Chapter 3 (Virginia, 1607)
Twigs crunching, birds singing, and the sound of water flowing in the distance wove together into a symphony of nature – a soundtrack for trekking through the forest. Bogg followed as close as he could to Jeffrey, who seemed at least to be going in a specific direction. He himself wasn't sure where to go, so he was happy to let his friend take the lead. As he watched the younger man moving through the woods, he thought about their time together in the field. They had done things neither one of them would have ever imagined, and helped more people than he could count; and young Jeffrey Jones had often been the one leading the way.
The 12 year old boy he had rescued from death by jumping out a high rise window had been destined to become a Voyager. He remembered the falling sensation vividly, although he experienced it again every time his omni took him to a new time zone, so it was easy to recall what had happened that night in 1982. At the time, he hadn't stopped to think about the boy's future, but he had been astonished to discover that their meeting had been Jeff's destiny. There was a thick file at Headquarters under the name of Jeffrey Jones, full of the good works he would accomplish as a time-traveler. He thought of names, dates, and places that had been or would still be changed by Jeff's involvement; yet, it had been almost 13 years since he had read the file himself. The only time he'd been allowed to see it was at his trial, when Jeff's future as a Voyager had been revealed.
They trudged along through the wooded hills, and Bogg smiled at the determination of his friend. There was work to be done, and Jeff wouldn't slow down or rest until it was done. That was why so many of the other Voyagers had taken to calling him "Unstoppable Jones." He watched as the kid – "man" now, he had to keep reminding himself – hopped over a fallen tree, which Bogg had to take an extra step to get over. There was a singular determination in his friend. He knew that Jeff was good at fixing history, but what kind of Voyager had he become? Time would have to tell.
"Jeffrey," Bogg called out, "do you know where we are? Or where we are supposed to go?"
"I have an idea," came the reply. "Jamestown was settled on a peninsula that extends out into the James River. I'm headed southeast until we find water, and we can scout from there."
The wind shifted slightly, bringing something to Bogg's attention. "Sounds like a plan, but maybe we'll get lucky sooner. Do you smell something?"
Jeff stopped moving and tilted his head. A moment later his eyes lit up. "Smoke!" He smiled. "Someone's got a fire going."
Bogg nodded his head. "And since we haven't seen anyone yet, we might get some answers faster if we can find that fire."
Looking around, Jeff tested the wind. He pointed north and said, "this way."
Chances were that Jeff would have sniffed out the fire without his help, but Bogg found himself defaulting to the role of mentor. He would have to be careful that he didn't step on any toes if he wanted this mission to be a positive one. His personal relationship with Jeff and his success as a Voyager might depend on it. But he found it difficult to switch off the part of himself that he had always drawn from so heavily in his voyages with Jeffrey, and later in his job at Headquarters.
While stationed at Headquarters, Bogg had been given the title of supervisory agent. On a daily basis, he was a trainer and a teacher, helping new potential Voyagers understand what it takes to help history along. For the past several years however, he had a dual role as part of the task force pursuing the only Voyager ever to have gone rogue. Supervisory agents never used to go out into the field much, but the actions of Drake had necessitated a new hands-on approach from higher levels of the Voyager ranks.
Time and experience told them that Drake had a plan to disrupt history, but they didn't know what his goal was. The two retrieval teams Bogg had lead to the time zones where Drake had been spotted hadn't turned up much to indicate his motivation. Of course Bogg knew that his biggest motive was revenge, but that didn't tell him what Drake's endgame might be. The reports from the other two failed retrieval attempts, including the one initiated by Jeffrey, were equally unhelpful. The task force was forced into a reactionary cycle of investigation, not knowing where Drake was operating until the damage had been done. By the time Drake was spotted, his plan had already been set in motion. And he was always able to flee the scene in time to avoid capture.
Hopefully, that was about to change.
As they approached a stream, Jeff stopped momentarily to take out his canteen and fill it. Taking a drink, he offered it to Bogg who thirstily took a few long gulps before crouching down to refill it again. When he had caught his breath a bit, Bogg decided to broach a new subject. "Do you ever think about that mission right after the trial? Australia?"
Jeffrey froze. Think about it? Sometimes all he did was think about it. Their landing on the beach, the conversation about Drake...the entire dream-replay came flooding back to his conscious mind. "Sure, I remember," he replied cautiously. "What about it?"
Bogg stood and took a step toward his friend. "It seemed to me like, after that, things changed between us."
"What do you mean by that?" Jeff replied, frowning. He had to look away from Bogg's intense blue eyes as he reclaimed the canteen from him.
"There were times when you seemed so distant," continued Bogg, "and except for that time in London with Nelly and Dr. Doyle, you never seemed to talk about Drake again."
Jeff sucked in a breath. Bogg did want to talk about Drake. Why? And why now? Was it his friend or a supervisory agent talking? Jeff took a few seemingly thoughtful steps up the bank. Then, deliberately setting his face to keep things in the "friend" zone, he gave Bogg a slight smile as he looked back down at him. "Bogg, I always thought we were a great team in the field. We always got the job done, we always worked well together, and I'm thankful for everything you taught me. You don't need to worry about our relationship."
His young friend's words warmed Bogg's heart, but then, he had avoided part of the discussion. "That's really good to hear – but what about Drake?"
The repeated question sent a chill straight to Jeffrey's bones. No, it couldn't be – was his friend and mentor here to get in his way? Things were getting worse, and quick. Steeling himself, he kept his face expressionless as he sat down on a log. "Like you said, except for London, we didn't see him again."
"Until Spain in 1648."
So Bogg knew. And if he knew about the mission and the retrieval attempt, he must have seen the report. That report would only have been available to someone involved in the effort to capture Drake – or someone sent to investigate Jeffrey.
"Bogg," Jeff began, doing a fair imitation of his smart preteen attitude, "if I didn't know better, I'd say you haven't been completely honest with me."
Phineas sat down next to him, looking surprised. "Sure I have, kid. Everything I told you is true."
"But you haven't told me everything! You're here to talk to me about Drake, aren't you?
The quickness of Jeff's temper caught Bogg off-guard. He'd always been an emotional kid, but the outburst seemed unbefitting of a 25 year old.
Before Bogg could say anything, Jeffrey sprung to his feet and barreled on. "I knew it! I knew this wasn't a coincidence. You're here because HQ wants to debrief me about Drake, and they chose you to interview me!" He whirled to face the older man and took an accusatory step forward. "I can't believe it. My best friend is here to give me the third degree about why I failed! That's it, isn't it?" Jeffrey spun and threw his canteen against a tree. Then he trained his eyes back on his former mentor. "Tell me, Bogg!"
Stunned, Bogg tried to understand what was happening behind Jeff's cold black gaze. He had never seen the kid react this way before. Maybe his concerns were warranted after all. Hoping his mission wasn't doomed to fail, he resolved to tell Jeff the truth. It was time to lay the cards on the table and see if this hand went his way.
Everything about Jeffrey's body language was telling him to stay away, but he desperately wanted to get through to his friend. He stood and slowly approached his friend with arms spread open. "Jeffrey, have I ever lied to you?"
Jeff bit his lip, and his dark eyes darted back and forth. "No – at least I don't think so."
"I haven't. And I believe you've never lied to me."
Although he had at one time omitted a few reckless teenage moments with a girl in eighteenth century Paris, Jeffrey didn't think this was a good time to admit it. "That's right."
"Then I hope you understand when I say that I think I know you pretty well – maybe better than anyone else does." Bogg gently placed his hand on Jeff's shoulder. A long moment passed as he searched behind his friend's face for a connection. "I'm here for you."
Jeff shrugged off Bogg's arm and backed a half step away, rejecting his friend's intentions. "What do you mean?"
"I mean – I'm worried about you. I have been, ever since Australia."
"But I told you, we're fine," Jeff replied, turning away.
"And I believe you, Jeffrey." Bogg took a long stride to come up beside him. "But I know how much the trial bothered you, and you were so young, and –"
"Bogg," Jeff warned, walking aimlessly away from him.
"When we lost Drake in London, I saw how bitter it made you –"
"Okay, Bogg." The younger man's voice stretched taut.
"And I know that you've been trying to use your time in the field to find him –" Bogg jumped directly into his path and faced him, "and I know how you must feel about losing him in Spain –"
Suddenly, Jeffrey Jones shot forward and wrapped his left hand full of Bogg's loose fitting shirt. His face twisted into a snarl as he pulled the two of them forcefully together and his eyes finally connected with Bogg's. "Don't."
The electricity coming off of Jeffrey's body was sending pins and needles across Bogg's chest and down his arms. He couldn't breathe. His eyes glanced down to see Jeff's right hand balled into a menacing, trembling fist at his side. Silence stretched time out to a standstill he had never experienced in all his years of voyaging, and Bogg found himself near tears. How had he pushed this man, who he cared about so deeply, into such a chasm of rage, and so quickly?
After a minute – or was it a millennium? – Jeffrey's hold loosened and he pushed Phineas back. Although he was only 25, Jeff suddenly looked a great deal older. Sadness as wide as the ocean flooded his face when he looked into Bogg's eyes. "I'm sorry, Bogg." Bogg stepped in, wanting to embrace his friend, but Jeff turned away again. "I don't want to talk about it." For a moment, the only sound was the stream at their feet. "Can we just," he asked weakly, "work on the red light?"
Bogg exhaled. All or nothing, he told himself. "The red light really is the reason I'm here. But the reason I brought all this up with you is because," he braced himself, "we think the red lights are pointing back to Drake's involvement in the timeline." At this, he expected Jeff's balled up fist to come flying his way, but instead he was met with a gasp.
Not looking back at Bogg, Jeff's eyes grew wide. "You think Drake is here?" Could he be closer than he thought?
"Well, no, probably not here. But this may be the earliest we can find out what he's been doing." Bogg turned Jeffrey by the shoulder to look him in the eyes again. "I'm part of the team that's been working on this; we're trying to bring Drake to justice. If this red light points to him, it will be a breakthrough. I knew you would be able to figure it out, so I came to get your help."
Jeff let go of the breath he hadn't realized he was holding. He was relieved to hear that he seemed to be on the right track. But could he continue with his plan, now that Bogg was along for the trip?
"So you're not here to grill me about 1648?"
"Hey, kid," Bogg said, managing half of his normally lustrous smile, "you know interrogation isn't my style." He let go of Jeff and walked over to where the dented canteen lay. "But if there's anything you know that could help the team track down Drake," he said over his shoulder as he bent down, "just tell me, and I'll make sure we get everyone working on it right away."
Jeffrey knew that there were some incredibly bright minds at Voyager HQ, and he knew that they wanted Drake found. He just didn't believe they were the ones best suited to do it.
Bogg offered Jeff back his canteen. He returned Bogg's half-smile and said, "Sure thing."
Within a half hour, the smell of smoke became measurably stronger, although the source was quite a bit further than they might have guessed. The campfire was down in a valley and the wind had carried the smell at least a mile to where they first detected it. Picking their way among the evergreens lining the ridge, they descended to find a riverbed with sedimentary stones lining its shores in various shapes and sizes. The water level was low enough to wade across to where they could see a line of gray smoke rising behind the first few trees a short distance away.
The rocks crunched under their feet as they came out of the water, neither of them having gotten wet much above the knees. They stopped to shake the water out of their boots and Bogg looked at his partner. Jeffrey had barely looked at him on the last leg of the hike, and they had exchanged few words. An ache deepened in Bogg's stomach. He hadn't wanted to strain their relationship, but he knew that if he hadn't told Jeff about his mission –
BOOM! Zing! Without thinking, Bogg and Jeffrey dove for cover behind the same beached log. "Are we getting shot at?" Bogg asked incredulously.
Poking his head out for a look, Jeff replied, "C'mon Bogg, it can't have been that long since you were in the field." He jerked back as another shot thudded into their makeshift barrier. "Definitely getting shot at," he declared in a more serious tone. "The good news is that in the seventeenth century they would be using single-shot weapons that take some time to reload, so if there are only one or two guys out there we should be able to get to them if we move fast."
"Great, so when do we – Jeffrey!" Bogg yelled as Jeff sprang from their hiding place and took off running. "Sometimes you still give me a pain," he muttered, before taking in a deep breath and jumping up to follow. Jeff was running a zigzag pattern that would bring him to the treeline in the general vicinity of the smoke; Bogg made a wide arc to the left, hoping that splitting up would increase their chances.
Another gunshot rang out and both men redirected toward the telltale puff of smoke from the bushes. Jeff got there first, crashing through the brush at top speed. Bogg heard scuffling as he crossed the last ten feet, and parted the branches to find Jeffrey pinning down a young man about his same age. "Why were you shooting at us?" Jeff demanded, holding the man's head against the dirt.
"I thought you were...ugh...Indians!" the man grunted.
"Alright Jeff, let the guy up," Bogg said. He took note of the musket and pistol lying on the ground a few feet away; the young man didn't appear to be much of a threat without them.
Still breathing hard, Jeffrey leaned back off of his captive and stood. The man hopped up, brushing himself off. It seemed like he was trying to appear unfazed, yet when he buttoned his jacket his fingers trembled. Bogg decided to make the first attempt at friendly conversation.
"I'm Phineas Bogg, this here is Jeffrey Jones." He held out his hand to shake, and the young man took it limply.
The fire hadn't yet completely gone out of Jeff's eyes as he asked, "what are you doing out here shooting at whoever comes along?"
Pierre stood as straight as he could manage and said, "I am charged with the safety of the colony. There is no one out here in the countryside except for Indian savages."
A confused look crossed Jeffrey's face. "You're guarding the colony of Jamestown?"
Pierre eyed them suspiciously. "What is this Jamestown colony? I am a member of the French Colonial Infantry and I live in the colony of Saint Denis, New France."
"You're French?" Jeff threw his friend a concerned look. "Bogg – "
"I know kid, that sounds like a red light to me."
Pierre tried to finish putting himself back together as the two Voyagers withdrew to a huddle about ten feet away. "The French aren't supposed to be here. In 1607 they didn't have any settlements anywhere near here – the east coast belonged to the British from now until the United States declared independence."
Bogg looked back at Pierre and his French uniform. "Well, the French are here now." He turned back to face Jeff with a look of consternation. "We need to find out what happened to the people who are supposed to be here."
Jeffrey nodded. "And the first person on that list is Captain John Smith."
A few feet away, Pierre perked up momentarily, then went back to reloading his pistol. Suddenly, he turned to the Voyagers and hissed, "quiet!"
The two of them crept forward to see what had caught Pierre's attention. Between the leaves, they glimpsed some movement in the riverbed. Jeff pulled back a branch to get a clearer look. About 10 yards downstream and moving up toward the campfire smoke was a single Indian scout on horseback. As Jeff turned to ask Pierre a question, he saw the Frenchman heft his musket to his shoulder and take aim. "Wait –" was all he could say before the weapon went off.
Bogg leapt to his feet. "What are you doing?" Jeff was right behind him.
Pierre said nothing to his visitors, but hopped out of his hide and strode purposefully over to where the Indian had fallen off his horse. He drew a hunting knife and, before the Voyagers could say or do anything, he quickly sliced off the back of the Indian's scalp including his tied-back hair.
Rage flashed in Jeffrey's eyes as his whole body coiled for a charge at the young gunman. But just as he was about to take flight, Bogg put a strong hand in the middle of his chest. "I know, Jeff – I feel the same way," he turned to face the younger man with determination in his eyes, "but we have to go back and fix the problem. If we can do that, this will never have happened."
Jeff huffed another half dozen breaths before he could calm himself down even a bit. He watched Pierre picking through the Indian's belongings. "We have to find out what caused this," he said finally through clamped lips. "Pierre can take us where we need to go."
Phineas took his hand away, for a moment reminded of how Jeff had grabbed his own shirt. He was glad that his friend was thinking logically, but didn't want to give the man any reason to get physical again. Even though Jeff's anger wasn't aimed at him, he now knew how close it was to the surface. He shifted his gaze to see Pierre returning to the campfire with his findings.
Closing his eyes to center himself, Jeff approached the man to learn the whereabouts of his colony. The Frenchman turned out to be perfectly willing to take them, since he needed to turn in his "trophies" anyway. In a few minutes, the two Voyagers were headed toward town, with the Frenchman leading the way.
Jeffrey hoped restraining himself had been worth it. He wanted to kill the man.