Chapter 21 - Deirdre's Memory

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To whip it

Whip it good

-- Devo (Whip It)

=/\=

Marisol returned to the Jack when she was damned good and ready. Tom just glared at her. "We can't just stick around. Every day you dawdle, you risk making pariotric changes, yanno."

"Oh, it's fine," she said, "don't be so rigid. You're not in the military anymore."

"Maybe not," he said, "but we still need to be careful. Rounding 2217."

She sighed loudly.

"Are you bored, Marisol?" Dan asked her pointedly.

"Unchallenged," she complained.

"Then pilot," Tom said, handing her the controls.

=/\=

"You are an amazing woman," Kevin said to Josie.

"I have nothing to lose," she said, "the whole thing continues to be odd to me. I just got up this morning, like always. It was just another day. And now, it is not. Tell me, do you think, somewhere, I exist in another reality?"

"There are an infinite number of universes," he said, "I bet you're alive and well in most of 'em."

"And I am in love with you in all of them."

=/\=

"You gotta make Google," HD insisted.

"You seem rather sure of yourselves," Sergey said, "we're living off ramen and the good graces of our families. The company, such as it is, exists in a garage not too far from here."

"Have faith," Sheilagh said, "for you are going to be billionaires."

"With a B?" Larry Page asked.

"Yep," she replied.

Sergey whistled through his teeth, "You're not just giving us the BS, right? I mean, you gotta understand – this is exactly what anyone with a startup company wants to know and hear."

"I know," she said, "and I probably sound like an insane prophet, like I should be one of those people who carries around a sign that says that the world's going to end, or something. But it won't, and you are going to hit it big."

"Really big," HD concurred.

"You believe them?" Sergey asked Larry, completely ignored HD and Sheilagh.

"I have no idea," Larry replied, "but we've got nothing to lose."

=/\=

And, just like that, the timeline was restored, and Kevin lost the connection to Josie forever.

=/\=

While Marisol piloted and Tom angrily watched her, Dan went into the back of the Jack and began, again, to think about his lot in life. It was not just the unfairness of it all. It was not just the confusion. It was not just his mixed loyalties.

It was also – he was finding that all he was doing was to put back nasty timelines. And the changes were no better. For every alteration caused some sort of problem. Some of those problems were truly horrific – he certainly didn't wish to live under such an oppressive theocracy. But beating the theocracy went hand in hand with making sure that Deepwater Horizon exploded, and that Anwar Sadat – a man who was trying to embrace peace when all around him were gearing up for war – was assassinated.

It was unfair and it was hurtful. It made his skin crawl with anger and disgust. He sat in the little bedroom. He had gone there, claiming a slight headache and the need for sleep, but it was, rather, the need for solitude.

"What am I doing?" he moaned softly to himself, "Where am I going with this? Everything I do is wrong. Everything is worthless. Nothing is right."

He got up and went over to the replicator and got it to produce a fifth of bourbon. "So this is how you cope, Carmen?" he said to no one, back in the bedroom. "I'm not even a drinker, but I can definitely see the attraction." He tipped the fifth back and drank as much as he could of it in one shot, then swallowed and then drank the remainder. Stem cell growth accelerator did absolutely nothing to put off, change or diminish drunkenness. It only made it possible for him to recover. That was a good thing, too, for he had drunk enough to pass out permanently.

Instead, his nervous system on overload, he blacked out on the floor next to the bed, and stayed there until the Jack arrived at the Temporal Integrity Commission, several hours later.

=/\=

At the Commission, there were multiple bonging sounds, layering on top of each other. Kevin sighed and dropped what he was doing, which was allegedly working on Audrey. He straightened up and began heading over to Carmen's office, trying not to let his sadness show.

=/\=

There was, though, one strange little quirk of timeline restoration. Due to the theft of the master time file, the temporal force field had been damaged. They were all susceptible to changes, although they were unaware of that. Deirdre heard a Communications chime in her ear, and answered it. "Hey, baby," said an overly familiar male voice, "I was thinking, come on over tonight, and we'll maybe go somewhere pretty and have a picnic, okay?"

It was Bruce Ishikawa. In the original history, they had been going out for months. They were in love, everything was wonderful. Both sets of parents were pushing for an engagement already. Everyone wanted to see a 3111 wedding.

But the master time file had been affected because time itself had been affected – and Deirdre, now, too, could be affected. And so she replied, "Who the hell are you?"

=/\=

Yilta caught up with Kevin as he walked in the hallways. "We heard the restoration sounds," she said, "but we've also been told we have gotta stay in a lot more now. Have you heard specifics yet? Some sort of threat from beyond our galaxy."

"Oh? I haven't heard it yet," he stopped for a moment.

"Somethin' wrong?"

"No, uh, with the line completely restored, Josie's gone again," he said.

"I imagine Darywev is back to being my ex, too," she replied.

"Probably. This whole situation is hard to take. It really pulls your heart apart, like taffy."

"Taffy? I don't know what that is," she said.

"Never mind. It just feels like it's this horribly hurtful thing. I, uh," he faced her; "you make it easier to take."

She leaned over and kissed him. "Ya do as well."

=/\=

When a good time turns around

You must whip it

You will never live it down

Unless you whip it

-- Devo (Whip It)

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