The Return of Charlie Evans-Chapt.6

Gary Seven had materialized within a Thasian transporter alcove after two attempts. Riker and Tate offered their services to correct an apparent imbalance in the system. Seven reminded them all that the transporter system was far more sophisticated than the type used on star ships, but he thanked them anyway. He said it took quite an effort to keep the Q bottled up, and that was why there appeared to be a difficulty when it came to beaming. Tola could still sense the Q being's rage at being trapped in the buffer, so she surmised that he was probably attempting to escape. Seven agreed with her assessment. She told him that she was glad that Miss Lincoln and he were not really dead.

It was now time for Amanda, Vickers, Rand and Sito to step into the transporter themselves. Riker and Tate decided to remain with the extraterrestrial crewmembers to assist Seven and Lincoln with maintaining control of the transporter and ensuring that the Q would not escape.

The four materialized on an empty small town main street. It appeared to be a scene from the mid to late nineteen sixties on planet Earth. Amanda quickly spotted a newspaper vending machine and approached it, then determined that the date was September eighth, 1967. Judging from the position of the sun overhead, Rand figured that it was about noon. She would have to check a clock to make sure. She glanced at Rodgers, who appeared to be reading her mind.

With a wave of her hand, Amanda transformed their Starfleet uniforms into period costumes. Vickers felt and looked a little silly in a goatee, beads and Roman sandals. He also had on a rather flashy Nehru jacket and striped trousers that clashed. The women smiled with muted amusement, noting that Riker was wearing a tie-dyed T- shirt and rather shabby-looking bell-bottom jeans. He still had his Starfleet issue boots on his feet. He saw how amused they looked, and then pointed out the silly ensembles they were blessed with. All of the women were wearing mini-skirts and peasant blouses, their feet and legs adorned with white go-go boots and fishnet stockings. Rand sighed. Her outfit was not too different than the sexist uniform she usually wore. Some things never change, she observed wryly. She glanced back at Rodgers and asked where this was. Amanda studied the displayed newspaper for the answer.

"We are standing in front of a newspaper office. The publication is called The Daily Communicator. According to the top of the page, this town is called Kirkdale and is in the state of Minnesota." Amanda turned to face Rand on another issue as she smiled at Charlie's choice of a town name. "I suppose you are wondering why I appeared to you in your shower."

Rand stared at her in disbelief.

"That was you?" She paused as Rodgers nodded. "Yeah. I was wondering about that." Janice answered with another blush, hearing the men chuckling.

"It was a miscalculation on my part. I still haven't got the hang of teleportation and sometimes materialize in the wrong place."

"Well," Riker said with a smile, "I'm hoping that you brought us to where Evans is hiding."

"Me too" Rand said. "What about the other appearances? Were they all you in disguise too?"

"All but one. Charlie did manage to appear to you for real behind your tri-screen in your quarters. The rest of the appearances were all me."

Sito surveyed their new surroundings with interest.

"So, this is twentieth century Earth. Where do we go from here?"

Rodgers studied a gadget Seven had given her. It was sort of like a homing device that detected Thasian and Q powers. Since Charles rarely used his gifts anymore, it was very hard to get a clear reading.

"He's a block away, in an eating establishment."

"I see it." Rand said. "It's less than a block away, if I remember old-style measurements." She paused, and studied the sign for a moment, and then smiled with amusement. "Leave it to Charlie to pick a restaurant called Jim's Café."

"Why is that?" Vickers asked curiously.

"Because Charlie thought of Captain Kirk as a father figure. It is apparent that he still does in some small way." She paused and looked at her companions. "Let's go. Charlie needs our help."

They crossed the street at the light and walked until they got to the café. They entered quietly. Amanda was suddenly concerned that she had dressed her comrades a little too loudly for such a tiny town. Everyone around them appeared to be much more conservative, and they could hear comments like 'dirty hippies!' They did seem to elicit a lot of stares of apparent disapproval. However, no one said a word to them as they searched the room with their eyes. They didn't dare use a tricorder. Anyway, Amanda seemed to know just where he was.

Evans heard them approach and sighed. He did not look up from his coffee and sandwich. It seemed like everyone who approached him lately thought he was the son of some movie star he had never heard of. This time, he would beat them to the punch.

"No, I'm not Robert Walker, Jr.!"

"We didn't say you were." Janice replied with amusement.

Charlie started, recognizing the voice instantly. He had been gazing into a half-empty cup of coffee. They had just broken his concentration, so it would be very difficult to pay the check now.

"Janice! How-?"

"No time to explain, kiddo. The Q is bottled up in Seven's transporter. He won't remain there for long." She turned to her new friends. "This is Amanda—"

"Of course, I remember. She and I met when the Thasians rescued Sito from those Cardassian swines. You are a Q too, if I remember correctly."

"That's right, Charlie" Amanda answered. "But I'm a good Q. The man who also calls himself a Q wants to kill you."

"I know. Who are your other friends?"

"The man in the Nehru jacket is Alistair Vickers, the one in the tie-dyed shirt is William Riker, and the other gal is Miss Sito."

"Oh, yes. I did not recognize her without her ridges. Nice work, by the way, Amanda."

As Rodgers smiled, Rand asked the question that was on everyone's minds.

"What are you doing on twentieth century Earth, Charlie?"

"I wanted to pick the most remote place that I could. Since Earth in this time period is considered off- limits by most civilized beings in the galaxy, it seemed the ideal spot."

"Why this little town?" Vickers asked.

"I just picked up an atlas when I could make a suitable facsimile of money, closed my eyes, flipped a few pages, and pointed to it at random."

"You mean you make counterfeit money?" Riker asked in surprise.

"Shh. Not so loud. I had to survive somehow. I don't have very many job skills, you know."

"No, I guess you don't." Rand smiled. "You do have an advantage over ordinary humans, though."

"Yes, I suppose I do. I know why you all have come here, and it's not that Janice took pity on me. I was such a…what do they call it here...a rat fink when I was on the Enterprise." He looked up into Rand's eyes with a sad expression. "Janice, if you should ever bump into Yeoman Tina Lawton, would you please tell her I'm sorry?"

"Sure, Charlie. What about the other women?"

"Them too. There is a place nearby where we can go without being observed. I have an apartment across from a car dealership in a building called the Blue Goose. It is not very far from here." He stood. "Let's get out of here. There is no time to lose. I am sure that the Q will soon escape and come gunning for me."

"What about your bill?"

"I'm afraid I will have to sneak out." Charlie whispered. "Your arrival messed up my concentration."

"Let me help, then." Amanda offered. She opened her right palm and some very authentic dollar bills materialized in it. Evans was amazed. It had taken him weeks to perfect his funny money. When he first arrived in the tiny town, he was quite confused about the local currency. He had never seen Canadian money before. It took him a few days to discover that he should be producing American currency.