"Green light, Kid," Bogg exclaimed happily. "We did it!" he added, turning the Omni towards Jeff, as if he needed to prove it.
Jeff nodded and walked away a bit, no longer wanting to watch the group of celebrants behind them. Bogg took a few large strides to catch up to his young friend.
"What's the matter, Jeff?" he asked.
Jeff shrugged his shoulders. "I dunno, Bogg. I guess I just wish we could stay a little longer."
Bogg sighed. Just as Jeffrey had been thinking, Bogg realized he had been ready to hit the button on the Omni to send them on their next adventure. But really seeing Jeffrey's face, hearing the weariness in his voice now, he put the device back on his belt and asked, "Who says we can't stay?"
Jeff spun around, exclaiming, "Really?"
"Sure, Kid," Bogg replied with a smile, putting a comforting hand on Jeff's shoulder. "Let's join the party, huh? Stay a day or two..."
Jeff grinned as the two hurried back to the celebration. It's not often would they would have the chance to be in Paris after the Americans liberated it during World War Two.
Two days later Phineas and Jeffrey said their goodbyes to their French hosts, Babette and Genevieve, the two young women giggling as Phineas gave each a parting wink and smile. He ignored Jeff's usual eye-rolling look of exasperation.
On their way, down the cobbled lane, out of the women's sight, Phineas relaxed. "I don't know about you, Kid, but I think I'm done partying for a while," Bogg moaned, rubbing his head and stomach at the same time.
"Hey, no one said you had to eat everything in sight, Bogg," Jeff responded, mock-scolding his friend.
"That was you, Jeff," Bogg quickly retorted, pointing at the teen.
"I'm a growing boy! I'm supposed to eat everything in sight!" Jeff replied with a laugh. "What was your excuse? Oh, wait; you just drank the wine with Mademoiselle Babette! And ate all those snails!" he added with a look of disgust on his face, sticking out his tongue.
"It's called escargot," Phineas replied, lightly tapping the back of Jeffrey's head. "You ready, Kid?" Bogg asked, looking around to make sure they wouldn't be seen when they Omnied out.
"Ready," Jeff replied, putting his hand on Bogg's forearm.
Then they were gone.
They landed unceremoniously in a dark alleyway off a city street. When Jeff sat up, he didn't see Bogg right away, but he heard his Voyager partner's painful moans to his left.
"Bogg?" he called, rising and heading around some crates. "You all right?"
"Yeah, Kid, I'm fine," came the disgusted reply. "No pile of hay this time, either." Jeff found Phineas slowly pulling himself to his feet, brushing off some dirt and old papers, rubbing his back and sides, stretching to recover from the fall. "How 'bout you? You all right?" he asked, genuine concern in his voice as always, for his young friend.
"I'm good. Where are we?"
Phineas pulled the Omni off his belt and opened it up. "Davenport, Iowa; January fourth, eighteen eighty-five. Ring a bell?"
Jeff shrugged his shoulders. "Nope."
"Well, there's gotta be something here or the Omni wouldn't have sent us," Bogg replied. "Come on, let's see what's out there," he added pointing to the city street at the other end of the alley.
Jeff walked ahead, trying to think of anything that would send the duo to this time and place. "Hmmm… Eighteen-eighty five. Grover Cleveland was president, the Civil War was long over…" he mused aloud.
"Everything looks normal so far," Phineas added as they entered the street. He quickly pulled Jeff back, though when a trolley car passed by them. "That was a little close."
They were still wearing their country clothes from France, so they didn't stand out too much as they now walked a little more carefully onto the city street. It looked to be early morning, but the streets were busy. Besides the trolley car, there were horses and carriages following the roadway, as well as pedestrians on the street.
"We should find a newspaper; see if we can find out what's wrong," Jeff suggested.
"Good idea," Phineas agreed.
The two continued on the busy street, nearing a corner and hopefully a newsstand.
"Ow!" Phineas cried out, clutching his side after someone bumped into him.
"Sorry!" the man said, but continued walking.
"You okay, Bogg?" Jeff asked, seeing Phineas rubbing his side.
"Yeah, Kid, just fine," he replied gruffly, giving the man's back a glare before continuing their trek. "Must've bruised my side during the landing."
They found a newsstand and Phineas bought a paper. The two Voyagers brought it to a nearby bench and sat down. Jeff took the paper and began to scan it, looking for some hint as to why the Omni had brought them to this place and time.
"Well?" Bogg asked after a few minutes.
"Everything looks normal," Jeff replied with a shrug.
"So why's the Omni red?" Bogg complained, taking the device out and checking it again. It still blinked red. He put it back and rubbed his hands down his face.
"Bogg? You okay?" Jeff asked.
Phineas looked up at his young friend's question. "Huh?"
"You don't look so good. You sure you only got a bruise in that fall?" he asked, concern in his voice. Then another thought occurred to him. He smiled and chummily elbowed his friend, adding, "Or maybe you're still hung over from the wine in Paris?"
"I don't have a hangover!" Phineas asserted. He rose from the bench and started walking away. "Come on, let's start asking around," he called back to Jeff.
Several hours later, the duo still could not find any clues as to why the Omni had sent them to Davenport. They'd made polite conversation with many people in the streets, at the diner they had breakfast in and at the local library and school, and came up with nothing.
"I don't know, Bogg," Jeff said with a sigh and tired shrug of his shoulders. He joined Phineas as the older man took a seat on a low wall outside the library. "I mean, obviously something's gonna happen or has already happened here. Unless the Omni's broken. Has it ever brought you somewhere you didn't have to go before?" He waited for a response, then nudged Phineas' shoulder. "Bogg?"
"What?" Phineas responded, as if woken up.
Jeff rolled his eyes. "I asked you if the Omni had ever sent you somewhere you didn't have to go by mistake."
Bogg shrugged, "Not that I know of." He looked around them. "It's getting late. We better find someplace to stay."
"And something to eat! I'm starving!" Jeff added.
"What else is new?" Bogg said with a smile, ruffling the boy's hair. "Come on, I think I saw a boarding house a few streets back."
The pair walked back three streets to their south, to where Bogg had seen "Budde's Boarding House."
The woman at the front desk greeted the pair cheerily. "Good evening, gentlemen! Welcome to Budde's Boarding House. What can we do for you?"
"My son and I are looking for dinner and a room for a night or two," Bogg replied.
"Well you've come to the right place," the woman replied. "Dinner's just about ready; we've got some stew and fresh hot biscuits tonight for dinner and I've got a room on the third floor, number three oh two, which just got cleaned."
"Sounds good," Jeff said with a smile, showing his eagerness for dinner.
Bogg looked around the boarding house. He saw the dining area to their left and took a quick look toward the stairway at the right. "Dinner first, since we're already here," he decided, as he signed the guest book.
Mrs. Budde told them to take any seat they wanted in the dining room and they'd be served shortly. The two Voyagers made their way to one of the tables near the entrance and sat down. And true to her word, Mrs. Budde came out of the kitchen a few minutes later with a tray full of hot food for them.
Jeff dug right in, relishing the hot stew, dipping a biscuit into the sauce, as if he hadn't eaten in days. Bogg sat back and watched, amused at the young boy.
"What?" Jeff asked around a mouthful. "It's good! You should have some!"
"I'm not hungry, Kid," Phineas replied. "You eat up, though. You're a growing boy, you know," he added, repeating the boy's words before they left Paris.
Jeff looked at Bogg a moment, not understanding how his friend could not be hungry. They'd been pounding the pavement all day, not having anything to eat since their light breakfast almost 12 hours ago. He smiled then and shook his head. "No more escargot and wine for you!"
"Yeah," Phineas replied quietly with a smile, rubbing his stomach. "That must be it."
Within the hour, Jeff and Bogg were in their shared room. It had a full sized bed and a small cot for them to sleep on and a small dresser for clothing.
"I don't know about you, Jeff, but I'm whipped," Phineas said, sitting down heavily on the side of the bed, unconsciously rubbing his stomach again. He groaned as he leaned over to take off his boots.
Jeff was starting to worry about his friend. "You sure it's just the food, Bogg? You really don't look so good."
Not wanting to worry Jeff, or himself, Phineas just shrugged as he threw his boots into the corner of the room. "I'm fine, Kid. Between the wine, the snails and the landing in the alley… maybe I'm getting…"
"Too old for this stuff?" Jeff finished jokingly.
"Never too old!" Phineas retorted, indignant. "Just too tired," he added, laying down and pulling the blanket over his head. "Good night, Jeff."
"'Night, Bogg," Jeff replied, blowing out the lantern and laying down on the cot.
Jeff woke early. He looked over at Bogg, who he'd heard tossing and turning most of the night. While he still looked a little under the weather, he looked like he was finally sleeping peacefully, so Jeff decided to let him sleep in. He quickly dressed then wrote a note. He also took the Omni with him, deciding to see if he could find the Green Light on his own.
He met Mrs. Budde at the bottom of the stairs. "Good morning, Mrs. Budde," he greeted her.
"And good morning to you, young man," she replied in return. "Your father's not up?" she asked, looking toward the top of the stairs.
"No, ma'am," Jeff replied. "I don't think he slept well, so I thought I'd let him sleep late."
"I hope he's okay?"
"I'm sure he's fine, just tired. We've been doing a lot of traveling," Jeff replied.
She ushered him into the dining room, asking, "So what brings you two to Davenport?"
"We're, uh… we're just passing through, heading back to Chicago. We spent the holidays in Des Moines with relatives."
"Oh, Chicago!" Mrs. Budde exclaimed. "I've never been there, but I've heard it's windy!" she added with a laugh.
Jeff laughed along with her as she put some breakfast down onto the table.
After eating breakfast, with no sign of Bogg coming downstairs, Jeff bade Mrs. Budde a good morning and headed out. He decided to visit the library again and headed down the sidewalk. As a trolley came from somewhere behind him, he heard someone shouting for it to stop.
"Wait! Hold the trolley! Please!"
Hearing the near desperation in the man's voice, and having missed a few buses and subways in his short life, Jeff quickly slapped his hand on the side of the trolley and shouted, making the driver stop the car.
"Oh, thank you, young man!" the man panted, clasping Jeff's shoulder in gratitude. He put some coins in Jeff's hands, adding, "You may just have saved someone's life!" and got onto the trolley car.
Jeff stood there, watching the man give instructions to the driver before the trolley started on its route once again. And as he moved back onto the sidewalk, he thought he heard a quiet ding. Recalling the man's words about saving a life, Jeff quickly pulled the Omni from his pocket and opened it up. Sure enough, the light was now green.
"Huh!" Jeff smiled as he put the Omni back into his pocket.
He had no idea who the man was he'd stopped the trolley for, but apparently it was someone that had made some dent in history. He and Bogg had been on enough missions together to know that sometimes it didn't take much to change history. He recalled the time when all he needed to do to change a red light to a green light was pick up the scattered music sheets that Francis Scott Key had dropped in the wind. This time, it was as easy as stopping a trolley car for someone.
"I'd still like to know who that was, though!" he wondered aloud.
Turning around, Jeff headed back to the boarding house, excited to wake Bogg and tell him the good news.
When Jeff got back to the boarding house, he quickly ran up the stairs. "Bogg! Guess what?" he exclaimed, bursting into their room, expecting to find his friend up and waiting for him. He was quick to lose the excitement when he saw that Bogg, though awake, was still in bed. "Bogg? You all right?" he asked, all worry now, moving to the bed.
"Hey, Kid," Bogg replied.
There was pain in his voice and Jeff couldn't miss the sheen of sweat on Bogg's forehead. He reached out and touched his forehead. "You're burning up! Bogg, this is no hangover!"
"Yeah, I figured that out," Bogg replied weakly. "Looks like you gotta fix this red light on your own, Kid."
Jeff didn't hear him, though, worry for his friend being the only thing on his mind. "What's wrong, Bogg? We gotta get you to a doctor!" He moved to get Bogg up and out of bed as he spoke, "I think I saw a doctor's office just down the street, we can walk there," he rambled, on, only stopping when Bogg cried out in pain as Jeff touched his side. "Bogg?"
"Think it's my appendix, Kid," Bogg ground out.
Jeff sat back, thinking. "We gotta get you out of here, Bogg! I don't know if the doctors in this time can fix you!" He started wracking his brain, wondering about medical history, not coming up with anything other than their dealings with Louis Pasteur or his own history books when they mentioned Jonas Salk and Polio… "Bogg… I think we better go to sometime in the mid to late twentieth century," he said, fear in his voice, pulling the Omni out of his pocket.
Bogg reached out to stop Jeff's actions. "Red light comes first, Jeff," he said.
"But it's green, Bogg!" Jeff exclaimed, turning the Omni so Bogg could see it. "I stopped a trolley car, some guy got on, and the Omni turned green!" he quickly explained. He turned the dials before Bogg could argue again, setting them for nineteen eighty, and, grabbing Bogg's wrist, pushed the button.
And nothing happened.
Jeff pushed the button again. Again nothing happened. "It's not working!" Jeff exclaimed, panic in his voice.
Bogg closed his eyes, breathing through another bout of pain and nausea. "Just as well; don't think I would have landed well…" he whispered.
Not wasting any more time, Jeff stood and rushed to the door. "I'll be back, Bogg. I'm gonna go get a doctor."
"Jeff!" Bogg called, but the boy was gone.
Downstairs, Jeff sought out Mrs. Budde. He quickly told her that Bogg was sick – not just tired as he'd thought – and needed a doctor. She confirmed that there was a doctor's office down the street and told Jeff that she'd stay with Bogg while he went to get the doctor.
Jeff quickly found the office of Dr. William West Grant. Unfortunately, he was not in. His wife, who'd answered the door, had excitedly told him that her husband had left an hour ago for the hospital, where he was to perfom surgery. Before Jeff could say another word, the excited woman added, "in fact, if everything goes as planned, he'll be performing the very first appendectomy!"
Jeff's mouth dropped open as everything seemed to come together in his head. "Which hospital is he at? How do we get there?" he asked quickly. "We need to get there!"
Mrs. Grant quickly gave him directions, shouting the last of them to Jeff as he rushed back down the street to the boarding house.
Taking the stairs two at at time, Jeff was nearly out of breath when he reached their room and Bogg. The older man was curled up on his side in a fetal position, trying to hold in the groans of pain.
"Mrs. Budde, we need to get him to Dr. Grant at the hospital!" Jeff practically shouted. "Can you help me get him downstairs and onto a trolley?"
"I'll do better than that, Jeffrey," she said. "You get him ready; I'll borrow my neighbor's buggy."
About five minutes later, a man in his thirties entered the room. "I'm Sam," he introduced himself. "Mrs. Budde's downstairs getting my buggie ready. Figured it would be better for me to help you get your Pa downstairs," he added.
Jeff nodded gratefully and the two managed to get Bogg to his feet, albeit slowly and painfully. Sam wrapped a blanket around the feverish Voyager before they left the room.
"Jeff?" Bogg called as they slowly walked down the stairs.
"I'm right here, Bogg," Jeff replied. "And don't worry – I figured things out. You're gonna be fine."
Jeff doubted those words as each bump the buggy took on the cobbled and pot-hole filled road elicited a painful cry from his partner. But soon enough they were at the hospital entrance and he and Sam were carrying Bogg inside.
"Please!" Jeff called to the woman at the front desk. "He needs help. He needs to see Dr. Grant!"
She shouted for some help in getting Bogg into an examination room and then called for one of the doctors working.
As they took the near unconscious Bogg from Sam and Jeff's arms, Jeff quickly thanked him and Mrs. Budde for their help. Then he rushed to follow his friend into the examination room. Jeff stayed at Bogg's side, worrying more at every minute that passed by, as Bogg seemed to get worse.
Soon, the door opened and a doctor and nurse entered the room.
"What seems to be the problem?" the man asked, moving to Bogg's side, feeling his forehead and then reaching for his wrist to take his pulse.
"It's his appendix!" Jeff exclaimed. "He needs surgery! Now!"
"Now, now, young man," the doctor retorted, appalled by what he felt was rudeness and impetuousness from such a young man. "I believe I'm the doctor here?" Dismissing Jeff and turning to his nurse, he told her, "See what we can do to bring down his fever. I know there's been some stomach flu of sorts going around. Holidays, you know."
"No!" Jeff shouted, grabbing the doctor by the arm. "It's not a stomach bug. It's his appendix! And he needs surgery!"
The doctor, now disgusted by Jeff's outburst, took Jeff by the arm and practically dragged him from the room. He closed the door behind them, ignoring Bogg's desperate cries for Jeff.
Jeff, knowing that arguing with this doctor would only waste precious time, went back to the woman at the front desk. "Please, ma'am," he begged. "I need to speak with Dr. Grant. Can you tell me where he is?"
The woman, seeing the desperation in the teen's eyes, and knowing that the other doctor was not the kindest man in the world, sighed. "He just finished in the surgery," she whispered. "Down that hall, to the right," she added, nodding her head in that direction.
"Thank you!" Jeff replied as he hurried away.
He peeked into several rooms before finally opening an office door and stepping in, finding the man he was looking for.
"Dr. Grant!" Jeff exclaimed.
The doctor looked up and after a few moments, recognition came. "You're the boy from the street this morning. You stopped the trolley!"
"Please, Dr. Grant!" Jeff continued, desperation in his voice. "My friend – his appendix! You've gotta help him!"
Dr. Grant didn't know what to think at this point – he'd only just finished what he was hoping will be the first successful appendecotmy surgery and now a young boy, one he'd met by chance this morning, was telling him that he'd had to perform another? The look on the boy's face, the tone of his voice, the mere coincidence of the situation… Dr. Grant did not ignore any of these things.
"Where is your friend?" he asked, already halfway out his door, moving Jeff with him.
"This way!" Jeff shouted, running toward the examination room and Bogg.
Late that evening, Jeff was finally rewarded for his long vigil when Bogg opened his eyes.
"Bogg!" Jeff shouted, and then quickly quieted, adding, "You're awake!"
Bogg couldn't help but smile at Jeff's happiness, despite how bad he felt. "Hey, Kid," he greeted him.
Jeff didn't like the sound of weakness or pain in his partner's voice, but he was glad to see the light in Bogg's eyes.
"You okay, Jeff?" Bogg asked.
Jeff shook his head. "I'm fine, Bogg. And you're gonna be fine, too," Jeff assured him. "Dr. Grant said he got your appendix out just in time."
Bogg nodded tiredly. "Good."
The next day, when Bogg was a little more alert, Jeff told him all about what had happened. About how he had turned the Omni's red light to green by stopping the trolley so that Dr. Grant could get to the hospital in time to save a young woman by performing the first successful appendectomy in America. Then, because Bogg really didn't remember too much of anything after going to sleep the night they'd gotten to the boarding house, Jeff told him about how the Omni wouldn't let them go anywhere else, and Jeff figured that they were supposed to be in Davenport at this time so that Dr. Grant could help Bogg with his appendix, too.
Bogg had smiled tiredly as Jeff told the story – regaling it with all the excitement and drama of the situation – and fell asleep knowing he was in good hands – Jeff's.