Julie

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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PART 85b: CLOSING THE LOOP

“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.

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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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PART 85a: POWERING UP

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?”

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TT4.84b: Crossing Paths

PREVIOUSLY: Beth is replacing Carrie in the present, as a time machine is rebuilt. Laurie was taken on a time trip.

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PART 84b: CROSSING PATHS

minibannernew“Should we really let Chartreuse spend so much time with her?”

At Frank’s remark, Luci looked up at him, then followed his gaze towards Beth. Their stand-in for Carrie was back at school this Friday, after two days out “sick”. Beth seemed to be adjusting surprisingly well to the present, all things considered. She had just stopped en route to their table in the cafeteria, in order to talk with the pink haired mystic. Luci considered that fact – it wasn’t the first time the two had spoken. “Why not?” she answered him.

Frank frowned. “People might start to talk. And if Carrie’s not actually here to defend herself against rumours…”

“Defend herself against what? A relationship that we’re pretty sure was forming anyway? For all we know, us being here together, there’s rumours concerning our old relationship too. Besides, before Glen, Carrie used to spend time with both us and Chartreuse. So, since he’s gone, why wouldn’t ‘Carrie’ resume talking to our group again?”

“Okay, well, that’s another thing. Did Glen really leave?” Frank countered. “I got an email from him yesterday.”

Luci pursed her lips. “Yeah. I got one this morning. Vague ‘watching you’ stuff though, and according to the school, his ‘parents’ pulled him out – I think he must have timed those emails to send off in advance. Before he left with our future travellers last Sunday. To keep up appearances.”

“Or Glen could be hiding out in town,” Frank countered. “And covering it up with his powers.”

Luci shrugged. “Maybe. So what if he is? Frank, at this point, I’m done with my second guessing. It’s given me nothing but grief. We have to trust our future selves.” She glanced back at Beth. “As to Chartreuse, look at it from her point of view. In the span of a weekend, she lost her potential girlfriend, and Laurie, her best friend. If hanging with Beth is her way of coping, I don’t think we can fault that.”

“Right… right,” Frank sighed. He ran his fingers back through his hair. “And the busier Beth is, the less she might be prone to exploring our ‘astral plane’ too much. Which is good. I’m just worried that we’ll end up missing something.”

(more…)

TT4.84a: Adjustments

PREVIOUSLY: Recreating a time machine will take weeks. Future incarnations have appeared, with a plan for making Carrie appear to still be in town.

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PART 84a: ADJUSTMENTS

minibannernew“Saints alive!” Beth Parker crossed herself and fell to her knees at her apartment door. “Is it really you?”

“Yeah, uh… look, get up.” Frank pocketed the radio transmitter with one hand, the other rubbing his forehead. Damn Carrie and her whole divine intervention story the first time they’d encountered Beth. “Truth be told, I was never actually an angel, and I – we – kinda need your help.”

“I always wanted to thank you properly. I’d hoped you’d return to me,” Beth said breathlessly as she scrambled to her feet. “I’ve become very religious in the last year, did you know that? What am I saying, of course you know. And my part time work at the Clayton hotel has almost earned me enough to get professional singing lessons! I plan to do gospel. Are you pleased? Am I on the right path?”

“Beth, please, I’ll explain everything.” Frank paused. “Okay, no… that would confuse you. But I’ll hit the highlights, so long as you come with me now. To the, um, oh heck with it, to an Astral Plane.”

Beth peered out into the hall. “Why now? And where is your partner? The one who looked like me, the one named Carrie?”

“That,” Frank concluded, “would be why we need your help.”

***

“We’ll pull a girl out of the past,” Luci whispered to Frank. “Is that ethical? That can’t be ethical.”

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TT4.83b: Double Trouble

PREVIOUSLY: Glen and Mindy explained temporal theory – and said that Carrie would never be able to save her mother in the past.

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PART 83b: DOUBLE TROUBLE

minibannernew“Wait, stop,” Laurie protested. “How can there BE this ‘Future Carrie’? Isn’t she from that old timeline three? Chartreuse said it’s gone!”

“Not entirely,” Mindy said, looking uncomfortable. “In a sense, timeline three is a few milliseconds in our future. We’re constantly in the process of overwriting it. So Future Carrie’s still a threat.”

Frank shook his head. “I don’t see it. After all the changes, why isn’t ‘Future Carrie’ destined to be from our timeline now?”

“She may be, but as we Temporals know, perception is everything,” Mindy sighed. “Did your Carrie grow up alongside Glen? That’s timeline three. Or did she grow up in a mental hospital being spoon fed memories of growing up alongside Glen? Because that could be our path now. They both lead to Future Carrie.”

“What? No!” Chartreuse gasped.

“Then we’ll finish our time machine and go after our Carrie,” Julie asserted. “It’s time travel, we can get to her in the past before that future happens. We’ll tell Carrie that she’s been living timeline four, to give her another path forwards.”

“Won’t work,” Glen asserted. “Unless you leave soon, Future Carrie will easily spot when her past self ceased influencing your present, and she’ll tie up the loose ends to preserve her own timeline. Even if it means the mental hospital in her past. Soon enough, you’ll all be adjusted to think your version moved away or something. I warned you, didn’t I? But oh no, nobody listens to–”

“Oh, stay shutted up,” Mindy interrupted. “Know what, Julie? Yes. Doing that is better than doing nothing. Possibly better that Carrie end up with Glinephanis here versus… yeah.”

“Meaning we’ll need to temporally hide out until until the machine is complete,” Luci realized. “To avoid this Future Carrie’s interference. How do we do that? What do we tell the rest of the school? What do we tell Carrie’s father?”

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TT4.83a: Temporal Alignment

PREVIOUSLY: Julie decided the best plan was to bring Glen (who wants to preserve the future) and Mindy (who wants to change the future), together.

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PART 83a: TEMPORAL ALIGNMENT

minibannernew“Oh, what’s Theresa doing… here…” Glen’s voice trailed off as the two redheads locked eyes. Despite everyone now being present in the LaMille sitting room, an unsettling silence fell. It lasted precisely five seconds.

“You scared Carrie off, this isn’t on me,” Mindy accused, quickly rising to her feet. “I’ve been passively watching, and only occasionally slowing down your orders at the cafe.”

Glen shot a glare at Clarke before turning back to her. “%You expect me to take YOUR word, you traitor?!%” he hissed back in Temporal. “%I’d be gone with Carrie by now if not for your interference.%

%Preserving a terrible future! Who wants that?%” Mindy argued. She looked to Julie. “This might have gone better if you’d said he was coming.”

“This might have gone better if you’d been more up front with us from the start,” Julie reminded her.

“Move away,” Glen said to Luci, Lee and Chartreuse, who were between him and Mindy. The two girls automatically took a step to the side, but Lee remained where he was.

“Dude, we might as well hear her side before the hurling of more garbled profanities or potentially heavy objects,” he remarked. Glen edged to the side, but Lee matched his movement, keeping the two Temporals apart. “Look, I don’t like getting physical, but I will if I have to.”

“That person is a traitor to everything a Temporal stands for,” Glen seethed, pointing past Lee, towards Mindy. “I’d banish her again myself if I could!”

“Glinephanis, our stance shouldn’t be that every Mundane is the enemy,” Mindy shot back. “%Remember, they created us.%

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