[This is part of the #wheresfree collab – more info here.]
As the fourth generation spare to the Johnson Legacy family, and daughter of the self-proclaimed supervillain Fey Johnson, Emelia Johnson’d had a lot of strange days before. But this one took the maple-bacon cupcake.
The last thing she remembered doing was delivering a carefully worded warning to her young friend Free-Jon about the importance of timing to what they were about to do. That conversation replayed in her mind now.
Free: “You’re sure we can’t stay just a little bit longer?”
Em: “Not if we don’t want to get sucked into an infinite time vortex that will simultaneously age us up and down and eventually destroy our coding forever.”
“Yeah..” Emelia regretted aloud, “I really shouldn’t have said that.”
But it was a bit too late to take it back. Here she was, hurled across time and space only to land a familiarish place, in the relative present.. in a rapidly-aged body.
Emelia ran her fingers over the network of wrinkles that now stretched across the top of her right hand. Wow, she thought, old lady skin is soft. Being something of a scientific Genius, she was quite curious about the changes her body had just undergone – were she at home, she could run some tests.. But there wasn’t time to dilly-dally now.
Emelia and Free-Jon had come here because he wanted to visit his cousins, the Wolffs, who he hadn’t seen since his grandmother Cooper’s funeral. But the portal they’d stepped through to get here was nowhere in sight, and neither was Free-Jon. Luckily, Emelia had a powerful tool at her disposal: a device known in the common vernacular as a Time/Space Thingy.
Emelia had acquired her Time/Space Thingy during her months in Bilmonaghan’s world. Many important people there carried them – it enabled them to safely travel between locations, across saved games and even to different hard drives. This device was specially attuned to her – all she had to do was hold it and concentrate her intentions, and she could find familiar places or people just like that.
“All I have to do is just..”
But it wasn’t working.
“What the frick-frack?! Why won’t it work!”
Emelia refocused her intentions and concentrated with all her will, but the Time/Space Thingy just sat in her hand like a Kitchen Upgrade Part. It didn’t seem to recognize her at all.
“The device isn’t damaged,” she observed, “but I might be — my coding must have degraded! I need to get to a lab.”
Emelia wandered along the sidewalk, muttering to herself, trying not to allow the creeping panic that seemed to be following her set in. She was almost to the center of the map when she spotted a familiar face.
“You!! You’re Reagan Sloan!”
Emelia knew she probably sounded a wee bit overexcited – but, man, she finally felt like she was getting somewhere!
.. Or not.
“I’m afraid you have me mistaken for someone else,” the woman said.
Emelia wasn’t one to judge how someone wanted to live her life. Hell, she’d been through all that existential stuff herself. But she really needed Reagan’s help.
“Reagan, believe me -” Emelia said, “I don’t want to cause you any trouble or interfere with what you’ve got going here. But I’ve got to find my friend and get us back home, and you have to help me. You’re the only one here who understands this stuff.”
Reagan sighed. She was not interested in living as a Game-Aware Sim, nor all the drama that came along with it. But it was obvious that this woman wasn’t going to leave until she got what she came for, and the fact that Emelia needed her help was a bit flattering..
Damn that old ex-servant mentality, Reagan cursed to herself. But Emelia had already noticed the change in her demeanor, and Reagan had to look away to hide her smile.
“Well. Let’s get off the sidewalk then, shall we?” Reagan suggested. “Unless you aim to hobnob with Elder Wolff Prime in a second here.”
“Don’t have to ask me twice!” said Emelia, quickly scooting after Reagan into the house.
. . . . . .