Jack watched Ianto storm out of the boardroom, too shocked to even think about trying to stop him. He glanced at the photograph of himself with the Captain again. How had that photo even been taken? Jack was sure Bilis hadn’t been on the dance floor with them and he hadn’t seen the flash from a camera either. Whoever took the photo had angled it perfectly to show both of the men’s faces with Tosh in the background. There could be no mistaking the photograph had been taken during the time he and Tosh had been in the 1940s.
Jack knew he had taken a risk by not telling Ianto everything about what had happened between himself and the Captain, but he also knew Tosh wouldn’t say anything either. He honestly didn’t think that Ianto would ever find out.
Jack clenched his fists in anger, suddenly frustrated by the twenty-first century and its people’s narrow-minded notions about sex and relationships. It was just a bloody kiss, it didn’t mean there was anything between him and the Captain, but now it seemed it was going to cost him Ianto.
Jack turned and glared out the door. His concern for Ianto and the others was starting to become overwhelmed by a cold, calm fury. He continued to stare out the door as he slowly brought his emotions under control. Moving quietly and determinedly, he walked over to the door and looked out to see what was happening.
The committee members had assembled in an evenly spaced circle surrounding the Rift manipulator. They had obviously done something to the manipulator, as there were large wires that had been pulled out from the floor and plugged into the machine. It looked similar to what Owen had done when he had opened the Rift the day before, although on a much larger scale.
As the Torchwood team were herded in front of the Rift manipulator, they noticed all the intruders except Bilis had started chanting. Owen and Ianto gave each other a look. What were the men up to, they wondered? They turned to look at Bilis as the man began to speak.
Bilis had looked at each member of the team one at a time, including sending a triumphant look up to Jack standing alone in the doorway, before speaking. “For one hundred and eleven years, the eleven people of the committee have worked to keep one…” Bilis paused and sneered at Jack before continuing, “…man under the influence of the Rift. Today is the day our hard work will pay off.” He stopped and turned towards Ianto.
“Mr Jones, you are in charge of Torchwood 3, you have the authorisation to open the Rift. You need to do so now!”
Despite his anger towards Jack clouding his thinking, Ianto still hesitated.
“Remember Lisa?” Bilis said softly.
Ianto closed his eyes and saw Lisa standing in front of him in his office, looking as beautiful as she did when she they were still together. He remembered how he had touched her perfect skin and how good she had felt against him. People will die, Ianto, she had said in the office. She was the only one in his life who had loved ever him unconditionally, and not once had she ever given him any reason to doubt her loyalty to him.
He opened his eyes and looked at Jack. Jack on the other hand… Ianto saw a vision of that damned photo. Thousands of people.
Ianto looked at Bilis again and, in that moment, he felt his will weakening and the chanting from the committee seemed to get louder and louder, seeping through his soul. Open the Rift. Maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to do what Bilis said. It’s what Lisa wanted him to do anyway.
“Ianto, please,” Gwen begged.
“What are you waiting for, Mr Jones?” Bilis asked. “Open the Rift!”
Bilis turned to Owen without giving Ianto another chance to respond. “Dr Harper, I know you’ve been researching the Rift. You know it’s the only way to bring her back.”
Owen paled. I’m lost, Owen. Bilis was telling him the same thing Diane had told him when she appeared to him in the boardroom. He glanced over at Ianto, there was no way Ianto would allow him to open the Rift again, not after the disastrous effect it had had yesterday. Bring me back, Owen. Somehow, if Bilis wasn’t able to, he would need to convince Ianto himself to open the Rift.
“Miss Costello,” Bilis continued. “Are you looking forward to the return of your father? Have you thanked the freak for that chance?”
Jack looked from Bilis to Suzie and back again. He still wasn’t sure what the connection to Suzie’s father was.
Suzie glared at him with the same level of hatred as before. You need to be punished. She turned to Ianto, suddenly desperate for him to open the Rift. She would do anything to prevent her father coming back into her life.
“Miss Sato?” Bilis asked.
Tosh held her hand up to ward him off. She didn’t want Bilis speaking about her mother. Bilis smirked and turned to Gwen.
Gwen looked at Bilis and faced Ianto, images of Rhys lying on the ground in a pool of his blood rushing through her head. “Ianto please, help me get Rhys back!”
Owen, Suzie and Tosh also turned to Ianto, all of them were driven by their own reasons for wanting the Rift opened again. Their heads were so full of their visions and the resulting emotions these visions had wrought, that none of them stopped to question what they were doing. Their needs were simply too strong, too compelling, too overwhelming. Ianto closed his eyes in resignation as the four of them crowded around him.
“Ianto! Don’t!” Jack called out angrily, taking a step forward out of the doorway.
Ianto opened his eyes again and his face hardened as he looked up at Jack. Why should he listen to Jack? Jack had shown he couldn’t be trusted. Ianto looked back at Gwen who was barely able to keep her tears from falling but he still felt torn. He was still the leader of Torchwood Cardiff and had a responsibility to the city, but what if he could get Lisa back, alive and well? What if he could get rid of the hurt that Jack had put him through?
He heard Jack start to run down the stairs towards them. Not wanting Jack anywhere near him, Ianto immediately made his way over to the nearest workstation. He started to enter the override codes.
To open the Rift completely, the codes needed to be keyed into the system and retina scans taken of the five of them. As Jack was considered an alien, and merely the property of Torchwood, his retina scan was not included in the security protocols. With a grateful smile, Gwen took over keying the codes in as she was a faster typist than Ianto.
Jack laughed suddenly. Why were they all voluntarily obeying an intruder they had tried to shoot only a few hours before? He couldn’t believe that Gwen was now looking at Ianto like he was her favourite person, when not long before she had been attacking him. It amazed him that any of them could be stupid enough to open the Rift. The Rift had caused so much damage the first time but there they were, joining forces, ready to do the same thing again.
Suzie and Ianto turned around at the sound of his voice. They were astounded to see that Jack had a gun in his hand and was aiming it at Gwen. Gwen saw their attention had been taken by something behind her and turned away from the monitor to look.
“Come on Jack,” she said, trying to calm him down.
Jack continued looking at Gwen and sneered. “You’re a united front now?” Jack looked around at the others, ignoring Bilis and the committee.
“Toshiko, the poor girl who’ll screw any passing alien that gives her a pendant? Owen, so strong, he gets in a cage with a Weevil, desperate to be mauled. Or Ianto…” Jack’s voice trailed off and his mouth closed with a snap. He opened his mouth several times, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t bring himself to continue.
Gwen took advantage of Jack’s silence by jumping in. “I’ve got to get Rhys back.”
Jack gave her a cruel look. “Yeah, ’cos you’re so in love with Rhys that you spend half your time in Owen’s bed.”
Gwen was enraged; unable to believe he would say that. She pulled her arm back and punched him in the face, even harder than she had punched Ianto earlier. “Fuck you!” she yelled.
The force of the blow knocked him to the ground and, as he lost his balance, the gun was knocked out of his hand and clattered onto the floor. Owen was quick to bend over and pick it up. He pointed the gun at Jack.
“You have no command over us, Captain. We’re opening that Rift and getting back what we lost!” he yelled.
Ianto stood back, watching the confrontation uneasily. He wanted the Rift opened as much as the rest of them, but seeing Jack being threatened made him realise how much he didn’t want anything to happen to Jack, despite how much he was hurting at the moment. Common sense told him that Jack would be fine, but he felt the same sense of panic that had threatened to overcome him earlier returning in full force. Although he didn’t move from his position, his restlessness was reflected in the way he alternated between resting his hands on his hips and running his fingers wildly through his hair.
Owen’s grip on the gun twitched as he faced Jack down. Jack might not have the authority to stop them, but they had all seen him in action. They all knew how much he was capable of and Owen knew he could easily take on all five of them. Additionally, as he was still recovering from his gun shot wound and Ianto was still affected by his brush with death, neither of them was at full strength and they would be no match for Jack.
Apparently satisfied that Jack was no longer about to shoot her, Gwen turned back to the monitor and keyed in the last of the codes. As the message came up to enter the retina scans she grabbed a scanner and scanned Ianto, Tosh, Suzie and herself. She got Tosh and Suzie both to keep an eye on Jack as she scanned Owen then returned to the workstation. She downloaded the scans and with one final glance around the team she prepared to hit the Submit button to enter the scans and open the Rift when Bilis interrupted her.
“There’s one more thing we need to open the Rift correctly,” he announced.
The team looked around in confusion, they had followed the complete process and there should be nothing else to be done.
Bilis held out a knife and a bowl to Ianto. “You need to give me some of the freak’s blood.”
Ianto’s eyes widened and he heard Tosh gasp in shock. “No…” he whispered.
“It’s your choice, Mr Jones; Lisa restored or a little bit of freak-blood.”
Ianto looked over at Suzie, the only other one in the team who knew Jack couldn’t die. She looked just as shocked as Tosh, but gave Ianto a nearly imperceptible shrug. It’s your choice she seemed to be saying. Ianto shook his head slightly, unsure what to do. Owen saw him shaking his head and took it to mean Ianto was refusing to cooperate with Bilis.
Owen looked at Jack still kneeling on the floor in front of him and slowly brought the gun to Jack’s forehead.
“Owen!” Ianto called out. “What are you doing?”
“You heard him Ianto, we need Jack’s blood.”
Tosh moved closer. “Owen, don’t.”
As Jack looked up at Owen and at the gun pointed at him, the fury building up inside suddenly erupted and he leapt to his feet. “You gonna shoot me, Owen?” Jack kicked the gun out of Owen’s hands without giving him a chance to react. “You’ve gotta have significantly bigger balls.”
Owen tracked the path of the gun as it flew through the air then turned back to face Jack just in time to see him move towards him. He tried to grab hold of Jack who shrugged him off easily before striding over to Bilis.
Jack ripped the knife out of Bilis’s hand and drew the blade across the palm of his hand. He held his hand over the bowl, allowing the blood to run into it.
He stared at Bilis. “There. You have my blood. Let’s get this over and done with.”
Seeing the blood dripping from Jack’s hand finally stirred Ianto into action. He grabbed a bandage from one of the First Aid kits stashed around the Hub and rushed over to Jack. “Why?” he asked, wrapping the bandage around Jack’s hand.
Jack turned to face him, the anger draining from him as he saw the troubled expression on Ianto’s face. “So that you wouldn’t have to,” he replied gently.
Ianto froze briefly as he looked Jack in the eye before he looked down again and finished tying up the bandage.
Bilis turned back to the Rift manipulator and gestured at Gwen. She hit the Submit button and started the codes and scans running through the system. The committee’s chanting grew even louder and Bilis said an incantation before pouring the blood over the nearest part of the manipulator.
A bright white light formed around the manipulator, it started at the base and rose up to cover the entire structure. Two tendrils of light shot out towards the two senior committee members. As it surrounded them, they stiffened up and stood bolt upright. They sent desperate glances to Bilis before they both started to scream in agony.
The other committee members looked at each other uneasily, but Bilis’s wrath was something none of them were prepared to risk so they kept chanting. The light then spread out from the senior men to encompass all the committee members. They too stood upright and started to scream. As their chanting died away, the light became impossibly brighter and the Torchwood team had to shield their eyes.
The Hub’s alarms started to sound and the light around the men began to fade. As the light faded away to nothingness, their bodies and clothing disintegrated into dust. The only thing that remained was a Vote Saxon badge that the senior committee members constantly wore. It clattered down and started rolling along the floor, coming to a stop in front of Bilis. He leant down and picked it up.
“I did get some things wrong,” he said as he read the badge. “Things from alternate universes sometimes crept through.” Bilis showed the badge to Jack. “Be grateful you won’t need to deal with this man.
“But, at least the sacrifices have been made and the Rift has been opened.”
The Hub shook in response.
“You deliberately killed your own men?” Ianto asked in disbelief.
“It was necessary,” Bilis said cryptically and then simply disappeared from sight.
The team looked around quickly, but couldn’t see if he had moved to another section of the Hub. Jack suddenly realised the Tarot Card girl was not there either. In fact, he couldn’t remember seeing her there at all. What else was going on then?
The Hub shook again and they realised they needed to get out of there as more and more alarms began to sound. The vibrations increased, becoming more constant and violent. The glass walls of the boardroom exploded outwards. Ianto lost his balance and crashed into Jack. Jack put an arm around him and started guiding him towards the entrance to the Hub. Gwen, Owen, Tosh and Suzie followed close behind.
Jack grabbed his coat off a coat stand as they stumbled past. Parts of the ceiling had started to crash down all around them, one of them bouncing off Suzie’s arm. As the last of them ran through the cogwheel door, a major support beam fell down and landed across the workstations.
They got up to the streets without any further injuries. Gwen looked at her hands and saw the blood had disappeared.
“It’s going to be all right. Everything is going to go back to normal,” she exclaimed excitedly.
The entire team spun around as they heard the voice of Bilis Manger come from behind them.
“From out of the darkness, he is come!”
“What is he talking about?” Gwen asked.
“Son of the Great Beast, cast out before time, chained in rock and imprisoned beneath the rift,” Bilis continued, just as obscurely.
Bilis looked above their heads, watching something behind them. “All hail Abaddon, the Great Devourer.”
Hearing a loud thumping, Gwen and Owen slowly looked around.
“Come to feast on life.”
Gwen’s mouth hung open as a gigantic horned creature approached them. The creature roared and the earth shook with every step it took. Alarms were being set off on every car parked in the street. The team looked on in terror, horrified to think that they were the ones who had set such a creature loose.
“The whole world shall die beneath his shadow.”
The creature leant down and growled at them all. It stood up to turn back to the city when it staggered suddenly. It had started to growl again but the growl turned into a howl of agony and it staggered again. Bilis gasped; this wasn’t supposed to happen.
He spun around, the girl was supposed to be there with him. Where was she? Turning back to the creature, he saw it had now collapsed to the ground and was writhing in pain.
“My Lord!” Bilis exclaimed. He wanted to go over and help him but he knew that he would die too if he fell under the creature’s shadow. Bilis wasn’t afraid of dying, but he would be of no use to the creature if he were dead.
He took a step towards the creature anyway but stopped when he heard a quiet laughter. The girl had finally appeared, but he couldn’t understand why she was laughing. Not when everything was going so wrong.
“What’s happening?” he demanded.
The girl looked at the thrashing creature then back at Bilis. “Everything that is supposed to.”
“Didn’t you listen when I spoke to Jack earlier, you silly, silly man? Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. And you, Bilis, count as the worst of my enemies.”
Ianto looked at her closely. He knew this girl, but where from?
A thunderous look appeared on Bilis’s face when he realised he had been betrayed. Everything that he had done over the years had been for nothing. He had rounded up the committee, knowing that none of them were going to survive the opening of the Rift, because she had asked for each person specifically. He was to use them to achieve his goals, but now it seemed that she had been using him instead. “But you promised me that if I did everything you asked, I would get my Lord back!”
“What I actually said was that you would get everything you deserved.” The girl gave him a smile that was worthy of any of the evil smirks Bilis had ever made.
Bilis walked closer to the creature, being careful to stay out of its shadow. “My Lord,” he said in quiet resignation. “I have failed you.”
The creature gave an enraged scream. Bilis fell to his knees in shame. Concentrating on what was in front of him, Bilis didn’t notice the Tarot Card girl coming up behind him. He gasped as she stood over him but as he was kneeling down, he couldn’t get away from her, not without moving into the creature’s shadow.
“Your time is over Bilis Manger,” she said before pushing him firmly in the back.
Bilis’s arms flailed madly as he tried to keep his balance but the girl stepped back and kept out of his reach. He nearly managed to move backwards but, unseen by anyone, Jack had also moved up behind the two of them and, with an angry roar, ran into the back of Bilis, toppling him over and into the creature’s shadow. With an almost disbelieving look, Bilis collapsed to the ground and died without uttering another word.
As if knowing his last remaining servant had died, the creature also stopped moving and, with a final thunderous scream, it too died, leaving nothing behind but an unnerving silence.