“Robert” the name drifted away in the warm summer air as Rosalind sat up abruptly, woken suddenly by the name. “Robert” she repeated softly, timidly. It had been one, long, tedious year since she had first made contact with her brother. As she drew closer to her deadline she had been having more and more vivid dreams of time with him and, on more than one occasion, she had awoken with his name on her lips; but this was different. This time she had felt him. Rosalind sat alone in the dark taking in the surroundings of her room, the now familiar sight of the old oak dresser at the foot of her bed, the window seat piled with books, the shadows cast by the small scale models on the desk next to the door, the heaps of clothes scattered across the floor-not all of them her own- and let out a disappointed sigh. She could have sworn she had felt Robert nearby.
A sudden tingly wave passed through her again. Rosalind was all too familiar with this feeling, the feeling she only felt when time and space was opened around her. She felt it whenever she or Robert teleported. Rosalind leapt to her feet, blankets and sheets falling to the floor in a heap, and ran to the window, kneeling on the seat and pressing her face to the glass, peering out into the night. She was sure of it this time she had felt time and space being warped, not quite the same as when she herself used to do it, but it was still unmistakable. It must be Robert. He must have found some way to open a tear.
It’s impossible she thought to herself.
“But I felt it” Rosalind said out loud to herself, forcing herself to believe. “What else could it be?” The street below her window was empty except for a stray cat strutting about as if it owned the place. Rosalind kept her eyes on the street, eyes scanning every detail waiting for that familiar figure to emerge from the shadows. That familiar flash of red hair, that familiar smirk that was almost always pulling at the corner of his mouth.
Rosalind felt a light breeze blow in through the window and suddenly became very aware that she was wearing nothing at all. Though she was quite comfortable with herself the idea of the fuss that would undoubtedly be raised if someone on the street were to see her did not appeal to her. The people of this world were, sadly, no less prude than they were in her own world. She threw one last look out the window before returning to her bed and pulling the sheets back around her. The clock on her bedside table read 3:42am. She had 2 hours and 18 minutes left before her scheduled alarm would sound. Rosalind laid her head back on her pillow, her hands kneading her eyes as she tried to figure out what she had just felt.
Since agreeing to work with Adolf she had hardly used her teleportation ability, not only because it was no longer necessary as he paid for all of her expenses -be they travel, lodging, food, research, etc.- but also because they caused her immense pain when she did it too often. Much like Robert when he had first joined her in her world, she found that, when she used her ability in excess, she would hemorrhage. Though it was puzzling to her at first, Rosalind believed she had finally figured out a likely explanation.
In Robert’s situation, when he entered her world he would hemorrhage without warning. There had always been a constant reminder in the world that he did not belong: her. They were one and the same, and the mind struggles to accept what cannot be. His body rejected the cognitive dissonance through confusion and hemorrhage. That all stopped after they were blown through all of space and time as they were essentially dead to the world, ending the confusion.
When Rosalind first came to this world she lasted for one month without hemorrhage. The hemorrhage was induced after simulating invisibility with her ability to travel through space-time, an event that has never happened in this world because, in this world Rosalind Lutece was never born. A month or two after accepting Adolf’s offer of work Rosalind had happened to have the chance to confirm the theory.
In her own world Rosalind’s father had been close friends with a mathematician named Charles Galton, before she had built Columbia with Comstock he had accepted an offer to become a fulltime professor at the Ilmenau University of Technology in Ilmenau, Thuringia. She had attended the dreadfully dull going away party to please her mother who had hoped she would catch the eye of a handsome young man at the party.
Rosalind rolled her eyes at the memory of her mother trying to set her up with a gangly mathematician. It wasn’t that she didn’t respect the man, she just had no need for such companionship.
Adolf had the phone number for the Ilmenau University of Technology and, after some convincing, had agreed to call and ask for a Dr. Charles Galton. Dr. Galton did still work there and he was still friends with Rosalind’s mother but he had no children. In this world Rosalind’s mother had miscarried several times before taking her own life in 1925.
Rosalind’s thoughts turned to Adolf, her benefactor and friend. There was something about him that made her want to trust him, the way he spoke was invigorating. He had advanced a lot in the last year. When she first met him he had just received his German citizenship, he had formally renounced his Austrian citizenship in April of 1925 but had waited to finally receive his German citizenship. When she asked him why he had waited 5 years he’d said that he had been disillusioned with the government. He’d been unwilling to help promote a government that would allow its citizens to undergo such hardships, to sign a treaty that would ruin the German people like they had. But then he’d had an epiphany, if he wanted change he had to be the one to do it, so got his citizenship in order to run for president. The elections were held the October after her arrival and he’d won by a landslide. From that day on she had been given unlimited resources for her work, all she had to do was keep Adolf updated on her progress.
She had been reluctant at first to tell him about what she actually intended to use her work for: to return home. But over time Adolf had proved to be loyal and supportive. He could be harsh, she had seen it with the men he worked with in parliament, but he was always kind to her and, above all, he respected her. He encouraged her work and seemed to have no expectations of receiving anything other than the advances in science she promised to deliver. She could still remember the look of pure amazement and wonder in his eyes, the glimmer of affection and deep respect for her, when she had been able to recreate the Lutece Field for him. While other men insisted on calling it quantum levitation, he would always call it by the name she had given it: the Lutece Field.
After the reconstruction of a fully functional Lutece Field, she had been able to quantumly entangle another particle to send updates to her brother. She sent them once a month, more for herself than for him, just to assure herself that he was still there, still waiting. Rosalind predicted that she would only need about half of the time she had left to finish the contraption, an idea that sent shivers down her spine with anticipation. She was so close.
Rosalind rolled over and looked at the clock. 5:59am. She leaned over and turned off the alarm pre-emptively before sitting up. She stretched as she looked around the room before getting up to begin what would probably turn out to be one of the hardest days of her life: her birthday.
An hour later she left the house and headed off down the street towards the lab. When she’d first signed on to work with Adolf she had insisted on staying in the hotel suite she’d been living in when she first arrived in Munich. He’d agreed but, once he’d won the election he’d convinced her to move to the capitol with him so he could watch her work. Once in Berlin he’d used his influence as president to buy her a fairly expensive house two blocks from the lab space he’d paid for.
Rosalind turned around the corner, the large building where her lab was located coming into view as she walked but something was wrong. She stopped dead in her tracks and stared at the thing on the corner of the sidewalk beside the building. It was a deep blue wooden box that appeared large enough for someone to stand in. There was a small white light on the roof, and two windows on the sides near the top of the box. There was a sign near the top that read “Police Public Call Box”. Rosalind walked slowly towards it, confusion plain on her face. She had walked to and from her lab every day for the past 9 months and she had never seen such a box. She certainly hadn’t seen one last night on her way home.
“What in the world” she breathed as she slowly walked around it. One of the sides had a door which a sign on it which read:
FOR USE OF
ADVICE & ASSISTANCE OBTAINABLE IMMEDIATELY
OFFICERS & CARS RESPOND TO ALL CALLS
PULL TO OPEN
Curious, Rosalind reached out a hand to pull the door open, as her fingers grazed the door handle she felt a small spark.
“Impossible” she said amazed before gripping it tight and pulling. The door shuddered but did not open. “Locked” she spat the word as she looked around the box again. She ran her ringers along the door, along the side panels, she reached up to touch the black and white sign. Each time she could feel it; residual energy from moving through time and space.
“So it was you” she stopped and absentmindedly fixed her hair, pulling it tighter. She needed to have this moved into her lab. Rosalind all but ran into the building, the guards Adolf had insisted on placing inside two months ago, smiling at her to say good morning, they had quickly grown accustomed to her ways when it came to her work. She was often rushing about and passionate in the lab. She greeted them pleasantly, pleased to see her two favourites finishing off the night shift this morning.
“Good morning Sven. Rudolf” She nodded to them both as she said hello. “I have found a blue box on the corner outside, it is marked ‘Police Public Call Box’ do you know anything about it?”
Sven, the oldest of the pair furrowed his brow. He scratched his dirty blonde hair in confusion “Blue box? We’ve been here since midnight. There was no blue box when we got here” Rudolf nodded in agreement.
“Police call box? Has the president- I mean the Führer- said anything about installing things like that? I know they’ve been doing lots of things around the city lately-“ Rosalind shook her head, amused by his confusion. Adolf had used his power to turn the office of the president into the office of the Führer almost 5 months ago and Rudolf was still getting it wrong. She cut him off impatiently.
“No he hasn’t said anything. I’m sure he would have mentioned if he were placing such a thing so close to my lab. I want it brought into the lab as soon as possible please”
Rudolf nodded and saluted, Rosalind repressed the urge to roll her eyes at the salute. Men had taken to doing that around her because of her relationship with the Führer. “We are being relieved by the day shift in an hour. Sven and I will bring it in before we leave.”
Rosalind nodded and thanked them before walking down the hall to her lab. She was halfway down the hall when Rudolf called out.
“Would you like us to wait until the gentleman has left before moving the box into the lab?” Rosalind spun around sharply, eyes narrowing suspiciously. There were no other people authorized to be in her lab other than the guards, herself and Adolf, the Führer.
“What man?” she said as Sven and Rudolf walked slowly towards her, closing the gap between them.
“The one that came to help you with your work. He had a paper signed by the Führer saying he could come in and wait for you.” Sven’s voice was honest and Rosalind could see that he truly believed what he said though she knew it to be false.
“The Führer would never allow such a thing without first telling me.” She drew herself up to her full height, making herself as imposing as possible. “Who have you let into my lab?”
Sven and Rudolf crumpled under her glare, genuine confusion in their eyes as they looked at each other. “He had a letter, he was some kind of doctor-”
“-it was signed by the Führer! I swear I saw it with my own eyes.” Rudolf finished Sven’s sentence.
“It had his seal and everything I swear Ms. Lutece” Sven pleaded as Rosalind spun around and stalked to her lab. As she grew closer she could hear the sounds of instruments being knocked together. She flinched as she heard something crash to the floor, so she picked up her pace, almost running to the lab.
She burst through the door and found a very tall, skinny man flailing about in her laboratory. He spun around to see her when she entered, almost falling over his own legs. Rosalind stared in disbelief as he somehow managed to simultaneously have his arms and legs flail about while also remaining upright. Once he found his balance he stood up straight and straightened his bow tie before rushing over to greet her.
He was at least 6 feet tall, his long brown fringe fell whimsically in front of his right eye, his face was long with defined cheekbones that would have made him look serious were it not for is playful green eyes that burned with excitement at the sight of her. He held out his hand eagerly before introducing himself.
“You must be Dr. Rosalind Lutece. I’m so pleased to meet you. I’m the Doctor.”