“Q, You there?,” said a female voice I didn’t recognize at first.
“He’s not answering,” she said.
“Say something else, something he’ll remember,” Gina said.
“How about I dance for you?,” Jackie said, “Do you remember our song?”
I came to, “Rehab, how can I forget that,” I said. “What’s going on, why wasn’t I waking up?”
Gina said “At first we thought you were unconscious, but you were in some form of a coma, we tried everything to get you out of it, but nothing worked. We couldn’t take you to the hospital, who knows what they would do to you there, so we placed you in a stasis pod on Earth in the year 2653.
Just this morning we received notification you appeared to be coming to, so we came immediately.”
I looked around. The room was a spartanly finished white environment, with all the trappings of a hospital type furnishing one might expect, and the technology was roughly equivalent to Earth’s in the later 27th century. I rolled over and looked out the window and could see skylanes of cars flying through the air .
I rolled back over, Jackie’s hand was in my copious hair that had been growing for quite some time.
She looked at me in the eyes, she’d been crying, and leaned over to kiss me.
It felt amazing.
“Absolutely on that dance,” I said. I almost dared her to do it then and there, but I resisted.
I started to get up, but my arms collapsed under my weight.
“You’re going to need to go through rehabilitation therapy,” Gina said, ” You were out for 10 years.”
I blinked, hard, and then tried sitting up again, but collapsed.
“This isn’t right. This isn’t making any lick of sense at all. The 27th century I knew had direct tissue stimulus therapies, the majority of the physical recovery of coma victims would occur within a few minutes with direct dermal stimulation, and full recovery would occur within a week at most,” I said.
Gina looked at me, “I’ve done all the research available in this time,” Gina said a little haughtily, “You’re wrong. There’s been very little progress in physical therapy and trauma recovery since, well, since 1997.”
I reached back. This was all wrong.
How could one field of medicine have so thoroughly stagnated for…..
“Oh shit,” I said, “Lisa,”
Jackie looked at me “Lisa?”
“Yeah, she was a physical therapist and it was right around then that she’d transitioned careers unexpectedly to become a flight attendant. Somehow she has to be related to this,” I said. “Just how though?”
I looked around the room. Everyone was there. Bennett now had glasses, long hair and a full beard, he was looking quite professor-ish. Kevin and Becki as well as Ron and Deb hadn’t looked like they’d aged at all, Bill actually looked younger and Pam now had white hair. Roz looked like she’d lost a few pounds which Jeff had gained.
“There was a decision I didn’t make back then with Lisa which I should have. A regret I have. But first, I need to know how you convinced Jackie to come along,” I said.
Kevin looked at the others. “Well, technically we didn’t. Clones-R-Us has a program which allows you to copy the personality of anyone into a clone – and insert your own memories. So we all got together and recanted the memories we had of Jackie – from the time we met her – and in 2010, we stopped time, grabbed her DNA at the time you had sex with her and then we took that to Clones-R-Us and had her cloned”
I looked at Jackie’s clone “So you know you’re a clone?”
“New and improved, without a few of the hangups I used to have. You’ll see,” she said, and winked.
The wink was loaded – I mean – oozing with sexuality.
“Gina. Do you have access to cyanide?,” I said.
Her smile shifted into a frown.
“Buddy, what are you asking for?,” I said.
“I need you to trust me on this. There’s things I discovered about who and what I am in 2011 and 2012 after we parted ways, “ I said
“We saw, “ Jeff said, “Do you remember what we said when you tried what you did?”
“I do,” I said, “And with that, we have ten years of missing history and a timeline that just doesn’t make logical sense with one exception. You’ve helped me solve two problems – the first is how to get Jackie involved without violating free will, the second is a temporally relevant reason to revisit a number of regrets I had with Lisa which ended less than satisfactorily in 1997” I said.
Jackie looked at me, a little upset, she knew the insinuation.
“What about me?”, Jackie said.
“What about us?,” Pam said.
“Without getting into anything, do you remember anything outside being here today?,” I said.
They all looked at eachother, it truly felt as if they were all blank slates.
“So how about his. When I wake up the day after I issued your assignments, for me, it will feel like a dream at first but there will be more to it that I’ll be compelled to explain it all to you. And with that dream is the idea on how to bring Jackie along. Not only do we have her again, but she’ll also have new information about a future timeline and the entire story of that timeline and our dialog,” I said.
“What happens to us?,” Pam demanded.
“You will still be with me. Only instead of being 10 years in the future looking over me recovering from a coma, you’ll hear a story about me in the future recovering from a coma and how I came up with the idea of how to get Jackie. You’ll still be you. Just a little less drama for both of us,” I said.
Gina, clearly a little unhappy with the situation, walked out the room in a huff.
“Kiss me again, Jackie, and mean it this time,” I said.
She leaned over, and there was something different about this Jackie in contrast to the one I knew.
This one felt.
I liked it.
Gina walked back in with a syringe.
Spencer said “Why do they keep cyanide here in a hospital?”
“Talaxians use it as a sedative,” She said, “You sure about this?”
“I am,” I said.
“Don’t we get a vote on this?” said Jeff.
“Not on my life,” I said, looking at Gina, “please do this, now!”
She looked at the others. Everyone had disapproving looks, but I hadn’t really given any of them the choice in the matter. Jackie was crying.
“Across space and time, and Across the Universe I will come for you,” Jackie said
Gina punctured my left blood vein with the syringe, as the cyanide streamed in.
The last words I heard were:
“Why isn’t he convulsing?”
I’m not sure who said it.