Pearl was growing quickly into a solid little girl. Almost six months had passed on the island and the idyllic life had many relaxing into their safety net. With the impending birthdays of Leo's two youngest children there was talk of a recon for some birthday stuff.
Ianto, however couldn't relax, he felt a nagging niggle in the back of his head. He still didn't know where their two soldiers were or who attacked them in the first place. Were his people victims of the larggette hoard or some other enemy?
Jack had tried to get him to relax but he could only watch as Ianto became more anxious and over protective of their young children. Finally he decided that he'd had enough.
"We'll do one more scout. Take their route and see if we can find anything" Jack promised and Ianto took a deep breath.
"I thought you already did" he accused.
"We did. But we were rushed and only did standard checks. After all this time, surely the beasts have moved onto fresh food sources and it will be easier to scout buildings without such a tight time restraint" Jack agreed and Ianto relaxed a little.
Who will you take? Can't be me" he sighed wistfully.
"No. These two need you here. It's my turn so there!" Jack tried frivolity and Ianto rolled his eyes affectionately.
"Just … all in and all out. All home" Ianto whispered into Jack's neck as he snuggled against him.
Mickey was hyped as were the ex-units who were keen to find their comrades. As they headed out Jack looked back at Ianto waiting on the dock. Pearl was asleep in his arms as Boss and Angel stood holding hands. Gwen stood behind Ianto with her hand on his arm.
Turning towards the city, Jack prepared himself. Ianto hadn't been on a search recon for many months, Pearl being his first priority and didn't know how harsh the world had become. None of them did.
Ianto had been right, he always was. They were to protect those they had collected, not put them into service as soldiers. This was not nice. This was war.
As the boat coasted silently into the dock, weapons were cocked and ready. Stealthily, they moved towards the waiting SUV. Red, not black so they could find it in a hurry. Once they were all safely on board and the doors were shut they were finally safe.
"Fucking reeks man!" Mickey complained as they all looked out the windows at the rotting carcasses of starved larggette who had become trapped within the dock fences when they had shut the gates last.
They rolled forward and into the city. Plant life had started to flourish. The planet was reclaiming her space, one building at a time and Jack sighed softly at the loss of dignity for the poor city of Cardiff.
They started from the compound, working their way through the recorded path the two missing members took. Selina and Robert had taken plenty of ammo and were both fit and healthy. They also had walkie-talkies that they never used. Whatever had happened, it happened fast.
Monty and Carl fanned out to flank Jack as the two women took the rear guard. The searched each building on the map. Returning to the SUV each time to place another cross though the circles searched.
They were deep within enemy territory now and Jack felt the hair on the back of his necks stand up as the overwhelming feeling that they were being watched came over him. Looking up, he caught sight of something fluttering in the breeze. He took a risk and stopped the SUV, stepping on out the abandoned street. Doors slamming behind him as the others followed had him looking back and gesturing up at the building.
The old hotel was run down and had some sections eaten away, either by the rift as what appeared to be blast damage. The fluttering that caught his eye had been a white sheet tied by one corner to the balcony of an apartment.
They took the stairs carefully, checking for rotten boards or hidden traps. Finally outside the apartment, Jack motioned for Mickey to do the honours. With a large build up he went to boot in the door then hesitated. He looked around at the rest of the team, shrugged and tried the handle.
The door opened and everyone gave a nervous giggle. As Jack peered into the dark interior he motioned for silence. Then he listened. The sound came again. Quiet, almost … a kitten? Jack shuffled to the entrance and flicked the torch on. Flanked by very large guns, Jack moved slowly into the room.
The sound came again and Jack swung the beam of light to show the source. A woman, barely alive. She lay in a badly soiled nest of bedding and the corpse beside her had been dead for some time.
Jack stepped over the body and knelt down. "Selina?"
"God. Help me, please" she reached pitifully for Jack and as she tried to move Jack could see the extent of her injuries.
One leg was completely missing just below the knee while the other leg appeared broken. Jack grasped at her flailing hand and took her into a hug as she broke down.
As she was tended to by Jenna and the body of Robert was dragged into the other room Jack took a moment to talk quietly with Mickey.
"Well? You're initial thoughts?" Jack prodded.
"She's been eating him to survive. We don't know if he was turned or just died. If she was eating tainted…" Mickey screwed up his face, "Meat. God. If she was, is she infected? Can we get a straight answer now? She's so fucking gone, her eyes. She's near the end."
"Yeah. Maybe one more day. No more water and he was getting too ripe to eat. Gods. Her eyes are clear but … I don't know." Jack shrugged, "Quarantine?"
"Yep. My assessment too. We can't leave her. We can't keep her. Bastard of a deal but if we take her back and she's a carrier or something … we can't risk the kids like that" Monty entered the conversation as he watched Wendy fussing over their comrade.
"She knew the risks when she put on the cap, we are so much fucking luckier than the others we went through basic training with. I say we move her to the docks, within the secure fencing. Dump the bodies and set her up in one of the sheds. Someone stays with her. She turns, we shoot her. She rallies then we assess again." Monty suggested and Jack groaned.
"I'll keep watch while you all go to the island and report back. We'll take it in 24 hour shifts. Too much activity might attract more rats" Wendy said softly as she covered Robert's carcass with a blanket.
Ianto was not going to like this. If she was infected they were taking a risk for nought. If she wasn't? Was this fair to her? Ianto would play this out in his head and stew. Jack did not enjoy the thought of one of their silent conversations.
They moved her carefully to the SUV and as they loaded up the first larggette appeared. Gaunt and skeletal in appearance it shakily stalked towards them, snarling.
Mickey gleefully drove over top of it and back to the security of the docks. As they disembarked from the vehicle Jack looked back at Mickey who was dutifully shutting the gates. The noise from beneath the SUV was a surprise and he barely had time to register the threat before the Larggette has extracted itself from beneath the vehicle and was loose.