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Torchwood: Galaxy Quest (10)

Galaxy Quest (10)

Word Count: ~37.000
Summary: Eight years ago, the actors of the popular sci-fi show Galaxy Quest were heroes – these days, they can't escape the shadow of the roles they played, even though the show has been cancelled. When an alien race mistakes them for real heroes fighting evil and seeks their help, they quickly find themselves in a fight that goes way over their heads. To survive, they have to overcome their differences and conflicts of the past, but pride is something that's very hard to swallow ...
Characters: Jack Harkness, Ianto Jones, John Hart, Gwen Cooper, Owen Harper, Toshiko Sato, Mathasar, Sarris, Laliari, Teb, Eugene Jones, Carys, Annie, Lahnk, OCs
Pairing: Ianto/John Hart, Jack/Ianto, Tosh/Owen, Gwen/Rhys
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Torture, mention of partner betrayal, language
Beta: danian and czarinakitty, who did a great job under time pressure. Thank you both!
Disclaimer: I’m not making money with this fanfic. The tv show Torchwood as well as the movie Galaxy Quest and the characters appearing within it belong to their producers and creators. Any similarities to living or dead persons are purely coincidental and not intended.
This is a work of fiction. No similarities to the private or public lives of the Torchwood actors are intended, even though there are references to the fictional characters they played in other productions.

Complete Fanfiction Masterlist
Galaxy Quest Masterlist
Chapter Nine



Jack stumbled as he was pushed into a room and only Ianto grabbing him kept him from falling. Jack noticed with trepidation that they'd been brought to one of the airlocks – an empty room with yellow markings on the floor and only a bulkhead separating them from space. Whatever Sarris had in mind for them, it couldn't be good. The looks on Owen, John, Gwen and Ianto's faces told him that they thought the same.

He only noticed Mathasar sitting propped up against a wall in the corner of the airlock when he groaned quietly. ”Mathasar,” he said and quickly went over to kneel beside him. Gwen joined him while Owen, John and Ianto took position between them and Sarris, who sent all but two men away with a wave of his hand.

Sarris's soldiers were brutal-looking and clearly loyal to their commander. They weren't as tall as Sarris and looked a bit like beetles with their beady little eyes and sturdy build.

Jack turned back to Mathasar, whose face was badly bruised. Gwen was dabbing at a bleeding wound on his temple with a tissue. When Jack tried to help him sit up a little straighter, he winced in pain. Jack glared at Sarris. ”Why? They didn't do anything to hurt you!”

Sarris's lips stretched into a mean smile that reached his one good eye. Another soldier joined them, pushing Tosh into the airlock. ”That is all of them,” he soldier said.

Sarris nodded. ”Good.”

Mathasar coughed and wrapped an arm around his chest protectively, dragging up the energy from somewhere to smile triumphantly at Sarris. ”You won't win, Sarris. You will face justice now that the Captain is here.”

Jack winced and ducked his head, while Sarris just scoffed. ”At every turn, you demonstrate the necessity for your extermination.”

Jack got up and squared his shoulders. ”Leave him alone.”

That got him a look of mild interest from Sarris. ”You wish to save the life of this man?”

Jack swallowed, his hands clenching into fists to keep them from trembling with the fear he failed to suppress entirely. ”Yes.”

”Then tell me: what does it do? This Omega 13.”

Jack shrugged grudgingly. ”I don’t know what it does.”

Sarris took a step back and snorted derisively.

Jack narrowed his eyes angrily. ”I really don't know.”

Sarris reached out a hand and one of his men handed him a staff of some kind. Before anyone could react, he held it against John's shoulder. John screamed and fell to the floor, clutching his arm. Ianto started to step towards him, but Owen grabbed his arm and pulled him back when Sarris brandished the device in his direction. ”Careful,” Owen muttered.

John's scream faltered, turning into pained gasps.

Sarris looked at Jack, unaffected by the pain he'd caused. ”Is it a bomb?”

Jack swallowed, knowing what his answer would cause. ”I don’t know.”

Sarris shocked John again, holding the device to his shoulder for a long moment. Jack winced at the choked scream that was wrenched from John's throat. ”Stop it!”

Sarris obeyed, taking his time, though. John was gasping and sobbing by the time Sarris stepped back and met Jack's eyes again challengingly. ”A booby trap?”

”I don’t know.”

Sarris stepped towards John again, who whimpered and tried to crawl away from him.

Ianto shrugged Owen's hand off and stepped between them. ”No, stop it now!” he yelled.

Sarris did stop, eyeing Ianto curiously. He raised the device between them, tipping it towards Ianto threateningly. Jack saw Ianto's jaw clench and his hands tremble, but he didn't step back. Sarris chuckled as if Ianto's defiance was some kind of joke. ”Tell me, Captain.”

Jack closed his eyes. ”I don’t know.”

For a moment, he expected Sarris to hurt Ianto next and work his way through the whole team until Jack talked – and if Jack knew what the Omega 13 was, he actually would – but instead, Sarris stepped closer to him menacingly and Jack found himself taking a step back. Sarris snarled. ”Do you think I’m a fool? That the Captain does not know every bolt, every weld in his ship?”

He stared at Jack and waited. Jack didn't know what to say, so he shook his head.

”Fine,” Sarris said and turned back to Ianto. ”We'll just continue then.”

He readied the device, looking at Ianto as if he was taking his time to decide where to touch, and Jack knew that it was over once and for all. ”I’m not the Captain.”

Sarris froze. It was silent for a moment, then he turned back to face Jack. ”What did you say?”

Jack took a deep breath. ”I said, I’m not the Captain.”

”Jack,” Ianto whispered.

Jack ignored him, stepping forward instead. ”Leave them alone. There’s no reason to hurt them. They don’t know anything.”

Sarris lowered the device, frowning at Jack quizzically. ”Explain.”

Jack nodded. ”Gwen, show him the historical documents.”

Gwen's hesitation hung heavy in the air for a moment, but then she ordered, ”Computer, show the historical documents of the Galaxy Quest missions.”

The small screen embedded close to the bulkhead lit up, showing the title sequence of Galaxy Quest in all its cheesy glory. Sarris stepped closer to the screen with obvious curiosity and just watched.

Ianto took the respite to crouch next to John, helping him to sit up and encouraging him to breathe deeply. Owen had put an arm around Tosh's shoulder and Jack saw her eyes were shining with tears she hadn't let fall yet. Behind him, he could hear Gwen talk softly to Mathasar, asking him where he was hurt. He regretted ever bringing them here, putting them into this situation, but it was too late now.

Sarris started to chuckle and then he laughed loudly and turned back to face Jack. ”Wonderful! You have all done far greater damage than I ever could have. This is a moment I will treasure.” He calmed just enough to give Jack a smug grin. ”Explain to him who you all really are.” He nodded at Mathasar.

Jack's breath caught in his chest. He bit his lip, ducking his head.

”Tell him,” Sarris goaded and when Jack still couldn't find the words, he screamed, ”Explain!”

Jack swallowed. ”Mathasar, the …” He took a deep breath and turned to actually look at Mathasar while he was talking to him. “There’s no such person as Captain Taggart. My name is Jack Harkness. I am an actor. We’re all actors.”

Mathasar just looked at him with a pained smile and Sarris put into words what Jack dreaded was the cruel truth. ”He doesn’t understand. Explain as you would to a child.”

Jack cleared his throat, he couldn't find the words. It wasn't just about being caught out in a lie, it wasn't just about his pride … this was about something so much deeper: Mathasar's unshakeable trust. Jack didn't think he could do it … until he felt a hand slip into his, fingers entwining with his in support, and he knew that it was Ianto. He took a deep breath. ”We ... we pretended.” He stared at Mathasar pleadingly while squeezing Ianto's hand, feeling tears threaten when understanding slowly dawned and Mathasar's blue eyes misted over. Jack gave a one-sided shrug. ”We lied.”

Mathasar moaned and turned his head away.

”Yes!” Sarris said. ”You understand that, don’t you, Mathasar?”

Jack ignored him, instead he stepped closer to Mathasar and crouched down in front of him. ”Mathasar, I ... I’m not a Captain. I ... there’s no National Space Exploration Administration. We don’t have a ship.”

”But there it is,” Mathasar whimpered, pointing at the screen where the episode was playing and the ship was flying through space in all its computer-simulated glory.

Jack shook his head and found Gwen's eyes for a moment, before she ducked her head sadly. ”That ship was created by computers. It's not real. On the screen, it's ...” He held thumb and forefinger apart by two inches. ”... this big.”

Mathasar shook his head. ”But inside, I see many rooms.”

”You’ve seen plywood sets that look like the inside. Our Beryllium sphere is ... is wire with plaster around it. And our digital conveyor is … Christmas tree lights. It’s a decoration. It’s all fake.” Jack swallowed. “Just like me.”

Mathasar's blue eyes were wide with disbelief. ”But why?”

Jack sighed and brushed a hand through his hair. ”It’s difficult to explain. On our planet we ... we pretend to … to entertain and ...” He shook his head. ”Mathasar, I am so sorry. God, I am so sorry.”

Mathasar closed his eyes and sobbed.

Sarris chuckled. ”So now you know. Lieutenant Lathe,” he turned to one of the three men with him, “hardwire the reactor core to overload. I would like to blow this troublesome vehicle to dust.”

Mathasar tried to sit up a little straighter hurriedly and winced in pain. ”Sarris,” he said, ”what about my people?”

Sarris laughed. ”Yes! Far too simple a death for them, isn’t it? Lathe, open an oxygen seal on level C. Let the air in a bit for our friends in the main barracks.”

Jack cursed. ”Son of a ...” He jumped towards Sarris, but before he knew it, he was hit with the device and fell to the floor, unbearable pain shooting through his body. He didn't know whether he screamed, but he must have. The pain was just too bad not to, all his muscles contracting and cramping.

He didn't even know whether he passed out for a moment, but the next thing he was aware of was Ianto's hand on his arm and Sarris's voice saying, ”Release them … into space.” With that, he left and the crew was alone with two soldiers.

The computer announced calmly, ”Core overload. Emergency shutdown overridden. Core implosion estimated in nine minutes.”

Owen cursed and looked at Jack darkly. ”Where’s the happy ending, Jack? Never give up? Never surrender?”

Jack's eyes fell onto one of the guards who was trying to get the shutter of the airlock to closed while his colleague was pointing a gun at the team. They were clearly having trouble with the Thermian technology. Jack saw a chance and he'd never been one to turn those down. ”Maybe it’s about time you just backed off, you fucking zombie,” he said to Owen.

Gwen's eyes widened in shock. ”Jack!”

Owen glared at him. ”You what?”

”You’re starting to act like you did in episode 17, you scene-stealing hack.” He really hoped Owen got the reference to how the Captain and Dr. Lazarus escaped their enemies by pretending to have a fight.

”Oh, right,” Owen said and understanding dawned in his dark eyes. ”Well, how does it feel, Jack? Was it worth it? You murdered us all!”

”Shut up!” He lunged at Owen who backed away, out of the airlock. The guards looked at them and then each other, clearly not quite sure what to do.

Owen hissed, ”Hundreds to die just because of you.”

”I told you to shut up!”

The guard holding the gun found his voice. ”Both of you: get back in there.”

Owen ignored him. ”Hundreds to die just because you want to play a big Captain. You raving egomaniac!”

”Then I’ll see you in hell, won’t I?” With that, Jack attacked, lunging at Owen. A fight ensued, during which Jack managed to grab a heavy rod from a pile of spare parts in the corridor. He swung it at Owen who ducked, enabling Jack instead to hit the guard who'd been intent on breaking up the fight. The other soldier screamed out in indignation, raising his gun as well.

”Look out, Jack!” Owen warned and Jack also hit the other guard before he could pull the trigger.

By the time the soldier hit the floor, unconscious, the first guard had recovered and was trying to reach for the gun of his fallen comrade. Jack saw it happening, but Owen was closer, so he called out, ”Get his gun! Get the gun!”

Owen tried to reach for it but the soldier was faster, pointing the gun at Jack, but before he could shoot, John jumped in-between them and kicked the soldier's head, knocking him out for good.

For a few seconds, everyone was silent, breathless and surprised at how well this plan had worked. Then Gwen looked at John, awed. ”Wow,” she said. ”I'm impressed.”

”Thank you,” John replied with a wry smile. ”Now what?”

Jack smiled. ”Now we save the Thermians.” He winced in pain and rubbed his jaw, looking at Owen. ”You used to pull your punches.”

Owen raised his eyebrows. ”You scene-stealing hack? Thank you.”

”Raving egomaniac?”

”Can’t think of where I got that from.”

”Guys, look,” Gwen interrupted them and they all looked at a screen in the wall of the corridor displaying a picture of the Thermians in the main barracks, struggling to breathe.

Tosh gasped. ”They turned down the oxygen. I can't stop it from here but there's a valve in the maintenance shaft five levels up from the barracks that might stop the air from escaping.”

”Only might? What about the door? If we open it, the Thermians would be safe, right?” Jack asked.

Tosh squinted at the screen. ”Looks like they destroyed the control panel. The wires will have to be connected manually to be able to open it.”

”Will it work?”

”Maybe,” Tosh answered.

”Too many 'maybes',” Jack muttered.

”Core overload,” the computer said. ”Emergency shutdown overridden. Core implosion estimated in eight minutes.”

Gwen raised her voice, ”Computer, shut down the core.”

”Unable. Memory checksums invalid. Core system’s hardware damaged.”

Jack put his hands on his hips. ”All right. Listen up. This is what we're going to do. Ianto, you and I are going to get to the core and shut it down manually. Gwen, take John. Get to the barracks and wedge the door open. Owen and Tosh, in case that doesn't work, I need you find that valve. Shut it off before those Thermians run out of air.”

Everyone nodded and they separated quickly. Jack waved at Ianto to follow him, hoping he remembered correctly where the core was from the tour they'd received at the beginning of all this.

Ianto caught up to him. ”So, we get to shut down a neutron reactor.”

”That’s right.”

”I hate to break it to you, Jack, but I don’t know how to shut down a neutron reactor, and unless you took a course I don’t know about, I’m pretty sure you don’t know how to shut down a neutron reactor either.”

Jack grinned at him. ”No, I don’t … but I know someone who does.”

He flicked open his interstellar vox.

Chapter Eleven
Galaxy Quest Masterlist
Complete Fanfiction Masterlist