Tensing had been wondering how to approach this for a while – how to get Carter on side and persuade him that letting him go was the best thing for all of them? He’d been overcomplicating it, and he realised that now – Carter was a simple man and in these complicated times the last thing he needed was more complication; keep it simple and he might just be able to pull this off. Carter was a businessman as well, so appeal to the greed that floated just beneath the surface.
Tensing had been watching the other inmates, some of them were confused, some of them were angry; some of them looked resigned to their fates. They had either accepted that they had killed a past self iteration or they were in denial, but to a man – he knew this – they were confused about why they might have done it. He was confused himself. He had spent so long maintaining a life which did not impact upon the world in any way that would endanger his freedom and here he was killing himself? It just didn’t make any sense to him – he knew that he was not the kind of person to be overcome with a sense of conscience that drove him to travel back in time and off himself so he could prevent any future acts. He was a businessman and anything he had done had been carefully considered; anyway, the nature of the work that he did generally involved bringing people back to life – turning the clock back to correct mistakes; it was very strange if what he did actually resulted in the death of someone. Sure, he put out an air of big scary criminal but when it boiled down to it that was all it was – an image; a defensive measure. Most of that was down to the fact that people had been looking for him for a long time.
He felt like there was some kind of block in his memory that was resulting from having performed the act of killing his past self, but what? He wondered whether there might be someone in the future who meant something to him who was being held hostage, forcing him to do something so monumentally stupid, but that didn’t sound like him, did it? He wasn’t the sort to go and get attached, and if he was, how would that shit get knocked out of his memory? Post-hypnotic suggestion? It was possible, but who the hell could get close enough to him to do that shit? He had so much tech dedicated to maintaining a perimeter that he should have been safe forever – he believed the only way he would be vulnerable was if he turned the system off himself, and why would he do that?
Yeah, why would he do that? He called one of the guards to him and decided to put the idea in the wind that he was the answer to Carter’s problem. He had to hope that in spite of the fact that he had killed someone they would trust him to fix this because it was in his best interest. He was worried though – he couldn’t lie to himself about that – what kind of paradoxes would fixing this total trainwreck of a situation throw up? He knew that it would be unlike anything he had ever seen before – that much was obvious. He was kind of interested in that though. Fix something and then fix the breakages that caused – how long would the process take? Well, if he was to do a good job it could take a very long time. He was hoping that bundled up into the deal he wished to cut would be included all of the tech he had had on him, otherwise ageing might be a problem.
So he started running in his head through the murders and the murderers. Carlisle Bluth – one of the few of them who was not in the vicinity when the murder was committed but whose DNA evidence matched that which was found at the scene. Who exactly would have it out for him? A time ship pilot wasn’t worth much to anyone. How would they have obtained the samples which made him look like he was guilty? There’d apparently been some kind of tachyon leakage that had left Bluth needing a windback, so what had caused that?
Verimen’s death at first glance appeared to be the work of a religious fanatic, but if you factored Verimen’s own religious conviction into the mix then it looked more like a message to someone rather than a message from someone. The similarities between it and Bluth’s murder meant they had to have been carried out or at least engineered by the same person.
Spudrillo really was small time, but out of all the survivors, the Spudrillo that was left behind seemed way more fucked up. Had he seen something? Had he seen someone? Tensing hoped that these kinds of questions were being asked, but then he had met Carter and his faith was not that strong.
Then you came to him and Carsmile – for him to be wrapped up in this made perfect sense, because he was, after all, capable of reversing the trend, but Carsmile? You could rule Carsmile out of the equation as irrelevant if his body and his other iteration hadn’t turned up.
And now what? Sherin Caldew and a missing baby that really was fucking with everyone’s head. Where was the child and more importantly why was the child missing?
What question did the killing of these people answer? What did the person who was doing these things stand to gain? Everyone was looking at as if it were a personal thing but what if it were a business transaction? What if it were designed to draw him out? Or maybe someone wanted to ruin Midas City? Or what if they wished to collapse down this segment of spacetime? What was here that would make that worthwhile? Was it something to do with the Timelock Station perhaps? Damn, so many questions. He hoped that answer were following close behind.