The laugh rolled around the chamber again.
“Got it in one. You two are right on time and sharp as tacks. Good to see the trip didn’t scramble you too badly. Vancura didn’t know if you’d gotten through un-harmed.”
The technician rested his elbows on the railing of the second story balcony and grinned down at them.
“The boss is going to want to see you, so I’ll have to get you to tell me about your trip later. I’m dying to know if traveling forwards in time is any different than traveling backwards. Wait right there, I’ll be down in a second.”
He vanished, but they could hear the clatter of boots on the tile floor above, though it faded fast. Eddie turned to Armelle, eyes wide.
She shook her head, desperately scanning the room for the tenth time. There were only two exits; the door and the knothole. Benwright was coming through the first – doubtless with a troop of thugs behind him – and she was locked out of the STAd.
“We play it by ear. Not much else we can do.”
Eddie’s face crumpled.
“I jus’ hopes we still got ears t’play wid after Bosze gits done wid’us.”
The door opened and they spun to face Benwright. He was conspicuously alone. When they realized he didn’t even have a pistol out, Armelle and Eddie exchanged a surprised look.
“All right, you two. This way. Everything’s on the clock, so we don’t have a lot of time.”
Neither of them showed any sign of moving and Benwright blinked at them.
“Aren’t you coming?”
“Why on earth would we go anywhere with you on purpose?”
Eddie shook his head at Armelle, then squinted at the technician suspiciously.
“What I wants’ta know is, why’re y’asking?”
For a moment, they all stared at each other, then Armelle finished sorting through Eddie’s question. Her eyes widened.
“Good one, Eddie! Why are you asking, Benwright? Why not just have some of your jackboots haul us to the interrogation room? If you’re expecting us to go willingly, Bosze is going to have to wait for a long time. I’ll bet that will thrill him to no end.”
To their surprise, Benwright started laughing.
“Oh. Okay, my fault. I forgot, you still think we’re enemies. Time-travel, remember? We’re on the same side now.”
He grinned when he realized they didn’t believe a word of it.
“Well, to put it more accurately, I’m on the side you’re on.”
They studied him, Armelle weighing his words carefully, and Eddie trying to figure out exactly what the tech had said. Armelle was the first to respond.
“Say we believe you. What exactly is this “side” we’re all getting cozy on?”
Benwright frowned, as if she’d asked him what oxygen was.
“Vančura’s, obviously. What else would I mean?”
End Chapter 19– Part 2
You didn’t see THAT coming, did you?
Want to read the previous installments? 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, Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen