Escapes and Abandonments

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Baby, baby (baby baby)

Where did our love go?

Ooh, don't you want me (baby baby)

Don't you want me no more (baby baby)

Ooh baby (ooh baby baby)

Baby, baby

Where did our love go

And all your promises (baby baby)

Of a love forever more (baby baby)

(ooh baby baby)

– Diana Ross and the Supremes (Where Did Our Love Go?)

=/\=

Rick maneuvered the Wells out like he always did. The specific launch sequence protocols did not work – another effect of the temporal issues. But the generic protocol worked just fine, and they were off.

Polly looked at him as he flew the time ship. "All of this is counterintuitive. Then again, if things are messed up in the same way as you claim they are, then that actually makes perfect sense."

"I don't suppose the 2192 mirror will be so pleased to see even a half-Witannen such as myself," Otra said, "for on their side of the pond, first contact was a rather bloody affair."

"Just about at Dawitan," Rick said. It was customary protocol to orbit Dawitan – a Delta Quadrant world, where Otra's mother was from – for most of the temporal journey. Then, when the display read about one hundred years from their destination, they would begin flying spatially toward their destination. Unlike the other two time ships in flight, they were not heading to Earth, and Warp Drive already existed for several species. They would not have to cloak up in order to get to Lafa II.

"Where's Deirdre?" Otra asked.

"Here, sorry," she said. She had been in the back. "There's a huge bed, with black satin sheets! Mister Daniels, do you mean to seduce any of us? Or, er, all of us?"

"That's a vestige of an older life, an earlier time," he said. Milena had never seen the inside of the Wells. Right now, she was the only one he wanted to share that bed.

"I said, Mister Daniels," Deirdre said, "that I hope you don't my having gone into the back."

"Wha –? Oh, no worries," he said, "Passing 2850."

=/\=

On the Simon Morley, they were still not aware that the colony entity – Branch – had joined them. "You kids ready for your mission?" Kevin asked.

"Sure, such as it is," Sheilagh said, "I am thinking that this is a pretty small thing."

"Yeah," HD agreed, "the Varg-i-yeh are much bigger fish to fry."

"Sure, but these are our fish. Rounding 2740," Kevin said.

=/\=

On the Audrey II, Carmen paced while Levi piloted. "I feel like we just abandoned everyone, and everything," Carmen complained.

"Well, none of us are soldiers, just Tom," Crystal pointed out, "so there's no way that any of us could have fought. And how, even? Does anyone have any idea how to go after them?"

"Who? Uh, we're rounding 2710," Levi said, "I dunno. It seems like we got this to do, so let's just do it. And maybe it'll all fix itself."

"I get the feeling that fixing our own history will do us little good with the Varg-i-yeh," Carmen said, "I wonder how Bryce is doing."

=/\=

There wasn't much to wonder about. Communications and negotiations had failed. The galactic defense ships had been called in, and they were doing all they could, but the Varg-i-yeh ships just kept splitting off. "Keep them from moving!" Bryce yelled. "Dammit, what can we do?!"

The Varg-i-yeh kept coming, splitting off, and then continuing their advance. But there were no saviors for the Temporal Integrity Commission, the USS Adrenaline, or the United Federation of Planets.

=/\=

Helen Walker sat in her home on Callisto and smiled to herself. All she had had to do was tell the Varg-i-yeh to monitor certain transmissions. She did not know that, not only had they done so, but they had acted. They had gleefully intercepted all incoming ships and outgoing transmissions. There would be no saviors for the Milky Way galactic defense forces. It was getting to be all too easy.

=/\=

From her office on the USS Adrenaline, Yilta watched as the Varg-i-yeh made mincemeat of the galactic defense forces. She engaged her implanted Communicator. "Kaiwev," she said, calling her supervisor, "we should leave. This is completely unsafe. No one is going to survive this onslaught."

"I will not abandon these people," he replied.

"And what will ya do? We got nothing to do here, but sit and watch destruction, and await our own! The Light of Lo is ready to go. We could all squeeze onto it."

He thought for a second. "Go, if you want to. I can't tell you when to go to, but of course you'll go to our system. I don't think the past will stay safe for long. But go. Maybe at least a few of us will make it out of here."

"And you?" she asked anxiously.

"My destiny is here."

=/\=

"Ya'll been successful?" Helen asked, calling the leader of the Varg-i-yeh a few hours later.

"Things were simple," replied the leader. The Adrenaline was a smoking pile of rubble. Anyone who had not had the foresight to get outta Dodge was lost with it. That included Bryce Unger and most of the species units.

"Good! And ya'll remember our little deal?"

The connection was broken.

The leader turned to the other Varg-i-yeh. "Trace that call and all others to and from that communicator for the past year. Then you know what to do."

"Yes, leader," replied a lackey, who then disappeared in order to do the leader's bidding.

The leader smiled the Varg-i-yeh version of a smile. There were no such things as obligations, at least, not flowing away from them. To them, yes. Others could and did bring tribute or goods or soldiers. But the Varg-i-yeh did not owe anyone anything. And the Perfectionists were about to find that out, first hand.

=/\=

Helen tried communications a few more times, to reestablish the connection, but her hails went completely unanswered. "This is not good," she said to herself. She weighed her options, and realized that staying was not going to do her a damned bit of good. She set her temporal enhancer cuff to May twenty-fifth of 2192 – just a few days after her father had gone, as she figured he could use a little space – and to Lafa II. "As for getting over to the mirror," she told herself, "I'll cross that bridge, heh, when I get to it."

She swallowed the dose of trichronium and was whisked to 2192, abandoning the Perfectionists to their fate.

=/\=

I've got this yearning, burning (baby baby)

Yearning feelin' inside me (where did our love go)

Ooh, deep inside me (baby baby)

And it hurts so bad (baby baby)

(ooh baby baby)

– Diana Ross and the Supremes (Where Did Our Love Go?)    

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