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Chapter Notes:

Simon and Garfunkel - Mrs. Robinson

You should see what a lovely, lovely world this'd be
Everyone learned to live together, ah-hah-unh
Seems to me such an itty bitty thing should be
Why can't you and me learn to love one another?

- The Rascals (People Got to be Free)


They were still sitting in Conference Room six when the computer alarms started to go off again, “Now what?” Carmen complained.

“There’s more to compile. Man, oh, man, there’s a lot more,” Kevin said.

“Marisol?” Carmen asked.

“I -” She made a motion around her left ear, indicating that there had been a chime although, truth be told, there was no one actually calling her, “May I take this?”

“Sure,” Carmen said.

Marisol left and Boris followed her with his eyes, “Miss Porter, I expect you will be getting surgery earlier than expected,” he said.

“I’m sure you’re right. How, uh, how soon do we know what happened? Last time seemed to be fairly quick. Are they all like that?” Polly asked.

“It depends,” Carmen replied, “When we had Otra,” Levi looked up at the sound of her name, “things were tighter. Marisol is doing the best she can.”

“Do the other Witannen at the Temporal Integrity Commission have the same gift? Could they help us?” Polly persisted.

“Possibly, but no,” Rick said, “They’re not big on sharing with any other species, we’ve found.”

“Otra isn’t like that,” Levi said.

“Definitely not,” Kevin said, “One of a kind,” he paused, reading, “It’s still compiling. This may take a while.”


Out of earshot, Marisol contacted the leader of the Perfectionists, “Tell me something, quick!” she said, a bit panicky.

“A moment,” The leader closed a door, “All right. Let me tell you what I had two of our agents do, all right? I haven’t spoken to Otra yet.”

“It is something, at least,” she said, and listened as the leader explained. Ending the call, she felt confident enough to return to the conference room and see just how much she could throw the Human Unit off track.


A small family - a father and a mother, and their tween daughter - turned and smiled and waved at a bank of cameras. The daughter had frizzy brownish-blonde hair and a mouth full of braces. The father seemed prematurely grey, the mother bookish, “I wish him all the luck in the world,” The father drawled, “And I still believe in a place called Hope.”

Otra watched that scene play out a few times, and then a second scene played out, a more compelling yet violent vision to captivate her while she sat in her dark prison. There was a ship - another Warp One vessel, and another female pilot, but this time it wasn’t the redhead she’d seen before. It was someone else, a brunette.

The Warp One ship cruised out, all daring and bravado. Whereas in the other vision, the pilot had turned around once Neptune was circled, this one went farther. She crossed the Kuiper Belt, a foolish maneuver for a test flight.

And then Otra saw that the move was even more foolhardy, not just a danger of the pilot running low on fuel, so far from home. This one was a far worse danger. There was a large, ungainly, slow-moving and hard to maneuver ship. The brunette pilot failed to stop in time or take effective evasive action, and so there was a collision.

The departing family and the spectacular crash played, alternately, in her head.


Marisol returned to the conference room and said, “I see, I wish I could read this as well as you can, Mister Avery, but it’s musical notes.”

“Can you recognize a clef or anything?” he asked.

“I’m afraid I don’t know what that is.”

“Here,” he showed her on his PADD.

“Uh, that one,” she pointed to a treble clef.

“Anything else?” Carmen asked.

“Boxy things. Computers, maybe.”

“Really?” Now Sheilagh was interested, “Can you see a brand or anything? I might be able to narrow it down to a range of years.”

“I’m not as - well, the visions aren’t as detailed as Otra’s were - are. Sorry, I am trying to be positive about what her situation must be, if she is still alive. I don’t wish to give up hope.”

“None of us want to,” Crystal said,


“Your visions?”

“Just a man, with his wife and young daughter. He wishes another man luck, and they turn and wave good-bye.”

“Huh. You’d better not be lying to me, Otra.”

“I have no bargaining chips,” she said, although that was not strictly true.

There was a sound on the other end of things. Otra recognized it - it was a door chime.

“I have another vision!” she called out, seeing if she could addle her captor a bit.

“Oh, uh …”

The door chimed again. Another voice, as flat and accentless as the captor’s, said, “Brother, the next wine shipment has to go out.”

“A moment!” fumbled the captor.

“My vision!” Otra called out brightly. This was good information - the captor was clearly male, and the batch, it had been a batch of some sort of wine. Progress!

The tricoulamine gas came again. As Otra again passed out, she thought a little of whomever she knew who had a brother, or was a brother. One of those people was Rick Daniels.


He was in his office. He tapped his left ear, twice, to engage his Communicator, “Uh, Eleanor Daniels, on Lafa II.”

“Ah, how are you, my brother?”

“Pretty good. El, I’m sure I’ll be on another mission soon.”

“I see. Is it hazardous?”

“It’s anybody’s guess,” he said, “I, uh, I figured you should know.”

“Should I tell our parents?”

“Um, either way is fine, El.”

“Richard, may I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Your co-worker, Tom Grant. He, uh, is he seeing someone?”

“I don’t think so. Things not work out there?” he asked. He wasn’t so sure he wanted to get too involved in a discussion about his sister’s love life.

“Things never started,” she said, “He never contacted me.”

“Uh, something preventing you from going ahead and contacting him yourself, El?”

“I, uh, I don’t know. I guess I wanted to know that he was interested, and not have to drag it out of him.”

“Uh, El, this is a weird thing for me to be talking about with you.”

“Can you at least suggest to him that he get in contact with me?”

“You do realize that if he does it before the line’s restored, you may feel differently after it is.”

“I, just, I don’t think I will. Please, will you at least suggest it? I am tired of being the one who does all of the pursuing and ice-breaking.”

She was getting a little teary with frustration, so he agreed before closing the connection. Women! Relationships were, he concluded, too complicated. For wherever he was going, he’d find a quick hook-up and laugh about the idea of a long-term anything on his way back in the Wells.


“I don’t like her,” Marisol said to Boris. They were in his office, ostensibly to again go over Polly’s surgeries but instead she had her hands down the front of his pants.

“Ah, a little to the right, my love,” he said.

Porter,” she said a little sharply, and moved away a hand so as to emphasize her point.

“Yes, yes,” That seemed to snap him out of it, “She is a friend of Darragh’s. They will have a girls’ night out at our expense, no doubt, if you and I are ever caught.”

“She’s part Betazoid. Do you think she can sense thoughts or emotions?”

“Probably a bit,” Boris allowed, “She does not have their very dark eye. Your eyes are even darker than hers! So beautiful, like twin lakes on Kronos. And your breasts! They are like ….”

“Focus, Boris!”

“Porter, yes. Darling, when you are here, how can you expect me to think of a woman such as Porter? I only want you, my love.”

There was a door chime. She took her hands away and straightened up. He refastened his pants, willing his arousal to go away by thinking of the prospect of seeing his mother-in-law naked.


“Looks like the compiling’s done,” Kevin said.

Crystal clicked a little, “Got it.”

“That was lightning fast,” Carmen said, “Where’s Avery with the others? They should hear this.”

In a few minutes, HD walked in with Rick, Marisol and a somewhat redfaced Boris, “Oh, looks like something interesting’s happening,” HD said.

“It is. Crystal, you have the floor,” Carmen said.

“I looked up the first development of Warp Drive and also first contact since those had been affected before. Now they’re even worse.”

“They’re later, yes?” Marisol asked. It was a good educated guess.

“Yep,” Crystal said, “In 2762, Phillipa Green perfects Warp Drive, but the results are tragic, as she dies during the maiden flight of her ship, the Aryan.”

“Phillipa Green, eh?” Rick asked, “I knew her. It was the mission to figure out who the Suliban, Silik, had been talking to and taking orders from in the 2150s. We used to call him Future Guy. It turns out it was a guy named Jim Horan. She was his first assistant,” That wasn’t all of the information he’d uncovered about her. Nor was it the only thing he’d uncovered. She was Horan’s lover and, during Rick’s mission to 2735, she had been his as well.

Aryan,” Sheilagh spat out the word like just so much spoiled food, “I don’t have to tell anyone how my ancestors and I - or yours, Deirdre - feel about that word.”

“Or mine, or probably others you don’t know about,” Rick said, “I’ve got some Jewish ancestry in me,” When he’d known Phillipa, she’d had quite the superiority complex, but she hadn’t, so far as he recalled, been an anti-Semite. That was another change.

“Ya’ll said it was tragic. What’s the tragedy?” Tom asked.

Crystal read off her PADD, “The Aryan collides with a Tellarite freighter, the Grev. The freighter is damaged, the Aryan is destroyed, and Green is killed. And so we get first contact with any non-human species, almost seven hundred years later than it should be, and an interplanetary incident, to boot.”

“Can you figure out, you said music and computers, Marisol, do you think these changes relate to one over the other?” Carmen asked.

“Possibly to the, to the music, although I cannot be sure.”

“Let’s keep digging,” Carmen said, “You had said Pre-Warp before. Kevin, let’s pull up world leaders from the master time file and our new reality. There have got to be some changes there. Perhaps they will help us to narrow down the year for the changeover to have occurred.”

There was some clicking, and then Deirdre looked up and said, “There are issues with two American Presidents in the twentieth century. Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton are never elected. I’m not sure about Clinton. But with Reagan it’s somewhat obvious - it appears that the Iron Curtain has come down far too soon.”


All the world over, so easy to see
People everywhere just wanna be free
I can't understand it, so simple to me
People everywhere just got to be free

- The Rascals (People Got to be Free)

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