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[18+] Torchwood V ~ Episode Two: Vanishing Act

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Hyacathusarillistad
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« on: January 26, 2011, 03:56:54 am »

Vanishing Act

~ Prologue ~

   The streets of downtown Queensbridge teemed with people, as they always did so early on Friday nights. The many destinations of the area prided themselves on having something to offer to nearly anyone: the bars sold four drinks for the price of three, the clubs turned their music louder, and the shops and restaurants stayed open until 10:00, some of them even until 11:00. Even the steadily dying forms of entertainment found a home here on Fridays, in the Queensbridge Theatre for the Performing Arts, at the heart of the downtown core. The theatre was only open on Saturday and Sunday nights, unless there was a special performance. And tonight promised a very special performance indeed: a touring troup of actors who returned to the area once a year, each time performing a different play - and this time, it was one of Sara's favourites: William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew.

   "I've always loved this play," she said to the group at large as they walked across the street from the parking lot to the theatre. "One of Shakespeare's best, if you ask me. Definitely the funniest."

   "Me too," said Greg, smiling slightly as he looked around Conrad and Joshua towards her. "Some people fawn so much over his tragedies that they seem to forget about some of the others. Never mind King Lear, or Richard III, or Othello; Shrew is true Shakespeare."

   It had been four days since Sara had joined the Torchwood team, but it had hardly felt like any time at all. The work of cleaning up after the parasite that had murdered her friend and coworker and thrown her into a world she hadn't known existed had completely absorbed her to the point that the days seemed to have blurred together. And while it hadn't been anywhere as active or exciting as the day she had met Joshua, and Greg, and the rest of the team, it had been interesting, even somewhat fulfilling in a way she didn't really understand.

   Perhaps it was because of the way she'd been welcomed so readily into what she would have suspected was a very closely knit group. As soon as she and Joshua had returned to the Torchwood base - the base that sat only a dozen or so blocks from where they now stood - she had been treated as a member of the team. Xander had given her orders as readily and dutifully as anyone else; Alain had been talkative and friendly during her intial medical exam, which was apparently mandatory for all personnel; Conrad had shown her how they chose supplies for any given type of outing, smiling encouragingly, if not a bit nervously; Greg, who she had initially seen as abrasive and unlikeable, had warmed significantly to her, teasing and joking with her as if they'd been friends for years; and Joshua was as kind and helpful as the day they'd met.

   But that job was completed now. While her first night on the job had been spent actually physically cleaning the sight of their confrontation with the parasites, the following four days had been filled with phone calls, internet and database searches, filing of 'misleading' police and missing persons reports, and a great deal of hacking into personal computers - though most of that work had been done by Conrad. As they'd finished up with the last of the reports the previous night, Alain had suggested a night off together. That was when Sara had remembered her mother telling her about the theatre troup coming to town, and suggested it. Everyone had taken to the idea readily.

   "I have a hard time seeing any of his plays as 'funny', really," said Conrad lightly, his hands in his pockets as he gazed wistfully at the theatre looming in front of them. "I remember being forced to read Romeo and Juliet in high school. Hated every minute of it."

   Sara shook her head sadly. "That's your problem," she said. "Even now, you think of it as being forced to read it. That mindset ruins Shakespeare for a lot of people, especially teens."

   "Besides, Romeo and Juliet is overrated," added Greg. "Not to mention massively misunderstood. Trust me, you'll be glad you gave him a chance again - especially since you're seeing this one live, not reading it from a script."

   "When did you become an expert on Shakespare?" Joshua asked him. "I would've thought Monster Truck Rally, or UFC were more your speed."

   "Yeah, well, you would've thought wrong," he replied somewhat defensively, glaring. "I'm as cultured as anyone else. Probably more cultured than a lot of other people," he continued, giving him a pointed, somewhat condescending look.

   "Play nice, boys," interjected Alain jovially. "We're here to relax. Turn it off for an evening, eh?"

   Neither of them replied, and the group lapsed into silence as they stepped into the theatre. They were greeted by a pair of ushers, one of whom checked their tickets and took their jackets before the other led them to their seats, a half dozen of them near the wall on stage left. As the usher moved away the lights came down, and the heavy purplish-red curtains hanging in front of the stage parted to reveal a small group of men crowded in front of a stout wooden building. Sara smiled appreciatively as the men began speaking.

   "I'll pheeze you, in faith," began Christophero Sly.

   The reply came back in a rather visibily-forced affronted tone: "A pair of stocks, you rogue!"

   "Y' are a baggage, the Slys are no rogues. Look in the chronicles; we came in... with..."

   The actor trailed off, shaking his head slightly as if trying to shake water from his ears. He smiled nervously and apologetically at the crowd, and began again. "Y' are baggage, the Slys are no rogues. Look... look in the..." he trailed off again, his hand flying to his forehead and his knees shaking slightly. He stumbled forward, bracing himself on one of his colleagues. The crowd began muttering, some in concern, others in anger, still others in mild amusement. One of the actors leaned over and muttered something to another, who nodded and rushed offstage. The first then leaned into mutter to Sly, who nodded briefly. The nod was returned, and the actor stepped forward to address the audience.

   "Ladies and gentlemen..." he began slowly. "We humbly beg your pardon for this unexpected interruption. If you will please wait patiently, I'm sure we'll be able to begin shor--"

   He was interrupted by a shout and a crash from behind him. The man who'd been supporting Sly with his shoulder had jumped back, knocking over the alehouse set and trampling across the debris. It took a moment for anyone else to realise why: Sly, now standing unsupported, had gone rigid, his eyes wide in shock and fear. He was shivering uncontrollably, and his hands were pressed firmly over his ears. After a moment he began to scream, and his skin luminesced with a pale yellow glow. The crowd began muttering in earnest, while the actors scattered on stage. Sara rose from her seat, as did a number of other people. Sly's cries quavered for a moment, fading slightly, and then, with a flash of light and an odd hissing sound, he vanished.

   Someone in the crowd screamed. Greg pushed past Sara into the ramped hallyway, pushing against the crowd to get towards the stage; Joshua and Alain were hot on his heels, while Conrad and Xander stayed back with Sara. Alain knelt on the spot Sly had disappeared, and ran his hand along the floor. He rubbed his fingers together, then looked over at Xander with a grim expression.

   Xander nodded quietly. "Sorry folks," he said, his tone clipped and business-like. "Change of plan."
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Torchwood Five

Episode I - The Brainstem Murders
Episode II - Vanishing Act
Episode III - Side Effects
Episode IV - The Villieneuve Incident
Episode V - Ritardando
Episode VI - Body Count
Aneurin
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« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2011, 01:39:14 pm »

When is episode 3 coming?
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Hyacathusarillistad
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« Reply #2 on: May 25, 2011, 11:44:02 pm »

I haven't even actually finished episode two yet... what with my health issues of late, I haven't had the time or headspace - much less the creative ability, thanks to the meds - to write all that much. I'm working on it though.
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Torchwood Five

Episode I - The Brainstem Murders
Episode II - Vanishing Act
Episode III - Side Effects
Episode IV - The Villieneuve Incident
Episode V - Ritardando
Episode VI - Body Count
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