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Jetsam was the second story printed in Torchwood The Official Magazine.

Summary Edit

A cargo ship outside of Cardiff Bay has several alien artefacts in its hold which the crew were paid handsomely for transporting. When they first set off, the devices were dormant. However, when they got in range of the the Rift one of the devices began to communicate to the crew using telepathy. It foretold tales of war and gave the taste of blood and metal. Spooked, the crew jettisoned the crates into the sea.

The next morning, the crates have washed up on a beach and Torchwood are among the first on the scene. They immediately start trying to quarantine the items and usher the public away. Tosh finds a giant motorcycle by one of the crates. In the sand next to it, however, are similarly sized tyre tracks, indicating it was part of a pair. Surrounding the large tyre tracks are several smaller motorcycle tracks.

Gwen deduces that a group of Harley-Davidson motorcycles dragged the larger bike away and that it was probably the work of a motorcycle gang. Jack orders Toshiko to start examining the remaining bike to try and find out what they are up against, while he and Gwen investigate dive bars.

After investigating several, they find a bar that was virtually destroyed and smoking. Upon getting closer, they find the bodies of all the members of the Brimstone Skulls apart from one, the leader, Drew Blayney. Suddenly, they hear a revving and the stolen motorcycle, piloted by Drew, bursts from the debris of the bar and drives off, feeling no effect from the EMP gun Jack fires at it. Jack and Gwen chase the bike back towards the city in the Torchwood's SUV.

Meanwhile, while investigating the other bike, Tosh discovers the bike operates on neural input. Suddenly, the input cables attach themselves to her and she becomes possessed by the bike. The bike smashes through the wall and onto the streets of Cardiff. Tosh retains enough of her humanity to tell Owen and Ianto that the machine is drugging her and that it is automatically tracking down the other bike.

Owen manages to download information directly from the bike and runs it through a translation device. It tells him that an "unpronounceable alien race" uses the bikes for duels to settle turf wars and border disputes. The bike would do most of the work with the occupant to provide tactics.

Jack orders the authority to close a section of the motorway and orders to Tosh to lure the other bike onto it. Ianto hires a helicopter for Jack so they can chase the bikes. Right by the Sunbry bypass, Jack shoots the EMP gun at Drew's bike and during the brief time the weapon was effective, the bike crashes.

Meanwhile, Owen encourages Tosh to find mushin, a state of mental calmness that would have been featured in Tosh's childhood stories. When she finds it, she calms down and gets her own mind back. However, she still follows Drew and proceeds to start a self-destruct countdown, the resulting explosion from which would kill them both. Just before the countdown reaches zero, Drew's personality overpowers that of the bike and claims that he doesn't want to die. The bike takes this as a surrender and Tosh is proclaimed the winner.

As Toshiko gets out of the bike, Drew sneaks up behind her with a knife. However, he is suddenly vapourised by one of the bikes for breaking the terms of the surrenders. Tosh then orders both of the bikes to shut down and delete their core programming, putting them out of action for good.

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Continuity Edit

  • Toshiko draws on her childhood fears when piloting the ritual motorcycle - demons from Japanese folklore such as Raiden. Toshiko is seen hearing tales of Japanese folklore during her childhood in PROSE: Trace Memory.
  • When Drew Blayney draws on his childhood fears, he imagines the likeness of the Beast.
  • This is one of several stories in Torchwood series 2 and related media that deals with the illegal trade of alien artefacts. (TV: A Day in the Death, PROSE: The Beauty of Our Weapons, The Book of Jahi etc.)
  • The story is given no definite timeframe so it is best to assume the story takes place at some point between the comics that precede and follow it. The story takes place on a Tuesday.

Notes Edit

Included with the graphic novel Rift War

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