Pairing - Connor / Becker
Summary - A.U - How different would it have been had Helen never gone over to the dark side? Or Connor and Abby actually got together?
1 – Blast from the past
“I’ll be so glad to get back home,” Connor commented as he and Captain Becker grabbed the last of their things and headed for the anomaly.
Three anomalies had opened within a few hours of each other, stretching the team pretty thinly to cover them all. Connor wondered what the others had found; the one that he and Becker had been sent to investigate had been a waste of time. Nothing had come through and a search of the immediate area through the anomaly had come up with a few small animals that, whilst interesting in terms of scientific research, weren’t much of a threat to anything. It had, however, taken them a good four hours of scrambling around the none-too-welcoming landscape to make this assessment.
“So, do you still want to go out tonight?” Becker asked.
Connor shook his head. “What I really want to do is go home and go to bed.” He saw the smile pull at Becker’s lips and laughed. “I meant to get some sleep, but I could be persuaded otherwise.”
Becker’s smile grew wider and Connor could almost see him contemplating the possibilities. He snagged Connor’s hand and pulled him close enough to press a kiss to his lips before letting go. Connor grinned; he liked the playful Becker that he had come to know in the long months they had been together. When he had first met the Special Forces Captain, he had thought him to be rather stand-offish, always keeping himself at a distance from the team he was protecting. Once he got to know him, however, Connor realised that it was all just a damn good act. The Becker that he now knew, and that he had let the others see to a lesser degree, was a lovely man with a wicked sense of humour.
They went back through the anomaly and headed for the car, the drive back to the ARC taking only a short time. As they arrived in the car park, Connor noticed that the others’ cars were there, meaning that they were the last to return.
“Come on,” Becker said as they parked up and went into the building. “The sooner we report to Lester, the sooner we can go home.”
Connor shook his head. “I still have some bugs to fix in the anomaly detector before I can go. It should only take an hour or so.”
“I’ll wait, give you a little incentive to hurry,” Becker told him.
They saw no one until they reached the detector room, where Lester was waiting. He looked impatient.
“Took you long enough; we expected you back hours ago. I assume you have a report for me?”
Nodding, the two of them followed Lester up to his office.
Ten minutes later, Connor sat at the keyboard at the anomaly detector, tapping away. He was completely focussed on what he was doing, so it took a moment to register when Becker, who had been sitting at the end of the desk, jumped to his feet. He had a gun in his hand, levelling it at someone who had just come into the room.
“What the bloody hell is she doing here?”
Connor got to his feet and backed up to stand behind Becker, watching as Helen Cutter came sauntering into the room like she had every right to be there. When she saw the gun, she stopped.
“Captain Becker, what in God’s name do you think you are doing?” Lester snapped as he came hurrying back down from his office. “I order you to put down the weapon. NOW!”
Becker’s aim didn’t falter. “I can’t do that, sir.”
“Captain, I’m warning you…”
Connor looked around at Lester in disbelief. “Why aren’t you arresting her?” he demanded. “She killed Nick!”
Lester frowned. “Nick? Connor, what are you rambling on about?”
“If I may,” Helen began. Becker glared at her but indicated for her to carry on. “Nick is just fine; he’s in his office, or he was a few minutes ago when I saw him last.”
Connor shook his head. “No, I was with him when he died. You shot him and left him for dead.”
Lester sighed dramatically. “This is ridiculous,” he muttered before turning to the nearest person to him. “Go get him.”
“Can I move now?” Helen asked. Becker clicked the safety off his gun. “Obviously not.”
When Nick cutter came striding through the door, Connor was halfway across the room before he even realised his feet were moving.
“No, I saw you. You can’t- I-”
Nick looked alarmed when Connor threw his arms around him and hugged him tightly but Connor couldn’t stop himself. He felt his eyes filling with tears and blinked them away.
“I can’t believe you’re real.”
Connor eventually let Nick go and swiped at his eyes before glancing back to Becker. The soldier had lowered the gun and Connor could see that his hand was shaking as he laid the weapon on the desk. He looked completely shell-shocked, a feeling that Connor could definitely identify with.
They had now attracted a crowd, all watching them with a mixture of curiosity and concern.
“If you two are having some kind of nervous breakdown,” Lester told them, not looking remotely worried, “could you at least wait until I make sure you’ve signed the health and injury wavers? I really hate paperwork.”
Abby glared at Lester as she came over to Connor. She took his hand in hers, her thumb stroking his wrist idly. The gesture made him just a little uncomfortable, something he would expect from Becker but not Abby. He jerked out of her grip.
“Are you OK, Conn?” she asked. “Maybe you should sit down for a minute.”
Connor backed away from her to go to Becker, leaving Abby staring after him, a puzzled look in her eyes. He reached behind to take Becker’s hand, the contact bringing back a tiny bit of sanity to his mind. At this point, Becker seemed to be the only one, apart from him, who was normal.
“Tell me I’m not imagining all this,” he said.
Becker squeezed his hand. “You’re not. Not unless I am as well.”
That made him feel a bit better; at least he wasn’t going crazy.
“OK, something’s really wrong,” he said to Lester, looking around at the faces of their colleagues. “We’re not making this up, I swear.”
Lester looked from one to the other of them, studying them for a long time before he seemed to decide that they were telling the truth.
“Perhaps we should discuss this in my office,” Nick suggested. Lester nodded.
That seemed to be a good idea, if only to get away from the stares of those around them. Abby, Nick and Helen followed them to the office.
“Where’s Danny and Jenny and Sarah?” Connor asked. “And what about Stephen? Did he…?”
A few minutes later, Danny came into the office, dressed in the black uniform of the soldiers. Connor frowned, then looked to the other new arrival. Although it was the same woman he had seen mere hours earlier, there was something just not quite right, something different.
Jenny Lewis frowned. “Are you alright, Connor? My name isn’t Jenny, it’s Claudia.”
Connor remembered all of the stories about Claudia Brown that Professor Cutter used to tell him, saying how she had suddenly vanished one day and then Jenny Lewis had appeared, looking just like her. He had only half believed it before, knowing that the Professor did had been enough for him, but now Claudia was standing in front of him. It was eerie, seeing people you’d never met in the faces of people you’d known for years. This must have been how Nick had felt after Claudia vanished.
It was bad enough that Helen was there. Just looking at the woman made his blood boil, remembering all the things she had done to them, to Nick.
“I’m sorry, but please can she leave?”
Lester looked ready to argue but Helen stood and smiled at him. “It’s fine. I don’t want to upset him and my presence here obviously does.”
Once she was gone, Connor looked around the team again. “Is Sarah here?”
Everyone frowned, unsure. “Who?” Nick asked.
“You know, Dr Sarah Page,” Becker told him. “From the museum. She was there when that crocodile-thing…”
“…Pristichampsus,” Connor supplied helpfully. He rolled his eyes at Becker. “Gee, it’s good to know how much you listen when I tell you these things.”
Becker sighed. “I listen,” he protested before turning back to the others. “Dr Page joined the ARC just after that.”
Nick shook his head. “I remember her, but she was never employed here.”
They both took a moment to digest this. It was one thing to know that things had changed but another entirely when it meant that people were simply gone. Connor knew he had to ask his next question but he wasn’t sure he really wanted to hear the answer.
“I need to know; where’s Stephen?”
Nick shook his head. “I’m sorry, Connor, he died. Last year, stopping Leek from releasing the predators, remember?”
“But that was Helen who set that up,” Connor pointed out.
“No, she was here, helping us to stop him.”
Lester stopped them. “I think you should start at the beginning,” he said. “Now, you came back through the anomaly and everything was normal, correct?”
Becker nodded. “Until we got back here.”
He and Connor took turns explaining what they had done before arriving here, what they had found through the anomaly and up to the point where Becker had nearly shot Helen. It was beginning to sink in now, the seriousness of the situation. Somehow they had stepped out of the anomaly and into a parallel dimension or a mirror universe, Connor thought. Oh, maybe they didn’t call it that, maybe there was a more scientific explanation but since his knowledge of parallel worlds had been garnered from watching Star Trek, he felt he could give himself a bit of leeway in the technical terms.
“You’re the same, I think,” he told Lester. “So is the ARC but, in our reality, Helen disappeared through the anomalies eight years ago and you only found her again recently.”
Nick nodded. “That’s right. When she realised that we were researching the anomalies too, she came back to help. She had gathered up a lot of knowledge and technology over the years; she’s been a great help to the project.”
“Well in our world,” Becker informed him, “she’s been using that technology to wage a war against you for years, since before I even joined the ARC.”
Connor could see the understanding in Nick’s face, the realisation of why they had reacted so strongly to her presence dawning on him.
“I think that’s what changed,” Connor said. “If she never went over to the dark side then a lot of the other stuff wouldn’t have happened either, right? The question is, what the hell do we do now? This isn’t right; we don’t belong here.”
To be continued…