New: Twentieth Century Boy
Author: ZorroRojo - email@example.com
Series: X-Over Voyager/X-Files/Highlander
Disclaimer: yadda yadda yadda blah blah blah - not mine.
Summary: I don't want to give one.
Warnings: Non-Graphic Slash - Cussing - a little violence (not
anything worse than what you see on American TV.
Tom wiped the sweat from his forehead, taking notice of the heat that rose around them even though dawn was just rising in the coral hued horizon. He was grateful that they had made their three-mile progress in the pre-sunrise hours. The next two miles they had to walk wouldn't be as comfortable, he realized. Tom was also caught between amusement and frustration at his young Bajoran companion.
"Come on Gerron, how hard is it to say 'good morning'?" Tom teased.
"You can't even pronounce my name in Bajoran. You shouldn't expect me to speak Standard in one lesson," Gerron shot back, embarrassment making his cheeks flush.
"We're going to have to come up with something. Give me your commbadge."
"Why?" Suspicion warred with curiosity in his eyes and voice.
Tom pulled a piece of rawhide out of his pack and wrapped it around Gerron's combadge, then made a loop out of the remaining leather. "Put this over your head and tuck it into your shirt."
"A necklace? Men don't wear necklaces," Gerron insisted.
"Maybe not on Bajor, but they do here. Take your earring out," Tom then instructed.
"No. I know human men wear earrings. I've seen them," Gerron argued.
"Not like that one. See if you can take it apart and wear only the bottom half, OK?"
"OK," the younger man acquiesced and began to do as he was told.
"Nice to know someone trusts my advice," Tom muttered.
"Are you and Chakotay still fighting?" Gerron asked almost timidly, as if fearful of treading on dangerous territory.
"Not really," Tom replied casually, walking with his eyes fixed on the road ahead.
"Good. I know you'd rather be with him, but I'm glad I'm assigned with you and not Tuvok or Chakotay. We'll have more fun," Gerron decided, the anticipation of adventure clear in his voice.
"We will, won't we," Tom agreed, suddenly grinning at the younger man.
"Isn't that your Captain Proton outfit?"
"Uh-huh. I can't wear my jacket though; it's too hot. We *are* fighting intergalactic evil, and maybe even the scourge of the Galaxy, aren't we?" Tom's eyes glittered as he spoke.
"Can I take Harry's regular role?" the younger man asked excitedly.
"You're already dressed as Buster."
"Who did you dress Chakotay and Tuvok as?"
"Nothing interesting. I replicated them jeans, t-shirts and a couple of pairs of shorts. I did some research and this is a tourist area so everyone's pretty casual," Tom answered in his most knowledgeable tone.
"What are those lights?" Gerron suddenly asked nervously and grabbed at Tom's forearm.
"Car. No, don't hide; we're catching a ride. Stand next to me and stick out your thumb, like this."
The car passed them, slowed, and then came to a halt. Tom picked up his pace to a jog, calling back over his shoulder. "Come on, we're done walking."
Gerron scurried to the door Tom held open, handed his pack to Tom and jumped in. Tom shrugged off his own pack and threw it into the back of the pickup truck before sliding into the seat next to Gerron.
"Thanks," he said, "My brother and I were not looking forward to the rest of the hike into town. It's starting to get hot." Tom turned to face their driver and was caught by the look on Gerron's face. B vids of hitchhikers being hacked to death by strangers flashed in his mind as he turned the rest of the way to see their driver.
"What are you two doing out here?"
Tom recovered his equilibrium enough to answer, "We're camping on the edge of the park and we took the overland route in. We might look for work and stay around here for a month or two."
"Nice country, isn't it?"
"Yes sir, it is." Gerron said.
"Sir? The beard might make me look old, but sir? I'm Warren, I live at the end of the road."
"Nice to meet you Warren," Tom said, nudging Gerron in the ribs with his elbow as he spoke.
The drive into town passed quickly and the stranger let them out at the roadside cafe. "This is the only place open for awhile. If you do decide to look for work, let me know. I might have jobs for you. The tourist season's about to gear up."
"Thanks," Tom called as he handed Gerron his pack and shouldered his own. "We'll call you."
"I don't have a phone. Follow the road to the end and you'll see my place."
"OK," Tom called and waved. As soon as the truck was gone, Tom threw his arm around the Bajoran's shoulder. "Come on, let's go get some breakfast. A real Earth breakfast. Eggs and toast and bacon and coffee and juice. Nothing like it in the galaxy."
"Tom, that was Lt. Collin."
"No it wasn't, it was someone who looks like him. Come on, Gerron, this is 1999."
"Voyager might have followed us into the rift," he insisted.
"Use your head. If Voyager followed us through and that *was* really Lt. Collin, don't you think he would have said something?"
"I guess so. Shouldn't we tell Chakotay?"
"We don't need to, let's go get some breakfast."
"Aren't we supposed to be searching for aliens?"
"We will. We have to get our bearings first. We can't go off searching the desert without information. As I told the commander, nothing is open this early, so we'll sit and listen until we can do something. But first, we need a vehicle."
"Are you ready?" Mulder asked as he threw his money down on the table.
Scully nodded without looking at her partner and Mulder followed her gaze to the two men stepping onto the porch. One tall and blond, one medium height and dark hair. Both carrying backpacks but both were neat and clean.
"Do you want me to drive?" She asked.
"No, I will. Couldn't you have rented a truck here? I don't want to miss anything."
"Look around Mulder, this isn't exactly a thriving metropolis."
Mulder leaned over her and whispered, "I'm anxious to start searching. I have a feeling, Scully. I have a feeling this is it."
Scully didn't answer as she gathered her things from the table and from the back of her chair. She looked to the mountains in the
distance, the first rays of the morning sun turning them purple, orange and gold. She had a feeling too, even though she wouldn't admit it to Mulder. If they were here, in this climate, it meant the
colonization would soon begin. Warmth accelerated the process. There weren't many places on the planet much warmer than this. Or so
secluded. She wouldn't have believed it possible five years before. Still didn't believe it possible, but Antarctica had changed all that. She saw with her own eyes, and while not the true believer that her partner was, she couldn't deny any longer. Human bodies turned to mush, alien life growing inside them; it all flashed through her head and she wondered why they were here alone trying to stop the
She turned to leave the patio and ran smack into one of the hikers' chest, bouncing off with a little oomph. She looked up, slowly, and was met by eyes as blue as her own and a bright smile.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to run you down."
"My fault," Scully muttered and walked around him, suddenly in a hurry to get their all terrain vehicle and begin the search. She wanted answers as much as her partner did.
She watched as the hiker entered the cafe and called to his companion, who had seated himself at the table where she and Mulder had sat. "Gerron, you wait here, I'll bring you breakfast."
Somewhere out there, perhaps even only a few miles away, there was a force lying in wait to prey on men like the two unknowingly going about their vacation and breakfast. It was almost too much, the
mundane and the menacing, side by side, she and her partner the only ones who knew. She had a feeling all right, but she would not tell Mulder.
"I found us a vehicle," Tom announced as he slid into his chair and handed a plate to Gerron.
"Already? How'd you do that?"
Tom passed a sheet of plain paper across the table. "This was on the bulletin board.
Gerron glanced around and whispered, "I can't read Standard."
"Sorry. I forgot." Tom took back the paper and read, "Kawasaki xt1000, off road ready, six hundred dollars. Contact Mark Beck."
Gerron nodded like he knew what Tom was talking about and started to eat his breakfast. "Wow! This is good, what is it?"
"Breakfast sandwich. Eggs, tomato, bacon and cheese on a toasted bagel. Pretty good huh?"
"It's great." Gerron wolfed down his food and sipped his drink. He was familiar with coffee. "Tom? Do you think we're going to be stuck here?"
"Probably. Chakotay's right. We're going to affect our lives no matter what we do." He lowered his voice to a whisper, just to be sure. "Voyager probably won't be where we left it even if we are successful. There are too many variables."
"That's what I thought. It won't be too bad. I like it here already."
"You ever been here before?"
"If we do end up staying, it'll be great."
"How?" Gerron asked, not quite believing Tom.
Tom checked the perimeter again; they had the porch to themselves now. "OK, Earth in our time has climate control, transporter stations on every block, everything's clean, controlled, almost antiseptic. Don't get me wrong, it's a nice place, but it's boring."
"I wish Bajor was like that."
"Sorry kid, I forgot where you grew up. Well, Earth in this time is great. There's still wild open space, interesting people to meet and choices to make. There's still a challenge to life."
"You like not knowing where your next meal is coming from?"
"No, it's not that. I guess you can't understand. You grew up in a refugee camp."
Gerron tilted his head toward the parking lot, but Tom already heard them. The four women crossed the dirt parking area and jumped onto the porch, claiming the table next to the two Starfleeters.
"I'll be right back," Tom told Gerron as he rose from the table.
He approached the women and gave them a bright smile. "Good morning ladies."
"Hi," they said in unison.
Tom knew he could be charming and he used it to his advantage whenever he could. "My brother and I are camping in the park," he waved in the general direction of the mountain range, "and we're not from around here." He smiled at them again and showed them the advertisement. "Could you tell me where I can find Mark Beck?"
The young blonde woman closest to him leaned forward, lifted her sunglasses and told him, "He's staying out at the Cochrane place. Take the dirt road on the left of the highway about a mile up the road and follow it to the end."
"He's working today though," another of the women added. "He's going to be on the river all afternoon. You might be able to catch him if you get there before eleven."
"I can give you a ride on my way home," another women offered.
"Why don't you boys come sit with us?" The oldest woman at the table called as Tom turned away.
Tom nodded and gathered his things, Gerron right behind him.
"So where you boys from?" she asked as soon as they were settled.
Tom had his answer ready. "California." He answered all their questions, his story ready and as close to the truth as possible.
Gerron listened to Tom enthrall the women with tales of his made up life, totally in awe of the older man's ability to talk to anyone, anywhere and make quick friends. Sitting in the bright morning sun, his belly full, his body warm, his life safe, he could almost forget why they were there, where they should be, and what they were looking for. Almost, but this wasn't his home. Tom was the only one on the away team from Earth; to the rest of them this was an alien world like any other. It might be his new home, Gerron knew, and it wasn't that bad of a prospect. He dozed in the sun until the others began to gather their things, breakfast over.
Chakotay watched the rising sun, mulling over his decision to separate the away team, and his fight with Tom. Tuvok was a pleasant companion. He didn't lag and he didn't chatter. He would still rather be with Tom. But he knew his decision to have one human on each team was a sound one. He pictured Gerron and Tuvok attempting to navigate through a small American town and almost laughed aloud. It was a pretty funny visual. Tuvok stiff and logical in a town full of illogical humans and Gerron not even speaking a word of Standard.
He could have sent Tom with Tuvok and assigned Gerron to himself. But he had other considerations as well. His people had left Earth in the twenty-second century. They had fled the home of their ancestors in part because of the attitudes of the people like the ones who lived in this time and place. He hadn't mentioned it to the others, but he was prepared to be treated as a second-class citizen. He and Tuvok were both dark skinned and Tom and Gerron light. It made sense to split the away teams the way he had, but he didn't have to like it.
"Commander?" Tuvok inquired.
"Chakotay," Chakotay corrected Tuvok.
"There is a vehicle approaching."
Tuvok could hear much better than any human and if he said there was a vehicle approaching, then Chakotay knew a car would appear within a few minutes. "Try to look like a tourist."
"And how does one look like a tourist, Chakotay?"
"One," Chakotay smiled inwardly, "pays attention to one's surroundings and waves at the cars."
The car appeared a moment later and Chakotay returned the wave from the driver, catching a glimpse of the passengers as the car sped by.
"They are interacting with the inhabitants."
"Trust Tom to make friends and get a ride minutes after arriving," Chakotay muttered, suddenly regretting his decision to team himself with anyone other than Tom.
End Part 5