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Tiny Tremors

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"Grace and Nathan? Oh no. He got to every other girl before me. Not Grace too!" Harold folded his arms, frowning at the screen.

 

"Okay, but it looks like you're destined to be with me, so it all works out?" John squeezed Harold's shoulder with a gentle hand.

 

Harold sniffed. "I suppose. How do you feel about living underwater?"

 

"I could get used to it. Punch sharks on the nose. Not sure about the tail."

 

"And gills?" Harold asked, absently stroking the side of John's neck, while scrolling down. "Oh no, this one better not put Grace in danger."

 

"She'll be fine, she's with me." John was a little offended that Finch would doubt that.

 

"'With' as in marrying you, like Nathan?"

 

"I don't think so, I'm protecting her. Until she can meet up with you."

 

"That's better. My word, we're in Regency London next?"

 

"You enjoy Jane Austen novels. Wouldn't you like to be in one?"

 

"Yes, but the sanitation..."

 

"You'd be wealthy enough to have some kind of flushing toilet, I'm sure. All the latest."

 

"Root on a futuristic space colony? Now there's intriguing technology. Can she send us back samples?"

 

John neglected to answer the question because he was gulping nervously at the next summary. "What's this about you only wanting to stay friends?"

 

"With you? Nonsense. This writer must be both cruel and clueless."

 

"Speaking of cruel...we're all dead but we don't know it? Samaritan came up with that."

 

"No, Samaritan would not attempt to shield us from the knowledge of our demise. It would prefer to gloat." Then Harold read the title of the next story, and John proceeded to rub the silk backing of his vest as though Harold had made a suggestion. "If I'm in Italy and Shaw's in New York...the team has disbanded. That's sad."

 

"Better than everybody being dead. Ooh, in this one you hire my 'services'." John read, summoning a suggestive grin.

 

"And you're wearing silk robes. What a splendid idea." Harold opened a tab and started a search on another monitor to remind himself to do some shopping later.

 

Meanwhile John skimmed the next few lines, and began to blush.

 

"What is it?"

 

"Nothing. I wouldn't mind coming between you both, is all."

 

"What are you...this is about Grace discovering my secrets...poly? Oh! Yes, well, that is fairly unlikely at present."

 

"Not as unlikely as me landing in heaven...but seeing Jess again would be nice."

 

"Agreed. I'd gladly give a great many things to have one more conversation with Nathan."

 

They smiled sadly at one another, then John forced himself to read on. "Agent Webb? Name rings a bell."

 

"Apparently you'll be spending some time with him." Harold commented, with enough indignation to betray his jealousy.

 

John scanned the screen. "But I'm sticking with you. He's got his own partners."

 

"And lastly this writer is going to tell us about Ms. Shaw having adventures."

 

"That one sounds full of suspense."

 

"Excellent. Well, we'll have to wait a few months to see what becomes of these. In the meantime -" he broke off, as a folder icon appeared onscreen. "PM?"

 

"Prime Minister?"

 

"Pain Management? Private Message?" With trepidation, Harold clicked to open the file, secure in the knowledge his setup would run his self-designed malware protection instantly if there was trouble. "Oh, it's more summaries! I wonder why these were hidden."

 

John was reading on, eyebrows raised. "Me and Fusco?"

 

"Well, it is about time you treated him to a nice meal. He is your partner, after all."

 

"I could be wrong, but I don't think they expect me to date him."

 

"And here's one where you're not dating anyone, but you're working hard at surviving on the streets."

 

"Root and Shaw do all the work for us," John said, hinting vaguely at the next one on the list.

 

"Jurassic Park!?" Harold exclaimed, uncovering another. "I can't run, I'll almost certainly be eaten."

 

"Not if I'm there." The subway lights flickered.

 

"What was that noise?" They held very still, listening for footsteps on the stairs. John drew his gun.

 

They flinched as the printer under the desk gave an almighty screech and began spitting out sheets of paper at breakneck speed. The vibration was violent enough to shake the floor of the subway car. Recovering himself, Harold caught a wedge of pages and flicked through them. "The stories? But it's too soon."

 

Glancing up at the screens, John sighed. "I guess this is what happens when you create an AI with unlimited imagination that can see into the future." He went to shut off the power.