Part Two - So here we are
by E.Escher - 19th Jan 2017
'I remember you. You were in the bank this morning.'
Carmen rolled her eyes. 'I tell you I'm a time traveller from the far future, and so are you, and that's your biggest concern? Yes, I was in the bank when you and your friend robbed it. A spectacularly inept effort, too, if I might say so.'
'It was our first time.' he protested, weakly.
'Well, don't give up your day job, or whatever the phrase is.'
'No, that's the right phrase.'
She frowned. Instead of the expected 'I'll admit nothing' denial she'd expected he was mostly ignoring her, as though she was a rambling idiot.
'Just what is your day job, Colin? What cover identity did they give you?'
'I don't have a job, or a cover identity. I'm not a time traveller, I'm not from the future.' He looked deflated, and more than a little sad. 'Look, I think you should just leave me alone.'
'In my time,' she began, 'People have their genetic and psychological profile implanted into a matchmaker chip, connected to a social-network device. It's not foolproof, but it helps prevent a lot of pointless heartache.'
'What's your point?'
'You have a matchmaker chip. My computer is reading your profile, and it says you're a decent guy.' She didn't bother explaining the rest. If he didn't know what it was, he certainly wouldn't know how it worked.
He snorted. 'Hah. Nice try.'
'Show me.' He held out a hand, clearly expecting to look at a phone or some other portable device.
'I can't. My computer's display is up here.' she pointed, to illustrate.
'In your head?'
'My eyes. Augmented lenses.'
It was his turn to frown, and he leaned closer, squinting. 'I don't see anything.'
She subvocalised a command to the computer, requesting a facial scan of Colin. It mapped out every detail of his face in a bright neon grid.
He gasped, and sat back. 'What the? I saw something, a face, was that me?'
'Yep, and now my computer's going to scan through a record of all known travellers to find? ah, as I suspected.'
He raised a brow. 'What?'
He let out a breath. 'So are you still trying to convince me, or have you changed your mind?'
'No, no, I still know what you are, the file's just been erased. That's why I'm here, actually. Lucky for you I came prepared. I loaded up with photos of all known Revs, so provided you weren't revived in my future I should find something.'
'What are Revs?'
Her attention was on the data feed, so it took her a moment to realise he'd gone pale. 'What's up?'
'Revenants, as in, people who came back from the dead?'
'Yeah, technically. We just say Revs, though. It's easier. Nobody likes to be reminded, so it's sorta not talked about in polite conversation.' She tilted her head. 'Well, unless it's a Rev doing the talking. We don't care so much.'
Aha, now she had his attention. He did know something!
'You're one of these, uh, Revs?' he asked.
'Yeah. All time travellers are Revs. Living creatures can't survive time travel.' She shrugged. 'It all makes sense, if you think about it. You have an implant from the future, which means you're a traveller, which means you're a Rev.'
'And if somebody were to, say, stab you in the ribs? Would that hurt a Rev, particularly?'
'I'd be extremely put out, but no, it takes a lot more than that to kill us.'
He stared. 'Oh god. I need a drink,' he made to stand up. 'Something strong. You want something?'
Carmen blinked. 'Alchohol? You get drunk?'
He hesitated. 'Why? Is that dangerous?'
'It shouldn't be possible. Rev brain chemistry is nothing like human.'
'So you can't get drunk? And you're immortal?'
'Theoretically yes, on both counts. Binge drinking isn't as prevalent in my time, so I've never really tried. Oh, and yes, Revs are functionally pretty much immortal, barring massive physical damage.'
'Do you heal?'
'Eventually, although obviously there are limits. It's not magic.'
'It's not? No, of course not.' he grimaced. 'I confess over the years I've had ample cause to wonder.'
Carmen was amazed. 'You mean you genuinely didn't know any of this?' She tried to recall the first days following her revival. 'I must sound like a certifiable lunatic.'
'You really do, but I've had these questions for centuries, and it sounds like you've got the answers.' He stood up and held out a hand. 'Forget the drink, let's get out of here.'
She took his hand, and he half-helped, half-pulled her out of the booth and onto her feet. Mind reeling a little, she didn't resist. 'Just a second, did you say centuries?'
He wasn't listening, had already turned his back and started pushing through the crowd by the door. She snatched up her bag and pushed in after him.
She found the door and hurried out onto the pavement. Colin stood a few paces away at the edge of the road, waving for a taxi. She went to his side as a large silver vehicle pulled over and stopped. The side door slid open on runners, and a grinning man beckoned from the shadowy interior.
'That's good timing, eh? Better hop in. You too, sweetheart. We're gonna have a nice long chat, someplace quiet.'
Carmen didn't know his face, recognised the man's voice from the bank. She also recognised the gun, which was once again pointing her way.
The curious tale of Colin CampbellPart One - How did it come to this?, Chapter 1, Earlier that dayChapter 2, Earlier stillChapter 3, Making a withdrawalChapter 4, August 18th, 2362Chapter 5, Angel of DeathChapter 6, Welcome to 2016.Chapter 7, Denmark, July 2358Chapter 8, After the crashChapter 9, Music of the SpheresChapter 10, Denmark, July 2358Chapter 11, Harbinger FMChapter 12, Denmark, July 2358Chapter 13, Excuses and liesPart Two - So here we are, Chapter 14