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Chapter Notes:

Ritchie Valens - Oh Donna

Feel like jumpin' baby won't ya join me please
I don't like beggin' but I'm on bended knee

Whoo-whee, whoo-whee baby
Whoo-whee, whoo-whee baby
Whoo-whee, whoo-whee baby
Won't ya let me take you on a sea cruise?

– Frankie Ford (Sea Cruise)


It was sketchy, a parade of women. There were tall, sophisticated Andorians, chatty Tellarites and aloof Vulcans. He smiled at them all as he dreamt; a parade of lovelies, each more tempting than the last. There was even Tina, but he didn’t stop for her.

Instead, he selected a Kreetassan maiden. It was more for novelty value than anything else. He had learned, a long time ago, that beauty not only wasn’t skin-deep, but that it often didn’t reside in skin at all. Sure, he enjoyed good-looking women, and pleasant visuals had more than a little appeal, but he strove to find something more. There was just so far that looks could be taken.

His dream changed, and the Kreetassan began to evolve to show any number of women he knew and had known, both past and present. They were not only former lovers.

There was Carmen, wearing that little orange number she’d worn at last year’s departmental party. And Lucretia Crossman, but she was in an off-the-shoulder gown and not the plain frock better suited to her time. Empress Hoshi crooked a finger in beckoning and then turned to walk away – just as good going as coming. Crystal Sherwood, the Quartermaster candidate, washing his hair before cutting it but, oops! Her attentions turned further south. Polly Porter, from the Film Society Awards broadcast of three years ago, presenting an award for technical achievement to … someone … but bantering onstage with him instead.

He hadn’t met the other candidates – Carmen hadn’t wanted to waste his time – but he conjured them up, just the same, all of them but the late Helen Walker. He saw Alice Trent as a prim Brit with a wild streak beneath, wearing a high-collared blouse and a long skirt but, beneath it all, a demi-bra and a thong. Sheilagh Bernstein was imagined to be earthier, out at a ballgame with him, mitt in hand, waiting for an errant foul ball. For some reason, he saw Carol Tilson on a sailboat, and Marisol Castillo was pictured passing him saucy notes in some boring class and, amazingly enough, the notes were written on actual paper.

Then the image scrolled back to Tina, teaching that class, and then to another.

It wasn’t a terribly satisfying nocturnal vision – after all, he rarely spent enough time with any of them to so much as touch a hand, let alone do more. But it was still enjoyable. He had bunches of confidence, enough for ten men, and enough to overcome any physical shortcomings he had.

He was decent-looking by any objective standard, but not conventionally handsome – rather normal, actually, with medium-brown hair and blue eyes that could be changed to brown, green, hazel or grey as needed, with the application of the proper chemicals. He was not swoonworthy to most women. Yet there was something about him. And so, as the vision of women scrolled through his subconscious again, all he could think of was – they were all within reach.

Anything – and anyone – was possible.


Back in 3109, it wasn’t Carmen who came to Otra but, rather, the other way around, “Can I do something for you?” Carmen asked.

“I was just looking at scenarios, and I came across something rather interesting.”


“Rick’s gone.”

“Well, he’s gone to 1959. I imagine he’s past 2600 by now.”

“No, no, there is no Rick whatsoever,” Otra said, “I don’t know if that was intended, but it’s a consequence of the act that he’s going to 1959 to correct.”

“How far back would you say it goes?”

“I’m not sure. I don’t think it’s an active killing of an ancestor,” Otra stated, “Rather, I suspect it’s just, a woman wed suitor number two instead of suitor number one. It’s something like that.”

“You’re sure?”

“I checked,” Otra said, her chavecoi waving slightly, “Richard is gone, and so is the entire Daniels family.”


“I can’t tell. Up to 1959, I suppose all is well, or at least I am operating under that assumption. I can’t see any differences there, and I’m unsure of what to be looking for,” Otra admitted, “I then tried from our end, but that doesn’t help much. I go back two hundred years and there is no direct Daniels family. There are offshoots, yes. The Mastersons – his mother’s side – they still exist. But the direct paternal line continues to be missing.”

“Why did you stop at two hundred years?”

“I decided to instead look at the Temporal Integrity Commission, our candidates – anyone I could think of, to see if I could come up with any other issues hitting the present time. Our candidates are unaffected, Kevin is fine, Levi, you, you’re all as you should be. The D’Angelo family has no changes, either.”

“Good to know your father’s family remains intact, Otra.”

“It is good for me, certainly,” Otra smiled, “Do you suppose the actual intent was to eliminate Rick?”

“I don’t know. I have to believe that there was knowledge on the part of the perpetrator that Rick would be protected so long as the temporal force field exists,” Carmen ventured.

“Maybe that’s the next target,” Otra said, “Carmen,” she said, leaning forward, “I know that you suspect me, and Levi, and probably everyone right now.”

“Oh, Otra.”

“Yes, you do. And that’s all right. I imagine I’d feel similarly if I were in your shoes. I doubt that I can prove my loyalty, except over time, with my deeds. I intend to retain and bolster your trust. I want to justify any faith you have left in me.”

“And Levi?”

“He’s a big boy. I’m only willing to help him insofar as it helps the Temporal Integrity Commission. You need answers, and he’s not very good at providing them. It doesn’t mean he’s guilty of anything. At least, I don’t think that it means that,” Otra said.

“His quirks and his tics can be incriminating,” Carmen allowed, “They shouldn’t be, but they can. It’s not always easy to separate such things out from what may be truly going on with him.”

“I try to look beyond his tics and his quirks,” Otra said, “I agree that it’s not always easy to do that.”

“He has to depend upon you – and I – giving him chance upon chance,” Carmen got up, signaling the end of the conversation. “I do hope he doesn’t waste his chances.”


Oh, Donna Oh, Donna
Oh, Donna Oh, Donna

I had a girl
Donna was her name
Since she left me
I've never been the same
'Cause I love my girl
Donna, oh where can you be?
Where can you be?

– Ritchie Valens (Donna)

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