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17: A Time as Good as Any

Chapter Seventeen: A Time as Good as Any

"But the time is of no consequence:
what followed is the strangest point."

---Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre


"You're gonna get it now, George," John whispered in passing George to the little house's front door. "They'll be pissed that you dared address them like that." He gave a snort of laughter.

"Shut up, John," George replied, but there was no anger in his voice. He sat silently in his chair, chewing nothing in thought.

"You don't need to let them in," Paul called to John from where he was laying on his bed. "They can come in on their own."

"Whatever happened to politeness, Paulie?" Ringo teased.

"Oh, shut it, Ring," Paul answered with a short laugh. "They're angels; they don't need to be let in. They just appear inside a place. They don't use doors."

**Are you so sure about that, Paul dear?** came Adriana's voice as she and Alexander walked in through the door that John held open.

Paul stared, never expecting the angels to be so conventional as to using the door. He laughed heartily, partly because of the scene at hand and partly to get rid of the tension still clinging to him from his dream.

George looked up, startled by Paul's laughter and John and Ringo's chuckles. He had no idea what was going on, but seeing the angels walk in the front door was a bit funny to his sense of humor and he couldn't help giggling.

**What?** Alexander asked innocently and his aloof dignity seemed lost for the moment in his fun-making.

"Oh, nothing," George replied airily, waving his hand.

Alexander's dignity and reserved manner came back to him as he said, **So you called us here---not very nicely, I must say (he glanced at George with twinkling eyes)---and now we're here. What is it that you want?**

"When are we going out again?" Paul answered, with no emotion and without a change in his expression.

**When you are fully rested, of course.** Adriana seemed to think the question absurd.

"No. Now."

**Paul, are you in your senses?** Adriana cried, her Cockney accent almost American in her distress.

"Yes. I am."

**He's so short---short with me!** she said, almost to herself. **Paul, you're not angry, are you, dahling?**

Paul sensed that she, angel though she was, was really upset. He went to her and stood on his tip-toes as he kissed her rose-bloom cheek.

"Of course not," he said. "But I had a---ah---"

"A dream," Ringo said for him.

"A vision," John added, and the words, A vision came unto me when I was twelve; a man on a flaming pie said, "You shall be the Beatles with an 'A'" raced through all four Beatles' minds. None of them could help giggling.

Adriana touched Paul's cheek and her hand briefly glowed white, casting an aura of light around her hand and Paul. She studied his face very seriously and gravely and the light faded.

**I have seen your dream,** she said, in the most serious tone they had ever heard her use. **John is right---it is a vision. We will send you out immediately. It does not do to delay the words of the Ballad!**

"Isn't it Ring's turn now?" George asked. "He's the only one who hasn't gone yet."

**Yes. He'll have his turn---but not quite yet. We must give you your gifts before he goes.** It was Alexander who spoke this time.

"Gifts?" asked Ringo. "Like powers or something?"

**Or something,** Adriana agreed, hugging Paul close to her side. She let him go with a ruffle of his hair and her eyes watched him, almost sadly, as he took his seat at the table.

Alexander held one slender arm out and his fingers slightly curled as if gripping a ball.

Within seconds of his putting his arm out, a ball did appear in his hand---and ball of rainbow light.

Ringo watched in awe---he had always been interested in magical things. But he also watched somewhat nervously, knowing that he would soon be on his own in his own mission.

Paul's eyes were bright with wonder as he watched the ball of light. It now had mists dancing around it. In a final burst of sparkles, the light blinked out, leaving five things in Alexander's extended hand.

Medals. John couldn't help but feel disgusted. They didn't need medals. They needed to save Paul's life and set Time right!

**It's not what you think, John,** Adriana whispered in his ear, her golden hair brushing his cheek.

Alexander set the five "medals" on the table. Now that the things were in clear view, the four young men could see that they were not medals.

They were polished golden coins of a rather bright hue. In each coin was a tiny hole near the "top" where a thick ribbon of blue velvet went though, tying together to make a necklace.

All four young men leaned forward to see the coins better. They were all roughly about the size of a person's palm. On each one was a different engraved picture---one coin depicted a dove in flight carrying an olive branch as the sun rose in the background. In very small writing all around the border of the coin was a verse. Looking at all the coins, they could see that there was a different verse on each coin border. Paul turned over one of the coins and on the back, the surface was smooth with another verse written straight across with one word written underneath it. He turned over all the coins and their backside verses were the same, though the front side verses were different.

Before they could get a good look at what all the verses on both sides of the coins said, Alexander picked them all up and said,

**On your feet, if you please, sirs. We are going to present you with gifts to take with you on your mission.**

His tone was very solemn and sober. The Beatles all stood up and away from the table and inadvertently formed a straight line as they stood side by side.

**John Winston Lennon,** Alexander said as soon as they were still, **I present you with the coin of peace.** He placed the coin with the picture of the dove around John's neck. John turned it so he could see it, only seeing the word "PEACE" under some other words that Alexander read aloud: **'You shall champion the cause of peace.'**

What? How? John thought with a mental scratch of his head.

Adriana stepped in and took the next coin from Alexander, who stepped back. She moved on to the next person in line.

**James Paul McCartney,** she said, **to you I give the coin of love.** She motioned for him to bend his head as she put the coin around his neck. She gave it a little pat as it fell into place. Paul also turned his to his face so he could see it better; the engraving on the front of it was of the sun and moon, joined together, against a background of a starry sky with a few shooting stars. The one word that he caught a glimpse of, as John had, was "LOVE". Adriana recited his verse smoothly:

**'Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. Love never fails.'**

Adriana stepped to the side as Alexander came forward to present the next coin, saying,

**George Harold Harrison, to you I give this coin; the coin of unshakable faith.** The "one word" of the coin of course read "FAITH" and the picture showed the sun rising over the mountains, its rays shining triumphantly through the clouds.

Alexander cleared his throat and read the verse: **'Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith.'** George looked down at his coin as it was put around his neck.

**Richard B. Starkey.** Adriana came forward again and spoke with soft eagerness. **To you I give the coin of understanding.** The coin thudded lightly on his chest as she spoke.

Ringo pulled the coin up by its soft blue ribbon until the coin rested in his palm. Tracing the illustration with his finger, he saw a calm lake with trees bordering its shores. On the other side of this peaceful scene was the word "UNDERSTANDING".

**'To understand is a rare gift,'** Adriana recited from the coin. **'It can comfort, assure, and sympathize.'**

Silence prevailed for a few moments as the four young men studied their coins.

A last blue velvet ribbon dangled from Alexander's hand, prompting John to ask, "Who gets that one, then?"

Alexander glanced down at his hand, smiled, and then brought on a spinning sphere of sky-blue light and put the coin into it and then the light and coin disappeared.

**That was the coin intended for the young woman who will soon join you,** he explained.

"The one in my dream?" Paul couldn't help asking.

**The same.**

"Mind explaining what these are for, mate?" John addressed Alexander after a moment.

**The coins? Yes, of course. We hadn't planned on giving them to you so soon, but what with Paul's dream and all---well, let's just say we had to. Do you remember what Paul's double said about the Timepool on your first mission?**

"I remember stuff he said, but what do you wanna hear?" John replied.

**He told you that it wasn't safe to open the Timepool yourself---**

"---Because you don't know what time you'll end up in," John finished. "Yeah, I remember."

**With these coins you can instantly transport through time or open the Timepool safely and be sure of where you're going,** Alexander said. **But the same rules apply. You should be fully rested and in good health when transporting instantly or through the Pool. It can have bad effects on you if you aren't.** Here he looked meaningfully in Paul's direction.

"How do we transport or open the Pool?" Ringo asked. "Say a spell or something?"

Adriana laughed, but Alexander said, **Of course not. Don't be absurd. You all stand together, touching (so you transport together), think of where you're going (if you can), and then you transport. When you open the Pool, it's not any different. You all stand together, touching, with your coins in your hands, held away from yourselves. Do not forget to hold your coins when you open the Pool. But as I was saying, you hold the coins away from you and the Timepool will appear. I think that's it.**

**No, you've forgotten one thing---the most important of them all,** Adriana said.

Alexander looked at her quizzically.

Adriana rolled her beautiful eyes and turned to the Beatles, saying,

**You must guard these coins with your lives. If your doubles or any of Them get a hold of them, there'll be some not-too-pleasant things happening. Like---** answering George's questioning expression **---your lives lost, because the Might-Have-Beens will have replaced you, and then they would all be lost as well, since they can't live without the originals---you. And then They would be in charge---They would finally have the means of turning Time to suit Their needs. It would be, in short, hell on earth.**

John, George, and Ringo simultaneously touched their coins protectively. Paul turned his coin over in his hand and read the coin's back inscription aloud:

"Peace needs a little love to undertake the task
Peace needs a bit of faith to make it work.
Peace needs understanding to speak true
And peace, love, faith, and understanding need hope to unite them."

**Think about that verse, sirs,** Alexander said. **It just might save your life someday.**

They talked about their verses and contemplated the future of their mission. But some internal bell cut across their conversation---inside each one of them, it rang out, "It is time."

They quietly left the house and went out into the front yard, a bit away from the house. They all shook Ringo's hand, quickly amended that to hugging, and clapped him on the back, wishing him luck.

Then Ringo stood away from them all and held out his coin. It glowed briefly and then the Timepool appeared in its glorious colours and wrapped around him.

And then he was gone.

Chapter Eighteen

Copyright 1999, 2000, 2001, etc.: Lissa Michelle Supler/Strawberry Sunshine. This is original copyrighted work and may not be reproduced in any form by any means without permission from the author. Permission may be obtained by e-mail.

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