“I really wish you would talk to me more about all this,” Future Stephen said. “The past few weeks, I feel like you’ve just been…” he trailed off, and never tried to pick up where he left off. This version of Stephen just didn’t sound like the Stephen that Future Stephen used to know, with his hesitant attitude and constant sighing. Future Stephen was almost too disconcerted to bother talking to him.
So all she said was, “I don’t feel like there’s many people I can talk to anymore.”
Future Stephen took quite a few seconds to respond. Finally, he said, “And I guess I’m not one of those people,” and stood up, ready to leave.
“Wait,” she said before he left the hospital room. “It’s not you. Well…” She tried to figure out how to explain what she meant. “There’s… certain things going on. Things I can’t talk to you or anyone about. But I just want you to know that I think–”
“Am I late?” Stephen said, walking into the room, holding some flowers. “Oh, I guess I am. Well, here, Future Stephen. For good luck and stuff.”
“Thanks,” she said.
Future Stephen glared at Stephen. “I think we need to be going,” he said.
“For dinosauric defenses, dude,” he said. “We need to hurry and finish.” They looked over at Future Richard and decided to take their conversation out to the hallway. “Bye, Richard,” said Future Richard.
Apparently, the Stephens were working with some other employees to make sure that once the dinosaurs inevitably arrived in this new timeline, that they would be able to keep the facility running smoothly, and hopefully defeat the dinosaurs as well.
This, of course, meant nothing if Future Richard’s hypothesis about Dyan was correct, which it very well might be. If the facility was just created for some other sinister purpose, then maybe the dinosaurs were right to be doing… whatever they were trying to do by travelling in time and changing everything.
But Future Richard could never bring herself to actually tell anyone about this suspicion. She had no idea what she could say without sounding paranoid. Plus, AI Dyan told her not to tell anyone anyway. It just seemed so… Ugh.
She really just wanted to get back on her feet after all these stupid surgeries. Literally.
“How is it going?” a voice said. Future Richard looked over, and saw AI Dyan, almost on cue from when she thought about her.
“I’m fine,” she said.
“The schedule says you are not supposed to be fine for another three days. And then you’ll be fine enough to start using a cane.” AI Dyan did not understand human interaction whatsoever, which was only partially because of her artificial nature.
“I can at least feel my leg again,” Future Richard said. “Well, my robot leg. Either way, I like that I’m not a double amputee for the rest of my life.”
“If there’s anywhere you could choose to be maimed, the ISRFA was probably the best spot you could have picked,” AI Dyan said. “Science is amazing, isn’t it?”
“Yeah… Speaking of science…”
“Speaking of science, the project launches tomorrow. Did you know that?”
Richard looked up from her desk and saw Future Stephen walking into her room. “How did it go?” she asked.
“Almost exactly how you would have expected it,” he said.
“That bad, huh?”
Future Stephen nodded. “I can’t get through to her anymore. It’s like… maybe she’s hiding something.”
Richard raised an eyebrow. “What could she possibly be hiding?”
“I don’t know.” He sat on Richard’s bed and leaned his head back in frustration. “I really don’t know.”
Richard stood up from her desk and sat on the bed next to him. She put her arm around him. “It’s all going to be okay. You’re just overworked. We’ll be able to take a lot of time off once the project commences.”
“That’s what you think,” he said.
“Yes, and what I think is the truth.”
“Maybe you’re right…”
Her bedroom was unusually quiet tonight. She was unsure if that meant the heating system was broken or if it was working perfectly.