Twicebound: Chapter 13 – Part 3


“You’re kidding, right?”

Vančura gave Armelle a semi-apologetic shrug.

“Sorry, but no. The only other way to deal with these things is to remove them surgically and we don’t have to tools or the skills for that.”

Eddie looked like he was seriously considering panicking, but Armelle spoke before he could.

“Hold on a minute.  We might not have the skills, but what if I know someone who does?”

“I’m listening.  Just remember, we’re going to need a really good explanation for why the three of us urgently need military grade tracking and termination chips removed from our arms.”

She glanced up at the ceiling and screwed up her face into a grimace as she thought his point over.  It didn’t take her nearly as long as it should have, Eddie noticed.  As far as he was concerned, the more thinking was done about it, the longer it would take them to get around to reconsidering the taser.

After a moment, Armelle got up and disappeared into a back room.  Something thumped and wood scraped along the floor, then there was silence.  Eddie and Vančura waited, trading glances over the coffee.  Eddie slurped his, then eyed Vančura with as much disapproval as he could muster.  It didn’t have any effect, but it made him feel better.

“A taser?  Y’serious?  You been shocked wid one of does t’ings before?”

“I can’t say that I have, no.”

The reply bubbling up in Eddie’s head was interrupted by Armelle’s return.  She was carrying a battered cardboard box and tossed it down in front of Vančura.

“That ought to be reason enough.  There’s a veterinary not far from here; we should be able to… persuade… him to remove the chips.”

Eddie nodded, happy to have the tasers off the table.  Vančura, however, gave her a sharp look and flipped the top off the box.  One eyebrow rose as he examined the contents.

“Are you sure?”

That surprised her.

“What, getting that poison time-bomb out of yourself isn’t worth a little intimidation?”

He lifted the snub-nosed revolver out of the box and dangled it by the trigger guard.  Leaning forward, he studied her curiously.

“No, it doesn’t bother me at all.  You, on the other hand, seem to be remarkably amenable to the idea.  That… surprises me.  A lot.”

Armelle shrugged and grinned at him, tapping her watch.

“Time-travel, remember?  A little threatening never hurt anyone and, besides, once we go through the knothole again, it won’t have ever happened, anyway.”

He sat back and finished his coffee, still holding the pistol in the other hand.

“That’s quite a grey area, Armelle, and you found it remarkably fast.  It almost makes me wonder if you hadn’t already figured it out.”

End Chapter  13 – Part 3
Go to Chapter 14 – Part 1

Okay, so maybe this installment didn’t really answer the question of whether they get poisoned or not.  But hints are just as good, right?  No?  Okay, okay, I’ll rescue them in the next installment, I promise. Maybe.  Getting rid of a plot tool as useful as a poisonous computer chip isn’t something a writer does lightly!

Want to read the previous installments of ‘Twicebound’? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten,
  Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen – Part 1
Chapter Thirteen – Part 2

4 thoughts on “Twicebound: Chapter 13 – Part 3

  1. Course not, you have to make them panic a little bit first! 🙂

  2. It may not have answered that question, but it did answer something else – if the event will be wiped out, Armelle believes they’ll need another trip. So they’re definitely headed back to the knothole somehow (perhaps much to Eddie’s chagrin). Nice to see that they’re still able to surprise each other too.

    I admit, I initially wondered if someone on Armelle’s “team” would have this in hand. Apparently not (and I downgrade her a little bit for not thinking about something this important in advance, mainly because apparently she WAS aware) but at least she has some options in place. Of course, when you force someone into something (especially at gunpoint) they may get twitchy hands. Oh, here’s a fun one for you…

    If one of the characters DOES die, they won’t get sent back next time – but the others likely WILL. And their actions will be different, meaning the one who DOES die will be on a new path and won’t end up dying after all (and won’t even know they did!). So it doesn’t really matter if one of them dies. 😉 Except I suppose it would be a problem for the group dynamics (that Armelle has trouble with anyway).

    Final remark, about tasers – yeah, they’re nothing to play around with. Though it seems maybe Eddie has some experience? Hm. My guess would be second hand (witnessed, not experienced), but one never knows.

    • Yup. Interesting, isn’t it? I’m still not 100% sure what she’s got up her sleeve…

      Don’t rate her too hard, in this case. She foresaw the need for some sort of record (an obvious requirement for a project like the Sandglass) and was prepared to handle that. What she wasn’t prepared for was the time-release toxin capsule. Dealing with a GPS tracker might have been as simple as a Faraday cage to isolate it, but the toxin capsule is a self-contained independent system. Big trouble there.

      Good point. Of course, it may not be quite so simple as that. If the universe has some sort of ‘immune system’ in place to protect the time-continuum, there could be a lot of back-lash when someone dies in a non-standard order. If they were in the future (where they haven’t been yet) it wouldn’t be a problem, but they’re in the past, where they’ve already been. Thus, stuff has already happened; if the time-continuum wants to maintain equilibrium, something has to ‘give’. Sort of like tectonic plates slipping into a position of least (or lesser) stress. Of course, I’m not saying that’s what WILL happen, but that it’s a possibility.

      Yeah, I’ve had the opportunity to handle one (not actually USE it, tho). If the discharge is anything to judge by, it would hurt a LOT. Probably leave you with a really vicious burn mark, too.

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