I Got a Gal on Ariel, She's Got a Nice Bod, But Her Face's Like Hell

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February 6, 2161.

Rick had circled back to the original contact date, over and over again, as time went on and he waited for Doug and Lili to do their thing.

He was busy; the original pulse shot had created such an incoherent wave that, every time he reversed time, it shot off in a different direction. He was able to grab some of the ensuant dark matter as fuel. For the remainder, he would shoot it into nearby stars. Lo, the big white star in the Lafa System was a particularly excellent repository. Over and over again, he grabbed little bits of dark matter and, as such, protected the Enterprise. The HG Wells was loaded with far more fuel than it needed and he had the time to listen to his old-fashioned music and look at projections. He also thought about the date he was missing and whether it would be wholly unethical to go back and hit on Tina April a second time. Maybe he'd think up better lines. Maybe he didn't have to.

He turned his attention back to work. The hand-held temporal observatory didn't have too many specifics about what was going on but there were plenty of other ways to determine whether there was any effect. And this one was a doozy.

The destruction of the cuff was a major historical event in the alternate history of the silver Calafans. And it had been on the first of June of 2178. It was such a significant event that it had made it possible for him to know that date with near-perfect certainty, unlike the 2161 and 2166 dates, which had been little more than educated guesses. But now his records said that the destruction had happened on the second.

Only a little over an hour or so into that day, to be sure, but it was still a difference.

"You may think you're not doing a damned thing," he said to himself, "But you are. Now get them and get gone. Don't dawdle."

=/\=

March 28, 3109.

Kevin O'Connor and Carmen Calavicci were looking at similar information. He yawned and looked up, "I got no one to go back to, but c'mon, I'm sure you got someone or something else planned. I can take over."

"No. Nothing," she said, "Look. There's a slight change right, uh, there."

And so it was.

"I'm not so sure it makes too much of a difference. You know as well as I do that little changes are often just absorbed right into the fabric of space-time," he said, "You wear a blue top instead of a red one, chances are extremely small that you'll cause a planetary explosion or whatever."

"Agreed," she said, "But there is still a difference. And you know, of course, that small changes can add up."

"The right changes," he said, "Who's to say it's the right change?"

"We'll just have to see," she said, "I do wish he was doing it without so many anachronisms."

"He'll fix that," Kevin said, "All he needs to do is rewind to before the meeting with Archer."

"I suppose you're right. Still, it's never a good idea. I guess I'll have to give him another good talking-to upon his return," she said, "I'm making coffee, want some?"

"You mean you're synthesizing it."

"Same difference. Black, right?"

=/\=

Awake and refreshed, she got up and looked at herself in the mirror. I am still the Empress, she thought. I am still one hot ticket.

The dream had been wild. It was realer than any dream she'd ever experienced. She saw people and species she knew, and plenty more that she didn't. She'd even had a pretty hot time with one of the Security guys. What was his name?

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