A Good Man – Chapter 24

Eleven Months Earlier

Owen stormed into the Hub, complaining about being wet and cold and how he was never doing that again, no matter who told him to, and bollocks to how important it was. Jack followed closely behind, an enormous grin on his face, clearly amused by Owen’s ranting. He was carrying a container with a couple of artefacts that had been dredged out of the bay.

While they were out on their retrieval mission, the small boat they were aboard had been buffeted mercilessly by the wind and waves and had been very unsteady. Owen had the misfortune to be leaning over the side of the boat when it heaved suddenly and he was unceremoniously tipped overboard. The look of shock and disgust on his face when they got him back onboard meant Jack had needed to hold back his laughter ever since.

The girls however didn’t bother with restraint as they were told the story of what had happened. They immediately burst into uncontrollable laughter and started teasing Owen about it. Suzie soon stopped though: her attention was taken by the artefacts she had taken from Jack and placed on the table. She felt the urge to inspect them carefully.

As she ran her hands over the metal of the glove, she felt a kind of a tingle, an electrical charge almost. Without sparing a glance for the rest of the team or any hesitation, she placed her hand inside the glove. It initially felt very cold to the touch but as soon as she put it on, her mind was filled with tremendous visions, and trivialities like the temperature of the glove were no longer of a concern to her.

Right at that moment, Suzie’s entire world had been reduced to the glove and the glorious things it was showing her. Someone who had previously worn the glove had been a mighty warrior; his deeds in battle were outstanding and all the soldiers around him followed him in awe. His successes piled up and up, and with each one, he had felt more and more alive. Almost like the lives of the enemies he killed became part of him, their strengths and knowledge were joined with his. There was an enormous sense of pride running through the warrior. Pride, and an underlying, increasing reliance on the glove as it became part of his psyche.

Unlike Ianto, who in five months time would be horrified by what the glove showed him, Suzie saw and shared the warrior’s pride. She knew the glove could give her that feeling of pride, that sense of accomplishment for herself, and she wanted it. Spending more and more time using the glove over the next few months, she was blinded to how much the warrior had become reliant on the glove when she could only feel the positive effects of it and she was especially blinded to how much she herself was becoming reliant on the glove.

It had only taken one month before she had the idea of using the glove to resurrect. She didn’t quite know how she had made that jump in her reasoning of the uses of the glove, but as soon as the thought entered her mind, she knew somehow it was right. The feelings she remembered from the warrior, of how the enemies lives became part of him seemed to be a completely opposite concept to using the glove to resurrect, but she pushed those thoughts aside not wanting to examine what she was doing too deeply.

Taking the glove home one night, she found a dead fly on her windowsill and the glove almost screamed at her from within her handbag. Going and getting the glove she came straight back to the window and put the glove on.

She felt that charge she had felt the first time she put on the glove and immediately knew that something was going to happen. The fly’s legs started to twitch and images started going through Suzie’s head. It looked to be the point of view of the fly. Suzie laughed as she realised she was viewing her own flat from ceiling height as the fly flew around the room and she blinked in surprise as the window came up fast as the fly descended on its final flight.

It was just a brief memory, and the fly never fully revived from what she could tell, but it was enough. Just enough to confirm to Suzie, that yes, the glove could indeed resurrect.

This realisation meant Suzie had to make a choice. She was still officially an employee of UNIT, and knowing that Torchwood had the power to bring people back to life was something that she should really tell UNIT. But if she did tell them, she knew that UNIT would want to use it for themselves, and that she wouldn’t be guaranteed to continue to have access to the glove or the knife. The power to resurrect, that was an unbelievable power and she knew it was not something she was prepared to give up.

Slowly, she began working on the others, telling them little bits of what she had discovered about the glove and knife. She didn’t tell them everything she knew about them though – she didn’t want to scare the others off. Even though she was far enough under the influence of the glove and could see nothing wrong with what she was doing, something within her told her that telling the team everything would not be a good idea.

Eventually though, she convinced them all to test the glove on one of the bodies they held in the morgue to see if she could bring them back to life or not. The attempt had mixed results, she was able to revive the man but only for a few seconds and they had not been able to communicate with him at all. But the fact that she was able to revive him at all piqued the other’s interest enough to try it again.

The second time she was able to bring the person back to life for nearly thirty seconds and even speak to the person. Suzie wanted to try a third person straight away, but she was able to see that both Tosh and Owen were starting to quail at the thought of disturbing another person for only a few seconds of life. To avoid raising any suspicions Suzie left it there, she stopped pushing to use any of the bodies in the morgue and thought about what she had learnt so far.

The bodies they had used had been dead for many months. The second one, the one she had actually been able to talk to, had not been dead for as long as the first one. The fly wouldn’t have been dead for that long, and she was able to see some of its memories, something she couldn’t do with either of the two people. It occurred to her that she would need to use the bodies of people that had not been dead for very long.

Having decided that, Suzie was then happy to wait a bit longer to try again. It would only be a matter of time before a new body was brought in to Torchwood, the way the rift was always bringing aliens through lately, and when a body was eventually brought in, she would be able to use the glove on that person.

Even though she was happy to wait a bit longer for a third body to test, she found her eagerness to continue the research was too much to keep to herself.

She had been attending the meetings of a group called “Pilgrim”. They were a very small group that weren’t advertised online, it was only word of mouth and a few handwritten and photocopied posters that made their existence known. They billed themselves as a religious support group but functioned mostly as a debating society. At these meetings, she had met a man called Max.

He was a very simple man and when Suzie offered to buy him a drink one night, he couldn’t believe his luck. A man like him didn’t usually attract a woman like Suzie, and he lapped up every story she told him about Torchwood and the aliens they dealt with. Suzie spiked his drink with Retcon, not wanting anything to get out about what she was telling him. So every week for nearly two years, she had been retconning Max. This had the side effect of weakening his mind and making him vulnerable to mind control techniques.

Waiting for a dead person to be handed over to Torchwood made Suzie start thinking of her father. Since she had been back in Cardiff, she had kept track of the old man and had found out early on that he had cancer and was only expected to survive about another nine months. Thinking about her father made her start to think back to when she and her mother had left Cardiff in the first place. She knew now that her father had been having an affair, and that it was what her parents were arguing about the night before they left.

Thinking about the fight led her to thinking about Mrs Pallister. She had lived down the road and would often give Suzie sweets or cakes and had often been called in to babysit her when she was younger. Before the fight between her parents, Suzie had not seen anything sinister in the friendship between Mrs Pallister and her father, and her mother had never mentioned anything, not even after they left. It wasn’t until Suzie was older, and had learnt the meaning of the words she hadn’t understood during the argument, that she realised her father had been cheating on her mother.

Another month passed, but no additional dead bodies had come under the care of Torchwood, and Suzie began to grow impatient. The imminent arrival of Ianto also left her uneasy, not being in charge of Torchwood 3 anymore would make it harder to insist they start using the glove again; it would no longer be her call. Under the influence of the glove, her hostility towards Mrs Pallister started to manifest itself as a plan to get her glove research moving again. She came back to the Hub that night and took the glove and knife. Mrs Pallister had to pay; she and her father had combined to ruin her childhood and they needed to pay.

Suzie slowly put together a plan where she would use the knife on three people – she steadfastly refused to use the word murder to herself – and then would use the glove to resurrect them. She was sure that if they used recently deceased bodies she would be more successful. She knew though that she would need to have a back-up plan if something went wrong and she was found out.

She started working on Max and started using some brain washing techniques on him. She programmed him so that if he didn’t see her for six months, he would start killing the other members of Pilgrim and use their own blood to write Torchwood on the walls. She imprinted on him that six was a very important number.

When Ianto arrived, he was immediately interested in her research on the glove and he questioned her about it on his first day. While she was telling him about it she noticed a strange look cross his face at one stage and for a brief moment she was uncertain. Was she doing the right thing? Was there something about the glove that Ianto knew that she didn’t? Whatever it was, it made Suzie step up her plans. When she left for the night, she stashed the glove and knife away in her handbag and later that night made her way to Sarah Pallister’s house.

When Ianto turned up, with Jack in tow, it seemed almost pre-ordained. She had a job to do and she had failed, but maybe she could still save her research. When she regained consciousness at the Hub she quickly went over to her computer terminal and activated some programs she had written when she had first started planning what she would do with Mrs Pallister and the other two bodies.

And then, six months later, when she opened the letter she had left herself, she knew exactly what had to be done. She took a transmitter out of her drawer and slipped it into Tosh’s handbag. Bringing it downstairs, she told Tosh they both needed to go to the Hub after all. She didn’t say why, but simply told Tosh that she would be able to help with the investigation.

The transmitter was designed to send out an inaudible subliminal message to Max to set off a trigger that would place the Hub into a lockdown. She had intended to program Max with this trigger before she dealt with Mrs Pallister, but she had only had time to program the initial trigger before Ianto’s arrival had forced her to change her plans. Suzie had placed the device into Tosh’s handbag as she knew that when they brought Max back to the Hub he would be taken near where Tosh stored her bag. If she had kept the transmitter herself, she knew it would most likely be confiscated after she confessed to knowing who the killer was.

Suzie couldn’t believe her luck when Gwen decided to let her out of the Hub. How could anyone be so stupid Suzie thought to herself. While Gwen was releasing Suzie from the chair, she looked away long enough to give Suzie a chance to remove the square of metal from within her shoe and place it in her pocket, ready for use.

They left the Hub unhindered, Suzie hoping that Max would trigger the shutdown in time to trap the rest of the team there. She thought briefly about Tosh, and regretted that she hadn’t had a chance to speak to her before she left.

Suzie and Gwen made it out to the highway without any sign of pursuit, which Suzie took to mean the lockdown had worked. She closed her eyes for a while as she thought through what needed to happen next. Suzie thought briefly about going to the hospital where her father was, but decided against it. She needed to get out of there, not waste her time on the old man.

She pulled the square of metal out of her pocket and stroked it fondly. She could almost hear the glove in her head, telling her what to do. She looked sideways at Gwen driving and smiled in satisfaction. Gwen yawning tiredly gave her an opening.

“Tired?” she asked.

Gwen shook her head. “I’m fine.”

“Don’t want you falling asleep at the wheel. I think I should drive for a while.”

Gwen looked at Suzie a couple of times before deciding maybe Suzie was right. She really did hate driving at night. She pulled over and they swapped over. Suzie didn’t start the car immediately though, but sat and looked at Gwen instead.

“What?” Gwen asked in confusion.

Suzie smiled again and held the square of metal out to her. “Could you hold this for me?”

Gwen frowned in confusion. She couldn’t work out why Suzie would want to give her the metal, but she reached her hand out anyway. As Gwen took hold of the square, she felt a burning pain rip through her whole body. The last thing she saw as unconsciousness overtook her, was a terrifying smile from Suzie.

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