“Have you forgotten about the Time Police?” Kink asked. “Because, guess what, they’re still out to get us.”
“I thought we were safe here,” I said, gesturing at this barren wasteland we were in with its strange sunless sky.
“Safe is one thing,” Freyja said. “But that doesn’t mean that we’re secure.”
I looked at the two women. Seeing them together was the strangest part of all of this. “And now you 2 are friends?”
“We’re allies. We have no choice. None of us do. The Time Police have left us with none. We have to fight them because no one else will. No one else can. No one else even knows what the Time Police have been up to.”
“And just what are they ‘up to’?”
“Policing the time stream. Making sure that no one steps out of line, that all of history goes according to their plans. And their plans don’t include other time travelers or anyone else that may have stumbled through the time stream. They want a complete monopoly on time.”
“Then what?” I asked, not necessarily seeing what was so bad about all of that.
Freyja looked at me as if I were a moron, but then again Freyja always looks at me like that. Actually for the most part, she looks at most people like that. “Then they can do whatever they want. Reshape the universe to their whims.”
“They will take out everything fun and unpredictable,” Kink said. “They want everything to be boring and bland and all according to plan. Life will be dull, Frank, and barely worth living. They will take all our fun away.”
“Your fun isn’t always so great for everyone,” I said.
“I don’t just mean my kind of fun, Frank. I’m not just talking about traveling through time and causing mischief. I mean all fun. Every kind of it. They want to eliminate chaos. Eliminate choice. Eliminate free thought.”
“You mean much like Freyja wanted to?” Tilly asked, giving her mother a serious stink-eye.
Freyja looked highly offended. “I never wanted to eliminate free thought. I never took away anybody’s ability to choose.”
“You eliminated my ability to choose to not be near you.”
“You’re my daughter. I wanted to spend time with you. Is that so wrong?”
“When you don’t let me see my father it is.”
“Look, I’ve made my mistakes. I’m far from perfect, I’ll admit that. But I was never like them.”
“You mean because they’re much more successful than you’ve ever been?” Tilly fired back. Freyja’s face turned red. She looked furious.
“Ok,” Kink jumped in. “Remember the Time Police? They want to erase us all from history? Ring any bells? They’re our real enemies, not each other.”
“She’s got a point,” I said. “Assuming she’s telling the truth…”
“Assuming?” Kink sputtered. “You still don’t believe me?”
“What proof have you given us?”
“What proof do you need?”
“Any proof would be good,” Jamal said.
“How about the proof that I just saved you from being erased by the Time Cops?” Kink said, incredulously.
“We don’t know that they were going to erase us.”
“No,” Tilly agreed, “but something wasn’t right with them. Something fishy was definitely going on.”
“Fine,” Jamal relented. “I’ll admit the Time Police were acting a little more, well, violent. But that doesn’t mean we should trust these two.”
“The question is,” I said, having mulled it all over. “Do we really have a choice? Where are we? When are we? I have no idea. Do we have a way to get out of here?”
“Well, at least someone is thinking reasonably,” Freyja said.
“We’re not trying to hurt you,” Kink told us. “That’s why we can’t let you leave.”
“You can’t let us leave!?” I said, not liking the ominous sound of that sentence one bit.
“No. And it’s out of love, Frankie.”
“If you did leave this sanctuary,” Freyja explained. “The Time Police would be able to erase you from history. If they tried to erase you while you were here, all they would do is erase the past versions of you, untethering you from the time stream, making you virtually untouchable to them.”
“So we can never leave?” I asked. “Ever?”
“Well, no, of course not. Don’t be ridiculous,” Kink replied. “You can leave eventually. We’ll just have to take some safety measures first.”
“Safety measures like what?” I asked.
“Uh-uh,” Freyja said. “Not yet. You don’t get to find out how to leave until it’s time for you to leave.”
“Well, then what are we waiting for? Why aren’t we getting ready to go?”
“Come now, Frank. You haven’t even met the rest of the team yet. You don’t want to be rude, do you?”
“Rest of the team?”
Freyja laughed. “You didn’t think we were going to take on the Time Police on our own, did you?”
“Of course, I did. You’re Freyja Reina Del Tiempo. Since when do you ever work with anybody. That you’re even with Kink is pretty damned surprising.”
“Well, then perhaps now you’ll take our situation seriously. I am Freyja Reina del Tiempo and I do need help to fight the Time Police. They have become a terrifying force for order, one that I can not stop on my own.”
“I think we should help them,” Tilly said. “If my mother can admit that she’s not the perfect killing machine that can do everything herself, then I have to believe that the Time Police are a real and serious threat.”
“We’ll take it,” Kink said before Freyja could get in a reply. “Whatever gets us all playing with the same deck. And now that we are, that means we can finally introduce you to the rest of our team.”
“Yes, fine,” Freyja said. “Come along.” She pressed her hand against what appeared to be just open air and a door opened up in front of her. “Here we go.”
to be continued…