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       Crossover, p.1

           Ron Hooft
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  By Ron Hooft

  Copyright Ron Hooft 2011

  Redmond Quain flung open the door to the lab and got a fist in the lower jaw for his carelessness. On most other days he would have been in touch with his inner voices. He would have felt a presence behind the entrance if nothing deeper. For all his training and skill he had missed this one, and it could have cost him his life.

  It was a lucky thing Adra Davis was on the other end of that fist and not someone else, someone with more on their mind than revenge for being stood up. True, Baxter's was not the hot spot of the twenty second century. It was more McDonald’s than Chez Pierre; and he hadn't actually promised to be there. But he'd implied it.

  Besides, that wasn't the point, she felt jilted, and in any century that was enough to usher forth the full wrath of even the most docile female. Redmond noted that of all the things that could be said about Adra Davis, docile was nowhere among them.

  He'd always had a flair for attracting strong women. Usually it worked to his advantage, but sometimes...

  "Adra, I can explain." he began, but what could he tell her? The truth was out of the question, she'd never believe him. Worst of all, if by some small miracle she did, it could compromise his whole mission; not to mention putting her life in danger.

  Better to lie. The fact was: he'd never had any intention of seeing her again anyway. In three days from now he'd be finished his assignment and safely back in his chosen time, back with Rachel.

  He decided he owed her at least part of the truth.

  "I'm married." he said sheepishly, but without apology, "I was going to tell you, but..."

  "You son of a bitch." she hissed, and slapped him hard.

  "You lying bastard son of a bitch. When were you going to tell me? Right between was it good for you and pass me a smoke?"

  He could have stopped her hand from finding its mark. He was prepared for it this time. But the truth was, he had used her. She deserved an opportunity to get even.

  "Well let me tell you something, mister." she continued while waving a finger in his face." You'll never get that chance now." And with that, she stormed down the long hall way.

  He watched her go and wished there was something he could say, something that would make her understand, but there wasn't. As she neared the door she turned. Her surprise at seeing him still standing there was obvious. Deep down she felt a flicker of satisfaction from the remorse she sensed from him. For some that would have been enough, but Adra wasn't the type to let a man off the hook so easily.

  "And you know what's sad?" she asked in consoling tones. "I really liked you. I would have given you the best damn night of your life.... Now you'll never know." She walked the last few steps to the door, opened it, and without looking back, slammed it behind her.

  Quain stood there for a moment in deep contemplation. Had it really been necessary to use her to get to Dillard? Or was she right, had he chosen her out of some subconscious lustful desire? "She'll make someone an interesting bond mate some day." he thought. If not for Rachel he might have been tempted to taste the forbidden fruit himself, but even if he wasn't previously involved, that kind of tampering with the past was not permitted to him.

  A child out of timeline was a complication he didn't need, and the odds of pregnancy when paring humans with dolmans, (particularly a male dolman with a human female) were almost one hundred percent in favour. Didn’t matter what contraceptive devices were used as prevention.

  What he'd told Adra was not quite true. He and Rachel weren't married in the traditional sense. They were bond mates, and in every sense, that meant far more than just being married. She was part of him. Every time he crossed over to another time their bond link was broken. Every time, a part of him was torn away as if she'd died. This mission had gone on far too long. He missed her. He always missed her.

  It wasn't the same for Rachel and Redmond had to constantly fight down the urge to resent that fact. For her, his journeys took only a matter of minutes or hours, not days or weeks as they did for him.

  Sometimes, as the seemingly endless minutes passed, she would drift into a day dream. She would see places and things she knew Redmond had seen on his mission. Some times things she knew she was remembering as they were occurring in the timeline Redmond currently occupied. Times that hadn't existed before the very moment she recalled them. Yet the memories remained as valid as those they had replaced. Yes. She knew there were memories and even moments between them that were lost because of what they had done; what they had to do.

  Only Redmond retained the knowledge and scope of change their actions brought to the worlds they were to save; and he never spoke of it unless it was relevant to their next mission. He kept it all in notes; locked away in an encrypted file. But for some time now he’d been worried he was missing something important. Yet it wouldn’t come clear for him.

  As he entered the lab the hairs on the back of his neck stood on end. He knew who was waiting for him. He'd set up the meeting two days ago with Adra's help. Yet the fact that he was actually here where it would all begin was still a little overwhelming even for him. A muffled voice from across the room called to him by name.

  "Ah, Quain. Over here my friend." Doctor Dillard was anything but a friend. The mere thought of what this man was capable of would have driven a lesser individual to kill the butcher where he stood. But that wasn't part of the plan. This bastard would live to murder over a billion people before his end came at the hands of an angry mob. The next two years would see the bloodiest conflict earth had ever faced. But in the end she would stand united under one government.

  The build up of armaments would be outlawed to individual countries, and the only legal army would be a United Nations peace keeping force made up of what remained of the world’s war machine. It was a crucial time in the history of this planet, and without Dillard, none of it would ever come to be.

  Irony was a recurring theme in Redmond's trade, and that's why he was here to save the scums life, not to end it as every moral instinct he had was demanding of him. He kept his feelings hidden behind a warm smile and a pleasant demeanor. "Doctor Dillard I presume?" he said, and chuckled.

  The parallels were there in a sardonic sort of way; Stanley had travelled across endless jungle to find Livingston, while Redmond had travelled across the centuries to find the man he most despised.

  "I see you’re in a little hot water with my assistant. She's a fine woman." Dillard said. "You could do a lot worse."

  "I'm afraid we've had a misunderstanding." Redmond answered. "But it's for the best."

  "Pity. I've been trying to get her out more. She's a bit of a workaholic, you see. But that's not what you've come to see me about, is it?"

  "No sir, I have reason to believe that an attempt will be made on your life in the next few days. I've been sent to protect you."

  "An attempt on my life? Who sent you?"

  "I'm sorry. I'm not at liberty to say, Doctor."

  "The Agency! So they're finally taking me seriously."

  Redmond made no reply, but took on the stoic air he was famous for.

  "Oh it's alright, Mister Quain. I've had death threats before. One gets used to that sort of thing when you're in my line of work."

  "This is no ordinary threat, sir. If I don't stop him, he will succeed. I advise you to follow my instructions to the letter."

  Dillard eyed the tall slim man with suspicion. "My last body guard told me the same thing. As you see, I'm still here. By all means do your job, Mister Quain, but do it from afar. I have a lot work ahead of me."

  Dillard went back to his charts. Redmond felt like a school boy who'd just been dismissed from the principles office. "Sir, I...' he began, but the doctor cut him off.
  "I'm an old man, Mister Quain. Don't expect me to cower at the thought of my own demise. When my work is finished, I will welcome a peaceful death."

  Redmond hadn't been prepared for Dillard's attitude. From what he'd read in preparation for this mission, Dillard was a paranoid little man, prone to fits of depression, vanity, and a single mindedness that forged the foundation for his vial acts.

  This man had been known to use the Agency to order the execution of innocent people he merely suspected of plotting against him. Yet all Quain could get from scanning the Doctors mind was a sense of weariness, and sincere resignation that his work would, in all likelihood, be completed by someone else. Maybe the Doctor's mental state would change over the next few months, he thought. Yet surely there should be some evidence of his impending condition.

  Redmond felt suddenly strange, as if the room had shifted a foot to the left. Normally he was rock steady, fully aware of his surroundings, but now he found it hard to focus on the task at hand; a feeling he'd never experienced before.

  No, he remembered now. Just before he'd met Adra at the door to the lab he'd been disoriented. That's why he hadn't felt her presence. But the effect was hardly noticeable compared to this.

  His muscles tensed and a wave of nausea came over him. It sent danger signals to every part of his body at once. Dolmans didn't get nausea as a rule, but when they did,
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