Epilogue and Afterword

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Epilogue

It was later. Much, much later.

It was August fifth of 4110, to be precise. A class was being taught at the Temporal Museum on Lafa II.

"And there you have it," said the docent, who appeared part-Witannen, and part-Daranaean, and part-human and part-Calafan and part-Gorn and part-Imvari and part-Xindi sloth and part-Betazoid and perhaps a thousand other things, "a millennium ago, today, this action was as close as we have ever gotten to making a megaotric change."

"What happened to the participants?" asked a student.

"The artifacts tell the tale," replied the docent, leading the students to a clear case.

"The cuff of Lo passed to the descendants of Thomas Grant and Eleanor Daniels Grant. The family eventually donated it here. The key charm and Xindi initiation medal passed to the children of Richard Daniels and Milena Chelenska Daniels. The museum has facsimiles as that family is retaining those pieces. This sword," it was an ornate straight blade, "is Ironblaze, once owned by the Empress Hoshi Sato. It passed to her descendants, and the descendants of Charles Tucker VI, and was kept in trust by the adopted descendants of mirror High Priestess Yimar and her consort, Joshua Rosen. The original is in the mirror's version of this museum – what is being shown to you is a facsimile. The wedding rings worn by Douglas Jay Hayes Beckett and his wife, Lili, passed to, eventually, the descendants of Henry Desmond Avery IV and Sheilagh Bernstein, who retain them. The wedding rings worn by Lili O'Day Reed and Malcolm Reed passed to their descendants, who are with us today – the Ishikawa family of Dawitan. That family also retains the rings although we do have facsimiles. As Deirdre Katzman Ishikawa had said, 'Wedding rings are to be worn.'"

The docent turned and that person's bodily coherence broke up a little as the shape of the display case was approximated before the docent changed, and became, before the class's eyes, a female physician who was a Czech Holocaust survivor; a male southerner with military training; a male hipster who could sing and play any instrument and had an ear for music and could sight-read; a female silver Calafan engineer with an Irish-sounding Lafa V accent and calloo that resembled lightning bolts; a male survivalist member of Section 31 who had turned traitor; a male human-Xindi sloth-Klingon doctor with a paranoid streak and a taste for sexual drama; a female Jewish-Japanese engineer with a round face and sparkling eyes; a curvy female blonde who knew ancient computers; a Mexican femme fatale who had no remorse for the murders she had committed, for she was a psychopath; a male with adult ADHD and Asperger's; a female half-Witannen who could see temporal alternatives; a male who was part-Gorn and cried practically at the drop of a hat and who loved more deeply than nearly anyone; a female British boss who was suppressing her alcoholism and coming into her own as a leader; a female former hairdresser who sometimes felt intimidated by all of the intelligence in the room; a middle-aged female psychologist who had been a therapist to the stars; and, finally, to a reformed womanizer who had changed his life by making peace with his unplanned, temporally paradoxical son and had allowed himself to fall in love and loyally stay there.

Then the docent returned to an even earlier shape, that of a figure that was still referred to as Branch Borodin. It – they – remembered the people who had found and named them, and accepted them, and driven out the Varg-i-yeh, and it held the shape, and the name, for as long as it existed, to pay respect to them, forever and beyond, as long as there was anyone or anything that would know a thing such as time.

Afterword

Dear Reader,

Thank you for hanging in there. I know this was a long series. I've always liked the idea of a kind of Quantum Leap in reverse, where Sam Beckett's actions are put back, and I even had started writing it before ENT was on the air. Then when Scott Bakula was tapped to star in that series, I suppose it was kismet.

If this is the only one of the Times of the HG Wells stories that you've read, here is where you can find the others:

The first is A Long, Long Time Ago. The title comes from the song, American Pie, and it's about February 3rd of 1959, when Buddy Holly, JP Richardson and Ritchie Valens were killed in a plane crash.

The second is Ohio. The title is from a song about the Kent State shootings on May 4th of 1970. Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders really was there; hence the story revolves, in part, around her.

The third story is You Mixed-Up Siciliano. It does not focus on specific historic events, save as they relate to how our medical community, if it had been a bit different, the HIV/AIDS pandemic could have been prevented or reduced.

Those first three stories go together as a mini-series within the series.

The fourth story is Spring Thaw. It is the only one of the stories where the title is not a lyric, and it introduces Milena Chelenska, a character who has been in my head for decades. Her name is based on Franz Kafka's lover, Milena Jesenska, a Czech writer who died in the Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, in 1944.

The fifth story is Where the Wind Comes Sweepin' Down the Plain. That one is a reference to Oklahoma and the Oklahoma City bombing and is also meant to be a handling of not only that tragedy, but also 9/11.

The fourth and fifth stories go together as a mini-series within the series.

The sixth story is The Point is Probably Moot.The main issue is somewhat more obscure, as it covers the assassination of Anwar Sadat; the story is more of a vehicle to return to the Mirror Universe.

The seventh story is Shake Your Body. It covers the Challenger explosion and was actually the first mission I had thought of. It also serves as an occasion to further explore the mirror.

The eighth and final story, which you presumably just read, is He Stays a Stranger. Not only is the main story resolved, through the prism of the 1964 killings of Andrew Goodman, Mickey Schwerner and James Chaney, but it also serves to wrap up the mirror and the story of the Calafans which was started in the In Between Days series.

I hope you've enjoyed Rick's journey from womanizer to faithful husband and friend, as much as I've enjoyed writing it. Along the way, I was also happy to showcase Kevin's journey from bereaved widower to a man with hope for the future, the maturations of HD Avery and Levi Cavendish, the tentative romance of Tom and Eleanor, Carmen's pushing past her demons to become a true leader, Dan's descent into depression, Boris's progression from adulterer to killer and even Marisol as the horror of her behaviors becomes more and more readily apparent.

It was a joy to revisit Lili and Malcolm in their twilight years, as they look out for their family but also find the time to fret over what happens as you age. Melissa and Norri made their appearances as well. Doug was not forgotten, and it was fun to shout out not only to him and Jay, but also to Ian, and to wrap up the Empress's life and conquests as her family – which is a counterpart, in a way, to Lili's family – continues on.

As in the In Between Days series, there are plenty of unexplored bits, the nooks and crannies of existence that can be the fodder for future stories to slip in between, before and after the works in this series. There is a sequel with several shorter stories -- and then a series covering a rather particular point in canon which I hope you'll enjoy as it contains some of my best-ever fanfiction writing.

Whatever form love takes for you, it's all that matters.

Thank you again for reading.

The End

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