Jack put the SUV into lockdown, and the three of them squeezed out into the river of orange shirts. Almost at once, Toshiko was swept away from Jack and Brigstocke. They struggled against the tide of bodies, cutting across to try and rescue her. She was forced into the alleyway, but Jack and Brigstocke found they were dragged past it. Even above the excited babble of the crowd, Jack could hear Toshiko’s scream for assistance.

‘Gotta get back and help her!’ Jack yelled. No way of reasoning with the surging stream of people, they were like a pack of animals herding down the roadway. The more he and Brigstocke struggled, the more the crowd surged, increasingly angry at their resistance. They managed to press themselves against the wall of a building, and edge back towards the alleyway.

Another scream from Toshiko cut off abruptly. There was coarse laughter from the alley.

And then a blast of air that powered its way from the narrow entrance. Three orange-shirted bodies were flung above head height, out into the main street, accompanied by a shower of dirt and old newspapers. They fell onto the crowd, and rapidly dropped out of sight. A ripple of movement in the group where they’d landed suggested they were now receiving a kicking.

Jack got around the corner of the building as the gust of air died down again.

In the centre of the alleyway, all on her own, stood Toshiko. Jack ran to her. Her eyes were closed in concentration. In one hand she held the Visualiser, and in the other a MonstaQuest card. Jack touched her arm gently, and she opened her eyes.

‘What happened?’ he asked her.

‘They were attacking me.’

‘Looks like you handled it,’ Jack said with an admiring tone.

‘The Visualiser,’ she explained. She revealed the face of her MonstaQuest card. It showed the roof lifting off a house, with the stark description: Gale. Toshiko looked uncertainly at Jack. ‘I don’t know whether I was controlling it, or it was controlling me. I just wanted them gone, and this huge squall picked them up and flung them aside.’

Brigstocke joined them, looking dishevelled. One pocket of his sports jacket was flapping and torn. ‘We can get through this way to the Stadium,’ he said. ‘Look, you can see it straight ahead.’ The skeletal towers loomed large in the distance. ‘You know, I remember when they knocked down part of the old Cardiff Arms Park to build the Millennium Stadium.’

Jack chuckled. ‘And I remember when they knocked down all of the Cardiff Arms Hotel to build Cardiff Arms Park.’

‘Don’t be stupid,’ said Brigstocke, ‘that was in the nineteenth century.’

Jack indicated the Visualiser. ‘Tosh, can you use it to tell us where Gareth is now?’

She closed her eyes to concentrate.

‘Actually,’ said Brigstocke, ‘I don’t think you need to bother.’

He was pointing down the alley towards the Millennium Stadium. Pouring through its roof into the dark evening sky was a dazzling column of green light.


A powerful transformation had overtaken the Millennium Stadium. Jack paused at the end of the players tunnel, and looked out onto the pitch.

Brigstocke was babbling next to him, to cover his nerves probably. ‘I used to dream about walking down here. Running out on the pitch in front of a capacity crowd.’

‘You wouldn’t want a crowd here at the moment,’ Toshiko told him. She stared anxiously into the ground. ‘Are we too late, Jack?’

Gareth Portland stood in the centre circle, his head thrown back and his arms raised. A spiralling column of lime green light whirled like an inverted cone above him and up into the darkening sky. The roof was half-open, juddering backwards and forwards, undecided whether to enclose or release the force beneath. On the pitch, a bizarre assortment of MonstaQuest creatures capered around Gareth, churning up the turf with claws and hooves.

‘I shoulda guessed he’d come here, Tosh,’ murmured Jack. ‘We’ve known since this place was constructed that it was aligned with the Rift.’

‘What do you mean?’ asked Brigstocke.

Jack looked at the journalist’s baffled face, illuminated by the eerie green light. ‘The playing surface was rotated through ninety degrees when they built the new Stadium.’

‘How is this helping?’ snarled Brigstocke, the fear starting to get to him. ‘What are you suggesting we do to Gareth? Give him a feng shui blessing? Ring a bell and throw some sea salt and wave an incense stick around?’

Jack sighed. ‘It’s at times like this that I wish I could use one of those warheads we rescued from the Wanarian battle cruiser.’

Brigstocke gave him a sharp look. ‘Is that possible?’

‘There’s an intergalactic treaty that strongly discourages it,’ said Jack.

‘Plus,’ Toshiko explained, ‘it would reduce Cardiff to a desert of polished glass.’

Brigstocke considered this for a second. ‘That would be a bad thing?’

‘You sound like you’re not sure,’ Toshiko told him.

Jack laughed. ‘That’s because he’s from Swansea.’ He took a few steps further into the Stadium, and the movement of air began to tug at his hair and coat. ‘Hey, wait a minute…’

On the other side of the Stadium, three stewards in luminous jackets were moving from the North Stand and across the pitch. One shouted into his radio handset, while the other two ran ahead, gesturing and waving at Gareth.

‘We gotta stop them,’ snapped Jack, and raced out onto the grass. Toshiko and Brigstocke trailed behind.

Gareth tilted his head in the direction of the stewards. He lowered his left hand and, seconds later, a dazzling creature of fire and flame burst into life beside him. It scorched a burnt route across the turf.

‘No!’ yelled Jack to the gesticulating stewards as he pounded over the grass. ‘Stay back!’

The fire creature fell upon the nearest two stewards. They barely had time to scream before they were consumed, their bodies flaring and vanishing in an instant. The fire exhausted itself, leaving two incinerated, smoking lumps on the blackened turf.

The third steward staggered to a halt, gaping in incredulity. Jack got to him, and dragged him, unprotesting, back to the touchline. Jack clutched the shocked man by the shoulders. ‘You have to keep people away. Tell the police that Torchwood are handling this. You got that? Torchwood.’

The steward nodded dumbly.

‘Don’t let anyone out into the Stadium, because they’ll die just like those first two. Stewards, police, staff, players – they all stay inside, understand?’ Jack pushed the steward towards the exit tunnel. ‘Especially Baldachi.’

The steward stumbled off, breaking into a run.

‘Why Baldachi? Because he’s key to this?’ asked Brigstocke. ‘Or because he’s worth thirty million euro?’

‘Because he’s the cutest,’ replied Jack. ‘Have you seen him in those underwear advertisements?’ He watched to see Brigstocke’s reaction. It was important that the guy didn’t zone out now, because that could put him and Torchwood in danger.

Brigstocke shook his head. ‘You really know nothing about football, do you?’

‘I have pockets of expertise,’ said Jack defensively.

From the sideline they could see the vortex around Gareth was moving faster. A stiff breeze swirled around the Stadium. ‘Where is Gareth getting the power from?’ Brigstocke asked. ‘You said he needed people’s emotions, but there’s no crowd.’

‘Not yet.’ Jack considered the steep rows of empty seats all around them. ‘But boy, when they get here, it’ll

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