Chapter 18

Al left the Imaging Chamber and handed the handlink to Gooshie.  "Sam's doing 
just fine."

"That's good to hear."  Gooshie closed down the Imaging Chamber program to 
conserve power.  He took the offered link and began uploading to Ziggy, the 
data on Sam's current situation.  "I'll be down to check on Dr. Elesee 

Al nodded.  They were all worried about Donna.  He left with a brisk stride.  
He arrived to find Donna panting with another contraction.  He went to hold 
her hand.

Verbena was timing them.  As it began to wear off she checked her watch 
again.  "Five minutes apart, lasting one minute each."  She answered Al's 
unspoken question when he glanced at her.

"Progress?"  he asked.

"Dilated to 8cm and 75% effaced."

Al knew they didn't have long now.  Tina was wiping down Donna's face.  She 
was obviously in pain.  He looked from her to Verbena.  "Anything we can give 

"Nothing stronger than Tylenol." she answered apologetically.

Donna motioned to Al.  He knelt down next to the couch.  "What can I do for 

She reached up with one hand to stroke his cheek.  "Al.  I'll be okay.  Tell 
me about Sam's leap.  It'll help pass the time."

Al took her hand between his.  He kissed it gently.  "Okay...Sam."  He took a 
deep breath to organize his thoughts.  "Well when I popped in on him, he had 
been cornered by Martin Dillion, a local radio DJ.  Seems he got pulled into 
a very public contest."

Donna smiled at this.  She knew how Sam hated to be the center of attention.  
Inside he was a very shy person and easily embarrassed.  "Go on."

"Well the trivia question was about Star Trek.  I wish you could've seen his 
face as he struggled to remember.  It was priceless."  Al stopped as Donna 
began to squeeze his hand as another contraction began.

"I'm sure it was."  She smiled and took a deep cleansing breath.  Then she 
began to pant as the contraction increased in strength.

Al held her hand, letting her squeeze as much as she needed to.  He had a 
real sensitive soul, and hated to see women in pain.  Especially when that 
woman was the wife of his best friend.  He glanced up to Tina.

She was looking pretty pale, never having done anything like this before.  Al 
knew she was more comfortable around computers than people.  He decided she 
should take a break and get away.  There wasn't much she could do right now 
anyway.  He suggested to her that she check on Gooshie's progress with Ziggy. 
 She seemed relieved to have something to do.

Donna's grip relaxed some as the contraction eased up. 

"Better?" Al asked softly.

Donna blew out a last breath.  "A little.  They are definitely getting 
stronger."  She reached for the cup of ice chips.

Verbena went to the phone to call the hospital again.  She knew with absolute 
certainty that even if the ambulance left now, the baby would arrive first.

This wouldn't be the first time she had to deliver a baby, she had done so 
before, but an OB/GYN she was not.  She knew that Al  had taken only the 
required basic first aid courses,  any complications and that could mean 
trouble for either Donna or the baby.

Verbena dropped the phone with a bang.  She called Al over.  He left Donna's 
side with a whispered, "I'll be right back."

"What is it Bena?"  Al spoke softly, not wanting to disturb Donna.

"Al.  The storm knocked the phone lines out."  She spoke gravely.  "We're on 
our own."

Al's face ran through many emotions.  Verbena tried to name as many as she 
could.  Fear.  Worry.  Anger.  It finally settled on determination. 

"Well, I guess it is up to us."  He was very serious.  He removed his jacket 
and hat and laid them on a nearby chair.  "We will be needing some alcohol, 
hot water, more towels, and something to cut the cord."  His tone was all 

Verbena went off to find Tina and Gooshie to help her get the supplies.

Al returned to Donna's side to break the news.  He adjusted the blanket 
covering her, and sat down on the floor in front of the couch. "Donna."

She opened her eyes.  "What is it, Al?"  Her tone was soft.

"I don't know how to break this to you, awww hell, I was never any good at 

"What's wrong, Al?"

"The storm knocked the phone lines out.  You have a more than good chance of 
delivering this baby right here."

Donna appeared resigned to the situation.  "Okay."  She was going to say more 
when another contraction began.

Al helped Donna roll over and began to rub her back as the contraction 
continued.  He concentrated the pressure on her lower back to relieve some of 
the pain of the contraction.

She closed her eyes and tried to breathe through it.  It was getting harder 
to focus, the pain was getting stronger.

"Breathe, Donna.  Don't hold it in.  Breathe through it." he coaxed.

She managed to make it through.  She looked back at Al gratefully.

He gave her a reassuring hug, then sat back down on the floor to await the 
next contraction.

Verbena appeared with her arms laden.  She started sorting the items into 
piles.  Al noted the items she had brought.  There was alcohol, scissors lots 
of towels and blankets. 

Tina entered followed by Gooshie.  Tina's arms held a rubber syringe, a 
heating pad, some rubber gloves, a first aid kit, and a box that contained 
many different types of painkillers, and other over the counter drugs.

Gooshie followed Tina, carrying in a square laundry basket which he preceded 
to line with some of the blankets with the heating pad in between.  He moved 
the makeshift bed into a corner near an outlet, and plugged it in.

Donna was amazed at the amount of trouble that everyone was going through 
just for her.  Tears filled her eyes.

Then another contraction hit.  Donna was unprepared for the intensity of it.  
It was as if the other contractions were just warm-ups.  This one hurt and 
she cried out.

Al tried to get her focused on breathing again.  Donna had taken a few of the 
Lamaze classes, but she was unable to remember the techniques while under so 
much pain.  She panted more than blew and was very near to passing out.

"Donna.  Donna!  Focus on my voice.  Breathe, one, two, three, four.." he 
counted out loud to keep her focused on him.

Verbena checked Donna again.  "A couple more contractions like that and you 
will soon be able to push."

The contraction eased, and Donna relaxed.  Verbena gave Donna some of the 
stronger Tylenol.  Donna washed it down with a few sips of water.

Now it was just a matter of time.


Sam had driven up to Mark's house.  He had given Kelsey the money she had 
needed and put the remainder in his purse.  She had protested about the 
money, but Sam had won out in the end even though Kelsey had promised to 
repay every penny.

Kelsey had gone up to the door and knocked.  A gruff-looking man had opened 
it.  He stepped outside, not inviting Kelsey in.  Not that she had wanted to. 
 Mark scared her.

"Ummmm.. Mark.  I have the rest of the rent." She held out the money to him.  
"I'd like to get back in my apartment, Please."

He grunted and looked down at the money she offered.  He took it and counted 
it, twice, as if she was going to cheat him.  He opened the front door, and 
reached inside for his receipt book he kept by the door.  Filling it out he 
handed a copy to Kelsey.  "I'll come by later to unlock the door."  His words 
were harsh.  Then he went in without another word and shut the door.

Sam had been watching this, ready to intervene if necessary.  Instead, Kelsey 
just walked back to the car and got in.  "That went well." she stated 

"Well it could have been worse.  At least he took the money."  Sam stated as 
he started the car.  He backed out of the driveway and started on the way 

Sam tried to talk to Kelsey during the trip back, but she had said she was 
tired and just wanted to rest.  She lay her head back and closed her eyes.  
The kids in the back were quiet.

Sam had no way of knowing that he had changed history by paying off Mark.  Al 
wasn't around to tell him that now Kelsey didn't die by a shooting.  She 
didn't need to leave the apartment now to look for money.  Now the new 
history recorded that she died instead by a drunk driver that ran Jessica's 
car off the road.

Ziggy noted the change in history and decided it was time to page the Admiral.