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Valkyrie protocol final version snippet 3

David's and Jacob Holo's newest alternate, cross history series.
Valkyrie protocol final version snippet 3
Post by GraysonLady   » Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:40 am


Posts: 19
Joined: Tue Aug 04, 2020 10:34 am

Teodorà sat very still for a moment, looking at him, struck by his insight.

I shouldn't be surprised, she told herself. Not by the fact that an indigene can see so clearly, at any rate. [i]I've spent far too much time in the past to think our ancestors were any less wise or insightful than we are, and this man was one of the smartest and most influential of his own time. But it's still . . . odd the way he's guiding the conversation. That degree of self-confidence in someone wrenched out of his own time, buried in the wonders of another, is — Well, it's remarkable, that's what it is

"I appreciate your concern for me, Mister Pepys," she said, letting him hear the sincerity in her tone. "But, be that as it may, I still have a job to do here."

"Of course." Pepys leaned back in his chair. "Please, do not allow my questions to impede you."

She raised the cup once more, then paused and set it back down without drinking.

"As you may already know, this is your last interview with ART," she said.

"So I had apprehended." He frowned. "I understand, of course, that I do not truly belong here, and that this is neither my time nor my world. And it is also true that obligations and responsibilities in plenty await my return to them. Yet true though all of that may be, it will be most difficult to return to my own time after I have beheld so many wonders and encountered so many fascinating people. Would that it were not necessary for me to depart, yet I understand that I must."

"I'm sorry?" Teodorà's eyebrows arched.

"I trust that my departure need not be too abrupt," Pepys said, and smiled. "I am engaged upon a game of chess with Doctor Clifton, and I should like to finish it before I must bid him adieu."

"Mister Pepys, we're not taking you back."

"I beg your pardon?" He blinked. "I had assumed —"

"No one told you that already?"

"No." He sat for a moment, clearly thinking hard, then leaned towards her. "Am I to apprehend that I need not return, after all?"

"You don't want to?"

"God's heart, Doctor Beckett! What man with the wit to get him in out of the rain would choose to return to the time from whence I came when all of this —" he flung his arms wide "— awaits him here? In that cottage," he pointed directly at the cottage, "resides a familiar spirit, one of your marvelous machines, that provides greater variety of food and drink in a single afternoon than a man of my London might experience in a lifetime! Indeed, I might well spend a lifetime simply sampling them all, and that is but the first, and the smallest, of the wonders that spring to mind. No, Madame. Of all the things my heart might crave, returning to what and whence I once was is not among them."

"Some people find the transition to the thirtieth century difficult to handle," she said, and he laughed.

"I doubt you not, Doctor. But in riposte, 'some people' are not Samuel Pepys!"

"Yes, yes I can see that," she acknowledged with a chuckle.

"Believe me, dear lady, upon my most solemn oath, I do not wish to return."

"Well, I guess that's fortunate, since you'll be staying anyway."

"Indeed?" He cocked his head again. "What, then, becomes of those you've taken from their own times?"

"Typically, we keep historical figures here in isolation while we conduct interviews. Then we transfer them to the Retirement Home — it's another facility, very similar to this one but with more privacy, without all of those questions about your diaries, for example, and much greater access to our infosystems — to live out the rest of their lives in comfort."

"I see you are in earnest. I can, indeed, remain if I wish?"

"It's not simply a matter of what you wish, Mister Pepys." She shook her head, her expression more sober. "The truth is that you can't go back."

"Can't?" he repeated, and his brow creased. "You speak as if it were a thing physically impossible, and not merely the letter of your law. You have your vessels to sail through time, do you not? Am I to apprehend that, even possessing such craft, it is not possible for you to return me to the time and the place where first you found me?"

"I'm sorry, but I'm afraid that's true."

"Hmmmmm." Pepys sat back, rubbing his chin. "Fascinating. I had assumed otherwise."

"Well, technically we could return you. We used to think we couldn't, but even though we can now, we're not allowed to. And for very good reason."

"And now, I fear, my perplexity is complete," he said ruefully.

"Sorry," she said again. "I didn't mean to confuse you."

"So I am to understand that while it would be possible for you to return me — mind you, I have no desire to be returned — you would refuse. Would it be impertinent to inquire why?"

"It's . . ." She smiled apologetically. "It's complicated, shall we say."

"That I do not doubt for an instant!" he assured her with a crooked smile. "Yet I would like to understand, if that be possible."

"Chronometric physics isn't the easiest topic to comprehend."

"If such be true, Doctor Beckett, it is most fortunate that I should have so lovely a woman to serve as tutor."

"Mister Pepys." She shook her head, grinning. "You do realize I've read your diary."

"Indeed?" He gave her a sly look. "In its entirety?"

"Well, excerpts. The most salacious bits, certainly."

"Ah, I see." He shook his head. "I was advised by Master Dryden that a quill brother — one whom you would call a writer, Doctor —should never commit to the written word what one would prefer the world not learn. Once written, he warned me, words too often escape the paddock in which their author thought them safely pent. 'Twould seem he had the right of it, and so I find myself most gravely disadvantaged, dear lady. Yet that does not sway me from the point. If you would, of your grace, essay the task and seek to enlighten my darkness, I should find myself yet more deeply in your debt."

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