The preacher talked to me and he smiled,
Said, "Come and walk with me, come and walk one more mile.
Now for once in your life you're alone,
But you ain’t got a dime, there's no time for the phone."
- The Bee Gees (Message to You)
No alarms went off, for the temporal changes were minor - and what Polly and Sheilagh had done had already been confirmed. It had worked! But there was no regatta of course, so no alarm was tripped for that. And Marisol, undisturbed, slept, finally rousing herself, very late, at about 1130 hours.
Tom was walking back to the bunks, so she accosted him. “Did I miss anything?”
“I don’t think so.”
“I, I had a vision.”
“I guess you’d better tell Carmen, then.”
“Yes, of course,” she said, and departed.
It was a Friday night in Prague, August tenth, 1968. Milena came in, exhausted. “You look like a truck hit you,” Noemy said.
“I lost Mrs. Klinghofer today,” Milena said, “I, I have to go to synagogue. Everyone is welcome to join me.”
“I’ll get a suit jacket,” Pawel said, hustling himself out the door to do so.
“Is it okay if I wear your Dad’s suit?” Rick asked.
“You need not come,” Milena told him.
“I’ll go. It’s okay.”
“Are you Bar Mitzvahed?”
“No”, he said.
“Just how far back are you Jewish?” Milena asked.
Noemy was standing there with them, so Rick just said, “A while. I have an ancestor named Rebecca Shapiro Reed.”
“Did she teach you to read Hebrew?” Noemy asked.
“I’ll muddle through,” he said, mindful of the translating job that the implanted Communicator could do.
Crystal was sitting in her work area, going over the Manifesto file. She’d left it for a few days; to see if that would help things. So far, it hadn’t.
Carmen came in. “May I ask you for something?”
“You’re my boss, of course you can.”
“May I have a haircut?”
“Oh, of course.” Crystal put her PADD away.
She was nearly finished when Marisol came in. “Carmen!” Marisol said. “I had a vision but Kevin tells me there were no indicators from the computers.”
“Interesting. What was the vision?”
“Lots of boats, possibly a regatta.”
“I wonder what that means,” Crystal said, “All done.”
“Ah, good,” Carmen said, admiring Crystal’s handiwork in a small hand mirror. “Boats, eh? And the computers didn’t pick that up? Hmm, I do so hope the computers aren’t breaking on us.” She and Marisol left together.
The four of them walked back from the synagogue after services. “Oh, you should take that off,” Milena said, pointing to her own head.
Rick complied, removing a yarmulke.
“Have you ever been to their services before?” Pawel asked.
“Only a few times, plus a cousin’s wedding. Does that count?”
“Sure,” Noemy said.
“You know,” Milena said, “I am tired of bad times.”
“They don’t have a lot to recommend them,” Noemy said, “perhaps we can make a nice dinner tomorrow, and that can help to take your mind off things.”
“Maybe. I don’t know. There is far too much suffering in the world,” Milena said. She wasn’t looking at Rick when she said that, but he couldn’t help feeling that that had been a bit of an accusation.
Crystal went back to the Manifesto file. “All right, hmm, monkey-donut-basket-apple-cat-tree-turtle-apple again-cat again-sun-boat-then sun again, then eyeball and another basket! Wait, hmm, what about this combination of boat-turtle-tree-boat? Is it too many boats? Are boats important?”
Marisol, overhearing her, came in. “Yes, I think boats are somehow important.” She peered over Crystal’s shoulder at the file.
“I wonder if the vision is somehow related to the file.”
“What an interesting theory,” Marisol said, “I know you and I don’t talk much, but what do you feel about everything? Are you comfortable putting back time if it changes a positive event into a negative one?”
“We’re here to put back time, not judge our ancestors,” Crystal said.
“Yes, but what if a little change could improve things?”
There was silence for a while. Crystal finally said, “Little changes turn into big ones. It’s like a snowball effect. Good, bad or indifferent, it all goes careening out of control no matter what we do. Are you, uh, here for something?”
Thinking fast, Marisol answered brightly, “Yes. I, too, would like a haircut.”
Back in the spare room, Rick changed back into the dead man’s more casual clothes. There was a knock. It was Milena. “I, uh, are you busy?”
“Not at all.”
“I want you to understand, I am making an effort to comprehend your position. You have a, well, a situation to protect. And I only have your word that it is a good one. Perhaps it is horrid, and you are just telling me stories in order to get me to help you.”
“It’s, um, here,” he said, and dug his PADD out from the drawer of a nightstand. “Let me show you my Jewish ancestors, okay?”
“All right, Future Man. I take it they have not been born yet.”
“Definitely not.” He smiled and fiddled with the PADD a bit. “Okay, here’s the NX-01. This ship is, uh, was, uh, will be called the Enterprise. It’ll be launched in 2151.”
“Almost two hundred years hence - it looks rather slick.”
“It can fly at speeds up to Warp Five.”
“What does that mean in layman’s terms?”
“It can travel at five times the speed of light.”
“Einstein said that was not possible! Don’t you get infinite mass, or something like that?”
“Nope, you’re okay. We, uh, we can go faster now. I won’t bore you with the details.”
She chuckled at that. “I look at that thing, and all I can think of is treating people for motion sickness.”
“Well, I have ancestors who met on that ship. Can’t vouch for whether they suffered from motion sickness. Now, here’s one set - they aren’t Jewish, but, well, you’ll see what I’m talking about. This guy here is Malcolm Reed.”
“You mentioned the name Reed. Was it a mixed marriage, then?”
“Yes, but not him,” Rick said, “Malcolm was the Tactical Officer, fourth in command, and then he was second in command on the next ship he was assigned to, and then he became captain of, uh, this ship, the USS Bluebird.”
“That’s a sweet name,” Milena said, “I would have thought you would have much tougher names.”
“Most of them are, but he asked them to name it that because of her,” he showed a picture of a very pale woman in chef’s whites, “Lili O’Day. He loved her, and she loved the color blue, so he had them name it that.”
“So he married her. Men always pick the one who can cook, eh? So I am doomed to eternal spinsterhood.”
Rick laughed a little. “Uh, I think you’ll be all right. So, Malcolm, he was her second husband. She was his one and only. They had a son named Declan.”
“Did you meet them?”
“I did, but it was before they were married. She was still married to her first, and had kids with him - Joss and Marie Patrice.”
“Where are the ones you wanted to show me?”
“I’m getting there. Now, this is Ethan Shapiro, and this is Karin Bernstein.”
“Ah, now here are the members of my tribe.”
“They both worked for Malcolm. And they had two daughters. The younger daughter, Rebecca, married Declan. The younger son of Declan and Rebecca was Stuart. Stu is my father’s ancestor. Direct line.”
“So that is the Rebecca Reed you spoke of.”
Marisol gone, Crystal looked at the file again. “Maybe the names of the pictograms are related to the letters they represent,” she said to herself, “Then again, there’s a cherry and a clover, and there’s a teardrop - well, maybe that’s just supposed to be a drop - a turtle and a tree. Well, here goes nothing.” She tried T for turtle, and was shocked that it worked.
“Amazing!” she called out to no one, “But now this makes me wonder what the heck it is that a tree is supposed to represent.”
“I have other ancestors on the NX-01,” Rick added, clicking around. “There’s Deborah Haddon and Chip Masterson. Their son, Ken, is a direct ancestor of my Mom’s. And, uh, this is Brian Delacroix.”
“Yes; he was taught by Lili, and replaced her when she got married the first time and left the ship. Anyway, his granddaughter, Susan, is the one who marries Stuart Reed. And, uh, here’s a picture of Stu and Sue.”
“Lovely. And what about the copper people?”
“Ah, you remembered seeing them.”
“Hard to forget them,” Milena said.
“They’re relatives, too, but from a lot later. They’re why I have this,” he showed her the copper band on his left wrist. “I also have ancestors who gave me the silver band.”
“I am sure,” she thought for a moment,” so you are here not only to protect yourself, but also to protect all of them.”
“I don’t know if saving Mrs. Klinghofer would have jeopardized them,” she said, “and I can understand your being protective of them. But surely there are some positive things that you can do that would not threaten Stuart and Lili and also all the rest of them, yes?”
“So there are eighteen Ts,” Crystal said, “assuming I’m counting right. And a vowel can come before or after a T, it can start or end a word, and consonants can come before or after it.” She sighed. “I need help.” She engaged her Communicator. “Deirdre, are you free?”
Tom got to Eleanor right on time, meeting her at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II. “I understand you’re free for lunch,” he said.
“No, I have a very important engagement.”
“Oh.” He was crestfallen.
“With you!” she smiled wickedly. “I got you, I guess.”
“You did. Uh, that’s all right.”
The restaurant was nearby, one of those places where the building has been a restaurant forever and just the name has changed over the years. In 3110, it was called Ursula’s.
‘This is a pretty place,” she said, after they had sat down. The decorations were elegant; vases in cutouts on the walls, interesting molding around the windows and a pressed-tin ceiling.
“I was hoping ya’ll would like it.”
“You’re from the Carolinas or Titania, right?”
“Titania, guilty as charged.”
“We grew up on Titan, in Illinois,” she said, “there’s family here, though, purebred Calafan cousins, and humans as well. Have you any non-human ancestry?”
“I don’t,” he said, “and I’m not quite sure why. What, uh, is that a favorite?” he asked about a bracelet on her left wrist, “I saw you wearing that when I met you.”
“Oh, you noticed.”
“Well,” she reddened a little, “it’s ancient, probably a few millennia old. See where it’s all softened and faded? It’s a Calafan national treasure.”
“And you have it?”
“I do indeed. It has family significance as well.”
“Yes. I’m supposed to give it to my true love.”
I’ve just got to get a message to you, hold on, hold on.
One more hour and my life will be through, hold on, hold on.
- The Bee Gees (Message to You)