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Well, now give me money, (That's what I want)
A lotta money, (That's what I want)
Whoa, yeah, You need money (That's what I want)
Gimme money, (That's what I want)
That's what I want (That's what I want)
That's what I want.


- Barrett Strong (Money (That’s What I Want))

=/=



The following morning, Sheilagh and Rick were about to head to the Wells when Marisol stopped them. “How far back do you think you’ll go?”

“I dunno. We’ll probably head to the café where the Ebola virus was introduced,” Rick said, “Why the sudden interest?”

“Oh, just curious. I, it’s rather unnerving to be abducted,” Marisol replied.

“So is being shot at,” Sheilagh said, a little snappish.

“True, just don’t want anything bad to happen to either of you. I still can’t believe Otra is gone.”

“She’s probably not gone forever,” Rick said. He heard a trill in his ear. “Yeah, Carmen, I’ll be right there. ‘Scuse me, ladies,” he left.

“And Levi! He’s barely affected,” Sheilagh pointed out.

“Well, he has his issues.”

“Still! I’d’ve thought he’d be a bit more, I dunno, broken up about it,” Sheilagh said.

“I suspect that what we are witnessing of Levi’s behavior is him getting all broken up.”

“Marisol, do you have any idea where they were trying to take you?”

“None. It’s a good thing the visions woke me. Or else I imagine I’d still be with my abductors.”

“I wonder why the visions didn’t wake Otra.”

=/=



Of course they had, but by the time that had happened, Otra was in no position to try to go anywhere.

As for Marisol, all of the talk of visions and abduction was another in a long, convoluted string of lies.

In her cell, Otra awoke. The chavecoi felt slightly perkier. She knew that her unconscious body had been brought out into light, although it was probably briefly. And there was something that she had not seen before, and she held it in her heart as hope. When she had been returned to her cell, the hatch had not been absolutely, perfectly refastened.

There was a tiny, almost millimeter-wide shaft of light.

=/=



“Yes, Boss?” Rick said as he walked into Carmen’s office.

“Oh, I do so love when you call me that,” she joked. “Richard,” she turned serious, “exactly which bit of the Italian trip are you planning on returning to?”

“The, uh, we’ll return to the day when we ate at the café where Libertini worked. I figure that’s, somehow, the vector for Ebola.”

“Have you told anyone this yet?”

“Sheilagh and Marisol and I were talking and it came up.”

“Huh. Do me a favor.”

“Depends what it is,” he said.

“Very funny, smart aleck. Go earlier. But don’t tell anyone you’re doing that, not even your traveling companion.”

“Oh?”

“I want very badly to trust my people - all of them. But I’m afraid the list of those I trust is getting shorter.”

“Am I on that list?”

“You are.”

“Is Sheilagh? Is Marisol?”

“Let’s just say for now and leave it like that, all right? With Otra gone, we won’t be able to quickly tell if you’re fully successful. But if you go earlier, and without the possibility of anyone’s interference, then at least I will know that your chances will be considerably better.”

“Um, okay.”

“Let’s make this work. I want these changes cleared away so that we can start looking for, well, for clues.”

“Clues? Isn’t Section 31 looking for Otra?”

“They are. But, well, there’s a lot I can’t say. Prick up your ears, all right?”

“What am I looking for?”

“I wish I knew.”

=/=



Levi was supposed to be working on Fluxy, but instead he was clicking around on his PADD, often stopping to silently think. Deirdre spotted that. “Whatcha doin’?” she asked.

“Uh, nothing,” he said, and quickly slid his thumb over the PADD’s little screen, thereby hiding the file he was really studying and replacing it with one called Dark Matter Drive.

=/=



The Wells took off as planned. Marisol stood at the docking bay and waved, seeing them off and then watching the docking bay reseal itself.

Apart from prying eyes, she engaged her Communicator. “They’re going back, to try to undo things. I don’t think they’re going back quite far enough.”

“Hard to say,” Replied the leader of the Perfectionists. “Not dispatching Daniels was a major blunder on your part.”

“How was I to know he wouldn’t ingest the gnocchi? I can’t exactly watch every move he makes, you know.”

“I know.”

“Plus, you need me. So I’ll thank you not to think of me like you did Parker,” she said.

“Ah. Well, Parker did not have your - talents, or your placement. We still have Otra, though, and that remains a major coup for us. Perhaps we can suffer Daniels to live for a while longer.”

“So long as he stays where he is and doesn’t make a move. I’ve got enough on my plate dealing with the neurotic part-Klingon,” she complained. “Is Otra talking?”

“Only a little, but I think it’s enough. If there are any new visions, we will tell you immediately. You’ll either hear this way or via an inside operative.”

“I’m counting on that. This has got to look good.”

“What about Bernstein?” the leader asked.

“She seems unsettled and dissatisfied,” Marisol reported.

“Good, good,” Replied the leader. “Keep the pressure up.”

Unseen and unheard, a nearby door slid open, and an engineer stepped into the docking bay. The engineer’s purpose was to take a dark matter reading in the docking bay, and compare it to the fuel tank for the Flux Capacitor, which seemed to have sprung a bit of a leak.

The engineer was within earshot when Marisol said, “She’ll go first, most likely. Then the music guy will cave. Then, possibly, the Quartermaster will be receptive. I’ll keep doing what I have been. Castillo out.”

=/=



The tiny shaft of light did not permit Otra to actually see much of anything, but at least it was something to relieve the otherwise unrelenting darkness of her cell. The chavecoi kept jostling each other to try to get closer to the light, and she kept quietly batting them back. They needed the light, but she knew that too much movement would arouse suspicion and then she’d be, most likely, knocked out again and the hatch fastened as tightly as it had been before.

Holding her breath, and holding the chavecoi back with both hands, she squinted and peered through the opening. She could not truly focus - a paradox, considering how clear her visions of alternate timelines were - but she could see a little, tiny bit.

There were red shapes, moving, some small and some large, outside her cell.

=/=



Don't know much about history
Don't know much biology
Don't know much about a science book
Don't know much about the French I took


- Sam Cooke (Wonderful World)



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