The Storyteller

Hostages

Jack Harkness wasn't an impatient man, nor did he particularly like being in the presence of the dead, but he was a curious one and he didn't mind the cuffs.

"So, your boss..." he asked. Staring at nothing in particular, he was keen to let his keepers believe he wasn't listening in too much (so he pretended his wounds and fatigue were worse than they were) however he could not keep silent for long. He had a mouth and he intended to use it.

"...is he usually this late?"

Sweat was pouring down the toothless leader's face, so close to the fires that brought light to the dark dwellings below the city, and he grinned, which wasn't what Jack expected.

"Beware your words, stranger," he spoke. "He will make you eat them."

When the man walked away into the deepening shadows Jack dared to speak up. He wasn't going to spend another hour alone in the dark chained to a wall of skulls.

And he wasn't stupid. He knew something was going on above the surface. Claire and Michelle wouldn't have brought him if it hadn't been important; if they hadn't needed him.

Except they were dead now. When they needed Jack the most he failed them.

"Who is this guy anyway?" Jack dared, just before the leader's silhouette faded into the shadows, yet he didn't stop. Instead the man became one with the dark. And he wasn't alone.

There were more keepers and prisoners, hostages and hostage-takers... am I pigeonholing? When people start pointing guns at each other relationships tend to take on different forms.

Take yourself for example. Who would've expected such a sweet Scottish girl to turn into this gun-toting maniac?

That's a lie and you know it. I don't even like guns. I hate guns!

Yet you wear a police uniform. Kidding, but extraordinary situations do require extraordinary measures. Shame on you, Amy Pond.

But I didn't even do anything!

Cramped inside a locked men's lavatory where barely two people could stand you had your hostage pinned atop the toilet with a foot pressed into his gut and a heel aimed at his private parts, and like a true temptress you dangled the gun in front of him, playfully spinning it around a single finger.

You weren't sure how to handle the dress.

"Start talking," You said and in this case life imitated art because you cocked the pistol.

The nervous employee told you his name was Claude. So you dug underneath your hat and found the stolen file which you pressed into his face.

"What's this?" you demanded to know.

"I don't know," he said.

"That's not an answer I can work with!"

"I was simply scanning the apparations! I don't know what that is!"

The bald bespectacled man was barely more than an overwhelmed office clerk, but you weren't about to underestimate him. He seemed to be telling you the truth, though. So you put the file away. Next question...

"I was cut off from my squad," Claude started saying. "We were tracking the temporal signature all over the city but we lost it as it entered the tunnels, I..."

"You what?"

The question hit a nerve, but then again they always do.

"Ran away?"

Claude nodded. "I survived, they didn't."

You realized you weren't going to crack this case on your own. You needed me.

And I needed you.

Specifically the hidden file underneath your flowery hat. The pirates were after something, something bigger than what had been locked inside that warehouse, and you had the solution all along.

"How can I contact the Doctor?"

"Who?"

"Oh, you're useless!"

They didn't actually had cellphones back then. Think outside the box, Amy!

So (practical as always) you planned a use for him.

"Come on," you unlocked the door much to his surprise.

"What are you going to do?" the man asked. Some of his training started to seep through now the shock of the situation was finally waning.

"I've got a plan," you said. "And you're going to help me with it."

Aiming the gun at his face was your way of a punchline.

If only he'd known there weren't any bullets in that pistol, than he wouldn't have been as frightened, but then of course your interrogation would've been far less effective.

Indeed, things were heating up. Quite literally, in fact.

The energy of a thousand lifetimes was merging into one. Think of the endless moments of the sun's radiation burning at the same time, a normal ray of light intensified a thousand times. Time and space were starting to boil.

I needed to understand what was causing it all. I was convinced all I needed was a word. A single word.

To me it was clear. We had to go back.

"Come on, Marie!" I said slapping the side of the carriage. The carriage felt perfect for a romantic ride. "End of the world! Don't want to be late!"

I rattled my chains. I knew there'd be consequences for my stunt but I figured I'd get some clemency for the fact that I uncovered a heist by examining a burning tree.

"Yes, but you didn't stop it, did you?" Marie said. "They got away."

"They got away with what?" I asked, keenly noting the wrinkles in her smile.

There was a ring on her finger. Who was the lucky man?

"It was a generator we uncovered from a spaceship that crashed off the coast of Narbonne ten years ago," she explained without a hitch. Good girl.

"But it's inactive, Doctor. It's worthless."

"Not to the pirates it isn't. They were keen on retrieving it. Why? If I could've just got my hands on it, examined it...I'm going to need the sonic, where's my sonic?"

"It is safe, Doctor. Exactly where I want it to be."

"Am I exactly where you want me to be?"

"Are you in a padded cell?" Marie said. "Then no."

A sudden sound broke my train of thought. Maybe with good reason. Some thoughts are better left unthought and especially unspoken.

I never thought I would hear that voice again, at least not so soon.

"Portable wireless telegraph!" I exclaimed when I found the source of the sound, strapped to the driver's back. "How very steampunk. I so love this era! Not my favourite era though, with the Boer Wars, the economic panic of '93 and especially Robert Louis Stevenson dying (good man!) and poor poor Franz Joseph!"

"Doctor, can you hear me?" a familiar voice crackled through the fog.

"Am-eeeyyyy!" I exclaimed. "Well done you, well done you!"

I never did find out how you managed to contact me. I can only assume you let your hostage lead you to a secret wireless telegraph or to a similar portable one our driver had here.

"It's the Tower, Doctor!" you said. "It's the Tower!"

"Of course it is!" I said acting as if I knew all along. "Meet me there!"

My excitement would've been a bit less overstated if I had known what was going on beneath me that very moment.

Gustave Eiffel and his young protégé were thrown in the mud at Jack's feet in the dark tunnel, to become hostages like himself.

I failed to realize how the pirates had exactly come to know about the generator's location in that specific warehouse, but in the end I should've known. Gustave had told them, was forced to tell them. Tell him.

A man whose eyes seemed to pierce the darkness itself and saw all. A man who fell in deep respect and mourning for the dead that surrounded him. A man who had an air of nobility surrounding him posssessing a stature worthy of a man who could tame time itself and sail it eternally.

There was armour hidden underneath his royal robes but also strength.

He buzzed with temporal radiation. Admiration beamed from all those around him.

He had freed them from the Ethereal Shadow and foiled the hands of the webs that tried to ensnare him. They would follow him everywhere.

Then his eyes fell on Captain Jack Harkness and he uttered a single word.

"You."

He drew his weapon and shot Jack at close range stone dead.

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