Click here for the entire story (so far)
Click here for the first series (Frenzy).
Kallias Bran rearranged the documents on his desk for a minute and stood up, placing his reading glasses in his front pocket. “You going after the people making the snow?”
“Well, we were going to look for help from someone else,” Ace said. “We don’t know who is causing the snow.”
“I have a pretty good idea.”
“You know who’s doing this?” Serkan asked, surprised.
He smiled. “I’m gonna give you a minute to think it over, Serkan. You possess a connection to these people, one that Ace and I do not...except through you.” He had to keep going when Serkan wasn’t getting it, “who do you know might have the money and resources to alter the weather...and is possibly named something, uh, related to the weather?”
“Oh!” Serkan finally got it, of course. “Of course! Snowglobe!”
“That’s right,” Bran confirmed. “I’ve been investigating Snowglobe Collective for years, but I’ve not been able to get very close.”
“Well, what do you know about them?”
“I know that the top leadership is comprised of temporal manipulators, like you three. I don’t know who they are, and I don’t know what they’re trying to do.”
“It looks like they’re trying to control the weather,” Ace said.
“Yes, but to what end? Are they trying to help, or is control the keyword here?”
“What about this doorknob?” asked Serkan, holding it up in front of him. “Could we use this to sneak into the Snowglobe headquarters and get some answers?”
Bran smiled again. “I’ve tried that before. Like I said, they’re powerful time manipulators. They have, like, wards against that. In the future, weather control will be ubiquitous, and worrying what tomorrow brings will be a thing of the past. I believe these people jumped to that future, stole the technology, and are currently attempting to reverse engineer it for their own gain. They’re not taking any chances. It will be their most guarded possession.”
“But we can stop them,” Ace proposed. He placed an affectionate hand on Serkan’s shoulder. “Rather, Serkie here can stop them. If they have temporal wards, then he can get through them.”
“Ehh, not necessarily,” Bran argued. “He has the ability to stop people from using their powers, but he doesn’t block all temporal manipulation. Afterall, this all started when he fell into The Gravedigger’s open grave, and ended up in the past. Why just now he used The Doorknob to access this dimension. He obviously has the ability to experience temporal manipulation when it comes to objects.”
“Oh, that’s true,” Ace realized.
He separated a few pieces of paper from one of the messy stacks on his desk, one of which was a crude blueprint of the Snowglobe headquarters. “I actually think the entire building is designed to protect their power from outside influence. They may not know about you specifically, but they know they’re not the only time travelers out there. They’re not interested in letting anyone through who isn’t one of them.”
Ace placed his other hand on Serkan’s other shoulder. “Then we’ll have to find a way to make Serkie become one of them.”
“Ace,” Serkan said lovingly. “I’m not going to be promoted from security to executive management overnight.”
“Maybe it’s time you bite the bullet and go have a conversation with Lincoln Rutherford,” Bran suggested. “From what I gather, he understands what it’s like to pretend to be a business magnate’s security guard.”
“We need to talk to Andrews first, though,” Ace told them. “We still need to someone on our side who might actually have a chance of fixing this.”
“Unless he’s part of this,” Serkan posited. “Like I said, I barely know him, and you don’t know him at all.”
“I know him,” Bran said. “Well enough, at least. You wouldn’t be the first of his kind that he’s met. You should go. I promise to take care of Paige.”
Paige finally revealed herself from the bathroom. “I can go with you. I can help. I can take pictures.”
“No.” Ace knelt down to be closer to Paige’s level. “One day you’ll be able to help with things like this in profound ways. Ways that we can’t even begin to predict. You’re going to become a lovely young lady, and an important woman in history. Right now, you’re vulnerable. You’re young, physically small...and untrained. You just don’t have the experience we need for this, and we can’t be worrying about what might happen to you. One day, you’ll get your shot. It is not today.”
Paige always appreciated them talking to her like she was an adult. Her birth parents had been absolutely awful to her, treating her more like a rabid animal than a person. Their trip to Stonehenge together was just a front, for they treated her just fine in public, preventing anyone from knowing what was really going on. Harry Potter couldn’t come close to understanding what Paige went through back in the 20th century. What she needed was to feel like she mattered, like she could contribute. She also needed discipline, and boundaries. She wasn’t allowed to help with the Snowglobe problem, and she needed to be told this straight up, and also be told that they won’t be sheltering her forever. Because it was true, they always knew that she would grow up to be a strong, independent woman. For now, she needed to stay alive long enough to realize those days. Bran could give her that. “Okay.” She went back to her bedroom and started packing.
“Thank you for this, Kallias,” Serkan said.
“In my younger days, I would have jumped at the chance to go with you. That’s just not me in anymore.” He placed his reading glasses back on his face, but purposely askew so that he looked silly. “This is me now.”
They could afford to take a second to laugh about how he looked. But then it was time they went into their bedroom, and packed as well. Serkan still needed to get dressed.
“Paige, make sure you pack your heavy coat! We don’t quite know how the weather will affect the pocket dimension!”
“Okay!” she called back.
“That goes for you too, Serkan,” he said.
“Yes...dad.” That was weird. He wasn’t going to call him that again, for any reason.
After everybody had said their goodbyes, Paige and Bran were safely back in the secret pocket dimension, and Serkan and Ace were on their way to DNA Research Labs, Inc. Yes, a company called DNA was confusing, but it was a pun, and Duke Norbert Andrews was sticking to it. It took a while to get all the way up to the top floor. Of course, Andrews was already hard at work with his team, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. He didn’t have time for visitors, but once Serkan claimed to the front desk security that he had some insight into the mysterious weather phenomena, he was ushered in.
“Mister Demir?” Andrews asked, closing the door between them and the frantic meteorologists in the conference room. “You look...older?”
“I can’t explain why that is, Mr. Andrews, but please, let us keep our conversations quiet. If you ever see me again, I may not...uh...quite remember that we spoke of today.”
He lifted his head inquisitively. “You’re not Serkan.”
“What do you know?”
“Snowglobe Collective is doing this. We don’t know how, but we know they’re involved.”
He casually walked around his desk and sat down. “Of course they are. I worked that out on the slow drive over here. With a company name like that, you’re just asking for people to make a connection between you and Christmas in July.”
“Do you know how they might be doing this?” Ace asked.
Andrews just looked at him.
He introduced himself, “Horace Reaver, sir.”
Andrews noticeably twitched at the sound of Ace’s full name. “I have no idea, but it is not without precedent.”
“It’s happened before?”
“1816,” Andrews began. “It’s also known as the Year Without Summer. Frost killed off a great deal of agriculture, leading to food shortages in North America and Western Europe.” He tapped a few keys on his keyboard and the flipped his monitor around to show the Wikipedia page on the subject. “But that was after a massive volcano eruption. Nothing like that happened here. The snow has merely materialized.” He tapped a few more keys and switched it to a series of maps and diagrams that Serkan was not educated enough to comprehend. “And it won’t end here. These weather patterns make absolutely no sense, but we can still do minimal forecasting for the area. It’s going to get worse...unless someone finds a way to stop it.”
“Do you have any ideas?” Serkan asked.
“Besides storming Snowglobe’s castle and shutting down whatever it is that have that can alter the weather? No. Nothing can reverse this, because that technology simply does not exist. Global climate control is something my lead futurologist predicts won’t happen until next century, at best. We’re not even working on it right now. This world requires too many microsolutions before we can even begin exploring it. It would seem that Snowglobe has skipped ahead on us.”
“But it’s out of control,” Serkan added. “I mean, that is unless they actually wanted a winter wonderland in what’s supposed to be the summer.”
“No,” Andrews agreed. “I imagine they stumbled onto something they don’t understand, and it’s backfiring on them.”
“Can your team do anything?” Ace asked.
“Honestly, I have them all working on different avenues, but no. No one, as far as I know, is equipped to handle this sort of thing. Like I said, the tech doesn’t exist. If Snowglobe doesn’t stop it, no one can.”
“We might be able to.”
“What do you know? Be honest? Whatever your secret, I can handle it.”
Serkan was worried about altering the timeline, but that ship has appeared to have sailed by now. The original 2024 didn’t involve mysterious freak weather, so he might as well go full force and just read Andrews in. If he couldn’t be trusted, then all hope was lost anyway. “I’m from the future. From what I remember of this year, this never happens. Somehow I changed something. I had some butterfly effect on Snowglobe, maybe just by being one of their security guards.”
This gave Andrews pause. “You work there? At Snowglobe?” He didn’t seem shocked by the revelation that Serkan was a time traveler, though.
“Just as a guard at one of their warehouses,” Serkan explained. “Nothing big. Nothing that can help us.”
“Don’t be so sure about that. It could be our way in.”
“I don’t even have access to headquarters.”
“Not yet, you don’t.” Lincoln Rutherford, Esquire had come into the room.
“Mr. Rutherford, thank you for coming. What are you thinking?”
Rutherford was on the City Frenzy council, both now, and in the future. Serkan and Ace encountered him a few times, and he proved to know a lot more about time travel than anyone else. He and Serkan made each other uncomfortable, though, so when they came back from 1971 Stonehenge, they decided to stay away from him completely.
“I’ve been keeping my eye on you, Future!Serkan. I’m glad you found some nice kind of life since last we spoke.”
“We’ve done our best,” Ace responded. “Would you be able to help us? This time?”
“The problem at hand,” Rutherford said, “is that you can’t get into the building. I think I may have a way for you to do just that, and to get the executives to trust you. But you’re gonna have to trust me first.”
Oh, no. “What?”
“It’ll require some deception...and a hint of violence.”