"Why there?" Janeway asked her second officer.|
"Those owners will have been admitted for their
ailments and will not
miss their vehicle." Tuvok explained.
Reg stuttered. "But that's theft."
"We'll return it." Chakotay grinned.
They left Rampart eagerly, choosing a beat up old van
even have fresh dew on it, a recent emergency admit. It still had
bloody towels in
the passenger's seat that its owner had used
to stem a bad injury of some kind while he/she drove
::And microsurgery.:: Janeway grinned, kicking them off the seat and
onto the floor.
::That should be an especially long hospital visit.::
she grinned. ::Works for me.::
Captain Janeway had been right that Tom's absence had been noticed.
Johnny Gage was leaning
on the flag pole of the station when Tom Paris's
taxi cab pulled up. "So there you are. You almost
Tom waved the paper enthusiastically into the air as his excuse.
grinned at him. "You didn't have to call a cab. The nearest
gas station is only a block and a half
down." he said, brushing a bit
of cut grass off of his duty uniform shoes.
Tom tipped the cab
driver and waved him off. "I....didn't want to walk.
I'm still sore from yesterday's hike and the
day before yesterday's
Johnny frowned with concern. "Want me and Roy to take a look
you? It'd be no big deal for us to take you into Rampart for a quick checkup
using the squad
if there's something that's still bugging you."
"I'm sure I'm fine. Nothing that a long hot shower
won't fix." Paris said.
"Suit yourself. And you don't have to use the weak one in the camper.
Cap caved in finally when he lost an arm wrestle with Stoker."
"I don't get it." Tom said, shaking
"We won the right to invite you in to have some food and real
you thank Mr. Stoker for me?" Tom asked.
"You can thank him yourself, come on." Johnny said, making
his way to Cap's office entrance to let them both in. "But first
I've gotta introduce you to Boot."
"Who's Boot?" Tom asked, pretending innocence.
"Our station dog. He can be a bit of a pest
but he's all loyal once
he gets to know ya." Gage explained.
::Well I don't know about that.::
Tom chuckled mentally,
remembering how fast Boot had fathomed and scrapped his
paper ploy a few
hours earlier. "I'm good with dogs. Usually."
"Aw, Boot's harmless. In fact, he's
the best rescue dog Station 51
has ever had. The only hard thing is that he never sticks around
enough afterwards for anyone to really reward him for his
efforts. Believe me, he's a stray with
"I can totally sympathize." Paris said, empathetically.
Subject: Inside Man-- Part One
Sent: Mon 5/03/10 1:36 PM
Janeway, Tuvok, Chakotay, and the holographic
packed into the van which turned out to be a hippy's hideaway;
a custom, complete
with hemp curtains, poms poms, and neon
colored flower stickers stuck all over the ceiling. Carefully,
Tuvok drove towards their destination in Bellflower, ignoring
the silver peace symbol chain and
charm dangling musically
from the rear view mirror.
The holo Reg, feeling nervous about holding
his own very delicately
made portable satellite booster, rode in his seat with his eyes tightly
shut. "Are we there yet?" he asked, grimacing with discomfort.
Janeway turned back from the front
passenger seat. She had hung
a jacket covered arm discreetly out the window while she tricorder
the landscape they were passing, searching for temporal
anomalies. "I'm afraid this is a 1970's combustible
motor drive, Mr.
Barclay, not a shuttle. It's bound to be a little bumpy." she grinned.
which, why are you acting queasy? You're a hologram."
"Captain, I'm not car sick. I- I'm... anxious
about losing me." he said,
holding up the device that was projecting him between two tightly
sets of fingers. "...er... I mean, this projection of me and the
connection we have with you inside
of the time echo. It took most of
a day to establish our link to Tom Paris the first time. We had
the hospital's security camera network for that. And they're very, very
he fidgetted nervously.
Tuvok lifted an eyebrow. "Mr. Barclay, I assure you my repairs are of
more solid construction than twentieth century Earth's."
"Well, I...didn't mean t--" Reg stuttered,
"You doubt a Vulcan?" Chakotay mocked Barclay, teasing.
winced, but then remembered that Tuvok's feelings
couldn't easily be hurt. He came up with another
his high flying worries. "I'm just trying to say that the admiral's
keen on being kept up to date with this entire...."
"...extremely dicey.." Chakotay chimed in.
Barclay nodded eagerly in agreement. "....situation...." he said.
Janeway and the others
heard muffled yelling as the indistinct voice of
the admiral came over Reg Barclay's audio pickups
as he shared
unhappy thoughts and other rapid fire orders with the scientists at
Reg shrank at an unseen tirade. "...as soon as it happens." he clarified.
Janeway said dryly, not amused. "But making sure you
stay online isn't one of my priorities. And Komachy
knows that." she said,
pegging Reg with a firm stare as she raised her voice so that she
heard by her real unseen target, the man in charge with the
cluster pins. Then she turned her eyes
back onto the road ahead of
them. Another bump in the pavement made her jump and grab the
in front of her with her free hand. "I am reading something
odd in the direction we're heading. A...
void of sorts, something the
tricorder can't quite make sense of." she reported, double checking
her safety belt unnecessarily.
"How big?" Chakotay asked, eating heartily of the dried rations they had|
supplied to him, in between
slugs of bottled water. The bad axles of the
van didn't seem to phase him in the slightest.
building sized." Janeway said, studying her tricorder. "Sixteen
kilometers ahead of us. To the north
"That is our current trajectory. Any visual spectrums?" Tuvok asked,
fake fur steering wheel of the van nimbly as he drove
and turned where he needed them to go.
"Hmmm.." Janeway considered as she played with buttons and
different scans. "Just a minute. I'll
see if I can glean out anything
more." she told him.
Soon, they were on a freeway, filled with
other cars and trucks that
were moving along at top speed. Janeway relaxed as the van started
at atmospheric shuttle velocity. ::Well, well, well. At least
there are no traffic jams today.::
she thought happily, watching the
vehicles flow around them as they freely broke California speeding
Reg thrust an unreal but much more updated Earth holotricorder of his
own swiftly around
Janeway's seat and shoulder a second later, aiming
it at the windshield. "No. It's totally masked."
he stated. "But it has
a physical surface boundary."
Kathryn made an amused face over Reg's
eager to help antics. "Thanks
for the report, Lieutenant. Keep us posted." she said, putting away
ship's tricorder. "Well, at least we know something tangible's out there.
be able to breach it."
Station 51, Tom Paris leaned back in his wooden chair and stretched.
"Wow, do you know how long it's
been since I've stuffed myself on
Stoker smirked. "No. How long?"
seven years." Tom told him soberly. He was still relishing licking
off the syrup from his fingers.
"Oooo." Cap sympathy winced. "Active duty takes a lion's share of sacrifices,
that's for sure."
"Us more than most." Paris said, quietly, morose. But then he shook himself.
"Uh, Captain." he
addressed Hank. "What should I do if you guys get called
out to handle an emergency? Should I stay?
Hank thought about it. "Got that covered. I cleared you with Headquarters to
unofficial official observer. Used your military history for the paperwork
that Gage provided."
Tom glanced back at Johnny, who waved a guilty hand. "I.....figured you wouldn't
mind. It'll be hours
yet before Chakotay's awake enough for a visit from ya." he
"I appreciate it. I love fire supression unit-- I mean... fire stations.
Where do I ride?" he guessed,
eyeing up the gas combustible vehicles just
in view, from the kitchen, where they parked in the apparatus
Roy replied. "In the squad with us. We'll grab ya a helmet to wear and an
name tag that'll keep the police off you at all our scenes. We just
ask that you keep back, keep safe
and don't interfere."
"Oh, believe me. Non-interference is tops on the lists of both my boss and me."|
Tom gushed, holding
up reassuring hands.
DeSoto smiled. "Want to call Rampart and see how Chakotay's doing?"
"Use my office, Tom." Hank suggested. "Requires no dime."
"Thank you, sir." Paris
saluted. He left for the bay.
The gang chuckled.
"Man, he's a weird one." Kelly remarked.
"What makes you say that?" Marco asked.
"He talks funny, acts funny, and eats like there's
no tomorrow." Chet
checked off on his fingers.
"What do you expect? He's from the military."
"Yeah, active duty." Gage agreed. "Sometimes I think they brainwash
into acting like that when they're back visiting civilians."
"Gage, you've never served like the
rest of us. You were too young.
How would you know?" Chet wondered.
Johnny knew he was on
the spot. "Well, I... it makes sense. Can't let
that combat edge dull down, it'd be bad for business."
he smiled crookedly,
"You're right." Cap defended. "We were taught to stay
guarded. Took me
years to settle down after I finished my tour."
"There, see?" Gage said, looking
"I'm not arguing with ya today. I'm too full." Kelly said and he got up to go
"Who says I'm arguing?!" Gage insisted, getting up in arms. "You're
who started finger pointing."
The rest of the gang just sighed and let Johnny rant.
Roy DeSoto smiled, until he felt a twinge in his chest. "Ouch." he said.
broke off. "What? What's wrong?"
"Oh, it's one of those." replied Roy, taking in a deep testing
breath. "I just felt
a twinge. It's nothing."
"What do you mean nothing. Two weeks ago, you
almost died on a wire,
Roy. If it wasn't for Karen Overstreet, you'd be pushing up daisies right
Johnny said with exasperation, focusing on Roy's face intently.
"Don't remind me." DeSoto said
seriously. "I hate thinking about it."
Gage ignored him. "So are you having cardiac symptoms or
he said, grabbing Roy's wrist for a pulse check.
Roy just sighed and let him check.
"Dr. Brackett said I'd feel spasms every
now and then while my heart finishes healing. It did receive
shock at that house fire."
"Twice." Chet chimed in.
DeSoto chuckled. "Yeah,
first from that electrical wire and then from
the Datascope paddles after I rolled off the roof."
Johnny let go of Roy's wrist.|
"So how am I?" DeSoto asked in amusement.
"You're still sore somebody else got to me first that day, aren't you?"
"No, I... I had my hands full with that victim. I couldn't just leave her. I knew
and Marco had ya under control with that CPR."
"But it still rankles." Roy said, narrowing his
eyes with a grin.
"Well, yeah, you're my partner. Ain't ya? And- and- and what firefighter wouldn't
feel overly protective in a situation like that." Gage said. "You were dying right
in front of my
Cap smirked and just winked at Kelly as the argument played out.
Roy missed the
exchange completely. He just looked at Gage calmly.
"Johnny, thanks for worrying. But I'm A okay.
You can check my pulse all you like."
Roy said, refolding his newspaper neatly. "These are just angina
And not dangerous at all or I'd never have been returned back to active duty."
Gage eyed him up critically. "Okay. But tell me when each one comes. I
wanna know if you're having
arrythmias or BP changes during them."
"Deal. I promise I'll cooperate with followup on-the-scene
Johnny still wasn't comforted.
Roy threw up his hands. "Oh, for Pete's
sake. If you're so concerned, how
about you driving the squad for the rest of the month?" he said,
holding up the
squad's keys. "That's how long Brackett said these things would come and go."
Gage immediately broke out of his fake frown. "Deal." he said, snatching them
up. "Remember you offered!"
He kissed the keys in celebration.
Chet crowed. "Oh, that was beautiful, Johnny boy. A real gem!
collaborated on that. I win the bet."
"Worth every dollar." Gage said, pocketting the
It was Roy's turn to frown. "You guys set me up?"
"Yep." they both said.
rest of the gang laughed, including Boot.
Roy decided in the end, to just laugh along.
Subject: Inside Man-- Part Two
From: patti k (email@example.com)
Sent: Tue 5/04/10 11:09 AM
##EEEeeOHHhhOOOooooo.## came Station 51's call tones. The gang
immediately bolted from their breakfast
seats for the trucks.
They hurried even faster when the tones continued, into a second
then third alarm, calling out three other stations.
##EEE OOO*spap* EEE OH*spap*, EE UH*spap*##
Tom Paris, who hadn't even touched the phone, pretended that
he was, by picking it up and holding
it to his ear as he heard
the gang rush by. Johnny came to get him from Cap's office.
on, come on! Let's go. That's us. And it's a big one."
Gage said, getting excited.
you tell?" Paris asked, following Johnny back to
the squad at a run.
"The number of tones.
These are long, so somebody already
knows what we're heading into." Johnny shouted over the din.
Finally, the tones died away and Sam Lanier the dispatcher,
came over the intercom. ##Station 51,
Truck 127, Battalion 9,
Stations 24, 99. Structure fire at the museum. 9834 Flora Vista St.
Flora Vista St. Cross street, Bellflower Blvd. Timeout: 7:47.##
Hank shouted out in a wail. "Oh,
"What?" Chet shouted back. "Did we forget something?" he|
asked, thinking of hanging hose or refilling
"No. We're fine with our equipment. Don't you guys know where
that is?! That
address we got is the Los Angeles County Fire
Museum." Cap quailed, quickly throwing on his turnout
"OOoo, all those old fire trucks?" Roy sympathized.
Gage had a sad
face. "Afraid so." he said, buckling in.
"There goes our history, up in smoke." Chet bemoaned.
Marco was more optimistic. "Not if we're fast about it."
Stoker just took action. "Hang on
everybody. I'm putting
the pedal to the metal."
"Do it." Cap ordered, swiftly. He already had
his walkie talkie
glued to his ear, connected with the chief, who was also
speeding to the scene.
"That building's in a risky spot."
Inside the squad, Tom shrank under his fire helmet. ::Not good.
Oh, not good. I wonder what's happening. My crewmates are there!.::
the Voyager pilot worried.
He didn't even feel Johnny clipping the
observer's I.D. to his shirt pocket.
Tom Paris didn't
have long to wait. Soon, Station 51 was across
town and flying down San Gabriel Freeway 605, heading
quickly towards the row of palm trees which delineated Flora Vista
St. from the rest of the warehouse
district surrounding it.
They were the closest assigned; easily on the way to being the first
station to get there.
Cap got on his HT. "Anybody seeing any smoke?"
##Squad 51, negative.##
replied Gage from Squad 51.
Firefighters from the other companies on the way in didn't see
yet either, reporting in the negative over the airwaves, in
reply, from their different, still travelling
Stoker flipped up his driver's visor. "Just the smog line, Cap." he
his helmet rim up as he rushed Engine 51 off of the
"Okay, when we get there,
we'll scout around in the trucks first.
Nobody gets off until I say!" Hank ordered firmly.
51, 10-4.## replied Gage.
Hank finished his line of reasoning. "That block is a little too crowded
alley or road space wise for our trucks. I want the widest safety
margin possible right from
the get-go, even if we have to set up
in the park a block away, and hoof it in. There's active chemical
store warehouses surrounding three sides of that museum! Last
thing I want is an explosion cascade
happening, with us right in
the middle of it."
Battalion Nine's voice rang out over the fire
channel. ##I concur,
Engine 51. Staging will be in Flora Vista Park. Parallel flank
the main drag
into the picnic area, then start tapping hydrants
wearing full turnout, including airbottles.##
"Engine 51, Battalion 9. 10-4." Cap replied. "Will you assume I.C.
from me on arrival?"
the plan. I need you with your crew.##
Janeway and the others pulled
up into the small parking lot of
the CLAFMA museum at its front. The birds were singing, and
air was still quiet with morning stillness. Traffic could be heard
on the freeway, but it was just
a slowly growing hum of noise
in the distance.
Chakotay sneezed again in the daylight. "Ah,
is that smog?"
he asked, covering his nose in distaste.
"Probably." Janeway said deadpan, taking
out her tricorder once
more from her pocket to join the holo Barclay in scanning
"I've heard it was usually heavier in the mornings."
"Smells like smoke." Reg commented, sniffing
Nobody paid any attention to that remark.
Chakotay reported a finding on his own
scan. "There's nobody
about. Not for blocks."
"I'm putting the EMH online then." Kathryn replied.
use another pair of eyes." She tapped her combadge that was
linked to the hidden escape
pod's hiding place. "Computer, activate
the EMH." she said, fingering the holoemitter she had placed
her open hand. It jumped into mid air and stuck itself there.
The balding blue and black
uniformed, brown eyed holodoc reappeared
at once. "Please state the nature of the-- Oh, we're here."
he broke off,
seeing the shimmering void effect which shrouded the fire museum. "What
do you want
me to scan for?" he asked, tapping the side of his forehead.
Janeway decided to be vague. "An
old man. In there, if you can." she pointed
to the temporal boundary that was making the building
in front of them shimmer.
"Our tricorders can't penetrate the event horizon."
The EMH just
harrumphed in his throat. "First things first, captain. If you'll excuse
me." he said. Then he turned
to the commander. "Chakotay, how are you doing?"
"Fine." Chakotay replied. "I ate. I had some more water. I'm good to go. Your|
instant surgery worked."
"I am equipped with the memories and experiences of several hundred of the finest
doctors in the
history of Starfleet. I sure hope it worked." grumbled the holodoc.
"I have to check on my handiwork
because the body can still react to changes
adversely, despite being recently healed." he said, pulling
out a medical tricorder
to sweep Chakotay from head to toe. Then he put it away when no trouble was
found. "Now, I can play your bloodhound, captain, with a clear conscience."
ruefully. "Tally ho." she said, sweeping her hand at the museum's
nearest margin wavering wall.
Barclay was still scanning the area with his unreal modern holotricorder he had
the computers at Project
Pathfinder whip up. "There's nothing out of the ordinary
going on around us temporal wise." he remarked.
"Plasma fire?" Chakotay asked out of the blue.
"No. Nothing." Reg replied.
said Tuvok, scanning for time distortions as well.
The holodoc broke off from his squinting, by
eye examination of the museum
mirage in front of them. "Why am I looking for an old man?" he asked
Tom Paris just rolled his eyes. "You were too busy working on Chakotay
to pay much attention to our conversation at the hospital. You see, on Page
Three B of a newspaper,
we found the image of a man we already know from
this time echo, a paramedic by the name of Roy DeSoto."
"He's one who helped save me." Chakotay clarified.
"And the old man?" the EMH asked.
also Roy DeSoto." Kathryn shared. "Forty years older."
"And that's the kicker." said Chakotay.
The EMH blinked.
"I see. Now you want me to play space monkey and go traipsing off into
time field to look for a living, breathing, human anomaly."
Janeway held up a pair of hands in
placation. "Doctor, you know we
wouldn't ask you to risk your program if our lives didn't depend on
Now there's a very small chance this version of Roy DeSoto is one
of the away team's ancestors."
"A very remote possibility." the EMH huffed.
"But it has to be checked regardless." Janeway
said, no nonsense.
"Would you rather one of us step through there first? I don't think aging
years in a few seconds would be a very pretty sight, Doctor."
Another voice spoke up from behind
the van. It was Boothby.
"Captain, you're forgetting. You are all originals. This place,.."
said expansively to their surroundings, "..and that place." he
pointed to the wavy illusion of the
museum. "are just an echo
and an isolated new ripple outside of your real original timeline."
the wrinkled Nexus ribbon traveler gone gardener/cadet
tracker. He was wearing a straw sunhat and
He stooped to smell one of a decorative pink flowered bush
which lined the parking
lot's curbs. He gave a bloom to Janeway
and bowed at her in re-welcome.
"Wait a minute. How'd
you get here so fast." Chakotay asked
him. "We didn't scan anybody in the area."
scanning for El Aurien?" Boothby challenged.
"Oops." said Barclay, widening his surveillance sweeps
include the whole Starfleet database of aliens. "Widened to
include Borg." he whispered to Janeway.
Kathryn nodded in acknowledgement. "So we'll be perfectly|
safe going in there, Boothby?"
why not? You're safe out here, aren't you?" he countered
wisely, with a grin.
The EMH ignored
their banter. "Let's just get this over with.
If this senior aged Roy DeSoto turns out negative in
similarity scans, I still have a whole city metropolis to search for
your lost ancestor."
"I just want to know how he figures into all of this." Janeway said,
at the museum.
"Are you sure he's really in there?" the EMH asked.
Tuvok replied. "There
is a good chance that he is. The older Roy was
photographed standing in front of historical fire
fighting artifacts from this
"I...think ...I am 'seeing' one individual inside that
"How can he do that?" Reg asked, totally surprised.
wearing twenty ninth century technology." Janeway told
Barclay smugly, tapping her own shoulder in
the place where
the portable holoemitter sat on the holodoc's arm. "Comes in
out." Chakotay ordered. "We're entering."
"Careful with those toys and any E.M. fields.." Boothby
a scolding school teacher.
The last of the away team and the two holograms disappeared
the wavering effect of the temporal anomaly, when the first fire sirens
began to grow in
the distance. Station 51 and the others, were coming.
Unseen above the time cloaked museum, a
spinning roof chimney had been
spewing out ordinary furnace fire smoke, but some embers and sparks
the roofing tar on fire. The newly growing flames were orange. Escaping
smoke rose out
of the temporal pocket and into the time echo sky of 1976.
"HELLO?!... " HELLo... HEllo.. Hello..hello...o...? Janeway called out.
The sound of her voice
echoed through the dim, almost non lighting of
the interior of the museum.
The away team was
surrounded by ghosts of the past. Silhouettes of
ancient fire engines and horse drawn apparatuses
in neat rows, circled by plastic chains and labelled signs.
"Is anybody here?"
Chakotay shouted, too.
There was no answer.
"Whereever he is." said the EMH. "He's alive."
Reg Barclay pointed. "I think I'm seeing more light over there.
Yeah, somebody's turned on a light
The away team advanced cautiously, holding their phasers before
them in a careful
They reached the circle of bright light. The source of illumination was
spotlights and they were aimed at a pair of very special
fire apparatuses, the Ward La France and
1970's Dodge, Engine
51 and Squad 51. They were parked neatly next to a fake set
of a fire station's
wall made of brick. A red dome light set above
a green chalkboard full of hasty notes and scribbles,
Janeway pointed to the two trucks. "Anybody know what these
two are?" she asked,
noticing the modern city name of Los Angeles
County emblazened across their doors. "Station 51?" she
"I do." said a voice from the darkness. It was gravelly with age,|
and very tired. It was the old
Roy DeSoto, wearing a dusty cardigan
sweater and gray trousers. "I think I used to drive that one.
paint's the wrong color." he said, pointing to the red squad. Then
he staggered, suddenly
weak, grabbing at his chest.
The away team put away their phasers and rushed forward.
Janeway asked. "Easy.." she said. "You're hurt."
Chakotay and Tuvok caught DeSoto, and set him
down on the running
board of Squad 51.
The EMH already had out his medical tricorder, scanning
drooped figure. "He's been injured." he reported.
"Where?" asked Janeway.
his heart." the holodoc replied.
Tuvok spoke. "Captain, I advise caution. We are sharing information."
he said vaguely, glancing down at their tricorders significantly.
Boothby spoke up, curious about
the squad. He opened one
door of it and pulled out an orange biophone. It was a prop. "I don't
it matters in this case, Captain. He's not really real." he said
mysteriously. "Just splintered."
"Care to elaborate?" Janeway said, still holding the ailing Roy's wrist
at a pulse point.
"How else would you explain him?" Boothby said. "If out there is|
just an echo of 1976. What's in
here?" he asked.
"I don't know." Janeway replied. "Do you?"
"Not yet." the caretaker answered.
"But I intend to find out." Then
he was captivated by Squad 51 again. "I've seen a lot of these trucks
at Rampart. Yeah, this is one of the fire department's rescue squads."
he said with increasing familiarity.
"Oh yeah, this's my favorite station. Number 51.
I've seen Johnny Gage and Roy DeSoto before, talking
it up with that foxy Nurse
In their arms, the old Roy began to laugh. "She's
hot, and I'm a married man."
Then he began to cry. "Oh, Joanne." he mourned.
"Who's that? Your
wife?" Kathryn guessed.
"Yes." sobbed DeSoto. "I haven't seen her for so long."
looked up significantly. "How long has it been, Roy? Can you tell us?"
Boothby set down the biophone
in his hand, and opened it by flipping back
its dusty orange and silver chrome lid. He plugged in
the antennae and then he
picked up the black phone. The line was dead. He held up the receiver meaningfully,
pointing to some dry rust and metal corrosion.
Tuvok nodded in understanding and began to look
DeSoto started gasping, which prompted the EMH to inject him with cordrazine
his breathing. "Breathe normally." the holodoc told him.
"I need..oxygen.." gasped Roy.
any more, you don't. That medication will help you compensate." the
felt protective. "Just try to relax. You're in good hands."
Roy smiled and finally opened his
eyes and lifted his head from where he
was slumped against the driver's door of the squad. "Johnny
always says that."
he said sadly. "I really miss Gage. Can you tell me where he is? I've-- I've been
looking for him for ages."
"Easy, we're trying to help you." Kathryn said, squeezing one of
his dry hands.
The holodoc finished his scans and closed his tricorder. "It's not a heart attack.
It's damage from electricity."
"What? How old is the injury?" Kathryn asked.
at the most." the EMH said. "But it's been untreated."
"Do what you can." Janeway said.
holodoc nodded, then knelt and opened another medikit.
Boothby walked around the fake set of Station
51 that backdropped
the Squad 51 and Engine 51. He paused in front of the green chalk board
began reading the notes that Roy DeSoto had written. It was
a crude calendar, marking off days and
months and then years of
confinement. He was still counting a tally when Tuvok emerged from
museum's curator office with a modern paper calendar. He held
it up for everyone. The year on it,
"Oh my G*d." said Janeway. She turned back to Roy DeSoto, who
was resting and starting
to freak out at the sight of the unfamiliar
tools and gadgets the doctor was using on him. "He's been
for thirty four years."
"For him, it only feels like it." Boothby decided.
EMH agreed. "His outer body shows that kind of aging. But my scans
show his internal clock's only
been metabolizing for two weeks. His cardiac
insult has only been here for a short while, too. For
the same period of
"What's going on?!" Roy startled, trying to summon up the energy
stand and panic. "Who are all you people?"
"You can tell him. He's a different kind of
echo." Boothby shared.
Chakotay crouched by Roy and helped hold him steady. He and Reg
Roy to his feet carefully. Then they backed away, offering
him some personal space, showing empty
"We're travelers." Janeway began. "From a faraway place on
a ship. We are trapped here,
just like you. But we want to help."
she explained simply.
Chakotay, too, put on a reassuring
smile. "I was hurt, but Johnny
Gage helped get me to Rampart."
DeSoto seemed to relax as he
stared at Chakotay's familiar looking
features. "You look so much like Johnny. What's your name?"
"Chakotay. Nice to meet you." he said, offering the old man his
In confusion, Roy
shook it automatically, and then he began to
really study the faces of everyone surrounding him. "You
good people. Are you here to help me get out of here?"
"Yes." Janeway promised."Will
you let us try?"
Roy nodded, reluctantly, but he stopped trembling with weakness
He took on a more confident semblance of his younger
self. "I.. I.. can't leave. I've tried to go
out the door, but somehow,
I always end up back here." he said in bewilderment, indicating the
of light framing the two fire trucks and the fake set of Station 51.
"I've.. been sleeping in the
office on the couch. The frig never seems like
it runs out of food. The trash never piles up. See?"
he said, smiling,
offering Janeway a glass of wine from inside and one for himself.
smiled back and toasted him with it to try and win his confidence.
Barclay marveled. "Temporal
"Yes." said Boothby. Everyone looked over at him where he was|
tending a bar full of wine and sipping
a glass. It had suddenly
sprouted into life next to Squad 51 along the wall. "Handy effect. If
know how to put your mind to it."
The old Roy blinked at the alien with total incomprehension."I've..
tried to reach someone indirectly. By lighting the furnace out of season,
lights at night. But nobody ever sees it. And the phone doesn't work.
I even tried calling the station,
but all I get is the day/time temperature
recording." he said angrily.
Boothby raised a guilty
hand. "Ah, that was me. I had to keep your time
bubble from polluting the echo or real 1976 timeline
until I figured out
what to do with you."
"I've been here so long." Roy said, tears filling
his eyes. "Feels like forever.
And I know I don't like what I see in the mirror." he snapped, pointing
his own face.
"I'm sorry." Boothby apologized. "Now we can try to help you. I've found my
DeSoto went on with his horrid recollection, shaking a confused head.
tell if these are signs of an early stroke or... memory problems."
he said, pulling the dusty biophone
into his lap, trying to make it work again.
"One of the two." he reasoned like a good paramedic.
"Neither." said the EMH kindly.
Tuvok replied with more. "This is something called time dilation. You|
would call it an hallucination."
"But you're real." Roy insisted to Janeway, reaching out to feel the
carotid pulse in her neck.
"Yes. We are." Janeway said. "And we'll help you get back to your crewmates
and your wife. Just
let the doctor treat you some more. I know his medical
gear is strange seeming to you. But it's okay.
He won't hurt you."
DeSoto's focus wavered again. "I want a BP cuff." he said, taking his hand
off Janeway's throat.
Janeway left him in Barclay and the holodoc's care. They led him back to
Squad 51 where he had seemed the calmest and sat him down onto the driver's
seat. The white haired
DeSoto clung to the door as if his life depended on it.
Kathryn rose to her feet and addressed
Tuvok, Chakotay and Boothby.
"So much for non-interference." she grumbled.
Tuvok raised an
"This is a special case. Like Boothby said. He is not real. Mr. DeSoto could learn
everything about us, our lives, our history, in here. But if he tried to leave,
all of that would
be wiped out."
"He'd return 34 years into the past.." Chakotay said.
"Is it that simple?"
Janeway thought hard. "Roy said he couldn't leave, couldn't
walk out of the museum on his own."
"We must find a way." Tuvok said. "Logic suggests if a trapped entity leaves a time
bubble, then that
microuniverse has no reason to go on existing. It is Roy himself who's
powering this museum recursion."
"But when did this bubble begin to happen?" Kathryn agonized. "There has to be a
Boothby demurred. "Captain. If I may. What's the only thing that can go wrong outside?"
plasma fire." she answered swiftly.
"Yes. One started by an electrical discharge. Maybe an event
like that's the trigger."
"Roy was hurt by an electrical discharge." Janeway remembered. "The
doc just said so."
"So let's go ask him how he got hurt to learn more about that." Boothby told
Janeway went back to Squad 51. Roy was leaning on the steering wheel, arms folded,
his head resting on his hands in a sleeping driver's pose.
"Just keep taking deep breaths." the
doctor encouraged. "I'm healing your myocardial
tissues." he said brightly, sweeping a deep probe
through Roy's back right through the
sweater he was wearing.
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