Saving the planet, watching over the Rift, preparing the human race for the twenty-first century… Torchwood has been keeping Cardiff safe since the late 1800s. Small teams of heroes, working 24/7, encountering and containing the alien, the bizarre, and the inexplicable. But Torchwood do not always see the effects of their actions. What links the Rules and Regulations for replacing a Torchwood leader to the destruction of a shopping center? How does a witness to an alien’s reprisals against Torchwood become caught up in a night of terror in a university library? And why should Gwen and Ianto’s actions at a local publisher have a cost for Torchwood more than half-a-century earlier? For Torchwood, the past will always catch up with them. And sometimes the future will catch up with the past…
Directly following the events of The Wrong Hands, the team head back to Torchwood Three to order pizza while Ianto Jones heads out for coffee. The father of the alien that appeared in The Wrong Hands has come to Earth to collect his child, only to find he had been killed in a “gas leak” at a local store (actually an alien gun set to self-destruct). He blames Torchwood for the death.
He infiltrates Torchwood, where he intends to send the team into a coma-like state with a special dart he bought for an alien arms dealer. Wearing an invisibility suit, he hits Jack and Gwen with a dart each. He engages with them in a brief conversation, asking where the tea-boy (Ianto) is. Ianto shoots the alien in the head with a shotgun and announces he is the “Coffee-boy”.
Jack and Gwen are completely immobilised by the darts. Ianto deduces that the father bought the darts from an alien arms dealer. He checks to see who else may have been affected by the virus. He finds one reference and goes to the victim’s house. He talks to the victim’s wife and looks in his office for clues. He finds a document referring to an alien arms dealer and pursues the lead.