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The Late-Night Time Travelers’ Philosophy Club

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Wyatt was in a killing mood when they found the mothership in the Arizona Territory. Lucy wasn’t of much of a mind to dissuade him, but that turned out to be unnecessary. The mothership still smelled of death, which she knew from all the wars they’d visited—a stomach-turning mixture of bodily fluids of all kinds. But other than that, it was empty, and the same destruction had been visited on the electronics as had been the case with the lifeboat.

Emma was in the wind, which Lucy considered to be a smart move under the circumstances. Emma might try to let Rittenhouse know what to expect, but she was only a woman and Lucy didn’t think Rittenhouse was doing much listening to women at this point. Maybe after suffrage and the first big wave of white feminism, when their daughters demanded equal access to elitism, but not yet.

The mothership was designed to carry the lifeboat, as Rufus had promised, but he had neglected to mention that this design assumed a modern engineering shop that could disassemble the lifeboat and pack it away. Also, Rufus first had to move the electronics from the lifeboat into the mothership, with what looked to Lucy like a disturbing amount of jerry-rigging.

They set up a shelter next to the mothership while it aired out and spent a backbreaking week taking apart the lifeboat. Lucy didn’t entirely embarrass herself when helping to carry heavy objects, so she was going to call it a win, especially since they were all by now familiar with what people who didn’t have access to showers and deodorant smelled like.

At night, Lucy and Wyatt retreated to the other side of the mothership, letting Rufus have the fire to himself and staying warm in other ways—“like a screen door in a hurricane,” Rufus might have said under his breath, but Lucy was very good at not hearing things like that and Wyatt just grinned at him.