How, exactly, could he put back time if he'd been erased from history? And once it was back, did he have even an outside shot at happiness?
Star Trek Enterprise
He Stays a Stranger
This is a fan written work
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There's a man who leads a life of danger.
To everyone he meets he stays a stranger.
With every move he makes, another chance he takes.
Odds are he won't live to see tomorrow.
– Johnny Rivers (Secret Agent Man)
Senior Temporal Agent Richard Malcolm Daniels sped along, from 2192 to 3110, as fast as the HG Wells could carry him. He was moving, not just temporally, but also spatially, from Lafa II, where he had just been, to the USS Adrenaline, a large ship that patrolled just outside the Milky Way galactic boundary and was also the top secret headquarters for his employer, the Temporal Integrity Commission.
Rick's errand was partly business, but mostly personal. Time had changed, somehow, prior to 2192, and it had wiped him from historical existence. The people he had been staying with – forebears, actually – had all known and been friendly with him. And then, suddenly, he was a stranger, and his great-great-however many greats grandfather was pointing a hand phaser at him and ordering him off the premises.
To say that this was unnerving would be an understatement.
It was what is called a pariotric change. That is, it was a change that was small enough to be effected by humans, but large enough to really make a difference. It was the kind of middle ground between otric – relatively tiny and meaningless temporal alterations, such as tea for coffee – changes and megaotric ones, which were huge and, by definition, impossible for mere mortals to effect. Preventing the extinction of the dinosaurs was a fairly standard example of a megaotric change. There were just some temporal runaway trains that no one could ever hope to catch.
Rick was not completely gone from existence, however, due to the use of a temporal force field in 3110 – which, to him, was the present. The field kept him intact, as he was, to be precise about it, outside of time itself. The same field covered all of the employees of the Commission and it also protected a master time file. The master time file contained information on all major events and a lot of data on more minor ones as well. It was not absolutely, thoroughly comprehensive, as that would make it time itself, and thereby too large and unwieldy to use at all. But it was complete enough for his purposes.
He had the ship in auto so that he could read. He clicked on his PADD in order to open the portion of the master time file that he had downloaded. Keeping everything on him, at all times, would have ground the PADD's operations to a screeching halt. Hence the information was sketchy, but it was still troubling.
There was ancestor information, and he checked that first. It went back to 2192 and earlier, back into the twentieth century. Prior to that, records were less reliable. Back to 2213, all was well, except for his lack of existence. His parents, Steven and Chloe, were intact, as was his sister, Eleanor.
But in 2213, his ancestor, Declan Reed – his forebear Malcolm's only child – was supposed to marry one Rebecca Shapiro. Instead, he had wed Rebecca's elder sister, Alia. There had been no Rebecca. Instead, there was a brother named Richard.
And then, earlier, their mother was Karin – that part was right – but her maiden name was Schwerner and not Bernstein. Beyond that, it was tough to tell where the change had taken place. He needed to get back to base in order to pinpoint the moment of divergence. Then, he figured, he would go back out and fix it. Somehow.
But being completely off the grid and allegedly nonexistent was, to be sure, going to cramp his style. He was supposed to be completely intact, and everyone else protected by the temporal force field was supposed to know and remember him. But then again, he should have been known to Malcolm, and Malcolm's wife, Lili, and the remainder of their family.
Something was not right, and it was because the temporal force field had been breached. Relatively recently – on August eighth of 3110 – the master time file had been accessed and copied by a counter group known as the Perfectionists. That group was responsible for all manner of temporal havoc. Their mission was to "perfect" time by "saving" the "innocent" and smoothing over the rough edges. But, on the way, they were more than a little bit clumsy in the execution.
Saving one person, or preventing one event, often ended up killing off other people, or generating other events – and they were often not such great things to have happen. Along the way, they had accidentally caused pollution, created a Federation theocracy and overpopulated the Earth.
The Commission's collective job was to put it all back to how it had been. These sorts of changes rippled and ripped through the timeline, and needed to be ironed out and mended.
In 3110, the remainder of the Human Unit of the Temporal Integrity Commission met. The Commission had units for all of the time travel-capable species in the galaxy, even those that were not actually members of the Federation, except for the Borg. The Borg were, still, a bit of a pain and an enemy but they really only attempted to rejigger time if there could be some sort of a tactical advantage gained from same. There was an entire unit just devoted to that. The Human Unit didn't need to deal with them.
Instead, the Human Unit worked to restore timelines in both our universe and its imperfect mirror, where everything vibrated on a twenty centimeter radiation band, as opposed to the twenty-one band in our universe. Plus there was work escorting scientists and archaeologists to various times for observational missions, but the Human Unit had had serious business with the Perfectionists for quite a while. The observational missions were on hold as Perfectionist handiwork was continually being undone and the Human Unit attempted to root out moles within their organization.
Two such moles had been found already, and both were dead – Marisol Castillo and Daniel Beauchaine. Castillo was a victim of a murder-suicide by her former lover, the unit's doctor, Boris Yarin. Yarin was being served with divorce papers and Castillo was beginning to really bleed him. As a mix of Xindi sloth, human and Klingon DNA, he had been paranoid and moody and she had pushed him too far. He had not known – although he had suspected – that she was a spy for the Perfectionists.
As for Beauchaine, he had just offed himself. Beauchaine was troubled by the constant shifting of allegiances, as he had been not only a member of the unit and a Perfectionist, but was also an operative for the shadowy organization known as Section 31. He was leading one life too many, and barely knew which end was up, in terms of who to help and who to hinder. It was all too much, and he had taken, what he felt, was the only way out.
And so the Human Unit met, led by their boss, Admiral Carmen Calavicci. Around the little conference room were Senior Temporal Agent Sheilagh Schwerner, Temporal Agents HD Avery and Polly Porter, Quartermaster Crystal Sherwood, engineers Kevin O'Connor, Deirdre Katzman and Levi Cavendish, plus Otra D'Angelo. Otra was half-human and half-Witannen, and could see temporal alternatives. She was faster and clearer than any computer, but even she did not see that it was a change and a problem that Rick was gone. For her, as it was for all of them, it was as if he had never existed, so how could they possibly miss someone they had never known?
Along with them there was a colony alien, a kind of collective life form. They weren't sure what they felt about it – er, them – but there was an enemy on its way, the Varg-i-yeh. The colony alien – Deirdre had dubbed it Branch Borodin – was reportedly an enemy of the Varg-i-yeh. So, perhaps, it was a bit of a friend.
"All right, people," Carmen said, "Tom isn't here," Tom was Senior Temporal Agent Thomas Grant, who was in the 2192 mirror universe, "but everyone else is. I, God, this is an awful day and I don't expect any of you to be unaffected. Three deaths in one day! I'd be shocked if any of you truly were unaffected. But we have some sort of issue, so I'm afraid we don't have the time or the luxury allowing us to mourn even a little bit. I suppose we'll all collapse later and become raving basket cases. As for the change, no one can pinpoint it yet. Otra?"
"Yes," Otra said. She was humanoid, yes, but didn't look too much like her human father. Instead, she mainly looked Witannen, which included flower-like appendages in her scalp in lieu of hair. They – they were called chavecoi – moved independently of the rest of her and were a symbiotic part of her. About the only thing that betrayed her part-human parentage was the fact that she did not sport the small vestigial wings that full-blooded Witannen have. "I had a vision of a change, and it was complicated and odd."
"What were the specifics?" asked Sheilagh.
"I saw marriages. There were hundreds of them."
"All at the same time?" asked Kevin.
"No," Otra said, "but, the funny thing was, none of the couples were interracial."
"Let's check for wiped families," Carmen said, "perhaps racial mixing was somehow outlawed. Uh, start with Otra, Kevin and Deirdre," she said to HD, "as all of them are of mixed heritage."
"I'm on it," he replied.
"Anything else?" Polly prompted.
"A long-haired, blond man. – he, uh, he has a gun to his head, trying to kill himself, and, well, he's prevented from doing so."
"Got any years on any of this?" Carmen asked.
"I have the wiped families," HD said, "it's just as you expected – Kevin's, Deirdre's and Otra's are all gone. I checked Yarin and his is gone, too. And so is yours, Sheilagh."
"Me? I wonder why," she thought for a moment, "wait a sec; I have some ancestors who aren't Jewish."
"So it must be that, I am guessing," Carmen said, "it's not just a lack of interracial marriages, but a lack of interfaith ones as well. And of course a lack of interspecies unions." In addition to Otra and Boris, Kevin was also of mixed species heritage – he was human and Gorn, to be precise.
"In the original history," Polly said, reading off a PADD, "it looks like there was a Supreme Court case, Loving versus Virginia, and that established the right to interracial marriages. Or, uh, at least it said that it was unconstitutional to outlaw them. That was in 1967."
"Loving, ha, that's cute," HD said.
"No loving in the new reality," Crystal said, checking, "it looks like it isn't until 1994 that the matter is argued, and by a guy who I bet is an ancestor of yours, Sheilagh."
"The attorney's name was Mickey Schwerner."
Secret agent man
Secret agent man
They've given you a number,
and taken away your name.
– Johnny Rivers (Secret Agent Man)