Chapter 7 - Let's Go Get that Time Ship

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People can change they always do

Haven't they noticed the changes in you?

Or can it be that like love I am blind

Do I want it so much?

'Til it's all in my mind

One thing I know for sure

It's really, really, real

I never felt before

The way you make me feel

-- Being with You (Smokey Robinson)

=/\=

"You think the Empress suspects anything?" Shelby asked Frank. They were in his quarters.

"About you and me? I dunno. I don't think she would've made me First Officer if she really, truly, did."

"Still, we gotta be careful," she said, "I mean, if I'm here during the day, like I am now, I – we – should probably stay clothed, like we are now."

"C'mon," he said, "she hasn't caught us yet."

"Still ...."

There was a door chime. They both froze. "You're here about the Duty Roster," he said to her. Then, more loudly, he said, "Come in."

It was Aidan. They both let out a breath. "You two gotta be more careful," Aidan said, "me, I got a wife. So the Empress expects Susan and me to be together. But she'll be snooping around Frank here until she gets a new toy."

"Sheesh, why did Miller hafta off himself?" Frank complained.

"He probably figured it was the only way out," Shelby said.

"Confidentially," Aidan said, "it's not."

"Oh?" Frank asked.

"Nope. In '61, Stoney's cousin and Masterson stole the twins and an escape pod, and went to Lafa II," Aidan said.

"You think they survived the trip?" Shelby asked.

"Dunno, but some of the contraband parts are coming outta that system," Frank said.

"That might be them," Aidan allowed, "it could also be Tucker, or even Crossman."

"What?" Frank asked.

"I was there," Aidan said, "it was '57. Remember Crossman was nabbed by Calafans? The old man took an assault team down. It was him, Mayweather, Haddon, Delacroix and me. Del died while we were down there. Haddon lost her life when the Transporter Room was bombed. And Mayweather died when the Empress sent him and Torres down to take care of a Calafan revolt in '61."

"So you're the only one of that team who's still alive, eh MacKenzie?" Shelby asked Aidan.

"You forgot the old man. What happened to him?" Frank asked. "The story is that he died in the Transporter Room bombing."

"I don't think so," Aidan said, "he, uh, when we were on the surface, we ran into Crossman. She'd gone native, taken up with an alien. He said we were to claim that we'd just found her body in the forest."

"Ah, yeah, I remember the investigation into the Transporter Room bombing now," Frank said, "the Transporter was run twice. One set of coordinates was to a spot in the forest. The second set was into a set of emitter dishes. That made no sense to me at the time, but I wonder now if it was how the charges were triggered."

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