7. Plan Revision

The Surprising Life and Death of Diggory Franklin

I left the park and wandered around until I found a telephone booth and checked its telephone book. I found the Wiley address and made my way to their neighbourhood. I knew from her journals that Calla was away at a conference, but her adoptive parents were home. I saw lights on in a few rooms. I walked right up to darkened window at the side and looked inside at the first floor washroom.

I apported in, since it was empty. I opened the door and stepped into the front hall, and made time stop around me. I went down the hall, through the kitchen, and into a family room. Mr. and Mrs. Wiley were sitting together watching TV.

This was Calla's family. I held myself and shivered. Given that my clothing was specially made to prevent cold, and it was a summer evening, it had nothing to do with the weather. I couldn't let Calla' family die. They were my family, too -- her adoptive mother was my aunt, if I remembered correctly. Their deaths would affect Calla for the rest of her life.

And Continuity meant that I couldn't do anything about it. There was no such thing as a paradox. I couldn't alter the past from the way it was written.

I straightened my spine and felt a different shiver, one of excitement and possibility. History was written, in the form of newspapers, journals, reports and books. But that wasn't the same as being there. It wasn't like every single event was video-recorded. There was leeway.

I suddenly had an idea for an elaborate plan. It was kind of crazy, but it just might work.

Chronometers are interesting devices. They aren't actually a time machine on their own, they are instead a sort of key that opens a door in space-time, and the stable conduits through space-time that we use are generated by a machine back at CIA headquarters. The chronometer absorbs energy from the area around it to generate the door, but not the hallway behind the door, if that makes sense. Any use of the chronometer is measured and observed back at headquarters. When I was with Diggory Franklin in Kansas that saved us from being stuck in the past, he accidentally made some stuff vanish and the FBI found it in their time and knew to come back for us.

So, if I used the chronometer the Continuity Integrity Agency would know about it. I could only personally apport to places I had seen, by visualizing. I had learned a lot in the past few years -- I could pick the time I went to such a place by also visualizing a calendar and a clock, which seemed weird but worked. I could also travel to places in photographs, because there was no mental difference between having been there to see something and looking at a picture of it.

As superpowers go, it was pretty simple to use once I mastered visualization, and kickass to boot.

So I closed my eyes and visualized the phone booth I had used earlier. I went through it and found the address for the city morgue. I used the GPS to find the address, and walked there. I visualized morning and apported. I hung around until someone was going inside and then I froze time. I walked in the open door and headed into the building.

It was kind of similar to a hospital, with smooth floors that smelled too clean. The atmosphere was a little weirder. Not as bright or lively. Luckily all the doors had small windows to see down the next section of hallway, so I could apport past pretty easily. I didn't want to use the chronometer to walk through walls unless I absolutely had to, the less I was recorded the better.

I found an office where a man in a brown suit was getting up to leave, maybe for a coffee or the bathroom. I zipped past him into the room, and then let time start back up. While he walked down the hall, I sat in his chair and used the open computer.

I scanned through old cases and found a few John and Jane Does. Every big city has them. I noted dates and times for their arrival over the last few years, writing them on my arm with a pen from the desk. I looked through the policies and procedures and saw that they incinerated the corpses after a set amount of time where they were unclaimed. They didn't bother with embalming and all that stuff.

I went to the first date written on my arm and went from the empty office to the morgue itself. It was the day that the first John Doe arrived. I very carefully paused and unpaused time to watch the morgue employees bring in the body and put it on a shelf while manuvering myself to stay out of their line of sight. I paid careful attention to size and height, aiming for something close to Mr. Wiley. It took three dates to find a body that was close. I found a good Jane Doe on my second try.

Step One of my plan was find a substitute, so that was a go. Now I needed to steal the bodies, swap them for the Wileys as the car crashed, and get enough money for the Wileys to go into hiding.

Calla had to believe they were dead, but that didn't mean they had to die.

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