TT3

TT3.70b: Timeline Four

Previously: Luci’s consciousness became trapped inside Frank’s body with him, all because Carrie wanted to rig up the time machine. Frank took control, for a last ditch effort…

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PART 3.23b: TIMELINE FOUR 2

MiniBanner“Carrie, I…” Frank/Luci turned to look at her, seemingly searching for the words. “I’m sorry,” he said at last. “Please don’t blame yourself here. This is my decision. I know what’s going to happen, but according to our calculations, it’s the only way.”

Carrie sighed back. “Oh, now what are you–” She stopped when she saw the look in Frank’s eyes. And saw not only the quiet intensity there, but somehow, how those same eyes were also pleading desperately with her.

Which was when it first occurred to Carrie to really question why, ever since the plan had been proposed, Luci had not been in control of the body.

“No,” Carrie breathed, the truth of the situation dawning on her. The reason why Frank was experiencing those physical pains as he tried to enact this plan. Along with the explanation for why Luci’s essence would get forced out of Frank’s body. But he wouldn’t… he COULDN’T…

Frank nodded slightly, as if he knew she’d worked it out. “Take care of Luci for me, Carrie.”

“Frank, NO!” Carrie screamed, jumping for him.

He brought Luci’s hand down. The rod slammed into the fuse box. There was a huge shower of sparks, and an explosion of light and sound. Carrie was knocked back off her feet, only dimly aware of the cloud of smoke billowing around her. Only dimly aware of the residual static left in the air, after Luci’s body and the time machine had disappeared. But all too aware of the lethal charge that had been sent through Frank’s body.

Carrie felt like her head was being peeled open like an orange.

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TT3.70a: Timeline Four

Previously: An accident with the time machine placed Luci’s consciousness into Frank’s body. They can communicate while unconscious, and are looking for a way to fix things.

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PART 3.23a: TIMELINE FOUR 1

MiniBannerCarrie frowned. “So… you’re inside Frank’s head… and he’s in there with you… but he can only surface in your dreams?”

Luci/Frank managed to suppress a sigh, poking her/his fork into her/his plate of cafeteria fries. “Repeating that back to us isn’t going to make it any less true, Carrie.”

“Right, okay.” She thought for a moment. “On the bright side, if both essences are available, we have a shot at disint… er, UNintegrating the two of you. Right?”

Luci/Frank shook her head. “I was late to school today because I wanted to keep at the equations. So far, it doesn’t look good. Did you and Glen have any luck talking about the machine itself?”

Carrie shook her head back. “I stayed on the phone with him as long as my dad would let me, but the only scenario we can think of is to have your body – that is, Luci’s – available on the other end of the wormhole when you emerge from your initial trip. You know, when you first got, uh, fused. Granted, it presumes Luci’s essence will be able to find itself – yourself – and then, for the sake of self-consistency, it will require that the resulting version of Frank travels in time, to our present. Where he pretends he’s Luci. Which would be what you’re doing here.”

Luci/Frank wrinkled her nose. “Okay, but since I know I’m NOT pretending, we know THAT plan won’t work,” she reasoned.

“Aha, but how do I know you’re not just *pretending* to not be pretending?” Carrie countered, waggling her finger. Luci/Frank glared. Carrie lowered her hand. “Fine. If it’s any comfort, the longer this goes on, the bigger the temporal headache I seem to be getting. I might not last until your future arrival date.”

“My own body might not last either!” Luci/Frank noted. “When I checked on myself this morning, my body’s pulse was even weaker than last night. Besides, what do we tell my parents, that I went on vacation to Florida??”

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TT3.69b: Do You Mind?

Previously: Frank’s body appeared after a time trip, while in the present, Luci is unconscious. Worried, Carrie discusses the mechanics of the time machine with Glen.

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PART 3.22b: DO YOU MIND? 2

MiniBannerCarrie began to look ill. “You’re saying that when the time machine became active, with Luci connected to Frank through the tweezers, rather than through physical contact… no, NO, look, her whole body is still here!” She grabbed for Glen’s shirt with one hand, while pointing at Luci with the other. “So she must be okay, right?”

Glen rubbed his forehead. “Look, I’m no expert on the inner workings of the devices themselves, what I’ve said is pretty basic temporal theory. All I can say for sure is that the equations get trickier when metal is involved. Because it’s metallic coins which are flash fried in the thing as a power source. So maybe Luci… her brain… well, part of it might have been flash fried too. Through that metal conduit.”

“But… but look, LOOK, she’s still breathing…” Carrie said, releasing him as her whole body began to shake. “And it w-was just tweezers…”

Glen bent down next to Luci’s body once more, again checking her eyes and her pulse. He shook his head. Maybe the time had come for them after all? “There’s no way to know for sure, but given she’s been like this for more than half an hour…”

“No! I refuse to accept that I had a hand in turning Luci into a… a vegetable!!” Carrie said, stepping forwards. “There must be some…”

She froze as the basement door opened, and there came the sound of someone rushing downstairs. But it wasn’t one of Frank’s parents. In fact, as Glen turned, he saw it was Frank himself. The latest arrival took in the scene, immediately catching sight of the body on the floor. He then dropped the time machine, running to kneel down by Luci.

“Oh my God!” Frank gasped. “What’s happened to me?!”

“We’re not sure,” Carrie admitted. “Glen thinks that some part of Luci was…” She stopped. “Wait, happened to YOU? What do you mean, Frank?”

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TT3.69a: Do You Mind?

Previously: Julie broke up with Clarke. Carrie hoped Frank or Luci could rig the time machine for an automatic run. Hank Waterson wrote a short story about the Chosen Bunny.

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PART 3.22a: DO YOU MIND? 1

MiniBannerFrank’s basement lab was empty; the lights were off, and all was quiet. There was a brief explosion of light, and then all was quiet again – though now Frank’s body was lying on the ground. It sat next to a black box that resembled a cross between a computerized slot machine and a cash register.

“Ooooohh,” he groaned. “Frank, what caused that?”

The teenager struggled to sit up, moving to rub his eyes, his hands hitting his glasses. The dark haired boy paused, then reached up to pull the glasses off. He lay there for a moment, staring at them in shock.

“What the hell?”

Having spoken again, Frank reached a hand up to his throat. Then, slipping his glasses back on, he pushed himself up to his knees and took a look down at his body. “Oh my God,” Frank choked out. “Oh God, no, oh no, no, no… wh- what’s HAPPENED to me?!?”

Frank’s body swayed unsteadily for a few seconds before dropping back to the floor and falling unconscious.

***

“Hello,” Mrs. Dijora said pleasantly, opening the door. “How can I help–”

“He’s with me!” Carrie said, dashing down the hall behind her. The blonde teenager grabbed the arm of their visitor, tugging on it. “With us, that is,” she clarified. “We’re all still finishing our extra curricular project in the basement and we need Glen’s help! Now!”

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TT3.68b: Woodlands Omen

Previously: Hank Waterson writes a story about woodland creatures with magical powers who have the names of Carrie’s friends. Raccoon Glen found evidence Fox Julie was a traitor.

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PART 3.21b: WOODLANDS OMEN 2

MiniBanner“Right, a fox got double crossed, I’m so sure,” Carrie retorted.

“Carrie, she should get the benefit of the doubt,” Clarke put in quietly. “If we persecute people based largely on their animal heritage, we’re no better than the humans.” Carrie blinked at the beaver in surprise, appeared to think about that for a moment, then with a frown, she released Julie’s tail.

“But, okay,” Laurie said, puzzled. “If this documentation IS fake, and Julie’s NOT the traitor… who else COULD it be?”

As if on cue, there was the sound of something breaking the surface of the earth less than a metre away. Everyone turned in time to see a groundhog poke his head out. “Oh, g-g-good you’re still h-here!” it said in relief, scampering out of the hole. Behind him, a squirrel peered out of the hole as well.

“Luci?” Frank said in shock. “Where have you been?”

“Covert work underground,” Luci explained. “Sorry that me and Tim are late, but he can’t conjure his flashlight any more and we took a couple wrong turns.” She jumped out of the hole and shook the dirt off of herself.

“We were able to translate a pertinent passage though,” Tim said, holding a sheaf of papers out towards Julie. “I think you’ll be p-pleased with the r-r-results!”

“Passage? Covert mission? What the devil is going on here?” Corry said.

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TT3.68a: Woodlands Omen

Previously: Hank Waterson writes a story about woodland creatures with magical powers who have the names of Carrie’s friends. … Roll with it.

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PART 3.21a: WOODLANDS OMEN 1

MiniBannerHank Waterson did a quick scan back over what he had written. His short story had thus far incorporated most of Carrie’s friends as woodland animals with human sentience. Along with them, he had now written in two actual human characters, whose mysterious conversation had implied that there was a traitor within the animal group. Who was it?

Hank rubbed his chin. He wasn’t quite sure which one of them to use, and thus he decided to simply see where the narrative took him.

***

Slowly, the woodland creatures came out of hiding.

“So… what do you think about that?” Frank wondered.

“Mindy’s got a nice back end, for a human?” Lee offered.

“Okay, pretty sure Frank’s referring to the fact that there’s totally a TRAITOR among us!” Chartreuse wailed.

Lee shrugged. “Trying to lighten the mood.”

“Don’t. Now is the time to get serious,” Corry growled. “Because if one of us is feeding these humans lies, and telling them things that will lead to us losing our powers within a week? That’s a MAJOR problem.”

“It can’t be one of us. Whoever the traitor is, they already knew about this clearing having ties to the magical effects,” Julie noted. “Remember, that Shady guy implied it was their dumping here that caused a neutralizing effect.”

“Hey, any of us could know more about this clearing than what we’ve said,” Luci said, glancing about suspiciously. “The question is, why would anyone want us forest creatures to go all mundane?”

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