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|“||We are coming back!||„|
|~ The 456 speaking through the human children.|
|“||We came here. You have no significance. You are middlemen. We have a request. We want a gift... We want your children. We will take your children. (Frobisher: By children, you mean...) Your descendants. The offspring of the human race. (Frobisher: How many?) 10%. We want 10%. We want 10% of the children of this world.||„|
|~ The 456 Ambassador gives the 456's demands to John Frobisher.|
The 456 (pronounced four-five-six) are the main antagonists of Torchwood: Children of Earth, the third series of the British sci-fi show Torchwood. They are an alien species that visited the Earth in 1965 to take human children in return for giving humanity an anti-virus, and later return in 2009 to take 10% of the Earth's children. Although they claim to be giving the children eternal life, it is ultimately revealed that they use them as sources for a drug the species is addicted to.
The 456 made first contact with humanity in 1965, when they contacted the British government through radio waves and told them that if they gave them twelve children, they would give them the antidote to Indonesian influenza, which they claimed would kill millions if left unchecked, telling them that the children would live forever. After scientists confirmed these numbers, Torchwood Three, lead by Jack Harkness, brought twelve children from Holly Heights Orphanage to a location in Scotland. Once there the children were ushered into a white light, teleporting them to the 456 homeworld. Eleven of the children were then hooked up to the 456, where they had bodily fluids containing the drugs drained out until they eventually died. However, the twelfth child, Clem McDonald, was released and sent back to Earth, as he had passed puberty and therefore did not produce the drugs. This lead him to go insane and be confined to a mental hospital.
After Torchwood Three leader Alex Hopkins was given Object One by a psychic, he saw the future and witnessed the return of the 456. Deciding that Torchwood wasn't ready for the 21st Century he killed the rest of Torchwood Three, with the exception of the immortal Jack, and committed suicide.
in 2009, the 456 used their power of mind manipulation to take over all the children on Earth and have them chant "We are coming" over and over again in order to scare the British government and let them know that they needed more children. This lead to prime minister Brian Green ordering Johnson to eliminate Torchwood Three in order to cover up their previous dealings with the 456. Johnson and Rupesh Patanjali blew up the Torchwood Three headquarters, but failed to kill any of them.
The 456 sent a message to Dekker, the leader of MI5's technology division, containing detailed instructions for the construction of a gas-filled chamber on Floor 13 of MI5's headquarters for their ambassador to reside in when he arrived.
On the third day of the visitation, the ambassador arrived in a pillar of fire in the chamber before John Frobisher, the informal Earth ambassador, and relayed the 456's demands: they wanted the government to hand over 10% of the world's children, or they would destroy Earth.
The 456 allowed a cameraman to enter the ambassador's chamber, where they found one of the orphans taken in 1965 hooked up to it. The British government later refused the 456's request after a COBRA meeting, instead offering them 6,700 asylum seekers. The 456 refused this offer, taking control of the children again to send their demands to other governments.
Jack, Clem and Torchwood Three member Ianto Jones later arrived to talk to the ambassador, telling it they would never let it take the children. The 456 responded by killing Clem with a hypersonic signal and releasing a virus into the building that killed Ianto and the building's security team (although Jack and Dekker both survived). The 456 then threatened to release the virus across the world unless humanity capitulated, forcing them to agree to give up 10% of the children.
The British government began collecting children from the lowest performing schools in the country to surrender to the 456. During the crisis, UNIT commander Augustus Oduya asked the ambassador why the 456 wanted the children; it responded by telling him that they produced drugs that the 456 were addicted to. Although horrified, the government had no choice but to continue gathering children for them.
However, as the 456 were on the verge of victory, Jack figured out that, using the children as a transmitter, he could direct the hypersonic signal the 456 used to kill Clem back at them. Using his grandson Steven, he did so, killing the ambassador with the signal but also killing Steven in the process. The ambassador's corpse was then teleported back to their homeworld by the 456, who were unable to carry out their plans without a representative on Earth.