1. Discussion, or "Hell No!"

The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin

"Are you kidding?" I asked, raising an eyebrow at Haven. "That's a joke, right?"

"Why would that be funny?" Haven looked to the rest of the group, befuddled.

Johnson actually stifled a grin. "It's no joke. Your sister develops the first time machine, primarily because Diggory Franklin met her after she used it, and then again before she used it. That paradox confused them both, and Calla had to resolve it. Remember those documents I promised you? They outline how it happened. We'll provide them to you for the mission."

"Nice," I laughed. "Give me what I want, provided I do this for you."

"Quid pro quo, sure," Johnson said, shrugging. "The documents indicate you did it. So it's really a moot point."

"You're presuming I have no free will," I said. "Things aren't predetermined."

"Well, when they're recorded history, they kind of are," Jacobs said. "You have a responsibility to Continuity."

"You kept this from me!" I snapped. "You could have told me this anytime, and instead you wait until I'm too far along to back out. I either preserve Continuity, or I get erased. Isn't that the rule? Fuck you! I'm not a pawn. I'd rather be dead. The answer is no. Hell no!"

"It's the other way around," Van spoke up, his voice soft. "We literally can't hurt you, because you're in those documents. It's our responsibility to keep you alive and convince you that it's for the good of everyone."

I turned to him. After all, he sounded the most reasonable. "What do you mean?"

"You're a key figure in Continuity. You help the Founder. Without you, we don't exist. We need your help, Dahlia. All your training was for this. To make you ready. Our whole society's existence rests on you, your sister and her husband. I'm not going to ask you to do it for the Agency. I'm not going to ask you to do it for me. I'm going to ask you to think of all you've seen here, all we've built, and the people you've met. Is that worth fighting for?"

I rubbed my eyes. "Shit. I don't know. I... I signed up to see Calla, and it sounds like I might be able to. I get the journals I wanted. I just... I don't like the feeling I'm getting that I have to manipulate my sister."

"It's not necessarily manipulation in the sinister sense," Haven corrected me. "More like nudges to help things along their natural course. You're the fairy godmother that helps bring them together."

"Except that Mr. Franklin dies young," I pointed out.

"Your sister's journals show she had no regrets," Johnson said. "Trust her, even if you don't want to believe us."

"The documents are currently available on your personal database," the Mentor said. "Peruse them at your leisure and let us know what you want to do."

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