Episode 1 Scene 10
I move into the workshop. Dwayne is elbow deep in a large projectile weapon. Cases of ammo are stacked up behind him. They’re probably a match for the gun turret out front, but maybe not. Fuel depots are strange places, a cross between past, present, and future, and those in charge collect anything they deem valuable.
A medium-size communication device warbles and glows alternately green and red next to the ammo. My bike pricks up at this and gives my brain a tweak. It’s an intertemporal communicator. A critical piece of equipment for any depot. I pretend not to notice it. Dwayne ignores my pretenses.
“It is what it is, Keeper. Don’t sweat it,” he tells me.
I shake my head. I know what it is. An intertemporal communicator, an ITC, is at the heart of any Keeper’s motorbike. It’s how we communicate with home base. It’s the basis for our time travel. For this to be here means a vehicle’s been destroyed. If a vehicle’s destroyed, most likely a Keeper is dead.
Every fuel depot has an ITC, but they are reluctant to say where they get them. They use them to hunt down fuel supplies in the near past and future. By rights, I should commandeer this one and take it back to the Deacons. But if I did that, I’d be stupid. Where would the fuel come from then? No fuel means no ride. And a walking Keeper’s a dead Keeper.
“We need to talk,” I say.
“Mikey?” he guesses.
“You taking her too? You taking my other kid?” he sighs. “You Keepers are a bunch of pricks.”
“Kids like Mikey, they’re the future.”
It’s the standard reply, and I get the standard response.
“Whose future? I’ve been to the future. And guess what? It ain’t that fucking great.”
The man has a point. The Deacons are supposedly protecting us and guiding us to a rosy paradise. A place where people live in peace, and there’s hot and cold running water on demand. I’ve been to this place. It’s called the past. And this particular past doesn’t exist anymore. The Blink kicked us off that particular timeline. A whole species voted off the island.
“She’ll be safer,” I counter.
“From the Scyther?”
Papa Dwayne isn’t stupid. He knows something’s up. A Scyther chasing a fuel depot through time; well, it’s not after the tech.
I nod. “She must be something special.”
“Did you come for her? Specifically for her?”
I shake my head. It’s warm in the shop, and I can feel my scars glowing.
“Nope. I was chasing a Scyther. Probably the same one that killed your dad.”
“They didn’t tell you about Mikey.”
Truth time. “No, Dwayne, they didn’t. I just worked it out.”
He gives a bitter laugh. “Christ, interdimensional time travel and the people in charge still don’t give the boots on the ground the full story.”
“I can see where she gets her brains.”
He doesn’t smile and instead sighs. “She’s a great rig-rat.”
He knows the story. Having a Scyther chasing you through time and space only ends one way. The Keepers offer Mikey a chance. If she gets trained up, she’ll be on equal footing.
“At least let me have a drink with her before you haul her off.”
I nod. I can respect that.