Erin (etmuse) wrote in etmuse_fics,
Erin
etmuse
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Guilt - 65/69

Title: Guilt
Fandom: Torchwood
Pairings: Jack/Ianto, Ianto/Lisa
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: Torchwood is not mine. No matter how much I sometimes wish it was.
Spoilers: Better say everything through s2, just to be sure, although it takes place pre-S1.
Summary: Why didn't you tell us? We could have helped you. - Well, what if he did?

This chapter: Is the mind probe going to help?

Thanks to: My beta cazmalfoy for all her wonderful work, and my cheerleaders angelzbabe1989 and piper08 for putting up with me when I whine about being stuck.

Fic starts here
Previous chapters at the new master list for this fic

Chapter Sixty-Five

Just as Tosh had predicted, she and Ianto had the modifications on the scanner completed within the half-hour, and another half-hour saw it completely set up in Lisa’s room.

An updated number appeared on the screen every few minutes, as it started a new scan just as soon as it had calculated the number from the previous one. The beep that the device had previously made to indicate the end of a scan had been hurriedly muted when they realised just how annoying it would quickly become otherwise.

Ianto was relieved to find that the number had not increased from 32.0% in the time between the earlier scan and the first of the continuous scans, but dreaded the possibility of checking in on her that evening to discover that it had grown.

As soon as the scanner was installed and they had checked it was functioning correctly, Tosh returned to her work on the ‘mind probe’.

As she had already established from her previous scans and tests that it could accurately read thought patterns from brain activity, the next step was to test its ability to split two consciousnesses, or find hidden thoughts among many others.

As its untested status, and the lack of any suitable candidates, precluded her doing ‘live’ studies, these tests would need to be entirely simulated.

That meant she would have to find a way of simulating the activity patterns of a brain under a variety of thought conditions. And that required a much more thorough knowledge of neurology than she had, despite the work she’d done recently on the scanner for Lisa.

She found Owen, predictably, in the autopsy bay, tinkering with something. For some reason he preferred it down there to working at his desk – possibly because the rest of them tended to avoid the autopsy bay, except when something important was going on there.

“Hey, Owen? I need your help.”

Between Owen’s knowledge of the human brain, Tosh’s technological know-how and a few hours of concerted effort, they eventually had something they could begin to work with.

They had several different sets of simulated data, one of which was their attempt to recreate something similar to what was going on in Lisa’s mind. It was nowhere near an exact replica, but it was the best they could do with the time and equipment they had.

With the tricky neurological part over, Tosh and Owen started on what should, in theory, be the easier part – running Tosh’s pre-defined tests. Owen tried to lend a hand, but within twenty minutes of starting to run the tests, Tosh had banished him back to the autopsy bay, telling him thanks, but he was just getting in the way now.

She worked methodically, as she was wont to do, running each set of simulation data through each test, recording the results diligently.

The probe correctly identified every case where two or more distinct activity patterns were present, even where one was subtly hidden within or beneath the other.

It accurately predicted when it was reaching a barrier between one area of activity and another, identifying also if it passed back through into an area previously explored.

So far everything was going well, and it did everything Tosh had asked of it.

The final, and most important test, was to ask it to modify or remove one section of activity without harming any other area. That was the most important function they required of it, and Tosh knew it would be the most difficult to trigger, if it was possible.

Four hours later, Tosh had exhausted every possible combination of commands and stimuli.

It probed, it identified, but it simply would not remove or change. She re-ran several combinations just to be sure, but with no luck. It just wasn’t designed for this.

Despite the setback, Tosh didn’t immediately give up hope. She worked almost non-stop for several days before she finally had to admit defeat. She’d made as many modifications to the probe as she dared, but no matter what she did, it wouldn’t do what they needed it to.

She had no doubt that the probe could prove useful in the future, but it wasn’t going to help Lisa.

Both Ianto and Lisa assured her that it wasn’t her fault, but she couldn’t help but feel like she had failed them.

Chapter Sixty-Six
All comments and concrit welcomed! (Comments = Love <3)
Tags: fandom: torchwood, fanfic, fic: guilt, length: 40000+, rating: pg/pg-13, tw: ianto/lisa, tw: jack/ianto, verse: guilt
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