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Tribble-Free Living

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"You're sure that no one will object to a black man riding the train," Ben asked.

Jadzia huffed. "You've asked them that three times, Benjamin!" she chided him, giving the others an apologetic look. "If Miles and Worf both say that Enterprise has never cared about it, then they never cared about it!"

"I think it's coming!" Julian called out from the far end of the station. Sure enough, trailing huge white clouds of steam behind it was the train called Cross-Country Enterprise, the mobile midwestern branch of the company that would one day span most of the globe and protect humanity from the creatures that lurked in the dark.

According to Miles and Worf, the company had already been so large at this point that its founders could afford to eschew modern customs like segregated railcars, but Ben still couldn't quite believe it. It was easy to imagine that people with enough power and good intentions could create a bubble of safety and equality in a time not known for either, but that didn't make it real.

When the train opened up to reveal a conductor with skin as dark as Ben's, it became a little easier to believe.

She looked him up and down and smiled slyly. "Welcome aboard," she said, and as he passed her he tipped his hat. Just because he could.

"You know," Ben said a few minutes later, as they settled into an unoccupied car, "I think this might actually work."

"I did not understand why it would be considered difficult in the first place," Worf grumbled. "We have already boarded the Cross-Country Enterprise. All that is left to do is locate Arne Darvin, prevent him from killing James Kirk, return to the present, and turn him over to Gowron." He grinned viciously at that thought; though most werewolves looked down on him for being turned rather than born a wolf, as a society they disapproved of dishonorable cowards and failures far more. He would enjoy seeing Darvin punished.

"When you say it like that, it actually does sound like we've got a lot yet to do." Julian sighed. "But with no sign of Darvin aboard, we can't do anything yet."

"Well," Jadzia said, standing up, "I know what I'd like to do while we wait." When the others looked up at her curiously, she grinned. "This train's got a wet bar on one of its cars, and I intend to see if absinthe tasted any different before it was banned." With that, she disappeared.

"You know what I'd like to do?" Miles asked no one in particular. "Just if we've got time to kill? Meet the engineer. If we're not here too early, I think Montgomery Scott might already be the chief engineer." When this name got no reaction, he said, "Montgomery Scott? Created the gun that can kill anything?"

"Oh, that Scott," Julian said, trying to sound impressed.

"And you know who else might be here? Leonard McCoy - he's the doctor that first discovered a cure for vampirism."

"Leonard McCoy?" Jadzia repeated, reentering the car with a Sazerac in one hand. "Emony Dax knew a Leonard McCoy ten or twenty years before this time," she said thoughtfully, sipping at her drink. "I wonder if it might be the same man. He did have surgeon's hands..." She grinned lasciviously.

"Now he could be interesting to talk to," Julian said, resting his head on one hand as he contemplated the idea. "You get handed these bizarre lists of ingredients and instructions, and they do incredible, impossible things, but no one tells you why they work, or how anybody figured them out in the first place! I'd like to know what he was thinking..."

"People, please!" Ben snapped. "We've got a job to do here, this isn't a vacation."

Jadzia raised an eyebrow at his tone. "Yes sir," she murmured into her drink.

"Darvin is not here," Worf said simply. "It is likely he decided to purchase the weapon he wishes to use against James Kirk today, and will tomorrow board the Enterprise with the intention of killing him. If that is the case, there is nothing we can do until then."

Reluctantly, Ben sighed. "You may be right," he admitted. "But that doesn't mean taking unnecessary risks! That means you only get the one drink, old man."

Jadzia conceded with a smile as Julian perked up. "Does that mean we can have a drink too? Only, I've always wanted to try an Old Fashioned that actually was old-fashioned..."

"And I'd like to see what kinds of ale they've got in this time period."

Ben let his head fall into his hands and sighed. "All right, all right! But make sure you eat something," he called after them. "There are still three stops before nightfall, and Darvin could come aboard during any one of them!"