Space Command Chronicles series
Title: Due Diligence
Genre: Angst /Tragedy
This is part one of a story in two parts. Due Diligence and Double Jeopardy.
All main TW characters will make an appearance along some new ones across both stories.
Part one: John (Ianto) Jones, Jack Harkness/ Suzie Costello, Andy Anderson, Alex Hopkins, Owen Harper/Toshiko Sato, Adam Smith, Gray.
Beta: milady_dragonTorchwood- Copyright BBC. This Fan fiction has been created for enjoyment and is not for profit. All and any unique story elements, OC's and plot belong to Evalentine99 and may not be reproduced without permission.
Summary: The Space Command Vessel Diligence and its crew are about to leave on a fourteen month mission to map the Nexus Nebula. Joining them is John (Ianto) Jones but he is not who they are expecting.
Alex Hopkins, Captain of the Diligence, looked out of the long window that was a feature of his office. The arms of the space dock cradled around them as technicians and Space Command engineers worked at a frantic pace to ensure the ship could keep to its scheduled departure time.
Everything had to be in order because the ship would not see home space for fourteen long months. This mission was going to test his command ability on every level. Once they crossed the communication barrier they would be thrown onto their own resources. He wondered if this was how members of Deep Space Command felt as they left on their years' long missions.
Hearing the door alarm announcing his first officer Alex pressed enter.
'By the look on your face you don't have good news,' Jack said.
'I'm sorry, Jack. I did everything I could. I took my objections all the way to Admiral Bishop. This expedition to map this area of space is his concept. To be successful it's vital we have the right personnel in place. I argued Jones' record means is he demonstrably unsuitable for this or any kind of mission but his family connections are just too powerful.'
'I swore I would never tolerate that man under my command,' Jack said through gritted teeth.
'Jack, every officer in the fleet who knows what happened doesn't want him under their command.'
Placing both hands on the Captain's desk, Jack leaned forward. 'The man is a menace. Aside from his insubordination he has proven his incompetence on every vessel he has served. How in the name of all that is good am I supposed deal with this?'
'I'm not happy about this either,' Alex told him sharply.
'This will be his seventh ship in less than eighteen months and we won't have the luxury of transferring him. We don't have time to pander to someone playing at being a Space Command officer,' Jack pointed out.
'I'm not asking to you to,' Alex told him. 'I've spoken to Susie Costello in Crew Resources. He arrives in just over twenty-seven hours. I suggest the two of you sit down and come up with a strategy for dealing with him. I will back you up on any plan you come up with, short of spacing him. As we are taking the opportunity to do some maintenance while we have a reduced ship's compliment I suggest we keep him so busy he doesn't have time to cause any issues.' Alex watched a grim smile grow on Jack's face as he spoke.
'I can work with that.' Jack turned and left.
Letting out a heavy sigh, Alex went back to looking out towards the dock and vowed whoever had unleashed this man on his ship would live the regret the decision for their rest of their lives.
Jack sat down in a thump in the soft chair in Susie's office. Leaning back he attempted to ease the tension headache that had built up over the last hours.
'Bad day?' Susie asked him.
Jack leaned forward. 'Let's just say I've gained a whole new appreciation of what life must be like for vessels in the Deep Space Exploration service. We are leaving for just fourteen months; their shortest missions are three years. The knowledge we will literally be cast onto our own resources physically and emotionally...'
'A real challenge?'' Susie reflected.
'It's the logistics, making sure we've covered the base for every contingency and with a maintenance crew on board. We also need to make sure we have every part we might need and then some.'
'Is the departure time still firm?' she asked.
'Crew on leave will be reporting back over the next few hours, then there's just final run down and we're gone,' he added.
'And now this.' She handed over a small electronic tablet which currently held the picture of an officer who looked to be in his late twenties.
Jack felt the pain in his forehead worsen by the image of the man who was being foisted on them. 'You know he never faced a court martial? He walked away, and to make matters worse he was then awarded a promotion. Six men lost their lives and he gets a promotion.' Jack handed the tablet back to her in disgust.
'I know this is going to test your abilities of first officer to the limit,' Susie said.
Jack nodded, groaning. ''Just being on the same ship with him is going to be hard enough let alone him being in the same room.'
'Do you want to remove yourself and re-assign him to another officer?' Susie asked.
'No. 'I'm first officer and as tempting as it is I can't afford to inflict him on anyone else. Lieutenant Paul Kassey will be his immediate supervisor but he will be under my command.'
Susie started to bring forward information from the retrieved tablet. 'I've been reading through his history, and it is colourful. I've come up with some ideas and a possible plan. This is a man who thrives on conflict. He creates situations to cause a reaction. Minor problems get escalated out of all proportion. If anyone does stand up to him, he uses his connections to create havoc. This causes him to be moved on first to different departments, then finally off the ship. Then the cycle starts all over again. This time however things are different; we are moving away from home space. What it means is all his support will be stripped away.' She made a sweeping gesture with her hand. 'Who is he going to call? Maybe for the first time in his life he won't be able run away. He will have to face the consequences of his behaviour.'
Jack nodded, accepting her summation. In truth he hadn't the stomach to fully read the file. Anyway he didn't need any confirmation of what he already knew because the man's reputation was legend.
'Thanks for doing all this,' Jack told her.
'Lifting your burden is my job,' Susie added sweetly. Jack pulled her into his lap and kissed her gently on the lips. She wrapped her arms around him and laid her head on his chest. 'So I'm just a perk?' he teased
Susie sat up and cupped his face with her hands. 'You are far more than just a perk; you are the greatest gift of providence a head of Crew Resources could have dreamed for in this moment.'
'Greatest gift? Then I am a very lucky man,' Jack told her.
'No, I'm the lucky one. You have no idea just how lucky I am. Fortune has smiled upon me and given me an opportunity I never thought would just walk through the door.'
'What about I take you out for dinner and let me enjoy my good fortune?' Jack took her hand and gently kissed the back.
'Let's get this done and then…' She reached up and pulled his head towards her lips and they kissed again, more deeply this time
'You said you had a plan,' Jack said when they came up for air.
'Yes I do.' And she began to outline her plan of action. 'So first sign of rebellion we snub it out. Read him the riot act and tell him that we will not tolerate him using his family connections as a weapon over the crew.'
Jack repeated his understanding.
'And Alex has suggested we keep him busy,' Susie added
Jack nodded. 'I'm working on that. He will be so busy he will wonder what hit him.'
'I've put him into a standard cabin on E deck,' Susie said.
Jack smiled. 'Oh he's going to love that. Did you see the requirements he demanded?'
'And no special food requirements,' she added
'The bottom line is he follows the basic order and rules aboard this vessel,' Jack pointed out.
'There is a risk he could cause merry hell when he gets back,' Susie warned.
Jack growled, 'I refuse to be intimidated. He has gotten away with far too much, for far too long. This crew and this mission have to come first. Secondly, maybe this is what he needs. I have a feeling everyone has put this man in the too hard basket because he could be moved on. Not this time.'
'I was hoping you would say that.' Susie stood and handed Jack another electronic pad. 'These are my immediate recommendations.'
'No-one greets him. He makes his way to his cabin. No orientation,' Jack repeated the first points.
'He doesn't need one. He has already served on two ships of the same class,' Susie pointed out.
'The first time we see him is first roll call. We assign him work duty and go from there.'
'Trust me Jack. If we handle this right, this mission could be the start of a whole new life for him. One he never imagined.'
'Enough of this,' Jack said, standing and tossed the tablet towards her. 'Dinner.'
She fumbled the catch and it slipped from her grasp and clattered onto the floor. 'Just got to tidy up a couple of details. Pick me up from by cabin in say an hour.'' She picked the tablet up and handed a stylus to Jack who signed off on her plan.
Moving towards the door Jack blew her an air kiss.
As the door of her office closed a huge grin grew on her face, distorting her normal calm persona. She was elated. Fortune and opportunity had walked through her door via a corrupted personnel file. A solar flare near the main processing centre on Beta Twelve had subtly combined the files of two individuals being transferred so expertly it had only been images that had alerted her. She couldn't have merged the two files herself with more precision. How her soul had soared when she realised what she held in the palm of her hands.
Seating herself at in front of her work desk she flicked on the screen and two Space Academy identification images filled the screen On the left was the scowling face of John Jones noted for his dishonourable role in the Pasadena incident. On the right was a pale, serious looking young man with a button noise and dark hair with the caption 'John Jones. Second Lieutenant Deep Exploration Service.' The images was eerily familiar and if you didn't know of the second man's existence you could easily mistake one for the other.
Now the plot and the main players were set. She wasn't fooled for one moment that it would play out exactly as she envisioned. It would still need a quiet word here and a push there. Some minor players were yet to be identified but they would announce themselves soon enough. Her persona of the caring crew resource would finally bring its reward. Such unwitting fools and she was in the prefect position to pull them all into the upcoming drama.
'Now the prologue has ended let act one begin,'' she said under her breath as she pressed permanent delete.
John put his bags down on to the bed of his cabin and looked around. It was bigger than he had expected. Then again anything bigger than the double sized cupboard he had shared with two others on the Solaris would seem spacious. Walking across the cabin in five steps he noted with some satisfaction. He pulled opened a door he assumed was a cupboard.
To his surprise it was an actual bathroom with a shower. He pressed every nob like a small child watching with fascination as water flowed out.
Returning now to the main room he noted a small inbuilt replicator. Now this really was luxury and he quickly read through the tiny menu. It had all the essentials; coffee, mostly breakfast, food bars and his stomach turned over. After months on these basic rations he wouldn't be touching those for a while.
Having satisfied himself that he had explored every corner he sat down at the small desk. There was a red light blinking in the right hand corner on the screen. It was a message.
He flicked the screen on and saw from the identity code it was from his sister. He braced himself for a continuance of their conversation only six hours ago.
John tried to smile. She was the only person who called him by his given name. Normally he accepted it in good humour but his humour had deserted him the moment he had received his orders to report to the Diligence.
'Please let me speak to Dad,' she pleaded.
'No,' John said.
'This is unfair and you know it,'' Rhia said tearfully.
'This is not about being fair. I'm a Space Command officer. I follow orders,' John pointed out.
'What about us? Three years we finally get you back for a few months and then…' She pulled out a hanky, 'and you are sent somewhere else.'
' I know,' Ianto said and felt disappointment burn in his chest.
'Please let me speak to Dad. Please let him call in a few favours and get you home. You've earned your leave. We had plans, mid-winter celebrations, all of us together. We were all so looking forward to it.'
John shook his head. 'I don't need Dad's help pulling strings.'
She let out a sigh of exasperation. 'Just this once. What harm would it do if you got to spend time with your family?'
'I know you are. I'm disappointed. Captain Lethbridge Stewart challenged the orders as soon as he read them through. Nothing he said or those he talked to changed anything. What hope does Dad have?'
'So the rest of your crew get to go home and get to be with their families. But you get sent off for another fourteen month,' she said angrily, twisting her handkerchief.
'They said my expertise was vital to the success of the mission,' Ianto repeated the phrase he had heard from every member of Solaris over the past days.
'Better be vital to deny you leave Ianto. It's unfair. They are asking too much.'
'I know.' John felt the return of a headache that seemed to have haunted him for months begin to pound in earnest. 'I don't want to argue. We are going out of range in two weeks. The Nexus Nebula will make all communication impossible. Please don't ask Dad for anything. He's already offered and I've refused.'
'I love you Ianto. We all love you.'
'While I was on the Solaris I set up a number of messages for birthdays and celebrations. I've gotten all yours. Please give everyone a huge hug from me. I'll try and contact you tomorrow.' He signed off.
Rhia's face disappeared and all the resentment he had been trying to stifle came forth. His head pounded and he rubbed the back of his neck and let out a sigh. She was right; it was unfair. Three years away from home only to be rewarded with another mission of fourteen months. Standing he stripped off and went towards the bathroom.
- Current Mood: accomplished