Set in the hours after Captain Jack Harkness

He shivered in the cold easterly wind. Despite the heaviness of his coat the morning chill leached into his bones.  Today he felt old beyond his years.


He ignored the voice from behind, staring out over the headland to a sea the colour of lead. Everything was grey today. The sun hid its paleness behind a squadron of clouds never quite managing to shoulder its way through. His head hurt. A ray of pain insistent like a mad dog lanced between his temples in judgment of the night before.  He’d drowned his sorrows in a cheap rye pointedly ignoring the plaintive whine of the thin sally who smiled too intensely beneath her black bonnet for comfort, legs like scissors opening to entrap the unwary. Snip snip snip.


That voice again. Silken and precise. Cleaving through the fireworks in his skull with the determination of a jungle machete. He could smell eucalyptus on the wind. The faint aroma of an expensively tasteless aftershave. Far out on the ocean a colourless ship made its colourless way on colourless waves. He wanted – what? – something more exotic than drab Britain. Something glittery and hard and bright. A canary yellow banjo playing bluegrass in a sweltering clapboard bar. The smell of sweat and bourbon and freshly warmed corn. He wanted home.

Captain Harkness?

The ship vanished. The horizon closed its blind eye and waited in preparation for nightfall. Benzedrine and Laudanum dreams, he thought. A mirrorball phantasy of childhood lusts, hammered down in adulthood to a dull ache. Twenty five years earlier he’d have been a doughboy in Flanders, trapped in another kind of morass, huddling close to comrades against the frost and rats. In tenderness not quite born of innocence.

Captain Jack Harkness?

He turned and let the creep of a photographer from the club take a final shot. The goons with their damnably black armbands waited impatiently, shuffling their spade feet on the turf. It came to this: a dance, a kiss. Now he was getting twenty years instead of life. No chance of a skyward redemption. No going down in a blaze of guns and glory. No more expectations of summer.

Thank you, sir.

An obituary smile worthy of Caligula animated the wrinkled countenance as if only true malice breathed life into the golem. He held his hands out for the ritual snapping of cuffs, ignoring the old man. The goons wouldn’t look him in the eyes as the metal bit into his wrists. Soon there would be the silence of concrete whilst outside the iron grating his previous friends and colleagues dashed themselves against the daily enemy. Then, later, once the ignominy had crossed the pond and the whispering fingers had taken root in the township would he be allowed his guilty homecoming. He’d end his days in a stupor of moonshine above a ramshackle hardware store like his father before him. Or he’d wander the Midwest sleeping in boxcars and spinning yarns about angels dancing at the Ritz for cornbread and beer.

He laughed harshly, startling the military policemen in their tawdry symmetry. “Shall I lead?”