TT4.96b: Resolution

PREVIOUSLY: Carrie/Elizabeth forked the timeline. This allows her to become a Temporal God in the timeline she created.

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Chartreuse counted to ten before following Frank and Beth around to the front of the library. She watched as the time trippers piled into the time car and, after Frank grabbed the briefcase from the trunk, finally pulled away from the building.

She then ducked down as the gunman who had fired in their direction ran down the front steps of the library, waving his weapon. The guy managed to prevent a vehicle that had been pulling out of the parking lot from leaving. It was as the guy climbed into the passenger seat, pointing his gun at the driver, that Chartreuse knelt down in the snow, to open the trombone case she was carrying.

She pulled out the temporal gun. Along with one other item.

As the gunman’s hijacked car drove out onto the road, there was a flash of light. The driver swerved to avoid hitting the glasses-wearing teenager who had appeared. The car hit a patch of ice and spun out, slamming into a nearby telephone pole. The passenger door was wedged shut in the impact; for the moment, there was nothing to worry about there.

Chartreuse attached her item onto the recharge port of the gun. She then moved to get herself a good bracing position at the bottom of the staircase, kneeling down, pressing the bottom of her boot back into the concrete pillar. She knew the kickback from the gun would be a problem.

A second blond man ran out of the library, followed closely by Lee and Luci. The guy dashed down the stairs, and got about three steps further before being clocked in the head by the dictionary Lee had thrown. Their adversary went face first into a snowbank. Not that far away from him, another familiar person appeared from out of nowhere.

“Tim?” Luci gasped. She took the stairs down two at a time, pausing at the bottom. “Chartreuse? What are you doing?”

“Preparing,” she muttered back. She took aim across the parking lot.

Luci blinked. “When did you end up with the temporal gun? And why is the safety off?”

Luci reached down for it, and Chartreuse slapped her hand away.

“Chartreuse!” Luci said. “You’re being reckless – and what do you have on the recharge port?”

“A battery.”

Luci’s eyes widened. “WHAT? You CANNOT be thinking of charging that thing while you’re firing. That’s INSANE.”

“So is she,” Chartreuse whispered.

A short distance away, Laurie appeared.

Luci now reached down with both hands, and so Chartreuse shoved her friend back, out of the way. Luci fell into the snow. “Luci, I’ll, you know, explain later, there’s no time now!”

“Why not? Chartreuse, what is going on?”

Chartreuse looked back at the asian girl, and then at Lee, who was helping her stand back up. In that instant, Chartreuse wondered, what if she died here, and never got to explain?

“Okay, fast version? The day after we, like, talked to Mr. Waterson, I had a vision of today. Looking into it more led me to this experience ten minutes ago, where I used a set of paired relaxation crystals to tell our Carrie to, you know, nudge Mindy’s time car. And now I know that in, like, a few seconds, I’ll have my only chance at saving her.”

Chartreuse looked back across the parking lot. Which was when the blonde teenager appeared, her maniacal laughter echoing eerily around the whole area, her feet starting to lift off the ground as temporal energy sparked all around her, originating at her fingertips.

Chartreuse fired.

Energy lanced out of the gun.

The cackling blonde girl absorbed it. At first.

Chartreuse never moved her finger off the trigger. Even as her own body was driven back into the concrete post behind her, she continued the sustained burst. Tears sprang to her eyes as she felt an ankle give out with a snap, but she kept the gun up and on target. The battery on the port chirped… and the energy blast continued. Across the parking lot, Carrie stopped laughing.

“Chartreuse, stop!” Luci shrieked.

“I’m not losing her again,” Chartreuse cried. “Carrie! Carrie, I love you! CARRIE, COME BACK TO ME!”

“Chartreuse, the gun’s overloading!” Luci reached out again, only to have Lee pull her back, twisting his body around and using it as a shield.

The temporal gun exploded in Chartreuse’s hands.

But not before Carrie’s head had snapped back, her body falling into the snow as the golden light in her eyes faded away.


Carrie listened to the voices around her for a minute or two. From the sound of things, she was again in a hospital. And… geez, had the entire temporal group come to pay her a visit? She cracked open an eyelid.

“Carrie’s awake now,” Luci said immediately.

Opening her other eye, Carrie was able to make out… well, Luci, Frank, Clarke, Julie, Corry, Laurie, Tim, Lee, and even her own father. But not… “Char-treuse?” Carrie croaked out, through dry lips.

Laurie clasped her hands together. “Carrie immediately wants her girlfriend. The one who saved her soul. Oh my God, all the squee!”

The people closest to the head of the bed moved away, and as Lee did so, he made an elaborate gesture towards the next bed over. Carrie followed his motion, where she saw…

“Hi Carrie,” Chartreuse chirped. “I’d, you know, give a thumbs up, except…” She held up her arm, which had been completely wrapped up in bandages.

“She’ll be fine,” Clarke broke in, as Carrie found herself unable to avoid looking horrified. “Don’t worry.”

“Yeah, in fact we originally came here to see Chartreuse,” Corry remarked, crossing his arms. “We didn’t know when you’d wake up. So don’t get a swelled head, Waterson.”

“Speak for yourself,” the older Waterson objected.

Carrie licked her lips, her gaze shifting over to her father. “Dad. Gods, I’m sorry, I never meant to leave you alone in the present for so lon– geuh, I… I mean…”

“He knows about the power,” Frank reminded Carrie. “There was this whole thing where you had a double named Beth wandering through the school last month? So we kind of had to fill him in?”

“Oh. Right.” Carrie brought her hand to her forehead. Last month? “What day IS it?”

“January second,” Tim supplied. “H-Happy new year.”

“I really hope having no coins means we’ll get a few months before we see more time travellers,” Julie observed.

Carrie exhaled. “Yeah, there… there won’t be any more of that happening. Not now. We’re on a parallel time track now.”

The people around her bed exchanged glances. “Carrie,” Frank began. “Based on the temporal theory that a Future Luci explained to me, it’s highly unlikely that multiple time tracks–”

“TRUST me,” Carrie interrupted. “Our Luci’s path itself could be different going forwards. We can talk theory later, but for now, even if anyone from the revised future does try to rewrite us? Believe me when I say I know how to divert them out of our timeline.”

“In a SAFE way, yes?” Chartreuse piped up. “Because I don’t want a rerun. Even setting aside the, you know, temporal gun blowing up on me, I had to stick close to Beth last month in order to get a read on her majorly displaced temporal energy. That way I could, like, use it, in order to forecast my way further into the future than I ever have before. And that sort of ‘vision plus’? Featuring Insane Carrie clarifying the library events I’d seen? Not my, you know, happiest place.”

“I’ll find a safe way of dealing with time travellers,” Carrie assured. She checked herself. “Actually Chartreuse, we both will. Together.”

Chartreuse beamed.

Carrie’s gaze shifted back to her father. “Thing is, in this timeline, I can’t bring Mom back. I’m sorry. If it means anything, she was alive, in the future of another timeline… maybe that’s why some part of you felt like Mom never died?”

Hank Waterson flinched. “Oh. Well. Was she happy there?”

“I… I don’t know. Damn it, I didn’t even check.” Carrie’s head hit her pillow. “I’m sorry. I should have. Hell, maybe I could have even brought her too, I had all that power, it’s just I didn’t even think, I was so focussed on the separation. Dad, I’m so sorry…”

His hand reached out to squeeze hers. “It’s okay, honey. Let’s assume she was happy, and focus on the present. Because Carrie, you’re what’s important to me right now.”

She squeezed his hand back, and found that she was able to meet his hopeful look with a smile.

Lee cleared his throat. “Uh, hate to interrupt a moment, but we already DO have two other time travel guys? Arrested at the library?” He jerked his thumb towards the window. “Do we worry about them?”

Carrie frowned. “No, I wouldn’t. If they were trying to disrupt the awakening of my full potential, it didn’t work.”

“I’ve filed a police report there anyway,” Mr. Waterson added. “Along with what happened at the library, they’re being charged with the attempted kidnapping of my daughter. Never mind that it was technically that Beth girl at the time.”

“So, like Shady, they’re going to end up in the justice system,” Luci mused.

“S-So what’s next for us then?” Tim wondered. “Anything?”

“No,” Carrie groaned. “I pass on doing ANYTHING for the next while. Well, aside from schoolwork, which I guess I’m massively behind on, since my leaving during the talent show.” She looked towards Laurie. “Meaning guess what? You’re still in charge of the cheerleading. In fact, if you’re willing, it’s yours for the rest of our senior year.”

Laurie blinked. “Golly. Thanks.”

Carrie smiled. “Just because this new timeline has me staying in town, that’s no reason to take your future away from you.”

“But Laurie’s behind in her schoolwork too,” Corry protested. “She left for her fake art camp right after you vanished, Carrie!”

“So I’ll work hard,” Laurie said, crossing her arms in imitation of her brother. “Plus I have lots of friends who can help. I’m not letting Carrie or the other cheerleaders down, bro!”

“Ooh, watch out, Power Cad,” Lee said, chuckling at Corry’s sigh of resignation. “Double V here might end up running the school with the Cross One. Instead of it being you and the Rich Witch.”

Clarke frowned. “Witch? Lee, you might want to consider updating–”

“No, no, it’s fine, Phil,” Julie interrupted. “After all, those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it. The only thing that matters to me right now is how the two of us could work on the time car together. To kind of… find ourselves again.” She fingered her rose brooch before leaning into him with a smile. Clarke grinned back, raising his arm to encircle her shoulders.

Frank turned to Carrie. “That reminds me. We didn’t spot the car anywhere in town. Did you send it back?”

Carrie pressed her hand to her head. “Oops. No… I forgot. Didn’t want to do a global removal, or we’d likely have ended up with our Glen again. He’s a headache I don’t need. It’s probably for the best though? No time machine, no time gun, no Temporals, just us, and our normal, everyday lives from this point on.”

“No car and stuff?” Laurie moaned, her arms uncrossing. “Golly, I really hope alt-future-Laurie enjoys using my art supplies.”

Mr. Waterson cleared his throat. “Well, as much as I’m enjoying learning more about recent events, unless there’s anything else that’s urgent, I think my daughter and her girlfriend could use their rest.”

Carrie’s eyes went wide. “Oh. My. God. Dad, NO, do NOT say girlfriend yet, we haven’t really officially – oh NO!” She jerked her gaze back over to the adjacent bed. “Chartreuse, you said you had to get close to Beth? Are you saying you two have, like, kissed the way we did, and that the whole school now knows about… about…”

“No,” Chartreuse gasped. “Carrie, you’re, you know, the only one for me. And if you want, no one outside of this room has to, like, know that.”

“Okay. Okay, good.” Carrie let out a breath. “I mean, others can know. I just need a few days here, minimum.”

“Confirming it IS a relationship?” Luci said, winking.

“She did say kissed Beth ‘the way we did’,” Corry remarked.

“Plus there was that whole soul saving they did,” Julie observed.

Carrie felt her face getting warm. She pulled her bedsheets up over her head. “My Dad said it’s rest time. Goodbye now!” There were a few chuckles, followed by a shuffling of feet as people started moving away.

She gave it a good ten seconds, then pulled the sheets back down to her neck. “But before you leave? Thanks. For everything. I mean it.” She made a point of meeting each of their gazes with a smile, as they looked back at her. “Because I wouldn’t be here now. Not if it weren’t for each and every one of you.”


NEXT: Respite II, an Epilogue of sorts. Please stick around.

ASIDE: Part of the reason for splitting the last entry at this point is for site transition time back to Epsilon Project. (You can vote for that plot here.) But it’s ALSO because Drew Hayes was taking guest posts this week on his site. Read my post here, which in continuity, takes place a few months after the events above. Then consider sticking around on Drew’s site to check out his material, and the other guest posts.

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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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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.”


“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?”


TT4.89a: Identity Crisis

PREVIOUSLY: Frank, Laurie and Tim have chased after Carrie into the future, where they’ve encountered a very worried Elder Clarke – and Mindylenopia’s on the phone?!

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%You have five seconds to explain how you know me, after which this phone will be permanently deactivated. Five… four…%

Frank looked up expectantly, and Tim realized that his friend was anticipating a translation. But Mindylenopia was counting down! By the time he’d explained that she wanted an explanation, they’d be out of time!

%Three… two…%

The only thing he could think of to do that might keep Mindy on the line long enough might get them in trouble instead. But he’d made a number of gambles for their temporal group already. At this point, what was one more? He summoned his resolve.


%We is be friends!%” Tim said, leaning in closer to the device. “%We want with, uh…%” He snapped his fingers twice, unable to think of the word for help. “%We serve you and be happy future!%

For a moment, there was silence on the line, Frank simply looking at Tim in surprise. Then there was the sound of muffled laughter. “Okay,” came Mindylenopia’s voice in English. “You’re either the smartest espionage team ever, certified loons, or people who may actually be of service to me. I can spare some time to find out. 10pm, at the train station.”

Before either of them could speak, the ensuing dial tone indicated that Mindylenopia had hung up.

Frank reached out to tap at the holo-button that would cut off the call. “Uh, thanks Tim,” he acknowledged. “I didn’t realize you and Luci could speak Temporal as well as understand it.”

“We can’t,” Tim sighed. “I may have just told her that we were friendly, and want be her future slaves. But she was counting down to cutting us off for good, and there was no way I could sum up our situation in five seconds, so I thought I’d better try something unexpected.”

“Oh. Well… assuming we can find her train station, that means we still have a shot at figuring out why Mindy gave us her own phone number. So again, thanks.”

Tim shook his head. “How could that even BE Mindy? She… well…”

“This must be before she travels back,” Frank reasoned. “For some reason, when Mindylenopia sent us forward to the future – it was also into her own past.”

“So did she KNOW?” Tim wondered. “The whole time she was Theresa, in our present, did she know we’d eventually meet her, in her past?!”

“That might depend on what we end up saying to her.” Frank sighed. “My new worry is that we might do something that prevents her from going back in the first place.”

“Oh. OH.” Tim’s eyes widened. “I feel like that would be BAD.”

Frank nodded. “For now, let’s get the car into town and meet with Clarke’s contact. Maybe they can provide us with some much needed future context.”


Apparently, Clarke hadn’t ever played professional basketball, had become a mechanic and tow truck driver about ten years ago with the intention of helping people, and had not married Julie. At least, he’d admitted to the first two, and Laurie was pretty sure that his body language had answered that last question, not to mention his changing of the subject. Unless they were divorced? She worked with him for another few minutes in silence.

“How’s your sister?” Laurie asked at last, again seeking some common ground with the Clarke she knew.

He shook his head, looping the length of chain around the front of the Chevrolet to secure it. “Another thing we probably shouldn’t talk about.”

Laurie slumped her shoulders. “Really? We’re stuck with favourite foods and recent movies from my time that are being remade yet again in this future?”

“Sorry, Laurie,” Clarke apologized. “I don’t want to risk changing anything about my past.”

“I don’t think you can,” Laurie assured. “Most of the talk I’ve heard surrounds all time travel being predestined.”

“Yeah. That’s what I thought too.” She fancied then that his gaze drifted to Frank, but maybe he was simply looking back at the tow truck. “I sure hope Luce can sort all of this out.”

“Luce… do you mean Luci?” Laurie ventured. “Wait, Cl– Phil, are we going to see Luci??”

“Crud. Yeah,” Clarke admitted. “And I am seriously going to stop talking now. Otherwise I might let slip about more things. Like that huge ban Canada has on Japanese anime art.”

“WHAT?” Laurie practically shrieked. “The future has banned… okay, NO, don’t even kid about that! Seriously!”

Clarke’s smile widened. “Sorry again. Bad joke, but I couldn’t remember what your other teenage passions were. My point being, sometimes the truth isn’t something you want to know, yeah? And now I truly am done talking.” He hit the lever to pull the front wheels of the Chevy up.

Laurie fired off a look that she hoped was an angry pout. Yet at the same time, she suppressed her desire to ask any further questions.


The trip into Ottawa took less than twenty minutes, but since no one was talking, it felt longer to Frank. They pulled up to the parking lot of a small cafe, on what seemed to be the outskirts of town – and she was there in the parking lot, waiting for them.

Frank felt a lump in his throat, looking at the older version of Luci. It reminded him more of her twenty-year-old artificially aged version than the one they’d left back in the present. Perhaps because the normally so omnipresent little ponytails she sported were gone, in favour of longer hair. It fact, it seemed like Luci had aged well, even though her figure was largely covered up by a long coat. Could she have been his wife, if the two of them had decided not to break up? He shoved those thoughts aside as they all piled out of the tow truck.

Lucille Primrose was all business, her first words to Laurie being “open your mouth”, the asian woman holding out a Q-tip. When Laurie obeyed, Luci swabbed inside, then dropped the Q-tip into a small device she was holding. She peered at it for several seconds, then repeated the process for Tim, and again for Frank. A “ping” came from her device at the end of his analysis, and she looked uneasy.

“Are they the real deal?” Clarke murmured.

Luci didn’t acknowledge the question, instead looking to Frank. “How did you get here?” she demanded.

Frank pointed to the Chevy. “Time car. The circuits burned out on arrival.”

Luci peered at everyone with her heterochromatic eyes, then finally addressed Frank again. “Show me.”

He went back to show her the setup. Her apparent skepticism gradually began to shift into a mix of confusion… with hints of fear. “This is impossible,” she said, echoing Clarke. “How would you even have the means to come this far forwards?”

Frank decided to hedge. “The one who went back to activate Carrie’s powers? He had a coin,” he said, cutting out the Mindy-Linquist part of Tim’s revelation.

“Damn.” Luci rubbed her forehead. “Better question then, WHY make this trip? What could you possibly hope to gain by it?”

Frank again wondered if it was prudent to bring up Mindylenopia.

“Your Future Carrie abducted our Carrie,” Laurie offered. “We want ours back.”

Luci snapped her gaze over towards the redhead. “Impossible.”

“You keep using that word,” Tim quipped. “I d-do not think it means what you think it means.”

Luci regarded them each in turn once again. She seemed to come to a decision. “We’ll need to compare histories. Could take a while. Do you want to freshen up first?”

“We shouldn’t, we kind of have a deadline,” Frank said, thinking of Mindy’s meeting at 10pm.

“But we haven’t had a proper meal in a couple days,” Laurie noted, looking towards the nearby cafe.

Luci followed her gaze, and a smile flickered over her face. “You look like it. Okay, don’t go nuts in there, but I can credit you a meal as we talk.” She turned to Clarke. “You in, or should I recap later?”

“You know I hate getting mixed up in your extracurricular activities, Luce,” Clarke answered, adjusting his glasses. “Plus I’ll never be able to follow your temporal talk. Call me once you know for sure.” He turned to Frank, hesitated, then extended his palm to shake. “I know I ended up acting pretty weird here, but… it was good to see you again. Really.”

“Right,” Frank said, shaking back, even as he wondered as to Clarke’s wistful tone of voice.

He watched as the tall blonde moved to start uncoupling their Chevy from his truck. “Actually, Phil,” Luci broke in, “since you’re set up, could you tow that over to the warehouse? I can give these three a lift to wherever they want after we eat.”

Clarke turned. “Luce…”

“You don’t mind do you?” Luci said, eyeing Frank. “It’ll stand out like a sore thumb in this time period, and maybe our techs can fix it.”

“Techs?” Frank wondered.

A smile tugged at the older Luci’s face. “I’m connected.”

Frank wished he knew more about this future. “You can take it on condition that no one messes with it unless me, Tim or Laurie are present. If our histories have diverged, it could contain information you’re not ready for yet.”

She thought on that for a moment. “Fair. Phil?”

“I can take it over, but then I wash my hands of the whole deal. Except for the phone call you owe me.”

“Also fair,” Luci agreed. “In fact, I’ll owe you a favour too.”

Clarke chuckled. “Fine. I’ll call it in next time I need medical assistance.”

Tim turned to Luci. “Oh, are you a doctor? Because I might need some medication.”

She nodded back. “I have a day job. For now, let’s go talk.”

Laurie raised her hand. “Can I get my suitcase of clothing and art supplies out of the Chevy’s trunk first?”


Luci, as it turned out, couldn’t remember a whole lot about high school. The major events had stuck with her over time, and seemed to have transpired the same way Frank knew them – namely Carrie getting them involved in time travel, Corry’s flyer about Julie’s past prompting the theft of the time machine, and Glen showing up in their senior year. But when they delved a bit deeper, the inconsistencies surfaced.

“I was never artificially aged,” Luci asserted. “And Linquist didn’t hide out, when he sold the mansion it was to live in a smaller house in town instead. One that most people avoided.”

“But if that’s so, then when did you tell me you, uh, had feelings for me?” Frank pressed.

Luci swallowed. “After Carrie got shot by Julie,” she admitted. “It helped me realize how little time all of us have.” She bit down on her lip. The way she was reacting towards him… Frank shook it off.

“So that’s a change of maybe two weeks,” Frank decided. “What else happened around that time… the drugs in Carrie’s locker?”

“Oh right,” Luci recalled. “Yeah, that set up the whole Carrie-Chartreuse dynamic, since they both got detentions.”

“Wait, so they started dating then?”

Luci laughed. “WOW, no. But Carrie did do some strong-arming, and Chartreuse eventually fell for her in a Stockholm Syndrome kind of way.”

“Okay, that might be a parallel…” Frank let out a breath, glancing towards Tim and Laurie.

Tim shrugged. “You’re kinda before my involvement. I’ll shout if I hear something wrong.”

Laurie looked up from the menu, which Luci had downloaded into her device upon entry, and had then offered to share around the table. “Ditto. And what are ‘spam tacos’?”

“Like fish tacos, but vegetarian,” Luci said absently. “Frank, are you trying to pin down a specific event in Carrie’s past?”

“Yes, and I kind of think I know what it is now,” he admitted. “As much as I don’t want to admit it. Luci, after the locker drugs, do you know if Carrie came to see me? If she ended up apologizing to me for everything, and crying on my shoulder in the park?”

Luci flinched back. “Big no, unless that’s something you never told me about. Rather, she cut off everybody, and practically blackmailed the both of us into fixing the time machine. With the intent to, as I later learned, go after her mother. Probably would have done it too, if she hadn’t been shot first.”

“So it’s Theresa,” Frank sighed. Carrie had said something to him in the days following their park encounter, about having had a talk with Theresa. Who was Mindylenopia. Except, she wouldn’t be.

“Who’s Theresa?” Luci questioned, as if to verify his fears.

He might as well just ask. “Luci, in this future… did I die? Back in the past? And is that when Carrie and Glen left town?”

Luci bit down on her lip again. “Yeah,” she admitted, her voice suddenly quiet. “Over a month before you claim to have travelled here. Hence our skepticism and whole ‘this is impossible’ angle.”

Frank slumped down in his chair. That explained it.

Somehow, they had ended up in the future of “Timeline Three”.


NEXT: Timeline Three

ASIDE: How about them apples, huh? Now you have to wait until Friday for a new post. Feel free to comment in the meantime.

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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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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.


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?”


TT4.85b: Closing The Loop

PREVIOUSLY: The time machine has been rebuilt into a car. We know events will send Frank (et al) back in time to pick up Laurie.

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“Coin goes in here,” Julie said, indicating the slot on the Cavalier’s dash, where a radio might once have been. “The silver box thing from the old machine – which was a pain to install, by the way, but is one of the few items we can’t reproduce yet – is back there. It’ll auto-set the year and ultimately flash fry the currency. Keypad here is for entering the other coordinates, namely month, day, and time.”

“So you’ve fixed that random variance thing?” Corry mused.

Julie shook her head. “Nope, still a factor. If you arrive an hour or even a month off from the time you input? Don’t blame me. Now, when you hit the hashtag, or rather pound key, it routes the entry through the assembly on the floor of the passenger side. Including Luci’s old modified circuits, meaning the pocketwatch you see here should also display your actual time of arrival.”

“Wait, you kept the pocketwatch?” Luci asked, reaching to tap where it had been mounted in the dash. “Why not use the digital time display from the car itself? Still an overheating problem?”

“Because the watch belonged to Carrie,” Mindy interjected. “Or rather her mother. From when she was left at the orphanage. Right?”

“I think so,” Frank agreed. “It never actually kept time, but in Luci’s first reparations over a year ago, Carrie insisted on trying to hook it in. So we did, to humour her – and it’s somehow synched up accurately upon arrival.”

“Mmm hmm. Thought so,” was Mindy’s final word about it.


TT4.85a: Powering Up

PREVIOUSLY: Megan is suspicious of Carrie’s behaviour – not knowing that the person is really Beth, who is substituting until the time machine is rebuilt.

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Beth Parker wasn’t stupid. Naive, she would grant – and could hardly deny after how she’d been duped by Ms. Peabody – but stupid? No. She had kept some savings back then. And this time, it had taken her less than a day to realize that the ‘astral plane’ of her ‘angels’ was the very same town where she lived, somehow decades in the future. The dates she put on Carrie’s class notes merely confirmed it. It explained a lot.

At the same time, she wasn’t about to let on about what she knew.

Oh, surely Carrie’s friends had to be aware of her suspicions; Hank Waterson most of all. In a way, Beth’s heart went out to the poor man, who’d had to put his faith in a bunch of teenagers, a waitress… and herself. An aspiring singer who had, thanks to a twist of fate, been sent back into high school. To learn about her future in a history class.

But there was no point in inviting trouble, and that seemed inevitable were she to treat this experience as anything other than an ‘astral plane’. Besides, she had wanted to help her ‘angels’, and now, at last, she was. It was a pity they hadn’t told her what to do about this girl Megan though.

Beth regarded the junior student in the crisp white blouse and dark skirt who was glaring up at her, and she responded the only way she felt she could. “Judge not, Megan, lest you be judged.”

“Nice try, Waterson,” Megan fired back. “Can you even name the origin of your mangled quotation?”

“Matthew 7. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?” Beth countered.

Megan took a half step back. “Huh. Okay. So you’ve seen the musical ‘Godspell’, good job. Doesn’t mean you found God.” She seemed rattled though.

Beth slipped her hands behind her back, hoping she looked disarming. “Listen, Megan. While I’m not going to outright claim to you that Carrie Waterson has become religious, or that your demands on me are hypocritical, any truth I speak here? Would be rather subjective. And you know as well as I do that such truths would not set you free. So, what’s the real issue behind cornering me here?”