Melinda’s head snapped back. The world around her and Horatio slowed to a crawl. Spit from Melinda’s mouth hung in the air. Two men appeared, moving unimpeded by the slow motion world. They wore clothes of another era and large clock-like mechanisms on their chests: time shifters. One man grabbed Melinda the other handcuffed Horatio. The world turned green and then blue and then violet as all four of them shifted through time.
The colors around them distilled to their natural hues and vibrancy. Melinda’s head rocked forward, whole except for a small red burn mark on her forehead. “Really? Kill me with my own gun? Poetic, but not so smart.”
“A tracer round?” Horatio asked. He looked over at the man who’d handcuffed him, Samuel Quinn.
“Nope,” Samuel said.
The second man, Dr. Alfred Bromsley untied Melinda’s wrists.
“Always a pleasure to see you, Horatio,” Dr. Bromsley said, “…in handcuffs.” Then added under his breath, “Worst assistant I ever had.”
“Tracer gun. We had to wait till you fired. Then put you in a time dilation field to get the handcuffs on. Easy Peasy, off to jail.”
“What was that old saying?” Horatio asked “Time…time…Oh yeah… Time changes everything.”
The handcuffs rusted for decades before their eyes until they fell right off. Horatio socked Samuel in the jaw, pushed Bromsley down, and dodged a kick from Melinda. He turned yellow, orange, and then red as he time shifted away.
Samuel rose, rubbing his cheek. He picked up a small disk out of the pile of rust that had been Horatio’s cuffs. “Must be a localized reverse dilation field.” He tossed it to Bromsley. “Reverse engineer it would you?”
Dr. Bromsley nodded.
Samuel turned to Melinda. “Call him.”
Melinda stepped over to a computer terminal and typed in some commands. A moment later a man’s face popped on screen.
“Operation Red, was a failure,” Samuel said. “You got something better this time, Brock?”
Brock smiled from the screen though his face was two decades older than it had been on the train. “I saw her in that dress. That certainly wasn’t a failure.”
Samuel cleared his throat. “Listen, we’re behind schedule.”
“Odd for a time traveler.”
Samuel swallowed his frustration. “Rasch must be stopped before he causes the anomaly.”
“I think it might be time for you two to meet.”
“For the first time? I thought that was still in our future.”
“The future is now.”
“Alright, set it up.”
Brock nodded assent. “Oh, and Samuel?”
Brock smiled, a toothy, crooked smile. “Melinda promised me dental.”