The Doctor snorted over his brandy. "Nothing's ever over."
"I knew you'd say that," said Archer. "Pessimist."
"Not a pessimist, a realist."
"That's what pessimists always say." Archer set his own glass on an endtable between the chairs where they sat in his ready room, and pulled something out of his pocket, which he handed across to the Doctor.
It was a hologram projector about the size and shape of a pocket watch. The Doctor activated it, discovered he was holding it upside down, and reversed it to reveal, about six inches tall, a blurred figure standing in what the Doctor recognized as a temporal projection beam. "And this is ...?"
"Silik's benefactor from the future," said Archer. "He gave the hologram to me before he died on our recent trip to not-1944. The blurring is native to the recording - the benefactor never revealed himself to Silik or the other Suliban more clearly than this."
"Hmmm," said the Doctor. "Does it look to you as if perhaps this fellow is wearing a uniform with very square shoulders?"
Archer leaned over, his glass back in his hand. "Maybe. Why?"
"No reason," said the Doctor. "Except that Romulan unforms begin looking like that about two hundred years from now."
"You think the man from the future is a Romulan?"
"I shouldn't say," said the Doctor abruptly. "Notwithstanding that we were standing on the deck of a Romulan warbird when we said it, T'Pol and I warned you that you can't know what you know about Romulans, for the timeline's sake."
"On the whole, I'd rather have been in Detroit."
If only you knew, thought the Doctor. "So your old pal Daniels gave you to believe that the Temporal Cold War was all wrapped up and resolved and unhappened on account of your little jaunt to the 1940s?"
"That's what he said," Archer agreed. "Of course, he was never more forthright with me than he had to be to get me to do what he wanted. Pessimist or not, you're right: Daniels may have been honest when he said that the temporal war wouldn't bother me and mine again, but ..."
"But even a cold war has generals. And Silik's runner was no general."
"'Runner' is exactly right," Archer agreed. "Silik's benefactor was an intelligence officer handling native agents, nothing more. He wasn't a general any more than you are."
The Doctor let this oblique reference to the Time Lords pass. It wasn't only Romulans Archer had learned too much about in that adventure a subjective year ago. Great jumping Rabscattle, the Doctor had learned too much about Time Lords on that Romulan starship. "And the generals are still out there. On both sides."
"And that's not very comfortable to know," Archer griped.
"Not your problem, captain. Mine."
Archer ignored him. "I at least have something of a handle on the objectives of your side of this: you're preservers."
The Doctor nodded. "But even I don't know: Who are the other sides' generals, and what do they want?"
"YOU- HAVE- FAILED."
"Not I. The Suliban failed me. Give me another chance, and I'll wipe Archer from history and the Federation with him!"
"NO- SECOND- ATTEMPT- IS- POSSIBLE- BY- YOU- OR- US."
"ANY- SUCH- DOUBLING- BACK- ON- THE- SAME- EVENTSTREAM- IS- PROHIBITIVELY- DANGEROUS- ACCORDING- TO- EVEN- THE- MOST- ADVANCED- TIME- SCIENCE."
"YOU- HAVE- FAILED- AND- YOU- WILL- BE- EXTERMINATED."
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