" ... I would be interested in learning more about your past. It seems to be something you're rather quiet about." - Sarah Jane
I am quiet about my past. I tend to be ... rather guarded about things that have happened to me, where I've been, things like that. I think sometimes I just don't think of it, and other times I think it's because I don't really want people to know me that well. There are parts of me I just want to keep to myself, I don't know how else to say it. Also, a lot of it is my training kicking in. As Hugh might be able to sympathize with, I don't always want to let slip too much future, just because you're just not supposed to know, really. Still, I'll give you a bit of my past, with what detail I'm comfortable with.
So here's my story, at least, in summary. You're not getting everything by a long shot, okay? I still want to keep some secrets. But for those of you curious about the general story of my life so far, your search ends here.
I was born in the 51st Century, on a peninsula on a little planet in a minor system very far away from here. I was descended from settlers, trying to colonize as they went, and we were generally comfortable, if somewhat poor. But for nearly 100 of our years, we had lived under the threat of invasion. And then one day, it was no longer a threat, it was a reality. My family and my life was torn to pieces. We went to war, and I joined up. I learned far too young the horror of war, was captured but managed to survive. Eventually, my people were forced to flee the system, scattered, as humanity often was, back to the mercy of the stars.
I was a damn good pilot by then - it's in my genes, I guess - and I had myself a bit of a reputation, you might say. I was quickly recruited by the Time Agency. Worked for them for a number of years, had a dispute with them and managed to get myself fired. Well, I say fired, more like forcibly ejected. Okay, technically I escaped. I'm lucky to still be here, minus a few years of my memory. Often they just neutralize a 'fired' agent right off the bat, but they were going to try and reprogram me. Luckily, I got away from there when I could.
After that, I sort of did what I wanted. Made money how I could ... at that point, time travel, cons, piracy of sorts and piloting were the things I knew best. At some point I had hatched a plan to try and get my two years of memory back. But it involved trying to trick a time agent into doing business with me, and it wasn't as easy as I thought it might be at first. The first two attempts I just ran into general salvage or law enforcement types. But the third time?
I met the Doctor and Rose.
It was ... well, it was pretty life changing for me. I mean, I'd done the heroing thing before, I guess. I mean, we weren't always scaliwags at the TA, we did a fair bit of saving the day at times, and I'd done fair stints in several armies and did my part in all of them. But no ... The Doctor's brand of saving the day was very different. For the first time in my life, I felt like I was redeeming myself, that there was actually a reason beyond money and pleasure to live and do things for others.
And that was the reason I chose to give up my life.
I sacrificed myself to give the Doctor time to try and build a signal that would stop the Daleks. I guess, in the end, Rose cared for me so much that, when she came back to save him and take care of them herself, filled with the power of the Vortex, she decided she loved me so much, she wanted me to live. Except she brought me back a little too well. Most of you know Rose, so I bet you understand how big her heart is. If anyone'd do it, she would, so I'm not surprised, and in some ways, as weighty and miserable as the prospect of eternity might get, I'm mostly grateful to her. After all, if she hadn't brought me back, I wouldn't be here, and I wouldn't've met all of you, and so forth ...
However, instead of stopping and telling me what had gone down, or that he didn't want me around because I was 'wrong' or whatever, the Doc just took off and left me in the 2002th Century to fend for myself. Much as I love him, he can be a real jerk sometimes. Of course, at that moment, all I knew is I had been dead and then I wasn't and then I was left behind. I decided to jump back and try to find the Doc, get him to explain and so forth. However, the vortex manipulator in my wristband wasn't built to take nearly 200,000 year leaps in one shot, and in my haste I attempted it all in one go. Mid-skip it threw a circuit and landed me in the mid-1800s in territorial North America. My day was already getting better and better, and I had no way, in that primitive era, to mend my wriststrap.
At that point, I was pretty certain I was sunk.
Still, I thought maybe if I found my way to Cardiff, I could at least find some version of the Doctor - although I wanted to find one that would align with my timeline - who could answer my questions and take me back to a proper time. So I found my way across the country to New York. I was trying to get passage across the ocean when I got mugged and knifed. Died on a dock on Ellis Island. Imagine my surprise when I woke up again.
I wasn't happy.
Sooner or later I figured out I couldn't die. Then I realized I could just wait around for the Doc to show up and it didn't matter what I did or how long it took. I became ... really careless with myself. It's a strange adjustment, getting used to dying over and over again. I wandered the streets of Cardiff, just hoping he'd show up and I could end what was becoming a rather miserable existence.
It was there, in Cardiff, that I found out I wouldn't be meeting up with the Doctor for at least another 100 years. It was also there that I first encountered Torchwood. I ended up doing little jobs for them, became a field agent of sorts, even if I didn't like them or the way they did things. I rebelled a few times. Ran away and tried my hand at a few other things ... But I always came back to Cardiff. And Torchwood.
And here I am, after all this time. I didn't actually join the team until the mid-50's, when the Professor and I met. And Three luckily became all mine in time for me to break it away from the infrastructure of One before Canary Wharf, or who knows, we all might've been brought down by Hartman's folly. I found the Doctor, met Rose again, and along the way I've met all of you, and in the end, I think I've had a more fantastic life than anyone could say, even if I did waste it at times.
Now I'm just trying to make the gift I was given worthwhile, dedicate it to the beauty of this planet and its people, and protect it for the future that I know will come because ... I'm a part of that future. And it's pretty damn bright.
I hope that elucidates everyone to their satisfaction. Because I really don't want to talk about it anymore.