You're a Lousy Waitress

1 0 0

Say you don't need no diamond rings

And I'll be satisfied

Tell me that you want the kind of things

That money just can't buy

I don't care too much for money

Money can't buy me love

– The Beatles (Can't Buy Me Love)


On the surface, on our side of the pond, Rick made the introductions quickly. Then he and Deirdre got back into the Wells and took off.

"It's funny," Otra said, as they walked into the house, "but he said not to land in the garden."

"Almost like he had been here before. I just wish I remembered him," Lili said.

Tommy came over with Helen. "It's getting a bit late. We should, uh, we all should go in."

Lili and Malcolm glanced at each other, a kind of a private signal passing between them. They had been together so long, few words were necessary.

They opened the door to the house and Lili immediately went over to Jia. "Since we might lose our, uh, guest in the dark," she indicated Helen, "I'm afraid we've had to bring her inside. But God only knows whether she's dangerous. Tell you what, why don't you pack a bag for the baby and yourself and go, either up the rise to our house, or to Neil's place. Just, if anything happens, we've gotta protect little Jay and Jenny Lee." Jia nodded, and left to pack a bag.

"Now, isn't this cozy?" Helen asked, grinning and looking at all of them, "Yanno, it's strange to be here, kinda outside of time, in some ways. Things could happen, and ya'll wouldn't even know that they had. And you wouldn't know who to believe, or who to trust."

The only thing that Malcolm could think of was the cuff of Lo, which he wore on his left wrist. He did remember seeing Thomas Grant before – for in the new reality, it was Tom who had been there in 2161, and not Rick, and it was Tom who had landed there about a week previously. And so, at the very least, they knew him.

And Tom wore his own iteration of the cuff of Lo. While it was, technically possible for a copy of the piece to have been forged, it seemed unlikely. To Malcolm, this was evidence that Tom was some sort of descendant of the family, and that was good enough for him. But Helen, on the other hand, was nothing to him.


Rick and Deirdre fired a pulse shot and flew the Wells through the gap between the two universes. Rick could, immediately, feel the weight of the dissonant radiation band.

"This place feels weird," Deirdre said, "I've never been to the mirror before. Is it always like this?"

"Every single time," he said, even though it had been a while since he had been there. That part just never seemed to change.

"Look over there, port bow," she said.

It was the Defiant.

She was patched, and needed a new paint job. Pieces had been awkwardly welded on, repair jobs that had not always been performed with a perfect attention to detail.

"Defiant, this is the Wells," Deirdre said, "We request permission to dock."

Tom heard, as the communiqué was patched through to the conference room. He kept his poker face.

"Friends of yours?" Hoshi asked.

"Not mine," Jennifer said, "I've never heard of that ship."

He Stays a StrangerRead this story for FREE!