He saw her coming but he didn’t run. He wanted this confrontation. He wanted to tell her just how angry he was. How much she had cost him.

“Pilot X, I’m glad I foudn you-”

He interrupted her sharply “I am too. I’m glad I could help you and the Core to further the ends of the war and tie it up tightly for you.”

“What do you mean?” her look of suprise was exquisitely genuine.

“Oh that’s beautiful. Maybe they didn’t even tell you? I think not though. You all knew. Your list of time locations and instructions not to arrive during the conflicts was perfect. I tied each battle up neatly. I thought I was preserving the rest of the universe. Turned out I was keeping the rest of time from ever finding out about the extent of the war that rages behind my shields.”

“No, I suppose it might seem that way.”

“It might seem that way I suppose,” he cut her off savagely again, “If a representative of the council hadn’t met me in the time of the final battle. Which by the way wasn’t the final battle at all but only a convenient place to tell me my work was done. Clever. You should have told them not to spill the beans. I would have come back here anyway to find out what was wrong.”

“The final battle was not a battle?”

“No it wasn’t. But every other one was. And I cleaned them up so well. ONe had several destroyed planets. I cleaned that one up into a rather implausible Moon and an asteroid belt. You’d never know it even happened. Scientists there in later eras are probably puzzled by the Moon’s existence, but you know scientists. They always think of something to explain away the odd.”

“The last battle should have been the apocalypse. That was where you were–” This time she was cut off by another member of the Corewho had just arrived.

“My apologies Alexandra we couldn’t tell you. The last battle was a decoy. We knew they would track you. We knew they would think you were doing them a favor. Now they are no longer suspicious of you. Now you can act.”

“Oh no” Pilot X yelled backing away. “Once burned twice turned. I amo not falling for that one again.”

“Pilot X. We couldn’t tell you either for fear of gicing it away–”

“So you send me someone who doesn’t know about it either to explain? Ha!”

“She was not meant to approach you,” he gave Alexandra a severe look.”

“Well I couldn’t help you even if I was stupid enough. They have Verity.”

“And you’ve removed all your posessions?”


“YOu can’t store them there. It’s against regulations.”

“Why do you care?”

“Because its your excuse to get back in. And Your excuse to steal it.”

“Steal what?”

The man looked suprised. “Well, Verity.”

“Oh.” Pilot X thought about it. “Oh no… well maybe. But not for you.”

“Let me explain our plan.”

Pilot X looked skeptical but said nothing.

“You have in your posession a gift from the Progons, no?”

Pilot X nodded without changing his expression.

“And an item retrieved from the Sensaurians during your jump.”

How had he known about that? It was something that stuck to the side of Verity. He hadn’t told anyone or even figured out what it was. He nodded slowly.

“The Progon gift is a communicator, the Sensaurian remains contain telepath generators., as do all their cells. If you combine those with an Inverter-Chrono-integrator, you can change all time with almost no side effects.”

“No you can’t… well… maybe yo could. Sad thing is, I don’t have an Inverter-Chrono-Integrator.”

“We know where you can get one. We’ll help you steal it.”

Pilot X thought about it. He did want Verity back and he might need them to carry out a plan to steal her.

“No, you can steal it.”

“we cannot. If we were to be caught-”

“It would be better if I were caught?” Pilot X laughed. “Oh no no no. Not after the trick you pulled. I’ll take Verity back as you suggest. But you have to bring me the Inverter if you expect me to ever possibly consider your plan. Thjat’s the deal.”

The man looked perplexed. Alexandra spoke up. “We will do it. My apologies for the deceptions carried out upon you. It will be done.”

“alexandra! You cannot-”

“It. Will. Be. Done.”