2. Research and Planning Stage

The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin

I went back to my private room and called up the file on my sister's journal as soon as I was done with the Continuity Agents. I had it projected as a tablet I could hold as I sat on my bed, so I could peruse it at my leisure.

I read about her first meeting with Mr. Franklin, and how awkward and cute it was. She seemed really reluctant to be interested, but intrigued despite herself. I felt bittersweet about it -- on the one hand, it was like reading some kind of quirky romance novel, and I was happy for my sister that she got to experience that. But I also had the foreknowledge that Mr. Franklin would die young, and knew that must have hurt my sister deeply.

Calla's journal entries were interesting in their patterns. In general they were short, almost like an agenda-book recording of appointments and important work or school assignments. Brevity was the order of each day. Then Mr. Franklin came into the picture, and the entries grew in length, so long as he was around. Without him the entries still maintained a consistent sameness. I wondered how much Calla had thought about that. Her life was a routine of studying and lab work, without her love interest to spice things up.

I put it down after reading a bit of their early flirtations, and compared it to Mr. Franklin's journal. He didn't have any that predated their relationship, and I had to wonder why. Right away his memory of events was different from my sister's account -- his featured a second Calla. A future version claimed to have time-travelled back to warn Mr. Franklin about his impending death. Her arrival and disappearance caused him to approach my sister and intrigued him. In essence, the future-Calla's attempt to scare him off in fact drove him to pursue the past-Calla.

I got up from my bed and used the holoprojector to start drawing out a timeline of events. I gave Mr. Franklin the colour blue, and Calla got a grey. Whenever the time travelling Calla showed up I highlighted it in purple. I needed to know about dates and times, so I paid close attention to the entries for clues about that, and locations too. I needed to spot how I could possibly intervene in their relationship to help inspire Calla to develop the actual time machine.

My first sign of hope was when Calla first kissed Diggory Franklin. Immediately afterward she seemed to be worried about a plan to take his money. Where had that plan come from?

From me, apparently. Immediately after that she and Bianca discussed me having a source that could predict Mr. Franklin's behaviour. She speculated that it was his friend Matt. I made note of that, maybe he could come in handy -- but the real source was her journal, and Mr. Franklin's as well. They gave me insights from Calla and Diggory themselves, which was even better than friends or family.

The part that was strange to me was how Calla assumed the time traveller Calla was actually me. I wondered if I was supposed to be a double, and we had counted on Mr. Franklin believing the time travel story. Well, the thing Calla didn't know was that there really was such a thing as time travel. So there were two options: one, I posed as Calla and kissed Mr. Franklin to get him interested in her. Two, she really invented a time machine. I was going to assume the latter, since I knew the CIA wanted her to make one, and I'd travelled through several.

I sat back on my bed and stared at the ceiling. Was I going to pull a double-con? Convince Calla we were after Mr. Franklin's fortune, and then convince him that he was going to die so he would pursue Calla romantically? It was funny because it actually involved telling Mr. Franklin the truth, or most of it anyway. The only person I was really lying to was my sister, and maybe that was because the truth would be hard to believe.

I started to have some ideas, but I would need to read more.

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