PREVIOUSLY: Luci explained about the future. To help Mindy, she’ll now need to contact Julie.
PART 91a: REUNITE THE FUTURE
For a while, no one spoke in Luci’s dining room. The forty seven year old version of Luci had left minutes ago, disappearing into the other room, claiming she needed to make some phone calls. Frank knew that his own silence was rooted in a sensation that there was too much to say, with no idea of where to start. Tim became the first to speak up.
“Here’s w-what I don’t get,” he ventured. “If Carrie’s been thwarting every m-move of this resistance – w-why did they send Shady back to activate her early? W-Weren’t things better for them in timeline two?”
“Predestination,” Laurie said glumly. “They had to do it.”
“Yes and no,” Frank said, as he reflected on it. “Yes in that it happened, so they had to have done it. Even knowing that the result wouldn’t be quite what they wanted, they had to… assuming they were even consciously aware of the final result. But no, in that the first time it happened – if we can even call it a first time, when that’s been overwritten – they probably weren’t much better off.”
“B-But Carrie wasn’t active in the prior timeline,” Tim protested.
“Not as a teenager. But I imagine the Temporals recruited her as soon as this alien artifact incident caught up with them,” Frank explained. “The difference being, in that timeline two, she was working for them, whereas now… well, I wonder if the Temporals are working for her.”
“NONE of it is our timeline though, right Frank? Right?” Laurie pleaded. “It can’t be!”
Frank ran his hands back through his hair. “I don’t know, Laurie. I truly don’t. Even if their Elder Carrie wins, and implants memories into Our Carrie to force her down this path… I’d still be alive. I think. Unless telling Mindylenopia is what changes that.”
“Frank, we CAN’T send her back blind,” Laurie insisted, standing up. “It’s not right! Now more than ever, I see that using her to our benefit, it would mean we’re no better than these resistance people!”
Frank nodded. “I agree.”
“And since I won’t be her double unless we tell her the truth, it means we don’t have a… a…” Laurie blinked. “You agree?”
“Yeah.” He exhaled. “Laurie, I’ll tell Mindylenopia about her possible future. I admit, to this point, I was looking at this whole situation as being a broken timeline for us to fix. But Luci’s made it feel… real. With real people. Like Mindylenopia.”
“Oh.” She swallowed. “Which means I’ll get to be the bait. For her.”
“No.” Frank shook his head. “Not unless we can guarantee your safety. Including a complete two way communications link back to Tim, so that he can interject with Temporal linguistic information as needed.” He grimaced. “I probably overestimated whatever Mindylenopia was hoping for.”
“S-Sounds like Luci was keen on s-safety though,” Tim noted. “So even that s-should work out.”
“But can I act like Mindylenopia?” Laurie said, wringing her hands. “She was always so… so… together. So self-assured.”
“She seems more impatient these days,” Frank remarked.
Tim smiled. “Laurie, I w-wouldn’t worry. The w-way you stood up for your beliefs just now? It’s the most self-assured I’ve ever s-seen you.”
The redhead’s cheeks bloomed a bit brighter. “Oh? Golly.”
Tim turned his attention away, and towards the adjacent room containing Luci. “Here’s m-my other wonder. Will we soon m-meet Future Julie?”
Frank followed Tim’s gaze. “Given our own Julie’s paranoid streak concerning Glen and Mindy? I’d be surprised if she simply took any requests made by Luci on faith alone.”
The trio of time travellers spent the day inside Luci’s home – with strict orders not to depart. On the one hand, that suited Tim just fine; he understood Luci’s concerns about making changes, or seeing things they weren’t meant to see. As well as her own need to leave and go to work, to keep up appearances and to make a few “in person” requests. She had even left them with some holo-game devices (which Laurie had gravitated towards for the animations), a pad of stories locked into the ‘classics’, some music discs that weren’t “discs” at all (but Tim supposed the name had stuck), and some technical odds and ends (which had interested Frank).
On the other hand, Tim felt like it was tough to simply bide your time when you were in a foreign environment with a dangerous mission ahead. He had managed to interest Laurie in learning a few typical Temporal phrases – while hoping he was getting the pronunciation correct. He had also figured out the remote for the microwave, and been able to make their late lunch a hot one. But it was hard to concentrate for any length of time.
All things considered, it was a relief when the doorbell rang early that evening. The relief lasted until Tim looked at the video monitor, and realized that the person at the door wasn’t Luci. Well, that made sense – why ring the doorbell of your own house?
“Frank! Laurie!” he called out to them.
Frank was already approaching, and Laurie joined them moments later. They all looked at the image of the brunette woman with long, wavy brown hair, which seemed to be partially greying. She wore a professional looking suit, had a pair of glasses perched on her nose, and carried a tote bag.
Laurie gasped. “Is… is that…”
“Gotta be,” Tim affirmed. “D-Do we let Julie in?”
Their visitor reached out to press the doorbell again, then peered in the direction of the camera, her lips moving. Tim reached out to tap at the volume control.
“…so I know you’re in there. Let me in, or the deal’s off,” came the curt voice of the elder Julie LaMille.
“I’ll let her in,” Frank decided. “You two wait in the other room. Just in case.”
Tim nodded, retreating out of sight. He heard the front door open… and silence. Then Julie’s voice again. “So she wasn’t lying. It really is you. Before you died. Bloody hell.”
“Uh, technically it’s me after I died… er, you want to come in?” Frank asked.
Her tongue clucked. “If I do, will my DNA trigger some kind of home defence system that fires lasers at me?”
“I… don’t… think so?”
“Hmph.” Tim heard the older Julie stride into the house. “I suppose even Luci wouldn’t be stupid enough to incinerate a member of Parliament.”
Frank closed the front door. “Okay! So you’re in the government. That’s… neat.”
“What other job would I have here? Ottawa is still the capital of Canada,” Julie noted. She dropped her tote bag on the floor. “I’ve got your supplies. Guessing Luci’s not here yet?”
Tim decided it was safe to emerge from the other room. He saw Julie was now removing her glasses, smirking a bit as she tapped something on the side of them. The lenses seemed to dim. “That’s the c-communications equipment for me and Laurie?” Tim asked, gesturing at the bag.
She looked his way. “That, plus a voice modulator, some bulletproof laser vests…” Her features seemed to soften as Laurie came out beside Tim. “I am so sorry she got you mixed up in all of this.”
“We kind of mixed ourselves up in it,” Frank admitted. “Did Luci mention how your Carrie abducted our Carrie?”
“No,” Julie said, eyeing him as she tucked her glasses away. “Merely that your being here means we have a chance at taking down Carrie, and subsequently acquiring the local stationary temporal generator. I guess anything more than THAT was on a ‘need to know’ basis. And since I do my OWN thing, which pisses off her little resistance to no end, I didn’t ‘need to know’.”
Tim frowned. “Wait, you’re able to do your own thing? With a war going on?”
“Cold war,” Julie corrected, crossing her arms as she leaned back against the wall. “And yes. Because I have an acquired immunity to the Temporal mind power. Which comes from being told as a teenager to shoot my former best friend, which in turn made me want to shoot my unborn self. That sort of trauma? It makes a girl throw up mental guards to prevent similar incidents from ever happening again. To prevent her from becoming anybody’s puppet. Surely you remember all that better than me.”
“Well, that’s good,” Frank remarked. “Oh, not the trauma!” he amended, as Julie glared at him. “More it’s good that it’s possible for some to resist the influence. The way Lee seemed to be able to do it.”
Julie’s eyes narrowed. “Luci hasn’t even told you about THAT, has she. Typical.”
“Told us what?” Laurie wondered, fidgeting in her hands with the holo-game cube she’d been playing.
The corners of Julie’s mouth curled up. “About what her little group of medical resistance fighters have been working on all these years. I mean, has it slipped your teenage minds that the one who went back, the one who had me shoot Carrie, was a Mundane? Not a Temporal at all?”
Tim felt his stomach drop. “Y-You’re saying that she… that Luci is trying to unlock the Temporal ability…”
“Fun fact,” Julie said. “Her friends haven’t figured out a way of turning the Temporal power of suggestion off, or even suppressing it, as with Lee. But, in certain cases, they’re able to turn a rudimentary version of it ON. In non-redheads.”
“Oh no,” Frank said, slumping against the wall. “That’s why you two don’t get along. Because Luci’s the indirect cause of the trauma you experienced as a teenager.”
“Oh no,” Julie said, shaking her head. “No, my parents caused most of the trauma I experienced back then. I don’t get along with Luci because of how her resistance killed Corry Veniti!”
The holo-game cube dropped to the floor. “What?” Laurie rasped.
“See, these resistance people, they’re not very big on ethics,” Julie said. “Granted, being a politician, it’s a bit of the pot calling the kettle black, but at least I’m aware of my duplicity.” She nodded towards Laurie. “It’s okay, I made sure your future self was set up somewhere safe outside of town. Phil Clarke still visits on occasion.”
Tim reached out to support Laurie, as it looked like her knees were about to give out. “It’s okay Laurie,” he soothed. “It’s l-like you said, this is n-not our timeline. It’s not.”
“Julie,” Frank whispered. “Did you REALLY have to say that?”
She eyed him. “Yes. Because if you truly are from a divergent timeline… you can’t fix the things you don’t even know about. Right?”
“JULIE!” The scream was accompanied by the sound of the front door banging open. “Julie, you came EARLY you good-for-nothing…” Luci turned to Frank, her eyes blazing with anger. Based on the medical looking cloak she wore, and how out of breath she seemed, Tim wagered Luci had hurried home as fast as she could. “What did she say? How much has she already said?!”
“I knew she’d have a DNA notification coded into her place,” Julie muttered, barely audible.
“Luci, Julie merely… well, she told us about your medical research,” Frank admitted. “And about Corry.”
“Of course she did. Of COURSE.” Luci stomped over to the brunette, and pointed back to the door. “Get OUT of my HOUSE! NOW!”
“If I do, I take my government issue communications tools and other gear with me,” Julie shot back. “I thought your people needed it?”
“We’ll find another way!”
“Oh, good luck with that.” Julie reached down and grabbed the bag.
“Julie, wait,” Tim pleaded, looking up from where he was holding Laurie around the shoulders.
“Don’t anyone stop her,” Luci said, glaring his way.
“It’s fine,” Julie said. “Her resistance idiots can just keep on firing blindly, enraging Carrie and the Temporals to the point where they completely wipe us out…”
“At least we’re TRYING SOMETHING!”
“And some of us wish you’d STOP.”
Julie stepped towards the front door. Frank moved to bar the way. “No. Please, Julie, you can’t go. Luci, we need what she’s got, you said as much this morning.”
“Frank, DAMN it!”
“Besides Julie, you need us,” he continued, looking back at the brunette. “Because you can’t just march in here, tell us all that, and hope we’ll fix all of time for you. That’s not how it works.”
The side of Julie’s mouth twitched. “What then?”
“I’m not exactly sure, but…” Frank let out a breath. “We are going to sit down at the table and talk this out.”
NEXT: Rewrite the Future
ASIDE: So “Timeline Three” is a bit of a mess. Do you see “Timeline Four” as being any better? Will there even BE a “Four”, or is Mindy going nowhere?