The Bester of Both Worlds
This story is about, among other things, three unique individuals. We have met them before when they were revived from cryogenic chambers they had been placed in during the early part of the twenty-first century. Their names are Clare Raymond, a normal blond housewife; Ralph Offenhouse, a hard-driving fast living formerly wealthy businessman, and, last but not least, LQ "Sonny" Clemons (Any relation to Samuel Clemons, I wonder? Ah, but that would be a different story.)
When Pavel Chekov was young, he was involved in a top secret project, the details of which only Captain Kirk knew, but, under threat of court martial, was ordered never to divulge. Chekov kept a rather low profile in those days, which helped a great deal, considering the utmost secrecy of his clandestine operations. By the way, he had manufactured his rather silly personality when he was an ensign, which continued throughout his career, his goofiness and quirkiness causing him no small amount of embarrassment. But, because it also kept people unsuspecting about his time travel assignments, he had learned to live with it after a while.
Everyone except his immediate superiors thought that there had been no further contact with the human being recruited by aliens to protect Earth from itself in 1968, but that was not the case. Gary Seven saw Chekov's brilliance and potential early on when he was first introduced to him on the Enterprise. At the time, Chekov was trying out different jobs on the ship, having not quite found his niche, and was at that time part of Scotty's engineering staff. Back then, the young Russian had just been assigned to the Federation's flagship. He was fresh out of the academy, green as grass, but the kid had spunk.
Seven had retained Miss Roberta Lincoln as his aide, and she thought that Pavel was the "grooviest" Russian she had ever met. He also happened to be the only one, because of the Cold War. Her opinion over the years never changed, and she was greatly amused at his attempts to cover up his brilliance by acting like a moron.
Officially, Pavel was retired from active starship duty, but his association with Seven and Lincoln kept him busy and feeling young. The Guardian of Forever was involved in informing Seven and Lincoln in the latter part of the twentieth century that there were people from their era who did not wish to remain in the twenty-fourth century. And, being that the Guardian was a time portal, it offered its services in bringing two of them back to where they wanted to be. Captain Picard knew of Captain Chekov's long career with the intergalactic agents, and thought that since Pavel worked with people who lived close to Offenhouse and Raymond's era, that he would be the perfect person to bring them back to their own time. Picard knew that the three people Beverly Crusher had thawed and revived did not really belong in the twenty-fourth century, and he quite understood why the two of them wanted to return to their own. He, like Kirk, was told to keep silent about Seven and Lincoln, unless a situation like this presented itself.
Ralph Offenhouse missed the twenty-first century the most. He had tried to settle on Ferenginar, but he had a very hard time understanding how to convert dollars to credits to gold pressed latinum. The Ferengi fascinated him, and he enjoyed their culture, but he could never quite get the hang of how to deal with several different monetary systems, all competing at the same time. He missed the "good old days" of Wall Street and insider trading. Now that he was totally familiar with how the twenty-fourth century worked, he saw a lot of opportunities and incentives for returning to his own time. Of course, he had to promise to behave himself with Starfleet Temporal, and, he would for a time, until they finally decided he wasn't a threat. He would lay low for a while, and then he would make his moves in the stock market and choose key industries to make him wealthier than he had ever been in the past.
With Clare, she was shocked to learn that her husband Donald had been a prime suspect in a string of brutal murders of women before they were married. He was working for the CIA, stationed in a secret base near Kiev in 1974, and was in the city on a three-day pass. When she heard there was a way to return to the past, she desperately begged to return to exonerate her future…or past…husband. Since Chekov was a Russian, this was going to be easy for him. He was going to be with her for moral support, and to make sure the two got back to the past safely. He was also going to stay with Clare for her own protection, just in case the murderer was still at large. To him, there was something very familiar about these murders, and Chekov suspected that they were the ones the Enterprise computer said were perpetrated by the creature that had been nicknamed Jack the Ripper. He knew that the entity was not human, but Clare's husband could be possessed by it.
Sonny had adapted very well to the twenty-fourth century, and he made it quite clear that he was happy in this time period and did not wish to return. To Chekov's surprise, he told them that he had settled on Argelius II, the very planet where "Red Jack" had last made an appearance. However, it shouldn't have been a total surprise. Argelius was still a very hedonistic place, and Sonny loved to be entertained and he also loved to entertain others. He was a big hit with his old music on this planet, had many adoring fans, and was now a very wealthy man.
Ralph and Clare did not know quite what to make of their Russian companion from the twenty-third century. They knew that the old rivalries of competing countries were long a thing of the past, but they found it very strange that the man was so fiercely proud of his Russian heritage. He was a very nice person, but he kept mostly to himself, not talking much about Starfleet temporal or how he was recruited to usher people back or forward in time. They were standing in front of a large doughnut-shaped rock formation, quite unsure of why they were on this desolate lifeless planet. Chekov took out his communicator and told someone called Supervisor 194 that they had made it to their destination and were waiting for the time portal to activate. Supervisor 194 instructed him to ask it a question, so he asked it the obvious one.
The Guardian time portal still had its imperfections; namely, the time distortions it created because of its age. It was very ancient, but there was no one around who could even guess at how to fix it or even to maintain it. The planet itself was a closely guarded secret, but Chekov remembered it from his early days on the Enterprise as an ensign. He recalled that these distortions wreaked havoc on any ships or man-made satellites in orbit. The satellites were placed there as buoys, to instruct any unauthorized ships to stay clear of the hazards of the ripples of time displacement the Guardian produced. They were programmed to move to a higher orbit if they detected a surge in the ripples. The natural hazards of these distortions were usually enough to keep curiosity seekers from discovering the portal. There were no guards present on the planet, for Starfleet temporal did not want people to know that there was something different about this place.
"Are you the Guardian of Forever?" Chekov addressed the rock formation.
As the Guardian boomed out its answer, the two from the past started in surprise. They were not expecting to hear from a talking rock. Chekov smiled and told them to relax. Suddenly, they all felt a tremor under their feet. Offenhouse looked at Chekov curiously as Clare grabbed onto a half-buried pillar for support. The businessman asked him what was going on. Captain Chekov took out his communicator again and asked about the apparent seismic activity. Seven explained that the location where they were standing had had an increase in seismic activity lately, but that they at Starfleet temporal thought it was safe to use it, being that Seven's time transporter was currently undergoing maintenance, and this portal was the only one left that they knew about that could be used. The ground shook again. Concerned, Chekov said that they had better get started before the tremors got worse. A moment later, the ground convulsed, and the captain's communicator flew out of his grasp as he tried to keep from falling on his face. He wished he had a tricorder, but he guessed this latest shaking measured about four on the Richter scale. He went to retrieve his communicator. Clare's pillar was still buried in the ground and was a stable thing to hang on to for now. She clung to it like a child would a security blanket. Offenhouse was standing in front of the time portal, still steady on his feet. Suddenly, the ground shook much more violently. Chekov dropped the communicator again as Clare screamed in fright as the Guardian toppled over,knocking her and Captain Chekov out as they all vanished within it.