In anticipation of the relaunch of Recursion, both in ebook and paperback formats, I will be posting snippets for the next week. Book 2 snippets will be coming soon. This snippet is will let you know a little more about time travel in the world of Recursion. Let me know what you think in the comments or shoot me an email. Enjoy!
I pull open my pack and stash my clothes into drawers. I also always travel with some basic survival gear, like a tarp, for sleeping in the elements, some twine, duct-tape, and a multi-tool. I take out my guns and ammo. For my mid-twentieth century missions, I like to carry a Beretta 418 and a Walther PPK-L. I pull out an ankle holster for the Beretta and a shoulder holster for the Walther and toss them onto the bed.
Finally, I take out some of the more sensitive pieces of ISD equipment. First, a handheld device shaped like a bar-code scanner. Next, an electronic tablet—though, without Wi-Fi, it will only do much good for me inside our Paris Station. Finally, I take out a long, cylindrical metal tube and twist off the cap. I tilt it, and a sheet of rolled paper slides out. I kneel down on the floor and unroll a world map covered in a complex, interlocking network of lines, each with an equation written underneath it. The map is on the tablet as well, but I prefer having the whole network of tunnels laid out in front of me. Overall, I prefer traveling low-tech. Tablets can fail or run out of batteries. A paper map never does any of those things.
Travel between the Paris Station and Central Command in Virginia is fairly standard. The Paris tunnel leads to a cave in eastern Kentucky in the 70s. From there, it’s only a seven hour drive to Chicago where a tunnel in the basement of a supposedly abandoned tenement building on the Southside will take us directly to the headquarters of the Isochronic Securities Department at Command Time (this makes the Chicago tunnel a major hub for travel). The whole route only takes a few days, but if we close the Paris Station, it will mean longer distances between tunnels and more “time zones” to cross.
I bend lower, studying the map, my eyes growing weary from the strain. My exhaustion threatens to take over. It’s been over twenty hours since I’ve last slept. But I want to get this done before the morning. Besides, when I sleep, I dream. And the dreams are rarely good.
I trace a line from Paris, across the Alps and into Austria. There’s a tunnel in Ostrava that will take us to the island of Cebu in 1920s Philippines. From there we could find a boat to Japan and travel through our Okinawa Station to 1998 Nairobi. The Nairobi Station Agent would have to secure the appropriate passports for us, but once that is arranged, it should only be a simple, twenty-hour flight to Chicago. The Chicago tunnel is about eighteen years behind Command Time. I’ll have to double-check the equations to account for each tunnel’s drift, but I do the math in my head and come up only ten months off. Only? This will add nearly a year to a simple training mission.
I pause, staring at the map. Wasn’t there an embassy bombing in Nairobi in 1998? Traveling is a delicate business. When we change things, history changes around us, but not instantaneously. We’ve created significant historic events before but it’s usually because we’re trying, with a lot of effort I might add, to change something else. The ISD isn’t some butterfly flapping its wings in Australia. We have to work for what we change, and so we rarely do it.
Still, significant historical events are, as a general rule, something we try to avoid. If I were at the ISD headquarters I would have access to our historical databases with no lag and could plug in the dates down to the day and hour and fine instantaneous results, just to be sure. But I’m not at the ISD headquarters. I’m stuck in 1950s France and before the era of high-speed, secure Internet.
I repack my bag and then fall into bed. I clench my eyes shut, still overwhelmed. I need to relax, even if that means dreaming tonight. That’s still better than the exhaustion that will follow if I spend the whole night planning. I feel sleep encroaching. If only I could clear my head and think about something else, anything else, then maybe . . .