20 5 6

IceTown just felt warmer today, to Cara, for some reason she could not explain. She looked in the eyes of the man that introduced himself as John Profit, and a mixed sensation of an artic chill caught in a tornado, filled her. But also, a familiar warmth. In that instant, her memories returned in a torrential flood.

Cara remembered meeting John. Yes, his name is John. Here. But how?

She remembered sliding down the ice, the star cavern, and the baffling material she and this man—somehow—had found together.

Liquid Mercury. She remembered more.

She remembered Tikanni and the family standing next to her now, but then—when it happened, before—they had all died at the hand of a ruthless hitman.

The relentless pursuit that followed.

In Greece. Tunisia. Falling in love.

A man named Paul, whose features were still coming together in her mind. But the one word she unexplainably associated with his name was Apache. Maybe he was Native American. Something like, Apache tribe, but she wasn't sure.

Loren! A giant spider. And a devastating explosion that felt final in the pit off her stomach like a hundred-thousand-pound payload.

Two armed security guards emerged from the neon green helicopter emblazoned with a metallic gold FY on each side beneath the slowing blades. Four more cargo helicopters chopped toward the rustic outpost, each carrying crates half their size.

"Is your name Dr. Criest?"

She pressed a hand over her heart, then over her lips.

"I've been expecting you, Mr. Profit." She shared a knowing smile.

"I hope you don't mind, I got a bad feeling about everything when someone tried to kill me on my flight down here, so I called in some favors and rallied a team together." She couldn't hide the slight quiver that ran thought her when he put his hands on her shoulder. "I've got a bad hunch that something bad is about to happen, and I feel this thing for you even though that's not possible, because this is the first-time I've met you." He took a step closer to her, took off his glasses. "But I feel like I know you."

"A magnetic field must've been created," she murmured.

"Excuse me? You want to tell me what's going on? Car?"

They both looked at each other at his last word. He did a double take.

John's brows drew together. "That is your name, isn't it? Cara?"

"There must've been high-levels of electromagnetic radiation."

"What's that?" John took a step closer.

"It's a special kind of radiation where electric and magnetic fields can exist independently." She raised her gloved finger. "Normally, these fields are constantly fluctuating—but, if they can be controlled..." Cara nodded at her epiphany. "It may open the possibility to change time itself."

Three days later, on the top-floor of FY Labs in New York...

"The find in Antarctica made world news. Our team in Mexico has cordoned off the site and is under tight security." John addressed the small group with his eyes. "Ascension's assets have been frozen, and their CEO, Damion Blax, is in custody—along with his accomplices."

Peter Stone stood shoulder-to shoulder with Maddie Duewel, but John didn't mind their coziness in the workplace after they'd approached him with their heroic account. Something must've bread into their memories. Since they were so intertwined with the events that unfolded, perhaps, the alternate experience was rooted in them, too.

And that also went for Paul, John's buddy-turned-helicopter-pilot from childhood that had signed a sudden employment contract with Forever Young Labs. And something about an array of modifications to his helicopter-now-chauffeured-limousine. The grin on his face cashed-in on every penny worth of $1,000,000.


Cara was on the phone with her niece, Loren, for the last seventy-two hours, it seemed. Each calling the other—and Cara calling her brother randomly just to say how good it was to hear his voice, leaving out the part where he'd been tortured and killed, she was sure. But neither remembered, and for that she was happy.

She wasn't sure if it was God that had intervened and set things right, but it sure felt like a miracle to Cara. A fresh start.

"Sorry you got it trouble with Uncle Sam on my account ... saving the world, and all." John clapped his hand on Paul's back.

"Now, boys." Cara stepped between them and smiled. "Play nice."

"It's okay, Profit." Paul adjusted the NY Yankees cap on his head. "Once they found out you were involved, they dropped all charges."

Oops! This image does not follow our content guidelines. To continue publishing, please remove it or upload a different image.
THE THIRD ALIGNMENTWhere stories live. Discover now