Friday, February 20, 2015

Sudden Short Story 70

"You're behind schedule," came the voice over the commlink. 
"This from the 'time traveler'," Breaker said sarcastically, with his subvocals.  "Relax, I had to be fashionably late." 
"Grid, what's your status?" 
"Brilliant," said Grid, "That quantum rig's brilliant.  I already own everything.  I'm working on the loop footage for the cameras on the path to the master bedroom.  Just say when." 
"Don't forget to do the other sensors.  White hats are always on duty for these affairs.  Octopus, be ready, I don't want any of the outside guards coming in if this goes foul." 
"They won't even know what happened," she replied.  Noise cancelers were as much a godsend to assassins as chameleon suits. 
"Grid, give me a status on Breaker." 
"He's schmoozing with the guests," said Grid, only mildly annoyed at the degree of micromanagement.  He couldn't complain too much - his job was safest of all, really, being off-site.  "I think that he's trying to extend his network of ... personal contacts." 
"Confidence is a virtue in your line of work, Breaker, but there can be too much of a good thing.  Schweitzer is as paranoid as ever.  You need to have finished your transport before he checks his room.  Please make haste with the lady and resume your duties." 
It took almost a minute before Breaker walked away.  "Relax," he said, "This gave me half an alibi.  I'm off to the washroom, aren't I?  Grid, did you get the guards by the corridor?" 
"I got them.  Both had cyber-eyes, but one didn't have a cyber-occipital, so I'm editing you out of their optical streams live.  Hop to it, I can't keep this up forever, even with the q-box."

Once Breaker got to the master bedroom, he easily found the secret switch that opened the secret passage.  It was an old mechanical, so it was mostly a matter of knowing for sure that it existed.  Within the secret passage, finding the other secret switch was just as easy, though it would've fooled anyone with worse intel - who would suspect a secret door within a secret passage?  It wasn't a door, though:  The panel revealed a palm reader, though Grid had hacked it to interpret any palm as Schweitzer's. 
"I don't believe it," commented Breaker, perhaps not on subvocals. 
"I don't recall writing your belief into the contract either way," retorted their boss for this job.  "Get in, but be ready.  There may be guards on the other end, though I doubt it."
Breaker got into something that he thought passed for a fighting pose, then activated the transporter.  Before he knew it, he was in a darkly-lit facility of indiscernible purpose.  "There's nobody here," he reported, once he'd turned on the satellite link.  It was only just barely powerful enough to get a signal out, but it was necessary, since the facility was off of every grid possible. 
"As I suspected," said their boss, "he doesn't want anyone to know that this place exists, so he hasn't even hired guards.  Now, get the package to the time nexus and get out." 
Breaker found the area containing the time nexus easily enough.  "Boss, it's moving around quite a bit.  How am I supposed to get the package to it?" 
"That's why I put it on a line," came the reply, "It's bound to this location gravitationally, so it and the planet move at the slightest perturbation.  The relative velocity doesn't matter, though, so swing the package around in a circle at high speed and try to get the circle to intersect the nexus." 
"Tell me again why we have to do this?" asked Breaker, as he got the package up to speed.  "Why couldn't you just do it yourself?" 
"To alter a timeline in the past, one must be outside of it." 
"Yeah, but once I change it, how will you get back in?  When you jump in, won't you be a new arrival rather than a native?  Surely that's gonna create some problems for you." 
"You are working with the faulty assumption that I ever left my home timeline in the first place." 
The package intersected the nexus, and an empty loop of string emerged from the other side. 

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