PREVIOUSLY: Everything. Including this guest post.
PART 96c: RESPITE II
“Ah, yes. Here we are, in the world with an unknown future,” the blonde mused. She spun the graduation cap she was holding, finally turning away from the school library. “Where really, my hands are no more important than anyone else’s.”
Frank jerked his head back towards where she’d been looking, in the process dislodging his own cap, which he caught. “Were you just thinking about the van crash, the timelines, and Mindylenopia?”
“Yeah,” Carrie admitted. “And not only her sacrifice in the past. I’ve realized she’ll likely still be a part of our future.”
Frank frowned. “Wait, what? Carrie, our paths are all un-predestined here. Especially for us, two people who never graduated high school in that alternate timeline.”
“Meaning we can change this timeline, Frank,” Carrie asserted. “ONE timeline. We didn’t change the nature of the universe. So while our lives will be different, that alien artifact that your Future Luci mentioned? Something tells me that’s a fixed point for us as well. Meaning there will be time travel. Meaning Temporals. Meaning a new Mindylenopia could be born into this future, with a new Glinephanis, and new interferences.” She smiled. “It’s how we HANDLE all of those events, that’s what becomes the real difference.”
“Right,” Frank said. He smiled back. “You’re getting good at this temporal theory stuff. And you can peek a few days ahead with your power too, so that’s an advantage if there’s trouble.”
Carrie snorted. “Yeah, but no. One thing Chartreuse and I have kinda decided is to leave future vision scrying to her. I mean, even setting aside the ‘me seeing only pre-destined things’ problem, if I’ve resolved not to randomly poke my fingers into my own past? Then I should have the courtesy to not to do it to my future self either. Or anyone else’s future selves.”
“So you’re renouncing your powers?”
Carrie shook her head. “I didn’t say THAT.”
“So it’s merely that you prefer to think about… other things whenever you’re with Chartreuse?”
“I didn’t say that eith–” Carrie eyed his waggling eyebrows, then reached out to smack him in the arm with her graduation cap. “Seriously? Get your mind out of the gutter.”
Frank chuckled. “Sorry. It’s just, ever since it became official around the school, you’re both so cagey about how far you’ve actually–”
“And you KNOW I’ll smack you again if you keep on that topic, right?”
“Okay, okay, back to time travel. Carrie, what if by not using your powers, you end up making an otherwise avoidable mistake?”
“Oh, I’ll make mistakes.” Carrie idly pulled some strands of hair into her fingers, twisting them about. “After all, you only truly learn by messing up, and then correcting things. Assuming you can. Because the alternative? Being told ‘hey, you have to do this now’? That’s not learning. That’s damn annoying. Whether you’re being told ‘what to do’ by a future version of yourself or not.”
Frank grinned. “Wise words. For the record, I voted for you. For valedictorian.”
Carrie chuckled. “Thanks. But I’m glad Laurie won instead. I think she’s come further than anyone else did in our four years here. Well, in terms of the stuff normal people get to know about.” She dropped her hair and sighed. “We should get going to our designated grad rooms. Keep in touch next year from university, and all that?”
“For sure,” Frank agreed. “I’ll message you whenever I’m doing my mathematics homework.”
“Ha!” Carrie rolled her eyes. “I said I was considering a MINOR in maths, so that I’m not completely out of the loop on time travel theory and whatever. Kinesiology, that’s where it’s at for me.”
“No, I mean I’ll want someone with cool temporal stories to tell, who can remind me why I’ll want to keep studying this stuff.” Frank grinned, then began to walk away, only to pause and gesture. “After you, O Temporal One?”
Carrie shook her head. “Don’t inflate my ego. Let’s simply head towards the uncertainties of the future together, okay?”
With a shared nod and a smile, the two teenagers clasped their hands and walked down the school hallway one last time.
END OF TIME & TIED
CARRIE MAY RETURN IN… TIME UNTIED
WHERE TO GO FROM HERE?
- The story of Chartreuse continues in “Epsilon Project”‘s second story, “Wish Fulfilment“, if you would like to read more about her in the summer after high school.
- This site will continue with “Epsilon Project”‘s fourth story, that you can vote on here until the end of May (tomorrow). It will publish Sundays, with weekly votes.
- Time Untied. Yeah. If you haven’t been reading the commentaries, the saga of Carrie was once envisioned as being five seasons, aka ten books. We’re not even halfway. That said, not much else has actually been written. But this Friday, I will post an excerpt from Time Untied that I wrote in 2015, including an explanation for why I’m not calling it Time & Tied Book 5.
- There will be one further Commentary posted in a week (next Tuesday), with behind-the-scenes for the last parts, some more site stats talk and character analysis.
- You can go back and read “Time & Tied” from the beginning if you like, it’s been recently reformatted. Related, I’m rerunning it daily on Royal Road Legends (we just hit Book 3), where there is the occasional character poll. (You can also comment here about your faves.)
- I run a personified math webcomic too. If that is in any way your thing.
- There are a number of links in the sidebar to other serial sites with similar material (time travel, voting, etc).
- There are a number of other good serials on “Top Web Fiction”, which you can easily access by clicking here: Vote for T&T 😉
- Maybe someone will comment with another suggestion…?
Anyway, thanks for reading. If it weren’t for you, I’d basically be talking to myself. I hope you stick around for more and/or return if Time Untied gets off the ground; in the meantime, all the best.