Vacation Days

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Sergeant Jones dropped the memory unit from his armor onto the desk of Doc Barnaby immediately after he return from his most recent mission.

"Hey Doc, can you help me out with this thing?"

Doc Barnaby, the mission analyst for all of Jones' missions and those of his squad, looked up from his computer terminal. "Now what?"

"This thing's on the fritz. I keep getting random errors. Something about memory corruption. It's not quite a good thing to see big flashing warning signs in the middle of your line of sight when you're aiming right at some shady character ready to blow your brains to kingdom come."

"Memory corruption, huh? Maybe take better care of the gear, eh, Jones? You guys have no respect for it."

"Aww, come on, Doc, give it a rest. We don't go to the park and watch the birds you know. These units take a beating, every day."

"Yeah, alright, alright. But it'll be a week before I can get to it."

"A week? I need it tomorrow."

"I'm getting out of here this afternoon. Vacation. You know, the beach and all that. I'm going to enjoy the sun."

"So what am I going to do then? You know the armor won't work without that little thing. Without the armor, I'm not going anywhere."

Barnaby threw his hands up in the air. "I'll get you a spare unit. Satisfied?"

"A spare? Some piece of junk from the bottom of the drawer? No thanks."

"No, of course not." Barnaby looked at Jones. "Have I ever given you junk?" He stood up and walked over to the other side of the room, opened a a drawer and started digging through its contents.

Moments later, he found what he had been looking for.

"Here you go," he said as he handed it to Jones.

"Thanks. Good luck with the sun, by the way. The forecast I saw didn't look too promising."

Barnaby smiled."Oh, don't worry about me. I'll manage."

The next morning, Sergeant Jones arrived at the mission briefing before the rest of his squad, as he usually did, and took a few moments to look through the details of their next mission. His commanding officer, Captain Reynolds arrived a few moments later.

"Early again, Jones?"

"Hey Cap'n, yes you know it."

"I see you're already looking over the briefing."

"Yeah, not quite what I was expecting."

"I know, I'm sorry. Every now and then we have to go mop up after the priors. This one looks like it was almost a decade ago, just when we started doing this. Rehabilitating criminals with their own future isn't perfect, after all."

"So with this guy, we already showed him his timeline? His future?"

"Yeah, we showed him his future if he kept going on the path he was on. He tried to change as far as I know but fell of the grid after a while. We never did find him again. Until yesterday. He turned up dead."

"So we're just gathering intel then?"

"Pretty much. Trying to figure out how we can avoid it from happening again. Keep them on the nice and narrow, you know."

Jones sighed. "Well, it's what we do, I suppose. By the way, Barnaby is out again."

Reynolds looked, a surprised look on his face. "Again? He seems to disappear quite regularly these days."

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