Congratulations, you’ve found the Season 2 bonus. (The Season 1 bonus was “Arc 2.4 Outtakes“, if you missed it.)
What follows is an excerpt from the 10,000 words that were written back in 2015, when T&T was first launching on this site. It involves events taking place during Carrie’s first term at University. Will I continue the story from here? I certainly have ideas, but it depends on reader interest (let me know if you want more), and my writing time (I resume teaching in September). The earliest we’d see anything is in 2018.
I CAN say that, if and when I continue, it won’t be called “Time & Tied Book 5”. I’ve learned that people will invariably want to go back to the beginning of any series – my efforts to launch “Book 3” as an entry point failed. And T&T starts slooooow, doing a poor job of hooking readers. Comparatively, the story of Carrie at University starts faster, has a new main cast, and should be able to hit the necessary backstory early on. Hence “Time Untied Book 1”. (Like a spinoff, maybe?)
So what more could possibly happen in the T&T (aka TU) universe? Read on, and let me know if you like it. I’m skipping the bit where Carrie first arrives at her University of Ottawa dorm, and meets Kat.
“You should NOT be able to move,” Carrie gasped, now registering the figure in the cloak who was standing at the door. She tensed to jump again, but now that the element of surprise seemed to be gone, the figure was simply standing there.
Carrie ran a quick mental check. Partly to allow her mind to catch up to her own small temporal alteration, which allowed her slight headache to ebb away. Partly to see if her freezing effect was, in fact, working after all. To that end, she glanced sidelong at her new roommate.
Katherine – Kat – did seem to have been temporally suspended mid-shriek. Moreover, her new roommate’s unmoving body seemed substantial once again. Implying that Carrie herself was no longer in imminent danger. Unless Kat’s lack of transparency was some side effect of the temporal freeze? Carrie grimaced. She was in uncharted territory here.
“Every time,” the figure with the gun mumbled.
Okay, so the gunman was not frozen. Damn. On the bright side, he – it was a male voice – still hadn’t fired, despite the fact that the gun itself was outfitted with a silencer. Meaning there was a good chance no one else on the floor would even hear the shots.
Others might hear Kat yelling though – and would the danger of more people make this guy hesitate? Or back off? With a twitch of her finger, Carrie unfroze time again. After all, it obviously hadn’t bought her the advantage she’d expected, plus it was taxing to maintain.
“Shut up,” the cloaked man said, turning his gun in Kat’s direction while continuing to look at Carrie. The shrieking noise that had resumed at Carrie’s act now died past Kat’s lips. “Good girl.”
He turned the gun back on Carrie. “Carrie Waterson. I believe I finally have an offer you cannot refuse.”
Carrie heard Kat take a couple deep breaths. “F-Finally? C-Carrie, who…?”
“Don’t know,” Carrie answered, leery of taking her eyes off the guy for more than a second. Honestly, she had the same question. Presumably, like Kat, this was someone else she’d encounter in her future, but for him, it was the past.
Carrie’s frown deepened, not liking the idea that the future was again affecting changes to her present. She thought she’d dealt with that whole mess once and for all back in high school!
She had to figure this guy out. Which meant, keep him talking. “Okay Cloaky, what offer you got?”
“Either you let me kill you,” the man began. “Or…” He fished a cell phone device out of his cloak pocket using his non-gun hand. “Or I use this to detonate an explosive, killing dozens of innocent people on campus.” He took a step closer. “So, who will it be? You or them?”
Carrie narrowed her eyes, ignoring the gasp from Kat. Okay, his no-nonsense tone implied this was even bigger than she’d originally thought.
Which pissed her off, because why couldn’t the two future warring factions confine their activities to, you know, their own damn present? She had no intention of living her life like some bad temporal cold war episode of “Star Trek: Enterprise”. Though she supposed it only took one idiot like this guy to want to experiment with the “Terminator” option.
Yeah, Frank’s televised time travel marathons weren’t really helping her out here.
“I’m the future tipping point,” Carrie said, as if that explained everything.
Which it did. She had to survive. She was the nuclear option. Dozens of innocents in the present? Inconsequential, when compared to what it was she had to be around for. Her fingernails dug into her palms. Except, she really didn’t want people getting hurt on her account. Not any more.
“You’re not the only one.”
Carrie shuddered. What the HELL did he mean by that?
Okay, keeping the guy talking was officially a BAD plan – he obviously knew more than enough to keep her unbalanced. She had to get the upper hand some other way.
Perhaps, Carrie mused, if she sped up her own personal time, she could unmask him? Or at least get that cell phone trigger away? Carrie readied herself for a temporal burst of speed… and Kat whimpered. Carrie froze. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that her roommate had gone slightly transparent once again.
Carrie quickly banished the plan from her mind. Kat’s form became solid. Carrie did her best not to stare with wide eyes. Her roommate was acting like a divining rod into her future! Into their future! Because if Carrie died here, now, before saving Kat – her roommate wouldn’t exist.
Well, that was beneficial, given how messing up and tracking back along one’s own timeline to erase mistakes had a number of costly drawbacks. Assuming necessary alterations were even possible. The question was, had Cloaky noticed what had happened to Kat?
“You’re spending too long thinking about this,” the figure decided. “So, in ten seconds, I’ll detonate this device – and pull out another!”
It seemed he hadn’t seen, but now she had another problem. “Wait,” Carrie requested, still hoping for an angle. “I’m not the threat you think I am. Maybe I can help you in your cause! Let’s discuss things before you do something rash.”
A Temporal might not be willing to bargain, but if the guy was a Mundane… “No deal. Seven seconds.”
Damn! Why was it that her freezing hadn’t affected this guy? Had they invented countermeasures in the future? What if she tried unleashing something a little stronger from within her core? Like temporal banishment! No. Kat’s slight hyperventilating, as the redhead’s body shimmered yet again, indicated to Carrie that deeper powers would only increase the chances of her being killed.
“You or them? Four seconds.”
But if her powers were of no use, what could she do, other than allow this explosive to detonate? She might be able to loop back and undo it later. Evacuate the location or something. Because the needs of the many in the future outweighed the needs of the few here. Granted, this also meant that her own singular need for survival was being placed above the survival of these few innocents! Was that irony?
“Last chan– AGGHHHH!”
Carrie gaped. With his focus on her, apparently the guy had all but forgotten about Kat being in the room. And her new roommate had, in that final second, seen fit to lunge at him, jamming some device at his closest hand, electricity arcing out of it. Carrie hadn’t even been paying attention to how the redhead had been inching towards her desk to grasp it.
Cloaky’s momentary spasm caused him to lose his grip on both the cell phone and the gun.
Kat was making a dive for the former, so Carrie made a move for the latter. She immediately realized that the figure was going to be able to grab the gun first. So instead she reached to the side, grabbed Kat as she touched the phone, and time jumped.
Sherlock tried not to sound disappointed when the cute redhead turned him down for dinner. Though, she’d seemed to be busy with something, so he reasoned that perhaps he could try again later that week. When she wasn’t so preoccupied. After all, he’d probably see a lot of her, given how she was rooming right next door.
At least, he rather hoped to see more of her. Given that she had to be not only pretty, but also intelligent, having gotten into the University and all. The glasses also helped with that look. And the British accent. So, as long as she didn’t have an abrasive personality, perhaps the two of them could…
His thoughts trailed off as he turned around the corner of their floor, and saw the redheaded girl again. Except this time she looked to be unconscious, and another girl, a blonde one, was trying to drag her into an elevator.
His eyes met those of the blonde. He pointed back down the corridor. “Isn’t that the same girl I was…?”
“STOP,” the blonde said, authoritatively. He returned his gaze to her, having been about to retrace his steps down the hallway.
“Get in,” she continued with a sigh, jerking her head at the elevator she was entering.
Sherlock shrugged. “Okay.”
After all, it wasn’t as if she could knock him out too, her hands were full. And if this redhead was in distress, perhaps he could help!
“Ground floor,” the blonde requested. Obligingly, he pushed the button as she continued to keep the unconscious girl’s body from sliding to the ground. “You know Kat?” she continued once the elevator doors had closed.
“Not by name,” Sherlock admitted, even as he took note of it. “Is she okay?”
“She’ll be fine.”
Sherlock nodded. “Is she also a twin? Because I could have SWORN that I was talking to her a moment ago. In the room next to mine.”
“It’s… complicated,” came the girl’s response, coupled with a grimace.
Kat stirred then, her green eyes blinking open. She reached a hand up to her face, nearly dislodging her glasses. “Wh-what? Where…”
Her body jerked as she tried to regain her footing, nearly pulling both girls down onto the elevator floor. “The bomb! The gun! Why are we in the lift?! Were YOU the one in the cloak?!?” she accused, jabbing her finger in Sherlock’s direction.
“No!” he answered. He lifted an eyebrow. “Unless you like cloaks?”
With a ‘ding’, the elevator doors opened on the lower floor, revealing two new girls and their luggage waiting to get on.
“Agh, damn it,” the blonde snapped. “Where is there any privacy – both of you, come with me!” she ordered, grabbing Kat’s arm and pushing past the others in the dorm’s lobby.
“Come with me if you want to live?” Sherlock joked, following after.
“I think so,” Kat said to him. For the first time, he registered the very frightened look on her face.
What do you think of that? Should I continue it, or write something else instead?
NEXT: Final T&T Commentary posts next Tuesday. “Epsilon” starts Sunday.