An excerpt from  ‘…In One Basket’ by Les Lynam.

Alex is a time-traveler from the 23rd Century.  Sean Kelly is his Great-great-great-great-great Grandfather (plucked from 1997 in this story), Jane Carmichael was rescued from certain death in 1969, and Steffi is the time-ship’s computer (recently sentient).  The time-ship is in the cargo hold of a stolen freighter plummeting to Earth.  Sean has run out of oxygen getting from the helm of the freighter to the cargo bay.

*********************************

 Alex and Jane quickly pushed and pulled Sean’s limp, weightless form into the front seat.  Alex had barely gotten himself into the back as the door slid shut and sealed.

“I’ve re-pressurized with almost 50% oxygen, so no sparks, people.”

Jane found the two buttons on Sean’s collar and pushed them.  The seal to the bubble-helmet released and she pulled it off his head.  “Is he breathing?” she cried.  “I don’t think he’s breathing!”  She pinched his nose shut and put her mouth over his and blew.  She pushed on his diaphragm, took a deep breath and repeated.  She put her ear next to Sean’s mouth to listen, then put her mouth over his again.  To her surprise, he started kissing her.

“That was not necessary,” Alex commented.  “Sean’s nanites can stimulate cardiopulmonary resuscitation from within.”

“Sometimes the old-fashioned way is better medicine,” Steffi said, the image on the screen smiling broadly.

Jane pulled back a few inches.  “Are you OK?” she asked.  Tears pooled in her eyes.

“I think so,” Sean replied.  He put both his hands to his temples.  “Major headache.”

“I’ll get to that after we jump,” Steffi said.  “The outer hull is over three thousand degrees centigrade.  It can’t hold together much longer.”

“Then why have you not shifted dimensions?” Alex demanded.

“This crate’s too big to completely burn up.  I’m calculating a new trajectory to make sure it hits the Pacific.  Firing rockets for new heading.”  The face on the screen grew solemn.  “Lex, there might be another problem.”

“With the course correction?”

“No.  That’s fine.  I fixed that.  I’m worried about the dimensional shift.  We have no idea what effect altering dimensions at this speed will have.  It might sling us clear into the Stone Age, or even further.”

“Have you calculated any other possible solutions to our current predicament?”

“I’m afraid there aren’t any.”

“Then execute the only available option.”

“I will,” Steffi assured him.  “I just wanted to say… in case everything goes completely wrong… I just wanted to tell you guys how much I love you.”

Alex’s jaw dropped.  “You are suggesting we risk annihilation?”

“I really don’t know,” Steffi replied.  “Maybe.”

Sean instinctively pulled Jane closer.  She responded by crushing her lips against his.  At the end of a long and torrid kiss, she slid her lips close to his ear.  “I love you,” she whispered as tears dripped on his shoulder.

He squeezed her even tighter.  “I love you, Jane.”  He glanced back at Alex and gave him a smile.  “I love you, too, Future-Boy.”

Alex blinked fiercely to control the tears welling in his eyes.  “That is most gratifying,” he said with a slight waver.  “I have also become emotionally attached to both of you.”

The image on the screen held both hands near her face, fingers crossed.  “Here’s hoping we’ll have a chance to laugh about this someday,” Steffi said.  “Gotta go.  The ship’s breaking up.”

As they shifted out of the fireball that was plummeting to Earth and into another dimension, Jane said, “Far out!”

From ‘…In One Basket‘ by Les Lynam.

 

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