Voyagers!: White Flag
"I can't believe you literally walked that baby to the table with all that sharp junk on top! Why did you stop me, Jeff? Did you think I was just gonna stand there and watch while that little guy poked his eye out! " The Voyager threw his arms up, frustrated.
"Of course not! But that's what was wrong and you couldn't interfere! He had to be at that spot. And for the historical record, he didn't lose his eye." The young boy insisted.
"Says who? This is 1812. In case you haven't noticed, they're poor farm people eking out a living here, do you think they can afford a doctor? And what do you mean I couldn't? I was right there, all I had to do was grab that thing out of his little grip."
The Voyager shook his hands before his face and clenched them into fists. If the child went blind, he felt prepared to be wracked with guilt. However, he did reason that it could have been much worse. The baby could have killed himself.
"No, you had to let it happen. Trust me, they're not that poor, that family owned a vineyard and a large vegetable garden for additional income. Now stop yelling and just check the omni already, will ya!" The boy demanded.
Phineas Bogg grabbed his new young partner, Jeffrey Jones, by the shoulders, but resisted the urge shove him into the hay pile. The boy was stubborn as a mule, much as he was as a child.
Jeffrey's dark eyes pierced through him. "Shaking me up doesn't scare me anymore, Bogg. I know you too well already, you won't hurt me."
"Smart kids are a pain in my a…arrrh! Never mind!"
"A pain in your assets. That's what my father used to say around me."
Phineas released him and stalked in a circle, his face etched with sorrow and anger. The screams that had erupted from inside the harness shop had jolted both Phineas and the leather worker, he wanted to help, but Jeffrey dragged him away after the little child's mother rushed inside with her husband and daughters to tend to his bleeding wound. His tiny, sniveling moans could be heard from down the road and it tore Phineas' heart.
"I saw that mischievous look in his eyes, he really wanted to touch those tools. You told me to leave the store and distract his father. I would have eventually spoken to the man, all I needed to know was where we were and then figure out why we had a red…"
"Bogg, can it and check the omni already!"
Phineas gruffly unlatched the omni from his belt and opened it, confused as to why the green light rang. A smile passed his lips and a deep relief coursed through him, the same emotions he felt with every green light. This sudden relief was more intense than ever. Since he no longer had his guidebook for confirmation, but rather a smart mouthed pre-teen he picked up in his travels less than a month earlier, fixing history had become a huge game of chance. There was a chance that the boy's memory was faulty, or he hadn't reached that point of history in his school studies. So far so good.
Phineas and Jeffrey had gotten off to a rough start, but managed to make amends before saving the invention of the airplane. However, the bickering carried on and Phineas still needed more time to get used to the fact that he was indeed, stuck with a partner. Now, he was responsible for another human life besides his own and those he helped in the time zones. The idea staggered his ego and he still felt his playboy reputation tarnishing with each passing day.
The Voyagers had landed in a small farming village in Coupvray, France, 1812. It was a brisk, late spring day and the pleasantries of the people and quaint life was marred only by the omni's red light. Phineas insisted that it must have been something wrong with the upcoming war and Emperor Bonaparte, but Jeffrey was quick to disagree. The events unfolded fast. Phineas wanted to roam the village in hopes that Jeffrey would recognize a name or a face, and the first place in view was the harness shop.
"I think I heard his mother say the nearest hospital around here was miles away. They had some medicinal woman in the village that could help. Herbs just won't cut it this time, I know it." Phineas muttered. He kicked around some hay in a last ditch attempt to release his frustration and calm down. "I guess the Braille family knows what's best for their son. The poor little guy. I can only imagine the pain, the eyes are very sensitive organs."
Jeffrey glanced up at the frazzled young man. Phineas still didn't understand that he was only trying to do what a real Voyager does, save history. He grasped his arm and readied himself for their next cosmic take-off. As always, it was time for the big reveal.
"Bogg, do you realize who that little boy is? You just said his name, doesn't it ring any bells?"
"Yeah, his mother only screamed it a thousand times, Louis! My Louis! Lou…"
Phineas held his mouth and looked up as a deep recollection struck him. "Of course! Louis Braille! 'He opened the door to knowledge for all those that cannot see.' The blind writing system! The bumps, dots…Braille! Boy, do I feel like an idiot."
Jeffrey smiled at him. "Don't beat yourself up, it wasn't too obvious…well, they did have that large awning that said 'Braille's Harness Works' out front, but I just didn't want to tell you right away either."
Phineas reset the omni and smirked. "I saw that sign, I just wasn't thinking. I'm sure they weren't the only 'Braille's' in France. Why didn't you say anything, are you trying to test me or something?"
Jeffrey poked his waist. "Something like that! I've been a little brain drained, Bogg. I was hoping you would have gotten this one, or at least caught on. Do you really think I would have let a three-year old touch that knife if it didn't have to happen?"
Phineas lowered his head, embarrassed. "No, I don't think that, it really shouldn't have happened in the first place. But anyway, I guess I haven't been much help to the cause lately."
"No Bogg, you're a big help. I can't count how many times you saved my tuba, you just don't know much about history. I've got to accept that." He sighed exaggeratedly.
"Uh huh. Okay, smart guy, to add to your historical record, that wasn't a knife he had, it was a stitching awl, it's a tool used to poke holes through rough leather and hides. but what am I saying? You're the brains, I'm the brawn, that's why I keep you around." Phineas brushed his hand over Jeffrey's curls teasingly.
"Oh thanks a lot, Bogg, I thought it was because we're…" Jeffrey looked away disheartened and then felt Phineas' hand squeeze his shoulder reassuringly.
"Jeff, we are friends. And sometimes like real friends, we have little disagreements, but lately we've had too many. I'm sorry, kid. Can I wave the white flag this time?"
Phineas held out his hand and Jeffrey finally looked him in the eye. He laughed and shook his hand with as much strength as he could muster.
"Thanks Braindrain, now that's a man's handshake! Let's get out of here before the actual war of 1812 starts and we get cannon bombed again."
"Sure! Hey, you think I can try pressing the…"