A Good Man – Chapter 25

Ianto, Jack and Owen gathered around Tosh, who was sitting at her workstation, as they assessed their current situation.

“Everything’s gone. The computers, mobile coverage, lifts, everything. We’re sealed in.” Tosh looked up at Ianto helplessly. “If Suzie set up the lockdown, how did she do it?”

“Entered an override?” Owen suggested.

“No, she’s officially suspended. The computer wouldn’t give her access,” she replied.

Jack shook his head, feeling just as helpless. “Then how did she do it? What the hell did she do?”

They stood there and ran through all the possible options before Jack remembered they had a “guest” in the Hub.

Max Tresillian was sitting on the floor of his cell, rocking himself back and forth, while muttering the lines of a poem that Jack recognised to be an Emily Dickinson piece, over and over again. Jack’s mind flashed back to when they had searched through Suzie’s apartment, the night they had retconned her. He remembered looking through Suzie’s book collection and having a quick flick through one of them; “The Complete Poems”, a compilation of Emily Dickinson’s poetry.

Racing back upstairs to tell the others, they were then able to piece together what Suzie had obviously done. The realisation that Suzie must have arranged this months ago, right from the start, expecting something like this to happen, left them all both in shock and in awe of how clever Suzie had actually been.

To implant a trigger in Max to start murdering people in such a way that it would get Suzie’s attention and help her break through the retcon, and to also implant a verbal trigger that would leave the rest of the team trapped in the Hub had obviously taken a great deal of thought and planning. The only thing they couldn’t work out was the connection between Suzie and Max but, right at that particular moment in time, they didn’t consider that a high priority.

None of them had noticed that Ianto had wandered off and sat down on the nearby stairs fiddling with some cables, until they heard him call out to Jack. He stood up and faced the others.

“I’ve got reception, Jack!”

Jack bounded over to Ianto in surprise. “How did you do that? We’re sealed off.”

Ianto handed over his mobile phone and shrugged. “Just used the water tower as a relay.”

Jack looked at Ianto in amazement. Until then, he hadn’t even realised that Ianto even had any technical skills that would be useful in their current situation. Jack took the phone and walked back towards the other two. He turned back to Ianto and smiled admiringly at him.

“Nice work, Ianto!”

Owen rolled his eyes as Jack and Ianto stood there looking at each other affectionately and he was sorely tempted to tell them to get a room. Jack lifted the phone to dial out, but then stopped.

“But who the hell do we phone?” he asked the room in general.

Ianto stepped closer and gave Jack an evil grin. “I think you should call your new best buddy…”

After Gwen collapsed, Suzie finally started the car and continued driving. She continued driving down the road, listening to the voice inside her head that seemed to her to be the glove talking to her from inside the Hub.

She glanced over at Gwen who had moved suddenly in her seat. She knew Gwen would not stay unconscious the whole time – it was just her initial reaction to the glove and the energy flowing from her through to Suzie, although she was taken aback a bit by how quickly Gwen had gone pale. The whiteness of her skin made her freckles stand out in great detail and even the colour of her eyes seemed to have been affected. As Suzie continued to drive though, she realised it wasn’t really that surprising, given how much extra strength she could feel flowing through her. She knew she was getting close to that feeling of euphoria the previous owners of the glove had felt.

She turned the radio on, to see what was playing, and was stunned to hear a song playing that her mother used to sing to her when she was a kid. Tears started to roll down her face as her mind went back to happier times with her mother. She wished for a moment that she could have those happy times back, the only time in her life when she had felt safe and loved. She hadn’t felt like that for so long. An image of Tosh crossed her mind. Since the incident with Mary and their subsequent closeness, she had started to feel like Tosh could help give her that feeling back again. She felt like Tosh could be the one she could come home to and feel secure with, but that was only until she had broken through the retcon and remembered the feelings she got from using the glove.

For a brief moment, she wanted desperately to turn the car around and go back to Tosh, but then the voices she heard coming from the glove took hold again and she realised that that was only a pipedream. Only by following and using the glove would she know true happiness, not through anything or anyone human.

With a determined look, she stepped on the accelerator and continued on her way to her destination.

“All right, Captain Jack, just say that one more time. Nice and clear.” With an enormous grin on her face, Detective Swanson made sure that every member of her team had gathered around her phone and could hear Jack over the loudspeaker of the phone.

“We’re locked in our base and we can’t get out.” Jack looked as uncomfortable as he felt as he heard the team’s laughter come down the phone.

“OK, you’ve had your fun,” he interjected as he sensed Ianto growing impatient behind him. “Now, listen, Detective Swanson, one of our team is in danger.”

Kathy, sensing the moment for stirring Jack had passed, shooed her team away. “All right, you lot, back to work.” She picked up the phone again as someone came back with a book in a brown paper bag. “OK, I’ve got it. ‘The Complete Poems’. It’s gonna cost you twenty quid.”

Tosh had realised that if Suzie could lock down the Hub, she must have installed a way of reversing it, just in case. In response to Jack’s instructions, Detective Swanson started reading the book out loud, verse by verse, until Tosh had an idea about using the ISBN of the book instead. Luckily, the detective had managed to obtain the same version of the book as what Suzie had and they were able to reverse the Hub’s lockdown with the number. Once all their systems were running again, Tosh started to track down Gwen’s car. When she found where the car was, she yelled the location out Ianto.

“Ianto, she’s heading for the coast line on the B587. It’s a place called Hedley Point, there’s some sort of ferry, goes out to the islands.”

Jack and Owen wasted no time running to the garage to get in the SUV and go after them. Ianto closed his eyes as he realised that was where he had dreamt Gwen and Suzie were driving through when that creature had appeared in front of them.

Tosh continued on, unaware of Ianto’s discomfort. “There’s something strange happening in the car though.”

Ianto opened his eyes and went and stood behind Tosh to look at what she was trying to show him.

“There are three life signs, not two. But one’s not human and one of the human life signs is very weak. I don’t understand.” Tosh looked at Ianto, confusion written all over her face.

Ianto looked at the readings on the screen thoughtfully. “The non-human life sign, have you seen that anywhere else?”

Tosh shook her head. “I’m running it for any matches in the system as we speak.”

A couple of minutes later the computer found three other matches. Ianto and Tosh looked at each other in shock – the readings were coming from the Hub itself. Tosh grabbed a scanner and started looking for the signals. She walked over towards where her handbag was and the signal strength became stronger. She looked back at Ianto before putting the scanner down and opening her handbag. Almost straightaway, she found the transmitter Suzie had placed in there before they left her house. It was the source of the non-human signal.

When Ianto had first told her of what Suzie had done to cause the three murders, Tosh had been shocked at Suzie’s actions. Finding the transmitter and realising Suzie had used her, left Tosh feeling sadness and a sense of betrayal. She too had hoped that she would find happiness with Suzie, something that had been lacking from her life for so long, but it seemed she had been wrong again.

Steeling herself, Tosh pulled the transmitter out of her bag and showed it to Ianto. Scans revealed the metal it had been made out of closely resembled the metal of the glove and the knife. That meant that the second and third signals would most likely be the glove and knife. Ianto took the scanner from Tosh and went back to the Secure Archives to check.

“Why would metal objects scan as life signs though?” Ianto asked as he came back with the container that housed the glove and knife. His scans had confirmed they were the source of the remaining two signals.

“Maybe there’s a link between them?” Tosh theorised. She sent through the results of the scans to Owen to see what the doctor could work out.

In the SUV, Owen looked at the scans in alarm. “It must be the glove,” he said over the comms. “It was only since she started working with the glove that she started changing. Somehow the glove, knife and that transmitter must be related.”

“We’ve seen it before,” Tosh continued. “Metallic resonance. Like, the glove works better if the knife or whatever are part of the process, like closing a circuit.”

Owen agreed. “She must have something else with her, something also related to the glove. And somehow it’s sucking the life out of Gwen.” They all knew without speaking that the weaker human life sign would be Gwen, not Suzie.

They all stopped as Jack’s phone started to ring. Recognising the number, he patched the call through to the comms system, so that everyone could hear the conversation.

“Did you like the poem, Jack?” came Suzie’s voice over the phone.

“Suzie, don’t let her die. The glove is killing Gwen.”

“I know,” Suzie replied coldly.

“Then stop!”

“But I get all her power. Why would I stop?” Suzie sounded genuinely confused by that suggestion.

“For Gwen’s sake.” Jack was similarly puzzled by Suzie’s answers.

“Her? Why would I care about her?”

“Suzie, we’ve got a tracker on that car. We’re gonna catch up. I promise.”

“And what happens then?”

“If she’s dead, then I’m gonna kill you, Suzie Costello. I promise. I’m gonna kill you.”

“Jack,” Ianto warned quietly from the Hub.

“But would you, when there’s a part of her that’s now me? Could you really do that if I’m the only thing left of her?”

“Just you watch me!”

“Jack!” Ianto practically yelled this time.

Jack screwed his nose up; looking like he was about to growl, but then the quieter voice of Tosh came over the comms.

“Suzie? What about me?” she asked sadly.

Suzie looked up to the skies and closed her eyes briefly. She didn’t – couldn’t – answer. Looking back at the road, she saw they had arrived at Hedley Point. She hung up the phone without another word and pulled up.

By now, Gwen had sunk back towards unconsciousness. She wasn’t quite there, but enough of her energy had transferred over to Suzie that she was unable to walk unassisted. Suzie half dragged her out of the car and down the path towards the ferry berth. Midway there Gwen collapsed, no longer able to do anything. Suzie wasn’t able to keep hold of her and Gwen fell to the ground.

Realising Gwen could go no further, and that she could not carry her, Suzie wished her a safe journey and kept running as she heard the SUV screech to a halt behind them. Suzie saw the ferry in the distance as she ran to the end of the dock. It wasn’t going to get there before Jack did. Owen stopped to look after Gwen.

Suzie stopped and turned to face Jack. They looked at each other hatefully as Jack cocked his gun and pointed it at her.

“If I kill you, does she live?” he asked.

“But you can’t, Jack. ‘Cause look at me. I’m the last thing left of Gwen Cooper. Can’t you see it? Just the smallest bit of her?”

Jack raised an eyebrow and shook his head slightly. “Not one bit.” He replied, and shot Suzie in the chest.

She spun around and collapsed to the ground. Jack turned to Owen who indicated there was no change with Gwen.

“But I broke the connection!” He turned back around as Suzie started to move again. He raised his gun to shoot again, when Suzie’s phone started to ring.

Suzie looked at Jack, who didn’t respond, so she dug her phone out of her pocket and answered it. She knew that ringtone.

Jack watched Suzie carefully as she listened to whoever it was on the phone. Suzie didn’t do much talking; seemingly content to listen to whomever it was on the other end. She started to cry a few times and occasionally it looked like she was going to get angry at whatever it was she was hearing but eventually Suzie’s head lowered in defeat.

“Destroy the glove,” she whispered. “That will return everything to normal.”

Tosh ran to the container holding the glove and pulled it out. Using the gun that she always carried with her, she shot the glove to smithereens.

An hour later, everyone arrived back at the Hub. Owen drove Gwen back in her car, while Jack drove the SUV with Suzie handcuffed in the back seat.

As soon as the glove had been destroyed, Gwen had gasped back to life. She was considerably weak, but her life was no longer in danger.

Suzie had collapsed at the same time, the loss of Gwen’s energy and the bullet that was still lodged inside her, combining to make her very weak. Reluctantly, Owen treated her enough to make her stable enough to transport back to the Hub. They put her back into the cell she had originally been in, Ianto issuing strict instructions she was not to be removed from it under any circumstances. He made extra sure that Gwen understood this applied to her too.

While they were down in the cells, they found that Max Tresillian had died. Owen looked him over and it seemed he had had a heart attack around the same time that the glove had been destroyed.

Ianto was in the morgue writing out Max’s death certificate when Jack came down to find him.

“Thanks for doing this,” Jack said.

“Part of my job, Jack, as Director. Besides, I think you’ve been left to do this far too many times as it is.”

“No, I should be doing it, but…” Jack sighed and leant back against the wall, looking away from Ianto. “One day we’re gonna to run out of space.” His head sunk, unable to look around him any longer.

Ianto stopped writing on the clipboard and looked carefully at Jack. He could see the exhaustion and sadness in his face. Even though Suzie hadn’t been hired by Jack, they had still worked together for a long time and had developed a good working relationship. This whole affair was taking its toll on Jack, and Ianto wanted to do something special for him.

“If you’re interested, I’ve still got that stopwatch,” Ianto smiled over at Jack.

Jack, still lost in his thoughts on Suzie and how many people he’d had to put in the morgue over the years, didn’t catch the hidden meaning in Ianto’s words. He raised his head again and looked over at him. “So?”

“Well, think about it. Lots of things you can do with a stopwatch.”

Ianto and Jack looked at each other steadily until Jack broke out into an enormous grin as he realised exactly what Ianto was offering. His grin was so joyful and full of promise that it caused Ianto’s entire body to respond and he knew right there and then that there wasn’t a single thing he wouldn’t do for Jack.

“Oh, yeah. I can think of a few,” Jack was finally able to reply.

“There’s quite a list.”

“Send the others home early. I’ll see you in your office in ten.”

“That’s ten minutes…” Ianto pulled out the stopwatch and clicked the button, “…and counting.”

As Jack walked away, the smile fell off Ianto’s face. He closed Max’s drawer and looked at the next one over. There had been a body in that vault since 1901, but there was no record of who was in it. Whoever it was, the previous directors had not even told the committee about it, instead only leaving a note for each successive director saying that the vault should never be touched and special care to be taken that it would always stay working, no matter what happened to the Hub. Ianto ran his finger over the numbers on the drawer; clearly, someone important was in there.

He wondered anew who it was, but for now, Jack was waiting…

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