Disclaimer:The following is a work of fan fiction based on the television series, Voyagers! It is not intended to infringe on the copyrights of anyone who may have legal rights to the characters and settings. I don't own the characters. However, I am putting them into an adventure since the show was cancelled and the writers/producers/directors can't put them into any new adventures.
Author's Notes: This snippet of a story takes place as Jeffrey Jones finishes his last exam at the Voyager Academy. His path to becoming an officially trained Voyager has been a bit unorthodox, but I don't think he'd have wanted it any other way. And Bogg? He's got his own thoughts too.
July 21, 1865
Phineas Bogg looked around as the crowd began to disperse. It had been a simple, short mission – get Wild Bill Hickok out of a saloon so he could get into a gunfight. Sure, it sounded simple, but sometimes missions like that weren't easy. History said that on July 21, 1865, Hickok had a showdown with Dave Tutt - one of the few true showdowns that took place in the Old West. That meant Hickok had to be outside in the street, not sitting in the saloon, flirting with a saloon girl and playing poker like he'd been doing when Bogg found him. Prying him away from those pursuits so he would be where he needed to be when Tutt arrived took every bit of persuasion Bogg had. Why leave a winning hand and a pretty girl behind for any reason? Bogg definitely understood Hickok's reluctance.
Bogg checked the guidebook again and was amazed at the ironic nature of the universe. Poker played a big part in the Hickok legend. He was shot in the back of the head by "Broken Nose Jack" McCall while holding the infamous "Dead Man's Hand" but that would happen in Deadwood in 1876. Dry, simple words typed out on a page denoting the end of one of the most colorful individuals of the Old West. Someone like Hickok should have a more memorable write-up.
The guidebook was useful with dry details, but if Jeffrey had been there, he would have told Bogg the history of the showdown and the forms of dueling that meandered westward while at the same time explaining what happened between Hickok and Tutt and how that 75-yard shot Hickok made wasn't as easy as it looked. His words would have gotten faster as the excitement of the explanation took over until Bogg would jokingly tell him to take a breath every now and then. Would Jeff have wanted to witness this particular event? Watching someone die was hard for a Voyager, even when they knew what was supposed to happen. Jeff had learned over the years that a Voyager had to put history back on track no matter if it was good or bad, helpful or harmful. Despite what happened with Tutt, watching Wild Bill himself would have been an experience. He always had a fondness for that time in American history, and Hickok was one of those larger than life Old West figures the proverbial "everybody" knew about but "nobody" knew the real truth about. Sure, they crossed paths with many historical figures from the Old West and fixed timelines for them, but someone like Hickok was in a class all his own. There was the myth and the legend, but like so many other people throughout time, few knew what the real person was like. The facts were always more interesting than the fiction.
The fact that Bogg went into a saloon to convince one of the best gunmen in history to leave a winning poker hand and deal with Tutt was one thing. Bogg not flirting with every saloon girl employed there while he did so was another. Especially after that time with Butch and Sundance… but it's just that there wasn't time! Tutt was only minutes away. Jeff would tease him about for a long time – if he ever found out. Who would believe that Phineas Bogg could perform such a task? It'd have to be fiction worthy of a dime novel!
The crowd finally thinned out, and everyone went back to their own lives – excitement over. Bogg watched as Hickok handed the sheriff his guns and heard the two men were talking. The sheriff muttered something about the shooting being self-defense, but the rest of the conversation was lost. According to the guidebook, Hickok's actions were ruled self-defense, so everything was good, right?
As soon as no one was around and no one was looking at him, Bogg quickly checked the Omni. "Green light," he said in a rather happy mood. "And no more missions for a couple of weeks."
No, there wouldn't be any more missions for him for a while, not with Academy graduations coming up. That was fine with him. Jeff's exams would be over with soon, and then his son would be an official Voyager with his own Omni and guidebook. That also meant that he would have his partner back again full time and not just on school breaks. Those first few missions he went on by himself after Jeffrey started the Academy had taken some getting used to. For years, the two of them had collaborated on one successful mission after the other, and each had their own duties on the job. Voyaging solo meant the entire mission was on his shoulders again.
Having a partner was more fun and definitely better for their missions.
The Council had agreed. They allowed more and more Voyagers to form their own partnerships once the success rate of Bogg and Jeff's missions had been evaluated. Mission successes had increased exponentially. The timelines were stabilizing at a faster rate than expected. Medical emergencies had decreased – why had the Council never pursued partnerships before? That was one question no one could answer. Maybe he and Jeffrey were the pioneers of a whole new way of voyaging?
So what to do now? Green light, mission was over, vacation time had begun… and his stomach was growling. Stopping in Paris for a quick meal sounded good. He always found good food in France. Then again, maybe Voyager Headquarters? The commissary's food was passable, and there were restaurants that had some of his favorite dishes… ah, bat's breath. It was exam week. The commissary and the restaurants changed their hours to accommodate 'studying' students and extended exam hours. Depending on when he got back to VHQ could mean the difference between getting a quick meal or having to wait until the restaurants had a seat open for non-students.
So… go to Paris and get fed quickly or go back to VHQ and wait for a meal?
Then he remembered a third option.
Without another thought, he set the Omni's coordinates and pressed the button.
Outside Normal Time
Exams were finished!
Jeffrey Jones hoisted his backpack on his shoulder, walked back towards his apartment complex and breathed a sigh of relief. He knew he had aced every one of his exams that term, and he was done. Finished. He was a soon-to-be-Voyager-Academy graduate and a 100% bona fide Voyager. No more just the 'kid that Bogg picked up' in 1982. No more of anyone thinking he wasn't a 'real' Voyager just because he was traveling through time and repairing history but hadn't gone to the Academy. All those naysayers that had scoffed at the idea of a kid being allowed in the field with an ex-pirate, that such a background would prevent him from being a successful Voyager would be proven wrong. What was it his dad had told him once? They'll be eating crow and humble pie, kid. Trust me.
He was finished with the Academy, and that meant he was a Voyager in fact as well as experience.
He waved at several friends as they ran by on their way to take an exam. One rode with Attila the Hun, another fought alongside the Celts who almost beat Rome, two who had been at the Battle of Thermopylae on opposing sides, another was a Conquistador, one was one of Crazy Horse's trusted advisors – the list went on and on. It wasn't surprising since Voyaging classes consisted of students from all over time. But no matter when they came from, in just a little over a week, all of them would be off on their assignments or to new posts at the VHQ. He might not see them again except during the Convergences that Voyagers held every couple of years. Other friends, like Angela… well, that was one relationship that just hadn't worked. She was going her way, Jeff was going his, and the two just weren't compatible. Obviously, Angela believed that since she explained that she and their classmate Bruce were compatible and had been for a while.
For some reason, her announcement didn't bother him very much. His attentions had begun to wander slightly in other directions as well. He might not have had the same reputation with the ladies as Bogg had, but he'd been told from time to time that he was his father's son in more ways than one. Angela had been a more serious flirtation than the others he'd had while at the Academy, but after some time, Jeffrey wondered if his feelings ever went beyond that. The ending of their relationship didn't hurt. His dad had given him some advice years earlier – "You know it's real when your heart breaks when it's over. But we're Voyagers. Time hopping and romance just don't work."
Bogg hadn't been kidding. Voyaging wasn't just a job. It was a way of life.
Jeff looked around and noticed another friend of his walking toward him. "Hey, Richard," he waved back and waited for his friend to catch up.
Richard was the only other person in their class from the 20th century. His family had lost everything in the stock market crash of 1929, and he eventually joined the military to help support his family. He was one of fifty-seven people who had plucked from the timeline from Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, to be a Voyager, but he was the only one from there who was in Jeffrey's class.
Richard looked absolutely scared to death. "I'm on my way to take the 18th century history exam. Did you have Owens, Brindle or Calhoun for that test?"
Jeff nodded. "Brindle. Why?"
"I've got Owens, and he's been called to some medical emergency for a wounded Voyager in the Ottoman Empire so Brindle is giving the exam," Richard muttered. "How bad is it?"
"I didn't think it was hard. She gives a different exam very quarter, but she's pretty straightforward. She doesn't like trick questions. She found out she gets trick answers." Jeff decided not to explain just how tricky his answers could be at times. He'd leave that to Richard's imagination.
Richard visibly relaxed. "Good. I was dreading Owens' test. He loves to twist questions around and you never know if you answer correctly. Anyway, I pass this one, the Omni fieldstripping exam and the Voyager Code test, then I'm through with the Academy. I'll be doing fieldwork next week." Richard laughed. "Gotta tell you, now that it's almost here, that's got me more worried than any exam."
"There's nothing to be scared of," Jeffrey assured him. "You used to command military troops. Being a Voyager should be pretty easy for you."
Richard looked at him seriously. "I didn't have to know things like how an 18th century merchant ship was stocked when I was in the military. I have to know it for Brindle's test." Richard checked his watch. "And I've got to go. I hear Brindle likes to take off points if you're late."
"Five points," Jeffrey informed him.
"Five?" A look of panic crossed Richard's face. "I'm gone," he said as he rushed off.
Panic, fear, dreading a test – well, those days were over with for Jeffrey. He was going back to doing what he loved best - fieldwork. He smiled at the thought that few of his classmates had any idea what lay in store for them. The Council still hadn't approved internships for last-term students, but the idea was under discussion. They were using the tried-and-true method of training a novice Voyager – they would partner with an experienced Voyager for the first few assignments then they would be sent out on their own with a guidebook and an Omni to correct history. It was a daunting responsibility - keeping history on track and giving it a nudge where it was needed when a Voyager worked alone for the first time.
Even so, they were in for the ride of their lives, one that Jeffrey had been on for years.
His own voyaging past had proven to be an obstacle at times with both teachers and other students from time to time. Most didn't care, but some resented the fact that he had so much voyaging experience. Yet it was the way he entered the Academy that others weren't happy with. Since he had traveled with Bogg for years and learned a lot from him, he knew the material of most of the early term classes. Even as a kid, he knew that his formal education might not be as conventional as others, but he had no idea it would be as unconventional as it was.
The beginnings of his formal education had started simply enough. It started on the day after his sixteenth birthday when he and Bogg were called back to Voyager Headquarters.
"Big V on the wall - looks like the VHQ," Jeffrey said as he stood after the remarkably easy landing. "What's the Omni say?"
Bogg lifted the faceplate – "Omni's not talking. No lights, but I didn't touch it. It's not a formal recall. Somebody brought us back here for some other reason."
They waited for a few moments until the door opened and Professor Garth walked in. "Phineas, Jeffrey, it's good to see you again."
"Professor," Bogg smiled and shook his hand in greeting. "Is something wrong? We're not in trouble, are we?"
"No, no," Garth immediately put their worries to rest. "In fact, this is an impromptu meeting that shouldn't take too long and then you two can go on to your next assignment. I'd like to talk to the two of you about Jeffrey's schooling."
That got Jeffrey's attention. "You mean the Voyager Academy?"
"Exactly that. Let's go to my office. I would just like to talk over a few things with the both of you."
Garth's office was the exact opposite of what Jeffrey imagined it would be. He knew from experience that Voyagers liked to have items and decorations very similar to what they were familiar with when they were plucked from their timeline. Garth himself was from the 1500's, but his interests seemed to be much farther in the future. In fact, his office looked like something a late 20th century lawyer would have chosen. Leather couch, leather seats, mahogany bookcases filled with books from so many time zones that Jeffrey couldn't count them all. An ornate oak desk that looked like something a CEO of a Fortune 500 company would own dominated one side of the room.
Bogg and Jeffrey sat down in front of the desk while Garth took his seat and pulled out a thick file. They could see the name 'Jeffrey Jones' on the tab.
Thick files usually meant that they were filled with complaints and bad reports. "Nothing's wrong, is there?" Jeffrey asked, worried.
"Wrong? Absolutely not," Garth assured him. He opened up Jeffrey's file. "However, we do have a situation that shows not everything is quite right. We have a slight wrinkle to iron out when it comes to requirements and protocol. I was looking through your file and realized that you'll turn seventeen a few weeks before the start of the Fall Quarter next year. That will be when you can attend. Over the last several years, you've taken tests to determine your understanding and abilities – something I know you've found somewhat annoying."
"The tests weren't hard," Jeffrey told him.
"Exactly. You passed them all, and that proves you know much of the material you'd cover in many of the early classes. You not only know the information, you've lived it while voyaging with Phineas. Given that fact, I believe that you'd be bored in many of the early term classes because, oh, what's that term I've heard the younger people use? You'd be rehashing old information? Knowing you as I do, being bored would not be a good thing."
Bogg laughed. "You can say that again."
Jeffrey gave Bogg a sideways glance.
"What?" Bogg asked. "Remember that time when we landed in a green zone and got snowed in with that prospector for a week?"
"Yeah. He wasn't happy being stuck in a snowstorm with strangers with nothing much to do but watch the snow fall. We were supposed to be meeting Olivia in Italy watching the return of the Mona Lisa when we got stuck in that snowstorm because the Omni got stuck in the automatic mode again and wouldn't get us out of there until you field-stripped and cleaned it. The thing's got a mind of its own."
Bogg glanced back at Garth. "After I got the Omni working again, we had to wait until the snow stopped before we could get out and go to our next assignment. The prospector didn't like us being there – let's just say it was a long week with nothing to do."
Garth almost laughed. "I see you two are already aware of what happens when the young get bored. If that were to happen during an entire term of classes… well, the problem presents itself, doesn't it? However, there are some early term courses you will be required to take. I can almost guarantee you that there will be material covered in these particular classes that you don't know about, so boredom should not be an issue."
"And that's where the real problems are," Bogg nodded his head, understanding Garth's point. "Right?"
Jeff was confused. "What problems?"
"I'll let your father explain," Garth told him.
Bogg took a deep breath. "The way the Academy classes are structured, there are four quarters to each term. You have to complete all of the first term courses before moving on to the second term. Since you don't have to take all the classes, you'd only be here for the few you have to take, but the records would show that you didn't complete the requirements to move on to the next term."
"And given that there aren't many you'd take." Garth quickly added, "You could almost come in as a later term student. Unfortunately, the rules don't allow a student to do that. We have to have records showing that Student Jeffrey Jones took the required first term classes."
Records? That meant some kind of administrative issue, but Jeff didn't see the exact problem yet. "Okay. So if I take the particular classes you're saying I'm supposed to take –"
Bogg placed his hand on Jeff's shoulder. "As a student, you wouldn't have enough credits to move forward to the next term if we do this in a by-the-book way. They're sticklers on making sure everyone has the same education and that's done by completing the classes for each particular term."
"And I don't have to take the classes," Jeff repeated, seeing the problem but not sure what Garth had in mind. "What do I do?"
"It's very simple, Jeffrey," Garth stood and moved over to the front of his desk. "You can't enter the Academy officially as a student until after your seventeenth birthday, and as you are now aware, you don't have to take many of the early term classes because you already know the material. It's a bit of a legal conundrum. However, I did find a small loophole in the rules that can solve this particular problem."
"Hear that, kid?" Bogg said. "Always a way out."
Garth cleared his throat. "The rules concerning enrollment at the Academy are particularly geared for students, not Voyagers. However, Jeffrey, you've been a Voyager for five years. Officially a Voyager. Your designation in the files is as Voyager Jeffrey Jones. All of your assignments are cataloged under Voyager Jeffrey Jones. That means that we can use Voyager laws instead of Student laws around our little problem."
He pulled out a very old law book, still somewhat covered in dust. The spine cracked as Garth opened it. "The particulars in the laws concerning the Academy are almost a labyrinth. That's why I had such a hard time finding it. Apparently, whoever wrote the laws didn't want any Voyager taking such a major shortcut in their educational foundation. Basically, you can take the required classes if you attend the Academy as a Voyager taking new classes or refresher classes. We do have that happen quite often. Even your father has had to take an occasional class or two when we think they would aid him in his assignments. This way, you can get the classes you need before you come here officially, and you can enter as a second term student. Actually, that's not correct. Given your background and your test scores, you could easily enter as a third term student."
Jeff began to get a glimpse of what they were proposing. "How would that show that Student Jeffrey Jones took the required classes?"
"Ah!" Garth was smiling. "This is where another loophole comes in, and it's in the wording of the rules and regulations. I won't bore you with the legalese. In short, to take a refresher course, you have to officially be a Voyager and have taken the classes for that particular term. You have been tested for every single class that you would have taken, and every time you've been tested, your results were listed under Voyager Jeffrey Jones. We have grades for you that prove on paper that you've passed most of your first and second term classes and only need to take the rest as refresher courses."
Jeffrey could appreciate the simple solution to a problem he didn't know he had. "So you're saying that if I come here now as Voyager Jones, I can take the classes I need to under Voyager Laws and officially enter the Academy as a student later on under the Student Laws. Everything's legal, the paperwork looks good, and I don't get bored. Right?"
Garth smiled and looked toward Bogg. "He always was smart." Then, back to Jeffrey. "Exactly. It would mean you living here at VHQ for about three months while you took these particular classes."
Three months? "You mean I'd be here and not going on missions?"
"Both of you, I hope," Garth told him. "Phineas, during that time, how would you feel about helping out with some of the advanced classes? I know I've asked you this several times in the past, but there were valid reasons for you to stay in the field. For three months, you would have very good reasons for being here."
Bogg looked worried. "Me? I'm not a teacher. I graduated close to the last of my class, remember?"
"But you are an experienced Voyager. Your exploits would be a great teaching tool and incentive to those who are about to graduate and become Voyagers themselves. And need I remind you, Jeffrey has not reached the age of majority yet. Legally, he couldn't stay here on his own. He has to be at least seventeen years old to be here alone. I'm afraid there haven't been any reforms on allowing children to study to be Voyagers yet, so there are no changes in the law concerning minors."
Jeffrey almost laughed at his father's sudden discomfort. Bogg was no scholar, everyone knew that, but a teacher? Jeffrey would almost give his eyeteeth to see him teaching a class.
"What would I talk about?" Bogg asked Garth.
"Your voyages. The Omni has recorded your travels quite well. I'm sure you remember how it displayed your adventures at your trial some years ago. I would suggest letting the Omni decide which of your adventures to display for the class and then you discuss the decisions you made and the actions you took with them." Garth obviously understood that what he was asking was somewhat irregular. Then again, what about Bogg and Jeffrey was ever by-the-book? "I'll let you two decide what you want to do. However, if you do decide to let Jeffrey come and take those few classes for three months, they'll start in about six weeks. Just so you know. I'll give you two a few minutes to think it over." He gave them a smile and walked out, giving them a chance to talk in private.
Bogg stood up and walked around the room. "Jeff, I've got to tell you, what he's offering is a great opportunity for you."
"I'm starting to get that," Jeff agreed. "He's finding a lot of loopholes, that's for sure. Sounds like what he's offering you is pretty good, too. What do you think?"
That's what their decision rested on, Jeff suddenly realized. His taking the classes wasn't the problem. Garth had found a way around the regular rules. It was getting Bogg to teach at the Academy. That was one thing that Phineas Bogg never wanted to do. Teaching classes was not his forte even though he taught Jeff everything he knew about voyaging. He would volunteer to stay at the VHQ during that time because Jeff was still underage, and he'd do that without complaint, but he'd be the one to get bored if he weren't doing something. That was the real problem Garth was trying to get around.
Garth was being sneaky.
"Talk about our assignments?" Bogg paced a little faster. "Yeah. Sure. Maybe. I think I can. I mean, how hard can it be, right?"
"Uh, we don't have to do this," Jeffrey offered. "I can start like any other student and just take all the classes."
Bogg shook his head. "It'd be a waste of time for you to do it the long way. What Garth's offering is a big favor and the best thing for you." Bogg picked up Jeffrey's file and glanced through the class schedule Garth had come up with. "To be honest, most of these classes are going to be a breeze for you. A couple might actually give you a challenge." Bogg put the file back on Garth's desk. "So, that's settled. We do what he says."
"Do you want to?" Jeff asked him as he stood up beside him. "You've avoided coming back here and talking to the upper term classes for years. This would mean being in a classroom every day."
Bogg put his hand back on Jeff's shoulder. Not for the first time, Jeff realized how much he'd grown since he was eleven years old. He was only a few inches shorter than Bogg, and he hadn't stopped growing yet. He could easily be as tall as his father soon enough. "Listen, your education is one of the most important things to me. You need this, I'll do this. I want you to be the best Voyager out there, and this will give you the best chance of being that."
Better than Phineas Bogg? Jeff didn't think that was possible. He'd voyaged with his dad for too many years, and Jeff knew just how good he was.
His dad - that was another aspect of his life that set him apart from other Voyagers. Voyagers in the field didn't normally pluck kids from their timeline, voyage with them, and eventually adopt them. It didn't take long for everyone at the Academy to learn of Jeffrey's past and a few resented him for it. Some thought he got into the Academy on some favors, on who he knew instead of his abilities. He soon learned that for some people, he'd have to do twice as well as they did to be considered half as good, but he didn't pay attention to them. He went to his classes, studied hard, got good grades and was graduating top of his class. If some of the other students didn't realize that he got there on his own merits, then that was their problem.
His exams were finished. He was about to graduate from the Academy, and then he'd be back to voyaging.
Life was good.
Maybe he could blow off the graduation ceremony itself and just go back in the field?
He entered his apartment building and walked up the three flights of stairs to his unit. When he first visited headquarters, he had never considered the housing accommodations for the Voyagers at VHQ. He learned that each person was assigned their own apartment and it would be theirs for the duration of their lifespan or as long as they wanted to live at the VHQ. During the three months they were at VHQ for Jeffrey's classes, they stayed in Bogg's apartment. He learned that all of them were sparsely furnished to begin with, but each Voyager could get whatever decorations they wanted from the Materials and Accommodations Archives. Bogg's apartment was definitely a reflection of the man. There were items that dated back to his sailing days, some to his pirating days. There were a few odds and ends he'd picked up along the way; most from later time zones. All in all, it was a comfortable place to live. It had been the first semi-permanent 'home' Jeff had lived in since he started voyaging, and that was probably why he remembered that time so fondly. He never said anything to his dad, but sometimes, he missed having a particular place to return to at the end of the day. Being in rural China one day and then ancient Rome the next meant his life was always exciting and unpredictable, but there were moments when a familiar place to come home to would have been welcome.
Then, when Jeffrey began attending the Academy as a student, he was assigned his own apartment. There was nothing different about it from the hundreds of other at the VHQ. It wasn't very big, but it was functional. What was important to him was that it was his. His home. It had been a long time since he had anything like that. Luckily for him, the Assignment Officer was a friend of Bogg's and assigned Jeff a specific apartment unit with an ocean view – an interest Jeff had developed after hearing all of his dad's sailing stories. Bogg had told him what it was like to be on watch up in the crow's nest, looking out over the ocean, alone on a ship where you were almost never alone. So, sitting on the balcony while reading homework assignments was the closest thing Jeffrey got to sitting in a crow's nest.
All in all, it had been more than just another semi-permanent home since it would be his for as long as he wanted to live there. For two years, he had enjoyed being able to come back to a particular place for a while, but now… he wanted to go voyaging. During school breaks, he and his dad would go off on an assignment and celebrate a successful voyage with a feast at some time zone in France, Bogg's favorite place to visit – another fact that some of the other students didn't think was fair. However, none of them had a father who was a Voyager who didn't want their kid just sitting around on school breaks when there was adventure to be had and history to be fixed. Bogg was one of the proponents of letting the last term students start voyaging with experienced Voyagers before graduation, but the administrators didn't like that idea. They believed that until the students' studies were completed, they couldn't take the risk.
Had they forgotten that Jeffrey was only eleven years old when he started voyaging?
The idea had gained support with some of the professors, but putting it into practice was still probably years away. They believed that the risk to life and limb outweighed the practicality of practice. Maybe someday, it would happen, but just not then. Oh, well, the ones who thought Jeffrey was being given special treatment could just think what they wanted. He knew better.
He reached his apartment and immediately unlocked the door. He switched on the light, dropped his backpack, walked toward the balcony doors…
… and stopped.
He heard something, sensed something –
An arm grabbed him around the neck. He grabbed the intruder's arm and flipped him over his shoulder, hanging on to the offender's arm and pinning the man to the floor with his foot.
A deep laugh rumbled from the intruder. "Those self-defense classes paid off, didn't they, kid?"
"Dad?" Jeffrey laughed as he helped Bogg to his feet and gave him a big hug. Jeff realized that they were both about the same height now. That was a bit of a surprise. "What are you doing here so soon? I wasn't expecting you until later this week. You didn't get hurt on an assignment, did you?"
"Nope. This one was easy. I just had to get Wild Bill Hickok out of a saloon and into the middle of the street for a showdown."
"1865? With Dave Tutt?" Jeff asked quickly.
"Same guy," Bogg told him.
"And I missed it?" Sometimes, whatever sense of irony the universe had when it came to certain Voyagers being in certain places at certain times was rather macabre and annoying. "That was one of the true showdowns that happened in the Old West!" Then, "Wait, Hickok was in a saloon? You had to go in and get him outside?"
Immediately, Bogg waved his hands in denial. "I'll have you know that it was nothing like the time I went into the saloon with Butch and Sundance. I was completely focused on the mission. I didn't even look at a single saloon girl… more than twice. I got a green light, you know."
"More than twice?" Jeff joked. Who was Bogg kidding? Sometimes, it was just fun to pester his dad about his romantic exploits, even when he wasn't telling the whole truth.
Bogg nodded. "Anyway, I finished my assignment and I wanted to come back early. The commissary and the restaurants aren't open until after noon, and since I haven't had time to stock my refrigerator, I came to raid your kitchen."
Jeffrey smiled at the idea. "Great! I think I've got some leftovers."
"You did," Bogg told him. "I ate those a couple of hours ago."
"All of them?"
"I was hungry?" Bogg said jokingly. "How are the exams going?"
"I'm done," Jeffrey told him as he sat down on the couch and propped his feet up on the coffee table. "Just finished the last one."
Bogg sat down opposite him and propped his feet up as well. "So all that's left is the graduation next week."
Jeffrey leaned his head back against the couch cushions. "Can I get out of that?"
Bogg laughed out loud. "Nope. You've got to go through the ceremony. It's all part of the package to being a bona fide Voyager."
From where he sat, Bogg could see Jeff's restlessness to be on their way. That was one of the reasons he took Jeff voyaging during school breaks. His kid would grow impatient with the scholarly routine no matter how much he loved going to school. A voyage every few months kept that from happening.
Looking around the apartment, Bogg noticed it hadn't changed much since his last visit. Jeff didn't have a lot of things scattered around. There was a picture of his parents on the end table, one of Ralph, his dog, on the other table. There were several pictures of the two of them scattered around the room and hanging on the walls. A record player with vinyl records – Jeff still wanted the records instead of those items some of the Voyagers recruited from later times had. What were they called? Cassettes? No, they had been around a while. Discs? CDs? Something like that. He didn't care for 8-tracks although Bogg was absolutely fascinated with those. Jeff had learned to play the guitar, and Bogg had found the Yamaha 6-string currently perched on a stand on an assignment to Woodstock. But one thing that was innately Jeffrey was the number of bookshelves filled with countless history books. Knowing his son, Jeffrey would have read each book several times.
Then he noticed there was a picture or two missing. "What about Angela?" he asked, knowing how close the two of them had grown over the last year.
"She told me a month ago that she's taking a post here at Mission Control," Jeff told him. "She wasn't interested in field work. She likes the idea of monitoring the timelines and giving out assignments."
That didn't quite answer the question he had about Angela.
"And Bruce seemed to like the idea of her staying here."
Aha. Bruce. He was the wheelwright from 1810 Virginia, wasn't he? One of Angela's suitors? That explained everything. "And what's Bruce planning on doing?"
"Omni updating. I think he wants to be on the Council someday. I don't think he realizes he needs some fieldwork under his belt before he gets to do that. After Drake came to power after only riding a desk all those years, one of the new rules for being on the Council requires that a Voyager has to have some years of field work under his belt."
Then, Bogg had to ask the big question. "What about you? Have you found out what time parameters your Omni will have?"
That got a big, knowing smile out of Jeffrey. Something was up.
"For now, my Omni's circuits will match yours. Eventually, I'll have circuits that'll let me travel to the year 2025, and they're updating yours to the same dates. Garth told me this morning."
2025? "Wait a minute, isn't there a song about the year 2025?"
"Nope. That's In The Year 2525 by Zager and Evans. I've got the record if you want to hear it."
"When are they planning on doing that? I don't think I'd survive in a world that's run on computers and machines. We never went over how to use those things."
"You will now," Jeff told him. "As a matter of fact, Garth wants to bring a lot of Voyagers in for a refresher course on the use of computers. A lot of us had to take a few of those this last term. He thinks the course will last about a week or two, maybe three, then we'll go forward in time to the early 21st century and get some actual practice with something called the Internet. I'm interested in seeing how that works. After that, they'll recalibrate our time circuits."
He was already planning possible voyages. Sometimes, when Bogg looked at him, he could see the curly-haired eleven year old whose dog had eaten his guidebook in 1982. He could see the boy who counted on him to take care of him, to joke with him, to fix history and chase after women in any time zone they landed. Now, the boy was gone and sitting in front of him was a young man without the too-long curly hair. He was an independent, self-confident Voyager now – that wasn't something that had changed in all those years. His skills had developed farther than Bogg could have dreamed even after reading Jeffrey's file at the trial years earlier. Jeff would be one of the best Voyagers ever, but even though his boy may have grown up, Jeff was still his kid. In fact, he had no doubt that when Jeff was old enough to retire from Voyaging, Bogg would still see him as his kid. Maybe all parents felt that way about their children?
Jeff's going to school had been the best thing for him to do, but Bogg coming back to school for a refresher course again? That wasn't one of his favorite things to do. "When are they doing all that?"
Jeffrey shrugged. "Garth is trying to get the funding to set up the classes to bring fieldworkers up to speed."
"So it'll take a while. Good. Because I've got to tell you, schooling is not my strong suit," he reminded him. "Sitting in a classroom when you know there's a red light out there somewhere…"
"Well, look on the bright side. From what Garth told me, he wants to keep former classmates together, so that means you would be in the same refresher course with Olivia Dunn and Susan."
Olivia, his sometime rival, and Susan, the girl he had a crush on when he was a student. That could be an interesting class after all. That's when he noticed his boy's smirk. Jeff wasn't joking, but he was amused that Bogg would have to go back to school.
"So I hear you're graduating top of the class," Bogg changed the subject. "That sounds like something to celebrate. How about we grab something to eat?"
"Didn't you eat all my leftovers already?" Jeff grinned.
"That was hours ago, kid. And I know this one particular little restaurant just outside of Paris –"
"What year? The one we go to in 1909 isn't as good as the one we visit in 1719. 1872 is pretty good -"
"1844. Talk about great food! They hired this new cook at the start of that year. I'm not kidding; he has to be a master chef."
Jeffrey didn't need to be told twice. Without another word, they both stood up and Bogg pulled out his Omni to set the coordinates. Bogg noticed that Jeffrey was as tall as he was. When had that happened?
"1844 Paris?" Jeffrey repeated. "The French Industrial Exposition on the Champs-Élysées happened in 1844. First one was in 1798. It inspired the Great Exhibition in London in 1851."
Bogg laughed. "Put your brain in idle, kid. Let's go enjoy the food, the sights, the sounds, hopefully a green light, maybe drop by the Moulin Rouge –"
"The Moulin Rouge wasn't built until 1889," Jeffrey reminded him. "We can omni there after we eat. So what's the name of the lady that works in this restaurant in 1844?" Jeff asked, knowing Bogg all too well.
"Mariette." Some things didn't change.
"This one doesn't have a husband, does she? Remember what happened in Hawaii when that girl in the grass skirt was flirting with you and she was the chieftain's eighteenth wife?" Jeff never let him live down that near-mistake.
But, then again… "I don't know. Maybe it'd be a good idea if we go to 1719 instead?"
"Press the button," Jeff told him with a laugh, and then they were gone.