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Chapter Notes:

Brenda Lee - I'm Sorry


And a hey ja drool you don't a have to go to school
Just make-a wid da beat bambino
It's a like a vino
Kid you good a lookin' but you don't a-know what's cookin' till you
Hey mambo, Mambo Italiano
Hey mambo, Mambo Italiano
Ho, ho, ho, you mixed-up Siciliano
it's a so delish a ev'rybody come capiche
How to mambo Italiano!
'Ats nice!
UNH!


-- Rosemary Clooney (Mambo Italiano)

=/=


They had cause to be concerned about the Perfectionists.

There were any number of reasons why someone would wish to change the past. Even in a society devoid of money, people weren’t absolutely, precisely, one hundred percent equal. After all, someone is always smarter, or better looking, or faster, or more dedicated, or stronger, or more skilled and so, somehow, more lovable and worthy.

The value of and in material things had given way to the value of people and what they could do. So some of the Perfectionists wanted a larger slice of that pie than, by all rights, they were truly entitled to. Others wanted a negative, to suppress those they didn’t like. After all, society was far from being utopian. There were still plenty of petty jealousies and feuds to go around.

Still others saw past injustices, and strove to rectify them. If the correction of those injustices just so happened to coincide with helping out an ancestor, then so much the better. They were not above manipulating time to their own ends and, in fact, it was the very reason for their existence.

The Temporal Integrity Commission stood in their way, and so they would head into the past, change whatever suited them, and then head back, seeing if it would stick. They knew – just as any schoolchild knew - that enough otric changes, strung together, could become significant - go pari - at any time. The little bits and bobs of changed time would, eventually, add up.

The members of the movement had varying personal motives. But they all had one, central, vision - to bend and fold, push and pull, the past as it suited them.

They had conducted a series of test runs, culminating in a test wherein they had sent an Agent to 1959 Clear Lake, Iowa. That Agent had delayed the flight of a small private plane that was all set to carry Buddy Holly, Jiles P. Richardson - the Big Bopper - and Ritchie Valens to their deaths. The delay caused the pilot to reconsider taking off at all, the flight didn’t happen, and then they observed as the Temporal Integrity Commission figured out the problem and sent Agent Richard Daniels to straighten out the ensuant mess.

Rick had performed his usual magic, but had left a security guard stunned in a supply closet. That hadn’t occurred in the original history. A tiny change, to be sure, but it was a change.

Then the Human Unit had conducted three training missions, and each of them had resulted in slight otric changes - conversations that, before, had never happened; people facing one way versus another; and even a sexual encounter that had not taken place the first time around. The Perfectionists weren’t so sure that they bought into the theory of otria, pariotria and megaotria - instead, many of them suspected that virtually everything could be changed. And improved.

=/=

The cornerstone of the Perfectionists’ belief system was a five paragraph Manifesto. When the Agent had gone to Iowa, she had purposefully dropped an encrypted copy of the file at the Temporal Integrity Commission’s headquarters on the USS Adrenaline. Ever since then - for a little under two months - the people in the unit had been laboring to decipher it, even though that wasn’t their job.

They had gotten the unimaginative title - simply, Manifesto - and the first two paragraphs. The remainder consisted of a rather long middle paragraph, and then two more short ones. So far, they had the following:

There is much wrong with history.

Humans have slaughtered each other by the millions. Suffering has been endured by countless innocents. Pain, disease, poverty and starvation have all been borne by too many. War has been the overarching force, rather than a rare accent seen sparingly over the millennia.


As for decoding the remainder, it was a delicate balancing act for the Perfectionists. While they wanted their Manifesto to be read - for they thought it would be convincing to less than stalwart employees of the Temporal Integrity Commission - they also wanted it to delay, confuse and unsettle the Temporal Integrity Commission. The longer their temporal changes were up, the more likely they were to take on more significance, and become harder to undo. And, by sowing discomfiture, they hoped to make the employees of the Temporal Integrity Commission even more receptive to their message.

While they were considering another change, the debate raged within the Perfectionists, with some camps favoring going earlier, or later, than the leader’s prescribed, pet time period - from the launch of Sputnik on October fourth of 1957 - heralding in the dawn of the Space Age - to April fifth of 2063 and Zefram Cochrane’s first Warp One flight, ushering in the era of first contacts, beginning with the Vulcans on that very same day.

It was a short time period, but fraught with meaning, on both sides of the pond.

=/=

The relationship between the two sides of the proverbial pond had been a long and torturous one, going back to the twin Big Bangs of around fourteen billion years ago.

Things progressed in parallel for quite a long time, including planetary formation, dinosaurian rise and fall, and the development of language, on Earth, Terra, Dawitan, Vulcan, Andoria, Tellar and all other planets which harbored sentient life capable of communication. The only indication that the two sides were at all dissimilar was that ours vibrated on a twenty-one centimeter radiation band, whereas the mirror’s frequency was twenty centimeters. It was, in a manner of speaking, the music of the spheres.

But then two divergences occurred. The first happened at around ten or twelve thousand BC. In the Lafa System, where the septum between the two universes was thin, an event known as speciation began to occur and the twenty centimeter band Calafans mutated to a coppery, ruddy appearance whereas the ones on this side of things mutated to a pale, silvery aspect.

Alarmed at the physical manifestation of their differences, the respective Calafan governments built a barrier but allowed a means of communication through using a set of amplifying dishes on both native planets in the two universes. These were dream amplifiers, for the channel of communications was a shared subconscious.

Physical contact was forbidden, but the shared dreaming was so realistic that coppery and silvery Calafans almost didn’t mind. It was almost like the two separate Koreas on Earth, or Berlin before the wall toppled.

The Calafans accepted the barrier and loved the means of breaching it so much that their society accepted it and relationships were formed with dream lovers that were felt to be nearly as vital as those between two Calafans on the same side of the pond. Their wedding vows - “I will love you all of our days, and support you all of your nights” - even took it into account.

The other divergence occurred only on the twenty centimeter side of things and it only happened to humans. At the time of the early Roman Republic, perhaps around 400 BC or so, when Athens and Sparta were fighting for dominance of the ancient Western world, a genetic mutation appeared. It was later studied, and referred to as the Y Chromosome Skew.

The skew made it so that men would produce sperm that were about three-quarters Y and one-quarter X genetically, as opposed to around fifty-fifty on the twenty-one centimeter side. This considerably increased the chances of a baby boy being born. If a man fathered four or five children, chances were excellent that he wouldn’t have more than one daughter, if any.

With fewer females, more traditional, allegedly softer, roles and values began to be crowded out. Agriculture was not nearly as vital as hunting. Peace often gave way to war, as negotiations would be abandoned in favor of a good knockdown drag-out. Justice and mercy never really developed properly, and so rules and punishments were generally draconian, but no one much cared for enforcement, as opposed to out and out revenge.

With little cooperation, progress was slow, but that side – the mirror universe – did not have as deep a Dark Age as was experienced here. That helped them to keep pace with the twenty-one centimeter side’s technology, even as late as 2063, although they did not know that.

The lack of females did not increase their value, so women were usually pushed into situations where they had to bargain for favors or privileges with their bodies. Sex acts were routinely used as currency, even by girls as young as thirteen. But they were not innocent in the progress of the skew. Men carrying the skewing genes were, more often than their nonskewed brethren, selected as mates. The reason was obvious the minute the clothes came off - the skewed men were significantly better endowed and were often better and more skilled lovers. Eager to preserve their genes they were also, ironically, usually better fathers. It was one of the only areas where cooperation reigned in the mirror.

The two universes - except when it came to the Calafans - did not know of each other’s existence until October 28, 2157, when the sous-chef on the old NX-01 began having erotic dreams about what turned out to be the late MACO CO’s counterpart, on the ISS Defiant, in the mirror.

The two of them fell in love and the Calafans and the engineers of the NX-01 and the ISS Defiant made it possible for the man, Doug Hayes, to come over to this side of the pond and be with his beloved.

Like nearly any other man of the mirror universe, Doug was a product of the skew and could pass it along to his offspring. He fathered a total of five children, only one of whom was a daughter. Of his children, only two had descendants – one was the son of his wife, Lili O’Day, and the other was the middle son of a woman who was a kind of second wife/mistress to him, Melissa Madden.

Doug passed on his radiation band to his offspring, but the number differentials grew smaller and smaller as the generations progressed for, until about 2765, there were no other mirror parents with children on our side of the pond. Up until about that time, there had been a few other crossovers but no interactions that had resulted in pregnancies. That changed as crossing over became safer and thereby more common.

But until then, if you had a radiation band that was even the tiniest bit less than twenty-one centimeters, you were, by definition, a descendant of Doug Hayes – who became Doug Beckett in order to leave his old life behind him. And how many people was that? By the time of Richard’s birth - he was, on his mother’s side, a descendant of Doug Hayes Beckett and Melissa Madden - about nine hundred years had elapsed, or a good thirty-six generations.

There had been numerous cousin marriages as much of the older parts of the family were pioneers who were often members of rather small human communities on exotic worlds like Tandar Prime, Ferenginar and Kronos. Plus there was a huge Starfleet contingent, so cousins, close and distant, would meet and, at times, marriages would ensue. Surnames like Hayes, Madden, Reed, Masterson, Delacroix, Crossman, Bernstein and Sulu would repeat again and again. The family had a tradition of naming after ancestors – living or dead – so first and middle names like Charles, Steven, Richard, Kevin, Malcolm, Neil, Jeremiah and Thomas were repeated, as were the names Charlotte, Lilienne, Melissa, Leonora - and then Eleanor, Susan, Jennifer, Jia, Karin and Ines would iterate down through the years.

Richard Malcolm Daniels and his sister, Eleanor, were Doug’s descendants. Kevin O’Connor and Thomas Grant were also descendants, although they were remote from the Daniels branch of the family and they didn’t know about the kinship. Sheilagh Bernstein was also a distant relative, but not a descendant of Doug’s. As for the remainder of the Temporal Integrity Commission, they were remotely related but only in the sense that all humans are related to all others in the overall family of man.

=/=

As for Richard’s part, he was sitting in his office, spinning a quarter. The quarter was from 1969, a small temporal souvenir of the Kent State mission to May fourth, 1970. He didn’t always take souvenirs - just when he had hooked up with someone.

He barely heard the door chime; he was so lost in thought. “Oh, uh, come in.”

It was HD. “You busy?”

“No, not really. What’s up?”

“Very little. But I heard things were not going so well for Sheilagh. You really think she’ll leave?”

“I dunno,” Rick said, “She’s thinking it over. I would rather she didn’t go. I mean, we need her here.”

“She’s the best one,” HD said.

“The what?”

“Of all the chicks. I mean, she’s not young. She’s what, forty?” HD asked.

Rick checked a PADD. “Forty-six. And you might not wanna mention that when you see her again,” If he did - if any of them did.

“Okay, forty-six. But still - yowza! Gotta love curves on a woman,” he looked around Rick’s office. There was a woman’s sash, a plain white handkerchief, a Comm badge from the Enterprise-E, a thin metal bracelet with a blue glass bead on it for decoration, among other things. “What’s this stuff?”

“A few souvenirs,” Rick said, “But don’t get in the habit of taking too many. They can’t be anything that’s worth a lot, or that can’t be duplicated easily in the source timeline. Otherwise, it has the potential to be a pariotric event.”

“I see. What’s the significance of ‘em?”

“That is for me to know,” Rick said.

HD thought for a moment. “Ha, these are from honeys.”

Rick just smiled. The younger man was right.

“You hook up a lot out there?”

“It is … possible,” Rick admitted. “But I don’t recommend doing it too much. It’s also; you need to keep things from getting pariotric.”

“And otherwise hairy, I figure,” HD said, “I mean, what if the chick decides she loves ya or something? Heh, oops. Awkward when ya gotta go, eh?” He turned to leave, and added, “I, uh, it would be bad if she left. And not just ‘cause she’s a dish. She’s, she’s smart and all that.”

“Yeah,” Rick agreed. “Uh, close the door when you go, okay?”

“Sure thing, man.”

Once the door was closed, Rick touched the artifacts. He hadn’t loved any of the women, and it wasn’t like he missed them. But they had all, at some point or another since 3101, had provided a measure of comfort to him. And he wanted to preserve that memory, so he lightly touched Lucretia Crossman’s plain white handkerchief from 1699, Dana MacKenzie’s Comm badge from the Enterprise-E in 2380, the Empress Hoshi Sato’s sash from the mirror 2156, a feather from a boa that flapper Betty Tyler had worn in 1929 and Phillipa Green’s metal bracelet from 2763, among many others.

And now joining the collection, his little museum of conquests, was a 1969 quarter to commemorate Annette Bradley, who he had known as Windy. He spun it one last time before placing it with the other keepsakes.

=/=


Come on baby let's do the twist 

Come on baby let's do the twist
Take me by my little hand and go like this
Yeah twist baby, baby twist
Ooh-yeah just like this
Come on little Miss and do the twist


-- Chubby Checker (The Twist)



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