TT2

TT2.42: Tied in Naughts

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PART 42: TIED IN NAUGHTS

***PAST: ILLINOIS

“You know,” Corry said as he wheeled his bike along the sidewalk. “If I ever decide to take another trip through time with you guys? Stop me. I don’t think I could take another day of this traveling through unknown territory, sharing cramped quarters and dishwashing for money and food.”

“I know there’s something I can’t take much more of,” Clarke murmured.

“My previous time trips haven’t been like this,” Frank said, half slumped over his own bike. “But here, we had to allow extra time to find Julie, and we lacked enough currency for this time period. You knew all that before you came.”

“Yeah, well, I didn’t know this would be a one way trip,” Corry argued.

“It won’t be,” Frank assured. “Remember, all we have to do is figure out what Julie did with the circuitry she removed. With that, I can repair our version of the time machine, and get us back.”

“Oh, and I’m sure Julie will be very forthcoming with that information,” Corry groused.

“Don’t mind Corry,” Clarke suggested to Frank. “Complaining seems to be his way of coping. We’ll manage, somehow.”

“Phil Clarke. Always the optimist,” Corry grumbled. “Oh well, at least this ordeal is almost over. How much time until… uh, the big event we’ll need to stop?” Even now, he couldn’t bring himself to say ‘death’.

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TT2.41: Rescue Efforts

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PART 41: RESCUE EFFORTS

The wind blew through the empty field, bending the long grass back. A few clouds floated by overhead as the sun approached its highest point in the sky. There was no one around for kilometers – miles, even.

Which is when, in the wink of an eye, three individuals appeared, along with a bunch of equipment. There was a brown haired boy with glasses, a tall blonde, and a redhead. Only the first of them was conscious. As such, only he was able to cry out in horror before all of them plummeted metres – feet, even – from the air down towards the ground.

***PAST: ILLINOIS

Clarke pressed a hand to his forehead. “Corry, that language isn’t going to improve the situation.”

“Falling bloody well HURT,” the redhead fumed. “Damn it Dijora, you didn’t say we’d arrive in free fall. Good thing I DIDN’T let my sister go on this trip, she’s liable to have ended up with a broken leg for gods’ sake!”

“Clarke’s right, calm down,” Frank said, taking deep breaths to try and steady his own nerves.

They were all regaining their bearings in the middle of the empty field where they’d fallen. “Obviously there was a little spatial problem with altitude that we didn’t account for,” Frank reasoned. “But the long grass cushioned us, and I get the impression no one sustained any injures above some bad bruises.”

“This from the guy who didn’t half land on a BIKE,” Corry fumed. He flexed his arm, then rubbed his shoulder. “Little altitude problem, my ass… I’ve half a mind to force you to take me back home right now.”

“You mean back home to Miami?” Clarke asked. “Since that is where you’re living at this time, right?”

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TT2.40: Reparations

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PART 40: REPARATIONS

“Corry… I want to know what’s really going on.”

Her twin blinked back at her in surprise. “What’s going on with what?”

For a moment, Laurie regretted saying anything. However, after both knocking AND waiting for Corry to invite her in, she decided she might as well see things through. She closed the door behind herself, to make it harder to leave.

“What’s going on with Carrie and Julie,” Laurie explained softly.

Corry sat up on his bed. “What has Chartreuse been telling you?”

Laurie tried to remember; she shouldn’t have left this talk for so late into the evening. “Not much. But she said that you both talked, and that she’d decided to tell you a bit about what was going on, and that you didn’t think there was any point her discussing more about the time traveling stuff with me today.”

“Okay,” Corry said, visibly relaxing. “So?”

“So… I’ve decided I’m going to go see Chartreuse’s other friends tomorrow. To learn more about this on my own.”

Corry’s face clouded again. “I see. Why is that?”

“Because I want to,” Laurie stated. She forced herself to breathe, and speak in short sentences. “Because Chartreuse is right about stuff a lot more often than you give her credit for. And also because I need to know what really happened to Carrie and Julie. Even if that means finding out that my own brother is behind it all.”

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TT2.39: Recovery Mode

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PART 39: RECOVERY MODE

Corry Veniti tapped his pencil on the page before him as he contemplated the conversation he’d had with his sister. Despite telling her to put the whole Carrie/Julie situation behind them, Laurie’s mannerisms had suggested to him that she wouldn’t be able to do that.

Truth be told, the unanswered questions were gnawing at him too. He’d never been fond of mysteries relating to Julie. How was it no one at school knew what had happened to her? Could she have been kidnapped by someone? On account of those flyers he’d printed? Was her disappearance his fault?

“Stop that,” Corry admonished himself. “This isn’t my problem. It’s HER problem.” He reached out to resume the play of Beethoven’s fifth. Then stopped it again minutes later. “I brushed Laurie off too quickly though,” he decided. “I should have done something more to distract her.”

Making up his mind, Corry rose from his desk, leaving his chemistry unfinished. However, as he reached his sister’s bedroom, he heard Laurie exclaim something which sounded like “TIME machine??”. Chartreuse’s voice followed, mentioning “tricky special stuff”.

With his hand raised to knock, Corry instead found himself leaning in closer to the door, to catch more of whatever was going on. He didn’t like what little he heard. He decided to challenge Chartreuse about it as soon as he had the chance.

***

“We have to talk,” Corry repeated icily. “Now.”

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TT2.38: Coming Together

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PART 38: COMING TOGETHER

Laurie finished shading in her drawing, then leaned back to get a better overall look. The kitten stared up at her from the page with small, sad eyes. “Oh, who am I kidding?” Laurie whimpered. She pushed aside her sketch pad and leaned over her desk, cradling her head in her arms. “Drawing won’t cheer me up. I should get back to my math.”

The redhead reached out and flipped open her textbook, pulling it over and staring down at it blankly. Golly, this unit was hard to figure out! It was bad enough trying to understand math under normal circumstances… now, what with Carrie in the hospital, and Clarke withdrawing, no doubt due to Julie’s disappearance…

“I can’t concentrate,” Laurie wailed aloud. She pushed the textbook away and picked up her pencil again. However, after less than a minute of doodling, Laurie had tossed it aside once more.

“I’ll see what Corry’s up to,” she decided. Heading out of her room, she went down the hall, making a point of knocking on her brother’s door.

“Who’s there?” Corry called out.

Laurie turned the knob and peered around the corner. “Who d’you think?” she answered.

“I said ‘who’s there’ not ‘come in’,” Corry observed dryly, turning away from his own desk. He reached out and hit pause on his music player, cutting off the sound of classical music.

“Close enough,” Laurie said. “I did knock.”

Corry rolled his eyes. “Guess that’s what confused me. Okay little sis, what’s up?”

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TT2.37: Geography & Geometry

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PART 37: GEOGRAPHY & GEOMETRY

Hank Waterson stared down at the prone form of his daughter, lying on the hospital bed. For once, Carrie seemed conscious, but her eyes were blank. She didn’t seem to be aware of her surroundings.

“Carrie?” Hank whispered to her, again taking her by the hand. “Carrie, it will be all right, do you hear me? I’ve got the doctors doing everything that they can. So stay strong, honey, we’ll get through this. And then… then maybe we’ll go to a hockey game? Or anywhere you like. Okay? Please, you’ve got to stay with me.”

Hank squeezed his eyes shut to try and hold back the tears. ‘I can’t lose her now, not like this,’ he pleaded silently. ‘Please, someone… find a way to help my daughter…’

The teenagers in Frank’s basement couldn’t hear Mr. Waterson’s plea. But they were working on a plan.

***

“Right then,” Frank said, placing his palms upon the lab table. He looked out at the faces of Luci, Tim, Chartreuse and Clarke. “Let’s get this meeting underway.”

He turned to Chartreuse. “Do you have any further news concerning Carrie’s condition?”

Chartreuse shook her head. “I did another vision quest last night but got, you know, the same results,” she reported. “Namely that Carrie won’t get any worse until after this weekend. It could be as early as Monday that she, well…” The pink haired girl bit her lip.

“So, if this doesn’t come together, I’m revealing the truth about Julie being her shooter tomorrow. Sunday night,” Frank decided. He glanced at Clarke. “You realize we’ll have no choice.”

Clarke nodded. “I… I understand,” he said. “It is nice that you’re still giving Julie every chance.”

Frank rubbed the back of his neck. “Honestly? I nearly told the police the morning after Shady called. Luci talked me into waiting through the weekend, as I’d originally intended.”

“I simply don’t trust this Shady guy who called Frank,” Luci piped up. “He seems to have his own agenda, and doesn’t care about the rest of us at all. Besides, we have our own future divining rod.” She smiled over at Chartreuse.

“W-what is it that you’re proposing then?” Tim wondered.

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