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Chapter Notes:

The Zombies - Time of the Season


Well, it happened that the PTA was gonna meet that very afternoon
They were sure surprised when Mrs. Johnson wore her miniskirt into the room
And as she walked up to the blackboard, I still recall the words she had to say
She said, "I'd like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley PTA"



- Harper Valley PTA (Jeannie C. Riley)

=/=



Prague in 1968 was a medium-sized city with some lovely older architecture.

Rick arrived when it was very early in the morning there, still a little dark, despite the fact that it was mid-summer. He set the ship up in a synchronous orbit on the far side of the moon and went over to the Replicator, “Uh, replicate enough Czech money to be able to, uh, rent a modest room for a few weeks and eat out for all meals.”

He waited. Nothing. “Replicate Czech money 1968,” he said. Still nothing.

“Computer, run a Level One diagnostic on the Replicator.”

A few minutes later, the computer replied, “Diagnostic complete. Replicator power cells are completely drained.”

“Huh? Um, okay, divert power to Replicator.”

“There is not enough power to perform this function. Necessary systems are using all available power.”

“Which necessary systems?” he asked.

“Life support, propulsion and cloak.”

“Okay, let’s get you some more power, Herbert George Wells,” he fired up the dark matter collector. The Wells was of a new design, and ran on dark matter. There was so much dark matter in the universe and its imperfect mirror that a collection of even what would be considered a lot of dark matter was a purely otric event.

He glanced over at the levels after a few minutes. There was no change. “This is not good. You should be full. Computer, run a Level One diagnostic on the dark matter collector.”

A few minutes later came the reply, “There is a leak in the collector intake line.”

“Computer, repair the leak.”

“There is not enough power to perform this function. Necessary systems are using all available power.”

“Great! You don’t have enough power to repair your power drain. Hmm, computer, locate leak.”

“The leak is located on the port side, near panel 271.”

“Show location on schematic,” he said.

The diagram showed a location on the outside of the ship. He’d need to don the EV suit, “Computer, what is necessary to complete repairs?”

“A hyperspanner, thirty grams of aluminoplastic and a magnetic wrench.”

“Is it possible to replicate the aluminoplastic given the current state of power usage?”

“Negative,” Replied the machine.

“Are the tools in the kit?”

“Affirmative.”

“Thank God for small miracles. Can the aluminoplastic be created if raw materials are provided?” he asked.

“Affirmative. Necessary raw materials are twenty-four grams of aluminum and six grams of a polyamide thermoplastic.”

“Do polyamide thermoplastics exist in 1968 Prague?” he asked.

“Affirmative.”

“Sources?”

“Polyamide thermoplastics include nylon.”

“Computer, name any products or locations where polyamide thermoplastics would be common.”

“Women’s non-silk stockings.”

This could get interesting, “Computer, name any products or locations where aluminum would be common.”

“Inexpensive cooking utensils, soft drink cans and electronics casings such as photographic equipment.”

“Is it possible to run the Transporter, given the current state of power usage?”

“Negative.”

“If life support was significantly reduced, say, the ambient temperature was lowered by twenty degrees Celsius, would there be enough power for one round-trip in the Transporter?”

“Number of passengers?”

“Just me,” he said.

The computer took a minute or so to make its calculations, “Such a journey is possible.”

“Good,” he replied, “Computer, lower ambient temperature by twenty degrees Celsius and prepare the Transporter.”

=/=



They made it to 1973, perhaps a bit slower than normal, “I wonder if we’re flying at peak efficiency,” Tom said.

“We’re not?”

“Well, I just remember making the temporal journey a lot quicker before. Let’s check all systems before we head to the surface,” Tom said, “Don’t want any unpleasant surprises when it’s time to leave.”

“Right-o.”

=/=



Alone in his bunk at the Temporal Integrity Commission, Boris wondered what was keeping Marisol from secretly making the trip over in order to keep him company.

Well, not just keep him company.

But she wasn’t around. A bit concerned, he went to her bunk instead, and found it empty.

Chastened, and a tad worried, he began to walk back to his own bunk when Deirdre spotted him, “Doctor Yarin, are you lost?”

=/=



Rick beamed down to a green patch, some sort of a tiny park. Light was just beginning to appear in the eastern sky. Birds were chirping and it almost didn’t feel like he was in an actual twentieth century city.

Then he saw the reason why there was a spot of urban greenery or, rather, he almost tripped over the reason. He’d materialized into a graveyard.

He began to walk out of it, stepping gingerly amidst graves that were narrowly squeezed together as if there were no other places in Prague where the dead could possibly be collected.

He was unsure of where to go, or just what to do. He was dressed in period garb. His implanted Communicator was switched to Czech, although he knew that it was possible that he’d run across someone who spoke German, or Polish, or Russian, or Romanian. But that could be fixed by a simple tap to the ear. The natives would never know.

So he had some things, but he needed aluminum, and he needed plastic - more specifically, he needed nylon. He had no money whatsoever. He wasn’t too terribly fond of the prospect of panhandling, but he knew he might have to resort to it.

He walked through a courtyard and out in the front of the Pinkas Synagogue to finally get out of the boneyard itself. This brought him to a city street - Bilkova. Dawn was creeping in, rosy on the clouds. Fog was burning off. It was looking like it would be a fairly warm day.

He saw two women across the street, and they seemed to be the only other people awake in the entire city. They were dressed smartly, in old-fashioned skirt suits. If Crystal had been there, she would have immediately recognized that the styles were a good ten years old.

Perhaps those two women would give him a few Czech korunas - crowns, or maybe they knew of some place where he could work for a few hours. He wasn’t above washing a few dishes. He began to walk, on his side of the street, in step with them on their side. With little else to do as he gathered his thoughts, he listened in on their conversation.

“And I am telling you,” said the one with auburn hair, “you should feed him. The way to a man’s heart and all of that. Not that you even need to, Noemy. Pawel is completely lovesick over you, if you’d only pay attention, you’d see that,” Even with the perfect translation, she still had a thick accent, and her vowels tended to shift. Telling sounded like tulling. Feed sounded like fid. Lovesick sounded like luffseck.

“Really, you think so?” asked Noemy, a dark brunette who appeared to be the younger of the two, “If he is so interested, why doesn’t he make a move?” Again, the vowels were shifted, and make sounded a bit like meck.

“After all this time, you think he would. Tell me, again, why did you make me get up so early?”

“It’s the Farmers’ Market!” Noemy said, “We are going to get the most wonderful tomatoes! And there will be peas and lettuce.”

“You are the cook, I am not. Say,” said the auburn one, “do you think that fellow over there is following us?” she indicated Rick.

Rick noticed, and began to busy himself by looking at the back of the Pinkas Synagogue as if it were the most interesting thing.

“I don’t know. Perhaps,” Noemy said, and it came out as pareheps, “he is lost.”

The two of them began walking away. Rick waited a while before starting to walk again, hoping they wouldn’t notice that, most definitely, he was following them. Maybe the Farmers’ Market would be a place where he could get some work. It was the only possible destination that he knew of, so it became his destination.

He began to cross Bilkova Street over to their side, not seeing a car coming, and not putting it together that the sounds he was hearing were of a car with a driver who was probably drunk and had no business getting behind the wheel after an all-night bender, for the driver was certainly out of control.

=/=



“Not lost. Just thinking of a late snack,” Boris said, thinking fast.

“Uh, the cafeteria’s over that way,” Deirdre said.

“Yes, yes, of course. Too much on my mind; it makes me forgetful a little. Good night.”

=/=



The impact was hard, swift and sudden - and loud.

But it wasn’t just an impact, for he was dragged a street over before the driver realized an impact had occurred. The driver hit reverse quickly, which dislodged Rick’s body, and then sped away from the scene.

Noemy and the other woman stared at each other, “My God!” Noemy exclaimed. They ran over, “Can you do anything, or is he already -?”

The auburn one knelt over where Rick was lying, “I am a doctor,” she said, “Don’t try to speak.”

“We should get an ambulance. And the authorities,” Noemy said.

“No, no police,” The other one said. Then she stared at the side of Rick’s face. The skin of his cheek had been raw where it had been dragged in the street. But the wound was closing up, at an impossibly rapid rate, “Noemy, look at this.”

“What is this? His face is healing.”

“Do you think the rest of him is?”

“I don’t know. You are the doctor, not I,” Noemy said.

“I’ll be able to tell at the office. Can we lift him together, do you think?”

“Yes, I think so.”

The auburn one replied, “Let’s make this as quick as possible, and hope he doesn’t die on the way.”

=/=



Well, there's Bobby Taylor sittin' there and seven times he's asked me for a date
Mrs. Taylor sure seems to use a lot of ice whenever he's away
And Mr. Baker, can you tell us why your secretary had to leave this town?
And shouldn't Widow Jones be told to keep her window shades all pulled completely down?


- Harper Valley PTA (Jeannie C. Riley)



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