“Hmmm,” Gamora said. “This is more dramatic than I was expecting on a first test.”
“I’m getting some kind of feedback,” Sawyer said. “We’re in some kind of tachyon loop.”
“I see something!” Gamora.
“Gamora!” Sawyer shouted. “Step away from the prototype!”
Gamora jumped back, just as something burst from the time field and dropped to the floor.
“Heeey….” the something said.
“Who are you?” Gamora demanded. “WHAT are you?”
“Me?” he asked. “I’m Emit Relevart, time traveler extraordinare!”
“How did you get into our time machine?” Gamora asked. “This was our first prototype test.”
“I was going to ask you the same thing,” Emit said. “But don’t bother. Time traveling is like that. You’d think that time loops would create some kind of paradox, but they actually happen all the time. This thing is probably your time machine and mine.”
“If you’re new to temporal travel, you should read up on the rules,” Emit said. “We try to help the newbies to the hobby avoid the worst mistakes.”
“Huh,” Gamora said. “I don’t know what to say. This isn’t the way I expected to discover time travel. I expected it would be more… pioneering.”
“Everyone does, squirt,” Emit said. “Everyone does.”
“I’ll let you in on a secret,” he continued, beckoning Gamora to lean close. “Everyone who ‘invents’ time travel thinks they’re the first one. Welcome to the club.”
“Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to head out to some place less crowded with other travelers.”
He pulled out a device and pressed a few buttons. The time travel prototype shuddered and spiked in response. Then he was gone.
Sawyer and Gamora were left alone in the lab.
“Well, that was unsettling,” Sawyer said.
“I wondered whether I wanted to go to future or the past when we got this thing working,” Gamora mused. “Now I know where I’m going.”
Inside, romance was in the air.
“Hey, Cortney?” Winston said. “Dance class is out this week, and I was wondering if you’d like to–”
“Oh, sorry. Maybe some other time.”
Winston put his phone back in his pocket and stared at the floor for a while. There had been a time when Cortney Pierce-Hodgins had wanted to spend all her time with him. Now… what?
At almost the same time, Victoria was also fielding a phone call.
“Kain McWilliams? Of course I remember you from prom! A date? Uh, OK. When?”
Kain insisted that she pick a location. That’s how they ended up at the beach in the snow.
“Vickie!” Kain exclaimed. “It’s so good to see you. I have to say I’m kind of surprised by the venue, though. It’s it a little bit cold for the water?”
“It’s actually not that bad!” Victoria said. “The jetstream brings up a lot of warmer water from tropical seas. It’s just fine with a wetsuit.” At his horrified expression, she amended lamely, “I didn’t really think we’d swim. The view from the clubhouse is gorgeous.”
“I’ve never been inside the clubhouse,” Kain said, looking around appraisingly. “This is really nice. Thank you for showing it to me.”
“This is my favorite place in Avalon,” Victoria admitted, “even when it’s cold. You can still hear the waves and feel the ocean breeze.”
“It’s also deserted this time of year,” Kain said, “which is great for us. What a find!”
Victoria blanched. “And it has a great karyoke machine,” she said quickly. “Why don’t we play for a while?”
“Uh sure, if that’s what you like,” Kain said. “How do you set this thing up?”
Victoria was an old hat at the Morgana Beach karaoke machine. She and Judith had logged hours on it all through high school.
Kain wasn’t a bad singer, which was impressive, since Victoria knew the set list by heart, and he didn’t.
But Victoria had to admit that he was just weird about the whole thing. And there was something about the way he looked at her that made her uncomfortable.
What was he even doing with his head there?
At least the sound attracted in some other folks, so they weren’t alone. That helped Victoria relax a little bit.
After a few songs, Kain put his microphone away. He was watching her with that intensity that made her want to cringe away.
“That was a lot of fun,” he said. “What would you think about continuing our date someplace more private?”
“Uh….” Victoria said. “I think I really should go home now. My, uh, parents expect my home for dinner.”
Kain’s face fell. “I see. I guess if you want to go out again, you should give me a call.”
Victoria escaped as fast as she could, feeling horrible. She’d hurt his feelings, and she knew it. He’d been so nice to her at the prom. They’d danced and laughed together. But on their own, without the flashing lights and shouting over the music, all she felt around him was uncomfortable.
Would she ever learn to turn someone down gracefully?
I’ve played ahead at least eight posts worth of material, but I’ve been wrestling with writer’s block. Hopefully getting this out will help me power through it. In my game, Victoria has taken over the legacy, and I’m on the hunt for a spouse for her. (She, honestly, couldn’t care less so long as she can swim, sail, and build things.) It’s hard to figure out how to help her choose from her collection of admirers — being Irresistible, she doesn’t lack for romantic interests. Kain, the RI she picked up from prom, was easy to eliminate though.
Vickie gets a lot of wishes about that karaoke machine. You’re going to see it again.