Voyagers!: Memories of Time's Past
Voyagers Headquarters: 6 Months later
"Bogg, I had to bring us here, the omni almost conked out again. It needs to be field stripped. But if you ask me, it has to be totally replaced." Jeffrey told his partner as they walked the Academy grounds.
"That's for the V-Techs to decide. Ya know you could have warned me." Phineas muttered.
"Are you kidding? They were gonna behead us for treason! Should I have warned you first when you were up against the Southern firing squad too?"
Jeffrey was right, but the situation was different. "I was trying to save Anne Boleyn! We rescue her in 1531 from a public mob, only so she could beheaded by that pig King a few years later? Sometimes…" Phineas kicked bitterly at the grass. "Sometimes I don't know why we even bother!"
Jeffrey squared his shoulders and shook his head. Ever since the Titanic he had gotten very used to the fact that history had to go along the course it naturally followed. "No, Bogg. We couldn't do it. Anne had to marry Henry; she was very influential in the courts. You know it too. We already had the green light before we were captured."
Phineas turned aside upset, but Jeffrey tugged on his arm. "And we bother because we care that life goes on and that history is accomplished as the world knows it."
Jeffrey's maturity never ceased to amaze him. "Never mind. You're right. I'm actually glad we're here. I'm restless and we need a breather. We've been voyaging non-stop since…since Rotterdam." Phineas gulped.
Jeffrey patted his back. "It's still eating at you, huh? At least we got to rest a few days there. I know how hard it was for you to leave, Bogg. But we had to. How did AnneMarie take it?"
Phineas smiled from his memories. "She was remarkably calm about it. She told me she needed to get her life in order, and that she had a lot of growing up and soul searching to do. I agreed…even though I wanted to stay with her."
Jeffrey sighed. "You know you could have, Bogg. Bobby would have arranged it somehow."
"No. Everything was too complicated, she was too…young…I don't know…that wasn't overly important, but…I'm not the same Phineas Bogg she fell in love with and too much time had passed. It was strange for her. We both understood that. And besides, we're Voyagers, Jeffrey. Partners. I'm not ready to break us up yet."
"If you go down, I go down…wherever you lay your hat, is where I lay mine too. Remember that, Bogg." Jeffrey said solemnly.
Phineas hugged him. "Thank you, Jeff. I couldn't ask for a better kid in my life. And forget my ranting, I love this work!"
They laughed and rushed to the OCC building. Bobby and Tina were waiting for them in the grand lobby.
"Thought you could sneak a visit to VHQ without us knowing, aye, Bogg?" Bobby joked. "I knew that omni of yours was ready to bust at the screws. I'm glad you came."
Tina hugged Phineas and Jeffrey excited. "I'm happy too! We have a big surpr…"
Bobby nudged her and she lowered her head. "Um, we're just glad you're here, guys. We have a big dinner planned, with Tyrell and a bunch of others." She looked carefully at Bobby, then grinned. "Hey, why don't I show Jeffrey to their living quarters and send the omni up to the V-Tech sector?"
"Good idea, love. You're full of those." He winked. "Phin, you're wound tighter than a spring. I was going to the fitness center to get in a workout. My mid-section is looking rather like the Michelin Man these days." He rubbed his stomach and they all laughed.
"I could really use that, Bobby. I loved the gym here. Jeff, you'll be okay? Wanna come with us?"
Jeffrey sensed that Bobby wanted to be with Phineas alone. Tina nearly let a cat out of the bag when she almost mentioned a 'surprise.' "Nahh, I'll be fine. I'd like to get a shower and wash that Tower of London stench off and take a nap. I can't wait for dinner though."
"That's my growing boy, always starving." Phineas said.
"They had us in that tower for three days with bug porridge and moldy bread crusts. You bet I am!"
"Don't exaggerate, we ate a decent meal just before we came here. I made sure of it." Phineas swiped his hair. "See you later, kid."
"Okay, have fun!"
They parted ways and Phineas and Bobby chatted about recent voyages and Academy events as they entered the gymnasium. They quickly changed into the sports clothes that Headquarters provided. Phineas wore just a pair of black shorts with a small golden 'V' on the right thigh. Bobby decided on a full sweat suit.
"When I sweat, I feel like I actually did some exercising. Not bad there, Bogg! At least you still have a six pack." Bobby squinted. "Or is that twelve there?"
Phineas flexed. "Maybe eight. Field work keeps you in shape, that's for sure. But I miss having a full workout session. I'm ready to hit those amazing machines!" He laced up his sneakers and they headed out.
After nearly two hours of intense workouts and weightlifting, and Phineas running the indoor track for two miles, Bobby was ready to throw in the towel and wheezed all the way back to the locker rooms.
"I think I had my exercise for the month!" He groaned. "I'll be amazed if I can even move tomorrow. Where's Tina? I need ice…I need a massage!"
"What? Are you kidding? I just warmed up." Phineas joked and slapped his back. Every muscle in his body was loose and revitalized. "I can keep going all day!"
"Oww, oooff…watch the sensitive spots there, mate. You forget I'm not a strapping young buck in my twenties any more."
They washed up in the showers. "But you're also not a feeble old cod in his eighties either. You're not even forty yet. You'll get used to it. I did push it a little hard, but now I feel fantastic! I think I'll go and get Jeffrey and we'll take a swim in the pool, he'll love it. I promised to teach him how to dive. Now's a good time."
They passed through the gymnasium. A small crowd had gathered in the bleachers to watch a student fencing match. Phineas grinned.
"I'd love to do that! I haven't had a real sword fight since I brought those pirates to their knees…with a little help from Jean Lafitte and the tough pub chicks."
"I heard about that debacle. Think your skills are up to par? We have a new instructor who doesn't mess around. But they get results from the students."
"Hmm, well, they haven't fought with the likes of Phineas Bogg."
Bobby laughed and crossed his arms. "Really now? Fencing is an artistic form of fighting, you're just a pirate that waggles a cutlass around."
Phineas feigned anger. "Oh yeah? We'll see about that. I know a thing or two about fencing. I picked it up in my voyages. And as a buccaneer I handled a sword very well. I was one of the best on my crew. I'm gonna put on a fencing outfit. Tell the instructor I'll be back."
"As you wish, Bogg." Bobby chuckled.
The match ended with the student on the mat and the sword pointed directly at his face. He pulled off his mask glumly and shook out his sweaty blonde hair.
"I'll never get this! It's too complicated!"
"Yes you will, Steven. You just need more discipline. You must learn to focus. Get up now, your session is over. I will see you in a few days."
All the students cleared out. Bobby clapped and bowed at the instructor. "Another one bites the dust. You are a real pro at this."
"I do not regret learning all these self-defense skills. It kept the randy sailors away. Bobby, was that him?"
Bobby grinned from ear to ear. "Yes. And he's about to come out and challenge you to a duel. I can't wait to see it."
The instructor went to the sword rack. "This is going to be wonderful. I suppose he bragged about how good he wields a sword?"
"Of course…here he comes now!"
Phineas came to the circle in full dress. The instructor walked over and slowly paced around him, but never removed the mask.
"Hello, Phineas Bogg. I was told you want a challenge match. You certainly look fit and ready for it. Choose your weapon. Foil? Saber, or Épée?"
Phineas was surprised the instructor was a woman. He smiled at Bobby as if to say, 'This should be easy.'
"Foil of course. I'm a traditionalist."
"You are also from the turn of the 17th Century. I doubt you were trained in modern fencing. I am more skilled in Foil than anything."
"Touché! How do you know that about me?"
"I know many things about you. You are very famous in this Headquarters. You do remember the rules? No arms, only the torso, back and shoulders."
"Yeah, yeah, and the touches are only scored by the tip. I'm just doing this for fun, ya know? I have a lot of stress to work out. This is just an assault match. No score."
"Understood. So perhaps you would like to talk about your stresses later?" The instructor offered in a gentle tone.
"Uh, yeah sure, maybe later." Though muffled, Phineas couldn't help but find her accented voice very familiar. She had a spectacularly fine form under all the protective trappings and he wondered what she looked like. She sounded attractive.
"Hey, uh, perhaps you'd like to join me and my friends for dinner tonight? The more the merrier."
"I would love to. Thank you."
Bobby called out from the bleachers. "Come on! I want to see a fencing match, not a tea party!"
"Hold your kangaroos, Bobby! I'm making a date here." Phineas called back. "She said yes!"
"Do they ever say no to you?"
Phineas glared at him, he was ruining his chances. However, she ignored their prattle.
"Stay within the circle borders for now, my rules."
Phineas bowed. "I know how to follow the rules."
"If you had, it is most likely I would not be here today." She replied cryptically. "En guard!"
Phineas was caught unawares and she knocked the sword out of his hands within a minute. He ran to pick it up.
"Not fair, lady! I wasn't ready! Give a man a chance."
"Would you say that to a real opponent? Do you think they will wait for you to collect yourself? Or maybe you presume that I will be soft on you because I am a woman?"
"No, but I…"
Bobby cheered and whistled as the swords clanged and they gracefully moved back and forth. It was like watching a dance and their chemistry nearly let off sparks. They bantered good-naturedly and Phineas felt a strong rapport with her. He was definitely going to enjoy dinner. After a while they left the circle and fought intensely all over the mat. Phineas disregarded the fencing rules, but the instructor matched him stroke for stroke. She was truly amazing.
"This is not a belaying pin, Phineas! It is a practice foil! You are going to break it!"
Phineas almost stopped dead in his tracks. What would she know about belaying pins and why would she compare it to his sword fighting? Phineas had been holding back his full strength, fearing he might injure her. A deep suspicion welled in him. He ran full speed and knocked her flat on her back. He tossed his sword away. Bobby jumped up.
"Bogg! What are you doing?"
"Don't worry, Bobby. She's fine. You knew this would happen, friend."
Bobby couldn't answer him and quietly walked away from the scene.
"Why must we always keep meeting like this?" He asked and tore off her mask.
Phineas stared deep into her fiery eyes. She had aged. Her round youthful cheeks gave way to high, elegant cheekbones that framed dark, sultry features. Her hair tousled over her shoulders in sleek modern waves. He had never seen AnneMarie Schaffer more beautiful. Phineas straddled her when she attempted to get up. She didn't struggle.
"Are you quite finished?" She demanded with a twinkle in her eye. "This is not proper procedure to end a fencing match."
"I've only just begun. Didn't you enjoy all that?"
"You were very…vigorous. Not surprising." She smiled.
Phineas slid off her. "My AnneMarie…I can't believe you're finally here. When?"
"Six years after you left me. Bobby and Tyrell explained all of it from the beginning. I was meant to be a Voyager. I was just not prepared when they plucked me the first time. It was Bobby's error in judgment, but he also wanted to help a friend. It all worked out in the end."
"Tell me about it."
After Phineas and Jeffrey departed, AnneMarie went on to live the life of a Renaissance woman. She realized with Dida and her father gone that she had complete ownership of the Rotterdam harbors and more money than she could spend in a lifetime. She refused to let it go to waste. AnneMarie moved herself, the Berntsz family, and Laini into the finest home and treated everyone luxuriously. She acquired tutors in all sorts of subjects that interested her as well tutors for the others in whatever they wished. She had a brand new antiquities store built for Robbin. Over time Heine gave birth to a beautiful son and daughter. AnneMarie set her two best friends up for a very comfortable life with a trust fund.
AnneMarie studied earnestly and became fluent in the English language and Italian, Spanish and French. She learned to paint and sew and cook fine foods, and pursued training in combat and weaponry. She loved the thrill of it all and excelled quickly, vowing to never be defenseless before a man again.
AnneMarie took her responsibilities at the harbor very seriously. She immersed herself in learning all the ways of sailors and pirates alike and how business and economics were conducted on the sea. The details were fascinating, but also scandalous. She later discerned who were the most trusted men on the ports. She spread portions of the waterfront and donated some large vessels to them. However, she wisely retained full ownership and eventually signed it all over to Robbin so he and his growing family would continue to have a stable income. Slavery was going to continue whether she liked it or not and she wanted no part in it.
When Laini and Tuponile were ready to make the trip to the New World, AnneMarie miraculously found a kind, strong Scotsman named *Ian Wallace. He was more than willing to take the trip and watch over her. It was only after they left did she realize that he wore the brass compass on his belt. The society of Voyagers had again come to her aide. Ian had left her a letter, urging her to make sure her final affairs were in order, because very soon she was about to embark on a new life.
At the time the Voyagers plucked her, she felt entirely prepared, and more than thrilled to leave the old life behind and start anew. Despite all her good fortune, Rotterdam held devastating memories for her that she wanted very much to escape.
"I should give Bobby a pair of wings and a bow and arrow. I know what he did for me and why. I love him for it, even though I had to leave you the second time…" Phineas said after AnneMarie finished her tale.
He looked away sullen, but she turned his face back. "But now I know I was needed to stay in my time zone, Phineas. I had to help Laini and baby Tuponile…I mean, Tyrell. Her legacy in the history of the New World…in America, is very, very great." She smiled. "They were able to travel on one of my passenger ships with first class treatment and had a Voyager to assist them. Oh, I have so much to tell you!"
Phineas bit his gloved fingertips and yanked them off his hands. He stroked her face in awe. "We'll talk about that later. I promise." He drew her against him. "I've wanted to do this since the moment I left. I haven't stopped thinking of you for months."
"Is the passion still that strong for you?" She asked quietly just as his lips met hers. Phineas held back, mystified by her question. He gripped her hand.
"I see. It's been years for you. Now you're the one who has out-grown me."
"I am still a little younger than you, Phineas."
"I meant…your life course. You have become a magnificent woman in the blink of an eye and it was no thanks to me."
AnneMarie kissed his cheek. "I thought you never lie? No, Phineas, it was all thanks to you. Have you forgotten so quickly the horrors we endured those last days? Or back when we were new lovers? You taught me how to show compassion and real kindness to others. You opened my eyes to a world outside of Rotterdam that I could only dream of with your wild stories and adventures! And you were my fierce guardian through all the wicked times with Dida and Jock and my father. I am the woman I am now because you came into my life and turned it upside down for the better. I owe everything to you…You taught me love."
Phineas was deeply touched. He swallowed a lump in his throat. No woman had ever spoken such beautiful, heartfelt words to him before. He didn't deserve them. "But Anne, it wasn't…"
Before he could protest she put a finger to his lips. "I know how modest you are. You do not want that praise, nor do you want me to feel obligated toward you. I do not. I can only feel pure love for you, Phineas. No matter our squabbles and silly disagreements in the past. And no matter where our paths take us in the future. I love you."
Phineas remained silent. He sat back on the mat and folded his arms over his legs, lost in deep thought. Everything she said was true. He still wanted another chance to love her the way he had purposed to all those years ago. It was going to take time. A whole new dimension had been added to their lives. He looked up at her determined.
"Yes? To what, Phineas?"
"Yes, it is still that strong for me and I want every chance to prove it this time. I don't care what I have to do, but I will, someday I will. I have always loved you AnneMarie Schaffer, and I still do."
AnneMarie choked on her tears; it had been ages since she cried. But Phineas always tore through her heart. They stood up and he gently brushed the teardrops from her cheeks.
"Do not wait too long, Phineas. I am truly ready to have you in my life now. There are no others, even though I have had ample opportunities since." She admitted.
Phineas picked up his foil and struck a fighting pose with it. "I don't doubt it. So did I. But now, I'm going to have to beat them off with my belaying pin."
AnneMarie laughed. "The women who want you, or my potential suitors?"
"Maybe both." He shrugged lightheartedly. "I can take 'em all!"
She playfully shoved him. "That won't be necessary if our love is somewhat made known."
He looked toward Bobby, who had stayed hidden near the bleachers. He knew his friend was smiling the entire time.
Phineas wrapped her in his arms. "Then let's do that. Will you kiss me now, my beauty?"
"Yes. I'm your beauty…" She whispered as they embraced. "I'm yours."
*Ian Wallace is an OT Voyagers character I introduced in, Voyagers: Tunnels of despair and tracks of hope. The stories are not connected, but sometimes I borrow my own characters because I like them so much. :D