Once upon a time there was nothing. Nothing at all. No space, no time, no noise, no sun, no bugs, no jobs, no hats, no bacon. But then, how do they know? If there was nothing and no-one, maybe there was something but it just wasn’t us…
The job of Unit 17 was to decide if there was or wasn’t anything. And if there was, to decide what was it. Unit 17 was staffed by the finest minds South Wales had to offer, their office overlooking the area Torchwood was filmed for added inspiration.
The concept of The Big Bang Theory was well known and was accepted by most as the start of the universe and life as it is on Earth today. One giant explosion from which all matter, and anti-matter, came. Unit 17 was trying to prove or disprove the theory before NASA and the CIA and the Russians and anyone else slumping towards the Nobel Prize for sorting the universe.
Howard glanced out of the window. The cast of Torchwood were filming a scene where Gwen drove the black car really, really fast and Captain Jack jumped in through the open window as she screeched away. Solving space secrets was nothing like shaded windows, dark glasses and an arsenal of not-yet-invented weaponry.
As Gwen rounded a bend, she clipped a bollard and span into another car. There was a bang. A big bang, as there always was whenever two big, heavy, fast moving things collided. Or something got dropped. Or when something exploded.
So if there was a Big Bang, there must have been something there. And if there was nothing there, there was no Big Bang. Nothing would mean no sound at all, not even a little phutt. Sound, if there was any, would not travel through the vacuum of not-space. And using the ‘if a tree falls in a forest but nobody sees it’ principle, would an unwitnessed event make a sound anyway.
Howard laid his head on the desk, aching from the conflicting thoughts spinning inside. At this rate he’d never get his PhD and be destined to be ‘Mr’ forever. He decided to fetch a coffee and think it through again, from the start.
As he headed for the kitchen, a blue box materialized out in the square. A tall man looked up at the window where Howard had watched Gwen’s crash moments before. He called out “Howard. Howard! Come with me, I’ll take you there. I know what happened.”
Howard decided to leave early and pick up a latte on his way home, confident it would come to him eventually. He took the back stairs and pushed open the side door, missing the Torchwood set clean up and walked off into town.
Inspiration: The Big Bang and Dr Who