Tripping Forward, Looking Back

Written by:
Jo


BILL & TED characters are trademarks of Nelson 1991 Inc. The motion picture BILL & TED'S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE & © 1989 Nelson Films Inc. All Rights Reserved. The motion picture BILL & TED'S BOGUS JOURNEY © 1991 Orion Pictures Corporation. All Rights Reserved.

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2689 A.D.

A man named Charles DeNomolos was not having a very nice day. This was safe to say, because if there was anything Chuck could say about any single day of his inconsequential life so far was that it was not very nice.

This day, however, was turning out worse than most. It always caused him particular pain when, by necessity, he called together his meager group of followers to issue some new order.... to unveil some new plan. It galled him to the quick; this small, pitiful collection of ne'er-do-wells.... to have to look at them! A mere handful when he should be commanding thousands! However, at this stage in his life this was all he had been able to lure into his snare. Bitter, angry, miserable souls who had been suckered into believing their lives might be made a tad more fulfilling by really screwing it up for everyone else. But no matter.... Chuck knew the world would one day be his. Some day they would all see it his way. Those snobs.... those blind fools! So smug with their technology; their putrid, peaceful society.... their disgusting, revolting, unspeakable music!!!

DeNomolos gasped then swore under his breath. He always bit his tongue when he let himself get carried away with his thoughts. He allowed himself a moment of satisfaction when he saw how it made his followers cower.

"All right, fools, listen up!" he snapped. The minions obediently snapped to attention. Not such a bad looking group, once they got organized.

"I'm sure you are all wondering why I've called you here today. Well, as much as I love to leave you all waiting in agonizing suspense until the last possible moment, the situation at hand deems it necessary I should make haste.... just don't get used to it!"

"Yes sir!" they all cried in perfect unison, eager to please their master.

"Fine. Now, as you all know, we have been striving for some time to obtain the world's most advanced technology available today so that we may be well equipped for our future takeover and subsequent world domination.... right?"

"Yes sir!"

"And you know that we have made favorable advances in weaponry, thanks to McKeafe here." One in the line blushed and grinned in a self-effacing way. The rest glared sideways at him, seething.

"And you also know we have made precious little advances in the area of time-observation, no thanks to Smithers and Brine, who were supposed to be in charge of...."

"But sir!" a small, runny-eyed man toward the back of the ranks whined. "That information is kept top secret by...."

"Silence!!!" DeNomolos bellowed. "I will hear no excuses, do you hear?"

"Yes sir!" they exclaimed. The small man cringed back into place.

"As I was saying.... we have made little advancement in time-observation technology.... until now."

The followers gasped.

"Yes!" DeNomolos cried. "We have created a test-unit based on blueprints stolen right out of the archives of those so called 'Three Most Important People'."

"Losers! Jerks!" his troops obediently spat.

"....And assembled by their very own top-notch, ex-employee, Eustance Percival Grath!" He motioned for the just named technowiz to take the floor. The troops gave a well-rehearsed cheer when he did so.

"I.... uh...." Grath sputtered. "Well, you see, it's not exactly the master blueprints we were able to obtain.... just the rough draft. There are bugs to be worked out still. But.... but...."

"But it does work?" DeNomolos finished for him.

"Well, ye.... yes. Yes, it does work.... sort of." Grath managed a weak smile as if he had just made some sort of joke.

"What do you mean sort of?" DeNomolos growled. He didn't appear to get the joke.

"Oh! Uh, well, you see, uh.... it does work in the sense that you can observe past events as they have already occurred."

"Yesssss?" hissed DeNomolos.

"An.... and you can input implied changes into those past events, and.... and s-see what the projected results of that change would be.... uh, sort of," he finished weakly.

"Sort of? What is sort of?!!" DeNomolos was starting to swell up. The troops sincerely hoped he would not become violent at this meeting for a change. They all glared at Grath.

Grath sputtered. "Well.... well, it's like this. E-even though we can suggest a possible change in past events and can predict what the results of those changes should be.... we have no way of.... of knowing for sure if, in fact, those changes will occur exactly as the machine predicted they would.... or... should.... whatever!"

Their leader grew quiet. Grath took this as a promising sign and hurried back to the relative security of his spot in the ranks. After a long pause, DeNomolos stirred.

"Hmmm.... so," he said. "We now have the means to project alterations into history and obtain a.... fairly good idea of what those alterations will bring about.... we just can't be absolutely, positively sure about it...." Suddenly his face split with a ghastly, evil smile.

"Until we try."

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Missy Preston gazed at her shapely reflection in the bathroom mirror, smoothing down the brand new, silky negligee she had purchased earlier that afternoon. She smiled to herself, well aware of her own still youthful good looks.

"He's gonna flip when he sees this!" she purred to herself, preening. She then flipped off the light and glided gracefully into the hallway, stopping at the entrance to the living room. Gathering herself into her sexiest attitude, she casually slipped up behind her husband, who was sitting on the couch absorbed in a book. She softly slid her arms around his neck and planted a big, moist kiss just behind his left ear. "Hi hon," she breathed.

Her efforts were rewarded with a chuckle from Mr. Preston. "Hey, sweetie. You still up?"

A bit disappointed, but not daunted, she slipped up next to him and snuggled close. "Noooo, I'm not really very sleepy right now, are you?" She smiled invitingly.

She was answered by an even louder chuckle. "Oh no, not really, love. Go on to bed. I'll be there in a while." He patted her shoulder paternally.

Missy stood up, pouting, and sighed. "Oh, fine." She left the room hurriedly, almost running, back to the bathroom to stare into the mirror again. This time she didn't bother turning on the light.

After a few minutes she shrugged into her bathrobe and headed out to the garage where she could hear Bill twanging away at his guitar. She felt she could use some company.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

The crowd went wild! Their frantic screams all but drowned out the dazzling opening chords of Billboard's latest top ten hit, now in its 86th week at number one. An incredibly complex intertwining of melody and harmony followed by a series of ingenious keyboard riffs weaving in and out of a truly splendid lead guitar duet....

"Bill?"

The gigantic stadium suddenly dissolved into the humble interior dimensions of Bill S. Preston, Esquire's garage. The enraptured audience became just one attractive looking, young blonde woman in a loose-fitting bathrobe with a pensive look on her face. Feeling slightly embarrassed, Bill unhooked his guitar from its strap and set it down on the makeshift stage that he and Ted had pounded together years back. A hand-painted "Wyld Stallyns" logo loudly covered the entire wall behind the stage, which was scattered with odds and ends of second hand musical equipment purchased mostly from pawn shops and garage sales.

"Oh! Hi, Missy.... uh, Mom," he mumbled, scratching the back of his head self-consciously.

Missy looked around the garage, trying to think of something they could have a nice conversation about. "Um.... hello, Bill. How's the band coming along?"

Bill could hear the tension in her voice. He made his best effort not to stare at the tantalizing gaps in Missy's robe. "Oh, well.... great. Just fine, Mi.... um, Mom." He smiled at her, waiting patiently. Missy seemed to be at a loss for words.

"That's.... nice," she managed. "Well, goodnight then, Bill. Sweet dreams."

"Uh yeah.... night, Mom." Baffled, Bill watched Missy turn to go. She walked to the doorway and stopped, her back to him, and just stood there.... staring outside. Bill was uncertain what to do next, but he knew something wasn't right with Missy and he felt he should at least try to do something to help. After all, she was his mom, even if she was only a couple of years older than he was and even if she did tend to send his hormones into a tailspin every time he laid eyes on her.

"So.... Mom. Um, what's been going on with you lately?"

Missy didn't seem to hear at first. Then her shoulders started to shake. All of a sudden her whole body was racked with sobs.

"Mom!" Bill cried in alarm. "Mom.... what's wrong?"

She whirled and ran to him, throwing her arms around him and weeping disconsolately on his shoulder.

"Whoooa!" Bill gasped. He kept his arms stuck out straight in front of him. "Aw, Mom, don't cry! Look.... we can talk. Mom?" His mind and body seemed to have separated and his mouth was lost somewhere in between.

As if suddenly realizing where she was, Missy released him and at least made an effort to pull herself together. "Bill, I.... I'm so sorry. It's just.... just that...." She burst into tears again, this time collapsing onto the stage and burying her face in her hands.

Alarmed, Bill crouched down beside her and put his hand on her shoulder. "Mom.... what is it? What's wrong?" She continued to sob, ignoring him. Bill's concern grew. "Hang on, I'll go get dad."

He was already halfway to the door when she sprang to her feet and pointed her finger at him imperiously. "Your father?" she shrieked. "Your father....? The last person in the world I care to see right now is your father!"

Bill stopped dead in his tracks and stared. Missy continued unabated, stomping her feet and pounding the air with her fists as she yelled.

"He doesn't care about me anymore! I mean nothing to him.... nothing!"

"Now, Mom, don't say that! You know it's not true...."

"It is true!" she wailed. "He used to pay so much attention to me.... talk to me, pay me compliments. He really cared! But now.... now...." She sat down, defeated. "Now it's as if he hardly even knows I'm alive. I mean, he gives me money and he's still great in bed.... the best." She sniffed and looked away. "But the rest of the time it's as if he's only half there when he's there at all!" She wiped her noise daintily. "I guess he's just tired of me. I'm not a very good housewife.... maybe he's embarrassed to be with me."

Bill felt sick to his stomach. "No, Mom! Don't say that.... it's not you." He could feel his own hurt and anger rising but wasn't sure why. It was just that a lot of what she was saying sounded so familiar. "It's just.... him. It's how he is. That's all." He felt like a sap for saying that.

She looked at him for a moment, then gave a weak smile. "Thanks, Bill. I'm sure you're right. I'm sorry I dumped this on you."

"Oh no.... it's okay! S'no problem, really. Anytime."

"Thanks." She got up, brushed off and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and another smile, a little brighter this time. "You're a sweetie." She left the garage and headed back to the house. Bill watched her go. At least she seemed to be feeling some better. She gave him a little wave before going inside. He waved back.

Bill went over to unplug his amp, then hesitated and picked up his guitar instead and started plucking gently away; just random notes. Poor Missy. He knew how his father was; how he could be sometimes.... most of the time. Bill had always been the kind of dude to accept things as they were and just get on with life. If his dad didn't take much interest in him, that was okay. Hell, it was better than having a dad like Ted did, screaming all the time. Really, Bill thought, he was lucky to have the kind of freedom he did at his age. Except....

He put the guitar down and stared at it. He'd lost the desire to play anymore that night, but he didn't feel like going to bed yet. Bogus. Sometimes he wished Ted's dad would let Ted stay over more often. It would be nice to have someone to talk to at night. He pulled the cord out of the amp and shut off the lights. As he went into the house he saw his father was still up, reading a book. Bill walked past him, heading for his room. He was ignored. As he stepped inside, he pushed down the hollow feeling that had risen up in his chest and shut the door.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Truly I am one of the totally, luckiest dudes in the whole entire world!"

Ted "Theodore" Logan was leaning against a Coke machine in front of the Circle K. He gazed for the umpteenth time at his latest photo of Elizabeth that she had given him the previous weekend. He carried it around everywhere he went.... even slept with it under his pillow. Already its edges were starting to show the results of wear and tear. But no problem! He knew she would have another one for him when they next got to see each other Saturday.

Ted heaved an enormous sigh. He was startled to hear a mockingly exaggerated sigh echo directly behind him. He spun around in anger, then laughed to see Bill standing there, batting his eyes. Ted shot out with his left arm to cuff him, but Bill ducked out of the way and shot back with his right, catching Ted neatly on the side of the head. The resulting scuffle lasted a couple of minutes before Bill broke off, laughing.

"Okay! Enough already, dude.... you win!"

"Good. I'm hungry," grinned Ted, still taking the occasional swipe at Bill for good measure.

"Why didn't you get something to eat while you were waiting for me? ....Ha! Gotcha!"

"Lucky shot.... 'Cause I'm totally broke, dude."

"Great." They walked together into the store.

Several bags of chips, cup cakes and, of course, slurpies later, Bill and Ted settled down over their favorite video game to discuss their plans for the day.

"I'm still hungry, Bill," Ted complained.

"Sorry, dude. I gotta save some money so I can buy Joanna something totally special this weekend. You already got something for Lizzie."

"Yeah." Ted looked dreamy.

"Seriously though, dude," Bill continued, "We've really gotta buckle down and rehearse that tune we've been working on if we want to be ready to impress the babes with it Saturday."

"Do you really think we'll be able to get it in time, Bill?" Ted looked concerned. The thought of playing badly in front of Elizabeth filled him with dread. He sometimes worried that it was only a matter of time before she realized what a nobody she was seeing and dumped him. He shivered.

Bill gave him a shake. "Hey! Don't worry, Ted! Nothing's going to stop us from becoming the greatest band of all time. Licking just one song'll be no problem!"

"Whoa, yeah!" Ted shouted, and they both air guitared exuberantly.

"C'mon, dude, let's go get to work." Bill led the way out of the store. Ted bounced into step along side of him.

As they started down the street towards Bill's house, it occurred to Ted how amazingly fantastic it was that a dude like himself should not only be blessed with the most incredibly beautiful babe to ever walk the face of the earth, but to get to have the greatest, way coolest dude in the universe for a best friend as well was just too mind-bogglingly triumphant! Now if only all this "rich and famous" stuff would hurry up and happen....

"Whoooooaaaahhh!" They were both caught up short as they turned the corner. A woman.... tall, slender, almost as gorgeous as Elizabeth, Ted thought, with luxuriant long, red hair spilling down around her shoulders, wearing short-shorts and one of those delectably teeny little Barbie-doll tank tops was standing directly in their path.... and she was smiling with eyes sparkling directly at Ted.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Ah! Christine, my dear...." DeNomolos rose as she entered the room.

Not for the first time she wondered what the hell she was doing, letting herself become involved with the schemes of this fat, bald weirdo. "I came as soon as I could."

"No matter at all, dear lady." DeNomolos motioned her to a chair with exaggerated politeness. He secretly despised most of his followers, but Christine Landers was a rare exception. She had excelled in everything she had ever done. Smart, beautiful and on a first-name-basis with that hopeless clod, Rufus. She had the connections and the looks to get him the information he needed and just the right amount of bitterness and discontentment for him to keep her under his spell. In fact.... perhaps someday he would take her as his wife and they could rule together....

She frowned slightly, as if she could perceive his thoughts. He quickly rearranged his features into a more serious, "rule the world" expression. He cleared his throat.

"Well now, my pet. Would you care for something to drink? A light snack, perhaps?"

She suppressed a shudder. Honestly, she didn't know why she put up with the attentions of this farking lunatic, except....

Except this was the only way she could get what she wanted.... revenge. Revenge on the asinine system that had cause her naive, young husband to walk blindly into his own death. Why she was so dumb to marry an interplanetary diplomat in the first place she would never know.... "Reaching Out with Trust and Friendship".... their slogan still rang in her ears. Fardles! Those Sartaniens had turned out to be after a lot more than friendship, and if it weren't for the I.D.A.'s damn fool "trust", she wouldn't be a widow at thirty-five! No, the system had to be changed. A planet had no business going around trying to make friends with every other civilization. It was pointless. Better to mind your own business than to....

"I've called you here on important business...." DeNomolos' gravelly voice snapped Christine back into the present. "A tremendous breakthrough has occurred." He sneered. "A landmark opportunity.... this!" He flicked a small switch on the arm of his chair. The wall directly in front of them sprang obediently to life in a burst of static before tuning in on the sight of an ancient roadside, sometime back in the.... Christine searched her well-trained memory.... 20th.... no. 21st century? Yes. Those cars driving by were definitely late 1980's models. She raised her eyebrows at DeNomolos, only mildly impressed. He merely nodded at the screen.

"Watch."

As she turned back to the scene, Christine involuntarily gasped. She immediately recognized one of The Great Ones as he stepped out of a doorway into view.

"It's Bill...." she said with awe.

"And Ted," DeNomolos spat as Ted appeared, bouncing out of the doorway behind Bill.

She was impressed. Deep down she had never really believed that those clumsy slugs of his would actually get that jury-rigged time viewing device to work. DeNomolos grinned at her. Not a pretty sight.

"Now," he said, "We have projected a small change into this happy scene you see before you. A simple thing, really. All that it will require will be a brief distraction of one of them.... the end result of which should be that the system you and I so mutually despise will never have existed, and I will then, of course, be free to spread my own system around. Only I will need your help."

She swallowed hard. "My help?"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

After the meeting, Christine decided she did need that drink after all and headed back to her own unit to get one. And think....

Those boys. Just kids, really. She had never blamed any of her problems on them personally before, but.... she shook her head as if trying to shake her conscience out of it. She had never wanted to hurt anybody. Not really. But if she didn't go through with it she would have to admit that maybe she really didn't want to see things changed badly enough after all.... and what would that brass-headed bastard and his weasels do to her if she refused?

She glanced without meaning at her late husband's picture on the wall, gazing into the unseeing eyes smiling back at her, and slapped her drink down on the countertop. "Damn it!" she yelled at the picture. "Damn this whole mess," she added quietly to no one. The chime on her wrist sounded. They were ready for her. She slugged back the rest of her drink and walked out with resolute steps. Yes, she had to do it.... it was for the best. She was almost sure of it....

Almost.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

"My name is Christine," she said, beaming joyously at Ted.

He shook her extended hand with a glazed expression. "I.... I'm...."

"You're Ted, right?" she bubbled. "Yes, I know. I'm a big fan of yours! I caught your show at.... uh...."

"At the high school prom audition?" Bill offered.

"Yes! That's where.... oohhhh, you were soooo gooooood!"

"But we came in last!" Ted protested. She moved closer to him, refusing to release his hand.

Bill coughed discretely. "Um, I'll just start over to the garage, Ted. You can catch up." He winked broadly at Ted and did his best leering grin at Christine. This usually made girls giggle, but Christine only bit her lower lip and blanched. A bit taken aback, Bill said, "Oh.... excuse me." Then, to Ted, "See ya!" He walked away from the pair.

Christine put her hand up to her mouth as she watched him go, then she looked at Ted with an odd, pained expression.

"He didn't mean anything.... it was just a joke," Ted said, giving her hand a friendly squeeze before releasing it.

She looked back quickly at Bill's retreating back, then at Ted again. "Oh," was all she managed to say. Tears welled up in spite of her best efforts to stop them.

Ted was concerned. "Are.... are you all right?"

"Oh! Oh, I'm.... Oh dear. Oh!" She was becoming frantic.

Perplexed, Ted gently laid a hand on her shoulder. "Christine? Is something wrong? Can I help?"

She looked behind her once more and whirled back around to Ted, her face full of remorse. A tear rolled down her cheek.

"I.... I'm so, so sorry."

Ted gawked at her. "Wha....?"

Just then there was a piercing squeal of brakes followed by a sickening thump. Ted looked up just in time to see Bill land in a limp heap several feet from the car that struck him as he stepped off the curb.

"BILL!!!!"

Ted never noticed Christine slip around the corner to the time travel booth that awaited her. Sobbing softly, she dialed the number back to her own time.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Captain Logan rubbed the tension at the back of his neck with annoyance. The portable radio on his belt cracked demandingly.

"Logan."

"Jones, sir. We're finished up here. Heading back to the station."

"Ten-four. Logan out." He replaced the radio, swearing. He had to get back himself, but he didn't like having to leave Ted at a time like this. "God, why do these things always happen to me?" He groaned to himself. He honestly wished Ted had never gotten involved with that juvenile punk with his no-good, skirt-chasing excuse for a father and cheap tart step-mother. Still, he had not wished for something like this to happen.

Feeling awkward, he walked over to the hospital waiting room where Ted and Bill's so-called parents were waiting to hear some news of Bill's condition. They'd been there for two hours.

Bill's father glanced up at Captain Logan and quickly looked away. He patted Missy's hand as she wailed and sobbed loudly, not caring who noticed. Ted sat on a bench by himself, shoulders hunched-up almost over his ears, his head hanging down, staring at the floor with wide eyes. His only movement was to clench and unclench his fists at regular intervals. His father walked over to him.

"Ted?"

Ted looked up at him, unfocused.

"Ted, I have to get back. You just.... um...."

"Don't worry, Captain," Mr. Preston said. "I'll look after him."

"Terrific," Captain Logan thought to himself, but all he said was "Uh, thanks. I'll be back as soon as I can, okay, Ted?" He looked down at his son. Ted stared back at him, eyes pleading.

"Okay...." the captain answered himself, annoyed at not being able to think of the right thing to say. He shot Mr. Preston a look as if to say, "Can't you make that damned woman be quiet?"

Missy continued to weep and wail as loudly as she could. Her husband continued patting her hand and murmured, "Now, now, sweetheart, that's enough." She bawled even louder. Mr. Preston shrugged up at the other man and sighed.... withdrawing into his own thoughts.

Captain Logan turned back to his son. "Look, Ted.... everything's going to be.... okay," he finished weakly. He took a few steps back. "Okay?" He needed some kind of assurance that Ted would be all right until he got back. Their eyes met. Ted's face twisted strangely but he didn't say anything.

"Okay, Ted?" he tried one last time, then gave up and started to turn away.

"Dad?" It was barely a whisper.

Before he had the chance to turn all the way back around, Ted launched himself off the bench with a cry and buried his face in his father's shoulder, sobbing loudly.

"Oh, Dad! Dad.... What's going to happen? What's taking them so long?"

"Ted, I...."

"What're they doing to him? Dad! Is Bill going to die?" He buried his face deeper, his body shaking violently.

Captain Logan was torn, but he realized he just could not leave Ted like this, and he prayed the sergeant could handle things at the station on his own. He steered Ted to sit back down and sat down next to him to let him vent his grief. He started putting his arm around him when Missy suddenly leapt up from next to her husband and threw herself down next to Captain Logan, opposite Ted, and proceeded to vent her own very volatile emotions on his other shoulder. A bit repulsed, he lightly rested his other arm around her, not sure what else to do. He looked over at Mr. Preston, expecting him to intervene, but he only shrugged and looked away, embarrassed. Heavy emotions were just not his strong point.

Captain Logan sighed and tightened his arms around both of the sobbing bundles comfortingly and settled down to wait.

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Home.

Even though the booth had come to a complete stop, Christine hesitated before opening the door, trying to compose herself.

There would be a celebration. She couldn't bear that. She'd find some excuse to slip away and find some place where she could get quietly, and privately, drunk. She laughed briefly to herself with bitterness. It should have been so easy. She'd gotten what she wanted, right? No. She had to admit right there it wasn't going to work out that way. She should have known. But it was too late.... she would probably spend the rest of her life being the "hero" to DeNomolos' bunch and despising herself until she grew old and died. She vaguely wondered if she might be able to assuage her guilt somewhat if she confessed.... To whom? Rufus? Sweet Rufus. Always the perfect gentleman. What could she confess to? A seven hundred year old murder of some poor kid no one will ever have heard of? Besides, everything will have been changed now. Rufus was probably just as cold and cynical as the rest of them.

She laughed again; a hollow sound that made her own flesh crawl. She reached to push the door open and caught a glimpse of her reflection in the glass.

"What are you looking at, bitch?" she snapped. She shoved the door aside roughly and marched out.

She barged into DeNomolos' private office without knocking and stood there, waiting. His back was facing her as he gazed out the window. He did not respond to her rude entrance.

She stood watching him for a tense minute, then spoke up.

"Well?"

He turned slowly around to face her, a scowl set deep into his ugly face. She felt her heartbeat triple in an instant. No.... it was too good to be true.... it couldn't be....

DeNomolos considered her for a moment, taking in the look of hope that lit up her face for a brief instant before she suppressed it. Imperceptibly he shook his head.... she would be of no use to him now. Let her go back to her precious Rufus and his weakling friends. He, DeNomolos, had no time for half-hearts.

She stared at him. He slowly turned his back on her to gaze out the window again. For several minutes neither moved.... she began to wonder if he'd forgotten her presence when he snarled in a deep, guttural voice, startling her.

"He survived. You are dismissed."

She turned and left the office, closing the door silently behind her. With quiet dignity she walked for the last time down the large hallway of the drab complex which, for the past three years, she had called home. As she stepped outside into the warm sunshine, she turned to give the place one last, long look. Emotion swelled up inside her until she realized it was no use trying to keep it inside any longer. She took a deep, shuddering breath and released it....

"Yeeeeeeeaaaaaaawwwwwweeeeeeoooooooooo!!!!!"

Much better. She glanced at her watch as she skipped lightly down the street.

"I wonder where Rufus might be at this time of the day."

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Ted slipped quietly from doorway to doorway, occasionally taking a peek around to see if anyone noticed. He pulled his shirt guiltily around the bundle he was hiding. After an eternity of starts and stops he finally made it to the right room and slipped inside.

"Dude! Did you get it?"

Ted whipped out the McDonald's bag he had smuggled in and held it aloft, grinning triumphantly.

"Real food! Ted, I truly owe you one for this...."

"S'okay." Ted tossed the bag underhand. Bill reached out to catch it, gritting his teeth and sucking in his breath with pain.

"Oooh, pulled a little too hard!" He patted his sore, half-healed spleen removal site. Ted winced. Bill managed a wry smile. A ruptured spleen and a couple of broken ribs were a drag, but it could have been worse. He still felt like a total jerk for not being more careful.

Ted sat down on the edge of the bed and helped himself to the fries, fiddling with the T.V. remote control. "No cable.... bogus." He gave Bill a sympathetic look, then brightened up a bit. "It's only for a couple more days, dude."

Bill made a face.

"How are my favorite boys?" Missy came gliding in looking as radiant as ever.... more so, in fact, Bill noted.

"We're fine, Mrs. Preston," Ted said, blushing.

Missy beamed, then frowned when she saw what they were eating.

"Billlll.... you know you're not supposed to be eating solid food yet!" she chided, shaking a finger at him.

Bill cocked his head to one side and gave her a sly look. She giggled. "Well, at least I haven't completely lost it," he thought.

"Where's dad?" he asked her.

"Right here...." Bill's dad breezed in. "Sorry, Bill. Things at work are so hectic right now. So.... doing okay?"

"Yeah, fine dad. Don't worry. The food's great." He indicated the McDonald's bag. Mr. Preston laughed. "Well, okay then. I'll stop by in the morning to check up on you.... Missy?"

"Oh, you go ahead, darling. I'll just stay here and keep Bill company for a while longer."

"All right. See you tonight love." He have her a slow, wet kiss which she returned briefly and pulled back, softening the brush off with a smile.

"See you tonight, honey."

Bill and Ted exchanged looks. They both knew something wasn't right, but neither said anything out loud.

Mr. Preston looked into Missy's face searchingly for a moment, then broke off with a shake.

"Bye, guys," he called as he left.

A moment later, as if on cue, Captain Logan appeared in the doorway. He looked disapprovingly at his son.

"Ted, are you planning to spend the rest of your life in here or are you going to get some fresh air before the end of summer?"

Ted shrugged, non-committal. "Yeah okay, dad.... tomorrow."

His father frowned. "Uh huh. Anyway, I stopped by to tell you I'll be working late again tonight. Make sure Deacon gets dinner...."

"Aw, Dad! Deacon's old enough to feed himself!"

"That's an order, mister!"

Ted knew when it was best not to argue with his dad, which was most of the time. "Yes, sir."

"Oh no! I forgot!" Missy exclaimed. "I'm supposed to run some errands for.... for a friend of mine this evening!"

Ted's father pulled himself up to his full height, jutting his chest out. "I'd be happy to give you a lift."

"Oh, thank you! That would be so nice of you!" Missy lowered her head slightly and gazed admiringly up through her lashes at him. She then leaned over and kissed Bill on the forehead. "You take care of yourself, sweetie."

Captain Logan began to lead the way out, hesitated, then went over and snatched the McDonald's bag away, shooting Bill a warning look. He offered Missy his free arm and the two left together, gazing into each others' eyes.

"Whoa!" whispered Ted. He looked at Bill with concern. The last thing in the world he ever wanted to do was take his best friend's mother away.

Bill just shook his head and shrugged.

"I think we're going to have to face some facts here, dude...."

Just then, a pleasant, female voice spoke fuzzily from a speaker in the wall, announcing that visiting hours were over for the night.

"Speaking of facts...." sighed Bill.

Ted stood to leave but hesitated, looking at his friend wistfully.

"Go'on...." Bill said, giving him a helpful shove. "Get out of here. You want to get me kicked out?"

Ted laughed and took a few more steps toward the door, then stopped again. "Bill?"

"Yeah?"

"Um...." He looked down and twisted his foot, playing with a bit of loose rubber on his sneaker. "I.... I guess you should, y'know.... hurry up and get better so we can finish up that song for the babes, huh?"

"You got it, dude."

They held each others' gaze for a moment with perfect understanding, then both looked away, feeling shy.

"G'night, Bill."

"Night, Ted.... hey!"

Ted stopped at the door and looked back. "What?"

Bill pumped his fist in the air. "Wyld Stallyns Rule!!"

"Excellent!"

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

2689 A.D.

A man named Charles DeNomolos gazed unseeing at the red boiling wonder of the settling sun outside his office window. Its grandeur was lost on him, as usual. He pondered.... it had become all too apparent to him that something he had always believed deep down inside his twisted mind was, in fact, true. History was not easily tampered with. It would take more than a light tinkering, a fine tuning, to achieve a far reaching result. It would take something big.... something bigger than even he had ever considered before. If there was one thing Chuck knew for certain, it was that he wanted Bill and Ted dead before they ever reached their full potential. Both of them dead.... dead!.... without any room for doubt. And yet, he mused, it would be nice if there were some way to harness that influence of theirs. Some way to be rid of them for good and yet, at the same time, get a grip of the popularity they were destined to obtain for himself. He considered.... it would take careful planning, patience and cunning to come up with a foolproof plan. There would be no room for mistakes. He would need to find the perfect agent to do his dirty work; someone who would not hesitate to do whatever he commanded. Someone under his complete control, with the strength and skill to destroy those cretins and take over their heritage for DeNomolos. Destroy them and take over their lives.

"Hmmmm...." An idea began to form in DeNomolos' brain. Smiling suddenly, he stabbed at the button on his desk.

"Get me Eustance Grath!" he ordered. "Tell him I have something.... something I want him to build for me."

THE END