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Old 03-16-2011, 05:57 PM   #1
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Another Time, Another Place - Chapter 19

So, this is the last chapter for me to post. There is one more but Alison is going to post it on the week-end.

I'd just like to thank everyone for reading this and all the kind comments we've gotten since Chapter 1.

It was a whole lot of fun to write and we are looking forward to doing another one.

Anyway, as always this is all made up and has no resemblance to anything real.

here's the last bit from Chapter 18:

"U2 doesn't exist any more," Edge told his band-mates. "Somehow we've done something to wipe the band out of existence. She..." Edge realised he didn't know the woman's name. "She's from our future, she says she can help."

Chapter 19 -

"How do we know she's from our future?" Larry said, as suspicious as Edge had been.

"She knows about the DUMASS," Edge said, shrugging helplessly. "And she's heard of us."

Larry scowled.

The woman's eyes had been lingering on the control panel but had slid in Adam's direction at that moment. Adam found himself staring into her eyes and wondering where he'd seen her before, when she quickly looked away and addressed the lemon's occupants collectively.

"My name is Pearl," she said. "I come from the late 24th century, where time travel is more common, but tightly regulated. The technology The Edge developed in the DUMASS will become known, in the future. It will be refined, modified, adapted. This availability of time travel obviously causes problems such as you are experiencing... People like me help to solve those problems."

"Pearl is a bit of an old-fashioned name," Larry said, still suspicious.

"It was in vogue when I was born," Pearl said. "It's quite common where I come from."

"I rather like it," Adam put in.

"Wait," Edge said. "Did you actually try calling Ali and everyone?" He looked at his three band-mates, suddenly remembering what Bono had been saying.

Bono looked sheepish. "Yeeees...."

"What happened?"

Larry summarised the phone calls.

"A restraining order?" Edge blinked at Adam after he'd heard the tale.

Adam shrugged uncomfortably.

Edge turned on Pearl, who was watching with an odd expression on her face. "If Suzie knew who Adam was, she must know another version of Adam. Is this our time-line or not?"

"Which of these is the dimensional indicator?" Pearl asked, eyes roving over the lights on the control panel again.

Edge pointed at the undecided LED, still flickering between red and green, and abruptly lost his temper at it. "WILL YOU MAKE UP YOUR MIND?!?"

The LED flickered again, and changed colour. It shone a steady purple as Edge stared.

"What...?"

Pearl stared too, more awed than confused. "Be careful what you wish for in here, The Edge," she said. "The DUMASS can't make up its mind, because this both is and is not your own dimension. This is the time line which should include you as as you are now, but you have caused your own history to change. Therefore there are other versions of yourselves in this time line, and you've erased your own history. You've effectively made yourselves homeless in the space-time continuum."

Edge's brain whirred. "You mean that, right now, there are more versions of us than there are universes that contain our lives?"

"By one, yes." Pearl nodded. She seemed more collected now that she was talking about something she was clearly familiar with, but now Adam found himself staring at her. She seemed to be ignoring him, however, her gaze lingering on the DUMASS's interior.

"How can we still exist, then?" Edge was asking.

"It's complicated," Pearl replied. "Partly it is because of the paradox dilemma - if you never existed, you couldn't have travelled back in time to erase your own existence, see?"

All four members of U2 considered this for a moment, and went cross-eyed.

"Additionally, the DUMASS itself, and the residual tachyon radiation from your journeys, has buffered you from non-existence. That you are here at all shows that this," Pearl waved her arm at the outside world, "is not supposed to be this way. Your current situation is untenable, and must be corrected."

"How can we do that? How did we change our history?" Edge asked. "We were so careful, we didn't even leave the lemon during our last stop."

"Which was in Dublin, 1976, correct?"

"Yes... how did you know?"

"That was when your original history diverged from this timeline we're in now. We have ways of tracking things like this, where I work."

Larry had begun to sweat. Surely that brief glimpse couldn't have de-railed their whole history?

"But..." Edge was flummoxed.

"Sometimes," Pearl said slowly, "inaction can be as damaging as direct intervention."

There was a long silence, in which Larry became increasingly uncomfortable.

Edge and Pearl each tried to speak at once.

"But how --"

"I've always --"

Pearl stopped, but Edge said "You first," and smiled briefly.

Pearl's face grew pink. "I've always wanted to ask you," she began, glancing at Edge before examining the control panel again, "Why did you connect the Random button before any of the rest of it?" Her eyes found the big red button and fixed on it.

There was a profound silence.

"You know, I've always wondered about that too," Larry added, while Edge's mouth opened and closed helplessly.

Pearl's face grew pinker the longer Edge remained silent and floundering.

"It's all right," she said, flustered. "You don't have to..."

"No, I'm dying to hear this," Adam put in, and Larry nodded.

"Well, Reg?" the drummer prompted.

Edge belatedly affected a superior air. "You wouldn't understand," he began, but his pomposity was punctured by a snort from Larry.

"Oh, all right," Edge said, throwing up his hands. "I don't actually know. I didn't even know if I could make a Random button work, it seemed too complicated on top of everything else. I suppose a perverse sort of stubbornness made me determined to work it out... And that still doesn't excuse Bono from pressing the button when it had 'DO NOT TOUCH' written on it." Edge scowled at Bono, who shrank back.

Pearl had absorbed this information, watching Edge avidly. "And you found it simpler to complete the guidance circuitry once you understood how the Random button worked?"

"I don't know about understanding it, completely," Edge hedged.

"On an intuitive level, at least," Pearl went on, getting more excited. "I know you've said that with the guitar as part of the Sound System, you found it easier to interpret the way the DUMASS moved through time, via the guitar and effects and the other things you were already familiar with..."

Edge blinked at her. "I must make a note of that," he said. "I certainly haven't said anything like that yet. I haven't even used the guitar yet... is that why we've gone wrong?"

Pearl seemed to realize she'd said too much, and went pink again. She muttered inaudibly. More audibly, she said, "That wouldn't have made a difference. What were you going to say, before I asked my question?"

Edge had to think back to what they'd been talking about before the Random button. "Oh yes. How can our inaction have erased our history?"

"In any number of ways," Pearl said. "It's another paradox. A thousand different things had to align in order for you four to meet and become a successful band, and your history has changed because one of those things didn't happen. A small, but pivotal thing. And it didn't happen because you were so careful at your last stop, because you didn't leave the lemon and didn't interfere in your past."

"I saw me mother," Larry blurted, and the attention of the lemon's occupants all snapped onto him. "That didn't mess it up, did it?" His face had gone a bit pink too, and he shot a defiant glance at Edge.

"You said no one saw us," Edge said.

"You fixed the cloaking device as soon as she noticed the lemon, she probably thought she imagined it," Larry mumbled. "She never said anythin' to me about it, that's for sure."

"But she might never have seen the lemon at all originally! We might never have gone there in our timeline, so she wouldn't have had anything to tell you..." Edge looked at Pearl.

"You did, and she did see the DUMASS," Pearl said. "But like Larry said, she dismissed the glimpse she got as her imagination, or the rain, or a tree moving in the wind. Larry's mother is not the problem."

"What IS the problem?" Edge asked, exasperated.

"I can't spell it out for you, that could cause even greater disruption to the timeline," Pearl said, looking a trifle apologetic. "The best way to restore your history is if you work it out yourself. You now know you need to take some action at that point in time..."

"We don't know exactly WHAT time it was," Edge interrupted. "The guidance systems weren't finished, we got there by Random button. All we know is the year..."

Pearl told them the precise date. "Think about it," she said, meeting each of their eyes except for Adam's.

The bassist had been looking for a chance to put a word in, but Pearl had been avoiding his attempts to make eye-contact. "Excuse me," he said at last. "Where have I seen you before?"

Pearl finally gave Adam a long look. "You'll find out later," she said, then addressed everyone. "I must be going now - I wish you luck, not only for your sake but my own. Without U2, there is no DUMASS, and my own past becomes rather different. Without U2, yours does too, obviously."

"What happens to us, without the band?" Bono asked. He had no idea what could have become of his life if he hadn't joined U2.

Pearl just smiled. "You're better off with your original history, I think."

Adam thought about what this alternate Suzie had said to him about a restraining order, and privately agreed.

"You're not coming with us?" Edge asked Pearl. "Do you need a lift back to your own time, or something?"

"My own time is unrecognizable at the moment," Pearl said. "Once you put things right, everything should sort itself out. Besides, I have my own machine, a little less bulky than this." She looked around at the inside of the DUMASS, but fondly, and rested a hand reverently on the wall.

"Thank you for your help, I think," Edge said, and escorted Pearl to the lemon's steps. "Will we see you again?"

"Oh yes," Pearl replied, and seemed unable to stop herself from glancing at Adam again. She pulled her eyes back to Edge, and smiled. "Thank you for letting me see the original prototype," she said. Then she was down the steps, and scrambling over Edge's garden wall.

When she was gone, Edge looked at Adam. "What was that all about?"

"How should I know?" the bassist replied.

"You said you'd seen her before."

"I'm sure I have, but I can't remember where," Adam said, frowning.

Larry and Bono, meanwhile, had been thinking furiously about the date of their last stop. Bono hadn't had much luck, since his memories of the time were a ferocious muddle. Larry, on the other hand, was becoming certain he knew what the pivotal event that hadn't happened, was.

"That was just before I put that notice up at school," he announced.

Edge stopped pondering the way Pearl had called the culmination of his life's non-musical work 'the original prototype', and stared at Larry.

"Are you sure?"

"Yes," the drummer replied, nodding. The more he thought about it, the more sure he was. "That has to be the event Pearl mentioned."

"What do we have to do to make that happen?" Edge asked rhetorically, pacing up and down. "You don't remember seeing anyone then who looks like we do now, do you?"

Larry lapsed into furious thought. "No, I don't," he sighed at length. "It was my dad who had the idea to put the notice up anyway..."

"What made him think of it?" Edge asked, intent on unraveling the course of events that had happened nearly thirty years before.

There was silence in the lemon as the three others watched Larry cogitating.

After a few minutes, though, the drummer sighed again. "I don't know. He just came home from the pub one night, and asked me if I'd thought about putting up a notice at school to form a band."

"What night was that, exactly?" Edge asked.

"It must have been the same day we were there just before," Larry reasoned. "Pearl told us the date, because we have to go back there. Then. Friday, September the 17th, 1976."

Edge was nodding. "We were there in the afternoon, and stayed all night at that building site. We'll have to go somewhere else this time..." The guitarist started poking at buttons.

"Wait, wait," Bono said, starting to look slightly panicky again. "Do you mean we're going to go back to a time we've already been to, while we were there the first time? There are going to be three lots of us-es in Dublin on that day??"

Edge hadn't thought of it quite like that. "I suppose there will be," he said. "If two versions of us meeting in the future didn't make the universe implode, I hope three versions of us not meeting in the past will be all right. Larry, what pub did your father go to?"

Larry told him, and Edge examined Bono and Adam. "Adam, I think you will have to go and talk with Larry's father in this pub, and plant the idea of his son putting up a notice at his school."

Adam stared. "What?"

"Why him?" Bono protested.

"Because he looks the least like he did back then, now," Edge explained patiently. "And obviously Larry can't do it."

Bono peered critically at himself in the nearest reflective surface, but subsided.

This was all happening a bit too quickly for Larry. "How do you know it was one of us who spoke to him? What does Adam have to say?"

"Good question," Adam said.

"Clearly one of us has to put the idea in Larry Senior's head, because when we didn't intervene, it didn't happen. As for what Adam says, we will have to trust him to say the right thing at the right moment. It's happened before, so it can happen again. Adam can trust his instincts... and if it doesn't work, no doubt Pearl will show up and give us some more cryptic clues." Edge frowned slightly, but then went back to pressing buttons. "Are you all ready?"

"What?"

"Right now?"

"No time like the past," Edge said with a crooked grin. He pressed the green button, and the DUMASS put forth a burst of bass-heavy dance music as the special effects swirled into life on the view-screen.
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Old 03-16-2011, 07:47 PM   #2
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Well. This is... interesting. And a bit confusing.
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Old 03-16-2011, 09:05 PM   #3
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Time travel is always confusing... I've watched a lot of Star Trek and Doctor Who and I've given up on understanding it all. *L*

Is there anything I can maybe explain more?
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Old 03-17-2011, 06:29 AM   #4
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I have a sneaking suspicion I know who Pearl is going to turn out to be, will be interesting to see if I'm right. This has been a great fanfic, quirky and different, I've really enjoyed it. Thanks
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Old 03-17-2011, 03:23 PM   #5
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Wow almost done already. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

So after Edge finishes his time machine project he's going back to his original cloning project right?


And then time machine me a PopBono?
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Old 03-17-2011, 04:27 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alisaura View Post
Time travel is always confusing... I've watched a lot of Star Trek and Doctor Who and I've given up on understanding it all. *L*

Is there anything I can maybe explain more?
No, I don't think it can be explained until time traveling is discovered!
(Oh, and I hope this doesn't end *too* quickly. I hate when stories wrap up too soon.)
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Old 03-18-2011, 07:42 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Galeongirl View Post
Wow almost done already. Can't wait to see how it turns out.

So after Edge finishes his time machine project he's going back to his original cloning project right?


And then time machine me a PopBono?
I guess Edge will have to see how busy his schedule is for the next year...


Thanks for the comments everyone. I'm posting the last chapter in a bit, so the ending is probably a bit sudden, sorry about that.
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