Note: Before reading this story, it is recommended that you read "Questionable Reality", found on my profile.
"The Book of Olparn"
When Jack walked into the console room, he found Rose sitting on the jump seat, reading a leather-bound book with the word "Olparn" printed in large letters across its surface. The Doctor was standing near the console, hands stuffed into the pockets of his black leather jacket, admiring his ship.
"I met her, you know," Jack said to Rose as he came by.
Rose looked up from her book, her eyes wide. Even the Doctor's large ears seemed to perk up at the interruption, although he didn't turn around.
"Karen Hollburn?" she asked. "The Karen Hollburn from this book?"
"Of course," said Jack. "Tracking down a gorgeous woman at a nexus point in time and space—I'd say that's pretty much my specialty."
The Doctor cringed. If Jack noticed, he didn't seem to mind.
"So, what do you think?" Jack asked Rose.
"It's a weird book," Rose admitted. "I know it's supposed to be Karen Hollburn's autobiography, but it's like she's going through her own past and trying to make sense of it. I mean, every time she meets her younger self, she keeps asking if she's Karen Hollburn. But she knows the answer already, because she remembers this happening from when she was small. She's already lived through it." Rose met Jack's eyes, and he could see the hint of tears forming therein. "It just reminded me of that time when I tried to rescue my dad. You know, living through my own past. For a minute, I was sure she was talking about me."
"Everyone says that," Jack reassured her. "It's what makes the book so popular." He gave her a wink. "What about Karen Hollburn, huh? Sounds like a babe?"
Rose gave Jack a playful punch on the arm. Then she thought a moment. "She reminds me a lot of the Doctor," Rose confessed. "The whole no guns, no violence, peaceful solution thing."
"There's a reason for that," said the Doctor.
"You visited her?" Rose asked him.
The Doctor scoffed. "Unlike Jack over there, I don't generally flit around fixed points in time and space making a nuisance of myself."
"Oh, come off it, Doctor," said Jack, playfully. "I know you were there. Your Tardis was about three blocks away from the scene of the crime."
The Doctor stiffened at this. He was now visibly uncomfortable.
"Scene of what crime?" asked Rose.
"Karen Hollburn has a reputation for being hard to find in history," said Jack. "The only real documentation about her life that survives concerns the assassination attempt in 2008. And if you think the Tardis can give you a bumpy ride, you've never been to Las Vegas in 2008. The whole thing is sort of blocked off to time tourists."
"It's called a fixed point in time," said the Doctor. "And you shouldn't be playing around with them."
"So, when you met her, was she anything like she is in the book?" asked Rose.
"I didn't really get a chance to talk to her," Jack admitted. "She was busy talking to some skinny guy in a brown pinstripe suit. Now, if you thought Hollburn was attractive, you should have seen the skinny guy. I mean, wow."
"That's enough, Jack," snapped the Doctor.
Jack and Rose looked at each other, surprised. The Doctor whirled around, his face a cloud of anger and irritation. He pointed at Rose. "Rose, when I get old and stupid, do me a favor and punch me in the face ." He pointed at Jack. "And you, stay away from the man in the pinstripe suit. He knows what he's doing, and he doesn't need some stupid, overgrown ape telling him what to do."
"Someone's jealous," Jack sing-songed.
The Doctor threw his hands in the air. "Oh, well that's just great," he said. "Not content with leering at just one of me, are you? You want to go out and find the other twelve? Well, let me know when you're finished messing around with history, Captain, and we'll see if there's a human race left to put back together."
And with that, he stormed off.
Rose and Jack stared at one another.
"What was that about?" asked Rose.
"I think," said Jack, "that he hasn't been there yet."
Rose bookmarked her place in the book, and closed it in her lap. "So what happened? I mean, what really happened?"
Jack sat down on the jump seat, and told her.
There should be a woman with long blond hair. She should be swamped by people as soon as she steps out of her car. With the amount of attention she should be receiving, one might assume she'd be riding around in a limo or at least some sort of chauffeured transportation. But no, the woman would be driving around in a used Pontiac, whose engine makes an unhealthy coughing sound every few seconds.
Nor would this woman be dressed in fancy or revealing clothing. She should be wearing a well-worn white turtleneck with brown khakis. This is because she'd know that the crowd has not come out to see her outfit. Those hands would not be reaching out to her because she is a woman—they'd be reaching out for hope.
If one is to believe legend, every word that falls from this woman's lips should have that soothing, calming lilt. Every motion of her arms should give her followers courage, every step should give them determination. That is what she will be famous for—ending the violence with just a word, a gesture. That is why everyone remembers the name Karen Hollburn centuries from that time.
The real Karen Hollburn steps out of her brand-new SUV, her mousy hair uncombed and her smile a little too contrived. There isn't a crowd waiting for her—just a few passersby wandering beneath a flickering lamppost. She is wearing a black suit, and she has a look of determination in her eyes. For this is a woman with a dream. She will stop the anger, the violence. She will turn it into something good. Something worthwhile.
She is dropping by a local grocery store before heading off to work with the prisoners in jail, trying to draw out some spark of human decency inside of them. She likes working with the prisoners in this particular maximum security prison. About five years ago, something had happened here—the prisoners had all rallied together for some 'higher cause', although none of them will say exactly what. This is what gave her the idea in the first place—the idea that maybe, if she could figure out what caused this unity, she could implement it in the other prisons around the world. She could reform the criminal justice system, turning hardened criminals into pursuers of justice. She knows she can do it, if she just figures out what had helped these prisoners.
As she clicks her car closed, she thinks she hears something in the distance. The woman begins to walk forward, her heals clicking against the pavement as she advances.
A shot rings out through the night air, and someone cries the woman's name. Then a second shot. The crowd begins to scream. A gun clatters to the ground, and the man who held it turns and runs in the opposite direction as fast as his legs can carry him. Another man, a lanky man in a pinstripe suit, picks up the woman, and tries to stop the bleeding. He is coaxing her, telling her it will be all right, that he will save her. She stares into his deep brown eyes, and for a moment, she believes him. She believes that he will save her life.
But when the police arrive, Karen Hollburn is dead.