Chartreuse

TT4.94a: Realignment

PREVIOUSLY: Much Elder Carrie (Liz) sabotaged her own Timeline Three, leading to Elder Carrie abducting her teenaged self from the past.

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PART 94a: REALIGNMENT

Carrie’s fingers curled around the crystal object, aware that more tears were coming. Because here she was, at the mercy of her Future Self, being time shifted into Her Future… a future where Carrie would never see her parents, her friends, or that one ray of sunshine – her once possible girlfriend – ever again.

“CARRIE!”

Oh no, now she was imagining Chartreuse’s voice in her head.

“Carrie, are you there?! We don’t, like, have much time, but PLEASE hear me, there’s something you’ve gotta do!”

Okay, this was becoming surprisingly vivid for a delusion.

“Chartreuse?” Carrie whimpered.

“Carrie!” the voice came again. “Yesssss! Ohhh, I really hope you’re, you know, the right one. Look, we’re not giving up on you. The others, they’re gonna follow you, they’re following you even now – but you’ve gotta, like, hide them from the other you. Okay?”

Carrie blinked. What the hell did that mean?

“I mean you’ve gotta, like, spot their time car, and nudge it. Nudge it ahead, into, you know, the other timeline. Temporarily. Hurry!”

Oh sure, right, piece of cake, just do the thing she had no idea how to do, while her Elder Self was busy keeping her powers in check.

“If anyone can do it, you can! Please Carrie, PLEASE, otherwise… otherwise, you know, I think you’ll be lost to us forever.”

The meditation crystal dug into her palm so hard it hurt. No. She wasn’t going to lose Chartreuse forever. Hell, nothing in life had been easy to this point, right? Why assume that knowing the truth about her mama would have made things any easier?

So, as she was towed along in the wake of her Future Self, Carrie cautiously extended her senses, looking for the ‘time car’ that kept getting referenced. At the same time, she became aware of a wake, like what existed behind a boat, that was rippling out around them… could she somehow nudge a time traveller out of it’s path, and ahead of them? Even preserve it in some sort of time bubble?

She spotted the vehicle right before her Future Self emerged into The Future, wincing as her ‘nudge’ ended up being more like a powerful ‘bump’, and what little temporal energy she had left completely ebbed away at the act.

***

Frank stared. Both Carries had disappeared. At this point, neither the old-old Carrie who had been reaching for the activation panel, nor the old Carrie who had been arguing with her, were present. Instead, Frank saw that Walter had somehow set his chair back up, and was reaching in for the activation panel himself.

Frank looked around the room, feeling like he’d missed something. He leaned back in towards the observation windows, catching sight of Mindylenopia down in the displacement room – she was standing and waving. Not on the floor, defeated. Then there was a bright flash of light, forcing him to look away, and when he turned back, the displacement room was empty.

Walter jerked his hand back from the panel. “What did I just do?”

Frank reached out to tap at the desk. It felt solid now.

Walter spun to face him. “Where did you just come from?”

“Oh, I’m Chronologic Patrol.” Frank fumbled in Mindy’s handbag for the temporal gun, pulling it out and pointing it Walter’s way. “Just stay calm, I don’t want any trouble.”

Then there was another flash, and three more individuals appeared in the room. The Older Carrie was back! Along with Glen, and a blonde teenager in a blue business suit… but that had to be his Carrie. Could it be that, somehow, he was here at the end of their journey from the airport? Frank quickly reached down, flicking the switch on the gun over to “Carrie” mode, and he fired at the Elder Version.

At the pulse of high energy, the old Carrie collapsed down onto the ground, even as the recoil sent Frank flying back into the wall, hard enough to leave a crack. He groaned, feeling dazed. His version of Carrie didn’t look that much better off, having slumped to the floor after their arrival.

“I’m OUT,” Walter shrieked, running for the door. “You don’t pay me enough for this!”

As such, the only person in the room retaining full command of their faculties ended up being Glinephanis, aka Glen Oaks. And after taking in the situation, and snarling, “You Mundane morons,” his next move was to drag the unconscious Elder Carrie towards the door, following after Walter.

“Glen, wait,” Frank protested. He took a couple of shaky steps, then decided it might be better to check on the status of his own Carrie instead.

She looked up at him as he touched her shoulder. “I’m still here,” she murmured, dazed. “So did that time bump on your car work? Did it hide you from my older self? Have we won?”

Frank crouched down. “We haven’t won yet.” He glanced at the door through which Glen and Elder Carrie had exited. “But we may have bought ourselves some time.”

“Peachy.” She shook her head. “Okay, the freeze effect is wearing off. I feel like I’ll be able to do time stuff again soon. For my next trick, I shall attempt to not become the Carrie who kidnaps mama, and her unborn child.”

“Er, great. How will you do that?”

“No idea. Help me up.” She blinked at him. “Actually, correction. Take off your stupid wig while I remove this jacket, and then help me up.”

Frank straightened, tugging off the disguise he’d been wearing. Meanwhile, Carrie tossed aside her flight hat, allowing her long blonde hair to flow down her back again, and she shrugged off the jacket part of the business suit.

He reached a hand down. Carrie clasped it, and he pulled her onto her feet. “Do we have a plan?” he asked.

“Good question.” Carrie looked around. “Where are we?”

“A stationary temporal generator on the day of your fiftieth birthday. Mindylenopia was just sent back in time, into our past.”

“Oh. Okay, sure.” Carrie moved to look through the observation windows. “Why are we here? Didn’t you arrive in a time car?”

“We did,” Frank admitted. “The circuits were fried. Luci impounded it yesterday, sort of. I’m not sure where it is now.”

Carrie shook her head. “Wait, what? You didn’t mention Luci had come to Miami with you.”

“Er, no, not Luci from our Present. This time’s Luci, a Future Luci.”

“Ah. That’s going to get confusing, isn’t it,” Carrie sighed.

“Well, not necessarily. I died in the past, so if anyone says Frank, it’s probably me,” he said, trying to make a joke of it. He frowned. “Then again, I used the name Bernard with Mindylenopia…”

Carrie shook her head. “You’re not dead, Frank, don’t say that. It’s Timeline THREE where you died, and that’s gotta be where I ended up hip-checking your car, to keep you safe. When I left you in the airport, a few minutes ago, you were raving about us being in ‘Timeline Four’. So that should still be where we’re at now – er, unless you’re saying you later died in ‘Timeline Four’ too?”

“I… I don’t know. Wait, you did what to our vehicle?”

“You were constantly a few seconds ahead of the temporal wave created by Mindy’s arrival in the past, until right before my arrival here. It was Chartreuse’s idea.”

“Okay then. Er, which Chartreuse?”

Carrie smacked her palm against her face and dragged it down until it slid off her chin. “I don’t know, one of ’em. Look, for my own sanity, as of RIGHT now, everyone who’s temporally displaced? Meaning not part of this future? Meaning us? Middle names. Understood?”

Bernard nodded. “Sure. Except I… I don’t actually know the middle names for Tim or Laurie.”

Elizabeth exhaled. “I will make them up if I have to. Where are they, anyway?”

“They’re still out with the resistance forces. Actually, I need to get them a message,” Bernard realized. “With Future Mindylenopia back in our past, and Carrie temporarily down, Luci and the rest of them need to know that it’s time to storm in and take this building.”

“Thrilling. Meanwhile, I kind of want all of us middle namers together, so let’s see if I can’t kill two birds with one jump. Give me a moment, knowing how to centre on people is fresh in my head.” Elizabeth closed her eyes. Moments later, she disappeared.

***

“Freeze!”

Tim jerked his hands into the air. “Whoa, whoa, J-Julie, it’s me.” He turned to Lee, only to see that the operations co-ordinator had also drawn a weapon. Though unlike Julie, he wasn’t pointing it at Tim. Yet.

“How did the kid get in here?” Lee demanded.

Julie shook her head. “I don’t know. I turned around, and there he was.”

Lee turned his head. “Theresa, did you see where he came from?”

“Theresa?” Tim blurted. “Wh-What happened to Megan??”

“Hold on,” the red haired woman said, over the video link. “It IS possible that things get a little weird now…”

Which was when seventeen year old Elizabeth popped into the room. “Hi!” she chirped at Lee. “Resistance, yes? Start the attack. I need to borrow… Tim, what’s your middle name?”

“Um, Anthony?”

“To borrow Anthony. Correction, I’m taking him, because he’s from the past, and as such, probably not coming back here. Thank you, have a nice day.”

Anthony shook his head. “Carrie, what–”

“Elizabeth,” she corrected, before grasping his shoulder and time jumping.

***

Laurie did a double take. One moment, Luci had been walking ahead of her, leading her to the car – and in the next moment, the asian woman was gone. Except, turning around, Laurie discovered that Luci was now approaching her from behind. “Luci?” she asked.

“Okay, where did you come from?” Luci demanded.

Laurie blinked, and pointed over Luci’s shoulder. “Back there?”

“No, I mean one moment I was alone out here, and now I’m not,” Luci insisted. “How did you do that? And how do you know me?”

“What?” Laurie protested. “Okay, no, see, one moment you were up there, and now you’re back here.” She continued to point for emphasis.

Luci shook her head. “You’re not making sense – but you do look familiar. Are you one of the guests from Carrie’s party, perhaps?”

Laurie stared. And then Elizabeth appeared beside her. “Found you,” the blonde said. “Why are you here with – ooh, hold up, you’re Luci, right?”

Luci nodded, now looking concerned.

“Luci, can you make a point of locking down the time car that must have recently appeared? I can’t grab it yet, but I sure as heck don’t need the extra aggravation of worrying about it while I fight myself.”

Luci gaped. Elizabeth then turned to Laurie. “I think your middle name is Amelia?”

Amelia blinked. “Yeah – y-you know about that?”

“I must have looked it up at some point. Come along, Amelia.” Elizabeth reached out her hand. Amelia took it, and then the both of them disappeared off the street corner.

***

“This is incredible,” Anthony said, as Elizabeth and Amelia appeared in the generator control room next to him and Bernard. “Carr– um, Elizabeth, could you, like, pop the entire resistance invasion force into this room by doing that?”

“No,” Elizabeth said, letting out a slow breath. “Because first, it would have to be one at a time, second, I only made it back here by centring on Bernard, and finally, those couple trips took a LOT out of me.” She released Amelia. “But I wanted us all here because I need your input. Given how I think I’ll now need to defeat… me. Future Carrie.”

“You… you’re okay with doing that?” Amelia wondered.

Elizabeth shook her head. “No. Not really. Because I don’t see how it’s even possible. Carrie knows my every move, not merely because she’s particularly canny, well educated, or – let’s toss this in for laughs – hauntingly good looking, but because she WAS ONCE ME. Meaning the Elder Carrie HAS TO KNOW whatever it is I’m going to try next.” The blonde bit down on her lower lip. “As such, whatever I think of is a bad idea. So I’m kind of open to suggestions?”

At first, no one spoke.

*

ASIDE: The stage is set, the Liz & Mindy pieces will be explained shortly. What might you suggest to Elizabeth?

Incidentally, Tartra wrote a WFG review on Saturday, then we set a new all time high pageview count on Sunday, shattering our ceiling of 113. Hello to the person who apparently read the archive? (With the Part A&B thing, T&T is now 128 posts long.) Tartra writes “The Other Kind of Roommate” if anyone’s looking for more reading material.

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TT4.93b: Timeline Four Redux

PREVIOUSLY: Frank, Laurie and Tim ended up in the future of “Timeline Three”. A timeline where Mindy never travelled back. But then Carrie got herself to destroy “Timeline Three”…

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PART 93b: TIMELINE FOUR REDUX

Luci had just arrived at home when when she received the call. She pulled the device out of her pocket, blinking at the display. “Answer,” she told it. The call connected. “Phil? Something wrong?”

“Yes. No. I don’t know,” he said, his holographic face looking very frustrated.

Luci tossed her key fob on the side table and shut her front door. “How was the visit? Is Laurie okay?”

“Laurie’s fine. Luci, I’ve pulled my tow truck over to the side of the road.”

“Why?”

“I don’t know. But I feel like maybe it’s bleedthrough?”

She peered at his expression. He seemed sincere. “Can’t be. There’s no major operations planned in the area that would attract attention.”

“Luci, I’ve pulled over to the side of the road, and for no particular reason, I’m remembering that time I worked on a Chevy in… I think it was senior auto shop class.”

“Phil, I swear, we’re not up to anything.” Luci chewed her lower lip. “Want to meet though? At the small cafe on the outskirts of town?”

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TT4.92b: Veni, Vidi, Veniti

PREVIOUSLY: One of the security people is immune to Mindy’s mental power. Elsewhere, Laurie hears sounds of a struggle.

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PART 92b: VENI, VIDI, VENITI

“Tim, I can hear someone nearby who’s in trouble,” Laurie said.

“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?”

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TT4.91b: Rewrite the Future

PREVIOUSLY: They need what Julie has, to help Mindy travel back. But Luci tried to throw Julie out, after some uncomfortable truths were revealed.

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PART 91b: REWRITE THE FUTURE

Julie had pulled her glasses back out. The way she tapped at the arms and blinked very deliberately helped Frank realize that they were some sort of technological device; maybe she was using them to read the daily news. Or to communicate with someone?

Then again, Luci didn’t seem to be concerned by Julie’s actions. The asian woman merely glared at her house guest from across the dining room table, as Julie continued to stare at her lenses. Deliberately ignoring everyone present. With a sigh, Frank made sure Tim and Laurie were okay on the sofa, the blonde boy doing his best to console their redheaded friend, then he returned to the table.

“Okay,” Frank sighed. “Julie. Here’s the thing. What you’ve got? Luci thought it would make this mission safe for us. Or safer, at least. Knowing that, why would you willingly take those items away, increasing the danger?”

“Because obviously Luci doesn’t need them after all,” Julie said dryly. “Besides, if she truly cared about safety then her resistance friends wouldn’t be–”

“I have been trying to FIX that, Julie! I was making an effort, and I’ve redoubled my efforts since losing–”

“Oh, I’m sorry, you want points for better late than nev–”

“Okay, stop,” Frank said, cutting between them. He drew in a long breath. “Look. I obviously don’t know the whole history here. But I DO know you two – or knew you – when you were my age. Back when Julie tended to work on her projects all by herself, while Luci had a habit of speaking her mind regardless of the consequences. Back when, despite those differences, you both cared. About each other, and about what was going on around you. So, know what? I think that means you still care. Both of you. Somehow, you’ve simply blinded yourselves to that reality over the last thirty years.”

Julie’s posture went rigid, and she reached up to pull her glasses back off. Luci bit down on her lower lip, turning away from Julie to face the wall. For a moment, neither spoke.

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TT4.90a: Fight the Future

PREVIOUSLY: Stuck in the wrong future, Frank and Tim meet Mindylenopia – because Future Mindy in their past will have suggested it.

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PART 90a: FIGHT THE FUTURE

She came around the side of the building moments after Frank and Tim sat down on the bench. Frank hoped his initial shock didn’t show on his face. After all, Mindylenopia looked so much younger, having reverted back to being the teenage-looking version who had driven the van into their school. With shorter hair and everything. And despite the chill March air, she had her jacket open, revealing a tight red blouse, which matched her knee length skirt. Hoping to distract them, maybe?

Frank started to rise, only to have her gesture for him to sit. The redheaded Temporal then sat down next to him, peering out at the landscape. “So, are you simply Mundanes trying to speak our language?” Mindylenopia asked, without turning. “Or are you under someone else’s control, trying to determine my true allegiances?”

“The former,” Frank answered, before he could stop himself. Perhaps she’d exerted her power. “We…”

“If you’re able to run interference for me tomorrow night, keep talking, if not, I have no use for you.”

“We want to make sure you succeed in your…”

“Great, then can you find a redhead who could double for me, and who also speaks your rudimentary Temporal?”

It occurred to him that Laurie kind of fit that description. “Maybe, but Mindylenopia, can I finish a…”

“No. Concerning the redhead, switch to a definite yes or no, otherwise I’m out.”

Frank let out an exasperated sigh, as he realized Mindy’s future incarnation was at least ten times less patient than Theresa had ever been, even on a bad day. “Yes, PROVIDED,” he added quickly, “that I come with you.”

Mindylenopia frowned and finally turned to look at him. “%You want to go on a suicide mission?%

Tim flinched. “S-She says you could get killed.”

“Will,” Mindylenopia corrected. “Will get killed. Because I’m the only one travelling back, and as such, anyone else still in the compound after I leave? Has no chance.”

“Why, are you planning to blow it up?” Frank said, eyes widening.

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TT4.88b: Future Imperfect

PREVIOUSLY: A fifty-year old Carrie has abducted her teenaged self. Characters have pursued her from their past… to the uncertain future.

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PART 88b: FUTURE IMPERFECT

And Carrie felt the time streams pulling at them, and there was nothing her friends could do, she was being pulled away, pulled off into the future, down a path that had no turns…

Wait, could she move? Was Elder Carrie losing her grip? Her fingers twitched, but no, that wasn’t enough, she was unable to pull away… a single tear trickled out of the corner of her eye, as Carrie Waterson, the future Temporal Weapon, surrendered herself to the inevitable. Her hands slipping into her jacket pockets.

Which was where she felt a hard object. Of course – it was the meditation crystal. The one Chartreuse had given her yesterday, or rather the day of the talent show. Carrie had brought it along with her, feeling like it might help her to feel connected to Chartreuse… and by extension all of the other people she had been hoping to protect. But she had failed them. She had failed them all. Even her parents.

Carrie’s fingers curled around the crystal object, aware that more tears were coming. Because here she was, at the mercy of her Future Self, being time shifted into Her Future… a future where Carrie would never see her parents, her friends, or that one ray of sunshine – her once possible girlfriend – ever again.

“CARRIE!”

Oh no, now she was imagining Chartreuse’s voice in her head.

“Carrie, are you there?! We don’t, like, have much time, but PLEASE hear me, there’s something you’ve gotta do!”

***

Frank gently tapped at Laurie’s face until she murmured and her eyes blinked open. She immediately sat up, seemingly registering how he’d taken her out of the time car, to be laid in a field. “What happened?” the redhead gasped. “Did it work? Are we in the future?”

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