Wrong Bride, Wrong Groom

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Soft kisses on a summer's day

Laughing all our cares away

Just you and I

– Chad and Jeremy (A Summer Song)


"I'd like for you to help me, if you would," Carmen asked Rick. They were still in her office. "Please."

"Oh? I don't exist, remember?"

She smiled tightly. "I have not forgotten. But I have also not forgotten that I've got an operative in the mirror right now, and the year coincides with what you just came back from – 2192. I do not know what is happening to Thomas Grant. I fear he may have met his end – and not the false way. So I'll need for someone to find out what happened. Or rescue him if he's in a bind. Can you do that?"

"Don't you have a need for a temporal restoration on this side?" Rick asked. "We both know there's something going on with that guy Mickey Schwerner."

"Yes," she said, "and I will have that taken care of," she sighed, "I've got those damned Varg-i-yeh coming. I don't know what's happening with that. But I do know that these other things also need to be repaired. Tell me, at least, that you'll consider it, all right?"

"Let me," he thought quickly, "I want to get the news in your reality. I want to know what I'm dealing with here. Just let me do that, okay?"

"All right," she said, "but kindly don't speak to the engineers. I know you're right; there's at least one of them inside. Beauchaine hinted that he believed there was another operative as well. Tilson and Kumar were never hired, so it's obviously not them. After that, well, at some point it goes outside of the Human Unit. And then it becomes this big political thing." She shook her head, and he departed.


He sat in the cafeteria, alone. No one knew him, for he wasn't supposed to exist at all. Rick shook his head. Being a non-person was a strange matter.

He clicked around on his PADD, searching for any mention of his family. Search: Daniels. The return was one hundred and eleven million records. There were millions of records for his parents, Steven and Chloe, or at least for their names. There were even a few million records for his sister, Eleanor's, name.

Then, just for laughs, he decided to look up an ex, Tina April. There were another few thousand records. Nothing was jumping out at him. Finally, another idea, another bit of disconnected surfing. Tina had a new beau, Troy something or other. He searched on Tina April Troy and was astonished at what he found.

He dropped what he was doing and didn't even bus his tray. He just ran over to where the Wells was parked, and took off.


Carmen sat in her office and engaged her implanted Communicator. "Mister O'Connor, I'd like to speak with you."

"Sure thing, boss," said Kevin. He ambled over slowly. He was nearly a quarter of a metric ton in weight. It was impossible for him to move any more rapidly.

"What can I do for you?" he asked as soon as he had arrived.

"I know that one of the people here in the Commission who are working for the Perfectionists is an engineer. Tell me what you think of all of them, and not just in our unit. There's Von and there's also that Calafan engineer."

"Yilta," he said, indicating the Calafan engineer, "you must know that she and I have been seeing each other. I don't want to tell you that my observations about her are unreliable but maybe I look at her with rose-colored glasses on."

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