TT3.63a: Blame Game

Previously: Glen told Carrie he’d show her how to banish Mindy. Luci and Tim worked on Linquist’s notes. Julie and the others sent Mindy, Frank and Corry two days into the future.

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PART 3.16a: BLAME GAME 1

MiniBannerChartreuse paced around the park once more before approaching Julie. “It’s been almost an hour,” she pointed out quietly. “Lee went home. It’s getting totally cold. I don’t think Frank and Corry are coming back.”

“They would want to be sure not to overlap with themselves after dropping Mindy off,” Julie responded. “We should give them a little more time.”

“But what if Mindy’s, you know, turned the tables on them in the future? Maybe she has two more people on her list of hostages!”

“Then we have forty seven hours to ensure that’s NOT what ends up happening! In the meantime, you can go home if you like, but I’m staying here a little longer!”

Chartreuse opened her mouth to reply, but then seemed to think better of it, and simply resumed her pacing. Julie folded her arms and looked up at the night sky. ‘Damn it,’ she thought. ‘Why haven’t they time traveled back? What went wrong with my plan??’

***

“This is perfect! Oh, Tim, you’re wonderful!” Luci exclaimed, scanning down the page of translated material. It looked a bit like she wanted to hug the sheet. Or maybe hug him. Tim edged his chair backwards. “Though I see a few corrections I can help you with… let me use your pencil?”

Tim continued to stare at her, even as the younger girl reached out her hand abstractedly. It wasn’t until she’d grabbed at thin air a few times that she finally looked up from the page and realized he was wasn’t offering her anything to write with. “Tim?”

“L-Luci… I mean, yeah, fascinating language and all, but this scientist guy is also using some kind of short form notation, and his verb tenses are insane. We’ve got a good start on this. It’s been hours. Isn’t it time for a break?”

Luci gestured airily. “I’m not tired. Though if you want, I can take what we’ve done back to my place to keep working. I’ll just need to call you if I get stuck, if that’s all right?”

She seemed surprised when he pushed himself away from the writing table in his bedroom. “No. No, it’s not all right, Luci. I see now that you’ve been obsessing way too much over this! You m-may not feel tired, but you look it. Now, why aren’t you telling m-me the whole story?”

“Story? What story?”

“The one that explains how you only recently got something from Linquist, a guy who left town three years ago. The one that explains why you think that the word which occurs so often is ‘aliens’, not ‘bacteria’. The one that explains why you selected this particular passage about some ‘safe’ as being important, despite it being halfway in!”

“Oh. That story.”

Tim nodded. “Sometimes I get short of breath, but I’m not blind, you know. Tell me, Luci, why is it so important that we keep working, not only through lunch, but after school at my place, and now into supper??”

The young girl pursed her lips. “It’s personal.”

“Maybe, but I seem to be involved now.”

Luci frowned, considering. “All right. Linquist and I have a bit of a history together, that’s all. He… did some things to me. Things that might relate to something that Frank and a few others are working on now. I also suspect the guy’s not really gone, so I want to be ready if and when he comes back.”

“Right. Well, I d-don’t think he’ll turn up tonight,” Tim countered. “So let’s both take five. More, even. Because I won’t help you any more until I know you’ve eaten something.”

A smile flickered across Luci’s face. “That’s sweet Tim, but…”

“No! No but!” Tim interrupted. “Now, my mom offered supper to the both of us. I’m going to tell her that we’re ready to eat!”

Luci seemed to size him up. “All right,” she conceded. “All right. I suppose I should check back in with my parents too, seeing as it’s… oh, wow, it’s past eight…” She went for her backpack, but paused and turned back to add, “You know Tim, that assertiveness bit works well for you. Your voice gets melodic and you hardly stutter.”

He blinked. “I d-d-d-don’t?”

Shaking her head, Luci presumably searched for her phone as Tim back-pedalled out of the room. When he returned after talking to his mom, Luci almost run into him full tilt as she exited, looking frantic.

“I can’t stay,” she apologized. “Both Frank and Julie have been trying to reach me for a while, something’s up, I have to go, I… uhm…” She hesitated. “Can I leave our translations with you? You’ll keep them safe?”

“Uh, of course, b-but what…”

“Thanks. No time to explain, even assuming I understood it myself, but I promise I’ll tell you more when I can. Okay?”

Faced with Luci’s concerned expression, Tim found he could only nod in reply. He followed her to the front door. “Is there anything I can do to help? Did something bad happen to one of them?” he wondered.

Luci slipped on her shoes. “I hope not. I really, really hope not.”

***

“Problem! If I do that, something bad will happen.”

“Carrie, you’re being paranoid,” Glen assured. “Nothing bad will happen.”

She shook her head. “You weren’t here when I was planning on channeling the power of a bomb through my body and into the time streams!Hell, it took me up until last month to accept that balancing my powers was even possible. Now you’re asking me to simply surrender myself to this… this ultimate weapon force I’ve got?!”

“Not surrender,” Glen explained patiently. “It’s more like a… a time share. You regain control once your temporal self has accomplished the thing that we’ll be asking of it.”

Carrie stood up and began pacing around the floor of the largely empty warehouse. A place that Glen had apparently acquired after arriving in town, for ‘training purposes’. Because he was her trainer. Not her boyfriend. Oh no, having a relationship, that was something only normal people got to do.

“I don’t like it,” she said. “I’ve stuck with your last hour of meditative hocus-focus techniques because they seemed to make some sort of sense. But switching that on… no, I can’t! It’s WAY beyond anything I’ve attempted with Chartreuse!!”

“I’m not Chartreuse,” Glen pointed out. “Carrie, if we want to deal with Mindy, this is the only way. We must send her to another year, and wipe her memories, ensuring that she can’t return. Doing that requires your temporal self.”

Carrie clenched and unclenched her fists, opening her mouth to make a retort – when she realized something. She turned towards the storage bay doors. “Something’s wrong.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, when you said Mindy, I checked my mind, and something is… right. Which is wrong!”

“Carrie, sorry, but you’re losing me.”

The blonde teenager shook her head, feeling her long hair brushing about her shoulders. “It’s… look, for the last year, I’ve been living with this dull ache in my head. It only gets bad when people talk serious temporal paradox, or unauthorized temporal incursions occur. Hence a bit of mental strain in the school library earlier, when my brain wanted to explode out of my skull.”

“Yes, that’s your temporal sense,” Glen affirmed. “The future you never talked much about it, except to request an acetaminophen equivalent.”

“Fine. So, Mindy’s incursion was bad at first, but it eventually ebbed back to a point where I could block the pain, using something Chartreuse taught me. Yet now that extra pain is… gone. Like, I’ve been blocking nothing.” She frowned. “Maybe Mindy time traveled somewhen else?”

Glen shook his head. “You’re the only one who can initiate time travel at will. The rest of us need you, or some form of technology.”

“Yes, fine, so what if she had a time machine?”

“Impossible,” Glen asserted. “She would have had to bring along a portable version, and very few of those were ever made. Besides, if Mindy COULD jump about in time at will that way, I believe even she would have been employing a more reserved approach.”

“Well, all right… but supposing she got her hands on my time machine then,” Carrie countered.

Glen’s body tensed up. He swallowed. “You… you mean you still have a time machine? As in, a portable one?”

Carrie nodded. “Left to me by the Mundane benefactor who awakened my powers. I assumed you knew. How else could I have been travelling in time?”

“Using your own power!” Glen started to look almost scared. “Wait, you mean you haven’t accessed your temporal self at ALL? Any time trips you take are only by scrying, or using technology?!”

“Obviously! Why else would I be so sure something bad will happen if I ‘time share’?!”

“But it’s been almost a year! What on Earth have you been doing?”

“Freaking the hell out! Like any normal person would!”

“Oh, Carrie. Oh no.” He walked up to her, and grabbed her by the arm. She wished he would stop doing that. “No wonder your head’s been aching! Promise me that you will destroy your time machine at once – it’s more dangerous to this timeline than Mindy ever was!”

“Moot point if Mindy’s got it,” Carrie retorted. She pulled her arm free again. “Enough is enough. I’m calling Frank. He can check on the status of our machine.”

He made a grab for her shoulder, and she dodged. “Carrie, you must NOT contact your friends,” the redhead insisted. “With both Mindy AND a time machine loose in this era it’s even more important that we train you to handle…”

“Glen,” Carrie interrupted, opting to shift from a loud rage to a quiet one. “I care for you. I do, and I’m glad of your help. But if you don’t let me talk to my friends RIGHT FRIGGING NOW, you are going to picking your teeth up off the floor.”

Glen let his outstretched arm fall back to his side. “I could stop you. Mental abilities, you know.”

Carrie shook her head, and called his bluff. “You won’t use them on me.”

In the staring contest that followed, Glen dropped his gaze to the floor. “You’re right,” he admitted. “You’re the one person we can’t risk altering directly, Carrie. Not now that your abilities are active. Mindy knows it too, I’m sure that’s why she wasn’t more ‘persuasive’ with you when she spoke.”

He turned away. “So, fine, call your friends. Check on your machine – and ideally, destroy it. Because no one in this era can be allowed to time travel, except you. I’ll wait here. You’ll be back, once you’ve realized that I’m your only chance against Mindy. All I ask is that you don’t reveal this location to anyone. Her spies could be everywhere.”

“Obviously,” Carrie responded. She stared at Glen for another minute, trying to figure out if there was some way she could offer up a form of stern apology, but ultimately left without saying another word. Best that she not phone from the place that they didn’t want to be found.

*

Yes, we’re catching up to Frank the “slow” way. There was a clip of “Coming Soon” pieces featured at the end of Sunday’s commentary. Do people read those? Alternatively, any further thoughts on ‘banishment’?

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