Ianto has helped her to put up a safety screen between her position and the TV. With her foot Suzie flicks the switch on the extension cord. She hears the TV make a little poof sound as it switches on. The graphs on the computer screen get excited. The TV shows much more activity than any ordinary TV should show. Or at least as Suzie's TV did the previous night when she tested her experimental set up. Suzie smiles as it increases. She hears a ceramic mug crash to the floor. She looks up disturbed.
"Shit, Ianto." Suzie quickly switches off the TV by flicking the switch on the extension cord. The purple tendrils let go of Ianto's head when they pull back into the TV. Suzie puts her notebook on the stool and rushes over to Ianto.
Ianto stands in the door opening. A puddle of coffee and a broken coffee mug lie at his feet. Ianto's face is gone.
Suzie grabs her mobile from her pocket and uses speed dial. "Jack? I've got a problem."
Jack holds onto Ianto's head with both of his heads and studies his face, or what used to be his face, minutely. Suzie stands next to him, nervously shifting her weight from one foot to the other.
"I'm so sorry. I didn't hear him knock or open the door. The TV just lashed out at him. I should have put a sign on the door: Experiment in progress."
"It's a little late for that, isn't it?" Jack snaps without looking at her. "I doubt Ianto is going to find much consolation in that."
"Do you think he can hear us?"
"I don't know. He doesn't respond to anything we say."
"Neither do coma patients, but it's important that people keep talking to them."
Jack lets go of Ianto's head and is about to make a snide remark, but changes his mind and swallows his comment.
"Jack." Tosh sticks her head around the door.
"Why is everyone working here on a Sunday?"
"Owen isn't in," Tosh replies as she walks in. "Oh, what happened to Ianto?"
"Same thing as happened to George: too much television. What do you want?"
Tosh tears her eyes away from Ianto to look at Jack. "In those reports I found it said that the two people instrumental in capturing the Wire were a young man named Thomas Connelly and a certain doctor. I've tracked down this Thomas Connelly. He lives only a few hours drive away. I thought I could pay him a visit and ask him if he remembers anything that can be of help to us." She turns her eyes back to Ianto.
"Sounds good. I think you should do that," Jack replies.
"And there was another call from that girl that first reported George to the emergency number."
"Someone else lost their face?" Suzie asks.
"No, I think she just has another TV."
"Okay, I'm on that," Jack says. He grabs Tosh by the shoulders and ushers her out of the storage room. "And you." He points at Suzie. "Fix this." He points at Ianto.
The first thing Suzie decides to after Jack has left with Ianto is to move the safety screen so it shields off the door opening. She will be on the hall way side of the screen while conducting her experiments; the TV will be in the room and with any luck the screen will prevent the Wire from reaching into the hall way. It does not take her long to move all her equipment out of the room. Moving the screen in place is a little harder on her own, but she manages.
With the TV facing the safety screen Suzie sits down on her stool and sets to work. The background noise of the TV seems to have increased. Because the TV absorbed Ianto's neurological energy? Suzie is fascinated. An alien life form that consumes neurological energy and has lodged itself in a TV. She flicks the switch on the extention cord to find out if the signal will also be increased with the TV switched on.
Suzie smiles when the graphs on her notebook screen excite more than before. She looks up and sees purple tendrils lash out from the TV. They bounce off against the safety screen. The tendrils retract.
"Ooh, nasty." The face of a man appears on the TV screen.
Suzie jumps up holding on to her notebook with one hand. "The Wire?"
"None other. Have we met? I don't recall you."
"We've never met. Is that George's face you are using?"
"Oh, I don't know. It's one of those faces I found along the way."
"A face you found. That's a good one." Suzie chuckles. "How come you've been trapped in a TV for over fifty years?"
"Fifty years?" The Wire looks shocked, but quickly changes his expression to annoyed. "That fool Magpie. He must have unplugged this set when I was exploring. I will have to deal with him later, after I have found the rest of me."
"You've already dealt with him. He's dead."
"Good for me." The Wire cheers up.
"And you were also dealt with. The little bit of you that Magpie cut off is the only part of you that is left."
"Oh dear." The tendrils lash out again and again bounce off of the safety screen. "You're not being very helpful," the Wire pouts.
"I have no intention to be helpful."
"Oh, but if you help me, I can help you."
"I doubt that. You're an electrical entity trapped in a TV. You have nothing to offer that I want."
"But I know what you want. You want power."
"Everyone wants power."
"I don't." Ianto's face appears on the TV screen.
This startles Suzie for a moment. She puts the notebook down on the stool and walks over to the screen. She studies Ianto's face for a moment. "What have you done to Ianto?"
"I was hungry. I ate him." The face changes back to George's. "Perhaps I shouldn't have. He would have been more helpful."
"I doubt that."
The Wire smirks. "No, I'm certain. I would have made him an offer he just could not refuse. I guess there are things you don't know. Alas, what done is done." The Wire yawns.
"There are some things that I do know." Suzie looks grim. "One is that you were defeated once. That makes it likely that you can be defeated again. And I will be the one to do it."
"Aw, such hostility towards little me trapped in a TV."
Suzie jumps forward and unplugs the extension cord. As she does this a spark jumps. Suzie rubs her hand where it hit. She looks at the TV screen. The picture is gone.
Lucy sits on the counter of the used goods store. Next to her stands a TV similar to the one George brought in a day earlier.
The little bell jingles as Jack enters. "It says on the door you aren't open on Sundays." He nods to the door before he closes it.
"Today is special."
"You called the emergency number to say you had another TV. You know, you shouldn't call that number unless there is an emergency." Jack crosses the floor towards the counter.
"I didn't know how else to contact you."
"Is that the TV?"
"Yeah. Do you know a woman named Helen Yates?" Lucy quickly asks.
Jack stops in his tracks. "Can't say that I do."
"She's my mam."
"She has a picture of her and a guy who looks just like you." Lucy looks straight at Jack, but his face is as uninformative as that of her mother earlier.
"You think that might be me?"
"She says it's my dad."
"Oh. I don't know a Helen Yates. So, I don't think I'm your dad. I'm sorry." Jack gives Lucy a half smile.
"That's okay." She jumps off the counter. "It was a long shot anyway." She looks disappointed.
"Now, about that TV." Jack nods to the TV and comes closer.
"Right. Fifty quid."
"Fifty pounds. I had to make some expenses to get it here and I'd like to be reimbursed."
Jack gives Lucy a stern look. She doesn't flinch. He smiles as he grabs for his wallet. "Do you look like your mom?"
"A bit. A lot. I don't see the resemblance much." Lucy pockets the money. "I look like the pictures of her as a teen."
"I don't think I've seen the face before either."
"She was much older when she had me."
"I'm sorry." Jack puts the TV's extension cord on top of the set. "Now, does that fifty quid also include getting the door for me, or do I need to pay extra for that?"
"I'll get the door." Lucy hurries over to the shop door to hold it open.
Jack picks up the TV and follows her. "And the door to the SUV."
"Mr Connelly? I'm Toshiko Sato. We talked on the phone this morning," Tosh says to the man that opens the door.
"Yes, yes. You wanted to talk to me about the events of the Coronation in Muswell Hill. Come in, come in."
Tosh steps past Mr Connelly and he closes the door behind her.
"Would you like a cup of tea? I've just put the kettle on."
"Yes, please." Tosh follows Mr Conely to the kitchen where he ushers her to a seat. She takes a biscuit from the tray he holds out to her.
"My mother always told me to make guests feel welcome."
"Thank you." She takes a bite from the biscuit.
Thomas Connelly turns to the counter and starts rinsing off the teapot. "I must say that I'm a little surprised you called. The Coronation was over fifty years ago. It would have been a much more interesting story for the golden jubilee."
"Mr Connelly ..."
"Please, call me Tommy."
"Tommy. I'm sorry, but I've lead you on a bit." Tosh holds a hand before her mouth so she doesn't spray biscuit crumbs all over the kitchen table. "I don't want to talk about how you celebrated the Coronation. I want to talk about what happened before the Coronation. The Wire?"
"The Wire." Tommy puts the teapot down and takes a seat as well. "I haven't thought about her in years. She caused quite a bit of trouble."
"That's what I want to talk to you about. How did you stop her?"
"Oh, I didn't stop her. The Doctor did that. I helped a bit. But why do you want to know? She's gone."
"We think she may be back. Or another alien like her."
"Oh dear." Tommy clasps a hand over his mouth. "I was just a boy then. It was horrible. People used to watch telly and then the Wire would feed on them, leave them faceless. It happened to my gran. It was horrible."
Tosh gets up to finish making the tea.
"It happened all over the street. The police would come and take these people away. And everyone went on as if nothing had happened. Then the Doctor came. He quickly figured out what was going on and how to defeat the Wire. Thank you." Tommy takes the cup of tea Tosh offers him by the saucer.
Tosh sits back down. "Tell me more about this doctor. Where can I find him?"
"I don't know. I haven't seen him since the Coronation. He was only in Muswell Hill for a few days. Like Caesar he came, he saw and he conquered."
Tosh musters up a smile but disappointment is clearly written on her face.
"How many victims are there?" Tommy asks after taking a sip from his tea.
"Two so far." Tosh cradles her cup. "And we're a bit at a loss as to how to solve this problem. I thought talking to you might give us some clues for the solution."
"Perhaps I can help after all." Tommy puts his cup down. "Come with me."
They go up the stairs to the first floor landing. Tommy pulls on the cord to lower the ladder to the attic. "The Doctor said the Wire was feeding on people by transmitting herself. So he figured he could catch her with a receiver. And he did. Years ago I tried to make a copy of that device. It should still be in the attic. Could you fetch it? My legs are a bit too stiff to get up that ladder anymore."
"Sure." Tosh climbs up the attic.
"It's in a box marked Tom's foolery." Tommy chuckles. "Well, it was."
Tosh puts the box down on the landing. Tommy quickly opens it and rummages through it.
"This is it." He holds up a metal case about the size of a shoe box. "Hours I used to tinker on this thing. Well, every man needs a hobby and I never cared much for fishing." He opens the box to show Tosh how it works. "Of course I don't know whether it works in practice. I never got a chance to test it."
"Can I borrow it? I will of course return it undamaged, or at least repaired."
"You can keep it." Tommy closes the box and gives it to her. "Just let me know if it actually worked. Now, could I bother you again and ask you to take this box back up the attic?"
"Of course." Tosh smiles pleasantly.
When Tosh arrives back at Hub she quickly rushes down to the basement storage rooms carry Tommy's box under her arm. On the stairs she runs into Jack.
"The same, but he and George seem to be bonding. They have a lot in common. You, any luck?"
"Did that girl have another TV?"
"She did. Please tell me you also got some information back that can actually be useful to us."
"Oh, that TV is also useful. From what Tommy told me I think it's best if we try to gather all the old TVs that have been infected with the Wire."
"I'll get Owen right on it."
"Tommy gave me this device. It's a copy of the device that was used to catch the Wire. Suzie and I will analyse how it works, and then we'll give Ianto his face back. I hope."
"Sounds good. Up to the 'I hope' part."
"I'm sorry. I can't give any guarantees. I don't even know how it works yet."
"Then get working on it."
"Right away." Tosh rushes down the stairs to go to Suzie, while Jack continues his way up the stairs.
Suzie and Tosh are working in the storage room. Tosh has explained what Tommy's box is supposed to do. Together they are analysing whether it would also be possible in practice.
Suzie takes a few steps back and stumbles over the extension cord. "Oops. I think I just accidentally turned on the TV."
Tosh doesn't look up and Suzie looks annoyed when nothing happens.
"Not to worry," Tosh says as she reaches for a screwdriver. "I've taken this part of the building off the electricity grid. Just to be sure no accidents would happen." She briefly glances at Suzie then returns her attention to Tommy's box.
"Good thinking." Suzie smiles lightly. She looks down at her hand as she rubs fingers and thumb together. A spark jumps when she pulls them apart.
Owen slams the door of the SUV shut. "This better be good. We drive half way across the country. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest. For lying in bed reading the Sunday papers."
"For making day trips," Jack adds. He opens the door to the electronics store.
"I'm sure it's not for going shopping for a TV with your boss."
They walk up to the counter.
Owen taps on it with the flat of his hands to get the attention of the shopkeeper. "We're Torchwood. We phoned ahead about an old TV."
"That's right. It's in the back. I'll get it for you."
A few minutes later the man returns with the TV and puts it down on the counter. "Quite popular these old things all of a sudden. Sold two of them already this weekend."
"Do you know of any more TVs like this? Jack asks.
The shopkeeper shrugs. "Not really. I got those three a few years back. See that's what I do, I buy the stock of a shop that goes out of business. Didn't know what to do with these three; they don't even work anymore. Didn't have the heart to throw them away. Should have tried to flog them to a museum or something."
"We'll take this TV of your hands now." Jack grabs hold of the TV and lifts it off the counter.
The man puts a hand on the TV and presses it back down. "Not without paying for it you don't."
"We're Torchwood and we're impounding this TV as a matter of National Security."
"And I'm saying you're paying for it, as a matter of my financial security."
"Okay, how much?" Jack lets go of the TV and grabs his wallet.
"Because it's national security I will make the price as friendly as possible. Twenty pounds."
"Twenty pounds." Jack shakes his head and gives the shopkeeper the money. "For a TV that doesn't even work anymore." He grabs the TV and nods to Owen it's time to leave. "Unbelievable, that kid," he says as they walk to the door.
"What kid?" Owen glances back at the man behind the counter.
"That girl from yesterday. She made me pay fifty pounds for this TV."
"Kids these day, 'ey." Owen suppresses a chuckle. "Personally, I blame the parents."
"Yah." Jack thrusts the TV at Owen. "Hold this while I get the door."
The three TVs stand together in the storage room. Suzie has replaced the plugs on the other two TVs. Tommy's box stands on top of the TVs. Ianto and George are standing in a corner of the room.
"Are you sure this is going to work?" Jack asks.
"For something I haven't been able to test I'm pretty sure," Tosh replies.
"What happens if it doesn't work?"
"I guess you'll be interviewing for a new teaboy."
Jack glares at Owen. "You'd better step outside before I change my mind about who is volunteering to switch this contraption on."
"I could still build in a remote," Tosh offers. "It would just take a bit more time. We'd have to make sure the Wire can't escape through the remote."
"And from what we've been able to find out about it, the Wire could very well escape through the signal of a remote," Suzie adds.
"Which only leaves the option that we seal of this room and one of us turns on the recorder manually," Jack summarizes their problem. "So, out you go."
Owen, Suzie and Tosh leave the room and close the door. A few moments later there is a knock on the door.
"Jack?" comes Tosh's voice. "Are you ready?"
"As ready as I'll ever be." Jack turns around and starts up the generator. Then he switches on Tommy's box, after that the three TVs. Purple tendrils latch out from the TV at him. Jack backs away. He feels the electricity prickle on his skin. "It's not working!" he shouts. He tries to move to the generator to turn of the power, but the Wire is making him weak. Then he hears a wail and his face is released. He watches as all the purple beams are pulled into Tommy's box.
In the hall way Suzie screams and falls to the floor.
"What the hell?" Owen turns and wants to kneel down.
"Don't touch her, Owen." Tosh reaches out to pull him away. "I think she's been infected by the Wire.
"And that's doing that to her?"
"Tommy's box must be working." Tosh turns to the door and starts to strip away the insulation tape they had taped over the gaps between door and door frame.
"What are you doing?"
"If I'm right. Opening the door will allow the Wire to be pulled from Suzie into Tommy's box."
"And if you're wrong?"
Tosh looks at him. "Then we're all in trouble."
"Let's hope you're not wrong then."
Owen helps Tosh strip off the tape. Tosh throws open the door. Purple tendrils are pulled from Suzie into Tommy's box. Suzie stops screaming and lies still.
"Now can I touch her?"
"I guess." Tosh looks away as Owen moves to help Suzie up.
Jack grins at Tosh. "It looks like Tommy's box has worked."
Ianto and George have gotten their faces back. Jack turns off the equipment before he steps up to the two men. He jovially slaps Ianto on his back and shakes George's hand.
"Hello, George. Welcome to Torchwood."
"Thank you. Er, what am I doing here?"
"That's a long story."
Tosh ejects the videocassette from Tommy's box. "Should we storage this or destroy it?"
"Destroying sounds like a good idea," Owen says.
"I'm for that," Suzie adds. She takes the cassette from Tosh's hand and starts pulling the tape from it.
Jack overlooks the Hub. He's sent the others home. He walks down the stairs and picks up the container containing the Doctor's hand.
"So you've battled the Wire before, have you? Hate to say this, but you missed a spot." Jack puts the container down and grabs his coat. He heads up the stairs to go to the roof.