Chapter 3 - On the Prowl

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'Cause she's watchin' him with those eyes

And she's lovin' him with that body, I just know it

And he's holdin' her in his arms, late, late at night

-- Rick Springfield (Jessie's Girl)

=/\=

The Temporal Integrity Commission was composed of several species-specific units. There were Klingons, Aenar, Cardassians, Bajorans, Trill, Calafans from both our universe and the mirror, Tandarans, Vissians, Daranaeans, Breen, Remans, Kazon, Suliban, Witannen and all sorts of others, representing seemingly countless Milky Way worlds.

All of the Warp-capable worlds in the galaxy were members of the Federation, and they all had a presence at the Temporal Integrity Commission. That is to say, all but one species was so accounted for, if you could call them that – the Borg.

They were still a bit of a thorn in the Federation's side, but they mainly stayed in the Delta Quadrant. The only times the Commission really had to deal with them was when they would, on occasion, attempt to go back in time in order to change outcomes for their own purposes. Fortunately, they did not do this too frequently.

The Human Unit was one of the larger units. There had been several scholarly trips to observe events in Earth and Terra's near-twin pasts, and those travelers always needed to have escorts. This was the original purpose behind the Commission.

Then the Perfectionists had come, and the Human Unit needed even more people to handle and undo the various changes. These were, inevitably, a threat to the eventual timeline.

In addition to Carmen, Rick, Tom, Dan, Marisol and Boris, there were Crystal Sherwood, Otra D'Angelo, Levi Cavendish, Sheilagh Bernstein, HD Avery, Polly Porter, Deirdre Katzman and Kevin O'Connor.

Crystal was the department's Quartermaster, responsible for making sure that travelers blended in and didn't have too many anachronisms with them, except for necessary equipment. Time travelers had a number of personal physical modifications and improvements – such as implanted Communicators – in order to reduce the amount of hardware that they had to haul around.

Otra was a half-human, half-Witannen and, as such, was rather rare. Because she was half and half, she didn't have Witannen vestigial wings, but she did have their other main characteristic – chavecoi, which looked like a bouquet of flowers. And they were sprouting from her scalp.

Aside from the chavecoi, which were symbiotic hitchhikers on her body, Otra had a far more interesting trait. She could see temporal alternatives, and was still faster than the enhanced computers. She saw them as visions, almost like a prophetess. Her talent had made her a target, and she had even been kidnapped by the Perfectionists and kept on the USS Saint Eligius. She had been sprung, though, and now had a companion to, well, not necessarily to keep her from being snatched again, but at least to assure that there would be a witness if it happened again.

Her companion was Levi, one of the engineers. He was afflicted with adult ADHD and Asperger's and, as such, was often distracted. He wasn't meant to be the greatest bodyguard. He was just meant to be nearby. He also cared for her – she was one of the few people on his radar at all – and so he could be counted on to be somewhat dedicated to her remaining either on board the USS Adrenaline or at her home on Earth, in Siena.

Sheilagh was a time traveler, specializing in ancient computers and their systems. HD was also a traveler, but his specialty was music and art and general hipster kinds of things. Polly rounded out the traveling contingent. She had a psychology background and was dedicated to being a calming, convincing influence as needed.

The last two were engineers. Deirdre was Kevin's protégée. She generally left work as soon as possible, for she had a hot relationship and was forever rushing off to be with Bruce Ishikawa.

As for Kevin, he had been turned upside down at the very end of 3108 when his wife, Josie, had died, a victim of the awful disease Piaris Syndrome. Josie – her name was actually Jhasi, and she had been Aenar – had been his reason for living. It had been quite a wallop, even to a man who was not just human.

Kevin was also Gorn. An appreciable chunk of his makeup was reptilian. While his face was human, and he had hair on his head – greyish white now, as he was in his seventies – his chest, arms and legs had scales. But a pair of long pants and a long-sleeved shirt could make him appear human. So attired, the only odd thing about him was his size. He weighed nearly a quarter of a metric ton.

But his size and his part-Gorn parentage belied a gentle nature. He was the most likely, out of the entire department, to stop and smell the roses or cry at a wedding. Josie's death had made that even more pronounced. He was a sensitive soul in a scary, part-alien body.

And a few months previously, he had, tentatively, taken up with a Calafan woman, an engineer named Yilta. She, too, had had a major bereavement in her life, although in her case it was a lost child, and a subsequent divorce. She gave him hope, even as they mainly just sat together at various eating establishments, not saying much. But she was good company, she was a listener, and she was what he needed.

=/\=

The Empress knew nothing of such doings. Oh, she had tried a little time travel jiggering of her own, but her aim was solely to expand her Empire. The Defiant was still considerably more advanced than other ships, and so she had tried to move ahead in time, and take a similar, Constitution-class vessel. Her mission was, unfortunately, unsuccessful.

It was good to be the only one with significantly superior speed and firepower, but a girl could always use a spare. And there were no spares.

However, that was changing. There were spies on board the Defiant. They would take a schematic or would rip out a sensor or two; photograph and attempt to reverse engineer them, and then put them back, hoping to not be caught. Over the years, she had had several people sent to the Agony Booth as a punishment for such maneuvers.

But she wasn't fast enough to get all of them, and so black market schematics and equipment were starting to show up on various worlds. It was only a matter of time before someone, somewhere, put a new ship together and completed it. That ship would be as powerful and sleek and fast as the Defiant. And then her power would truly be in peril.

But until then, she was on the prowl for a new bedroom toy. She wasn't thinking about Ritchie Daniels. She was just thinking of how to hide the ever-increasing muffin top that was showing when she was in uniform.

=/\=

You know I wish that I had Jessie's girl

I wish that I had Jessie's girl

Where can I find a woman like that?

Like Jessie's girl

I wish that I had Jessie's girl

Where can I find a woman like that

Where can I find a woman like that?

-- Rick Springfield (Jessie's Girl)

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