A Computer Called Clarke
[The continuation of the Survivor Short Story “project” in the War On Boris the Bytrode series. This time, back in time, 1967, following the adventures of middle-aged mum, Letitia…
In this short episode (5.1) Letitia comes to terms with her mission, but learns that time is of the essence…]
The Department Should Pay
Letitia tottered down to the Sandy Bay shore. Dark. Only the streetlights to guide her steps. She needed time and space to process her part in the mission her father, daughter and the IGSF had planned for her.
‘At least it’s a warm night; warmer than Antarctica,’ she muttered. ‘I’ll try and get some sleep, then work out what to do in the morning.’ She chuckled while clutching her stomach. ‘Perhaps, I can get the Education Department to pay for my fare to Adelaide. Me? A teacher? What next?’ She sighed and kicked the sand. ‘How long can I keep up the “Teacher-act”, I wonder?’ She flung her arms about in grand gestures, rehearsing her role. ‘Good morning class, I am your new English teacher, the wonderful, the magnificent invisible Miss Fahrer, or would that be Driver? Am I going to be persecuted for having a German name? Nah, it’s Adelaide, I’ll be right. I wonder where I’ll be? If it’s the Barossa, I’ll definitely be alright. Okay, not sure how I’ll manage the critters. But you know, if they start throwing paper at me, I can always disappear.’
Letitia twirled and tripped on a stone. Over-balanced. Falling…
Great! Not again!
Strong arms cradled her and lifted her upright.
Balanced, Letitia blinked, allowing her eyes to adjust to the dull tones of night.
Wilhelm’s bleached blonde hair and ghost-like complexion glowed against the blackness. ‘Whoopsy-daisy, you nearly took a tumble.’
‘Sorry, I didn’t mean to…you know…impose…I just…’ Letitia stammered.
‘It’s okay.’ Wilhelm released her arm but remained facing her. ‘I’m so sorry that they have dumped this mission on you. If there’s anything I can do to help.’
‘Teaching is the one profession, I never wanted to do.’ Letitia wiped a stray tear that had decided to roll down her cheek. ‘Actually, you know, if I have to be a teacher, which I should remind you most emphatically, that I am not. But if I have to be, well, it’s only fair if they get the Education Department to pay for my fare back to Adelaide. Don’t you think? After all, how else am I going to get there? I have no money. And it would be for a good cause. You see, Tails and Maggie, those two scoundrels…they have stolen your, your’s and Frieda’s grandchildren…’
Wilhelm’s eyes widened. ‘Grandchildren?’
‘In my future. I think,’ Letitia said almost in a whisper, ‘I think, or this world is like a parallel world to mine, but out of time, sort of. I guess there must be…’
Wilhelm breathed out with a whistle. ‘Phew! And there I thought you were the embodiment of the crazy woman inside my head. Parallel worlds, well, that sounds novel—Man In the High Castle stuff.’
‘What? No, I’m serious, I thought, you being part of the IGSF and fight against Boris, I thought you must have some understanding that parallel universes are a thing.’
‘I do, I do,’ Wilhelm caught her arm. ‘But we can’t tell Frieda that. She’s still trying to get her head around time-travel. Which, even I can’t believe is possible. But hey, I get your drift. As I said, with some of the strange things that have happened to me. And to be honest…’ He turned Letitia around and guided her up the steps to the house. ‘Look, we need to drive to my boat tonight. We need to move on this plan. The Admiral called and said that time is of the essence.’
‘Won’t your wife get upset?’
‘She’s used to it.’ Wilhelm sighed. ‘It’s all part of working for the Intergalactic Star Fleet. Oh, and pretending to be a psychiatric doctor.’
He opened the basement garage with his remote and led her to his Aston Martin Coupe.
Within minutes they were gliding across the Tasman Bridge, over the brooding Derwent River, to Bellerive Marina.
© Lee-Anne Marie Kling 2021
Feature Photo: On Sandy Bay shores © L.M. Kling 1995
More than before?
Read the mischief and mayhem Boris the over-sized alien cockroach gets up to…
Click on the link to my new novel, The Lost World of the Wends
Or discover how it all began in The Hitch-Hiker
And how it continues with Mission of the Unwilling