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Two Times Rachel Maddow Went on Madcap Adventures and Helped to Reshape the Universe in the Process (and One Time She Was Very Happy That Someone Else Was Dragged Through the Space-Time Continuum Instead)

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Rachel was almost back to the MSNBC building, was close enough to see the whites of its eyes (so to speak), when a man burst out of the alley at a dead run and WHAM! collided with her right side. The resultant tangle of pinstripe-bedecked limbs crashed to the sidewalk rather spectacularly, leaving Rachel winded and sore.

"Bollocks," hissed the man. He elbowed her in the side trying to get up, but Rachel decided to forgive him when he offered her his hand once he had managed it.

Rachel didn't move, pointed to her neck. "I think I might be hurt." The man, who really did have nice taste in suits, now that Rachel had a good look at him, knelt down beside her. There was a soft whirring sound near her ear, and a moment later he stood back up.

"You're all right, then," the man said, and once again offered her his hand. When Rachel hesitated, he smiled. "Don't worry. I'm a doctor." Rachel let him help her up.

"Thank you, Doctor."

"Naw," he said. "It was my fault anyway, I - "

A sudden, loud clicking noise drew their attention back to the mouth of the alley. Rachel balked at the sight of the - the creature standing there, pointing a gun (presumably) at them. The man moved between her and the thing, which might normally bother her, since she's hardly a damsel, but really wasn't the most pressing matter on her mind. She grabbed the man's arm.

"What the hel-"

"NOT ONE MORE STEP, DOCTOR, IF YOU VALUE YOUR LIFE."

Rachel felt her eyes widen. The voice, high-pitched and scratchy, was like none she had ever heard before.

The doctor slowly raised his hands. "This isn't necessary, is it, Xrtl?"

"I WILL DECIDE WHAT IS NECESSARY. STAND AWAY FROM THE HUMAN."

It seemed to Rachel like the man was going to comply, but just as he was about to step out of reach he grabbed her wrist. "Come on!" he exclaimed, and since her options weren't exactly plentiful, Rachel did. They pushed their way through the crowds, which became more and more difficult as panic began to spread; weird little creatures with squeaky voices brandishing unusual-looking guns tended to have that effect. Eventually they reached what Rachel assumed was a blue shed, but was, amazingly, bigger than it looked once they got inside.

As they both stood there, panting and massaging their sides from the run, Rachel looked around. This place did not look even passingly normal. "What the hell is going on?" she finally asked.

"Oh, er," said the man. He glanced off to the side. He fiddled with the hem of his suit jacket. Eventually he gave a large sigh. "That was my fault," he admitted.

Rachel found it difficult not to roll her eyes. "Really?"

The man frowned. "Come now, there's no cause for sarcasm." Rachel crossed her arms. "I didn't mean it!"

"Your little friend was shooting. I don't think the people he hurt are going to care if you meant it."

Instead of looking properly remorseful, as Rachel had expected, the man walked over to the terminal in the middle of the bizarre room they were in and began pulling levers.

"What do you think you're doing?" Rachel asked.

"Well," the man explained, "the thing about Xrtl - that's my 'little friend', by the way - is that his species is surprisingly thick-skinned." He punched a few buttons. "If I've ticked him off as much as I think I have -"

"No question there," said Rachel under her breath.

"Ahem!" continued the man. "As I was saying . . . what was I saying?"

"You ticked the little guy off."

"Right, right. Well, there's only one non-lethal weapon proved one hundred percent effective against Xrtl's species, and I don't have one with me." The man pulled one last lever and a rumble began to reverberate around them. He gave Rachel a dashing smile. "Care to come along?"

There was no way that that was a good idea. Still . . . "Along where, exactly?"

"There's a nice planet in the Eridani system where we can pick one up cheap, if I'm remembering right."

"So this is really . . . ?"

"Hmm?" The man glanced down at the terminal, then back to Rachel. "Oh! Yes, it's a space ship. Well, sort of." He smiled smugly. "I thought the wee alien with the gun would have made that clear."

A space ship. Aliens. Susan was never going to believe this one.

"Okay," Rachel said. "What are you waiting for? Let's do it."

Rachel had assumed that running into an alien on her way back from lunch was going to be a once in a lifetime experience, and when the Doctor had asked, upon their return to New York, that she be discreet, she had resigned herself to the same mundane life that she had always led. 'Mundane' being a relative term, of course.

She certainly hadn't expected anything like this.

"Dude, I am so incredibly sorry about this!"

Rachel shook her head. "No need to -" Both women ducked as debris fell from the ceiling above them. "No need to apologize! You're not the one shooting up my studio!"

Actually, the one(s) shooting up the set where Rachel filmed The Rachel Maddow Show were two men dressed like Secret Service Agents. Or like the Men in Black, really, since they were basically the same thing. The men had arrived hot on the trail of the woman now crouched next to Rachel, trying to shelter herself under a desk that was in no way designed for a firefight.

The woman started yelling. "For Christ sake, Carl! Get us out of here!"

"'We'?" came a male voice. Rachel looked over and saw the other woman talking into some sort of gadget on her wrist. "I have to advise against this, Rebecca. It will disrupt the timeline."

"It will disrupt the timeline if Rachel Maddow's dead, Carl. Commence the fucking jump!"

Rachel had enough time to catch a glimpse of the two men starting to approach the desk before the other woman, Rebecca, threw herself across Rachel's lap. An almost embarassing tingling spread through Rachel's body, and suddenly the view around them dissolved. When Rachel was able to focus again, it was clear that they weren't in the MSNBC studio anymore.

Neither woman ventured to move. Rachel was flat on her back, her suit undoubtedly obtaining fresh grass stains. She preferred a dry-cleaning bill to a hospital bill, though, so she considered the move an improvement. Rebecca was sprawled over Rachel's body, her face planted firmly in the turf.

"Rebecca, report." It was the same male voice. 'Carl', Rachel assumed. After a few moments had passed, he called again. "I know you're there, Rebecca."

With a groan Rebecca rolled awkwardly off of Rachel and sat up. There was a green smear on her forehead. "Yes, what? I'm here."

"You successfully foiled the Leak's plans to use 23rd century technology to insert untraceable subliminal messages into 21st century newcasts. Good work."

Rebecca rolled her eyes. "Yeah, yeah."

"Not 'yeah, yeah'," said Carl. "You saved countless lives and prevented the Leak from altering history."

"Whatever you say. I'll call you when we're ready to go home." Rebecca pressed a button on her wristband, presumably turning off whatever device allowed her to communicate with Carl. She turned to face Rachel, who was still lying down. "Sorry for that. I guess you want an explanation."

Rachel shrugged. "It's fine, I understand."

"What?" The look on Rebecca's face was pretty hilarious, Rachel thought. She hoped that her face didn't scrunch up like that when she was confused, although she supposed that it really didn't matter. "Look, Dr. Maddow, I don't think you really get what just happened."

"Time travel, right?"

Ah, the gaping surprise was even more amusing.

"It's not a problem," Rachel assured her. "No need to explain. Just - those guys aren't going to come back to my building, are they?"

"Uh, I don't think so," Rebecca said.

"Oh, good."

They sat there in silence for several minutes. Rachel was still on her back, since it was comfortable, and Rebecca was presumably trying to wrap her mind around their conversation. They were in a meadow, although where and when was impossible to guess by sight, and Rachel found herself quite enjoying the scenery.

Eventually Rebecca broke the peaceful silence. "So . . . I have to get to work."

Rachel pushed herself up onto her elbows. "More pundits to kidnap?"

"I said I was sorry!" Rebecca reminded her, blushing. "And no, I work at a video store."

"Really?"

"Hey, we can't all be on TV. So, ready to go home?" Rachel agreed. "Carl?"

The wristband activated. "Yes, Rebecca?"

"Take us home."

"Excuse me, ma'am, if you have a moment?"

Rachel turned and found herself facing an older man, mostly bald, who appeared somehow out of place. She wasn't sure what it was about him, exactly, but they were in New York City, so she assumed that he was a tourist. "Yes?" she said.

"I don't mean to trouble you," explained the man, "but I seem to find myself lost. Is there somewhere nearby where I can get my bearings?"

"Like a tourist centre, would that work?"

The man smiled. "Yes, thank you, that should suit my purposes. Do you know one close by?"

In fact, Rachel happened to know a few. She was just trying to decide which one was nearest their location when a second man appeared, almost out of nowhere. He smiled widely and didn't seem to take notice of Rachel at all. He instantly put her on edge.

"There you are, mon capitaine!" the new man exclaimed, clapping the other man firmly on the shoulder. "For a moment there I was afraid I'd lost you." His smile faltered slightly when he finally looked to see Rachel standing in front of them. "And who's this?"

Now that he was looking straight at her, Rachel knew: the new man gave her the creeps. "Rachel Maddow," she said, offering her hand. The man glanced down at it but made no move to take it. The other man took it instead.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Ms. Maddow. And thank you for stopping to help me -"

"But he won't be needing it anymore," the second man said, interrupting his companion. He used his grip on the first man's shoulder to turn them both slightly, excluding Rachel from the rest of their conversation. The first looked apologetically in her direction, but it was clear that she wasn't wanted. Good riddance, she thought. She wanted to spend as little time in that rude man's presence as was humanly possible - she would take the last five minutes back, if only the Doctor or Rebecca would offer her the chance.

Still, she felt bad for his companion and so remained nearby, watching them as they continued to speak animatedly for some minutes. She got the distinct impression that the balding man was, perhaps, not there entirely of his own free will.

"Oh, come on, Jean-Luc!" she heard the rude man say. "Why would you want to go back to that drab ship?"

Aha, thought Rachel. Her suspicions seemed confirmed. She strained to hear the man continue.

"I can take you anywhere in the universe!" he said, and Rachel stilled. Mere hyperbole, or . . . ?

The bald man sighed. "Fine. I shall submit to one last trip, but no more. Do you understand me?"

Rachel heard no more. She stood there, transfixed, as the pair went on to presumably negotiate their destination. She was still staring when, without warning, both men disappeared in a flash of light. A quick glance around the crowd indicated that no one else had seen, but Rachel was an old hat at time travel and she had no doubt that that was what she had just witnessed. It seemed absolutely amazing that she would run into a third time traveller in her lifetime. If only there were someone she could tell who would believe her.

Oh well.

Shaking her head, Rachel gave a sigh and continued back on her way. Maybe she'd find someone to talk to someday, maybe not. It didn't really matter, because at this rate all she had to do was wait for the next traveller to find her, the next mad-cap adventure to come her way.