The Fixers #9

Remy sat on the edge of Thomas Burkhart's desk. The fat defense attorney sat in a chair in the corner of the office. She kept the pistol pointed at him.

"What exactly do you want, Rem?" Seb was still standing, arms crossed in front of him. Gretchen, watched from across the room.

"I just want to talk, Sebastian. To share information with you. Like two reasonable adults."

He flicked his head towards the attorney. "What does he have to do with anything?"

"Oh he has a lot to do with all sorts of nasty things," she said, turning to look at the panicked man. "Don't you?"

"I don't know wh-what you're t-talking about," he sputtered. "I haven't done anything! Please let me go. I won't tell anybody about this, I swear!"

"Good at keeping secrets, are you Tommy?" She grinned at his growing uneasiness. "Everybody has secrets, don't they Sebastian?"

She turned and looked at Gretchen, lips curled upward. "Do you know that Sebastian here collects women's underwear?"

Gretchen looked at Seb, who met her eyes and shrugged.

"Women's underwear from all different times." Remy turned her gaze back to the Englishman. "Quite an interesting hobby, wouldn't you say? And he prefers young women's underwear most of all. Don't you, Sebastian?"

"Seriously?" asked Gretchen. She couldn't help herself. "That's disgusting."

"The way she says it makes it sound worse than it is. Anyway, middle-aged woman have boring knickers," he said, turning his head. "Not that I have to explain myself to you."

"It's a harmless enough hobby, I suppose" Remy told him, laughing. "You can calm down." She hopped down off the desk. "Although I do take personal umbrage with your assessment of middle-aged women and their choice in underwear."

She walked close to Seb, put a finger under his chin. "Although, you already knew that."

Gretchen groaned. "Look, you said something about choices?"

* * *

"Chaos and order."

Remy smiled at Seb, as she spoke.

"The two great essences of the timestream, locked in an epic, eternal struggle." She looked at Gretchen. "They're like Yin and Yang. One follows the other. When there is too much of one, the other increases to compensate."

"Mumbo and jumbo," Seb muttered.

"Is it?" Remy asked. "There is no denying that there are forces who seek to order the timestream. And there are others," she stared at Gretchen, "who seek to free it from that order."

"Is that what you're doing?" Seb asked. "Working to free the timestream from order? You make it sound like you're some sort of bloody folk hero, out there saving the world from the big, bad time fixers."

She snorted. "Sebastian, you're delusional if you think you make a positive difference. The timestream doesn't need your protection, don't you get it? You are not maintaining some sort of natural order. You're maintaining a specific set of events, which lead to a specific set of outcomes, for forces who benefit from such an ordered timestream."

"Wait a minute," said Gretchen, breaking in to the conversation. She turned to Remy. "It sounds like you're talking about a war. Over time?"

"There's no war," said Seb.

"No," Remy corrected, "not exactly. There was a war. Now the side that won is trying to make sure that it never even happens." She looked at Seb. "And it's not a war, darling. It's a revolution that we're fighting."

* * *

"Ask yourself who it is you're working for, Gretchen Campbell. A computer? Hal didn't build himself."

"Then who did?"

"That's the question, isn't it?" Remy grinned, but said no more.

Gretchen turned to Seb. "Do you know? Do you know who it is we're working for?"

Seb stared at her, but he refused to answer either.

"What is it that they want from us? Why do we even do what we're told?"

"Because time travel is not natural," Seb told her. "The past is the past, and it should stay that way."

Remy snorted. "That's the company line, alright. The past we call history is only one potential version of the past," she said. "We should be free to go back and make things better. To fix our mistakes."

"Who decides what should be made better, Rem? You? Who decides what 'better' even is? I suspect my definition and yours don't exactly mesh."

"I think they're closer than you might imagine. You only need to free yourself from their control."

"Maybe you need to see that order is not such a bad thing. I've been on the other side of the Wall. It's not a pretty place."

"I've been there too, Sebastian."

"Well, maybe you should go back and have a real good look around. Is that what you want the whole of history to look like?"

"What the hell are you two talking about?" asked Gretchen, stomping her foot. "What the fuck is the Wall?" It was like she was invisible to the both of them!

Remy turned her head towards Gretchen. "How much more do you want to say in front of your newest recruit, Sebastian? Look at her face." The redhead grinned, turning back to him. "She's going to be asking you questions for a very long time. Questions you try your hardest not to think about."

"Nobody recruited me," Gretchen told her. "He doesn't even know why I'm here."

Remy raised her eyebrows. She turned towards Gretchen.

"That's right," Gretchen said, talking to Remy but making sure it was Seb who was hearing her. "I'm starting to think he doesn't know anything at all."

* * *

After a while, Remy said, "Sebastian, I didn't come here to fight. I really do have information for you."

She walked around the desk, casting an eye towards the attorney as she did so. He remained seated in the corner, but he looked less panicky now. He was watching the three of them and listening to their conversation with interest.

"Why give us information if we're your enemies now?"

Remy grabbed a sheet of paper and a pen and set them out on the desk. She glanced at the gun in her hand, and then once more towards the attorney. A strange grin spread to her face.

She walked back around the desk and stood next to Seb.

"You're not my enemy, Sebastian." She studied his face. "I still consider you my friend. Which is why I'm going to tell you two things. The first thing is a couple of names. I'm going to write you up a short list." She flicked her head towards the desk.

"Okay. What's the second thing?"

Instead of answering his question, she smiled. "While I do that, I need you to hold this gun," she looked down at the pistol in her hand, "and point it at our attorney friend over there."

Gretchen shifted her feet, uncomfortable. In the corner, she saw the attorney was leaning forward licking his lips, watching Seb and Remy. The attorney glanced her way and his eyes widened a bit. He eased himself back into the chair, fingers clenching the armrest. He smiled weakly.

Seb reached out and took the gun from Remy but he didn't raise it towards Burkhart. Gretchen gaped. The crazy woman actually let him just take the gun? She watched as they stood silently facing one another for a moment.

"This guy might do some bad things, Rem," Seb said finally, "but the entire reason I'm here is to stop you from killing him. Now I have your gun, so I guess I've done that."

He keyed his mic. "Len. You there, mate?"

"Sebastian," said Remy, "I think you should turn around and point that gun at him."

"Now why would I do a thing like that?"

In her own ear, Gretchen heard Len's response to Seb. "I'm here. What's going on? Good news?"

Remy smiled, stepping towards Seb and placing her hand on his shoulder. Motioning, she invited him to turn and look at the attorney. "Thomas Burkhart," she told him, "is the man who earned an acquittal for Richie Keegan. The man who murdered your mother, Sebastian."

The Englishman looked at Remy for a long moment, then raised his eyes towards Burkhart. The gun in his hand wavered. Slowly, he brought it up until it pointed at the cowering attorney.

Again, Len's voice came. "Seb, what is it?"


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