"So we were knighted," Rose, continued, laughing with her son, "but it was only fun for like a minute, because immediately afterwards the Queen herself banishes us from her kingdom. Talk about fickle, right?"
Jack laughed, then drew his eyebrows together. "What's a queen?"
Rose stared at him for a moment, then looked at the Doctor. "He doesn't know who the Queen is."
"He didn't know what his jacket was this morning, to be fair," the Doctor smiled.
"This is unacceptable! He hasn't even had tea yet. I've never had to teach someone to be British before, but I think we're failing."
"I'm not from Britain," the Doctor argued.
"Doctor!" someone yelled.
They all looked up in confusion, and then suddenly the Doctor was at the control, madly pulling his levers. "Okay, I think that should be enough of a charge, eh? On to the Olympics!"
"Doctor, someone's calling you," Rose said, running to the door.
The Doctor pulled a lever and the doors locked. "Really? I don't think so, Rose, you must be hearing things."
Jack pulled the surveillance screen over. "It's a man in a long coat. He's holding something…I can't tell what it is."
Rose peeked over his shoulder. "Jack? Jack Harkness? Doctor, it's Jack Harkness. What are you…? Doctor stop the TARDIS!"
The Doctor fidgeted uncomfortably. "At this rate we'll never get where we're going, you know. Couldn't we just… pop off?"
"Leave him here?" Rose asked incredulously. "Doctor, we thought he was dead! Or at least…I thought he was dead," she looked at him suspiciously. "Did you?"
"I had…a bit of a sneaking suspicion of an inkling of the slightest, tiniest idea that he maybe, might have, probably, definitely survived."
"And you left him on Satellite Five?" Rose asked, crossing her arms.
"Hey, I did save your life," he protested, "and died in the process, thank you very much."
There was a pounding on the TARDIS doors. "Doctor! It's me! Open the door! I need your help!"
"Doctor, you need to let him in," Rose ordered, crossing her arms.
"I don't…want to, Rose. Something happened to him on Satellite Five. He's obviously alive and well, does he really need us meddling in his life again?"
"Doctor," Jack asked, eyeing his Father strangely, "I thought you told me you help people?"
The Doctor bit his lip, shaking his head. "There's something wrong with Captain Jack Harkness, something wrong with him at the core. He was brought back, Rose. He died on Satellite Five, you brought him back, and now he's wrong. He's not even human."
"Neither am I," Jack said flatly. "So we help people, but with one exception? You seem to have a lot of exceptions to your own rules."
The Doctor stared at him for a long moment, then sighed. He pull a lever and Captain Jack Harkness almost fell through the door.
"Took you long enough," the Captain smiled as Rose threw her arms around him in a tight hug. He spun her around once, hugging her a little too tightly. "Do you have any idea how many years I've been stuck here?"
"You had the Vortex Manipulator," the Doctor said from the controls. "It's not like I stranded you."
Captain Jack held up the small device. "It busted. I've been waiting around here for the TARDIS since the eighteen hundreds."
"Oh," the Doctor said, a bit sheepishly. "Sorry."
"Loving the new face," the Captain grinned. "Bit younger, isn't it? Did you decide you didn't want to look like you're robbing the cradle every time you get a new companion?"
"Totally unconscious decision," the Doctor said, "but Rose seems to like it."
Captain Jack looked back and forth between them, a sly grin sliding over his mouth. "Oh, don't tell me. The two of you, finally? Well, good to know when I was stuck in the past you were working on your love life."
Rose slapped him gently on the arm. "Did you say the eighteen hundreds? What have you been up to in all that time?"
"That can wait," the Captain said, one of his eyebrows raising. He grinned at Jack who was sitting innocently on the pilot bench. "A more important question would be, who is this?"
"Nope," the Doctor said quickly, pulling a long yellow streamer from one of his bigger-on-the-inside pockets. He wrapped one end around the zigzag plotter and wrapped it in a long spiral around the controls. He broke off the other end and put the new beginning strand in his son's hand, then wrapped it quickly over him five times. "Okay, everything with a yellow ribbon around it is entirely off limits. No touching, no flirting, no anecdotes, and watch your language."
Rose rolled her eyes, pulling the streamer off of her son and whispering at the Doctor harshly. "Stop being so paranoid. It's just Jack Harkness. What do you think he's going to do?"
"He's just learning language now, I'd rather limit his vocabulary until he's a bit older," he whispered back.
Rose stared him down. "And this has nothing to do with being freaked out by his accident on Satellite Five?"
"Okay…Okay you're right," the Doctor conceded. "Sorry."
"You're a bit protective over this new, companion, don't you think?" Captain Jack asked skeptically.
The Doctor sighed, pulling his son gently to his feet. "He's not my companion. He's our son. Captain Jack Harkness, meet my son, Jack Tyler."
The Captain stared at him as though he was joking, but the Doctor just stared back, arms crossed slightly. He looked between Rose and the boy. "And he's…how old?"
"A day," Rose said. "Almost exactly a day."
Jack leaned toward his mother. "This guy feels…weird, Mum. Plus, I think he's holding a hand in a jar
Captain Jack shrugged, then took the boy's hand, shaking it excitedly. "Believe it or not, I can explain that. I've never had someone named for me before."
"He's not," the Doctor said, tearing down his streamers and shutting the door behind them, "he's named after his grandmother, Jackie."
"Oh, well," the Captain shrugged, leaning in towards Jack conspiratorially, "doesn't matter where you got it, Kid—you'll have loads of fun with that name."
"Did you actually have something you needed help with, Jack?" the Doctor cut in.
"As if you don't know," the Captain said.
"Know what?" the Doctor said, barely paying attention.
"The abductions. You can't have missed them—especially if they're on our radar."
"Our radar?" the Doctor asked. "Exactly what have you been up to, Captain?"
"Torchwood. Started by Queen Victoria after she banished you two, the way I hear it. I have my own team in Cardiff… well part of one. I'm still building it. We monitor alien activity, and people dropping off the face of the Earth, disappearing out of locked rooms, that's something we notice."
"Ah, Miles Frobisher and Professor Edwards," the Doctor nodded. "We heard about that. When everyone was asleep last night I went to a few morgues; used the psychic paper to see the remains. They were all…sort of…crushed. I don't know of anything that could do that, or at least anything advanced enough to pull someone out of a locked room. We have been a bit busy, you know, what with a very sudden pregnancy and fully grown newborn. We've been looking into it since yesterday, but with all the possible witnesses dead, it is a bit difficult."
"Not all of them are dead," the Captain said grimly. "There's one person who was abducted, but isn't dead yet."
"What?" the Doctor, said, suddenly giving him his full attention.
"Toshiko Sato. I got her out a UNIT prison to be my computer expert a few weeks ago. When I left her, she was setting up our Hub's new system, in a locked vault, fifty feet below ground. I walked upstairs, got coffee from our new assistant, then walked back—it couldn't have taken me more than five minutes. When I came back, she was just gone."
"You said you got her out of prison," Rose said. "What's to say she didn't just run the second she had the chance?"
"Not Tosh, I trust her. It wasn't exactly a violent crime she was arrested for, and she's so excited about her new system. She doesn't deserve this, and I have to find her."
"I heard that name," the younger Jack said. They all looked at him. "Um, Toshiko. I heard that name on that box at Gran's."
"Box…The telly," Rose said, snapping her fingers, "you're right, Jack. I'm sorry Captain, the news said she was dead."
"We know what the news has been saying; we're the ones who told them to say it. Well, not exactly told them, but we falsified the death records. The police have no hope of finding Tosh, not when they don't even consider extraterrestrial interference to be possible. We convinced them she was found like the others to get them out of our way. But I know she's alive, or at least I know she was yesterday."
"How," the Doctor asked.
The Captain pulled out his mobile and shook it. "Because she sent me a message."
The Doctor took the phone, examining the screen. Tosh's name was at the top of the message and on the rest was a series of numbers, cut into tiny sections and alternating every half second. His eyes widened. "This is…this is incredible. Jack," he motioned to his son, "come look at this!"
The boy ran over, peering over his father's shoulder. "What is it?"
"Well, I suppose it's not too advanced," the Doctor marveled, wiring the Captain's phone into the TARDIS console. "But for an Earthling in the 21st century this is amazing. It's a numerical code fluctuating on the Kasternos principle to send message that can't be intercepted or interpreted until it reaches its destination. I have no idea how someone would even comprehend this kind of technology in this century, much less compose it and get it onto a mobile."
"That's Tosh for you," Captain Jack smiled. "Did I mention she was in prison for building a perfectly functioning sonic device from faulty blueprints?"
"Fantastic," the Doctor sighed in admiration, "it's minds like that will change this planet. The 21st century, that's when everything changes, I suggest you get your team ready Captain."
The numbers from the phone ran onto the bigger screen, slowly decoding into confusing chunks of letters:
Abrd Shp orb—cll scrity—1shot—hlp—Earth dngr : 82542322999-903-UYT
"Maybe I don't understand English as well as I thought I did," Jack wondered behind his mother. "None of that makes any sense."
"Sure it does," the Doctor said defensively, "but she didn't have much space to work with. "Aboard ship, in orbit. Using cell security box. One shot to send this message. Send help, Earth in danger."
Rose pointed at the screen. "What about these numbers, what are all these?'
"Communication code—kind of like a phone number. If I get to a transmitter I can dial it up; it'll help us see what we're dealing with," the Doctor beamed. "Oh, I like her. She's got to be one of the smartest humans I've ever…" he trailed off, staring quietly into space.
"What's wrong?" Rose asked, placing a hand over his.
"Oh," the Doctor said flatly, his eyes widening. "Oh! Of course, why didn't I think of this before?" he pulled down his screen, reading something off it that the others didn't understand, then typing wildly to change coordinates.
"What's happening," Captain Jack asked, "why do they have Tosh?"
"Don't you get it? She's a genius! She's one of the smartest humans I have ever encountered. Professor Edwards was another, his theories on time travel were exceptional. Miles Frobisher, his work in astrophysics are legendary, Chairwoman McNab ran on the basis of her inventive new plans for her district—they're geniuses, all of them! Only the smartest people are being taken. That, combined with the way the bodies were found, only points to one species. It's the Shestich."
"Is that bad?" Rose asked.
"Very, but it should be impossible. The Shestich are extinct."
"I thought impossible was good," his son said, pulling at Rose's elbow.
"Not this time," the Doctor shook his head. "They shouldn't exist, this has to go by a higher authority. I'm taking us all to the Shadow Proclamation."