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This is a work of fiction based on the television series Sliders. The characters don't belong to me--they belong to Universal/MCA, and St. Clair Entertainment. They were created by Tracy Torme and Robert K. Weiss, and are used without permission. Please do not reprint or distribute these writings.

This story takes place after the episode Exodus and contains spoilers for that episode.


Choices

"Well, I guess this is it."

Quinn Mallory thought he would be more excited at the prospect of saying those words. As he bent over to pick up the small, discarded timer left laying on the side of the road, he averted his eyes from the crumpled form lying lifelessly in the middle of the road. "It's not your fault," he reminded himself under his breath. There was no way of knowing that Rickman, fleeing from his four pursuers, would run out in the middle of the road, without first looking to see if his escape route was safe. The middle aged man driving the Ford pickup never had a chance to hit the brakes. Quinn just thanked his lucky stars that Rickman, in his haste, had foolishly dropped the timer before running into the road.

"Is it OK?"

Quinn looked up to see the tall figure of Rembrandt Brown appear beside him.

"You know, I mean it is working OK and everything?" Rembrandt asked, rubbing his hands together in anticipation. He, too, averted his eyes from the accident scene in the middle of the road, focusing his attention on the small, black object in Quinn's hands. "Fire it up and lets go home, Q-Ball!"

Quinn straightened up, letting out a soft groan as he did so. It was hard to believe that he was only 24 years old. Sometimes, especially since he'd started sliding, he felt more like 104.

"It's not that simple Remmie. If we want to go straight home, I'm gonna have to find out which of the coordinates stored in here are the ones to our earth. Plus," he continued, glancing behind him at the two young women approaching them, "I have to set our timer to the coordinates of Maggie's earth."

Wade Wells approached, helping her companion, Maggie Beckett, along. Maggie had taken a wrong step during the chase and had stepped on a stone, twisting her ankle in the process. It was obvious that Maggie did not appreciate the help, or perhaps it was she did not appreciate having to appear weak. She attempted to shrug off Wade's arm several times as they struggled up to the two men.

"I'm OK, dammit! It's just a sprain. I don't need you to be my personal crutch!" Maggie exclaimed.

"Fine. Be my guest. If you fall, don't expect me to catch you, " Wade stated, releasing Maggie's arm from her grip.

Maggie swayed slightly, and winced as she put some weight on her right ankle. Despite her claims, it hurt a lot more than she'd care to admit. She wondered how exactly she was going to get back to the Mallory house without hurting it more.

Wade stood looking out into the road at the crumpled figure of Rickman. "What happened to him?" she said. It was a rhetorical question, more than anything. She'd missed the accident when she stopped to help Maggie. What she hadn't missed was hearing the loud screech and the sickening thud as the truck hit Rickman. Her heart had leapt into throat; she hadn't wanted to think about that thud being Quinn or Rembrandt.

"I think it's pretty obvious what happened to him!" Maggie spat out, from where she sat in the grass along the side of the road. Her ankle began to throb. She wasn't sure how much longer she was going to keep up the tough facade in the face of such pain.

Wade simply rolled her eyes and left Maggie's comment unanswered. She focused on the small black object in Quinn's hands. "Is that his timer?" she asked hopefully.

"Yeah," Quinn answered. "I think however, that our best bet is to get out of here, before the cops get here. I don't want to answer any more questions about him," he jerked his head toward Rickman's body, "and why we were chasing him than I have to."

"Sounds good to me Q-Ball. What about Maggie? Are you gonna be able to get back OK?" Rembrandt asked, directing the last comment toward Maggie.

"Of course!" Maggie snapped, her comment coming out a little more forcefully than she had intended. She really didn't have any problems with Rembrandt. He'd always been nice to her, although she suspected that if he had to choose between siding with her or with Wade in a fight, he'd choose Wade every time. "I mean, yeah, I'll be OK," she said, amending her comment so it didn't sound as forceful.

Quinn slid the timer into his pocket and walked over to help Maggie to her feet. As he did so, he glanced at her ankle. "That looks pretty bad," he said, noticing the swelling. "I don't think you're gonna be able to walk back."

Quinn helped Maggie to her feet, then picked her up in his arms. He turned back in the direction from which they'd just came. "Let's go."

"I don't need you to carry me!" Maggie insisted. Quinn made no move to lower her to the ground, so she fell silent. She sighed and decided it did her no good to fight. She laid her head on Quinn's shoulder and tried to relax. She took a deep breath. Quinn always smelled great, although she never saw him put on any aftershave or cologne. She'd been attracted to him right away, although she suspected it was more of a physical thing then. Her husband, Steve, had been in an accident and was confined to a wheelchair. He'd been so vibrant before the accident. She suspected that Quinn's adventurous spirit and lust for life was what had attracted her to him. Those were qualities Steve had been lacking since his accident.

Steve. Maggie lifted her head and glanced over Quinn's shoulder at Rickman's body. "Serves him right," she thought. Rickman was responsible for her husband's death, so she wasted no sympathy on his passing. She glanced at Quinn's face. It was stony, and he stared straight ahead. She knew he was probably feeling the same way about Rickman's death as she was. Rickman was also responsible for the death of Quinn's mentor, and the closest thing he had to a father figure since his own father's death. Maggie hadn't known Professor Maximillian Arturo very well, but from the look of pain that crossed Quinn's face every time they'd run into one of Arturo's doubles while sliding, she knew that he must have meant a lot to Quinn, as well as the others.

Bringing up the rear, Wade and Rembrandt dug through their pockets for money; it had been decided that the best thing to do would be to hail a cab once they got to the first busy intersection. Wade glared at Maggie, who had gone back to resting her head on Quinn's shoulder with her eyes closed. Wade couldn't help but feel a little jealous. There once was a time when that would have been her in Quinn's arms.

"Stop it!" she told herself. She wasn't the one who was hurt. Quinn was just trying to be helpful. She was telling herself this, repeating it in her mind over and over like a mantra, when she thought she heard someone saying her name.

"Wade? Wade? Earth to Wade?" Rembrandt repeated, waving his hand in front of Wade's face. "Come on back to this dimension, girl."

"Huh?" Wade said, returning to the here and now with a start. "I'm sorry Remmie. I..I guess I was daydreaming," she said, too embarrassed to reveal her jealousies. "What did you say?"

"I said, we're gonna be going home soon! Finally! Isn't it great? First thing I'm gonna do is get Artie on the phone, see what he can do about rebooking that gig at Candlestick for me, then I'm gonna...."

Wade tuned out Remmie as he went on and on. They were at the intersection, and Quinn was hailing a cab. As she watched him attempt to hail a cab without awakening Maggie, who had dozed off in his arms, she had a revelation.

"You're right Remmie. We're going home. I don't know if I can say that about some people."

Go to part two