Treatise on the Evolution of Captain Jack Harkness to the Face of Boe
By James Stewart
By James Stewart
The aim of this essay is to explore the possible connection between the Time Agent, normally resident of the 51st Century Time Zone, but now confined to the 21st Century Time Zone, known as Captain Jack Harkness and the last surviving member of the Boekind: the Face of Boe. Since information from the earliest days of humanity is sketchy at best due to innumerable accidents, wars and simple carelessness in storage the main resources consulted are the remains of The Torchwood Archive, the files of UNIT and UNISYC, and the surviving documents from historians of the time.
The earliest recorded appearance of the Face of Boe is in the 51st Century Time Zone coincidentally, also the century in which Jack Harkness was born in the Boeshane Peninsula in which he served as ambassador of his race to mankind; the enormous wealth of the Boekind saved Earth and its allies from economic doom, after the events of the collapse of the Human Empire. Such was his fame and celebrity at the time, it was common sight to see children dressed up as the Face of Boe at Halloween (Lyons, 2005).
After this, sightings of Boe dwindled, as he had apparently returned to his home land: the Silver Devastation (Davies, 2005). It is known, however, that Boe had several mates during this time. Each of them lived for between thirty-five and forty years, the apparent life-span of the species; however, at this point, the Face of Boe himself was almost eighty years old. Several theories were put forward for why this might be, including: the smoke he enshrouded himself in, genetic mutation and / or that Face may have been a title passed down from father to son (Davies, 2005).
Oddly, Jack Harkness acquired the nickname The Face of Boe from his colleagues at the Time Agency, in reference to his poster-boy looks (a recruitment drive used his likeness, leading to a increase in volunteers) and his home of the Boeshane Peninsula (Davies, 2007). Harkness, only a private at this point, embarked on several missions for the Time Agency, including: missions to the destroyed remnants of Chula, the eruption of Vesuvius and to Iceland in the 21st Century (Forward, 2003; Moffat, 2005).
After his promotion to Captain, Jack Harkness career became much more secretive: he was forbidden to speak with anyone even his closest friends and colleagues about the nature of his work. It is rumoured that the Agency removed two years worth of memories from Jack, leading to his resignation and stealing of a Chulan Warship (capable of travelling through time). He was briefly discovered in 1941 before disappearing off the radar completely. (Moffat, Davies, 2005).
(Note: it is generally assumed, but not confirmed, that Harkness work in these two years involved something known only as The Great Time War, but no information exists anywhere as to what this supposed conflict might have been. The myth runs that two all-powerful races fought a battle for supremacy over Time and Space, and both lost).
Some eye-witnesses claim that a man answering the description of Captain Jack Harkness was seen in Roald Dahl Plass, Cardiff, in late 2007 or early 2008, talking to a man and woman outside a strange blue box. The veracity of these reports cannot be verified, especially as some claim to have seen the box vanish into thin air (Davies, 2007).
(Note: rumours persist of Captain Jack Harkness existence in Cardiff; so much so that, after much research, we discovered some evidence to support this, including: a death certificate, issued for a man named Jack Harkness in 1944; there are also multiple unsubstantiated reports of supernatural activity in Cardiff around this time, including aliens in the sewers and faeries attacking people). (From The Torchwood Archive, dated 2006).
Meanwhile, the Face of Boe refused to speak about his supposed longevity; in fact, during one infamous interview in which the journalists of the Bad Wolf Channel were invited to the birth of Boes daughter, Boemina he angrily stormed away after the questions turned, again, to his life-span. It was this event that led to his retirement from public life, though he was the subject of several questions on the game-show The Weakest Link, including one that referred to him as the oldest being of the Isop Galaxy (Davies, 2005).
Around this time, a prophecy was created apparently by the Face of Boe himself, but no-one ever heard him speak the words that when he died the sky would crack asunder and that he would speak his final great secret to a traveller (Davies, 2006).
In the year 5.5/Apple/26 five billion years after the 21st Century the Face of Boe (finally ending his seclusion on his home world) was the main sponsor of an event honouring the final death of the Planet Earth: since many of the races in the universe evolved from Mother Earth, they all sent dignitaries to observe the proceedings; however, something went terribly wrong with Platform Ones computer system and two guests were known to have died: the Moxx of Balhoon and the Lady Cassandra Dot Delta 17, fabled to be the last pure human in the universe (Davies, 2005).
Two decades later, the Face of Boe was apparently dying. He came to New Earth to await the great traveller he would speak his secret to. This event never took place, as the hospital became overrun by the Flesh: a sub-species of humanity created by the Sisters of Plenitude to experiment upon. Surviving this and making a miraculous recovery from his illness, the Face of Boe never spoke his secret (Davies, 2006).
Sadly, just three decades after this event, the Face of Boe did die. After the virus Bliss wiped out the population of New Earth except for the undercity dwellers, sealed off by the motorway the Face of Boe used his very life-force in order to keep the city running until help arrived. It eventually did in the form of a great traveller whom history records simply as The Doctor. The message, as remembered by Hame, formerly of the Sisters of Plenitude, was: You are not alone. Boe died literally seconds after gasping out the words (Davies, 2007).
Since our efforts to contact The Doctor and / or those involved with him have been in vain, we can only guess as to what the final message might mean; however, this question is not the one we set out to answer.
There are several arguments for and against Captain Jack Harkness also being the Face of Boe; we have listed the most relevant, most plausible, below.
The leading theory amongst those who believe that Jack Harkness is also the Face of Boe has been some form of rapid evolution: even by the 51st Century, a normal human life-span is still in the region of one-hundred to one-hundred-and-fifty years of age. There are also arguments for viral mutation which is not unlikely, given the many hazards he would have faced as a Time Agent or some form of genetic engineering. On the other hand, given that Harkness has time travel capability, it is possible that he travelled into the distant past and evolved naturally into the first example of Boekind (this, apparently, has been disproved, since humanity has retained its same basic shape throughout the millennia).
In the against category, however, is the question of age: since we have no evidence to prove or disprove, we simply have to take it on faith that the Face of Boe who died in the year Five Billion and Thirty-Three was the same one who first appeared to humanity in the year 5,000; however, that rules out the possibility of rapid evolution and genetic engineering, since Captain Jack Harkness would have died after living out a normal Boekind life-span.
One theory put forward that was quickly rejected was the possibility that Captain Jack Harkness was immortal; it is not unknown for some beings in the universe to have impressively long life-spans, although many of these races are myths or fables (the Time Lords of Gallifrey, for instance), but it is surely impossible for any human being to have lived so long a time (even with possible advances in medication, spare part surgery and genetic modification).
Davies, Russell T. (2005). The End of the World. BBC.
Davies, Russell T. (2005). Bad Wolf. BBC.
Davies, Russell T. (2006). New Earth. BBC.
Davies, Russell T. (2007). Gridlock. BBC.
Davies, Russell T. (2007). The Last of the Time Lords. BBC
Moffat, Steven. (2005). The Empty Child. BBC.
Lyons, Steve. (2005). The Stealers of Dreams. BBC.
Forward, Simon A. (2003). Emotional Chemistry. BBC.