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The Portal of Time, Part I

by Jennifer Loyd

Stefano, John, Hope and Kristen return from the jungle with the cure for Roman; Stefano disappears.... Unfortunately, the cure is only partially successful. Roman must still undergo one last procedure to be completely cured, a procedure which can only be performed by a certain specialist in Paris, one Dr. Duvalier. Dr. Duvalier is very busy and cannot travel to Salem, so Roman, Marlena and John fly out to Paris. John has made it very clear to Kristen that he wants nothing more to do with her, but Kristen has other ideas....

At the Parisian hospital, Marlena and John are waiting to hear news of Roman. Each has been praying that Roman will be completely cured. Marlena turns to John. "I still can't believe Stefano really did have the cure," she whispers. "Where do you think he is now?"

"Far away I hope. We lost him right after we got back." John takes Marlena's hand in his in a gesture of comfort and reassurance. "Let's hope he stays away this time. Who knows? Maybe now we'll be rid of DiMera once and for all."

Meanwhile, in a small room down the corridor filled with strange pieces of equipment, Stefano stands surveying several men and women making final adjustments on a tall cylindrical device in the center. He orders them all out of the room except one, a young woman in a nurse's uniform. She is the only one who has seen this project through from the beginning, the only one he can trust with the details of his plan... most of them, anyway. He has not trusted anyone like this since Celeste, and Celeste betrayed him. But this one, this one is different. She will not betray him as Celeste did.

He is alone in the room with her and the machine. "Everything is ready?" he asks her.

She glances at the machine and back at him. "Stefano," she begins, "you know I can't make any guarantees. I can't say where -- or when -- you'll end up, or if you'll even know who you are when you get there... then..." Her voice trails off.

"It is a risk I must take," he declares. "For Marlena, my Queen of the Night. I will do anything for her."

She looks away so that he will not see the flicker of sadness in her soft blue eyes. As I will for you, she thinks. But there is no time for such thoughts. She turns back to him. "The portal will be active for sixty seconds," she continues. "Anyone who enters within that time will be instantly transported. After sixty seconds, the portal will close, and no one -- not John, nor... anyone else will ever see you or Marlena again."

Stefano smiles in anticipation. "Perfect. Nothing can stop me now. At last, Marlena will be mine."

She smiles too. This is the moment they have been working towards, the culmination of their efforts. "I'll go get her now." She walks to the door and turns the knob. She would like to turn around, to say a final goodbye. But that is not part of the plan.

Marlena and John look up as the "nurse" walks in. "Dr. Evans," the woman says in her carefully rehearsed French accent. "Dr. Duvalier would like to have a word with you alone."

"Roman?" Marlena asks, rising, her concern evident in her voice. John stands beside her, his arm protectively around her. "Is he...?"

"I cannot say, Dr. Duvalier will tell you everything. Please, come with me."

John starts to follow her but the "nurse" stops him. "Monsieur Black, you may come in a few minutes. For now, Dr. Duvalier would like to see Dr. Evans alone."

Marlena looks questioningly at John who squeezes her hand and lets her go. "Go on," he encourages her. "I'll be here. We've got to have faith." He smiles, and she smiles too, reassured. She follows the "nurse" down the corridor.

No sooner has Marlena left than Kristen comes in the room. "John," she says, "I need to talk to you."

"Kristen, what are you doing here?" he exclaims. "I told you I didn't want anything to do with your lies, you're just like Stefano, you..." A new thought suddenly occurs to him. "Oh no," he says. "DiMera... Doc!" he yells as he races down the corridor.

"John, wait!" Kristen calls out. When he doesn't respond she dashes after him.

John reaches the end of the corridor and spies the "nurse" coming out of the room. "Where's Dr. Evans?" he asks, but before she can respond he pushes past her and into the room.

"No one is allowed in there!" she yells, turning back. She must not let him enter the machine, the portal is open for another thirty seconds!

He searches the room frantically with his eyes, but there is no trace of Stefano nor Marlena, only the machine in the center with its glowing shaft of light. "Doc!" he cries out, heading toward the light.

"No!" the woman yells again as she sees him entering the machine. She runs after him, reaches out and grabs hold of him to pull him back, but it is too late, he is already inside. The light glows brighter as it engulfs both of them and they disappear as Kristen watches in horror!

"John!" Kristen yells as she sees him disappear into the light and proceeds to follow him. But she has attracted the attention of a young doctor who has worked closely with the time-machine project... indeed, with many of Stefano's projects. He has admired Stefano's daughter Kristen for a long time, but she has been too focused on John to notice anyone else. Now as he sees Kristen entering the portal his only thought is to go in after her, to protect her from whatever danger lay beyond, for it is too late to bring her back: she is already halfway into the beam of light where John and the "nurse" have just disappeared. He reaches out to her, as the woman did before him, and likewise is pulled into the glowing portal.... Five seconds later, the light is extinguished, as the six time-travellers go hurtling through the fourth dimension....

Part II

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Since Jan. 2, 1998,

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