By Marcus Rowland <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Submitted Jan 2008
Summary: A wanderer headed for the 21st century runs into some history in Kansas. Pre-series, Dr. Who / Torchwood crossover.
This is a spin off from a "Five Things" multiple crossover story for Dr. Who / Torchwood, this part (which may actually be the second or third part of the story as a whole) is an L&C crossover. Some minor spoilers for Torchwood and the final episodes of Doctor Who season 3.
About all that is necessary to know is that Captain Jack Harkness, immortal former Time Agent and rogue, is stranded on earth in the 19th century, and has to get back to the 21st century the hard way.
May 17th 1966 -- Kansas
Night was falling, and Jack wished that he hadn't left Topeka in such a hurry. Next time he tried a scam he'd be a little more careful, and make sure that he had reliable 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 Eagle squadrons, American pilots in the second world 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.