“You did WHAT?”
“I didn’t think you’d–”
“Of course I would! How could you say it just ‘happened’?”
“It did! I mean, he’s still the same…”
“No, he’s not. We’re a world apart from you. You wouldn’t understand what we’ve been through.”
“Please… if he wants to talk to me, he should come in himself. Not send in his little side-piece to try and explain it for him.”
“You can’t be serious. We’re the same–”
“…I’m sorry for bringing it up. I thought it would be what you wanted me to do. Apparently I don’t know you as well as I thought.”
“You are correct.”
“Thank you, honey.
“No, we can’t do this anymore.”
“Richard, come on. What did she say?”
“I don’t think she’s ever going to speak to you again. And to be frank, I don’t know if I will either.”
“I don’t think we’re meant to be together.”
“No offense. I mean, you’re not exactly the least attractive person to me, but I think my place is with… not you.”
“That was certainly an indirect way of putting that. Are you sure she didn’t just spook you?”
“I don’t know! Why don’t you go ask her?”
“Then go do it, Stephen!”
“Future Stephen. I think I’m supposed to be called Future Stephen now.”
“It doesn’t matter. If you want her to be happy, go talk to her yourself. Otherwise, we’re done talking about this.”
“Come on! You’re the one that… Nevermind.”
“I’m sorry, okay?”
“Hey, where are you going?”
“I’m going back to my room. I’m sorry Stephen, I can’t talk right now.”
“I just haven’t seen from you in a couple days. I was a little–”
“Please leave me alone.”
“It’s okay. I… I think I understand.”
“You probably don’t. But as long as you think you do, I guess it’s okay.”
“You know what? I don’t have to deal with this. Get out of my way.”
“What the hell was that?”
“I feel fucking awful.”
“I know the feeling.”
“Yeah… I think this is a special kind of awful though. I’m pretty sure I brought it entirely on myself, though, so it’s probably karma.”
“That’s not how karma works.”
“I know, I know…”
“Anyway, sorry for dragging you into all this. I just needed someone to…”
“To take your frustrations out on? Yeah, I understand. Though you seem a little single-minded about how you deal with stress. Have you noticed?”
“Not until just now. Yep… Yeah, I guess I do. Sorry.”
“Fine with me.”
“So everyone’s suited up and ready to go, eh? I should probably have made my coffee a little earlier then, I guess. It’s still hot, so… I’m going to wait a little bit. Is that alright with you guys? I hope so, because I’m not taking this thing into the future with me. It will get very cold by then.
“That was a joke. You’re supposed to laugh.
“Man, what’s gotten into you guys today? You’re supposed to be excited! We’re doing the project stuff! I thought this would be the most important day of all our lives! Um, except for our two time traveller friends. That would make this the second most important day of your lives, I guess.
“Tough crowd this morning. I’m just going to pretend all of you are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, and that we’re going to see the coolest future ever artificially created by human beings. Monsanto can suck it.
“Our first stop on the Evolution Express will be… drumroll… six-hundred thousand years in the future. Not quite far enough to see if there’s any sentient species, but I believe it’s far enough to see how the ecosystem grows… will grow… once Antarctica begins to thaw itself out.
“Hannah, you and Odaawa will handle the sample-collecting duties. DNA, soil, all that good stuff. Stephens, you guys will travel to each end of the facility and collect data from the systems. Richard, you and I will… be doing a confidential mission. Yes, spooky and secret.
“Future Richard? Why the long face? I mean, I know you can’t go, but you’re still recovering from your surgeries. I really like those robo-limbs though. They make you look badass as all get-out. You’ll be able to go next time. Don’t worry!
“Okay, looks like my coffee is officially… gone. Yum. Let’s get this stuff in gear. Come on, guys! Time to go… Back to the non-copyright-infringing future!”