Less Than Perfect

Christina L. Bartruff (catyasdo@earthlink.net)

DECEMBER 19, 2000

	Al's arm closed around thin air as the abandoned building dissolved into
the blue-white Imaging Chamber.  The handlink slipped unnoticed from his
numb fingers.  The noise it made when it hit the floor echoed around the
silent, empty room.

	He closed his eyes and sank to the floor, waiting for the memories, or
Ziggy's voice, to tell him what he feared had happened.

	Al clenched his fists, and realized that he was still wearing a wedding
ring.  *Oh, God.  Sam*.  The pain was just as sharp.  "Damn it, Sam, why
didn't you listen to me?" he whispered.  Al covered his face with his left
hand.  He was afraid to call for Ziggy.  Afraid she would confirm his
suspicions.  At least, if he sat here and said nothing, he could pretend
that everything was fine for a little while longer.

	"Admiral?"  Ziggy's voice sounded subdued, sad.

	Al lowered his hand and opened his eyes.  "What?"

	There was a long, painful pause.  "I'm sorry, Admiral, but I have to
inform you that . . . "
The computer cut itself off.  "I have estimated that Dr. Beckett will land
at his next assignment in approximately seven days."

	It took a moment for the significance of Ziggy's statements to register.

	"No," he whispered, his voice breaking.  "Beth."

	And then the memories came.

Less Than Perfect

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI

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