“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