Chapter 13 - We are a Passenger

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Is it any wonder I've got too much time on my hands?

Ticking away with my sanity

I've got too much time on my hands

It's hard to believe such a calamity

I've got too much time on my hands

And it's ticking away - ticking away from me

-- Styx (Too Much Time on my Hands)

=/\=

Back in August of 3110, Carmen sent a memo to the engineers – meet me in Conference Room four. Then she thought better of it and added Von and Yilta to the distribution list. Then she thought some more and also added their supervisors – Glyph and Kaiwev – to the list. She finally hit send.

Kevin and Yilta both heard the chime at the same time. "I, uh, I'll tell you later," he said to her. But what? He wasn't so sure he wanted to tell her – or, really, anyone, for that matter – about Josie being restored. Somehow, to mention it out loud invited the very real possibility of not so much breaking a spell, but of Carmen clamping down on anyone leaving the premises while the line awaited restoration. Unless, of course, someone was going out to fix it.

Carmen stood at the front of the little Conference Room. "Someone here made sure that Fluxy wasn't secured," she said, "and I aim to find out just who that was."

"I trust Yilta," Kaiwev said immediately.

"I understand that," Carmen replied, "and I don't wish to believe it, either, but the fact is, except for the time travelers themselves, these five were the last ones to be anywhere near our time ships. Plus, the ship was secured while the others were taking off. I've looked at logs. The breakaway code was entered after the Jack Finney – the last of the other three to take off – had departed."

The breakaway code referred to a code required to perform a few basic lift off tasks, such as release docking clamps, depressurize the bay, open the door, etc. Each time ship in the Temporal Integrity Commission – not just in the Human Unit – had its own unique breakaway code. The codes were not a secret – anyone in the Commission could get them, and for any of the time ships.

"Now, Levi," Carmen said, "you were the one who wanted Fluxy to stay here. Why was that?"

"The, the ship was running hot. It, it probably still is," he said, getting a little defensive, "I just wanted to fix it!"

"Can you confirm how Fluxy was running?" Carmen asked Kevin.

"I can't, but that don't mean much," he said, "whoever took it out last would know."

"So that's Sheilagh, Polly and Marisol," Deirdre said, right?"

"Right, and they're all on assignment," Carmen said.

Deirdre clicked around. "There's nothing in the maintenance notes about Fluxy having any problems whatsoever."

"Levi?" Carmen asked.

"I didn't have the time to enter them!" he said, more defensively.

"See, he's losing his temper," Glyph said.

"And that doesn't mean much," Kevin said, "I mean, we had cut dark matter fuel intake lines recently. The cut marks on all of 'em matched the blades of the garden shears. And Von here does the most gardening of anyone in the entire Commission."

"Anyone can use those shears. I know she did," Von said, indicating Yilta.

"We also had a stolen time ship last year," Carmen said, "it was the old Audrey Niffenegger. Somebody handed over the breakaway code to that one while I was interviewing candidates. Actually, it was a group interview. The only one of you who I can account for, from that day, is Deirdre."

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