Where: The Lifeboat
When: Wednesday, June 16th
Invited: Chloe Sullivan, Xander Harris, Faith Lehane
Cassandra Sugarbaker looked over the controls one last time. Everything looked right. The lifeboat--they still hadn't named it and Cassandra had begun to think they never would--was in orbit somewhere over North America. Well, a North America. In a world where the American Revolution failed. The British still ruled most of North America, while the other two great powers, Spain and Russia, retained control of Central and South America. All were still monarchies as well. The world was technologically retarded, still using eighteenth century technology in the early 21st century.
There was no overt slavery though serfdom was common. Religion was no more of a problem than it had been in Cassandra's world; the most virulent religious intolerance had burned itself out in interminable wars over the last century. It could have been a lot worse--and on a few jumps it certainly had been. They'd settled on one of the more remote Pacific islands to enjoy some out-of-the-ship R&R and they'd acquired as much fresh food as they could stow away before leaving.
It was a hell of a lot better than fighting the good fight against the Zombie Apocalypse back in Xander and Faith's original home universe. And a considerable improvement over the last world, where...well, Cassandra still didn't understand it. It was at least as technically advanced as their home universe had been, but history had gone awry so early that it was peopled by cultures entirely alien to anything Cassandra had ever encountered.
(Maybe Daniel could have made something of them,) Cassandra thought--and the memory of him wasn't as painful as it had been a few days earlier. Cassandra reminded herself that he was still alive and well. She'd lost many lovers over the centuries and she'd lose more--but at least Daniel was alive somewhere even if she'd never see him (or touch him) again. Nor see or speak to Ami Jackson or Jon Bartidge again.
The three of them had elected to stay behind two jumps back, when they'd found an analogue of their home world that was "close enough for government work," to quote Jon. Daniel and Jon had taken up with the local Stargate Command. When Rodyney McKay had explained the literally astronomical odds against ever jumping home again, Ami too had decided it was as close as she was likely to ever get to her lost home and announced that she was going to stay. To nobody's surprise, Jon wasn't about to leave without her--so he stayed too.
Cassandra glanced at Chloe, who was sitting in the co-pilot's seat to her right. Of all the companions Cassandra had had on this long and very strange journey, Chloe was the only one left who'd been with her for more than a couple of hops. John Casey had died far too early. The Doctor, Jack Harkness, Rose Tyler and Molly Green had been been on the TARDIS when it abruptly winked out, leaving Cassandra, Daniel, Jon and Ami behind.
They'd met Chloe then, and she'd eventually joined them in their travels when they gained access to this lifeboat. Now it was down to Cassandra, Chloe and their two latest companions. Cassandra wondered for a moment how long they'd remain together. Then she gave her head a little shake and focused on the here and now.
"Everybody ready?" Cassandra asked, glancing around the cockpit.
Chloe nodded. Xander Harris, sitting in the engineer's seat behind Chloe, gave Cassandra a grin and a thumbs-up gesture. Faith Lehane leaned against the frame of the open cockpit door. "I'm always ready," Faith said.
"Here goes nothing," Cassandra said. She activated the dimensional drive--
--and all at once and nothing first, the lifeboat was in another universe. Alarms sounded and indicators flashed. Cassandra studied the readouts, trying to determine the problem. The hull temperature was much higher than it ought to have been--and rising. Cassandra glanced up at the viewport stretching across the front of the lifeboat. Instead of the velvet blackness of space and countless stars there was only a dull red fog.
"That can't be good," Xander said.