Title: Tuesday Starburst Special or How Ianto Jones Saved the World with Only a Cup of Coffee
Summary: On a normal average Tuesday, Starbucks starts a promotion for Starburst Blend Coffee, and humanity is rendered ripe for invasion. Only Ianto Jones can save them.
The first thing Ianto noticed amiss that fateful Tuesday afternoon was the pile of discarded white and green cups on the coffee table in front of the sofa. He’d come in late due to a meeting with a newly settled family of Acaisians and had left the others to fend for themselves which had no doubt been the source of the offending pile of Starbucks cups littering the table. Grabbing a bin liner he picked up one of the cups with disdain and tossed it in. It wasn’t until he reached the bottom of the pile that he noticed that the others were missing.
“Jack? Tosh? Owen? Gwen? Anybody?” he called out making his way around the hub. None of them were in sight, but judging by the trail of discarded cups leading up the stairs to the boardroom, they hadn’t gone far. The sound of giggling came from the top of the stairs and Ianto pulled out his stun gun just in case, as he crept to the top.
When he reached the boardroom, he found his colleagues sitting around several large travel containers of coffee, each of them sipping contentedly from the familiar green and white cups and nibbling at mini donuts and cupcakes with green sprinkles; each with an expression of utter bliss on their face.
“Ianto!” Jack exclaimed, rolling his head towards where he stood in the doorway. Jack stuffed one of the donuts into his mouth and started to chew with abandon, spraying tiny bits of pink frosting and cake all over the table. “Come and join us, this coffee is amazing,” he enthused, gesturing to where the rest of the team sat around the table. Ianto raised an eyebrow and crossed his arms, noting how the other three were nodding in agreement and giggling about how it was soooo good over and over.
“Cheating on me with a lesser brew are we Captain?” Ianto asked with a sniff. “I thought you hated Starbucks and had finally developed a more refined palette.”
“Oh Ianto, don’t be mad,” Tosh said with a giggle. “It’s just this new blend they started today.” She smiled and looked at him with glassy eyes. “It’s amazing.”
“So Jack said,” Ianto replied, noticing that Gwen had poured him a cup and was pushing it in his direction.
“Come on Ianto,” Gwen urged. “You have to try this. You know you want to.” Ianto took it from her and sniffed it once before wrinkling his nose and setting it back down on the table.
“I’d rather not,” he responded, watching the others frown.
“Don’t be a wanker Tea-Boy,” Owen snarked, reaching for a cupcake. “It’s not as if we’re replacing you or anything.” Gwen and Tosh started giggling again and Owen grinned at them as he bit into his treat.
“Just try it Yan,” Jack chimed in as he reached for a cupcake of his own. “You might even like it,” he added with a wicked grin, licking the top of the cupcake clean with a swirl of his tongue. As Ianto watched him peel the wrapper from the cupcake and lick the rest of the frosting from his fingers, it suddenly dawned on him that Jack was trying to seduce him into trying the coffee. Tearing his glaze away, he saw that Gwen and Tosh were giggling and leaning into each other as they both downed their cups and reached over to the travel cases for another refill.
“Haven’t you had enough Gwen?” Ianto asked, trying to reason with her. Gwen stared at him wide eyed, her pupils so dilated that almost none of the green remained.
“Oh nooo Ianto,” she said with a gap toothed grin. “We have to drink it all.” Jack and Owen nodded solemnly and held up their own cups for a refill.
“You really should try it you know,” Tosh said with a smile as she took her now filled cup from Gwen and breathed in the aroma of the brew within. “They’ll be most cross if you don’t.”
“Who’ll be cross Tosh?” he asked, hoping he was finally getting some answers.
“Why the nice little baristas that dropped the coffee off this morning silly,” she laughed rolling her eyes. “They gave the tourist office and all of Mermaid Quay a sample pack of their new Starburst Blend this morning,” she explained.
“Harwood’s got one too,” Gwen added helpfully. “Rhys sent me a picture of it and told me that I had to try it when I get home tonight.” She held up her mobile and sure enough, Rhys stood in the frame smiling with both thumbs up and a gift pack of Starbucks behind him on a desk. It wasn’t the gift pack though that caught Ianto’s eye; it was the fuzzy reflection of someone leaving the shop that gave him pause. Ianto quickly sent the picture to his own phone and handed the mobile back to Gwen.
“Well, don’t want to miss out on all the fun now do I?” Ianto asked with a fake smile. Reaching down to the table he picked up the cup of coffee and pretended to sip it, noticing that the others were watching him closely. “Not my favorite blend, but not bad,” he said lowering the still full cup with a happy grin on his face.
Gwen clapped her hands and Tosh and Owen tapped their cups together in celebration.
“Come and join us Ianto,” Jack begged, pulling on his arm.
“I’m going to give some of this to Myfanwy and be right back,” Ianto replied, reaching over to take one of the travel cases and a couple of donuts. Jack pouted back at him and Ianto leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. “Don’t worry Jack, I’ll be back soon,” he soothed. Jack nodded and took another sip of his coffee before giving Ianto a huge grin and reaching for another donut, his attention already back on consuming the treats in front of him.
Ianto gave the group one last look before lifting up his cup in a farewell salute and hurrying out the door and locking it behind him.
With the others secure in the boardroom, Ianto got to work analyzing just what was inside of the coffee they were drinking.
“Normal concentration of oils, acids, sugars, caffeol, and camelization, caffeine…,” Ianto read aloud as the scanner went to work. “Oh hello,” he exclaimed watching as the readout changed. “You shouldn’t be there,” he breathed, watching as an unknown compound that shared similar properties to ibogaine, a plant substance used as a treatment for opiate addiction that was abandoned due to its ability to cause hallucinations, showed on the screen. Ianto scanned the donuts and found traces of the same substance in the green sprinkles decorating the icing.
“So someone is using the largest coffeehouse company in the world to spread a passive hallucinogenic state of euphoria amongst humanity,” he pondered aloud. “But why?” Checking over the CCTV he saw that virtually the entire of the U.K. was sitting around in groups contentedly munching on sweet treats and sipping from coffee cups bearing the Starbucks logo. So far no one seemed to be violent, rather they were all complacent and content, as if awaiting instructions. Hoping he wasn’t too late, he decided to call in reinforcements.
After calling Sarah Jane Smith and explaining that he was not trying to bring her in for questioning and promising that he would not give Jack her number, he managed to convince her to bring Mister Smith online with the mainframe so that they could both scan the solar system for any unwanted activity, and also look for any known species that matched the rather spindly armed grey alien who’s image he had managed to pull from Gwen’s phone.
“It looks like your standard non-descript alien to me,” Sarah Jane said after receiving the image. “Nothing odd there except for the Starbucks’ apron.” Ianto chuckled in spite of himself. Sarah Jane was proving to be a welcome ally and judging by the faces Jack was now making at him through the glass wall of the conference room, one of the few assets left if he was going to get to the bottom of the situation. A rift alert began sounding off and Ianto quickly pulled up a visual of a large craft emerging from a temporal gate just outside of the Earth’s atmosphere.
“Are you seeing this?” Sarah Jane whispered, watching as the ship moved into orbit.
“Unfortunately,” Ianto answered. “I’m scanning them for weapons now.” Flicking between monitors he watched as a diagnostic came up. “I’m showing a science based merchant vessel, Kahvehni design, with a terra-forming designation,” Ianto read aloud. “It appears to have authority over non-hostile worlds for cultivation and production.”
“Kahvehni?” asked Sarah Jane. “They do look a bit like your standard grey alien, but they tend to be passive. This doesn’t make any sense.” Ianto watched as the vessel breeched the Exosphere and made its decent. “Ianto, what are we going to do?”
Ianto straightened his tie and reached over to start the hailing program.
“Beat them at their own game,” he replied with a grin. “Stay on the line if you would please. I might need your help with this once I set it up.”
“Will do Ianto, and Good luck,” Sarah Jane replied.
Twenty minutes and a quick transmat via Mister Smith later, Ianto stood on the bridge of the Karhvehni vessel holding a silver coffee service and looking at what he hoped was the Kahvehni Ambassador he had spoken with in the Hub.
“Greetings from planet Earth and Torchwood,” he began, bowing slightly and hoping that the translation program that he had sent to his PDA was working.
“Greetings Ianto Jones,” said the small grey skinned alien with impossibly large almond shaped black eyes. Two others of his kind flanked him, both wearing the traditional green Starbucks apron, and holding some sort of gun filled with brown liquid that looked suspiciously like coffee. “Have you brought a gift for the Kahvehni?” He asked, gesturing to Ianto’s hands. Ianto smiled back at him.
“A gift and a request,” Ianto replied. “While we appreciate your scientific interest in planet Earth, as a level five planet, we are protected under both Galactic Law and the Shadow Proclamation itself from being seeded and/or terra-formed for any reason, and do humbly ask you to leave us in peace.”
The Kahvehni Ambassador tilted his head to regard Ianto for a moment before blinking once and bringing it back upright. “And if we do not agree?”
“Unfortunately, if you refuse to cooperate, this planet is protected by one other source that I believe you are aware of, The Doctor,” Ianto replied, making sure to keep his voice even, as if he was discussing the weather and not the Oncoming Storm.
“I see,” the Ambassador said blinking again. “And what incentive do you give us to avoid this conflict?”
“For starters, I’ll show you how to make a proper cup of coffee,” Ianto grinned. The Ambassador blinked again and gestured for Ianto to follow him.
Six hours later, Ianto re-appeared in the Hub, and found a rather grumpy Jack waiting for him.
“And just where have you been?” Jack asked, crossing his arms. Ianto skipped down the steps and handed him a travel mug of coffee. Jack held onto it and followed him across the Hub.
“Oh just out stopping the Earth from being terra-formed into a coffee grove by coffee obsessed Kahvehni and teaching them how to brew a decent cup,” Ianto glibly replied. Jack’s brow furrowed in confusion and Ianto patted his arm before walking past him to Tosh’s computer. Bringing up the tracking program, he watched as the Kahvehni left orbit in a zigzag fashion, smirking to himself as he realized that they were probably still coming down off of a coffee high of their own. Jack opened his mouth to ask Ianto what the hell was going on, but was interrupted by the ringing of his mobile.
“Hello Lizzie,” Jack answered it, putting his mouth over the receiver to let Ianto know that this discussion was not over. He continued to glare at Ianto as the Queen talked; eyes narrowing as Ianto pulled out his own mobile and called someone named Miss Smith and thanked her for her help. “I’ll let him know your Majesty,” Jack continued, watching as Ianto shut down the tracking program and ended his call. “No, no problem at all. That’s what Torchwood does…yes, thank you Ma’am. Goodbye.” Jack ended the call and looked over at where the rest of the team was sleeping off their caffeine induced high on the couch before turning back to his wayward archivist.
“Well?” Jack asked, sipping his coffee and staring at Ianto with blood-shot eyes. “What the hell happened and why did the Queen call to say that the Kahvehni Ambassador plans to terra-form the barren moon of Jarnus-9, renaming it Jones World in honor of Coffee King Ianto Jones?”
Ianto just smiled and sipped from his own mug in contemplation. It hadn't been how he pictured his first voyage into the stars, but it had been memorable none the less. Besides, an entire world had been named after him growing nothing but Arabica coffee beans; that was one Torchwood legacy he didn’t mind sharing.
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