Much, Much Later

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"You think she bought it?" she asked.

"Helfino," he said, "And, sorry about, well, I'm just kinda distracted. It's not you. You are as hot as ever," he said, kissing her.

"Well, thanks. But next time, Chip, let me handle the science stuff with her. She hates it and gets bored after about a minute or so. I can just throw a load of nonsense at her and she'll usually just tune out."

"Okey doke, Lucy. You're the expert," Chip said, leaning back. He sighed.

"You got other things on your mind."

"Yeah. I need to get some collections done. Ramirez still owes from the last Game Night. Shouldn't've bet against the Pistoleros."

"Is he good for it?"

"Probably. I figure Hodgkins can shake it outta him. I'd like, once the kids get older, for them to start taking on the family business," he said, "Collect on the bad debts, creatively encourage payments, that kinda thing."

"Your kids aren't even a year old," Lucy pointed out, "Besides, their mother has other plans for them."

"Yeah, you're right. We'll never get them away from her. And we won't get away, either."

"You still wanna do that?"

"Well, sure. Don't you? We'll leave," he kissed her, "Go to someplace, I dunno where. Maybe Risa? Get married."

"Married?"

"Yeah, why not? You got something against that?" he asked.

"No, it's just, I'm so used to her being the only one with any kind of even semi-official attachments that I almost forget that other attachments are possible."

"Well, if you can call her thing with Travis even semi-official."

"She's having his kid, isn't she?"

"She's had mine, too. And Aidan's. And a coupla other guys', too. This'll be the last one, 'cause it's Travis's. I guess that's your semi-official right there."

"A pity. She's actually a little less peeved when she's pregnant. Usually," Lucy qualified, "And nobody else is allowed to have a kid. Given that, I'd've figured she'd have a few more before Travis."

"I think she's having more trouble getting her figure back," Chip said, "Anyway, why talk about her? Let's talk about you," he kissed her, "And me."

"And the twins."

"Yeah," he sighed, "If we can ever get them away from her."

=/\=

It was later.

Much, much later.

The Agent stood in front of the Temporal Museum on Lafa II.

It was one of those buildings that's larger on the inside than on the exterior – a trick of atoms and light and matter and energy that made Fep City seemed smaller and far less cramped than it should have been. The outside had a huge sign on it, a continually advancing clock, a conceit of the museum's director. And it said that the current date and time were 11:35 AM, March 27, 3109.

Early. Well, that wasn't so bad. He could spend a little time looking at the artifacts.

He was forty years old and a not unpleasant-looking man, but he had the kind of swaggery confidence that makes people seem far better-looking than they truly, objectively, are. He had brown hair, closely cropped, and blue eyes that were enhanced and could see farther and with more precision than most people. His hearing was similarly acute, able to discern not only soft, hushed tones but also to hear a bit above and below the normal range of human hearing – plus he could distinguish tones as well as a concert pianist, even though he had no musical talent whatsoever. He had other enhancements, other gifts, to make his job easier and, well, possible at all.

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