“It was November thirteenth. 2151. I was nineteen.”
“That was a thousand years ago, Granddaddy Craig.”
“More like eighty-three. It was the NX-01 Enterprise – do you remember seeing it in a museum?” Craig asked.
“What day is it?” asked a young surveyor.
The attractive widow smiled at him. “Thou are not keeping track of the days, Richard?”
“It’s easy to let a few slip away, Lucretia. You’re such a beautiful woman.”
“Roger Allgood says I am the sort who would snap like a twig in a storm!”
“I don’t think twigs snap. They bend, right?” Rick asked.
“Mostly. Dost thou not have work to perform?”
“Later,” he kissed her and then suddenly remembered something. “Damn – uh, darn.”
“Whatsoever is the matter?” The widow Crossman was a little alarmed at the utterance of an oath.
“I, uh, I need to, um, I’ll be at the outhouse. Don’t, don’t go anywhere.”
She laughed a little. “I shall not be milking a cow in this attire!” She was clad in little more than her flaxen underthings. He put his breeches on and made sure the tiny PADD was still in the pocket of his waistcoat before donning it, too. “Such a formal visit to the outbuildings!” she exclaimed upon seeing him putting back on so many clothes.
“I, uh, what would your neighbors say, if I were to go out, half-dressed?” he laced up his shoes.
“I believe they already wonder about thou a little already, Mister Daniels.”
The outhouse was smelly and small and dark, but at least it was private. He tapped on his PADD – which had been in sleep mode, and was showing an impromptu slide show of family pictures from the 29th century – and it sprang to life. He tapped twice to get it out of voice recognition mode and commenced typing.
“Dammit, what date did I leave the NX-01?” he whispered to no one. He looked up in the PADD and he was missing the data, as he had not yet written his report on Jonathan Archer and the 22nd century Temporal Cold War. He had been expecting to go on his current mission – to 1699 Penn’s Woods – and write both reports at the same time. But this was nagging at him, and he knew it would bother him until he’d fixed it. The date on the PADD was synchronized to the current date and time – November thirteenth, 1699.
“What happened on November thirteenth?”
“Oh, uh,” Craig thought for a moment. “It was a message.” His grandchildren departed. Messages were not thrilling to them.
Craig walked over to the master bedroom in his home. “Computer, enter dictation mode.”
“Craig Willets’s personal log, November thirteenth, 2234. Add this to my memoirs. I recall a message received on this day in 2151. It was after the September ninth disappearance of my roommate, Richard Daniels.”
“Okay, I’ll fix this later,” Rick muttered to himself. The outhouse was smelly and Lucretia – ah, Lucretia! She was waiting and somewhere in there he’d have to go back to his real mission, which was to accompany a historian observing William Penn.
He hurriedly typed out a message.
To: Craig Willets, in care of the NX-01
November 13, 2151
I’m sorry I left so abruptly. I don’t know how much Captain Archer has explained to you. Of course we cannot be roommates anymore. I know we did not always see eye to eye on how clean to keep our cabin, but you are a good person and I consider you a friend.
However, given the disarray, I ended up with a pair of your boots in error. I am sending them back to you with this note. Check your closet.
Best of luck to you. I know that you will have great adventures.
Richard Daniels, TIC
He set his PADD to temporal communications mode and adjusted it to the last-known position of the NX-01 and hit send. He then hit the controls on a temporal transporter, thereby neatly retrieving the boots and sending them from the Temporal Integrity Commission in 3097 to the last known position of Craig Willets’s closet on the NX-01 on November thirteenth, 2151.
He then turned off the PADD and emerged, and washed up at a little basin nearby, with rough soap and a buckskin towel. So refreshed, he dashed back to the widow Crossman and a bit of fun before he’d have to get back to work.
And on the 2151 NX-01, a rather surprised Craig Willets retrieved an odd PADD message and, amidst the mess in his bunk, he found boots in the back of his closet.
“Continuing personal log,” Craig dictated in 2234, “I think Daniels screwed up. He probably would have preferred sending me my property back on the actual date of his disappearance, on September ninth of 2151. But I was a messy guy then, and I still am, but I’ve gotten a bit better over time, I think. Still, for a while there, I was the lowest Engineering crewman on the NX-01, and I roomed with a time traveler. Once, at Movie Night, we watched an old film called The Odd Couple. It was before Daniels left. And we laughed about it, when we realized that he was Felix and I was Oscar. So wherever you are, Felix, here’s a salute from your old pal, Oscar.”