Remnant Of Another Future
rating: +11+x

Cal Bold rubbed his forehead, put on his sunglasses, and closed the book he'd just finished. It had been a long, frustrating night - or, well, however long it had been. The enchanted windows in this part of the Library displayed a beautiful moonlit night at all times. Cal, however, had been too wrapped up in his studies to properly appreciate it. He could have been here for days for all he knew. He started organizing the large pile of books around him.

Diagonally across the table in front him, a figure stirred. The blonde-haired woman rubbed her eyes and put on her abnormally thick glasses. She pushed aside one of her own book piles and blearily stared at Cal. She sighed and shook her head.

"I'm sorry, Cal. I don't think there's anything we can do."

He nodded, peering distractedly out of the window. He didn't want to admit it, but Cambria was right. The future was going to change, and there was no way he could stop it. He put on his mask and took a sharp inhale, then set it down again. "I'm sorry for wasting your time," he told Cambria.

She smiled slightly. "Don't worry about it. You're a good friend, Cal, and I'm always happy to give a hand."

The two of them stood up and started putting the books back in the cart. Normally they could just leave the books at the table, and the Pages would return them, but Cal was always glad to stay a little bit longer in the Library, especially since he didn't often get a chance. Foundation personnel were usually forbidden from entering the Library, and Cal was only permitted with the trust of his sister-in-law, and with assurance that he was there outside of Foundation business.

Putting the books away was quick, especially since — despite their efforts to finish the job themselves — Pages would randomly swoop in to pick up a book or two. Finally, the cart was empty, and the two of them made their way back to the Way.

"So, do you think you'll take the other option?" asked Cambria.

Cal scowled. He wasn't particularly a fan of the other option. The expense was not an issue, but he was rather hesitant to meet with Skitter Marshall. But… "I don't think I have a choice," he said.

Cambria shrugged. "I mean, you do. But I get what you mean." She sighed. "It's always disheartening when a timeline is lost. No matter what it's replaced with, you always feel like it wasn't worth it."

"Mm." Cal was never one for the temporal stuff, in spite of his notoriety with his first major project. It was part of the reason Marshall was his only real option. The Foundation certainly wouldn't let them use what resources they had for this, and even if he tried, he certainly wouldn't get away with it. MC&D, however, had time-traveling technology, and would definitely pull something from the soon-to-be-lost future - for a price, of course.

Cambria punched him lightly in the arm and smirked. "Don't look so glum, mate. At least you've got a shot!"

Cal turned to look at Cambria. He tried to keep a straight face, but his crystal eyes spun in their sockets: a telltale sign of his excitement. As disappointing as the future would become, at least he could find something to hold on to. A remnant of what could have been.

"Thanks," he said. He started to step toward the Way, but Cambria grabbed him by the arm. Her face had suddenly twisted into an expression of nervousness and frustration.

"Any word about David?" She'd asked him the same question when he first arrived at the Library, and doubtless she knew how he would answer. But Cal knew she wasn't looking for a new answer. She just wanted to know that someone else was also thinking about his brother - her husband.

"Not yet," he said, shaking his head. "But we're still searching for anything that could lead us to know what happened to him."

Cambria nodded. "Thank you." She held out her arms and grinned. Cal stepped forward and accepted the hug.

"See you around!" he said, and with that, he stepped through the Way.


RING! RING!

Click.

"Hello?"

"Hm? Ah, yes, I've heard about him. Put him on the line."

"Director Bold, I presume? Ah, you're with the Foundation, correct?"

"Oh, personal business? I'm afraid I'm not interested in-"

"Hm?"

"Interesting. I suppose I could, but-"

"That's… Hmm…"

"…"

"Tell you what. I'm feeling particularly nice, and I'll give you a chance. You say you're good for it? Your budget might be large, but it's still on the smaller scale for what we do here. What exactly are you wanting?"

"…"

"Really?"

"That's what all this is for?"

"…"

"Alright, fine. You've got yourself a deal. I don't know why you can't do this yourself, or why you're paying so much, but it's not my problem. I'll call you in a little bit, and we can finalize the details then.

"You have a good one too, Director."


Cal squinted. His strange eyes functioned quite differently from how they used to, but his muscles would still instinctively tighten whenever he was nervous. A strong gust of wind passed by and he flinched. Cal was on top of a tower in New York, one which Marshall had told him to meet him at. Cal was no stranger to shady interactions, but what scared him was the height. Five hundred feet in the air. Even after everything, he was still scared of heights. No matter how safe he knew he was, fear would always be there, Cal supposed.

A chopping sound pierced the air, starting quietly, then getting louder. Cal put his hand over his eyes to block the sun as he looked up - then he remembered it was his skeletal hand, and put his left hand over his eyes instead. A helicopter soon came into view. He stepped back as it approached and landed on the pad.

A man in a business suit walked out. Cal started to approach, but the man held up his hand, signaling that Cal was not to move forward. He stopped, and the man resumed his approach. The suited man reached into his suit and pulled out an envelope. He stood in front of Cal and gave it to him, then pulled out a cell phone and held it out to him. Cal took the phone and held it to the side of his head.

"Director Bold?" asked a voice on the other end.

"This is he," replied Cal.

"Wonderful. This is Marshall. I presume you received the package?"

"I have an envelope," Cal said. "And I can feel something in it."

"A flash drive," said Marshall. "It has what you requested. I already received the money, and all is well." Marshall laughed. "I must say, I have no idea why you'd pay so much for this. It's rare, that goes without saying, but not valuable."

Cal scowled. "It's valuable to me, Mr. Marshall. It's not something I could have gotten otherwise."

"If you say so. I'm at least glad that we had an opportunity to use- well, that's confidential. But regardless, retrieving an item from the future? A very, very interesting idea. I'm surprised it's never come up to us before. We may have to look into that a bit further."

Cal grimaced. He'd be willing to pay much more than what he already had for this package, but he hoped opening up this new idea to Marshall wouldn't have consequences. It probably wasn't worth getting so out of hand for.

"Anyway," said Marshall, "You have your package, I have the payment. All's well that ends well, eh?" And with that, he hung up. Cal gave the phone back to the man in the suit, who returned to the helicopter. It took off in a gust of wind, and with that, Cal was once again alone on the rooftop.


Cal stepped into his office, closing the door behind him. A decent amount of paperwork had been left on his desk, but he ignored it and turned on his laptop. He wanted to avoid any possible cyberattacks, so he used a civilian laptop in place of his regular computer, along with a regular internet connection, to open anything that could be malicious.

Cal plugged the flash drive into his computer, and began a quick scan. He'd installed some Foundation software onto it, which vastly improved its ability to detect threats, as well as allowed him to scan for things like memetic hazards. His computer gave a soft ding, and informed him that the drive was safe. He opened it and began installing files. Finally, the installation was complete. Cal took a deep breath and ran the new application.

The future would soon be altered in such a way that the events that would normally transpire would no longer come to pass. However, even though he couldn't change it, Cal had been able to salvage something from the lost timeline. As the application started, and he saw the screen, a tear came to his eye as he read the words upon it.

Minecraft 2

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