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Chapter Notes:

Paul Anka - Puppy Love


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)

=/=



In her cell, Otra felt and saw the changes. There were men in hospital beds, wasting away, worried doctors and nurses rushing by, afraid to touch or comfort them, unable to cure them. Krios Prime’s First Monarch - in 2642 - signing the Federation charter, with smiles all around. The 2412 bread riots she had seen were replaced with a scene of a large outdoor concert where members of a quintet played guitars or drums and a beautiful Xyrillian singer opened her mouth to begin.

Otra fully expected someone to speak with her via the sound system in the cell, but that didn’t happen. Instead, there were moving shadows. She got up, quietly, and again held back the waving chavecoi. There were red shapes, then grey ones, then more grey ones.

She was particularly surprised to hear a voice outside the cell. “Make sure they don’t take the big one,” was all that she heard. The voice belonged to a man.

The big one - whoever it was had to be referring to a big box - and it was most likely her little prison. She concluded that the grey shapes around her weren’t moving - probably, they were smaller boxes. Cargo was about to be offloaded for some reason or another. Perhaps she was on a cargo ship?

She internally debated whether to call out. Perhaps whoever was stacking the boxes wasn’t in on her abduction. Maybe they’d be able to help her. She listened a little while longer, and heard the sounds of feet leaving the area. The light flickered and then went out. She cried out for help but the gas came again, and she was again knocked out.

=/=



The reintegrated Wells, with its two newly reintegrated passengers, sped past 2001.

“Do you think we put it all back?” Sheilagh asked.

“Probably,” Rick said, “Unless someone saw the collision, but that’s impossible, given the state of 1960’s technology.”

“Do you think Otra is back?”

“I - no. I wish she was. But I doubt that we just fixed that.”

“Do you think they’ll hurt her?”

“I, I don’t know,” he said tentatively. “I want to believe that they won’t, but we know what they did to Parker, and what we both figure they tried to do to us.”

“I never signed on for this.”

“I, well, I don’t suppose I did, either. Yet here we are, Sheilagh. I don’t think that this battle is over, not by a long shot.”

“I almost wish,” she said, “that I was like Deirdre’s boyfriend,” he looked at her oddly, so she hastened to add, “I’m not looking to go out with Deirdre. It’s just; It’s the not knowing part. Having it all change around me, and me not realize it at all.”

“That’s, uh, that’s kinda the problem if you date someone outside the Temporal Integrity Commission. One day, they may love you. Next day, they’ve never heard of you.”

Tina April - things had been a lot like that with her. Plus there was the secrecy thing. It was, ultimately, what had killed that relationship. She had been asking too many questions, and Rick was finally feeling bad about lying to her or evading her inquiries. She had deserved a full-time boyfriend with full-time truth, not the half measures he had provided her. It had been all he could provide to Tina, and so he had performed what Eleanor had said was his most mature act, ever - he had ended it with Tina.

“I said, Earth to Richard! What happens if you hook up with, uh, someone from inside the Temporal Integrity Commission?”

Her question sat in the air. He glanced at the instrument panel. 2061. Plenty of time. He threw the ship into auto, and then stood up. “Uh, this does.”

She stood up, too, and it was like they were standing together on the dance floor in Rome, except there was no music and she was in a top and slacks, not the killer dress. Yet there was also no unknown assassin to interrupt anything.

He went as far as he had then, before the first shot had rung out and hit the back of his neck. He touched the side of her cheek and smiled at her. As before, she smiled back at him, and glanced down for a split second, and then looked him straight in the eye.

He half-expected a gunshot, but of course there was none. He brought his face close to hers and touched her mouth with his.

=/=



“I think we got full restoration,” Kevin said, “Whaddaya see, Marisol?”

“Hmm? Oh, yes, there are far fewer people. Pity about that awful disease. Then again, I suppose that keeps doctors such as myself in business. Need me for anything else?”

“I guess not,” he said, “Glad you’re back.”

“Thank you. Doctor Yarin and I will be finalizing our plans for Polly Porter’s surgery. Ciao.”

=/=



The kiss started off light and close-mouthed, not exactly a brother and a sister or anything like that, more like a pair of school kids. But neither of them were anywhere near that young - they had both seen forty or more summers.

Then their mouths opened, and they weren’t kissing like children anymore.

She broke away first. “I know we have to work together.”

“Yeah.”

“How badly will this interfere with that?”

“I can’t,” he smiled, “I can’t predict the future.”

She laughed a little at that. “Is this a really big mistake?”

“Everything’s a mistake. Everything has imperfections. Unless you wanna rewind time a few times, try it over and over and over again until somehow it’s perfect.”

“It, it doesn’t have to be perfect,” she said.

“You sure?”

“I am. I, I don’t want to be hurt. And I don’t think you’ll try to hurt me deliberately.”

“I won’t.”

“But I also know that I may very well be hurt just the same, or you will. But through it all, if I just cocooned myself and stayed insulated from hurt, things like this wouldn’t happen,” she kissed him.

“They wouldn’t. And, uh, this feels like a good thing.”

“It does,” she said, and they kissed again.

“Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

=/=



But I do know that I love you
And I know that if you love me too
What a wonderful world this would be


- Sam Cooke (Wonderful World)



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