Title: Adaptation, a Torchwood/NCIS Crossover (20/20)
Characters: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, Tim McGee, LJ Gibbs, Ducky Mallard, others
Rating: Starts PG, but hey, it’s got Jack and Ianto in it (not to mention Tim & Jethro!)
Disclaimer: Oh, please. If I owned them, would I let some of those idiots write the scripts? And if I were making any money off them, would I be where they could find me?
Summary: Tim McGee’s worlds collide as Torchwood is drawn into an NCIS case
Part One is here; Part Two is here; Part Three is here; Part Four is here; Part Five is here; Part Six is here; Part Seven is here; Interlude is here; Part Eight is here; Part Nine is here; Part Ten is here; Part Eleven is here; Part Twelve is here; Part Thirteen is here; Part Fourteen is here; Part Fifteen is here; Part Sixteen is here; Part Seventeen is here; Part Eighteen is here; Part Nineteen is here
The tall, elegant woman with the Commander stripes on her sleeves smiled at us. “Thank you for coming, gentlemen.”
As if one refused the President of the United States. Although with Jack and Ianto one never could tell. No, with Jack one could never tell. Ianto would behave until it suited him.
We followed her down a long corridor. Ianto led the way, followed by Jack, and then Jethro and I, slightly offstep, so we overlapped slightly. It took me a moment to realize it and then I had to swallow a snicker. Jethro and I had fallen into bodyguard positions. If anyone wanted to get to the King and His Consort, they would have to go through us.
The commander opened a door and waved us in. The office was actually not very large but it looked just like in the movies. It reeked of the thing humans called power. Terrible and mighty actions had been discussed and ordered in this room and the ghosts still lingered.
Two men and a woman were sitting on the sofas opposite the desk. As we entered, they turned to look at us. Not all the looks were friendly, but that didn’t matter. The important one was the man sitting behind the desk.
There had been some tense back-and-forth between the Palace and the White House after we submitted our report. The President had not been happy about Torchwood’s “intrusion” into what should have been a highly-classified NCIS operation. The negotiations had gone on for two days and a settlement had been reached. We were just here to answer questions and, hopefully, soothe some feathers.
“Captain Harkness. Welcome to the White House.” The President's voice had the gentle rhythm of his Gullah ancestors. “I am very glad to meet you at last.”
“Mr. President.” Jack nodded. “May I introduce my partner, Ianto Jones. I'm sure you know your Director of NCIS and agent McGee.”
“I do, yes.” He nodded at the two Secret Service men standing against the wall and they left, closing the door behind them. “ Please sit down.”
Jethro and I moved automatically to flank Jack and Ianto, sitting on the chairs at either end of the couch. We waited a few seconds while Ianto sat down and then we followed suit. If the President noticed, he did not let it show.
“It was a hell of a shock when my predecessor called the night before the inauguration and asked me to come over to the White House. He said it was tradition that one President would pass a certain piece of information to the next on that date, starting with the first President Roosevelt.” He grinned. “I nearly broke an ankle running over from Blair House. And what I got was the key to a very well hidden safe filled with a number of unbelievable documents, except that some people of unimpeachable probity vouched for them.”
Jack held up a hand. “How far are we going to go with this, Mr. President?”
The President shrugged. “I’ve given the people around this table a general overview, but no details. I understand the need for secrecy, Captain Harkness, but at least some of these things will have to be discussed, if only within these walls.”
“You're probably right.” Jack said. “I think it's time Torchwood had an American branch anyway.”
“I’d like to register my disagreement with this policy,” a gray haired man in an Army general's stars jumped in. “It's one thing for them to come over and give us some help, but setting up shop over here? We can take care of our own problems!”
“Can you?” Jack's voice took on a decided edge. “Shall we discuss your near-miss with the hyperdrive of the Chula transport you recovered near Roswell? Or the disaster with the Krillitane interrogation techniques you tried to develop for use in Vietnam? No, wait. Let's just start with your Project Rainbow, shall we?”
The President leaned forward. “Perhaps we can stable that discussion for the moment, Captain Harkness. Although since from the looks the general is giving you it seems my Joint Chiefs of Staff have decided to keep me in the dark about some important things, we will definitely return to it later. Right now, I'm interested in these Silurians of yours.”
“Actually, they're your Silurians. They are Earth’s oldest sentient race.” A lot of thought had gone into that small phrase. “But to answer the unasked question, Roberta's great-grandmother was born here in seventeen ninety-two. That makes her and her descendents American citizens.”
“Citizens!” The General snorted. “They're lizards!”
“Technically,” Ianto murmured, “they are very distantly related to crocodiles. About the same as we are related to, say, lesser apes.”
“Young man, this is no time for levity.” The Secretary of State rebuked him gently. “We humans have a tendency to fight over territory among ourselves. Trying to accommodate other races might prove an intractable problem.”
“Silurians are a remnant population,” Jack explained. “Less than twenty-five thousand in the entire world. Although they are long lived, they have severe reproductive deficiencies. They don’t want anything from you, and especially not public acknowledgment. They want to be left alone to die in peace.”
“You will have to admit,” the President said, “that trying to pass themselves off as human gives off a flavor of stealth invasion.”
“You could also see it as a way to avoid negative attention,” Ianto pointed out. “Most of the Silurians’ encounters with humans have been disastrous for them.”
The President made an acknowledging gesture. “It is hard to believe that another race has lived on Earth for millennia and we have never encountered them.”
The decision had been made early on to keep the Tylwyth Teg out of sight, so Jack picked his way through the answer very carefully.
“Silurians are not alien. They evolved in this planet before humans did. They may not be humans but they are most definitely terran.” He let some amusement show. “On the other hand, there are representatives of at least fourteen nonhuman races living on Earth at this particular moment. And you have almost certainly encountered at least one or two, if only in reception lines.”
The looks he got ranged from the aghast to the intrigued. The last one came from the dark-haired, intense woman seated directly opposite from me. The President’s Science and Technology Advisor was notoriously interested in deep space exploration and the possibility of closer encounters.
“And you keep an eye on all of them?” the President asked.
“As best we can. Most of those who settle in are either refugees or scholars. Peaceful.”
“But there are the other kind, too,” growled the General.
The general turned to face his boss. “Mr. President, I must continue to insist that it would be serious mistake to trust the security of America to an organization that answers directly to a foreign power. We have to make the Brits turn over all information about these Silurians to us. We should also round up the Silurians and interrogate them ourselves.”
The President shook his head. “I do not propose to thank those people for their efforts on behalf of the United States by tossing them into concentration camps, Joe. I understand your concerns regarding security and I think the King’s suggestion was a sensible one. Mr. Gibbs?”
“Yes, Mr. President?”
“I’m sorry to inform you that as of today you are no longer Acting Director of NCIS. You are now the head of Torchwood Washington. I believe you have some ideas about your team?”
“Yes, sir. McGee’s unit at NCIS will transfer. So will Doctor James Palmer. And there’s a Captain O’Shea and a squad of Marines that might come in handy.” He nodded towards the Science and Technology Advisor. “And I suggest we report to you through Mrs. Allingham.”
“Small enough to hide in plain sight and enough geeks on the staff to make everyone think it’s some sort of secret scientific project. I like it.” The President stood up. “Very well, gentlemen… and Mrs. Allingham. I think this takes care of the problem. Please remember that these matters are considered state secrets, and leaking anything to any member of the press is de facto and de jure treason. Captain Harkness, would you and your colleagues wait for a moment, please?”
He waited until the others had filed out and then turned to us. “Now that we alone, gentlemen, let's lay our cards on the table. That reporting figleaf will help cover many a presidential ass in the future, but we all know Torchwood is not answerable to anyone. And we also know that I had absolutely no choice but to go along with this. I've read the documents in that safe over and over again. There's something coming, something terrible, and it will make or break the human race. Not today and not tomorrow and maybe not for a while, but it is coming. And I don't think all the weapons in all the world will make a difference. I just pray you will.”
“You sound like a man who's had visions,” Ianto said quietly.
“I hope not, Mr. Jones.” The President sighed. “But in any case I'm going to concentrate on keeping the human race from making too much of a mess. You will have to deal with the rest.”
He sat down in the big chair behind the desk. It was dismissal, and we all accepted it with a sigh of relief. As we reached the door, Ianto turned back.
“There's one thing you got wrong. We're answerable to something. Not anything as ephemeral as a single individual, or even a Royal line.” He smiled gently. I felt Energy flow towards the President and I Sensed the strength it carried. “We're answerable to the Earth itself. And she doesn't accept excuses.”