Readers' novels no 7: Unlawful temporal manipulation


The Magazine previously published a story about people who attempt to write a novel in a month. Readers shared 350 word extracts or their novels. Here is Blane Singletary's tale of unlawful temporal manipulation.

"No human life confirmed in the vicinity," said Liam. With one year of experience in this line of work, there was much he knew of, and many precautions he knew he had to take. He was a temporal agent, a man charged with keeping the very fabric of time in order. A few days ago from this night in 1912, a disruption occurred. It was up to him, and his partner, to correct the disruption, and not cause any themselves.

Alongside him was Rayne, a temporal agent who signed on around the same time. She passed her examinations with flying colours, and was seen as an incredible asset to the team, committing to her duties with fierce precision. This was their first mission by themselves. Temporal matters are held to high regard, so an incredible amount of trust is required before sending any new recruits into a mission without a commanding officer present.

Standing on a cliff overlooking the facility, Liam scanned the warehouse. "The target is in the west side, near the contraband," he observed. His visor confirmed the target. Roland "Rags" DuPont, age 38, a criminal currently wanted for theft, illegal trafficking and now unlawful temporal manipulation. Soon after his headpiece buzzed, and, "ADVISORY CODE: CAPTURE" was displayed onscreen. Taking out his pistol, he switched the setting from metalloid bullets to low-power stun rounds. "Looks like CANON wants us to take him alive," explained Liam.

The two made it behind the warehouse. Above them were rows of windows high enough above them that a considerable effort would be required to reach them. The two thought of the quietest way to reach the inside. "This wall doesn't feel too solid," Liam remarked as he tapped it. "Too much pressure and it will break."

"Climbing up is out of the question then," said Rayne. "I'm detecting at least eight other people inside, six patrolling. There are two at the front, and the rest are making rounds inside. Let's keep sound to a minimum."

Their planning continued, though not a sound came from their mouths as they switched to direct mental communication. Taking them out would be no problem for them, but remaining as undiscovered as possible was mission critical. "Our target seems to be just on the other side of the back left corner of the compound," observed Liam. "We could always try—"

"Full body phasing?" Rayne's unblinking eyes tore into him. "That tech's not cleared for field use yet!"

"So?" Liam replied with a smug expression. "I've tested this myself. Works like a charm."

"So?! Just because it worked once who says it will work again?" Before Rayne finished this sentence, Liam was already on the other side. A bit of afterglow flickered on the wall in front of her as the experimental phasing device finished its execution. Liam rarely played by the book, much to the dismay of his squad mates and even more to his superiors.

"He's sleeping," Liam said, "Out cold. Just cross in anywhere."

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