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Off to my right I see five mounted cowboys;
Off to my left ride a dozen or more.
Shouting and shooting I can't let them catch me.
I have to make it to Rosa's back door.


- Marty Robbins (El Paso)

=/=



Marisol spent the night in Naples. No money? No problem! She wasn’t above turning a trick if it meant a bed. Once they’d done the deed, she offed the guy in bed with her. No witnesses, just the way she liked it.

And, to boot, she had a base of operations, there was some food in the refrigerator and even a modest stash of money in a drawer. Lire. “Money-based societies are so primitive,” she complained to herself.

The room was a furnished efficiency. Its late occupant hadn’t exactly been a wealthy man, but he hadn’t been starving, either. On a table, there was a photograph of him holding a toddler with a big bow in her hair. Marisol tossed the picture in the trash receptacle so that it wouldn’t be in the way.

She set up her PADD on that same table. First she scanned through all of the news broadcasts she could find. There was a coup in Turkey. The Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben-Gurion, was commenting about the recent capture, in Israel, of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. The news from the United States was of the elections, coming up in less than six months. Senator John F. Kennedy was heavily campaigning in California, in anticipation of that state’s Democratic primary in a little over a week. Vice President Richard Nixon was presiding over the Senate for some reason or another.

There were no broadcasts from nearby systems - at least, none that she could pick up. She could grab some tinfoil and other metal and create an antenna and boost the signal, if that proved necessary. But it most likely would not be needed. There was nothing going on, not on Kronos or Cardassia - two of the home worlds where she could have, with the right signal boosting, picked up a broadcast - that would help or be of interest to her.

What she needed was actually less than two hundred kilometers to the northwest. She adjusted the sensitivity of the PADD. “C’mon, c’mon,” she said, as if her voice could coax the device to perform better.

A few more adjustments and she tested it on herself. Nothing. Good. She was one hundred percent human, so she was not expecting any reading from turning the device on herself. She widened the field and pointed the PADD westward. Smiling, she found a Vulcan biosign - Mestral - in North America, just as expected. The alien biosign detector was working perfectly.

She didn’t expect to get a reading from Sheilagh, who she knew was pure human. But, pointing the device in a northwesterly direction, she fully expected it to pick up a partial Calafan biosign. For that was the source of the copper and silver bands on Rick’s left arm - and nowhere else on his body - he had Calafan blood in him, from both sides of the pond.

She frowned. There were no Calafan or part-Calafan biosigns. Then she remembered - the Wells! She pointed the device up and, sure enough, the biosign came in, clear as a bell.

She’d wait until he was back on the planet before homing in on him. She figured there was every reason to assume that Sheilagh would be with him, for nearly all the time. Once she had found them, Marisol would drop the Ebola vial and get it into their bloodstreams - most likely by cutting them with shards from the destroyed vial. And then, once she knew they were infected, she’d give it a few days to take and then start shooting.

=/=



“Oh, God, my head!” Sheilagh moaned.

“Here,” he came into the bedroom with a hypospray in one hand. I had the feeling you’d be needing this,” he injected her in the neck.

“Did we, uh?” she asked, once she realized she was lying there in just her skivvies.

“No. You were passed out. But, uh, you didn’t lose consciousness until after you’d decided to tell a bunch of Roman tourists about being from Mars.”

“I guess they must’ve just felt I was drunk,” she said, “’Course I was. God, how many of those drinks did I have?”

“You told me you thought it was either four or six.”

“Gawd. Rick, I’m sorry. I wouldn’t normally do that. It was stupid.”

“It’s okay, you’re on vacation. You’re allowed to do stupid things now and again. Is, uh, is breakfast out of the question?”

“Let me, uh, see how I feel when I stand up.”

“Gotcha.”

=/=



Back in 3109, they continued to monitor broadcasts and look at records.

“Carmen, can we talk a moment?” Otra asked.

“Of course; come walk with me.”

The two women left and began to walk toward a little courtyard garden. “What do you wish to tell me?” Carmen asked.

“I - I can never be sure about such things,” Otra said, “But I believe the timeline has been fully restored.”

“So unless Marisol is injured or dead, she should be answering our hails, yes?”

“Exactly. I, well, I don’t want to say bad things about her if she is not here to defend herself.”

“That’s very charitable of you,” Carmen stated. “But if this is the case, if hails are being ignored, that’s a serious issue. Why do you suppose - let’s assume it is, indeed, happening - why do you suppose it is?”

“I don’t think it’s simple goofing off. But I don’t wish to gossip.”

“So you think she has a paramour, or something?” Carmen smiled tightly.

“Yes. I think that’s the case,” Otra said.

“I’ll talk to her when she returns. I don’t give a damn what people do when they leave the USS Adrenaline but I do expect my hails to be answered.”

=/=



Marisol only thought, for a moment, about things like that. She shuddered to herself. The combination of human, Klingon and Xindi sloth made Boris slight but with a penchant toward violence, paranoid and edgy, and an impatient and needy lover. Even if she had actually wanted to be with him, she’d have found him trying at best.

“Ah, you’re back on the Earth,” she said, looking at her PADD. She gathered up the money and found the key to a scooter owned by the late tenant of the efficiency. It didn’t take too long to start up the scooter, which was easier to figure out how to use than any time ship or shuttle. “Let’s see. It should take me, hmm, about two hours to get to Rome. So it’ll be lunchtime, not breakfast, by the time we three meet up. Risotto and Ebola are on the menu today.”

=/=



Something is dreadfully wrong for I feel
a deep burning pain in my side.
Though I am trying
To stay in the saddle,
I'm getting weary,
unable to ride.


- Marty Robbins (El Paso)



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