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LOST IN TIME
A Science Fan Fiction (Please see notes)
1983 . . .
Max was late again. He had promised 99 he would be home early. The twins were headed to sports camp and Max had promised 99 he would be home early to see them off at Union Station. He had been held up, however, by the Captain (Max flatly refused to call him Chief, the real Chief, his and 99s Chief, had died eight years ago). He glanced at his watch and took the stairs two at a time. Oh, he was so late. Way too late, he reasoned, to drive them. He assumed 99 had already taken the twins to the station by the Metro and was back home. He paused in front of the apartment door . . . he hated disappointing his family. He loved them more than anything in the world, but his work at Control almost always made him late. He and 99 had been Control agents for 20 years, although 99 had taken to working less over the last few years and he missed working with her. He took a deep breath and opened the door. The apartment was dark and quiet . . the only light coming from underneath their bedroom door. He went up the steps and entered the bedroom. 99 was sitting on the bed, reading a book. She glanced up, but said nothing.
99, Im . . .
Yeah, I know. Youre sorry youre late. Dont worry about it, I got the twins off.
99 . . .
Can it, Max.
I guess I was just supposed walk out . . .
Max sighed and ran his fingers through his hair. Thats ridiculous, 99, you know I cant. . .
Max, I dont want to hear it! 99 snapped, throwing the book across the room. Youre always breaking promises . . .
He looked at her, perplexed. Huh?
I said I dont want to hear it, she said.
Hear what?! You havent let me say anything. What do you want me to do?
Nothing. Take a hike.
What? Max couldnt believe what he had just heard.
You heard me.
Are you telling me you want me to leave? 99, you cant mean that, he said forlornly.
Leave me alone.
Max stood silently, then took a suitcase out of the closet and started throwing things into it. When he finished, he turned to 99.
I told you . . . I told you Id screw it up, he said quietly.
He walked out the door. Just as he reached the top step, 99 grabbed him by the shoulder and spun him around. He slammed the suitcase down and turned to her with hurt anger.
The only promises I have ever broken have been because I simply couldnt get away . . . from work! He snapped. The only ones. I do not break promises!! When have I ever broken a promise to you, or the twins, when #&^%* work wasnt involved? Tell me . . .
99 was speechless.
No answer, huh? You want me to leave? All right, Ill leave, By this time he was in tears. I love you, 99. I will always love you . . . He said softly.
As he reached down to pick up the suitcase, 99 grabbed his arm.
I know, Max . . . I know! Im sorry! Dont go, listen to me! She said, tears rolling down her cheeks. She pulled him down on the top step beside her, clinging to his arm and staring miserably at him. She touched his face, gently wiping away his tears.
Oh, Max . . . I didnt mean what I just said, I swear. I dont even know why I said it. I know you cant just up and leave headquarters, neither can I. That promise has been a thorn in our sides ever since we told the Chief we were Control agents first last and always. It isnt fair. Im tired, so tired and stressed out . . .
Max put his arm around her. Then get away for a while and relax, he said, gently kissing her forehead. Id rather have you go off by yourself for a few days than lose you forever.
Max, you dont understand . . . I want to go away with you. 99 said.
Max was utterly confused. But . . . you just told me you wanted me to leave.
99 burst into fresh tears, threw her arms around him and buried her face in his shoulder.
As he held her, Max remembered promise he had made, a long time ago.
Hawaii. He leaned back against the banister, holding one of her hands. He reached into his pocket and handed her a handkerchief. He looked as horrible as he felt.
Max, 99 said, wiping her eyes. Thats not your fault. It was just, well, circumstances kept us from going . . . we got married in November . . .
Max smiled, That I remember . . . He said, kissing her hand.
99 smiled back and his heart soared.
. . . and four months later I was pregnant. She finished, shrugging. Neither of us were exactly overjoyed by the idea.
Max frowned. About the kids??? 99, what are you talking about?
Dont you remember, Max? We decided we were gonna wait a while before we had kids . . .
Right . . . Max said, deep in thought.
Instead we ended up pregnant less than six months after we got married. Hawaii just got lost.
Yeah . . .
99 looked at him with a twinkle in her eye. Well, we did get to go looking for pirates gold on that volcanic island that March. Remember the storm? And the cave we found? With the hot springs?
Max grinned. How could I ever forget that? If I remember correctly, Mrs. Smart, wasnt it was your idea to strip and soak. Relax is what you called it.
99 smiled, That hot spring was invigorating, wasnt it, Mr. Smart?
It was rather refreshing, Max agreed. And I believe the twins made their appearance what? About nine months later?
99 kissed on the cheek. Ive never been sorry about that, have you?
He looked into her eyes for a moment, nodded his head as if he had made a decision and went to the phone. He called the Captain and told him that he and 99 were taking their long over due vacations . . . starting tomorrow. Surprisingly, the man agreed. Then he called United Air Lines and made reservations for a flight to Hawaii for the next evening. After he hung up, he called Control Agent 75, who worked as an Travel Agent as a cover (the man said he made better money selling tours then he did as a spy), who set up a two week vacation at a small resort away from the main tourist areas.
When he hung up, he turned to say something, but 99 wasnt in the room. He went upstairs to look for her and found she had emptied the suitcase he had packed earlier, pulled out another one and was busily packing.
I guess this means youre going? Max asked.
She smiled. Max helped her and in less than two hours, they had packed what they figured was enough to last for two weeks.
I made a list of calls we have to make tomorrow, 99 said. We have to call the camp, tell them where well be and give them Hymie and Larabees phone numbers. Lets see . . .
Drop by the Post Office and have them hold the mail, Max added. Stop the paper, go to the bank for cash and Travelers checks. That should be it. Can you think of anything else?
Yes, 99 put her arms around him. I love you. I never want you to leave me. Im so sorry for what I said earlier. I know I hurt you and thats the last thing Id ever want to . . . she stopped when Max put a finger on her lips.
I wont deny it hurt, but Im never leaving you . . . I love you. And as long as you love me . . . He shrugged. Lets just call it payback for that toaster I gave you for your birthday in 69.
99 burst out laughing. I remember that toaster, it lasted a long time. It was a good buy.
I got it on sale, Max admitted.
How much did you pay for it, Love?
Max winced. Uhhh . . . would you believe . . . $5.00?
99 rolled her eyes. $5.00? For my birthday present? Oh, really, Max! 99 said, feigning anger.
Uhhh . . . well . . . I . . . Max shrugged helplessly.
99 smiled and shook her head. Oh, Max . . .
The bungalow Agent 75 rented for the Smarts was on a secluded beachfront, only ten yards from the ocean. What 99 didnt know was . . . it had cost a small fortune. A small fortune very well spent, Max thought as he watched her face.
Oh, Max . . . its beautiful! she said. She lowered her sunglasses, leaned over the railing and watched as the sunset turned the sky red and yellow . . . and threw gold glitters off the ocean.
Yes . . . but not as beautiful as you. Max replied, putting an arm around her.
Awww, Max . . . thats sweet. 99 said, hugging him.
I guess this is a lot better than that toaster, Max said.
I still have it.
I just couldnt get rid of it. So, when it quit working, I cleaned it and packed it away. Its in a box in the bedroom closet. 99 said. Whats on for tomorrow?
Ive rented a sailboat. Were going for a long, leisurely sail.
A sailboat? 99 asked warily. If I remember correctly, we had sailboat trouble . . .
Well be fine.
99 thought about it for a moment, shrugged, then nodded in agreement.
I want to go to Pearl Harbor before we leave, Max.
Of course! You want to do that day after tomorrow?
They stood in silence as the sun seem to disappear into the ocean. It was so dark, they could hardly see their way back to the bungalow door. Max finally found it . . . with his forehead.
Ouch, 99 said. Max, are you okay?
Yeah, Im fine, he replied, rubbing his head.
Lets see . . . come here and sit down, she said, sitting him down on the sofa. Hmmm . . . we better get something on that.
Why? Is it bleeding?
No. 99 sat down next to him and kissed his forehead. Does that feel better?
Max smiled at her. Thanks, 99. Come on, lets get some sleep.
Less than twenty minutes later they were cuddled up together, listening to the sounds of the ocean.
Max, thats such a peaceful sound.
Mmmmm, Max said.
The day was beautiful. There were clouds gathering to the North-West, but the man who rented them the sailboat said the forecast called for cloudy skies, but no rain. They took the boat out and soon were about five miles off shore, enjoying themselves immensely. They sailed for hours, always making sure they stayed within that five mile limit. About midday, they dropped anchor and enjoyed a light lunch of shrimp and sparkling cider.
As they were drinking a toast, 99 noticed the clouds to the West getting darker . She nudged Max and motioned to the gathering storm.
I think we better head back, Max said. Lets get the sails down and use the engine.
They quickly pulled in the sails and Max started the engine easily. They were making fairly good time and even had the shoreline in sight when suddenly 99 said, My God, Max . . . look at that! She said, pointing.
Max looked. The cloud had grown in size and was heading toward them at an alarming rate.
Everythings already battened down. Get below.
Im not leaving you out here by yourself!
99 . . . dont argue with me. I . . .
The sky went black and the enormous squall hit the boat, knocking them both down. They struggled to their feet and, together, frantically tried to control the craft. 99 made a superb wild grab for a rope and secured them both to the wheel. The winds increased in intensity, and shrieked so loudly they couldnt hear each other, even when they shouted. Waves crashed over the sides of the boat. They clung desperately to the wheel as the boat was pitched to one side, then the other . . . and nearly capsized. Then, as suddenly as it appeared, the storm was gone . . . completely and totally gone. The sky was clear, except for a few scattered clouds. Dripping, Max and 99 stared at each other in disbelief.
What the hell was that? They both said in unison.
That was really weird, 99 said, looking around. That cloud is completely gone. What do you make of that, Max?
He shook his head, perplexed.
I say we get back to shore as quickly as possible.
Yeah . . . Max said softly.
As they got closer to shore, Max suddenly cut the engine. Something isnt right. 99, give me those binoculars.
What isnt right? She asked, handing him the binoculars and watching as he stared through them.
99 . . . theres something going on.
Strange shipping . . . take a look at that destroyer, he said, handing them back to her. She looked, then stared at him in confusion.
What about it?
Whats the name?
99, please! Just read.
Okay, okay, 99 sighed, and put the binoculars back to her eyes. She adjusted the sights and a name came into view . . . Vestal, she said. She looked at Max and shrugged. So?
99 . . . dont you remember your history?
What are you talking about, Max? What history?
For Heavens sake, 99 . . . the Vestal was beached on December 7, 1941.
99 gave him a strange look. Oh, come on, Max . . . what are you saying?
Im not saying anything. Im simply telling you that the Vestal was hit by bombs, then beached.
99 trained the binoculars on the ship again, then slowly lowered the glasses from her eyes and nearly dropped them as she handed them to Max.
Max . . . the Arizona.
Inboard of the Vestal.
Max trained his eyes on the other ship. He looked for what seemed like an eternity, looking at the other ships in the harbor. He lowered the glasses from his eyes. Oh, my God.
It cant be, 99 said. She clutched at his arm, causing him to drop the binoculars. It cant be . . . maybe someones making a movie.
I dont think so.
Are you seriously asking me to believe that storm took us back in time?
I dont know!! Max yelled in frustration. What do you think? You see what I see!
Max . . . what are we going to do?
Dont ask me . . . Im as confused as you.
We have to go in, 99 said. We cant stay out here . . . we have to think . . .
Well, for one thing, we have no money.
We have plenty of money.
But, Max . . . can you imagine the look on someones face if we gave them the money were carrying?
Oh, geeze, youre right. Wait! Wait! The money the Chief gave us. The old money from the thirties.
What about it?
We can use it.
Max, we forgot it, its at home.
Max shook his head, smiling, No it isnt! I brought it. He went below and brought up the canister.
Dont you remember? He gave it to us right before he died. We were talking about Hawaii and we promised if we ever came here, we would bring the money with us.
99 looked confused for a moment, No, no . . . why did you bring it along on the boat?
I didnt want to leave it in the room.
I see. What was the story? Oh, I remember! He owed the money to his best friend, who died . . . she paused. . . . on the Arizona.
Max nodded, Right. He was stationed aboard the Vestal and his buddy was on the Arizona. He put the money in a container he made from part of the ship. He wanted us to drop it onto the ship . . . as a memorial and to pay his friend back. He wanted to do it himself, but he could never get away . . .
Max . . . how much?
I wonder why he borrowed so much money?
I dont know, he never told me. But were getting off the point here. We can use that money now. Get a room . . . figure out whats going on.
Max . . . this is silly. We cant be in 1941.
Because its . . . its . . . Science Fiction.
Max shrugged. Ive never know you to not have an open mind, 99, He touched her cheek. Im scared too. Lets just go ashore. Well say the boats ours and hope no one questions it. They probably wont check. At least, not until after the attack, He frowned. We dont even know what year it is.
Yes we do.
Dont you remember your history, Max? Look at the way the ships are docked. It looks exactly the way it did right before the attack.
I thought you didnt believe . . .
Max, 99 interrupted. Im scared and tired. We cant stay out here and we need to find out what the date is.
Max started the engine and they headed towards shore.
99? What are we gonna do? Whats going on?
They had no trouble finding a berth for the boat. Max paid the man in the boathouse for three days rental as 99 investigated their surroundings. She finally found what she was looking for . . . a calendar. The date . . . Friday, December 5, 1941. She motioned this fact to Max and they left.
There was a taxi stand at the top of the pier Max explained that they had never been to Hawaii and wanted a nice hotel. The man drove them to one, located on a busy street not to far from Pearl Harbor. They rented the best room the hotel had, a massive, multi-windowed room on the top floor, for an astonishing $15 a night. The view out the window was equally astonishing . . . it overlooked the roofs of several smaller buildings . . . and the harbor, which was about a half mile away.
Max came out of the shower to find 99, wrapped in a robe, staring out an open window. A light breeze fluttered the drapes.
Oh, Max . . .
99, we cant say anything.
We have to! Our country is going to be . . .
Max put his hand over 99s mouth.
Shhh!!! Do you want to get us arrested as spies?
99 gave him an incredulous look.
You know what I mean. Im serious, the authorities arrested anyone that was even remotely suspicious after the attack, He saw the look on her face. 99, we cant change history . . . we cant. Who would believe us anyway? The government didnt realize how great the threat was. Meanwhile, all we can do is walk around and . . . he shrugged, . . . do whatever. Weve got to get back somehow. Tomorrow well sail out and hope that storm comes back. If it doesnt happen tomorrow, well do it again the next day.
We cant do it the next day.
Max . . . 99 said, exasperated, Sunday is the 7th.
Right. Well . . . well just have to go out early, stay out all day and if nothing happens, come back in.
And what do we say if someone questions why we stayed out all day?
Why would they? The reason will be obvious. Well say we were afraid. But then, maybe well get lucky and that cloud will appear.
And were just going to keep doing this day after day? 99 nodded. They really will think were spies.
What else do you want me to say, 99? We cant stay here . . . weve gotta get back to the twins. The only chance we have to get home is to look for that storm . . . and hope it takes us back where we belong. Besides, we dont know what will happen to us if we stay here very long. Remember, were already alive . . . as kids.
I never thought about that. Youre right, Max, she paused. Youre going to have to go out and buy us some clothes. Youre okay for now in that loud shirt, but women dont dress like this every day, she said, picking up the shorts and equally loud shirt she had been wearing. I need something like this. . . she picked up a magazine lying on a table. Lets call it early Lauren Bacall.
That is Lauren Bacall.
I know that, Max, 99 sighed. Just get me several dresses like this, some stockings and shoes, a purse. That should do it. And get yourself a couple up to date suits. We need to look like we belong here. At least temporarily.
Ill be back in a little while. Well go get something to eat and take a walk down to the harbor.
Max? She put her arms around him and gave him a kiss. I love you.
I love you, too. I wont be long, I promise, He gave her a wink and left.
She drifted back to the window and stared at the scene before her. She knew Max was right . . . they couldnt tell anyone and they had to get back (or forward). She went to the bed and laid down, putting an arm over her eyes. She listened to the sounds coming through the window, determining they didnt sound much different from the normal sounds outside their window at home. She allowed her body to relax and she slowly fell asleep.
Hey, 99 . . . She was awakened by Max, who was gently shaking her.
Hey, Max. 99 yawned, sitting up and rubbing her eyes.
How do I look?
She sat for a moment, her arms on her knees. Like Bogie.
Check it out . . . He picked up a hat from the dresser and put it on, striking a pose. All thats missing is the cigarette.
No way, 99 said forbiddingly. You quit.
Just kidding . . . here. He opened the closet to reveal several dresses on hangers. And here, he said, tossing her a bag, is the rest of the stuff you wanted. Why dont you get dressed and well go out.
I bought you a couple hats too, Max said. If I remember correctly, thats the style for women now, right?
Right . . . 99 said, none to thrilled at the prospect. Lets see them.
The hats Max held up were, in 99s opinion, large, hideous monstrosities reminiscent of the hat worn by Ingrid Bergman at the end of Casablanca.
Lovely . . . 99 said.
I think Ill watch some . . . Max stopped and grinned sheepishly.
Watch some what? She thought a second, then started laughing. Sorry, Max, no TV.
You didnt let me finish, He said haughtily.
All right . . . what were you going to say?
Watch some out the window?
Sure . . . 99 said.
She put on the stockings, grumbling about the garters. I forgot about these stupid things, howd you think of it?
Max shrugged. Dont know.
99 got dressed then paused for a moment before putting the hat on her head. Its not very comfortable . . . how does it look?
Max covered his mouth to keep from laughing.
Max . . . She said warningly.
He dropped his hand, stepped back and looked at her.
The hat looks ridiculous, He said. But the rest . . . He gave a long wolf whistle.
She blushed. Thank-you, Max.
Lets go. Im hungry.
Wait . . . she clutched his arm. Whats it like out there?
Its like being in the middle of a forties movie. Come on, let me show you. He took her hand and they left the room.
They walked arm in arm along a street dotted with bars filled with servicemen. They finally came to a restaurant that wasnt quite as crowded as most. They decided to give it a try and sat at a table near the door. They each ordered a steak dinner and a beer. They sat sipping the beers slowly . . . watching the Marines, Sailors and Soldiers coming in to have a few drinks. One young Marine PFC decided to take it upon himself to tell a salty old Navy Chief how much better the Marines were than the Navy. The resulting fight included half the servicemen in the bar. But when the MPs arrived, the men threw their arms around each other and acted as if nothing out of ordinary was going on. Max and 99 laughed in amusement as the MPs left shaking their heads. When they finished eating they walked down to the harbor, leaned over the rail and gazed in amazement as the setting sun shown off the pride of the American fleet on Battleship Row.
Oh, Max, 99 said, clinging to Maxs arm.
Max was silent. They said nothing for a while, then Max spoke. Maybe we should say . . .
No, Max. Ive been thinking, if we do say something, we could unleash something far worse on the world.
Max, this is a horrible thing to say but . . . history could be changed, maybe for the worse, if some of these people who died live.
I know . . . I know, Max said angrily, his voice rising. But its so hard to stand here and know that in a little more than 24 hours, this all will be . . .
Without warning, 99 pulled him into her arms and gave him a long, passionate kiss. After glancing out of the corner of her eye, she pulled away.
Geeze, 99, Max said breathlessly. If you want to do that, lets go back to the room.
99 glared at him. Youve got to keep your voice down, Max. That was an MP that walked by.
Oh . . . sorry, 99. I guess it would be a good idea not to talk about it in public. What time is it?
10:00. Lets go back to the room and go to bed.
Max grinned at her. Sounds good to me, Sweetheart, He said in his best Bogie drawl, tugging on her arm.
They walked back to their hotel at a leisurely pace, taking in the atmosphere. When they got back to the room, they changed in silence. When 99 came out of the bathroom, she found Max standing at the window, in a position very similar to the one that he had found her in that afternoon.
Bathrooms empty, she said, touching his arm.
99 sat down on the bed and picked up the magazine with Lauren Bacall on the cover. She smiled as she flipped through it. One article discussed the kitchen of the future complete with a refrigerator that actually put the whole meal together itself and cooked it. This futuristic scenario also included handy dandy dishes that floated out of the cabinets, set themselves on the table and, when the meal was done, floated over to the dishwasher to be washed, then back to their cabinets. And all this with just a push of a button! Since inquiring minds want to know, 99 skipped forward in the article to find out how it worked. The article revealed that this miracle of science, which could easily be available as early as 1960, was something called robotics . . . miniature robots modeled in the form of the every day items we take for granted. The poor, overworked housewife could then spend less time in the kitchen and have more time to do other things. Among the many suggestions for the use of this extra time was a picture of a woman in a dress, sitting in a chair with her feet up, reading a copy of the magazine. 99 burst out laughing. Max chose that moment to come out of the bathroom and found his wife in hysterics.
Whats so funny? He asked, sitting down beside her. She handed the magazine to him and, after reading for a few minutes, he too laughed.
Oh, what a hoot! he laughed. Hymie would love it.
I wish he was here . . . he could help.
Max nodded in agreement and they sat close, reading through the rest of the magazine together, chuckling and, at the same time, marveling at how some the articles were pretty much on the mark. They finally tossed the magazine on the end table and turned off the light. They lay there for a while, talking, until Max fell asleep. Unfortunately, 99 couldnt sleep. She was exhausted . . . but she just couldnt fall sleep. She finally slipped out of bed, fearing her tossing and turning would awaken Max. She pulled a chair up by the window, propped her feet on the sill and stared out the window. There wasnt much to look at, except the fog playing off the streetlights. She sat there for the longest time, her mind running over any memory that happened to scurry through her mind. Her eyes finally grew heavy and she drifted off. She woke about four hours later to find herself back in bed, her head resting easily on Maxs shoulder.
You look so uncomfortable sleeping in that chair, Max said softly, his hand softly caressing her face. That I took a chance and brought you back to bed.
99 hugged him and snuggled closer. Thanks, Love, I couldnt sleep. I was afraid Id wake you.
Well, we could have found something to do . . . Max said, giving her a kiss.
Uh-huh, I bet, 99 said, kissing him back . . .
Saturday was uneventful. Max and 99 spent a greater part of the day out on the sailboat, searching for that weird storm, to no avail. Disheartened, at three in the afternoon, they decided to make their way back to shore. 99 watched with curiosity as the beauty of a shoreline, unencumbered by hotels, seemed to flow by.
Max . . . you know what? Maybe we should hide the boat instead of going back into port.
Well, if we get caught out in the open tomorrow, we could be shot out of the water.
Max made a face. Never thought about that.
Look over there . . . we can hide the boat in the brush and walk back to the hotel. It cant be too far.
Max thought for a minute, then agreed. They moved towards shore and eventually found a great spot to hide the boat. They camouflaged it so completely, 99 was afraid theyd never find it again. Max threw off her concerns. Using their experience in the field, they easily made their way out of the woods and onto a road . . . the same road that lead right into town and their hotel. They stood by the side of the road and look at each other in amazement.
I dont believe this, 99 said.
What are you talking about? Max said proudly. My vast knowledge in land navigation got us here.
99 crossed her arms and stared at him.
Come on, 99! Youve seen me in action before. Why are you so surprised?
99 stood staring at him, saying nothing.
Would you believe I knew this road was here?
99 still said nothing.
Would you believe I remembered where we were from off shore and you gave me the idea?
99 said nothing.
Would you believe it was nothing more than luck?
That I believe. Come on, Max, lets get back, Im hungry. But first we better mark this area so we can find the boat tomorrow.
Ill remember . . . Max said smartly.
But first we better mark this area so we can find the boat tomorrow, 99 repeated.
Okay, okay . . .
Here, tie this around that big tree, 99 said, handing Max a scarf.
Max tied it securely and they started back into town. 99 stopped and looked carefully at the tree with the scarf, fixing the site in her mind.
You coming? Max asked.
Yes . . . I was making sure I knew where that tree was. And dont tell me youll remember, because I wasnt sure I would. Between the two of us we should be able to find it.
They made good time and were back to the hotel in less than an hour. They trudged up the stairs and sprawled out on the bed.
Oh, Max . . . Im beat.
I hate this . . . I wanna go home.
Me too. Hey, wait a minute, you were the one who wanted to get away.
Not this far away, Max! 99 said, upset. I just wanted a nice, relaxing vacation with you and look what happens. Why cant we ever do anything without something terrible happening?
I dont know. 99?
What if we cant get back?
I dont want to even think about that.
You dont understand . . . if we dont get back, wont that change history? What about the twins? Will they cease to exist? What about Control? Everything that happened to us, will it happen? I mean, the things we stopped from happening as agents . . . will those events happen? He frowned. I dont think were meant to stay here, 99, I think were here for a reason.
How should I know? It just doesnt make any sense.
What youre saying or the fact that were here?
Thanks a lot, 99, Max replied angrily.
Well for Heavens sake, Max, think about what youre saying . . . 99 didnt know why she had snapped at him or why she was bothered by his idea.
I AM!! He retorted. What is it about what Im saying dont that you dont understand? I think when we go out tomorrow, that storm is going to find us . . . and take us back.
And by that time well know the reason were here? 99 said sarcastically, knowing she was digging her own grave.
Possibly. But maybe after we get back, were supposed to draw our own conclusions. Oh, never mind. Just consider it another harebrained idea concocted by Maxwell Smart, The Idiot.
Oh, come on, Max! I never said you were an idiot! 99 knew she had stepped over the line with his easily wounded ego.
Everyone has always said that youre the brains of our partnership . . . and our marriage. If youre so smart, then you explain how we got here and why.
I dont know! She snapped.
You dont know? Max exploded. Why not?
99 didnt answer . . . Max said nothing. They sat glaring at each other.
What the hell are we fighting about?!? 99 asked softly, her anger spent.
I dont know . . .
Im sorry, Max. It seems Ive had to do a lot of apologizing lately, 99 said, putting an arm around him. Know what? I think your idea makes sense.
You do? he asked, gently brushing her bangs off of her forehead.
Yes, she said softly, giving him a tender kiss on the lips.
Is it because you cant come up with anything else? Max asked, his lips flush against hers.
No. Yes. Well . . . partly. I dont know, Max, 99 said, looking into his eyes and giving him another kiss.
Max slowly kissed her ear, then her neck.
99 suddenly sat up. Max . . . the Chief was stationed on the Vestal!
So . . . ? he said, kissing her ear. Comprehension hit home. Oh, my God . . . hes here. Hes alive, right now, as we speak.
How stupid can we be? How could we forget that? She sat there thinking. How can we find him?
Yes, Max . . . Find him.
What are you planning to do? Go up to him and say, Hi, Thaddeus, were from your future. We need help. Talk about a harebrained scheme! Thats more ridiculous than my idea.
Youre idea wasnt ridiculous, 99 sighed, But youre right, we cant just walk up to him . . . she paused. Max . . . is there anything in that container besides money?
A letter to his friend. Why?
Did you read it?
Of course not, 99!
Let me see.
What are you going to do?
You cant do that, 99. Its private.
Just give it to me, Max, 99 said, frustrated.
Max shrugged. He went to the closet, got the container and handed it to 99.
Just what do you expect to find? He asked.
99 held up her hand, then unfolded the letter. As she read, her face went pale.
99 . . . Whats the matter? Max asked, concerned.
Max, you wont believe it. Look at this . . .
Max read the first few lines of the note and started coughing. 99 patted him on the back as he sat down on the bed.
They stared at each other in disbelief.
Im afraid to read this, he said.
Weve got to . . .
Max nodded, Okay, 99, here goes . . . He took a deep breath and began to read . . .
March 17, 1974
Dear Max and 99,
Well, I guess you made it.
I know youre having a hard time believing whats happening to you. Imagine my reaction when, as a young man, a couple came up to me in a bar at Pearl and told me the most ludicrous story. The story they told me was so unbelievable, that at first, I assumed that they were either drunk or utterly insane . . . a story of a strange storm and time travel. I didnt let them know I didnt believe them, but then, as the minutes passed, I began to believe their story and I gave them what help I could. I totally forgot about the meeting after the attack (an attack not mentioned by my mysterious couple) and I never saw them again. I figured they left for the mainland like many civilians did. Its a strange thing . . . it was as if the whole encounter had been erased from my memory, totally and completely . . . until last night. After coming home, I sat down in front of the TV with a drink. I was watching a documentary about WWII on PBS, when the memory came back to me like . . . well, you know how it feels when you accidentally get an electric shock? I couldnt believe it. I just sat there, stunned, for several minutes . . . how could I forget seeing the two of you when I was young? It was unbelievable! I went over and over the incident in my mind for most of the night. I firmly believe it really happened and decided what I had to do . . . I got out the old money I had saved from before the war and I put it in a container. Im going to tell you I owed it to my best friend, Ed, who died on the Arizona (God rest his soul) and I want you to take it with you . . . but, if youre reading this letter, you know that. If not, well, then its resting on the Arizona as a tribute to my friend. Use this money to support yourselves for the two days youll be there. Youll get back to 1983. I dont know exactly how or why I know this, I just KNOW.
Do exactly what you did, or will do or whatever . . . this whole time travel thing is crazy! Just look for me in the Paradise bar on the evening of December 6th. Ill be sitting on the right side, at the bar, with several buddies, including my best friend. Hopefully youll recognize me with a full head of hair . . .
I love you . . .
Max and 99 sat silently on the bed, terrified.
99 finally broke the silence. Max . . . look at the date. He died a couple days after he gave it to us.
99, do you think the memory could have caused his heart attack?
Maybe . . .
What are we gonna do, 99?
Meet him. Hes telling us to meet him, and it happened. Didnt we agree we shouldnt change history?
Max paced the room in confusion. I dont know, 99.
99 got up and they paced together. They were so lost in their thoughts, that neither of them paid much attention to where they were going . . . and they bumped into each other.
Whoops! Sorry, 99.
Excuse me, Max.
Max pulled her into his arms.
I love you, 99. I love you so . . .
I love you, Max . . . more than anything in the world, she said, hugging him back.
Im scared, Max said, tears in his eyes. If something were to happen, if . . . if I lost you, life would be meaningless.
My life would be empty without you, Max, 99 said, softly kissing his tears away.
You know, its only 4:30. Weve got lots of time before we meet the Chief . . . he grinned at her mischievously and pulled her down on the bed.
What do you have in mind, 86? she asked, running her fingers tenderly along his face and making his heart flutter.
86 didnt reply. Instead, he ran his hand lightly down her side and gave her a long, passionate kiss . . .
Okay, he said hed be at the bar, 99 said, scanning the large crowd occupying the Paradise bar.
I see him, Max said quietly.
Max motioned toward the bar. 99 saw him, looking so young she almost couldnt believe it was him, although both of them had seen pictures of him when he was young. He sat at the very end of the bar, his elbow on the shoulder of a blonde Sailor . . . both were laughing. Max and 99 stood for a moment, watching the man who would later become one of the most important people in their lives.
Lets go, 99, Max said, tugging at her arm.
They made their way to the bar, positioning themselves close to where the Chief was sitting. They ordered drinks . . . Max ordered a beer, but 99 decided on a Champagne Cocktail. As they sat sipping the drinks, they watched him (nonchalantly of course) . . . and his friends. At one point, the young man with blond hair put his arm around the Chief and pointed up the bar towards 99, whispering in his ear. The Chief took a look, his eyes growing wide, they looked at each other, grinned and nodded in agreement, clinking their glasses in a toast. Max stole a glance at 99 . . . she was smiling slightly.
I guess they think youre pretty hot, He whispered. I have to agree.
99 gave him an affectionate shove. We have to figure out a way to talk to him.
Ive got an idea, Max said. You can hit on him.
I can what?
Hit on him, put the moves on him, get him to go with you to a secluded spot. Hes not crazy . . . he obviously thinks youre stunning, hell come with you. Once you get him there, Ill come over. What do you think?
Let me get this straight . . . you want me to try to seduce him?
Well . . . seduce is kind of a strong word . . .
What would you call it? 99 demanded.
Uhhh . . . Max shrugged.
99 rolled her eyes. Theres a compliment in there somewhere. All right, she muttered, The things I do . . .
Max smiled at her. I love you . . .
Yeah, yeah . . . I love you too, She got up, then turned back to him. Hes really cute. She winked and headed towards the end of the bar.
Using her best Hello there, Tiger routine, she put a hand on the Chiefs shoulder and whispered in his ear. He looked at her in surprise, but nodded in agreement, giving his friend a wink and an elbow in the ribs at the same time. Max was immediately jealous, wondering just what she had said to him.
Ill have to ask her about that later . . . He thought, forgetting whose idea it was.
He threw the jealous thoughts from his mind and followed 99 with his eyes as she took Thaddeus arm and led him to an empty table near the back of the room. After waiting a few minutes for the waiter to take their order, Max joined them. Thaddeus looked up in surprise.
Look, we need to talk to you, 99 said. Its going to sound crazy, but you have to listen.
Max and 99 launched into their tale, taking turns explaining about their vacation and the mysterious storm. They did leave out a few things, including the facts that they were going to meet him again in 22 years, and that the next day the world would be changed forever.
Thaddeus looked at them warily. Their story was the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard, something about a storm and time travel (they were from 1983?). But something told him not to tell them he thought they were insane. He studied them as they talked, they were obviously very much in love . . . constantly holding hands, touching each other, giving each other moral support and his heart softened toward them. Suddenly, a thought came to him, and he related a story that had happened to him and his buddy when they were out fishing yesterday. A sudden storm appeared in the distance, but when they decided to head back to shore, the storm suddenly changed direction . . . and floated up into the sky, where it remained, a cloud no different from any other cloud in the sky. They had talked about it for a while and decided it was a freak of nature. However, Thaddeus said when he was aboard his ship this morning, he had used his binoculars today to see if the cloud was still there . . . and it was. He told them he thought it was oddly shaped, almost like an arrow. The couple stared at each other. He wrote down the latitude and longitude on a napkin and handed it to the lady . . . who was absolutely the most drop dead gorgeous woman he had ever seen in his life. They thanked him profusely and offered to buy him a drink, which he declined, saying he had had enough and had to be back to his ship, and on duty, by midnight. The three stood up and the woman gave him a hug, thanking him. When the man shook his hand, he actually had tears in his eyes. The couple left the bar, arm in arm. Thaddeus smiled as he drifted back to his friends and to bid them goodnight. His friend walked out with him.
Hey, Thady, what the hell had happened?
Thaddeus shrugged. Theyre a very sweet couple, Ed. I hope some day Ill be as happy and content as they are.
But what did they want?
Ill tell you if you promise never to tell anyone.
Of course I promise . . . what happened??
Well . . . its the most far-fetched story Ive ever heard, but for some reason, I believe them, Thaddeus began, and told Ed the story as they walked back to their ships.
Max and 99, meanwhile, had made their way back to their room, both silent, both deep in thought. 99 disappeared into the bathroom the minute they walked into the room. Max changed, then pulled back the covers. He sat down and called out to 99.
99 . . .
When she didnt answer, he went over to the door and knocked. Sweetheart? You okay?
He heard the toilet flush and 99 opened the door. Im fine . . . just not feeling to good.
Stomach, she said, laying down on the bed. I took something, Ill be okay.
Max was out of the bathroom in a couple of minutes. He lay down next to 99 and put an arm around her waist.
Throwing up? he asked.
No . . . just nerves. We have to make sure we get out of here early in the morning.
We will, I set the alarm. Whats wrong? Is it the Chief?
Max, weve been through a lot of strange things as Control agents, but this has to be the most bizarre. Now Im always going to remember him two ways, as the wonderful man we loved and . . . She said, giving Max a sly smile, . . . as the young man I tried to seduce tonight, .
Speaking of that . . . just what did you say to him?
Max . . . are you jealous?
Ha! Me? Jealous? Thats ridiculous!
What did you say?
I thought you werent jealous?
Im not. I was just wondering . . .
99 grinned. I told him he was extremely good looking and if he would join me at one of the back tables for a drink, Id show him a good time.
Show him a good time? And just what did you have in mind? Max eyed her suspiciously.
You told me he was good looking.
I believe my exact words were, Hes really cute.
Yeah, well . . .whatever, Max said, pouting.
Max! What did you think I was going to do?
I dont know. What if I hadnt been able to get to the table? Would you have gone off with him?
Would you have gone off with him? Max repeated.
And do what?
Whatever . . .
I want you to explain this one to me.
Whats to explain?
Dont play stupid with me, Max. She got up, crossed her arms and glared at him . . . no words were necessary.
Max shrugged. 99 . . . youre a beautiful woman . . .
Thanks . . . she said sarcastically. Now . . . explain.
I . . . we . . . you . . . its . . .
Thats very interesting, but what does it mean?
You could . . . you might . . . Im tired . . . Max said, yawning. Lets go to bed.
Max . . . I want you to explain whatever.
99 . . . I got jealous when you put your arm around him.
All I did was touch his shoulder. Oh . . . this is the most ridiculous conversation! This is the Chief were talking about! She sat down and put an arm around him. It was your idea, remember.
Yeah, yeah . . . Max gave her a tired smile. Sorry about that, 99.
99 ruffled his hair. Youre right, we better try and get some sleep.
They cuddled under the covers, but couldnt sleep. They talked a bit, and finally fell into a uneasy sleep.
99 woke up first. The sun was shining through the windows, promising another beautiful day. She sat up, stretched, yawned, then glanced at the alarm clock. It was 7:40. It took a moment for realization to dawn. When it did, she grabbed Max by the arm and dragged him out of bed.
Max, I thought you set the alarm!
Max shook his head, waking up. I did, he said, groggily.
What time did you set it for?
Its 7:40!! Max, we have to get out of here!! What happened?
I must have shut it off . . . what a stupid thing to do!! 99, we have to hurry!
We do?? She shot back sarcastically.
They dressed at breakneck speed, throwing their clothes into the bags Max had bought them in. They hurried to the counter and checked out, putting on a wonderful act as they nonchalantly told the manager what a wonderful time they had.
Come back soon! he said.
Max turned and gave the man a friendly wave as they forced themselves to walk slowly out the door.
When they hit the sidewalk, they started down the road towards the area where they had hidden the boat. They still forced themselves to walk, and not break into a run, which would have gotten them some pretty peculiar looks on this lazy Sunday morning in December. They arrived at the corner and were starting to cross the street when an explosion shook the ground. The both turned and saw a plume of smoke rise in the direction of the harbor.
Be calm. Dont run, Max said, seeing the panic in 99s eyes.
Another explosion cut off his words. They continued their relaxed walk, although people were now beginning to come out of their homes to see what was going on.
They continued, occasionally turning to see what was going on. Everyones attention was focused on the explosions, and smoke rising from the harbor, so nobody paid much attention to the two of them. They thought they were home free when several Zeros suddenly appeared over the treetops to make a strafing run . . . on the road. Max and 99 decided they preferred the ditch as the bullets hit the ground around them. This time when they got up, they ran. They made it to the tree with the scarf, diving into the dense foliage as the planes strafed the road again, blowing up a car which happened by. They found the boat and climbed aboard. Max started the engine as 99 went below to pull out the firearms they had stashed in the hold before leaving on this ill-fated voyage. They had squabbled about bringing the weapons to Hawaii with them in the first place. 99 wanted to, but Max had disagreed. 99 had been so insistent that they had finally hidden them in the secret compartments of their luggage. Max was glad she had. 99 stuffed her red gun in the waist of her shorts and kept one of the compact, Control issue machine guns for herself. She tossed the other one to Max, plus his 38.
Max strapped the pistol to his hip. Lets find that cloud.
As the boat made its way from shore, Max and 99 had a good view of the attack. The planes were swooping and diving on the helpless ships. The Sailors now realized that the attack was real, and not another game by the Army. They watched in helpless fascination for several minutes, unable to take their eyes off the spectacle before them.
Max, lets go! 99 said, shaking him out of his hypnotic stare.
Max increased their speed and the boat moved farther way from shore. For the moment, they seemed safe, so they took turns using the binoculars to watch the planes making their diving runs. A tremendous whoomph threw black smoke into the sky. They both knew it was the Arizona. They looked at each other in dismay. Max gunned the engine and headed towards the latitude and longitude the Chief had written on the napkin.
99 suddenly shouted, Look!
A Zero appeared and buzzed them, coming in so low he almost grazed the mast. He banked and came around for another dive. 99 was livid . . .
OKAY, YOU BASTARD, HERE WE ARE!! COME AND GET US!! 99 yelled, waving at the plane. Max looked at her in shock . . . and then in admiration, as she hefted the gun to her shoulder and started blazing away. He quickly joined her.
Look out! Max yelled. They both hit the deck as bullets sprayed the boat, sending splinters flying.. Neither of them were seriously injured, although Maxs face was cut by a piece of flying wood.
Lets get em, 99! Max yelled.
Lead him, Max! She yelled back. They both fired savagely and were flabbergasted when a puff of smoke came from the engine of the Zero. The pilot fought to regain control, but the plane took a steep dive and crashed into the sea. Max and 99 saluted each other. But their joy was short lived . . . another plane suddenly careened down on them.
Max, Im almost out of ammo . . .
They dove into the cabin as the plane strafed the boat. As the pilot came around for another dive, the sky went black. The storm had made its return.
Come on, 99! Max yelled, climbing back up on deck and grabbing the wheel. 99 was right on his heels, with the rope. She tied them to the wheel and they bravely fought the storm again. The waves crashed over the sides of the boat, the lightning flashed and then . . . the storm was gone as suddenly as it started.
Max and 99 untied themselves and warily looked toward shore. Max grabbed the binoculars, looked around for a few moments, and grinned.
I see the place where we rented the boat, He said.
Max . . .
How are we going to explain these bullet holes?
What bullet holes?
The bullet holes were gone. They looked around, surprised. 99 picked up the bag with their clothes. The bag and clothes were in perfect condition.
How come the clothes came through and the bullet holes disappeared?
I dont know and I dont care, Max said as he steered the boat toward shore.
99, he said with uncertainty. What time is it?
My watch says 5:30.
AM or PM?
I dont know, its an analog watch.
Max looked around a moment, then shook his head. Excuse me, he said, gesturing towards the West. Isnt that a setting sun?
99 grinned sheepishly. How dense are we today?
Max smiled at her. I wouldnt call it dense, brainless maybe. Wheres that first aide kit? My heads still bleeding.
Ill get it, Max.
She cleaned a wound and dressed it with a small bandage.
You okay, Love?
They returned the boat to the dock and climbed into the rental car, feeling worse for wear, and headed back towards their vacation hideaway. When they reached the bungalow, 99 immediately took a shower and fell into bed. When Max came out from his shower, he collapsed beside her, gave her a hug and soon both were sound asleep.
Max and 99 looked in awe at the Arizona Memorial. Their boat docked and they filed out, with about thirty other tourists . . . most of them Japanese. They carried the container with them. Earlier that morning, they had taken the container and had it engraved with the Chiefs name, written boldly beside Eds. Then they contacted the Arizona Memorial Association, told them the story the Chief had concocted, requesting permission to drop the container, with the remainder of the money, onto the Arizona. Max and 99 explained the situation to a guard and showed him the paperwork that gave them permission to drop the container. The guard directed them to the proper area. First, they read through the names of the men who had died on the Arizona so many years ago. When they finally found Eds name, they looked at each other, finding it hard to hold back the tears. They went to the side of the memorial, offered a prayer and, with much dignity, lowered the container over the side . . . in tribute not only to Ed, but to the Chief himself . . . a man they loved like a father.
Max, the Chief would be so proud of you. What a wonderful tribute to him . . . and his friend.
Max merely shrugged.
I love you, Max.
I love you too, 99.
We still have ten days, Max, what do you want to do?
Nothing. Lets just go back, sit in that bungalow and do nothing.
Nothing? For the whole ten days?
Well . . . I do have a few things in mind . . . He gave her a wink.
99 merely shook her head, and smiled. Ill go anywhere and do anything . . . as long as its not on sailboat . . .
Notes, Historical Information and Stuff:
I have clearly played around a bit with the layout of Pearl Harbor, including where the ships were moored and the surrounding civilian areas.
However, the Vestal was an actual ship.
Photo courtesy of Battleship Row
Location:Battleship Row; tied to the Arizona
Attack Details:2 bomb hits; beached on Aiea Sands, 0945 hours.
Vestal statistics: Remembering Pearl Harbor
Thaddeus friends name Ed comes, of course, from Edward Platt.
Day Of Infamy by Walter Lord - His fantastic book on the attack.
Tora, Tora, Tora - The great 1970 movie about the attack, as seen from both sides.
The Final Countdown - An underrated 1980 movie that gave me the back in time to Pearl Harbor before the attack by weird weather event idea.
Thanks to Ashley, Lisa and Bad Faery for some of the quotes and situations remembered by Max and 99.
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