Chapter 1: Nameless
February 18th 1897
I was somewhat surprised to receive your letter, and I must confess my ignorance of the "Torchwood Institute" you represent, but since I gather that you report to the Queen herself I will do my best to cooperate. I certainly recall the man you mention, and will do my best to answer your questions. As it happens I made some notes at the time. They were written in the vernacular of the place and period, since I was then experimenting with this writing style, and I hope you will excuse me if I don't "pretty them up," but simply add the remarkable epilogue.
It was the height of summer in 1869 when I first met the man who called himself Jack. Some Mexicans brought him in from the desert, said that they'd found him wandering there, about twenty miles from the nearest water, naked as the day he was born, so sun-struck he didn't even seem to know his name. They took him to the mission thinking that there must be some sort of reward. Someone thought that I might get an article out of it and told me about him, so I went over to take a look.
He was in his thirties, muscular and well-proportioned. His skin was peeling badly, but even then I thought that he was probably a handsome man. I guess he was still delirious, because apart from muttering 'Rose' a couple of times he didn't pay any attention to his surroundings. I guessed that 'Rose' must be his sweetheart, though from what I heard of his behaviour afterwards I began to assume that it was more of an infatuation, and a short-lived one at that. I couldn't have been more wrong.
There wasn't really anything for me in it, but I left my business card with a note that said I'd be interested in his story when he was feeling a little recovered. About a week later he turned up at my door, looking a lot better and wearing the old work clothes the mission had found for him, with a serape and broad-brimmed Mexican hat, introduced himself as Jack - he didn't want to give his last name - and offered to sell me his story.
What he told me - and bear in mind that I have no way of knowing how much of it was true - was that he was a prospector who'd been looking for traces of silver. Why silver, when even damn fools were finding gold in California? Because he reckoned that if people kept finding gold the stuff would soon be worthless. Well, it hasn't happened yet, and I doubt that it ever will, but it showed the kind of mind he had.
Getting back to his story, he said that his horse had been spooked by a rattle-snake and thrown him, and he'd hit his head on a rock. He came to with a group of Mexicans - not the same ones that had bought him in - going through his clothes. They thought that he was dead, and didn't take kindly to his sudden resurrection. They'd already stripped him while he was unconscious, and they weren't about to give him his clothes back, nor his gun and the rest of his property. When he put up a fight about it two of them held him down while the third hit him on the head again. He must have had the hardest head ever, because that still didn't kill him. He came to a couple of hours later, and of course they'd gone, and so had everything he owned. After that he started following their tracks on foot. He got a couple of miles before he passed out, and that was the last he knew before he woke in the mission.
Well, I guess it was a story, but you couldn't exactly call it newsworthy as it was. When I asked him what he planned to do next, he told me that he was going to go looking for the men that had robbed him. Why? Because they'd taken a keepsake his girl had given him, and he wanted it back. He wouldn't describe it, just said that it was precious to him.
On the strength of that I gave him ten dollars, which was more than it was worth, and got his promise that if he ever tracked them down he'd come back and tell me the story.
A few days later I saw him in a saloon, playing high-stakes poker with some of the toughest men in town. Don't ask me where he got the money, ten dollars wouldn't even get you a seat at the table. He seemed to be winning. He was wearing better clothes, but still had the serape and the hat. I heard later that he'd given fifty dollars to the mission out of his winnings. And a couple of days after that I saw him ride out of town, still wearing that serape. By then he had a good horse, a rifle, pistols, and the air of a man who knew where he was going. I made enquiries, and heard that he had been spending money lavishly in the Mexican community. There were also rumours of his association with several different women, all of whom might have been expected to have their fingers on the pulse of affairs. I believe that several irate husbands were more than happy to see him leave.
Months passed, and I gradually forgot him. Then in March 1870 he appeared again at my door, wearing a dark blue coat of unfamiliar design. It had the look of military tailoring, but wasn't any uniform I recognized. I asked him about the robbers; he hesitated, then eventually admitted that he'd caught up with them "South of the border," presumably meaning in Mexico, and recovered his property. When I asked about the keepsake he'd mentioned, he hesitated again then produced a gold pocket watch, which played a simple music-box tune. Inside it was a photograph of Jack, another man wearing a leather jacket, and between them an uncommonly pretty blonde girl in her early twenties who seemed to be wearing some sort of masquerade costume, a blouse or shirt patterned after the British flag. The picture was unusually sharp and perfectly coloured, obviously hand-tinted by a master of the art. He looked at it, sighed, then said "And that's Rose, with the Doctor." I asked about the other man, but he gave no reply. When I pressed him for more details he was at first reluctant to talk, then eventually told me that the bandits thought he was dead, and were so "spooked" by his reappearance that they gave him everything he wanted. Of course he had to use "a little persuasion" too. I wondered what that meant but didn't press the subject since he didn't seem inclined to reply. It still wasn't much of a story, and when I said that he laughed and gave me my ten dollars back, with a bottle of malt whisky for interest!
I was still curious about him, and listened out for stories out of Mexico, anything that might explain what happened. And gradually I started to hear them, confused and incoherent. A "gringo" wearing a serape who stirred up the rival factions in a bandit village until they started fighting, then took what he wanted; a treasure that had been stolen from him. A man who came back to life to kill the men who had betrayed him. A deadly gunfighter with a musical watch, who told his victims to draw as the music ended but always fired first. A lover who seduced women (and in some tales men) and left them. Dozens more fragments like that, contradictory and incomplete, characterized only by ruthlessness.
Meanwhile Jack had dropped out of sight again, and I slowly forgot him. And so things remained for the next twenty-odd years. In that time I moved to Boston, then became a United States Consul in Germany then later Glasgow, and ultimately settled in London. And in 1892 I saw Jack again, seated in a neighbouring box at the Theatre Royal, in the company of Oscar Wilde and some of his cronies.
You might think that he would be hard to recognize after twenty-two years, but that was the strangest part of it; he was virtually unchanged. Still the same face and the watch chain I remembered. He was wearing full evening dress, and seemed to at home in the questionable company he was keeping. I wondered for a while if it was a chance likeness, but in a lull between scenes I heard the tinkle of his watch, exactly as I remembered it. With horror I recalled Wilde's recent strange story, The Picture of Dorian Gray. Could the story have somehow been taken from life? If I looked at the photographs inside that watch, what would I see? I hope that you will excuse these wild imaginings. As you will see, they have some relevance to later events.
As I left the theatre that evening I saw Wilde and his friends, including Jack, boarding some cabs ahead, no doubt en route to some other entertainment. I thought to have a few words with him, but as I approached a man ran out from the crowd, screaming with rage against "the Sodomites" and brandishing a pistol! Women were screaming, and none of those attacked seemed to have an idea in their heads about defending themselves┘ except for Jack. He stood in the man's path and tried to reason with him, but to my horror the attacker fired his revolver. Jack collapsed to the ground, shot through the heart, and with that shot the paralysis that had overtaken us all ended. At least a dozen men must have thrown themselves at the attacker, who seemed almost dazed by his crime; it later emerged that he was a lunatic who had stolen the single-shot pistol, and had no idea how to reload it.
Once he was subdued I stayed with Jack, identifying myself as a fellow-countryman who knew his family - a total fabrication, I'm afraid. I rode with the body to the hospital, but there was never any hope of reviving him. When the police had gone I bribed the mortuary attendant to give me his personal effects; the watch, his wallet (which contained a few pounds and some visiting cards identifying him as Captain Jack Hamlin, with an address in The Albany), and an odd device he wore on his wrist, a flat black box about three inches on a side and a half-inch thick, worn on a broad band of some odd rubbery material.
Once I had returned home I looked inside the watch; there were the same photographs I remembered, their colours a little faded, but of course the ages depicted were unchanged. I dismissed my thoughts as idiotic superstition, and turned my attention to the black box. It should have been easy to open, I could see a seam and an oval depression that looked like a recessed catch, but pressing it had no effect, nor had prying with a knife. I was about to move to more drastic methods when I heard a knock at the door. A minute or so later one of the house-maids came in, blushing prettily, and told me that there was a gentleman at the door who wished to see me. As I asked his name the door opened behind her, and Jack walked in, now wearing somewhat more plebeian clothing which didn't seem to fit particularly well. I must confess that I fainted.
I missed the confusion of the next few minutes, and recovered consciousness to see Jack pour himself a glass of my best whisky, drain it, then pour another. I eventually said "If you don't mind, I'll have one of those."
"Sure," said Jack. "Sorry. It's not every day a man gets shot."
"I was dead, as far as I can tell. Had to slug the mortuary attendant to get out."
"Damned if I know. Except that it happened once before, before the first time I met you. I was dead, and then I was alive again."
"That's impossible," I gasped.
"Tell me about it."
"There were those stories," I said. "The stories I heard from Mexico. The walking corpse that got its revenge then took back its stolen property."
"Nope. I had a couple of near misses that time, but nobody came close to killing me. It was all just bluff and a knack for playing with their heads. Trickery, not resurrection."
"And you've never aged."
"No. Believe me, if you think that's weird, you should have been inside my head when I realised. I've been this way since sixty-nine. Like that story Wilde told, the one with the picture. Except that there isn't one. There's nothing. No fountain of youth, no portrait, no curses or deals with the Devil."
"I did wonder if Wilde got the idea for that story from you."
"It's possible. I got drunk with him and his friends a couple of years ago, not long after I realised, something might have slipped out. What's worrying me more is what happens now."
"I don't understand," I said.
"You're a reputable man, a writer, and you've seen me killed and come back to life. If you start spreading the story while I'm still around I'll be a side-show freak. I know it's too good to keep secret, but I want a head start."
"How about a year?"
"On one condition," I said.
"If you ever find out what happened, I want to know."
We shook hands, and he took back his possessions and left. I've never seen him since. I kept the secret as I'd promised, and there was remarkably little fuss about the vanishing "body," the lunatic (who was unfit to plead and committed to an asylum without trial), and my own part in the tale.
A year later I did consider writing the story, but eventually decided that it was too far-fetched to sell, even if I changed things and made it a ghost story. I used Jack's name (if it was ever really his name) for one of my stories, A Protegee of Jack Hamlin's, but I doubt that I'll ever do more.
I hope that this information is in some way useful. I am, of course,
Your obedient servant,
Crossover with Bret Hart's novels of the Old West (I haven't tried to imitate his writing style), various spaghetti Westerns, and of course The Picture of Dorian Gray. For more on Bret Hart see Wikipedia
Chapter 2: Cards on the Table
Wolfram And Hart
April 11th 2004
Thanks for your note – might have guessed that little sod Andrew wouldn't keep his mouth shut about me being alive. And thanks for keeping him from telling Buffy; I want her to get over me and find some nice bloke with a pulse, she deserves it. Glad you're enjoying your stay in Italy. Met any nice boys yet?
You asked about Dracula – has the bugger popped up again? The previous time he was killed he took more than a hundred years to come back. I ought to know, I was about three feet from him when it happened.
Just took a look in the files here, and blow me if they don't have copies of my diaries from 1895 through to the twenties. Thought I'd burned them, they must have copied them magically. And no, the Watchers can't have them. Some things in there are private.
Anyway, I've copied the entries that describe what happened. Really not sure what I make of them now, you be the judge.
Tuesday November 14th 1899
Still in Romania, Angelus still moping about his bloody curse, whatever the hell it is. My guess is impotence, why else would Darla bugger off? Anyway, the poor sod seems to have lost all heart - he hasn't tortured a human in months, been living on cats and dogs. I'd leave him here, but Dru is really enjoying watching him suffer and I don't want to spoil her fun.
Wednesday November 15th 1899
Dru was wittering on about doom, death and destruction, and everything being in the cards and the stars, when there was a knock at the door. Still daylight, which meant that I couldn't look out, but I noticed a card on the doormat. Surprise, surprise, it's a note from Count "I'm bored, so I'll find an author and tell him exactly how to kill vampires" Dracula, suggesting we meet up for a drink and a game of cards tomorrow night. Bugger still owes me fourteen quid from last time.
Thursday November 16th 1899
Rained all day, cloudy enough that I nipped out in the afternoon and brought back a match-seller for lunch. It was worth taking the risk just to see Angelus' face while Dru and I drained her. In the evening I got rid of the body then Dru and I had a nice evening at home.
Friday November 17th 1899
Dru and Angelus don't want to come out – Angelus brooding about eating "poor kittens," Dru caught a dozen last night and is having fun playing with them, and draining one every now and again when Angelus is watching. Nothing more said about doom and destruction, for a change. Decided to leave them to get on with it – normally I'd worry that A. wouldn't keep his hands to himself, the randy git, but since Darla left he hasn't touched another woman. I'm sure it's impotence...
Later: Got to demon beer-cellar about eight, Drac was talking to a couple of humans – his minion Van Helsing, the 'philosophy professor' who used to find rich suckers to fleece in their little con game, and a stranger, young bloke who called himself Jack Harper. Drac took me off to one side and said that Harper was rich and played poker badly, suggested we take some money off him then share him once he was broke. Worked for me, I suppose, though I had a feeling that there was more to Harper than met the eye. There was something a little off about his smell, a bit like the Immortal but not the same. Decided to be v. careful.
Things went well for a couple of rounds, with me and Dracula winning, but when Harper dealt I thought I noticed something a little odd. I kept quiet about it and dropped out early, wanted to see what his game was, it turned out he was rigging the deal so that Dracula won! Very odd, I thought.
Dracula was supposed to deal next, and Harper shuffled the cards while Van Helsing was getting drinks – boar's blood for mister "I never drink wine," of course, the rest of us had lager. As Drac was dealing he offered a side bet – he'd let Drac drink from his wrist if he won the hand. He also hinted at other things, made me think he might be a bit of a shirt-lifter. If Dracula lost, he was to stay out of Britain for good.
Now this struck me as being a good idea, didn't like that bugger playing his gypsy tricks in Britain, so I didn't mention that I was sure that Harper had stacked the deck again and palmed a couple of cards as he was shuffling. He must have rigged the cut somehow too.
So everyone put up a quid for ante – Dracula paid mine from the money he owed me – and we started to play. Van Helsing bet a fiver, and I decided to fold, if the hand really was rigged I didn't want to take any chances. Harper and Dracula both called. In the next round Van Helsing took three cards and Harper one, then Dracula took two and raised ten pounds. They both raised and Van Helsing called.
And surprise surprise – Harper had a king high flush, and won the hand. Dracula cursed at him, of course, but Harper smiled and said "I win our bet. And you gave your word as a gentleman and a nobleman, so stay away from Britain."
So naturally Drac, being the git he is, grabbed him and sank his fangs into his neck. Nobody batted an eye-lid, it was that sort of tavern. I saw Harper draw a pistol and guessed that the poor sod thought it would kill a vampire. The funny thing was that he was right. He jabbed it in Drac's gut and fired it, and just like that Dracula was on fire and crumbling to dust. I've got a feeling that he won't be coming from that in a hurry. That left Harper standing there, and the wounds in his neck closing and vanishing as I watched. I was right; he was another bloody immortal of some sort. He noticed me staring, and said "Magnesium powder. He shouldn't have tried to take advantage." I knew bloody well that he'd planned to kill Drac all along, but what the hell, it didn't bother me. Except that my money was gone, of course, Drac still owed me eleven quid. Harper looked at me, and I guessed he was wondering if he should shoot me, so I said "No skin off my nose, never liked the bugger."
We got to talking, and drinking, and it turned out that Drac had killed a couple of his friends, and he'd spent three years tracking him down. That's nothing to an immortal, of course. Always liked a bit of revenge, provided I'm not the target.
Meanwhile Van Helsing was blubbering, said that he'd given Drac the best years of his life and the bastard hadn't even turned him. Now as it happened I was vaguely thinking that it was about time I had a minion, though I could live without that poxy foreign accent, so I asked a few questions and it turned out that his real name was Dalton and he was actually from Huddersfield. He really was a bit of a scholar, so I offered him a job as my human henchman, and promised to turn him inside a year if he was good at it. And I realised that Harper was still watching us, and said "Don't worry, not planning to go back to Britain any time soon." He smiled, drank the rest of his glass, and walked out.
So with one thing and another it turned out a reasonably good evening. Drac's gone, Angelus is all tears because he was "one of the greats," the posh git, and I've got a minion. And Dru is finally willing to move somewhere warm, she doesn't like the sound of Harper any more than I do. I've been thinking about China lately, they say that there's a Slayer there and I'd really love to have a go. If we can just stop Angelus from coming along it ought to be fun.
Chapter 3: Arrival
It could have been any time in the twentieth century, the road would have looked much the same. Night was falling, and Jack wished that he hadn't left Topeka in such a hurry. Next time Torchwood sent him abroad on a job he'd be a little more careful, and make sure that he had good transportation. The bad thing about being stuck in the past was that it was all so primitive, and everything was so unreliable. Take cars, for example; better than horses, but that's about all you could say for them. His was in a ditch a few miles behind him, the engine still smouldering. Presumably there was a town somewhere along the road, but he couldn't see any lights ahead.
For the last few hours his wrist-computer had been vibrating; while it didn't work as a time machine these days, it could still detect temporal anomalies. Maybe The Doctor was visiting Kansas, maybe something else was interfering with history. He knew that there was something familiar about the date, and as he trudged along the road, he'd been trying to remember why. When he was a Time Agent he'd learned endless thousands of years of dull facts, finding exactly the right one was always the hard part.
Somewhere behind him he could hear the noise of a car... no, a pickup truck. He stuck out a thumb, and hoped that they'd see him in the twilight. With a squeal of brakes it came to a stop.
"Hi," said Jack, "Headed towards town?"
"Sure," said the guy in his thirties who was driving the truck. "Martha, make some room for the man."
"Of course," said Martha, a nice-looking woman about the same age, sliding over towards the centre of the seat. "Walked far?"
"A couple of hours," said Jack. He climbed in, and the driver started the truck again. "Car broke down; I'm not even sure where I am."
"About twenty miles from Smallville," said the driver. "That's where we're headed."
"That's fine, mister... um..." said Jack. He knew the name of the town all right, and he had a sudden uneasy feeling he could guess the surname, and exactly what evening it was. He was pretty sure that he recognized their faces.
"Kent. Jonathan Kent. Interesting coat you're wearing."
"Jack Harkness," said Jack, thinking, "Okay, I'm screwed. History's screwed, if I don't get out of here fast." He thought fast, then said, "It's an RAF greatcoat. Some friends and I are making an amateur movie about the American pilots in the world war before the US got involved." He didn't specify which war. He looked out of the window, orientating himself with a landscape he dimly remembered. "I think I know where I am now... yeah, if you could let me off at the junction about two miles up ahead, that's where my friends are supposed to meet me, I was supposed to follow their car to the airfield but they can give me a lift. I'm still a little early despite everything."
"Are you sure?" asked Jonathan. "It's a long way from anywhere."
"Absolutely," said Jack. He didn't try to invent an explanation, beyond what he'd already said; let them come up with their own. It wasn't like he was asking them to do anything illegal. After a couple of minutes the car stopped at a crossroads. "Thanks," says Jack, climbing out. "Drive safely now. Goodnight."
"Goodnight," said Jonathan and Martha. Jack waved as they drove off, hoping that his brief presence in the truck hadn't done anything to change history. There was still a gentle tingle from his wrist, but it seemed to be dying down as the blaze of a descending meteor passed overhead, parallel and a little to the right of the road. Jack dug into his pockets and found a small telescope. On the flat terrain he could see for miles. Somewhere up ahead there was a flash of light and a dull thud, followed a few seconds later by brake lights on the road. They'd seen it, all right, and it looked like they were stopping to investigate.
Over the next few minutes there were five separate temporal signatures, none of them the Tardis, all of them leaving. The time-stream slowly settled down to normal. Maybe someone had been stopped from messing with time; maybe it was just tourists filming the event. Whatever, he'd stay well clear.
Jack thought back to his last visit to the twenty-eighth century. The land hadn't changed that much, though in the future it was a ten-lane highway. Just about there would be where they had the statue, about a hundred feet tall, of Ma and Pa Kent and the baby. The step-parents of Utopia, for some values of Utopia, for the centuries it lasted.
"Hi, Kal-El," said Jack. "Welcome to Earth." He pulled out his hip flask and drank a nip of Scotch to celebrate.
No point hanging around these parts and running more risks. They'd soon forget him, with the excitement of a new baby, and that was the way he wanted it. He set off down the side road, away from the action. After a while he started whistling.
An earlier and slightly different version of this story is archived on the Lois and Clark fanfic archive, lcfanfic dot com
I've left the date open due to the numerous resets of the DC universe.
Chapter 4: Reports
Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense
TOP SECRET CLASSIFICATION MK ULTRA
FROM: Dr. Tom Manning, Director BPRD
TO: The President
RE: Harkness, Captain J.
Further to our conversation yesterday, I’ve attached the report I mentioned, with its footnotes updated to reflect our current knowledge of the subject; it’s fourteen years old now, but I think it may shed some light on our current mystery:
BPRD Daily Summary, October 23rd
Section 7: Precognition Report – Re. Captain J. Harkness (ref Torchwood A16)
At 04.40 this morning source FK103  reported the following dream:
“I’m a child, walking in an alleyway with my parents. A man steps out into the alley ahead of us, wearing a long dark coat. He draws a revolver, says something I don’t understand, pulls on my mother’s necklace. Pearls spill onto the ground. He shoots my parents, leaving me unharmed, then walks away.”
Source FK103 was not able to identify the parents or child, but was able to draw a picture of their assailant, identified (probability 87%) as Captain Jack Harkness (ref Torchwood A16). 
Currently Harkness is attached to Torchwood 3, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. He is believed to be in Britain at present. Please ask the US Embassy to check his location; if possible verify it by a visual sighting.
Addendum 1: 24th October - Embassy verifies that Harkness is currently in Cardiff.
Addendum 2: 26th October - Description of dream matches the deaths of Dr. Thomas and Martha Wayne (Gotham City) on October 25th. Both were prominent philanthropists; the motive has been reported as robbery. They were survived by their son Bruce, aged eight, who was present at their deaths.
Addendum 3: 26th October – Harkness is again verified as being in Cardiff.
Recommendations: Continue to monitor events in Gotham City, and especially any sightings of Harkness or events related to the Wayne family.
 Precog, accuracy 93% 1-3 days, 82% 3-5 days, 55% 5-10 days
 Harkness is considered a Person of Interest; he is apparently immortal, and Torchwood’s activities  frequently overlap (and sometimes oppose) those of the BPRD. There is also reason to believe that he has precognitive abilities, in various statements about the future e.g. “The twenty-first century is when it all changes.” His claimed rank of Captain is not matched by accessible military records. He is bisexual, and has at various times made advances to several of our agents, Abe Sapien, Liz Sherman, and Hellboy himself.
 Described as “Above the government, beyond the law,” but in fact answering to the king or queen, Torchwood functions in a manner analogous to the BPRD; its main aims are the accumulation and use of alien technology to further British interests, and opposition to an alien entity, code-word “The Doctor” 
 See BPRD standing instructions 4, 7, 9, 14-23, 27, 30-36, etc.
Since there was no proof that Harkness had left the United Kingdom the matter was left there. However, we’ve since learned from other sources that Harkness was formerly a known associate of ‘The Doctor’; this implies that he may have had access to time travel technology, and may have been in the UK and USA simultaneously, by doubling back on his own time line. Needless to say this cannot be confirmed.
None of this really explains why Harkness and an unknown associate were sighted using a compressed air cannon to fire anaesthetised bats at Wayne Manor on Tuesday night. Our source in the Cardiff police claims that Harkness is currently in the city, and was seen there less than an hour before the Gotham City sighting; it must therefore be assumed that the Gotham City version is from the past or future.
Our best guess, in the absence of other evidence, is that the deaths of Thomas and Martha Wayne were the opening phase of an ongoing attempt to manipulate Bruce Wayne, and that the recent incident is another step in this plan. There is reason to believe that we are living in the aftermath of a major temporal disruption and it is possible that Harkness was, is, or will be attempting to restore the previous (if the word has any meaning in this context) status quo, or improve on the prior reality in some way. Unfortunately there is no evidence as to the ultimate goal; for this reason we will be watching Wayne's future actions very closely.
I can pursue the matter further should you desire, but since the only damage was a broken window, and any investigation of these events might lead to further temporal disruption, I must advise caution.
 See UNIT file 3267-TW, "The Time War"
Authors note: This chapter cheats a little – The version of Captain Jack in Wales is the one getting to the 21st century the hard way, the visitor to Gotham is Jack during his career as a time agent, his actions took place in the years Jack can’t remember.