When Everything Changes
Author's note: Yeah, I know I'm a little late to the party, but I only recently figured out how to summit works... Show full author's note »
The French Conection“She was the daughter of Frenchwoman and a man from a planet called Green Star,” Jack explained, “We’re not sure how, she never told the same story twice, she wanted to keep it secret, but he got stranded here. And we couldn’t asked him, because by the time we approached her to work for us he had died. She had his eyes.” Jack went silent for a moment as he drifted back to first time he had met her. It was in a smoke-filled bar in Paris, a week after World War Two had ended. It took him a minute to spot her, then he found her standing at the bar facing out, a half-drunk glass of sherry at her lips, her gorgeous, sparkling, emerald colored eyes darting back and for looking for him as well. She was wearing a white shift and her raven hair was done back and what he would find was her signature braided bun. Jack sat down at the bar and the bar tender walked over to him. Jack pointed at Colette at said, “I’ll have whatever she’s having.”
When the bar tender left, Colette walked over to Jack, sat down beside him and said, “So, I take eet you are Captain Jack Harkness,” In a thick French accent.
“And I take you Are Miss. Colette Dedeaux.” Jack replied.
“Yes,” She answered.
“So?” Jack asked.
After a moment, Colette said, “Two nights ago, an unknown craft crashed just outside of Pari, and the military had surrounded eet. I found a weak spot in zee fence they have around eet. I will take you there tonight at midnight, when zee guard is changing.”
“It’s nine thirty now,” Jack said, then smiled mischievously, and said, “That’s mean we have a couple of hours to kill.”
“Forget it, Captain,” Colette said flatly, “They warned me about your-appetite.”
Jack chuckled. “You don’t beat around the bush, do you?”
“No,” Colette said, “And I’m sorry, if my honesty makes you uncomfortable, but I don’t care.”
“Actually, I, ah, fine your canter rather refreshing.”
At midnight, they set out for the fenced off area and made it there a little there after. The fenced off area was about two miles, roped off with two cords of barbed-wire. They approached it from the right side. Jack stayed back while Colette walked up to the fence, pulled a pair of pliers out of her grey wool coat, and cut the wire. She climbed over the cut wire, then Jack fallowed her. “We have two minutes before the next shift arrives.” Colette said. They walked to the center of the fenced off area, where a blue spear about the size of a volleyball lay. “What ees it ?” Colette asked as Jack picked the spear up. “I’m not sure,” Jack said as he put the spear in his coat to hide it, “That’s what we hope to find out.”
“Come on,” Colette said, as she walked back the way they had came, “Let’s go.”
She was the first to step over the fallen wire fallowed by Jack, as he was going over the wire the next shift of guards showed up. “Arreter!” The two men shouted pulling their guns.
Arreter is French for halt, but Jack and Colette the exact opposite. Colette grabbed Jack’s risk and the pair ran as bullets filled the air. After running servel feet, Collette jumped into a ditch, taking Jack, who wasn’t expecting that move, with her. The gunfire died down, and guards went looking for the two intruders, but she made them stay in that ditch all night, just to be safe.
“She was a very brave young woman,” Jack said, back in the here and now, “She was our French connection for four years when we found out about the ring. It wasn’t just any ring, it could do –things. And yes, I mean things as in plural. It was reported that things that touched the diamond could break down into different parts sometimes to the molecular level, it could also bring things back to a previous state, for example say, someone had cooked a steak, well done, all the wearer would have to do was will it to be raw again while wearing the ring the ring and sixty second latter the stake would be bloody. We think we can use it to bring Rex back to his mortal state. You don’t have be near the person or object you’re reverting, you just have to-will it. “ Jack went quiet for a moment then said, “It could do something else too. Sometime an event is so strong that leaves –an image, we call them ghosts. This thing could record ghosts and hold onto them. I think that’s what you saw in the dust cloud. Colette’s death-to call it very violent is an understatement. She was strangled so hard that it left bruises, crushed her lungs and broke her neck. She was dainty looking, and very petite, it was completely unnecessary to use that amount of force. Not to say that she would ever give them the ring but-“Jack trailed off for a minute, and then found his voice again, “They didn’t need to kill her like that. She died afraid, in pain and alone. I think that could leave a ghost, don’t you?”
No one answered.
Jack spoke again, “Obviously we never found the ring, but since nothing ever happened the search died down and then it was largely forgotten until two days ago, when we translated the final paper from the apartment and discovered it was about the ring. This is why we came to look for it. That thing you saw we call the Lamp Guide, because it can detect alien technology and activity and point us in the right direction. From what you’re telling us it obviously pointed us in the wrong direction.”
“So what are we going to do about it?” Gwen asked.
“We go back to the spot where Neal saw the ghost.” Jack answered, “Then hopefully we’ll find more to go on from there.”
“And until we have more to go on?” Gwen asked.
Jack paused a second. “I don’t know.”
“So, what are we waiting for?” Neal asked, sounding egger, “Let’s go.”
Jack smiled. “That’s what I like to hear.”
Twenty-five minutes later the team had drove back to the spot where Neal saw Colette’s ghost. As they got out of the van Violet pulled out the Lamp Guide again. “So where exactly did you see Colette?” She asked as she headed out into the middle of the road.
“There was a lot of dust, so I can’t say for sure,” Neal said, as she fallowed Violet into the road, “But I think it was about right here.” He stood in the spot where he saw her. Violet walked over a stuck the Lamp Guide into the ground. Almost emeditly it started glowing , not the gentle glow it had before but bright, shining out like a laser beam. It was rather amazing. “It’s here.” Jack said, walking over to the right side of the road, “Gwen, Martha, Rex, You search the left side of the road. Violet, Neal, with me on the right.”
The two groups searched their sides of the road, going up and down the road for a little over two hours. Just when they were about to give up hope Gwen noticed of all thing a small, light brown wooden book on the side of the road. She walked over to the side of the road and picked it up, holding it in both her hands. It was rather light, but that didn’t mean there was nothing inside. She opened it up and inside, nestled in a cut of evergreen velvet cloth, was a ring shaped like a swan, but still flat, wrapped around so that the beak was toughing the tail, with a diamond eye. “Jack!” Gwen called out, waving the ring in the air, “Over here!”
Jack, Violet, Neal, Rex, and Martha ran over to Gwen. They all gather around her, and in turn she held up the ring for all of them to see. “Here it is.” She said, holding the ring between her fingers.
“That’s it,” Jack said, somewhat surprised. He hadn’t been sure what would come of this lead. “Where did you find it?”
“Oddly enough, in this,” Gwen answered holding up the box. Jack took the box from her and examined it. “Looks oraniary enough.” He finally declared. He then got a look on his face as if the gears were turning in his mind, than he said, “Let’s see what the new guy makes of it.”
All eyes went to Neal. “Me?” Neal asked, pointing at himself.
“Yeah, you,” Jack answered, “Come on, come get take a gander at this box and start really earning you keep.”
Neal walked up to Jack, and took the box from him. He flipped it over a couple of times in his hands, examining it, and then said, “I agree with Jack. It’s just a regular box.” He then handed it back to Jack.
“Thank you,” Jack said, sounding rather satisfied.
“You’re welcome,” Neal replied, somewhat nervously, and then after a second said, “I gotta go.” Then he ran into the van and shut the door behind.
Everyone exchanged glances then Martha said, “Well that was weird.”
“Yeah, what was that about?” Rex added.
“Should we be worried he’s gonna take off in that?” Gwen put in.
Just then they hear someone who was not part of their group calling out for Neal. They turned around to see a small bald man with glasses hurriedly walking down the road screaming out for Neal, sounding somewhat desperate. The exchanged looks the group shared let everybody know they were thinking the exact same thing: There’s that other guy Neal told them about.
When the man saw the group he ran over to them. “Hey, I’m looking for someone a friend of mine, maybe you’ve seen him.”
Jack stepped forward, “Why are you looking for him?”
“We had a huge fight and he ran off, and he never came back and it’s been hours and the sun is setting and he’s in a foreign country and anything could happen to him! Look, he’s about as tall as you, dark brown hair, blue eyes; he was wearing a black suit. Have you seen anyone who looks like that? “
“No,” Jack answered casually, “Sorry.”
The man but his hand to his forehead and started to look around aimlessly. “Oh, I’ll never forgive myself,”
Now Jack kind of felt sorry for the guy so he decided to say, “Come on, it’s not like it’s your fault your friend ran off.”
“No, it is, he was completely right to say I was being unreasonable, because that what I am.” The man said, getting more upset by the second, “I tore the bed sheet, I over reacted when he said something about it, I was the one that brought up the other stuff, if he dies it’s my fault!”
Jack sympathized with the feeling of being responsible for someone, but he wasn’t sure what to say, for they couldn’t let the guy know Neal was with them. Gwen spoke up, saying the only thing she could think of, “I’m sure he’ll come back when he gets hungry.”
“Well, thanks anyway. “ He said as he started to walk away, “I’d better get going just in case he doesn’t show up.” Then walked away, continuing to call out for Neal as we went down the road. Violet looked over at Gwen and whispered “He’ll come back when he gets hungry? For Christ sake Gwen, he’s not a dog!”
“I panicked!” Gwen whispered back, “It was just so desperate and pathetic, like the time I thought I lost Anew at the grocery store.”
“When did lose Anew at the grocery store?” Martha asked.
“Last week,” Gwen emitted, “I turned to pick up a few cans of corn, turned back around and couldn’t see the cart anymore. I went into a complete panic until I realize Rhys had it and Anew and I didn’t hear him say he was gonna take it by the meat section. Not my proudest parenting moment.”
Jack walked back over to the van, and knocked on the door. “Neal, he’s gone, you can come out now.”
The door slid open Neal stepped out. “Thanks.”
“Let me guess,” Jack said, with his hand on the door, standing beside Neal, “That was the other guy.”
“Yeah,” Neal said flatly, “That was him.”
“What’s this about a bed sheet?” Jack inquired, stepping closer to Neal almost seductively. Neal suddenly remembered Violet’s comment about Jack being bi.
“It’s not what you think,” Neal said quickly, “I just noticed a tore sheet, asked what happened, and things just kinda exploded. There wasn’t anything – nothing was going on, not like what you’re thinking.”
“Well, he did seem pretty concerned to be-just a friend,” Jack said, wrapping on arm around Neal who was clearly uncomfortable with the situation.
“Oh, he is. In fact I had girlfriend back in New York,” Neal responded, backing away only to run into Jack’s hand on his back. He backed back up until Jack hand wasn’t touching his back anymore, but now he and Jack were mere inches away from each other. He did not like this at all.
“Stop it !” Violet screamed suddenly, “Can’t you seen he doesn’t like it?!”
And just like that, Jack backed away. “I’m sorry Neal,” He said, sincerely, “I don’t know what came over me.”
Neal didn’t say, anything, but instead ran over to Violet as fast as he could and stood behind her, as if for protection. Violet took the role automatically, moving so that she was positioned between Neal and Jack. Violet looked over at Rex and wondered if she should be worried about what Rex would do, his eyes now shifting back between Neal and Jack, the whole time shooting daggers.
“Okay,” Jack said, trying to change the subject, “Now that we’ve got that over with, let’s get back to the box.”
“What about it?” Martha asked, “You said yourself it was just an ordinary box.”
“Yes,” Jack agreed, “But doesn’t it seem kind of weird to you, that after sixty-one years, we find the ring on the side of the road in a box? At the time of Colette’s murder we believe whoever did couldn’t find the ring after they did it. This made her slaying even more senseless but more importantly right now it meant it should be lost forever, yet here it is, what’s more, nestled in velvet and little wooden box, as if someone left it here for us. Now, the question is, who?”
They all stood there in silence contemplating the question. Finally Jack said, “Well, I don’t think we’ll find out now. It’s getting late, so we should probly head back and-do what needs to be done.” He looked at Rex somberly.
“Yes,” Rex said, just as somber as Jack had, but also as if he was consigned to something, “I guess we have to do that now.”
Jack walked over to the left side of the van and got in the driver’s seat. Rex got into the front passenger seat. Then other started walking towards the van and getting in. “Hey,” Neal said, grabbing Violet’s arm and pulling her back, “Violet, what did Jack mean, ‘what needs to be done’?”
“Rex died, remember?” Violent said, as if that should explain everything, but fortunately went on, “On Miracle Day he was fatally wounded but same as everyone else that day, didn’t die, but unlike everyone else he didn’t die when the blessing was fixed, which I know if his injures had healed is just what should have happened, and yes, he had healed, but during the process of fixing it, loss all the blood in his body, which they probly should’ve noticed when he didn’t die then, but for whatever reason they didn’t and at his friend Ester’s funeral-“ She paused minute, trying to find a way to explain what happened quickly, “Long story short, someone shot him in the head, but he didn’t die. And that’s because of-“
“The ring.” Neal finished her sentence for her, “So they’re gonna use it to return Rex to his mortal state, right?”
Violet nodded, “And then he’ll probly die.”
Neal was stunned to hear that. “But, he healed from his injury. Even once he’s made mortal again, shouldn’t that keep him from dying, at least until the next thing that kills him kills him?”
“That’s what we’re hoping for,” Violet said, “But there’s always that chance-“
“Violet! Neal!” Jack called out, “Are you guys coming or not?!”
“Coming!” Violet shouted, and then she turned around started walking towards the van with Neal trailing behind her.
The pair got into the van, shut the door, but Jack didn’t start to drive. Instead he looked over at Rex and said, “Are you ready, Rex?”
“Yeah, Jack,” Rex said, then breathed out and added, “As ready as I’ll ever be.”
And then Jack stepped on the accelerator and drove off into the unknown, even though they were going back to where they had come from.