2910leiv - Then came Janto with a baby carriage
June
10
2012

Chapter 17 Backgrounds, explanations and cures, oh my!

 

The room was silent. Rea gazed at Jack in shock. ‘That… man… had gone after Sybille’s youngest.’ She shook with the intensity of her frayed emotions. These last few months had been awful. First she had felt her daughter’s death. Her psychic cry would haunt her forever. Parents were not supposed to outlive their children. But she had had no time for mourning. There was a funeral to arrange. And she had to take care of the grieving children and provide a home for those of the children that had lived with Sybille. Two of the children lived with their respective fathers, but they also needed to be with their siblings and share their grief with the family.

 

Then the reading of the will had followed and the legal proceedings to sign over custody to the fathers; and all the arrangements to have two of the children shipped off-world. Orion was sent to Earth and his half-sister was sent to a small colony world in a rather remote sector. She had despaired of ever seeing them again. She had thought to contest the will and fight to keep the children together and at home with her, but in the end the lawyers had advised her not to.

 

And then of course there was the trial and her testimony. Her former son-in-law, Lartorc, had been convicted and sentenced to treatment at the First House, also known as the House of Compassion or the Healing House. The man was obviously insane if he was capable of such an act. The Masters and Mistresses at the First House had been horrified at the extent of his madness. It had been many years since Hallow IV had had to deal with a homicidal sociopath. The lack of experience had presumably enabled his escape. Their security had not been tight enough and the staff had been fooled by his cunningly innocent demeanour.

 

When they told her the news of Lartorc’s escape, she had felt a rage unrivalled by any she had experienced in her 189 years. She had contacted the First House immediately and thrown a major tantrum. They had cowered before her. As a high ranking Mistress of the Fourth House her power was one to be reckoned with. After a substantial rant she finally calmed down and used the good sense the goddess Miduna had given her. She then organised the trans-House taskforce and set to work of capturing her now much-hated former son-in-law.

 

They had sealed off every spaceport and posted guards there, so he couldn’t steal a ship and get off-world. But the man was nothing if not cunning. As a Micurii’an he had used his ability to change his gender, making him appear as a Calroon female.

 

Saluvians and Micurii’ans are very similar peoples, and originate from the same homeworld, known as Saluvia to the Saluvians and as Micurii to the Micurii’ans. The only significant difference between them is that Micurii’ans don’t have a gender, though they may have a preference toward being one or the other. They can change their gender as freely as they can change their species or colouration. Most often they are referred to as male or female due to their preference, but it is technically incorrect. The Saluvians on the other hand have a gender and cannot change it.

 

This gender issue has been the cause of much hostility throughout the ages and ultimately caused the destruction of their homeworld. The survivors were forced to abandon hostilities and enter an alliance with their former enemy. Neither population was substantial enough for the race to survive on its own, so in the end they had to interbreed. Laws were passed to ensure the continuation of the species. But even so, it had only been a couple of generations since The War and lingering hostility remained.  

 

The guard had let the Calroon female pass, since the escapee they were looking for was a male.  He had simply assumed they were looking for a Saluvian. Needless to say his punishment was severe when his negligence was discovered.

 

Lartorc had then stolen a ship, hidden it and instead of fleeing at the first opportune moment he had waited. When they were looking else were for him, he had killed off three of the children one by one, before they had even made the connection between the murders and him. An attempt had been made on the fourth, but he had been interrupted before he could finish the job. After that he had fled and they had been unable to track him. The taskforce had run around like a headless chicken trying to keep up with all the reports coming in. The whole world it seemed had gone into a collective panic and was seeing Lartorc everywhere and anywhere. Countless false sightings and unrelated happenings muddled up their investigation. They had not known if Lartorc was still on the planet or if he had a ship. Though both species could Jump (or teleport) from one place to the other, the distances between solar systems were too great for even the most powerful Jumper. As a result they had developed the technology to make their spaceships Jump for them.

 

It meant Lartorc could be anywhere. Some reports stated that he had been spotted on the second moon, others that he was still on the planet. They had hurried to secure the surviving children on Hallow IV, but it took time to organise the people and the ships needed to go off world for Orion and his half-sister. And then Orion had sent his distress call to Rea.

 

“I don’t know how much more I can take.” She whispered with a quivering voice, her eyes were closed and she looked very pale. Jack opened his mouth to offer some form of comfort, but he never got the chance. A young man appeared suddenly in the corner of the room. Gwen shrieked in surprise and several of the other occupants in the room startled. The man had his back half turned to them and he looked around in confusion. When he turned he spotted them and their other guest. Noticing her he lit up in relief.

 

“Mistress, there is a message for you from Commander Frawn.” He glanced friendlily at the others in the room, before looking back at Rea. The Humans were looking from one to the other. Some on guard, others more curious then apprehensive. She sighed.

 

“This is my assistant, Xarion Yip.” She said to the Humans. “What is the message?” The young man was practically buzzing with his eagerness to serve his mentor.

 

“Young miss Zartuna Carelneska has been secured unharmed. There have been no sighting of Lartorc on the colony.” She nodded.

 

“It would seem your theory is correct, Xarion.” The young man beamed with the praise. “Lartorc was not informed of the location of any of the children, with the exception of the two he has a biological claim on.” She sighed. “We know he looked through Sybille’s papers when this whole mess started. He must have seen at least some of the names, maybe even the locations, of the other fathers.” She looked at Jack and Ianto. Jack was tight-lipped and you could see cogwheels in his brain turning. Ianto was holding his breath, looking like he wanted to ask a million questions. She got up and started pacing; making Gwen scramble out the way.

 

“Who’s Lartorc? And this Saturna?” she asked. Rea kept pacing deep in thought. It was the young man, Xarion, who answered.

 

“Miss Zartuna is Mistress Rea’s second youngest grandchild and Lartorc is her former son-in-law.”

 

“So this Lartorc fellow is the one who caused all the kids to get sick?” Rhiannon piped in angrily. She looked expectantly at the others. Jack nodded tensely at her.

 

“But… Why?”

 

“He must not have known Orion’s exact location… so he’s chosen to infect all the young children in the hopes of getting to the right one.” Jack said despondently. Xarion nodded in the background.

 

She stared harshly at Jack before blowing a fuse.

 

“What! … What the hell are you sitting around here for then? Go catch the bastard! It’s what you do isn’t it? Catch bad aliens?”

 

“Rhi…” Ianto tried timidly. She whirled on him.

 

“No! Don’t you ‘Rhi’ me, Ianto Jones! I will not stand for it! These aliens come here and infect all our kids, making them sick with who knows what. They could all die, Ianto! They just lie there. My babies…” her voice broke as she was overcome by tears. Ianto rushed up to hug her. Johnny was right behind him and together they did their best to console her. Xarion looked at the scene with slight astonishment. He had never known an unchangeable (A/N non-shapechanger) with such an astonishing display of colours. Her aura was magnificent. He snapped out of it when Rea moved past him.

 

“What is wrong with the children?” he had noticed Orion’s still form on the bed, but had not found the moment to enquire until now. Rea told him what she knew of the situation. His eyes widened and he paled alarmingly.

 

“Oh my. Mistress, the day Lartorc escaped from the First House, there was a break in and one of their storage canisters was stolen. They didn’t find out until a couple of days after because of all the commotion.” He paused. “The canister contained six different pathogens, including Practor’s virus and Tarq Pox virus.” Rea stopped her pacing, looked up and swore most unladylike.

 

xxXxx

 

They had relocated to kitchen, where Ianto had served coffee to the Humans and tea to the aliens. Apparently the visitors didn’t find the caffeine and the bitter taste of coffee to their liking. Johnny and Rhiannon were upstairs with the kids, so it was just Jack, Ianto, Gwen, Xarion and Rea. They were talking quietly among themselves while waiting for Toshiko to set up the video conference on the computer. The emotions among the Humans were shifting between despair and hope and every emotion in between. Jack was leaning on Ianto’s shoulder in a half embrace. Ianto was staring glumly at the countertop in front of him. Gwen was helping Toshiko from their end. Finally the link was established and Toshiko, Owen and Martha were now seen on the computer screen.

 

Jack decided that now was the time for him to take charge again. With a gentle squeeze he let go of Ianto and straightened into a soldier’s stance.

 

“Right. Toshiko, Owen, Martha. I’d like you to meet Rea, Orion’s grandmother and Xarion, her assistant.” They all greeted each other, as Jack proceeded to introduce his team members and their functions to the two visitors. He had already explained the aliens’ presence and given a debriefing about the latest developments, when he contacted the Hub. “You told us that Lartorc has stolen some viruses.” He began, hesitating slightly at the unfamiliar sound of the perpetrators name. “What can you tell us about them?”

 

The two visitors looked at each other, communicating silently. Rea gave a curt nod and Xarion responded with a businesslike efficiency.

 

“There were six pathogens in the canister he stole. Five of them viruses and the last was a fungus, known for its devastating effect on the nervous system of most mammals if ingested. The viruses are: Practor’s virus, an airborne hemorrhagic fever with a 90 % mortality rate. Tarq Pox virus, a plague-like disease with a high mortality rate among children, elderly and weakened people. Wreean virus, a children’s disease that has been almost eradicated due to vaccinations. The VKL2M virus causes Xquandir’s disease, a paralyzing and muscle wasting disease. The last one, VN3K4 virus, is a virus that disrupts the upper functions of the so-called transcendental abilities in both Micurii’ans and Saluvians.” He finished slightly out of breath. He took a sip of his tea as Gwen asked what transcendental abilities were. This time Rea answered.

 

“The transcendental abilities are what some species refer to as a magic.” Gwen spluttered and Owen scoffed. Both Ianto and Jack looked at Rea rather sharply, paying close attention. Rea smiled benignly. It was not the first time she had encountered this reaction in other species. “The word is of course not entirely correct. There is a scientific explanation for everything; it is just that very few species have discovered it yet. Indeed we are still learning and many things are just accepted by us as being magical until we can apply the scientific explanation to it.” Gwen was nodding, though it was clear she really didn’t fully understand. Rea turned her attention back to her assistant.

 

“Well, considering the symptoms the most likely cause of the children’s sickness would be the Wreean virus.” Rea startled at this. She frowned.

 

“Wreean virus has never caused these spots before. Fevers and unconsciousness, but not spots.” She protested. Xarion bowed his head apologetically, but continued to stand his ground.

 

“Not in Micurii’ans and Saluvians, no.” Rea drew in a sharp breath in understanding. “These children are Human; it would only be natural that the virus would cause other symptoms in them.”

 

“But what about Orion? He has the same symptoms as the others.” Ianto asked desperately. He felt as if he had been given some hope only to have it snatched away from him again. Jack took his hand in his in a show of support. It wasn’t Xarion who answered though, but Martha, speaking from the computer screen.

 

“Orion is 2/3 Human. There might be some differences, but he should still be affected the same way as the others.” Owen and Xarion were nodding.

 

“But you said that the disease was almost eradicated by vaccinations. Wouldn’t Orion have been inoculated against it then?” Jack asked in confusion. Rea looked startled.

 

“I… I don’t know. It’s not done until the babies are strong enough. Orion might not have gotten it before being shipped off to Earth.” She looked a bit embarrassed. Ianto cursed inwardly. He was growing steadily less impressed by the Saluvians as time progressed. For such a talented people they showed a great ineptitude toward a lot of mundane things.

 

“So we are to blame.” Jack whispered devastated to him self. Nevertheless heads turned to look at him. “He would not have gotten sick, if he wasn’t our son. And he wouldn’t have been sent here and all the other children wouldn’t have gotten sick.” His voice broke. Unbidden tears formed and slid down his cheek. Ianto immediately pulled him into a hug and Jack hid his face in the crook of Ianto’s neck. Ianto placed a soft kiss on his fiancées head, silently suffering from much the same misgivings and self recriminations. The team looked at their boss’ uncharacteristic breakdown and the young archivist’s effortless handling of him and felt they were intruding upon a very private, seldom seen moment between the two lovers.

 

“Now you listen to me! Both of you!” Rea exploded. “It is no one’s fault but that cretin I used to call a son-in-law. You hear me? If you hadn’t done what you did, then Orion would never have been born and none of you would have gotten to know him.” She softened into a gentle smile. “I for one think the world would be a sadder place without him. And I don’t really know him anymore! He was just a small baby the last time I took care of him.” She put a hand on Jack’s back. “You have done an amazing job taking care of him. Any fool can see that. Just look at all these people wanting to help you get him back to good health again.” She indicated the others listening. Toshiko was crying silently and Owen used the opportunity to put his arm around her. Gwen was locking her jaw in a fierce look, determined not to go soft, yet failing. Martha was hiding her emotions behind a professional mask, but even so her eyes were suspiciously moist.

 

Ianto looked at them. Tears in his own eyes. He could feel Jack shaking in his embrace. “Thank you” he mouthed and gently moved and guided Jack toward the door. He knew Jack very rarely broke down like this and knew he would need some time to gather him self together. Jack seemed so lost like this he observed, feeling his own heart breaking.

 

“Come on, let’s go outside. Get a bit of fresh air.” He whispered softly in Jack’s ear as he steered him through the door.

 

The kitchen was silent as the others watched them leave. Then the sound of Owen clearing his throat broke the silence.

 

“As cuddly as this is,” Toshiko elbowed him gently “we really should get a move on.” The others shook off the pensive mood and focused on the task at hand. “If you have vaccines to this disease, does that also mean you have a cure?” Owen asked gruffly. He was longing for a good nights sleep and to have no worries for a while. Xarion beamed happily.

 

“Yes, we have. Though it might need to be adapted to Human physiology.” Both Owen and Martha nodded. They would have expected nothing less.

 

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Owen harped. An excited discussion followed as plans were made to procure and exchange samples and for the Human doctors and the alien healers to work together toward curing the children of the malady that had been inflicted upon them.

 

xxXxx

 

Two weeks later and a major breakthrough occurred, when a healer on Hallow IV decided to experiment with a drug normally used to treat a particular hormonal syndrome in Micurii’ans. When she had combined it with the existing treatment for Wreean virus infection she saw that the virus in the Human blood sample was being destroyed. The happy excitement was soon spreading all over the First House as the news became known. Every test showed the same. A cure for the Wreean virus in Humans had been found.

 

xxXxx

 

Jack and Ianto were hovering by the head of the bed, as the bag with the cure was added to Orion’s IV. Owen smirked up at them.

 

“There. Now all we have to do is wait.” He said as he got up to leave. Jack put his hand on Owen’s shoulder and made to speak. But no words came. Owen just nodded knowingly and left the little family. The alien monitoring device would inform him of any changes. He went down the hall to the room with Mica and David. Martha was just finishing up with Mica’s IV, having already done David’s. Rhiannon and Johnny were unknowingly mimicking the two men in the other room, right down to the tense stance. Johnny was standing behind his wife, his arms around her. Just like Jack’s had been around Ianto. Martha smiled at him as she approached and together they went down into the kitchen. It would be long wait still. There was no guarantee that the cure would work in a real body, just because it worked in the lab.

 

xxXxx

 

Orion was running aimlessly across the weird foggy place, shouting desperately for help. Calling for his Daddy and Tad. He had no idea how long he had been there. Time seemed unmoving. But as he ran he began to feel sluggish and heavy. As if he had suddenly grown exceedingly tired. Exhausted he allowed him self to collapse on the grassy shaped fog. He was breathing rapidly from his run and he waited for it to slow down. He looked up in the foggy bluish ‘sky’ and it seemed as if it was becoming darker. This frightened him. Until now the place had remained a constant, yet ever changing bluish fog. It had never had a night or day. Somehow he didn’t think it was just the night falling.

 

He whimpered in alarm. His body now felt so heavy as if the weight of an elephant sat on him. He wanted to move; to find his way home. He wanted his parents. He was really scared now.

 

And it kept getting darker.

 

xxXxx

 

Owen pelted up the stairs to Orion’s room. The monitor had alerted him to Orion’s increased heart rate and heightened levels of adrenalin. He all but pushed Jack off the bed in his hurry to examine the child. Not that Jack protested. Instead he joined Ianto and together they looked on anxiously.

 

Orion was thrashing in his bed again. Small whimpers and mewling sounds issued from his mouth. Owen was concentrating so deeply that he didn’t hear Rea enter the room.

 

“He is frightened.” She said softly and in a low voice. There was a strange air about her. An almost supernatural quality. Jack supposed she was using her so-called transcendental abilities. “Touch him; let him hear you voice.” They looked at Owen and Orion. Owen was shaking his head slightly, as if he couldn’t figure out what was causing the anxiety or how to make it stop. Ianto made a decision and moved closer to the bed side. Squatting down, he put his hand on Orion’s forehead and said:

 

“Orion, Love, can you hear me? It’s Tad. We’re right here, Love. Daddy and Tad are right here. Don’t be scared. You’re going to be just fine. Everything will be okay.” Owen was blinking rapidly as he stepped away from the bed. Ianto quickly took his place on the side of the bed and Jack joined him; adding his voice and touch to that of his lover’s. Orion still writhed on the bed.

 

xxXxx

 

Orion was lying in almost total darkness now, still trying to struggle against the heaviness in his limbs. Then he heard. His Tad’s voice! His Tad was speaking to him and Orion could have laughed and cried with relief, had he been able to. As it was he was increasingly trapped inside him self. Then the idea struck him. The bond! He turned his awareness toward the bond he shared with his parents, as his Daddy’s voice joined his Tad’s. He welcomed them and clung to them. The bond was still vibrant and beautiful lighting up his vision almost blinding him. They were touching him, he realised. Their touch was empowering the bond. Maybe he could use it to leave?

 

xxXxx

 

“Yes, keep going. It’s working.” Rea said to the two men. The room was slowly filling with people, as they came to see what was happening. Ianto carefully picked up his son and cradled him as he had done when the child had been a baby. Jack threw his arm around him and stroked Orion’s hair, cheek and upper arm. Orion’s eyelids fluttered.

 

“Come on, baby. Come back to us. We miss you.” Jack said, his voice a bit wobbly with the strain of his pent up emotions. Orion’s eyelids fluttered again and then they were slowly opened.

 

“Daddy?” a weak voice asked. “Tad?” Ianto started sobbing in relief as he clutched his son close to him. Jack hugged the both of them; tears running down his face as he answered:

 

“Yes, baby, we’re here. You’re safe now.”

 

xxXxx

 

It took a little longer, but soon Mica and David also came around. Unlike Orion’s mysterious experience in a strange dreamscape the other two had just fallen unconscious and had been unaware of any events around them. The children were still rather weak and would take a while to recover fully, but it didn’t stop the celebration going on in the home of the Davies family and at the Hub.

 

As soon as the news reached Hallow IV mass production of the cure was started and preparations made for it to be shipped to Earth for immediate distribution.

 

xxXxx

 

Myfanwy was once again flying over the city in the early dusk. The waning light provided sufficient cover for her to remain unseen. ‘Humans never really look at what is around them anyway.’ She thought as she banked across the green expanse of the park. A few younglings were still out playing on the park playground. Oh, how she enjoyed hearing the sound of their play once again. She winced when her movement made her injuries twinge a bit. She wasn’t completely recovered from her bullet wounds yet. She still had to be careful of her movements but there was no way that she would stay cooped up indoors any longer. She headed toward the woods, hoping to catch some prey there.

 

The End

 

This story continues in the oneshot "The Doctor's visit" and in the multichap "Family for dummies"

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