Saturday, May 28, 2016

Second Stage of Something Started: Reunions (Part VII)

Click here for the first series (Seeing is Becoming).
Click here for the previous installment...
Click here for the entire story.

Vearden lost track of the number of points in time he and Makarion helplessly jumped through, and how much time had passed from their perspective. Though it had to number in the thousands across at least a week. As they had guessed, the jumps were all tied to Mateo’s jumps forward, but not for them in any particular order. Makarion seemed surprised that Mateo was still alive and kicking, but oddly content about knowing this. He seemed to have mixed feelings for Mateo and Leona. Vearden kept asking about it, hoping to find away to make things better, but Makarion kept his mouth shut. In fact, as much as Makarion liked the sound of his own voice, the two of them didn’t talk all that much. They just kept going, desperately hoping to get back to where they had begun, never quite knowing how long it was going to take, if it even ended at all. They did run into Saga a couple of times, but future versions of her, so that wasn’t all that helpful, except in letting Vearden know that she did somehow survive the gunshot. Either way, they needed to return to 2074. Neither of them ever knew what year it was at any one moment, and would have to look for context clues. They would occasionally stay four to six feet from each other to allow time for food and sleep. One time, they accidentally touched from going for the same chip, but that was all it took to throw them to a different day.
At present, it was April 28, 2416. The reason they knew this was because Leona jumped in at the same time. “How are you here?” Makarion asked.
“How the hell are you here?” Leona asked accusatively. “You should be three-hundred and eighty-two years old. It was my understanding that the powers that be don’t like us to also be transhumanists.”
Makarion stepped away from Vearden to protect them from an accidental jump somewhere else. By our powers combined, we are CAPTAIN PLANET!”
“What?”
“Wow, tough crowd.” Makarion rolled his eyes. “When we touch each other, our patterns mix together to allow us to travel through time and space.”
Force us through time and space,” Vearden corrected.
“That’s right, we have no control over it. We’re trying to get back, him to his partner, and me so I can find out how you survived that car crash back in 2073.”
“What do you mean? You already kn—” she stopped herself. “You haven’t learned how from your perspective.”
“No, that hasn’t happened yet.” Makarion looked over to Vearden with a smile. “I guess that means we get back at some point.”
“Eventually, yeah, I guess.”
Makarion continued, “we’ve been jumping into moments at the beginning, or the end of, Mateo’s day. How are you here? Your day was yesterday.”
“A lot has changed since you...” she trailed off, obviously not wanting to divulge too much information about the timeline. “We broke the rules, so we’re being punished. The powers switched me over so that I’m perpetually one day behind Mateo, which means that we don’t ever see each other. I only come back to the timestream the minute he leaves.”
“Hmm,” Makarion thought out loud. The both of them knew that this was not the situation in Leona’s future. At some point, somehow, their patterns are realigned, and they are reunited.
“It that ever changes, don’t tell me about it,” Leona insisted. “I don’t want to risk changing the future.”
“That is wise of you,” Makarion agreed.
“But I will tell you that I know who you are. I mean I know who you really are. I know why you’re doing this, and I forgive you.”
Makarion was actually touched by this, and almost speechless, but not quite. “If I didn’t—if I stepped back—things would be much worse for you.”
“We know. We find out, and we take care of that too. Don’t change your plans, but know that when the day comes when you can’t continue the tribulations, we survive. We’re still surviving. I don’t agree with your methods, but I understand why you did it.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” Makarion said genuinely.
What the hell is going on?
“Well, I guess we better be off,” Makarion went on. “We’re obviously not going to find Saga here. Not the one we’re looking for anyway.” He tipped an imaginary hat and reached out towards Vearden.
“No,” Vearden said.
“What is it now?”
“I have to help her. I may be the only one who can.”
“I don’t understand,” Makarion said.
“I do.” Leona smiled and explained, “if you and Vearden develop a new pattern with physical contact, perhaps the same could be done with him and me. He could take me back to where I belong.”
“There’s no way for you to know that.”
“I’m willing to try if you are,” Vearden said, palm face up.
“I am,” Leona said. Before Makarion could stop her, she had taken Vearden’s hand in hers.

They returned to the timestream one year later. It was April 28, 2417. Mateo was staring at them, stunned by their sudden appearance. Leona removed herself from Vearden’s grasp and pushed herself into Mateo’s arms. “Oh my God, it’s so good to see you again!”
“How are you here?”
“Vearden helped me out.”
“I thank you, sir,” Mateo said. “It’s nice to see you again, brother.”
There was a tear or two in Leona’s eyes. “Where are Franka and Séarlas?”
“They’re gone,” Mateo answered sadly. “They’re gone, as you would expect, but they’re safe. I was with them for three years.”
“How?”
Before Mateo had a chance to answer, Makarion strode up in anger. “I had to wait for you for a year! Everyone has superpowers now, and I’m a cockroach ‘cause all I can do is teleport!” He took Vearden by the shoulder.

They found themselves standing in a dark room with cargo lining the walls. “Ugh. I wanted to talk to them some more.”
“You’ll have plenty of time for that in the future-past.” He walked over and picked up a tablet for information. “It’s 2075. Close enough.”
“This is not close enough! I’m trying to get back to Saga before she gets shot, to stop it from happening.”
“Well, I don’t really care. I’m headed for Mars. You can come if you’d like, but don’t touch me.”
“The hell I won’t.” Vearden reached over to turn the tables and take Makarion by the shoulder for once.
The first thing Saga and Baxter could hear after jumping back into the timestream was screaming. They rushed down the hallway and into the room to find Leona Delaney on nothing but a mattress and blankets. She was having trouble getting comfortable, and couldn’t decide whether she wanted to lie down or sit up.
“Oh thank God, you’re back,” Mateo said, one hand on Leona’s neck, and the other suffering a few fractures from her kung fu grip. “They’re coming.”
Saga smiled. Birthing babies was her favorite part of the job. Sure, they weren’t without their complications, but they weren’t about correcting a problem; they were about new life. It reminded her of when her son, Samwise was born. Labor with him only lasted about six hours, and he came out with absolutely no problems. The fact that he was the reincarnation of salmon who had already lived for decades probably meant that the powers that be were protecting him with their magicks, but still, it could have still been more painful. Baxter delivered him, just as he had with Vearden’s daughter, Laura, and just like he was right now with the twins. Was he the delivery doctor for all salmon? Jack of all trades, master of probably all of them too. She missed her partner, Vearden, but knew that they would be reunited one day, and until then, it was nice to be around someone who knew exactly what he was doing, and didn’t really answer to anyone but the emergency.
“It’s almost midnight,” Leona cried while Saga started wiping her forehead with a washcloth. “What happens at midnight? Are my babies gonna just be left here in the middle of the room...all alone?
“It’ll be fine, Mateo said. “It’s not that close to midnight.”
“Shut up, yes it is!”
“We’ll still be here,” Baxter assured her.
“You don’t know that,” Leona argued. “You’re just a salmon.”
“Saga, take out my scheduler.”
Saga removed the little device that contained Baxter’s schedule for the next few appointments, at the most. She held it up in front of Leona, hoping to comfort her.
“Your babies are my patients too, see? I will not leave them, I promise.”
“Okay,” she said. “Okay, okay,” she repeated several more times until another contraction came on and she switched back to yelling.
“Won’t be long now,” Baxter said. “You’ve been taking the prenatal vitamins I gave you, right?”
“Every day,” Mateo answered.
“And you’ve been lying on your left side during your time jumps?”
“Yes,” Mateo said. “Well, for the most part. That hasn’t always been possible.”
“That’s okay, it was just a precaution.”
“Precaution for what?” Leona asked in a panic.
“It’s okay, Miss Delaney. No need to worry.” Baxter was examining Leona’s belly with a diagnostic device. “Everything is perfectly all right. This pregnancy is going to go swimmingly.”
“Okay,” Leona said again, still in a great deal of pain.
“I’m going to place the epidural and spinal injection now, okay?” Baxter said. “It’s going to be a little uncomfortable, but it will help you manage this pain.”
“Is it not too late? I heard it can be too late sometimes.”
“It’s not too late,” Baxter said. “It’s actually the perfect time.” He removed a labor pain gun from his bag as Mateo and Saga were helping Leona stay sitting up. After disinfecting her back, he placed the gun against her spine. With one squeeze of the trigger, both injections were sent in. He let go of the trigger and flipped the release with his thumb. As he slowly removed the gun, the fixation glue formed to hold the epidural catheter in place. “All right, that’s done. You should be feeling better in minutes.”
“Can we lay her back down, doc?” Mateo asked.
“Yes, of course.”
Not twenty minutes later, the first baby was on its way out. Saga looked down and could see little red hairs peeking out during the crowning that clearly did not belong to Leona. She was no longer screaming because Baxter’s pain medicine was the best of all time...literally. After the first baby was all the way out, they noticed something strange. A little hand was wrapped around its heel. His twin sister had no interest in spending any time in the womb without her big brother. “Hold onto the boy!” Baxter ordered.
Saga took the boy in her arms and held him in place while her boss went about delivering the girl. It was too dangerous to try and separate them at this point. An arm-first birth was risky enough, they didn’t need to aggravate them. She tried to whisper, “are you going to have to break her arm?”
Leona heard that. “What? Why would you do that? What’s wrong!”
“Nothing’s wrong,” Baxter said definitively. “It’s an unusual birth, but not one I can’t handle. Just don’t move. Baxter became laser focused as he gently worked the second little baby out. “She’s entering this world like Supergirl,” he said, trying to lighten the mood. He was right. Only the one arm was on her brother’s leg. The second was down at her side, just as Kara Zor-El was known to fly. If she didn’t know any better, the babies were laughing. They didn’t seem to be upset, or in any discomfort. Even though it was one of the oddest births she had ever been a part of, it really was going well.
“More like Jacob,” Mateo said, making a reference to the bible.
Saga was not Christian, but she certainly had to pretend to be one for a long time because of how tricky life was centuries ago. Saga and Vearden had to remain vigilant, and not draw attention to themselves. She had to fake her faith, and avoid revealing the fact that she wanted nothing more than to just wear pants. She knew of the story of the birth of Jacob and Esau. The former was born immediately after the latter, holding onto his heel as presumed foreshadowing to their quarrelsome lives. Esau had even been born with red hair, which was another interesting coincidence. Due to all this time travel, Saga wondered whether the powers that be were making this happen because of the story in the bible, or whether this event came first, and will ultimately go back to inspire the story.
“Twenty fingers, twenty toes. Two happy and healthy babies,” Saga said.
“Let me hold them,” Leona said with beckoning arms.
They handed Leona’s twins to her one by one.
“She needs water,” Baxter noted.
“There’s some in the other room,” Mateo responded without breaking his gaze at his lovely new children.
“I’ll get it,” Saga said.
“See if you have find some more towels too,” Baxter said as she was walking away.
The door turned out to be a portal that returned her to the island through the little cottage they had built. “Oh, great.” Click here for the next installment...

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