The Voyager's Aide Finale: A Road not taken

Story III

Chapter 16: New beginnings

Epilogue: 5 years later at Voyager Headquarters (The Original Dimension)

"Tribunal leaders Garth, Brindle, and Kane, Esteemed members of the Voyager Council, fellow Voyagers, friends, and family. Good evening and welcome to the Voyager Class of 2012 Graduation Ceremony.

Today marks a day of new beginnings, it is the start of our lifelong career into the cosmos. It is a career that by all means is unique and lends itself to being one of the most rewarding and lifesaving vocations in the universe. Today is the day, my fellow graduates, that we become official Voyagers!"

Eighteen year-old Valedictorian Jeffrey Jones halted his speech as the grand auditorium erupted into loud applause and cheers. His dark eyes scanned the first row and he beamed at his family. When the commotion settled down a tiny voice was heard above all.

"Jeffy! Jeffy! That's my brother Jeffy! He's a Voyager! Yay for Jeffy! Yay for dead Drake!"

Everyone laughed and Phineas closed his eyes, turning deep scarlet. Kayla hung her head, embarrassed. He looked back to the rest of the audience with a self-conscious chuckle.

"Umm, kids say the darndest things, don't they?" He bellowed.

"Daddy! Shhhh! Jeffy's making a speech! No talking!"

The audience laughed again. No one was going to rebuke the little one's announcement, not after all the trouble Voyager Drake and his vicious group of renegades had caused for the Bogg family and Pioneer in the preceding years.

Phineas whispered into his son's ear to settle down. Four-year old Logan Jeffrey Bogg was bursting with excitement all day for this event. He had finally decided to sit on his father's lap after running and crawling through the aisles and forcing Phineas to chase him everywhere. Kayla leaned over as far as she could, her protruding belly stopping her halfway. She was due next month with a baby girl they decided to name, Joanna Cynthia Bogg. She smoothed down her son's dark blonde curls and kissed his cheek.

"Logan, remember it's quiet time now, Jeffrey wants to finish."

She looked back at Jeffrey and nodded for him to continue. Jeffrey couldn't stop grinning at his family, but resumed.

"As Voyagers, we are supporting a great cause, the cause of saving humanity and keeping the time line of our universe from going askew. We well know the vast dangers and hardships that occur when history is disturbed. Being a Voyager carries a weighty responsibility and our Class has proven that we can meet it, and deal successfully with the commission that was granted us. The Voyager Tribunal plucked us out of time for a reason and gave us all a new lease on our existence. As graduates into this vast field, we should deem this a privilege, perhaps one of the greatest ones we'll ever have.

On a personal note, I know I have been extremely fortunate, starting my Voyager missions earlier than most, but…"

Jeffrey's voice choked up as he looked out across the sea of faces and then settled his gaze on one in the front.

"Umm…I…I never would have made it if it wasn't for the strength, bravery, loyalty…and deep commitment and love of one Voyager…my…my…father, Phineas Bogg."

Jeffrey glanced at Phineas and his eyes illuminated with pride and happiness. The audience once again broke out in thunderous applause. Nobody could deny the impact Phineas Bogg had over the entire organization. His devotion to the cause had implemented many positive changes in the structure of Headquarters and there was still much more to be done. Phineas Bogg had gone from grumbling, young field worker to a tireless champion for the rights and stability of humanity as it related to Voyagers and their missions. His youthful enthusiasm and confident spirit raised the bar for all future Voyagers and set the prime example to follow.

Logan held Phineas' face and stared at him with round eyes, they were a deep blue with flecks of green, just like his mother's.

"Don't cry daddy, don't cry! Don't be sad!" His little face crumpled in grief and Phineas held him close to his chest. He needed something to cling to at that moment or he would have broken down. Kayla clutched his hand and squeezed it tight.

"No, Logan, it's okay…I'm not sad! I'm happy! These are happy tears!"

"You mean…you mean not…not like when I get a boo-boo?" He asked and sniffled.

Phineas snuggled his face in his son's hair. "Right, not like when you get a boo-boo."

Jeffrey concluded his speech. "In conclusion, a Voyager's got to have spirit, so when everybody's telling you your wrong you got the courage to fight back, and a Voyager's got to be able to make people take a new look at a situation, to give people the confidence to take that one extra chance. As we go on our separate ways into this vast and wondrous occupation, whether it be fieldwork, or Headquarter positions, always think of the interesting people out there who really need our help. Sometimes you got to bite the bullet, because time waits for no man! Thank you!"

Jeffrey was taken aback from the standing ovation as he took his place with his fellow graduates. They all patted him and hugged him for the great speech. He caught Phineas' eye and gave him a thumbs up. Jeffrey couldn't think of any better way to end his address than with inspired words from Phineas himself. After the ceremonies, everyone gathered together outside to meet and greet one another. Logan ran straight into Jeffrey's arms and gave him an enormous hug.

"I like the speech! I want to give one too!"

"Oh you will one day, don't worry kid. I could just see you now."

Logan loved to talk and Jeffrey heard Phineas' bass tone already developing in the handsome child's voice. He put him down and hugged Kayla as best he could.

"I was worried about you up there, I was glad you didn't have another false alarm."

"I know! This little girl wants out, impatient, just like her father!" She nudged Phineas in the ribs. "Jeffrey, I can't tell you how proud we are, that was a beautiful speech. I know I bugged you to go over it with me, but I'm so glad you didn't."

"Yep, it was great! Short and to the point!" Phineas joked.

Jeffrey rolled his eyes. "Hey, I know how you get at these things. Remember the time Joseph was giving his annual human rights discourse? We couldn't figure out who was snoring for almost a half-hour. I should have known it was you!"

The family laughed and Kayla took Logan's hand. "C'mon big man, let's get back to the complex and get dinner finished. I made yours and Jeffrey's favorite, Italian food! And we have all our friends from Pioneer coming!"

Logan clapped and danced around. "Goody, goody, goody! John Henry will bring Jezelle and Scott!" He loved to play with his twin cousins; they were only a year apart.

"Mama! Mama! And…and…and…I want baked ziti! Mangia, mangia! Hai fame? Ho fame!"

Phineas looked at Kayla in startled amusement. "Where did that come from?"

She laughed as they strolled away. "Don't look at me! You know he adores Vinchenzo, and what else does he talk about but eating? Are you hungry? I'm hungry!"

-O-

Phineas and Jeffrey took a walk to the lakeside and skipped a few stones. Phineas was burning inside with both joy and trepidation.

"Jeff, when they handed you that Guidebook and new omni I just wanted to fall to pieces. It's the official start of your life as a Voyager, but it's also the end of an era, isn't it?"

Jeffrey's eyes welled up, all the sensitivity he had as a boy was never too far removed now that he was an adult.

"I guess you're right. The end of PB and J. You know, I'm…I can't even believe I'm saying this, but I'm actually scared."

"Why, Jeff?" Phineas knew, but he wanted to hear it from him.

"You know, when we traveled together, I always knew that you were right there with me. And when we got separated, I knew that you would do anything you could to find me, and everything would be okay. Now it's just going to be me out there. Alone. Can I really handle this?"

Phineas put his arm around him. "Jeffrey, trust me when I say that I know you can handle whatever comes your way. You got the right stuff for this job, don't ever lose sight of that. And remember I once told you, *it's a great fortune to have some passion in life and urgency in direction; it makes our whole being so much fuller.*

"I can still remember how it felt to be so alone and empty after my parents died. I had no passion. I had nothing, Bogg. I owe everything to you. If you had a chance to give this up, would you?"

"I would never trade being a Voyager for anything now, not after all we've been through and accomplished."

Phineas squared his shoulders. "And hey, I'm still young and out in the field. Who says I'm not going to be with you? We may not be partners anymore, but whenever you need me, I'm there. I'll never leave you in the lurch. I love you, son."

Jeffrey's heart filled with confidence and he wiped his eyes. One day, these little moments between them wouldn't make him cry, but he didn't know when that would be. He gave Phineas his big, lopsided grin.

"Thanks, I don't doubt that you'd be there. I just know it's going to be real different not having you beside me. That's going to take a lot of getting used to."

Phineas knew he had to boost his confidence. "And you will get used to it! Remember, life goes on and we have to take the good with the bad. It's time for you to prove yourself without me, which you've already done a hundred times. What happened to that kid who raced a chariot through a Gladiator ring to save Spartacus and me? Or the one who told J.P Morgan he'd be a senseless idiot if he didn't fund Thomas Edison? Or the kid that yanked my head out of could nine so the telephone could be invented? You know I could be here all day recounting our missions."

Jeffrey laughed. "Yeah. Hey, I'm still here, just a little taller. Oh, and I'm sure Kayla loves that telephone story."

"Nah, she doesn't know about Mabel and me and I intend to keep it that way."

"Ohh, okay. My lips have always been sealed."

Phineas pretended to wipe sweat from his brow. "Whew! Thanks! But all I'm saying is that I don't need any more proof that Jeffrey Jones is one heck of a kid…sorry, I mean, man, and one great Voyager! C'mon on Jeff, let's get back home, I'm starving."

Phineas could have prattled on and on about his accomplishments and qualities, but he didn't want Jeffrey to see him cry. He hurried down the path and Jeffrey tugged his arm. He gave him a firm hug.

"Arhh, you'll never quit it with the hearts and flowers, will you?" Phineas joked through his tears.

"No way! Staying motivated by love is what keeps us being the best Voyagers we can be, Kayla told me that."

"Well, you know she's always right."

"Yeah, I know, and don't you forget, I love you too, dad."

The End

*Quote from Jon-Erik Hexum.