Jack tore out of his office like a bat out of hell (a cliché that had long confused Matt, since he rather thought that bats would be fond of hell and therefore not prone to leaving in a hurried manner), and Matt followed, mostly for the lack of anything better to do. And also because the big concrete-mixed-with-metal structure that the natives referred to as the Hub got kind of scary with the general darkness broken occasionally by flashing lights that was the Hub on lock-down.
“What the hell happened?” Jack demanded immediately.
“And if we knew that, don't you think we'd be fixing whatever it was?” Owen asked sarcastically.
“Oh, you're capable of working now?” Jack's voice had no sympathy at all.
Owen bristled. “Hey, if you want to do my job, go on ahead.”
“So you do more than just blow up rats?”
Matt, who had been glancing back and forth as though watching a tennis match – or, rather, something that was actually interesting and went back and forth like a tennis match – had to stop them at that. “Wait, you blow up rats?” Wherever he went, he couldn't seem to escape crazy people in lab coats.
Owen pouted. “One time. Just once.”
“If you two are done with your pissing match,” Gwen interrupted sarcastically (although Matt had noted earlier that she was just as amused by their bitching as he was), “We're still in lock-down. Tosh is getting the cameras back up so we can try and see what's going on.”
Jack stalked over to stand behind Tosh, still scowling from his bitch fest with the doctor. “Where's Ianto?” he demanded only a second later, having realized that the rest of the team (and their guest) were all gathered around Tosh's computer, but the Welsh man was nowhere in sight.
Tosh answered, not looking up from the keyboard she was clattering away on. “He was in the tourist office when the lock-down was initiated, he's still on the outside.” Jack nodded at her, looking relieved that at least one of his team wasn't stuck inside with whatever had set off the alarms. (Or maybe he was just looking relieved that Ianto wasn't trapped in there; Matt had seen more than a few interesting looks between the two of them, and they hadn't exactly been around each other for any major length of time. And look, Matt had worked many cases with Bug and Nigel. He knew how to pick up on that kind of workplace tension.)
“There!” Tosh suddenly cried out, bringing up a camera view on screen. “I've only been able to bring up cameras in the archives and the cells, but I've found where it got in.” She gestured at the screen, which showed the main cells and, at the far end, an open hatch leading to the sewer system. As Jack muttered about crucifying whoever hadn't locked the hatch, and Owen started to edge away from him nervously, Tosh continued, “I also managed to get the heat sensors back on-line. Whatever it is just entered the basement – heat signature's too high for it to be human.”
“Hope Ianto isn't keeping another surprise for us,” Owen muttered.
Matt was intrigued, but didn't get the opportunity to ask for clarification because Jack just completely ignored Owen in favor of giving commands. For some reason, Matt was strongly reminded of Woody for a moment before he shook it off. “Owen, Gwen, you're with me. Tosh, I want you to stay here and tell us if it moves.” He glanced at Matt. “Matt, you stay here with her.” He then strode off as the others scrambled to obey.
“No. I'm going with you,” Matt said, stubbornly shadowing Jack's steps.
“Look, you're not prepared to deal with aliens,” Jack snapped, seemingly finally completely annoyed by Matt.
“Maybe not, but I bet none of you had any 'alien experience' before you worked for Torchwood. Seems like a kind of small hiring pool, if you only take those who already know how to deal with aliens,” Matt argued. “And anyway,” he added as an after-thought, mostly to himself, “I doubt an alien could be worse than that Oliver kid.”
Jack glared at him for a moment, and then snapped, “Fine!” and headed for the basement, Gwen following behind him. He'd compared Jack to Woody not long before, and now he couldn't help but put Gwen in as Lu. This, in the twisted analogy world he was creating, probably made Ianto Jordan, except for those times that Gwen was Jordan and Jack and Ianto were Nigel and Bug. Matt frowned. People were complex. It was kind of annoying.
Owen wordlessly handed him a gun (Matt preened a little when he realized Owen had an extra one prepared for him; he always loved it when others thought as highly of him as he did of himself), and they also followed.
The basement turned out to be... a basement. Exactly like the one at the precinct, except not as well lit. Matt was a little disappointed, as he'd subconsciously been hoping that this entire reality was as strange and cool as the main floor had been, and to find out that not even all of the Hub was like that was a little disillusioning.
They followed Tosh's directions through their earpieces (well, through Jack and Gwen's earpieces; Matt had been issued no Bluetooth technology, and Owen had forgotten his on his desk) and soon came to a room that had two doors. Through the magic of shaking his head and mouthing words, and sometimes even holding up a finger or two, Jack indicated that he and Gwen would take one door, Matt and Owen the other. Tosh wished them a whispered good luck, they took their positions and counted to three, and burst in to find-
“A cat.” Jack's voice was disbelieving, and weapons were put away on all parts except Matt, who really felt like the universe owed him a dead cat at this point. “The Hub went into lock-down over a cat?”
“There's something around its neck,” Owen observed while giving Matt a weird look until he put his gun away.
Matt, of course, had wound up being the one closest to the cat, so he sighed and crouched down next to the animal. “Huh, it looks like-”
Whatever he said was lost in the blinding flash of light and loud CRACK! that sounded.