PREVIOUSLY: One of the security people is immune to Mindy’s mental power. Elsewhere, Laurie hears sounds of a struggle.
PART 92b: VENI, VIDI, VENITI
“On or off the property?”
“On,” Laurie answered. The sounds of a struggle were coming from within the small grove of trees, where there seemed to be a gazebo.
“Okay, well, HQ here assures me that it’s not safe to approach,” Tim stated. “Double back, and meet up with Luci.”
Laurie felt torn. Given the trees, she might be able to approach the gazebo unseen. But Tim was right – what if she was caught? And what if being identified screwed up everything? Worse, what if she somehow messed up their timelines for good? Besides, what could she even do to stop whatever was going on?
“Please,” came a female voice. “Please, stop.”
Laurie made a fist. No. She had already been taken advantage of so much in her life – she wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone else. More to the point, her standing up to Frank about Mindylenopia this morning? It would mean nothing if she couldn’t follow through on her own principles now.
“Tim, I’m going in anyway,” she asserted. Drawing on her cheerleading abilities, Laurie jumped over the fence.
“Good evening… how exactly do you have authorization to be here?”
The brown haired security woman stared levelly at Frank and Mindylenopia. Almost before Frank had registered the movement, her weapon was out, and pointing their way.
“We need to run a systems check,” Mindylenopia said casually. “Call down a tech who can set the controls for a thirty year time jump, okay?”
The woman lifted an eyebrow. “That’s back to before this facility was even built. I’ll have to phone up the chain for confirmation.”
“No, you won’t,” Mindylenopia countered, putting emphasis on the words. She took a step closer.
The security guard’s head shook. “No, I really will. Also, I think you should put that handbag on the ground before you come any closer?”
Mindylenopia looked sidelong at Frank. It was as she had feared – her mind power was ineffective against this person. So it was up to Frank to come up with a better plan, before Mindylenopia was forced to provide the necessary incentive by firing off her ‘temporal gun’ at people. Shots which would render the thing less effective against Carrie herself. Fortunately, he had the hints of an idea.
“Wait,” Frank began. “The two of us, we’re with the… Chronologic Patrol. It’s a new unit – we conduct safety inspections. We need to see how well the system aligns for a time jump of that magnitude. It doesn’t necessarily mean we’re activating anything tonight.”
The security woman shook her head. “A new unit, where the dress code is casual? Including bad wigs? And why haven’t I heard of you?”
“The Patrol works under the radar,” Mindy continued smoothly. “Undercover. Moreover, there’s reason to suspect one of your technicians here is violating safety standards, hence our turning up unannounced. We have clearance though. How else could we be this deep in the facility?”
The security woman stepped a little closer. “I don’t know,” she answered, gun still up. “How else COULD you be this deep?”
That’s when Frank spotted the ID badge at the woman’s hip. And the first name on it: Faye. That name, coupled with the woman’s apparent immunity to Mindylenopia’s mind control – it triggered a memory. A memory of Lee’s sister, who in grade nine, had come close to beating up a boy to get a book back for her younger sibling. Could this be her? Was there a way to use that knowledge?
“Question for you, Faye,” Frank blurted. “If you had to choose between your job and your family, which of them would you pick?”
Her gun swung to point only at him. “No contest. Do you think I’d even be working in here if it didn’t help me keep my family safe?!”
Frank realized he had hit a nerve, and so chose his next words carefully. “Here’s the thing, Faye. Maybe, after our inspection, you won’t need this job to ensure your loved ones are safe.”
Her arm shook slightly. “What, are you talking promotion? Or are you part of some military coup?”
Frank glanced at Mindylenopia, wondering whether they should admit to one of those. Her ‘what the hell are you doing’ face made him realize he was now in this on his own. “I’m saying we’re the Chronologic Patrol,” he said, turning back to face Lee’s sister. “We’re conducting safety inspections.”
Faye stared. She seemed to be thinking hard. Then the gun barrel swung down, and she presented the hilt of the weapon towards them. Mindylenopia quickly stepped close enough to grab it away from her. “It is now possible,” Faye remarked. “That I did this under duress. To help my family.”
She marched back towards the communications link at her station. “Priority request,” she said, thumbing the button. “Send a tech. A couple of inspectors have turned up down here.”
Laurie was close enough to the gazebo to hear everything now. It sounded like a man and a woman arguing. And the female voice sounded somehow familiar, the same way Clarke’s voice had sounded familiar to her the previous evening.
“What?” the male was saying. “I heard you go both ways. Am I not good enough for you? Or is it that you only give it up for the lady with the golden eyes?”
“Her name is Carrie,” came the quiet response. “And we’re in love.”
“Hah! That’s rich. She’s got girls in every country. Probably guys too. And if ‘your Carrie’ really loved you, she would’ve kept you close tonight. Or at least had someone stop me when I dragged you out here. No, Chartreuse, she expects you to give influential people like me a good time tonight, in exchange for receiving favours later. Yeah?”
Laurie’s breath caught in her throat at the name.
“Just… stop. PLEASE stop,” Chartreuse begged.
“Stop what? Telling you the truth? Or stop doing things like this to you?”
The firework was arcing over the gazebo before Laurie even stopped to think about it. It exploded with a bang, lighting up the area, and causing the two figures to separate.
“Kick him and run, Chartreuse!” Laurie shouted immediately after, pressing herself up against yet another tree trunk. Her heart was beating so fast, she was worried it would burst out of her chest. “Kick him and run, and, like, keep on running!”
“Who the hell is out there?” the assailant snarled. In the brief light of the firework, he’d looked at least forty, and a bit out of shape.
“Someone who, like, believes people like you can get away with stuff too often, you know?” Laurie wasn’t entirely sure why she’d decided to spout ‘valley girl’ talk. She supposed it was in the hope that it would trigger something in her old friend. “And someone who is finally, like, taking a stand!”
“Oh yeah? Well, news flash. I’m smarter than my father. I won’t get caught the way he was. So you better run along now before you become a victim too!”
Laurie looked to the heavens and crossed herself. “No. You leave Chartreuse alone!”
“Oh, you’re gonna get it now…”
Laurie heard the sound of someone being shoved to the ground, but from the measured steps in her direction, it didn’t sound like the person approaching was Chartreuse. It occurred to her that the only advantage she had was the fact that the guy didn’t seem light on his feet.
“Stand back up and kick him down, Chartreuse,” Laurie pleaded. She began to backpedal from tree to tree as he came closer. “Take a, you know, stand! You’ve gotta do it, if not for yourself, then for, like, me, and people like me, otherwise he’s gonna keep doing it, or maybe he’ll get a firework in the face next, because I, you know, didn’t think this through, and don’t know what else to do, and golly, now I could be screwing up the timelines, um, please, Tim any suggestions…?”
She then realized that in her haste to get away, she’d started back-pedalling towards the house. Perfect.
“Laurie,” came Tim’s calm, measured voice. “Try to hide. Luci’s on her way.”
People were going to have to bail her out. Again. The same way her brother always did. Her brother, who didn’t even exist in this timeline. Laurie felt like crying. As she’d feared, she was ruining everything. What more could possibly go wrong now? Could this get any worse?
No, she realized. Things couldn’t get any worse. She had hit rock bottom, she was at the point where she had nothing left to lose.
“When I get my hands on you,” the man growled, “you’re gonna wish you’d minded your own…”
Laurie knew that a red dress wasn’t the best outfit to be wearing when performing a back handspring. But in retrospect, that’s probably what made the guy freeze in place, allowing the cheerleader to complete her maneuver by planting her hands and kicking back and up with her legs. It was a solid hit, right where she’d intended. The predatory man crumpled to the ground with a high pitched whine.
Nothing left to lose. Had she seriously just done that?
Laurie grabbed her handbag back off the ground and charged back towards the fence, leaving the man laid out in the dirt. She only paused long enough to catch her breath, upon registering the fact that the fifty year old version of Chartreuse was now standing by the gazebo, her mouth open wide. “D-Did you just flatten Councillor Linford?” Chartreuse gasped.
Laurie shrugged. “Your turn next time,” she declared. “Also, you look good. The red hair works. It’s never too late to find a nice man or woman who truly loves you. Okay?”
Not waiting for a response, Laurie sprinted off the property.
One moment, Carrie was reaching for an hors d’oeuvre. The next moment, she was on the ground, her palm against her forehead.
Someone was going to time travel. And they were going to do it with intent – and more importantly, with a plan – for changing history. Who was it? Some fool with a homemade machine in their basement, and lottery numbers in hand? Carrie dropped her mental shields into place, and tried to localize the disturbance.
It was North America. It was Ontario. It was… in town? Ridiculous. In that case, she wouldn’t even have to warn a prior self. She could get there in person. Was the person so clueless?
A shiver ran down her back, as she focussed in… and realized that it wasn’t some crazy person in a basement. The stationary temporal generator to the south was powering up. Impossible. How could anyone have gained access, much less someone who might change history?!
Carrie turned her attention to the time streams, looking for the warning signs, looking for something to nudge. But she couldn’t track back mentally – there was now a waterfall in the way. The anomaly she’d sensed. Well, that was a problem.
She could still deal with this though.
Pushing herself back to her feet, and ignoring the concerned mutterings of all the people around her, Carrie began to speed up time for herself, relative to her surroundings.
NEXT: Nowhere to Run
ASIDE: I kind of love today’s title. Did you spot all the callbacks, like Faye, Linford and the “Chronologic Patrol”? Only four more episodes/weeks to go now! Another Commentary this weekend, before we’re into the home stretch. Everything changes next week, but it all makes sense as far as Miami is concerned… care to do that T&T vote thing?