I might of met isn‘t that bad?”
“She’s right, seven days is not that bad. Try going eight annuals, or even fifteen. Seven days is nothing,” Jeb said quietly coming to stand in front of Az. Az looked at him as if she’d never seen him before. She blinked and then rose from the chaise.
“While you all seem to think I’m still a heartless bitch, I didn’t mean it that way.”
Jeb clenched his jaw and backed into his lean against the wall. Jack remembered that pose. Apparently, he’d met a different Cain all those years ago. Gwen still looked angry and scared, but a bit mollified. Cain had only popped an eyebrow at his son’s defense of the eldest princess.
“We didn’t - what did you have in mind, Az?” D.G. said after a moment’s silence.
“I could triple check other points of rift activity. It might be a bit tricky, as we know for sure this point will most likely reach back to Cardiff,” Tosh started in. She glanced over at Glitch with a small smile on her lips. “Glitch is sure that the rift holes found in the O.Z. can only lead back into our world. The change in location could be the problem. We might end up in London or Bora-Bora -”
“We can summon a Travel Storm to get them back to Cardiff,” Az sighed, cutting Tosh off mid-rant.
“What’s a Travel Storm?” Gwen asked, her brows furrowing in confusion.
“I think they want to keep it low key. The general public will notice a big ole honkin’ tornado touching down in the city,” D.G. pointed out, giving her older sister an apologetic glance.
“Yeah, I think a tornado is definitely out of the question,” Jack sighed.
“Not all travel storms come in the form of tornados. That was just the fastest Travel Storm type,” Az smiled. “If you don’t care about being gone for a day, we can summon a pretty spectacular thunderstorm to get you back to Cardiff.”
“A whole day? Can’t you summon it a bit faster than that?” Gwen pressed.
“We could, but we’ve got a ball to host in about half an hour. Barring that …”
“Crap! I’ve gotta wear a gown!” D.G. groaned, remembering the hated dress that hung in her wardrobe.
“I think the better question is what do we do with them during the ball,” Cain covered the quick smile he got from D.G.’s outburst.
“We would have to take them with us, keep them under containment as best we can,” Jeb answered the question, only to get a light smack from Az. He grit his teeth at her and spat out, “What?”
“Or we could invite
them to join us at the ball like civilized people instead of ordering them to like a bunch of mountain militia men.”
“Will there be a bit of dancing?” Gwen gave an honest to god joyful smile for the first time since they’d landed in the O.Z., squelching any witty retort Jeb could have made.
“And frou-frou-y dresses and pinching shoes, too,” D.G. laughed, which earned another hidden smile from Cain. “I’m sure we could find stuff for you guys to wear. We’ve got rooms full of all different formal gowns that are kinda wasted on just me and Az.”
“It’s been a while since we’ve all had a good reason to dance,” Tosh smiled in excitement at the thought of getting frilled up, and at the look of joy on Glitch’s face at the mention of dancing.
“Oh, the moves I know! They didn’t call me twinkle toes for nothing! We’ll have a dance or four, Miss Sweet and Petite,” Glitch gushed.
“I don’t know about you guys, but I never miss an opportunity to dance,” Jack smirked at Ianto and Gwen before turning back to Az and D.G.. “We’d love to go to the ball.”