To Untether From Time

“I’m not sure we have another choice,” I admitted. “But I think we can minimize our search to one place.”

“Oh yeah? And which place is that?” Timmie-Boy asked.

“China.”

“China?” He laughed. “That really cuts things down. Because China is such a small place.”

I glowered at him. I was doing the best I could. It wasn’t as if I really knew much about Lu Wu. “Well, we can limit it to a specific time, too. My current time on the timestream.”

“Oh, good. Only a billion or so people to sort through.”

“Well, when you think about all time and space, a mere billion people is a pretty small amount.”

“Yeah, yeah,” he said. “Real cute. Lecture time travelers on the vastness of time and space, I get it.”

“Are we done now?” Kink asked. “Can we move on?”

I looked around the room, at Kink and at my other compatriots. “We’re ready to go then?”

“Oh, no,” Tam said. “We still need to go protect ourselves from possible erasure from time.”

“And how do we do that?”

“Well, we must first untether ourselves from the timestream,” Kink replied, matter-of-factually.

“Untether?”

“Yes. We detach outselves from any previous instances of us in the timestream so that if they’re erased, we’re not.”

“But if they’re erased and we’re not, isn’t that destroying causation?”

“No because we’ll then retether ourselves to the here and now.”

I took a second to think about that. “I don’t know if any of that makes sense.”

“Don’t worry, Frank,” Freyja said. “All that matters is if it works. And it does.”

“Assuming we can trust a single thing you say,” Jamal said, still hovering protectively around his daughter.

“You can,” Kink said. “I used it to rescue you. So if it doesn’t work and I get erased from history, then I never came to get you from the Time Police Station and you’re not free. And Freyja doesn’t want that, so she wouldn’t risk it if it didn’t.”

“She doesn’t care if I’m being held prisoner. She only cares about Tilly.”

“Well, just think about it this way. If I was erased, then your daughter would still be locked up. But if you were erased, Tilly would never have been.”

“Unless she just used you to test out the Time Cops defenses, so if you did get erased, Kink, she would know how to save us on her own.”

Kink frowned. “She…would probably do that.”

Freyja chuckled nervously. “But you did make it, so we are secure, so there’s no problems.”

“Unless they let me escape so that they could follow me here.”

“If that were true, then we would all be gone by now.”

“Maybe they’re just giving us a false sense of security so that we’ll leave this place where we’re safe.”

“Now you’re just being paranoid.”

“Or maybe you’re not being paranoid enough,” Kink replied. “We’re safe right now and they know it. What better way to get us all out in the open then by letting us think that we’ve found a way to safely walk around in the timestream?”

“You’re giving them too much credit,” Freyja said. “Trust me the Time Police are not that clever. They’re not scalpels, they’re cudgels.”

“Do we have any other options?” I asked. “Is there any other way for us to leave this sanctuary without getting erased by the Time Police?”

“Not that we’ve yet to discover,” Fount said.

“So then the choice is either go with what you’ve already used or stay here trapped forever? That sounds like an easy choice to me. If we stay locked up here, we might as well be erased. We’ll be giving them everything they want.”

“I’m with Frank,” Tam said. “It’s time to act.”

“They’re not going to stop us,” Timmie-boy agreed.

“The magic will save us,” G’fon added.

“Fine,” Kink said. “Never let it be said that I’m not willing to do something stupid solely because the other choice is boring.”

Kink led us down some spiraling stairs to a long white room. We crossed it and came to a stop outside some sliding doors. “All right,” Freyja said. Most of the ensemble had stayed in the other room, but she, Tilly, and Jamal had come down with us. “This is where we leave you. I think your mission is dumb and foolhardy, but I hope you succeed because we need any kind of help we can get. Even if it is some childish nonsense.”

“I’ll go first,” Timmie-Boy said. “I’m the one least likely to stick out.”

I looked at Timmie-Boy aka Norlak in his newsie outfit. Then I looked at Tam and the green plastic skin that covered their body from the base of their jaw to the bottoms of their feet. Then I looked at G’fon, the six-armed tiger-striped lizard, and finally to Kink and her florescent clothes and her eagle wings. “Ok,” I agreed. “That might be true.”

The door opened into an empty room and Timmie-boy stepped inside. The door closed behind him. “Now what happens?” Tilly asked.

“He gets untethered from the timestream,” he mother said. “Which shouldn’t be too difficult for him since he’s already gone through the process. For that reason, it really shouldn’t be a problem for any of the others and should be pretty quick.” The door opened and Timmy-boy was gone.

Tam entered next. When the door closed behind them, I said, “Wait, what do you mean ‘problem’?”

to be continued…

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