Chapter 10 - Crewman Kirk

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They don't write 'em like that anymore

They don't write 'em like that anymore

-- Greg Kihn Band (The Breakup Song)

=/\=

"You're Westerners; it looks like you won't have to wear veils," Crystal said to Polly and Alice.

"Good. The whole idea is primitive and repulsive," Alice sniffed haughtily.

Polly just rolled her eyes. "So, how do you think you want to work it?" she asked Rick.

"Well, normally I guess we'd just make sure the shooting occurred," he said, "but we might need to get in close. Hence, uh, Little Miss Sunshine here should be of help."

Alice glared at him, "You must be a nonbeliever."

"If they're all as sweet and helpful as you are, I'm kinda glad to be an infidel," he said.

Carmen entered the work area. "Now, this one has the potential to, more or less, fix everything," she said, "so let's all have a good mission, all right?"

"But –" Alice began to protest again.

"Well, just a moment," Carmen said, "Richard, come with me."

They ducked into Otra's office, which was close by and empty for the nonce. "Yes?" he said.

"She's not protected by the temporal force field," Carmen said, "we'll give her the temporary version of the stem cell growth accelerator, like we do with historians and other non-employees who need to do a little time traveling. Anyway, I am figuring, if you make enough changes, she might just disappear altogether. Not die, of course – she does belong in our correct timeline. But she may end up back home or wherever she was before we got started. I do hope you'll take heart from that."

He smiled. "Man, oh man, this is a nasty timeline."

"It's horrid," Carmen concurred, "but we've got her, so let's use her talents. We'd best go back before it begins to look strange. Do keep in mind that she'll be gone soon, either way, and try to get along with her."

"She's a pain in the –"

"In this timeline, she doesn't think she's being offensive at all. The same could have been said for any of us if we would up in a similar predicament, I suspect. But you probably won't have to deal with her for very long, Richard. Hang in there."

=/\=

Engineering was hopping. Kevin could barely look up. He and Yilta had exchanged glances, nothing more, as he had needed for her and Von to get to work more or less immediately.

The HG Wells was made ready first, as Carmen had requested. The apparel was not as cutting-edge as Crystal often put together for travelers. She had explained that, in an Arab country, particularly near in time to the Iranian Revolution, it would be best for the time travelers to all dress relatively conservatively. Rick was wearing a suit and a tie with a white shirt. Polly and Alice were in skirt suits, mid-calf length. Their collars were high; their hair was back in severe buns.

"Are we ready?" Rick made a point of asking Kevin directly.

"Yep. Off to Cairo with ya. Bring me back a pyramid."

"Maybe just a camel," Rick replied, "C'mon, ladies, let's go."

"I still say these are nonbelievers. It is a disgrace to be helping them," Alice complained.

"Don't think of it as helping them," Polly said, "think of it as killing Anwar Sadat."

Alice didn't answer, and just boarded the Wells.

"Down the rabbit hole," Rick said as he closed the hatch. They departed.

Next to go were Sheilagh and HD. 1998 fashions were soft and casual, partly a consequence of the fact that they were going to small software company in Menlo Park, California. Sheilagh had on a scoop neck top and skinny jeans – Crystal had said something about more Madonna than J. Lo, when it came to the look. HD was in jeans, too, and a boatneck top. For him, Crystal had said – Ashton Kutcher – whoever that had been. They departed in the Audrey II.

Finally, Tom, Dan and Marisol were ready to go to 2010. It was a short dress and high boots for her, and boot cut jeans for the men. The Jack Finney took off and the engineers were left in the launch bay.

"It's been a long day," Levi said, "can we look at Fluxy tomorrow?"

"Sure," Kevin said, "I'm gonna go grab some grub or something." He had not stopped working for hours.

"I'm beat. I don't think food will come before my bunk," said Von, a Ferengi engineer. He left.

"Can I talk to ya?" Yilta finally asked.

"Uh, yeah, um, let's go to my office," Kevin said. As they walked, he wondered what the hell it was that he was going to do.

=/\=

And once they had all left the launch bay, a signal was sent to Helen and Milton, who were waiting on Berren Five. The signal included the encryption for transport – that had been what Alice had been lacking when she had arrived. But, when you know someone inside – and that person is up to no good – it's possible to get the code.

There was no one there, and it was a simple matter to grab the time ship called the Flux Capacitor and maneuver it out. By the time Carmen knew what the hell was happening, Fluxy was gone.

=/\=

"Do you know when you want to go to?" Helen asked as she steered Fluxy.

"I like a simpler time," Milton replied, "perhaps before the development of the Constitution class."

"Well," Helen said, "my understanding of mirror history is that they didn't actually make Constitution class ships until about the time we did. But the Empress Hoshi Sato had her own – the Defiant – it more or less fell into her lap when it was displaced, both in time and by universe, back in the 2150s."

"Hmm," he checked his PADD. He looked at a picture of the Empress. She was one beautiful woman. And it had been a long time since he'd been around someone like that. Not that he necessarily had a chance. He was over sixty years of age! He clicked around some more. There was a list of her conquests – not the planets and systems, but the men. The list abruptly ended at 2192 and didn't pick up until years later.

"Make up your mind, Daddy, we're past 2700 already."

"2192," he said.

=/\=

"I've been lucky," Hoshi said, eying a young crewman, "and I can get lucky. Would you like to get lucky tonight, fella?"

"I, hmm."

"C'mon, Crewman Kirk, most guys don't get this sort of an offer."

"I, uh."

"Tiberius," she said, "did you know that was the name of an Emperor? But from way back when," she said. She grabbed at him through his uniform, "I won't take no for an answer."

"Uh, understood, Empress."

=/\=

Now I wind up staring at an empty glass

Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh

'Cause it's so easy to say that you'll forget your past

Uh uh uh uh uh uh uh uh

-- Greg Kihn Band (TheBreakup Song) 

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