Time Confused - Jack Harkness Ficathon Piece
Title: Time Confused
Spoilers: Parting of the Ways,
Summary: Post-POTW. Jack managed to get himself off the Game Station and was welcomed back to the Time Agency with honours – his own ship, his own crew and command of both. When on a routine mission Jack sees his shot to reunite with his friends, but it's not that easy.
NOTE: I repeatedly use American-isms, purely because it's from Jack's third person POV, and Jack is American. Or at least as an American accent, so I'm taking him to be as such. So, please don't kill me for the 'elevator' and the 'ass'.
Written for pseudnik as part of the Jack Harkness Ficathon. I was asked to write about Jack with his own crew and ship, and to include UNIT and a Doctor that is not Nine or Ten. I refer to Eighth, but having only seen bits of the movie years ago, I didn't feel confident putting any speech in.
So I hope you all like it as it is.
Jack ran up the disused staircase in the hope of getting to the TARDIS; in the hope that the Doctor and Rose had made it. He didn't want to take the Game Station's elevator… just in case. There were no Daleks to be seen, but he didn't want to push his already stretched luck.
He reached floor five hundred just in time to see the TARDIS dematerialize. There were no bodies – no Rose, no Doctor – so …had they really left without him?
He remembered the shooting, the noise. Everyone else was dead – did they think he was dead? He remembered the Dalek shouting at him, and yet, he remembered waking up. Had he died?
Jack cursed as the last signs of the TARDIS disappeared, and the Captain was left all alone. He swiveled on the spot, came face to face with a Dalek and-
-woke up with a frightful start. It took a few moments for him to regain his bearings: he was on his ship, he was in his quarters, he was – for lack of a better term (though the word hardly suited his situation) – 'home'.
Jack looked around the pitch black room, looking for the source of the voice. It sounded incredibly familiar to him…
He reached out blindly to his left, his hand hitting a lamp with considerable force. He swore, and immediately began to remember where he'd left his communicator – on his bedside table. The disembodied voice was that of Ensign James Johnson. The simple command of 'lights on', was all it took for the room to flood with light, and Jack picked up his communicator from the table. "What is it, Ensign?"
Jack noticed that when the ensign replied, he wasn't his usually over-eager self. "Sir, we're picking up an unusual temporal signal from a nearby star system."
Sighing, Jack resisted the urge to curse yet again. Yes, the ensign was relatively new, but he knew protocol by now, surely! "Well log it in, Ensign, and carry on course."
"But sir… it's really unusual."
"How unusual are we talking here, Johnson?"
"Sir… it's registering as… well," Johnson hesitated.
Jack growled. "Spit it out, Johnson."
"Gallifreyan, sir," the ensign rushed out, "The database is registering it as Gallifreyan, and everyone knows that the Gallifreyans didn't survive whatever war it was, from what we can gather from the echos left in space, and sir, this isn't an echo, it's an actual SIGNAL."
While the ensign caught his breath from his small rambling tirade, Jack had lost most of his higher brain function.
"What star system?" Jack finally rasped out.
"That's the thing sir, it's the Terran system."
"When are we by Terran standing?" Jack asked eagerly.
Sounding thoroughly confused, Johnson replied, "Twenty-oh-six, sir."
Jack's eyes bugged. Rose. Rose was on Earth in 2006 – she was missing for most of it, he'd heard, yes, but the Doctor and Rose had returned some time in March 2006! "When exactly, Johnson?"
"Uh… January the twenty ninth, Captain."
Jack blinked. "Oh, nothing. Set a course. If that signal is coming up as Gallifreyan, it's certainly worth finding out about." With a final 'yes, sir', Ensign James Johnson's disembodied voice disappeared, and Jack was left alone with his own thoughts.
Since he'd been left behind – no, he was sure that the Doctor and Rose wouldn't have left him intentionally, they probably thought he was dead – Jack had spent every free moment researching the mysterious 'Doctor', and though coming up against many walls, he did get a lot of information from an organization in the twentieth century.
The Doctor was a temporal anomaly. He shouldn't exist – his race, his planet, his entire being contradicted all that most databases would tell you. Through temporal echoes – an interesting but thoroughly confusing occurrence – the Time Agency had learned of Gallifrey, of the Time Lords and of the so-called 'Time War'.
Jack's heart had bled as he read of what had happened.
But the Doctor wasn't an echo. He was real, as real as Jack himself, as real as his ship – the Ganymede - and as real as most of the people on it. So who was he?
He'd found some answers, enough to satisfy his aching lust to find his friends…
"Of course, Ambassador Harkness," simpered the UNIT secretary, taking a cursory glance at his access pass. Jack smiled patronizingly, though the woman didn't seem to notice at all, just as she didn't notice the psychic paper.
Jack felt a pang of heartache as he remembered how Rose had responded when he'd used it on her in war torn London. He missed her, he missed her so much.
"If you take a left up ahead, the UNIT archives are though the third door on your right," she pulled a swipe card out of her pocket. "You'll be needing this to access the room."
"Thank you, miss, that's very thoughtful of you," Jack flirted automatically. The woman giggled a little, and Jack walked, feeling her eyes watch his ass as he made his way down the corridor.
"Doctor… Doctor… come on, where are you?" Jack whispered, as he scrolled down the page. Finding a link, he clicked on it and watched impatiently until the page loaded. "There you are…"
When Jack finally reached the bottom of the page – half an hour later – he merely sat back in his seat. 'Huh,' he thought intelligently; it was obvious that he just didn't have the time to even begin processing the information he'd been reading.
The Doctor was pretty well entrenched in the history of the planet Earth.
All ten of them.
That's what got Jack the most. Ten Doctors. One was trouble enough, but ten? And they were all – by the sounds of it – the same person.
And what's more, he wasn't even supposed to exist. Jack knew that there had been a Time War, and that the Doctor had played a major part of it. What the Doctor hadn't told him is what part he'd played. But what Jack hadn't told the Doctor was that he'd fought in it too - as an Agent.
The Agency got involved when they realized that their most esteemed allies – not known by name, just by their planet, Gallifrey – began to disappear, and their enemies, the Daleks began to multiply and swarm over the universe. Within days, weeks, months – the Gallifreyans were no more, and the Daleks had mysteriously disappeared. For the Agents who fought 'out of time', they were known to have existed, then become extinct. For everyone else – they were a myth. A tin nightmare to terrorize your children into eating their vegetables.
The Daleks were a myth no more.
And the Gallifreyans had survived. One had, at least.
Jack continued to stare at the screen. The Doctor was a Time Lord. The Time Lords came from Gallifrey and Gallifrey no longer existed. The Doctor seemed to be the once constant in the universe.
"Sir, we've entered a geosynchronous orbit above the signal."
Jack's eyes snapped up to his view-screen. Ah, good old 2006 Earth. "Maintain the dampening fields at 100 - we don't want any of the Terran military to discover us too early. Sampson, Elliot, Zelkin and Austin – you're with me. We're going to get down, identify the source, caution them and come back," Jack neglected to mention that should they come across the Doctor – and he was sure they would – then he would not be doing any of those things. He'd be …'greeting' the man senseless.
After a good hearty punch for leaving him thinking he was dead, of course.
"You have ten minutes to get changed into appropriate attire – can't go down in our uniforms, people!"
Jack grinned as the three crewmembers immediately ran off towards the warehouse deck to look up the right clothes. When he finally realized that he also would need to get changed, he made a comical double take and ran off to his own quarters; he had a pair of jeans and a soccer shirt in his cupboard, he was sure.
"Welcome to Newcastle, England, circa 2006." Jack shook his head helplessly. "There's nothing particularly interesting about it."
He ignored the affronted huff from Elliot – he'd forgotten she was from Newcastle. The Newcastle of 4579, mind you, but Newcastle all the same.
"Anyway," Jack continued, "please keep all anachronisms consealed, and Zelkin?"
"Yes sir?" An eager lieutenant replied automatically, his shirt looking freshly pressed.
"Undo your top button; you look like an idiot."
He flushed. "Yes sir." Freshly pressed it was, but sadly, it was buttoned all the way to the top, giving him a choked look.
Sampson stepped forward, tucking a stray lock of hair behind her ears. "Sir, the signal is coming from the apartment block over there."
"Aw, back to business so soon?" Sampson offered the Captain a small smile, but simple pointed to the flats. "Let's go then. We'll take the stairs up – there only appears to be six floors. That's twelve flights of stairs at the most…"
"Sampson, are we there yet?"
Sampson smiled. "Almost sir, it's on the sixth floor. Near the end of the corridor."
'Great,' Jack thought. 'I seemingly die, and the Doctor – past, present or future – is shacked up with some companion in 2006 Newcastle of all bloodly places.'
Jack felt a rush of jealousy – why would the Doctor settle down with him and Rose?
Then Jack felt very confused. Why would the Doctor settle down AT ALL?
"Come on, come on…"
"It's this one, sir."
Jack took a deep breath, and motioned for the four members of his team to part and stand either side of him. Then, with a hand which was definitely not shaking, goddamnit, Jack knocked on room 547.
Every member of the crew present held their breath as the door opened.
"Can I help you?"
Jack was torn between screaming and passing out. Not particularly endearing actions either way. Of all the Doctors to be standing behind the door, it had to be the floppy-haired idiot.
Resisting the urge to bang his head of the wall – he had been SO CLOSE! – Jack began to speak.
Later, when he finally returned to his room and had escaped the questioning eyes and gossiping whispers of his crew, Jack stared at himself in the bathroom mirror.
Maybe it was time to give up on finding the Doctor and Rose. Maybe he should just find a nice little planet with a nice climate and a gorgeous person to settle down with. Maybe he'd have a family. Or a dog. And porn from the Pleasure Planet Delta Seven.
Or maybe he'd be stuck on this ship, trying to find his way back to the two people he loved most in the universe, for as long as the Agency let him as he tracked anomalous temporal signatures.
Somehow, Jack mused, the latter was more likely.