5. The Catch

The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin

"Well, a chronometer makes it easier. I can use that for travel, weaponry, disguises..." I smiled to myself. "I don't even need to pack! And finding finances won't be hard, I can win the lottery or bet on sports or something, like Biff in Back to the Future Two."

Johnson raised an eyebrow. "You can't do anything that will cause publicity, so the lottery is out. I would be careful with betting, though with small-time bookies you might get away with it a few times. Bigger pots lead to bigger risks. That's not good policy."

I sighed. "So it's not simple."

"You have to get creative, and find less public ways to access cash," Van said. "The journals should help a little, there are some clues as to what was already done and that should give you ideas on filling in the blanks."

"Oh, good point," I said. "I remember Mr. Franklin arranged a large anonymous donation to Calla's school, and that's a direct result of our plan. Things like that?"

"Exactly," Jacobs said. "If you think about it, you know where your mission starts."

I wrinkled my nose, wondering what he was talking about. Then I clued in.

"The death of the Wileys!" I slapped my forehead. "That predates everything else in the chain of events. I show up in Calla's journal after she finds out they died. She goes to school because of her inheritance. I have to help her climb out of her depression!"

Haven nodded and put her hand on my shoulder. "It sounds easy on paper, but your sister will be in pain. You will need to be strong for her sake, to help her get where she needs to go."

"It won't be easy," Johnson said. Both he and Haven seemed unusually sombre. "You up for it?"

"History says I have to be, right?" I shrugged.

Jacobs opened his palm and a chronometer appeared there. He handed it over.

"Good luck," Van said as I strapped on what looked like an ordinary watch, but was anything but.

I fiddled with the settings and the chronometer materialized two contact lenses. I put them into my eyes for invisible data read-outs. I fiddled with settings and the device changed my hair and face. I gave myself black hair and altered some features. Johnson nodded his approval.

"See you soon," I said, setting the chronometer for the summer before Calla moved to New York.

Haven nodded, holding her arms around herself. Johnson gave me a salute, but it was less jaunty than usual. Jacobs was his general surly self, and Van's face looked tight. The Mentor, well, he was a hologram.

"I'll be back before you know it," I said.

I stepped through the swirling portal that appeared and it was only then that I realized what had been implied in our conversation.

I wasn't just supposed to help Calla endure the death of her step-parents. I was supposed to make sure they died.

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