If there were any witnesses - but there aren’t, Ianto makes sure of that, smuggling his equipment out into the Ramble after the park has closed for the night, as close to the rift center as he can get without a boat. As far as rift manipulators go, it isn’t much:: two car batteries, a laptop, and what might be (underneath heavy modification and a liberal amount of cables) two tall computer towers. If he’d had space and funding and probably a lorry he might’ve gone for something enclosed, maybe a homemade Stargate sort of aesthetic, but. Needs must.
He rubs his gloved hands together as he waits for the laptop to boot up. According to his exhaustive mental checklist, all that’s left is a final software check and calibration. It will all check out, of course, he’s spent the two months since he arrived writing and rewriting the software based on Tosh’s work. That was patchy in places, although it was easy enough to fill in the blanks. The rift manipulator itself might’ve been more of a challenge, had he not the blueprints of Torchwood’s original committed to memory. Getting the requisite parts (or their equivalents) was more difficult, but he didn’t take up with Romac for the cushy flat. Though that was a bonus. He would’ve liked to get in with the rebels as well, undercover, maybe, nick some of their rift knowledge and equipment (if any), but getting caught by either side was too great a risk.
The laptop bleeps and begins the checks. For tonight’s test - because he’s hardly going to throw himself into this thing headfirst without a trial run - he’s got his jumper from when he first arrived. If all goes well, he’ll try his trousers the next go around, and if necessary, his shoes. The socks are already gone, disappeared accidentally in a preliminary test to determine the right frequency. They’re in some New York, somewhere, he supposes.
He sets the jumper in its place equidistant from the towers as the laptop gives its final bleep. The dialogue box gives the all-clear, but he scrolls through the results just to make sure everything is within set parameters. He may be giddy with excitement, but he’s not stupid. After a double-check of the equipment, the batteries, and the connections, and quick prayer to Saint David, Ianto initializes the program and brings up the timer. The machine is set to power down after three minutes total, one to warm up, one to run, and one to cool down. He can’t very well come close to turn it off when it’s running, not without lead boots and a tether or three. That gives him a minute to get a safe distance away - very generous for the five meters that he walks, taking up place behind a small tree on the path, but better safe than sorry.
After an interminable wait filled only by the hum of the rift manipulator, something gives, tugging the jumper through the dirt with an unseen hand. It inches slowly at first, then tumbles in jumps and starts, until suddenly, as though buffeted by the wind, it’s pulled through the doorway and disappears into the light. Ianto breathes a heady sigh of relief and chuckles. Some homeless New Yorker in his universe will probably find themselves a nice new jumper. He has no way of knowing for certain if it made it through to the other end, but the rift manipulator has acted accordingly with his calculations so far. That’s as certain as he’ll ever be.
The machine makes a knocking sound and its whine changes, kicking up in frequency. In another minute, it should be safe to approach. Ianto’s nerves are thrumming with anticipation to examine the readings and the adrenaline of an impossible experiment. It’s almost overwhelming, his need to get to the machine, to see the results - every second faster that he works is one second sooner he’ll be home. ( He almost trips over his own feet. )