On the plane, Franklin spoke to his assistant, Joey, while he was tuning his guitar.
“If you changed this and that you could stabilize the transfer and geo-sync your position.”
“Frank, what happens when you turn it on.”
“The initial event.”
“But what if it’s already been turned on?”
Franklin turned around to answer him and saw not one but five iterations of Joey, with a guitar, a small key board, a bass, bongos, and a tambourine. A smile spread across his face.
“Well I guess we have a one man band then.”
He thought he had won. He was a sad little garage inventor who worked for the us postal service. And I had tracked him to the time station somewhere in Antarctica. The station was filled with prototypical thinking machines, impossible motion generators, murder siphons, stuff deemed too dangerous for population areas. There were archetypes running through these designs, a sort of robotic shorthand from movies and popular culture, making them seem familiar. No less dangerous though. I found him in he main storage room with several decommissioned pieces of time equipment. He was fixing a differential box, the piece of equipment that makes sure you are geo-synced when you shift. All of this was extremely illegal. His Irish setter ran up to me with her tail wagging.
“Franklin. Stop. It’s over.” My credentials were in plain site. My fire arm covering him in case he attempted to resist.
He stopped and put down his wrench looking over his shoulder at me. He smiled warmly.
“Well Hello Jeremy-”
“It’s Officer Wayland.”
“-I mean Officer Wayland. Comeer Poppy! I think you can put away that heater.” Franklin was petting his dog.
“Franklin, you know I can’t do that. Please stand and come with me or I will be forced to use enhanced tactics.”
“Actually, you have to, if the subject shows no aggression, deadly force is not sanctioned. You have to take me in for processing and then they will have to let me go. That’s the procedure. I know. I wrote it.”
At this point the dog left the room.
“Hey, Where’s my dog going.”
“Please come with me now.”
“Seriously,” Franklin became noticeably agitated and he noticed that he could see his own breathe. The temperature was rapidly decreasing.
His eyes widened, “Did you leave the door open?”
“WHERE’S MY DOG?!?!!”
We got the vtol and searched the flats for the dog, poppy. Finally found her with the pads of her feet frozen to the ground, howling pathetically. He managed to free the dog but her feet were bleeding. Franklin was crying and apologizing. I took the dog from him.
“I’ll surrender, shit I’ll stay out here and freeze to death. Just make sure my dog is ok.”
She did not want to leave him, they both cried pathetically.
“At least it will be over.” I was trying to be comforting. This did not work. I was not trained to be comforting.
I sedated the dog and took off. Franklin Gano receded in my vision and then. Disappeared entirely. I looked down and the dog was gone too.