Two Lines

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Rick got the HG Wells close to the Enterprise, with the cloak engaged, and then lifted the cloak so that the little time ship could be seen. He hailed the Enterprise and Hoshi answered – always a tad rattling for him, given how he'd known her counterpart on the other side of the pond. He checked his records one last time. Anachronisms be damned, he thought to himself. The timeline was all off, and was only going to get worse. He'd deal with Carmen's wrath later.

He docked and was welcomed on, then threw the cloak back over the Wells so that any curious eyes would see nothing. In Jonathan's Ready Room, he explained, "I'm here about the wave and about other things, too."

"Oh?" asked the Captain.

"Yes. There's an invasion coming," Rick said, "I need you, Reed and Tucker. You've gotta do more than just change some polarization protocols. You need to reinforce the hull and upgrade the weapons, and the Columbia needs to do that as well."

"Wait, what?" Jonathan asked, "What about T'Pol?"

"Yes, involve her, too. Hell, involve everyone. The invasion will be in 2166," Rick said, "But I can only be here for about another week, and then I have to go back to right now but keep an appointment over on Lafa II. You've got five years to get ready. Make the most of them."


May 31st, 2178

Leonora Digiorno sat in a hot transport. It swayed a little as it moved, a converted pleasure craft reinforced and slow, but durable. It was as safe as one could get, traveling to a damned war zone. She was lucky to get the tickets at all.

On one side of her was a teenaged boy. On the other was a middle-aged woman, a few years older than her. Or younger, perhaps. As for Norri, the lioness's mane had long gone from auburn to an ashy grey but she was, after all, forty-two years of age. She was tired and bored. There were few windows on the transport – it was like being in a freight car.

They were headed to the Lafa System, that godawful place. There was nothing to do on the transport but think about the last time she'd been in the area. But it was hot, and the rocking was making her drowsy, so she slept.


Leonora had the same old dream.

It wasn't really a dream, in the sense that dreams are often inventions or reconfigurations of reality. And it wasn't a Calafan-style dream – she had no amplifying metal on her person and no experience in that area anyway.

No. This was a nocturnal vision, to be sure, and she was definitely asleep. But to call it a dream would be to add a fictitious spin to it. For it was no dream – it was a memory – a perfectly preserved, utterly traumatic memory.

And for the previous eleven-plus years, she had relived it.

Every single damned night.

This time was no different.

It was December twenty-sixth of 2166. Boxing Day.

It was a fool's errand. They didn't know it at the time, but it was. But Melissa and Malcolm had insisted. All they had wanted to do was attempt to make contact. It had been so long. And the year was nearly over. Perhaps what Rick had said had been incorrect. So they all went to Lafa II. She and Melissa and the kids, in a transport much like the one she was on, and Malcolm via the Enterprise.

They had had Christmas dinner and even a few modest gifts. The children were growing strong and tall – Joss was eight and was growing like a weed, with six-year-old Tommy trying to follow right behind him. Malcolm, as always, had brought the best presents, even though times were not so good. No one could cook like Lili so the gifts had been food-oriented, with jars of chestnuts, little chocolate bars and delicate little packets of tea in the offing. It had been as festive an occasion as was possible under the circumstances.

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