Chapter 1: Undesirable Case of Drowning
The world is in a constant state of flux, every scientist knows this. That down at the molecular level atoms are never stationary. They dance eternally to the song of life while humans desperately try to figure out how to control them. It is a futile effort but it makes the dance even more interesting. Rosalind enjoyed the dance, she had never been more alive than when she was in her lab probing into the depths of existence with a front row seat to the eternal dance. She loved how the atoms sang to her, sang the secrets of time and space. Everyday life was so monotonous compared to the celestial dance that she studied in her lab. Though the events with Booker and Elizabeth had indeed livened things up. Rosalind had almost found it enjoyable to watch how Booker would try to rescue Elizabeth, how his choices would determine his fate, though she only enjoyed it for its purely scientific purposes; to discover if some moments are due to chance or if some things are truly out of the control of mere mortals. The exercise with Booker had begun to be tedious though and by the 122nd time Rosalind had had more than enough. The poor soul wouldn’t even row for God’s sake. Were it up to her she would have given up on the project long ago to study more fulfilling things but she kept up with it for his sake.
Robert. She could never say no to Robert because to deny Robert was to deny herself. They were after all, the same person. When finally, after months of tediously using the pulses of a single quantumly entangled atom as means of communications via morse code, she had been able to create the right tear at the right time and he finally stepped through and into her corporeal world Rosalind finally felt complete. She finally had someone who could understand her completely for they were the same, the only difference being a single chromosome. He was refreshing, able to keep up with her, able to understand what she needed…
The world was upside down and growing darker. Rosalind tried to right herself, twisting this way but she could feel herself sinking, her thick clothes becoming heavier every second as they absorbed more and more water. She remembered being on Comstock’s ship and tried to be there again. To her horror she continued to sink. Deeper and deeper into the cold, unforgiving sea. She desperately began wriggling out of her clothes, slipping off the thick woolen skirt first, then shrugging off her overcoat. That seemed sufficient enough to stop her descent and she desperately started kicking her way up to what she could only assume to be the surface. To her relief her surroundings began to get lighter as ascended which encouraged her to swim faster and faster. Her lungs screamed in agony for the oxygen that they were no longer receiving, a curiously horrifying sensation that she had never felt before. Her heart was pounding in her ears at the thought of drowning, of being lost in the dark abyss of the ocean. It’s not possible, she thought to herself, trying to calm herself with logic but her damned human instincts were kicking in. Though her mind could understand her situation, her cursed body did not. Rosalind knew she could not die, and yet she was feeling a sensation that could only be that of dying. Though this was mildly disturbing to her what confused her more was one thought. Where is Robert?
Her head broke through the surface and she gasped for breath, her lungs greedily trying to take in as much oxygen as possible as if they would never see the blessed gas again. Rosalind looked around her, taking in her surroundings. Off in the distance to her left she could see the lighthouse that she and Robert had taken DeWitt to so many times. Her body felt weak from lack of oxygen and she could feel herself beginning to slip back under the surface. I should be on the dock she thought. And then she was.
“Well that would have been helpful before I lost my favorite jacket” she muttered angrily. She sat down on the edge of the dirty wooden dock and leaned against the ladder post to catch her breath. She looked up at the large white light house to her left. She was then sitting on the steps to the lighthouse, leaning against the solid rocky side. “Curious” she breathed as she began to untie her fiery red hair. It fell down limp and wet around her shoulders and she began to wring out the water. She tried to understand what had happened. She remembered being on Comstock’s ship. DeWitt was dealing with the Vox Populi, trying to keep them away from the ship while they sailed to destroy the siphon that had been dampening Elizabeth’s powers. The Vox had stopped them again. No. DeWitt destroyed the siphon. Then the Vox hit the ship with something. I fell. Rosalind looked up at the sky, it was a clear, sunny day. It had been night when she had fallen. ”The girl opened a tear to soften my fall” Rosalind sighed and stood up and began walking up to the light house. There was no note on the door, she pushed it open and entered expecting to see her own reflection in the great mirror held above a water basin for baptisms. The light house had many crates but no mirror. She looked to the stairs as her heart began to race. No signs. “She opened a tear to soften my fall. Did she do it before or after the siphon” Rosalind ran up the stairs to the top of the light house. The body she and Robert had laid out was missing. So were the notes. She continued up to the top. Please no she thought desperately not after the siphon was destroyed. The foolish girl should have let me fall. The cold air blew Rosalind’s stringy wet hair around her head as she walked around the top of the lighthouse. Where before there had been a pod to take pilgrims to the floating city of Columbia there was now just a giant light. This was not her light house.
She could see it now. “DeWitt destroyed the siphon. I fell. Elizabeth opened a tear.” Rosalind began to feel light headed. She realized she was hyperventilating so she took a step back and slowly sat down with her head between her legs. She took a deep breath. “The girl opened a tear to a world she did not know and I fell into it.” Rosalind pictured her old house in Columbia. She pictured Robert. She even pictured Comstock’s house and that damned Booker DeWitt’s apartment. But she remained alone in the lighthouse.
A single tear rolled down her face as Rosalind Lutece, The Mother of Columbia, realized that she was stranded.
Chapter 2: The Streets of Paris
Rosalind tries to reunite herself with Robert.
Rosalind Lutece angrily wiped the tear away and stood up. She was not one to loose control of her emotions. “It was the drowning that did it” she said defensively, instinctively. Had Robert been there he surely would have made some sort of sly comment about it, teased her, something… “But Robert isn’t here and I’m going to have to fix that”.
“There must be a Paris in this world”. She was beneath the Eiffel Tower and dusk was approaching. “That’s much better” a soft breeze from The Seine River caressed her face pleasantly while dragging icicles across her still wet body.
“Oh dear, I’m in my pants” Rosalind sighed and straightened her sopping wet waistcoat. “Best try to look a little presentable” she said as she retied her hair into a tight bun before setting off into the streets of Paris.
Rosalind’s first month in Paris was harder than she expected. Not only did she not have Robert there to keep her company but she also had no money of any kind. These two problems were actually quite multifaceted.
Without Robert, Rosalind took to talking to herself out of habit. She was so used to finishing his sentences and having him finish hers that she would respond to things that he would have clearly said. This made interacting with the common folk of Paris… difficult. She found out that she was in the year 1930 and that, just 11 years past, there had been a war that encompassed the entire world. The war had ravaged Europe and Paris had only just been rebuilt. Her habit of talking to herself did not endear her to the native Parisians nor did her lack of money. She spent her first two weeks wandering Paris, looking for parts to rebuild her beloved machine. She was treated poorly by most everyone she met and, by spending time on the streets of Paris, saw the worst humanity had to offer. Drunkards, prostitutes, rapists, even a murder once.
On her third night in Paris, she found herself in an alley behind a factory, searching through the scraps for the right part. It was quite dark and she was about to give up when a group of drunk men came around the corner and spotted her.
“Well well, what do we have here eh guys?” One yelled, his voice thick from rum.
“A pretty little girl like you shouldn’t be in these parts of town now should you miss” said another, his voice equally intoxicated. He stumbled as he came closer to her. “’specilly without proper clothes on eh, unless you’re one ‘o them women o’the night?” He leaned in closer to her and she could smell the stench of alcohol on his hot breath.
Rosalind stepped back in revulsion and drew herself up. She had no taste for men like these, she knew what they were capable of. She was rather indifferent, to each their own as long as she could study her atoms she was happy, but Robert, he would not stand for men like these. “I would think that a proper lady would not spend her time in a dark alley way at night. But neither would a proper gentleman. One can therefore only assume that you are not proper gentlemen.” Rosalind tilted her head and smiled mischievously. The man looked confused for a second, the fog of alcohol slowing his probably already slow thought process.
“’re you tryin’a say we a’int proper gentlemen?” Rosalind sighed and stepped forward putting her face uncomfortably close to his. “I did not try to say anything. I said it. And you confirmed it. Will confirm, are confirming, confirmed. The thing I failed to observe was that you and your friends also seem to be sort on your mental faculties. Your current inebriation does not help this at all. No I think not.” Rosalind could see anger flash in the man’s eyes, he raised a hand to hit her. She was behind them. She saw his hand fly harmlessly through the air where her head had been moments ago. The drunken men cried out in confusion and turned around. One screamed shrilly making Rosalind smile ever so slightly. “You always hear what happens to ladies who are not proper at night. But what about the gentlemen? Ah yes. The not so proper gentlemen that wander about late at night. Some of them never come back home I think.”
“Are you threatening’ us?” One man yelled angrily. Rosalind titled her head to the other side and adjusted her tie saying “I do not recall a threat. No me neither. A mere observation. There are always a few men who do not find their ways home. And not always through their own choice. No they just fail to arrive home. Where do they go though?” One man picked up a pipe and ran at her. “Some mean to kill” she said as he swung the pipe at her head. She was behind him though now, his swing flying harmlessly through the air. “Some to rape. Some to steal. Who knows. They just do not come home.”
Another man came at her and another and another. Each time she would appear somewhere out of reach. Each time the men would scream or yell. Sometimes they hit one another in their attempts to strike her, sometimes they would over swing and end up hitting a wall and wail in pain. Her laughter filled the alley, mixed with their screams of anger and fear. Finally she decided to be on a roof above them to give them time to recover. She heard them agree to never speak of it again, that they had imagined it, that it was the alcohol. As they rallied themselves to stumped out of the alley she appeared in front of them blocking their way.
“Better run home now or else you might never make it home at all.” Then she was on the roof again. Their screams of terror as they ran out of the alley making her laugh. Who said she didn’t have a good sense of humor?
Chapter 3: Desperate Times
Rosalind tries to understand how she can work in this new world and devises a plan.
Rosalind’s habit of talking to herself in Robert’s absence helped exacerbate her desperate lack of money. Robert was the one who always carried money should they need it, Rosalind had never bothered carrying the filthy stuff herself as they were never apart. While Rosalind was able to scrounge a few of the parts required for her machine there was no safe place to store it all. While the Parisians were no stranger to poor, filthy, ragged people in their streets who horded seemingly useless junk she had a strange suspicion that they would object to one such person beginning to build any sort of contraption in the middle of the street.
Besides, even if she did somehow manage to get the parts and begin assembly in the streets of Paris, she would not be able to move her work around with her. Anything that was too big to carry would get left behind sending her back to the drawing board as it were. It was because of this that Rosalind decided she would burden herself with the troubles of acquiring money.
Rosalind had been testing her limits for almost a month before she was comfortable with her plan. In this new world she could go anywhere as long has she had seen it at least once. Rosalind postulated that since she had visited Paris as a child in her home world and the city still existed in this world, she must have been able to leave the lighthouse and arrive in Paris because of her previous connection. When she tried appearing in her childhood home in Belvoir nothing happened. Upon further investigation Rosalind discovered that Belvoir did not exist in this world.
Rosalind experimented further by trying to appear inside random buildings that she walked by to no avail. It was not until she had physically entered the building, had a short look around and left, that she was able to appear inside. Rosalind spent the better part of a week experimenting with lengths of time inside buildings seeing what her limits were. She found that she needed to see inside a building before she could appear there at will. Length spent inside did not seem to matter, it was more dependent upon what she was able to touch and see. As long as she touched some part of the room and knew what it looked like she would be able to appear anywhere within the room. She also experimented with what she could take with her and found that, much like her clothing, whatever object transported with her had to have as much contact to her body as possible. Where she was unable to bring a table across the room with her, a bag held tightly to her body would appear with no problems.
Some of her practice transporting items with her came in handy when acquiring new clothes. On one particularly sunny morning, Rosalind walked into a high class clothing shop and had a quick look around. She was able to find a few items in her size before being kicked out by the store owner. Something about her lack of skirt had bothered the close-minded soul.
Later that evening Rosalind transported herself into the shop and flitted around the store grabbing the clothes she had seen earlier. She appeared in the alley nearby holding the clothes just to see what would happen. Everything seemed just fine so she appeared back in the shop to change in private before returning to the streets.
Rosalind planned to get money from a bank in a similar manner. It was the only logical way to get the money she required in the timespan she wished to work within. She feared that, should DeWitt actually succeed in defeating Comstock she would be stuck in this world for eternity.
In her home world of Columbia, before she and her beloved Robert had ever met that blasted Booker DeWitt, Rosalind and Robert had worked for Zachary Comstock. It was with Comstock’s wealth backing her that she was able to fund her research that led to her discovery of parallel worlds, and Robert. Upon hearing of her discovery it was Comstock who urged Rosalind to develop a machine that would open a tear between the worlds, allowing them to gaze across the voids or even cross between the dimensions of time and space.
Finally, after years of work, Rosalind had succeeded, she could still remember the sweet taste of success from that day. Rosalind’s heart had fluttered like the wings of a hummingbird as the machine began to pull at the fabric of reality for the first time. She could still hear the roar of the machine and she remembered how she let it encompass her, trying to let it drown out the thumping of her heart. She had stood there, still as a statue, holding her breath in preparation just as the tear formed before her. Suddenly she was looking in a mirror, though the reflection was slightly different.
“You’re taller” she said bemusedly tilting her head to the left ever so slightly.
“You’re shorter” the reflection replied, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. Rosalind stepped closer to the tear examining herself, the reflection had the same electric blue eyes and fiery red hair, though it was cut much shorter and slicked back. She was pleased to see that her reflection carried the same impeccable fashion sense as herself right down to the hunter green tie. Her eyes scanned her reflection’s body trying to ascertain the extent of the differences. When she looked back to the face she found it to be doing the same.
“You are me” it said dryly. Rosalind frowned slightly. “No, you are me” she said as her reflection stepped through the tear.
“I’m Robert Lutece” her reflection said, extending a hand. Rosalind looked at him unblinkingly as she began to circle slowly around him. He stood straight as a pole, right hand still extended waiting for her to take in her own, his left arm behind his back. While passing his backside Rosalind noted that he had the same exquisite posture. This is amazing she thought to herself, there is no doubt in my mind that he is me. What a difference a single chromosome can make. She found herself back in front of him and at last took his hand in a firm handshake.
“I’m Rosalind Lutece, pleased to finally meet you face to face”.
From that moment on Rosalind and Robert never left each other’s sides. While Robert did have a somewhat adverse reaction to stepping through the barrier (the poor dear would hemorrhage every now and then) he never seemed to regret his decision. That is until he realized that by helping Comstock kidnap DeWitt’s daughter they had aided in what would turn out to be the beginnings of a great war on the surface of the planet.
While Rosalind was quite content to continue working Robert threatened to leave. He had come to her in the study. She was sitting in her favourite arm chair lost in thought when he came in and offered her a cup of Earl Grey. Once the tea was in her hands he’d spoken.
“Rosalind, this business with Comstock-”
“must end? I know how much you dislike the man brother-,”
“but he is a monster. I do not care that he funded your-”
“Our research.” Robert sighed and Rosalind looked down at her tea. “What he plans to use the girl for is unconscionable”
“I see no relevance in what Comstock chooses to do as long-”
“as long as you can continue to delve into the mysteries of the atom.” Robert finished with a vaguely mocking air that Rosalind chose to ignore.
“Precisely,” Rosalind said as she stirred her tea thoughtfully.
“That is unacceptable to me. We brought the girl here-”
“so we must return her to her own world? Is that what you are telling me Robert?” Robert nodded solemnly and Rosalind sighed “I simply cannot see why this is so important to you Robert. What Comstock does is of no consequence to us.”
“But we are the reason he will be able to carry out his plans. We are responsible for the girl” Robert’s voice quavered slightly and Rosalind kept her eyes on her tea, watching as the wispy tendrils of cream dispersed into the dark tea, turning it from dark brown to a light creamy grey.
“No, Comstock is responsible for the girl. It is his daughter after all even if they are not of the same dimension.” Rosalind looked up from her tea and saw Robert’s doleful blue eyes boring into her own. From the look in his eyes, his apprehension of what he was about to say was obvious. Rosalind felt a knot begin to form in the pit of her stomach. She knew what he was about to say but she had to hear him say it. She needed to hear him say it.
“If you do not help me return the girl Rosalind. Then I will return in her place. We are from the same world, her and I. If we cannot return her and prevent the downfall of New York then I will return to my own world.” Rosalind’s breath caught in her throat and the knot in her stomach tightened. Robert’s jaw was set defiantly and he gave her a stern look while Rosalind studied his eyes. Though his body language read determined and unaffected his eyes screamed the truth, this was killing him as much as it was her. But she knew that did not mean he would not go through with it. His eyes were pained, yet stubborn. He meant what he said. Every word of it.
Rosalind closed her eyes and sighed as she took a sip of her tea. “Very well,” she said reluctantly. From that moment on the two of them plotted to return Elizabeth to her home world with her father Booker DeWitt.
Something had gone awry in their plans though because Comstock got wind of their plot and hired Jeremiah Fink to sabotage their machine. The resulting explosion had sent a shock wave through the entire block. Though everyone assumed that Rosalind and Robert had died in the explosion, in reality they had been completely scattered through all of time and space giving them the ability to appear anywhere and anywhen they wanted in all the world.
Rosalind postulated that the condition rendered them essentially fixed in time and a drift in space. Their atoms were scattered in the infinity of their world which allowed them to materialize anywhere they wanted with just a thought. This meant they would never grow old or die. They would be eternal like the atoms Rosalind had studied all her life. While the thought of this thrilled Rosalind, Robert could not find joy in their new found state while the matter with Elizabeth was still unresolved. He insisted that they find someone to continue their work as they both agreed they could not directly finish it lest they risk creating a paradox. They were technically dead after all, who knows what would happen if a “dead” person were return the girl to her own world.
Rosalind feared that this vendetta to return Elizabeth would truly be her undoing now. If Elizabeth and DeWitt could finally kill Comstock once and for all before he enlisted Rosalind to create Columbia then she will never discover the parallel worlds. She will never contact Robert. She will never create a tear through which he can step into her world. They will never have been blown across time and space together. He will go back to his life in his own world before he met her. And that is what terrified Rosalind Lutece the most. The idea of being alone in this universe. Of living for all of eternity, seeing civilizations rise and fall, seeing the death and rebirth of stars, learning all the secrets of the universe, all the things they had devoted their lives to discovering. Of watching time run out while the universe comes to an end…all without Robert. All the while knowing that Robert would be dust, and that he will have died without knowing her.
Rosalind felt herself begin to shake so she sat down and began calmly breathing in and out. In, 1,2,3,4. Out, 1,2,3,4. She counted as she breathed to calm herself and stop the shaking. She did not know how much time she had before DeWitt finally managed to kill Comstock. There were a number of unpredictable factors. He may fail and have to try all over again in which case it could be days. He may be about to succeed in which case all hope was already lost. But there was no way of determining if their two worlds were even running on parallel time. For all she knew time could be moving much faster in this world relative to her home, which is what she desperately hoped for. In any case she knew she had to rebuild her machine as quickly as possible and this meant securing money. Come night fall she would be making a very large withdrawal.
Chapter 4: A Ticket To Munich
Rosalind discovers a new talent to help her get money to get to Munich. Once there she begins her quest try and contact Robert.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
The bank closed at 4:00pm on Sundays. Rosalind had been watching the bank for almost a week at this point so she knew their end of the day routine very well. At 4:00 the doors locked, no more members of the public were allowed in. People already inside the bank were then attended to as usual. The longest Rosalind had ever seen this take was about an hour. On average by 4:45pm the bank was clear of civilians. At this point the employees would begin to clean their workspaces and tally their floats. By 6:00 all of the floats had been handed in to the manager who would then double check each float before storing the money in the vault. The manager would then spend up to 2 hours on various managerial duties one of which was an affair Rosalind had the unpleasant fortune of spotting.
Rosalind had been practicing the art of essentially becoming invisible. She would never stay in one spot for more than a second, she would flip in and out of existence by appearing in the middle of the room, then across the hall, back to the middle, over by the window etc. The entire business was completely exhausting and made her quite nauseous but it was quite effective. The longest she had been able to last before being sick was about 10 minutes but that had been only once, her average was about 5 minutes before she became too dizzy to function.
The plan was to incorporate her new found skill with good old fashioned stealth. From basic surveillance she knew only the manager would be in the bank at 6:00 which is when he would be double checking the floats. All she needed to do was sneak a look into the safe, then she could come and go as she pleased.
And that is how Rosalind found herself crouched beneath one of the desks in a dark corner of the bank at 5:45pm. The manager was a lean man of about 50 judging by his posture and the way his black hair was flecked with grey. He was meticulous in his counting, checking each float not once but three times before being satisfied and adding it to the larger pile beside him. Rosalind studied the lines on his face as he scrunched up his face in concentration. The silence in the bank was deafening compared to the hustle and bustle of regular working hours and it was starting to weigh down on Rosalind.
She could never work in such silence. When she had been developing the Lutece field that gave Columbia her wings Rosalind had listened to the works of Camille Saint-Saëns on her mother’s phonograph. She could remember how the music would help carry her out of the oppressing silence of inactivity.
While in public Rosalind may be the utter picture of decorum, when was working on a theory she was all passion. The room she worked with Robert in was proof of that. She had lined the walls with chalkboards that they had filled with equations and drawings. There were two desks pushed into the back corners on either side of the contraption that could tear the fabric of time and space, each desk piled high with delicate instruments and papers and books.
On this particular occasion Rosalind had spent the better part of the day trying to develop a way to make the contraption smaller. She would start by staring at one of the blank chalk boards while the sounds of Camille Saint-Saëns filled the air, filling in every space that silence had once occupied in her mind. She would sway back and forth absent mindedly as she scribbled down ideas on the board in front of her, angrily erasing any mistakes or misjudgments. Everything would be fine until she hit a mental roadblock where, upon doing so, she would let out a visceral cry of frustration before flinging the piece of chalk across the room. She would then rush over and pick it up and start writing on a new board with a new theory, a new angle. When she ran out of boards to write on she would fall to her hands and knees and write on the floor or push the chalk boards aside and write directly on the walls.
When Robert had first heard her process he had been utterly shocked. Though they were the same person they certainly had different ways of working. Whereas she was all fire and passion, he was calm and meticulous. He could sit down at a desk and write for hours while the music filled the room.
After hours and hours of fruitless effort Robert walked into their office to find Rosalind laying on her back on the floor, absolutely covered in chalk dust. One arm was draped over her face to keep the light from the chandelier out of her eyes and she was muttering something to herself. The phonograph was skipping but Rosalind did not seem to care; she was lost deep in thought on the floor. It wasn’t until Robert stopped the phonograph, leaving the room in silence that Rosalind noticed his presence. She peered out from under her arm only to see Robert’s playful eyes above hers. He had sat down on his knees behind her head and was leaning over her protectively. Without a word he sat back and she moved so her head could rest in his lap. They sat there like that peacefully as Robert untied her hair which had half fallen out of its usual bun. She lay there with him stroking her long hair until she felt him quaver and a drop of blood fell on her cheek.
“Robert,” she said softly as she sat up to look at him. His face was clearly pained and he pinched his nose to stop the bleeding.
“I’m sorry” he whispered sullenly but Rosalind shushed him before standing up and getting some cloths and a bowl of warm water. She returned and sat behind him, pulling him into her lap as she held a cloth to his nose. He took it from her and rested his head on her shoulder as she used the moistened cloths to clean his face. Rosalind kissed him gently on his forehead and began humming as they sat there swaying back and forth.
Rosalind was brought back to the present by the sound a chair scraping across the floor as the man pushed himself up. It was show time. Rosalind hadn’t realized just how long she’d been lost in thought, her knees were screaming in pain from having been crouched so awkwardly for so long and when she stood it felt like they were being pricked by thousands of pins and needles. She cursed herself silently as she wobbled forward in the darkness. And then, it was on. She walked up behind the manager as he carried the floats to the vault. Her footsteps were not as quiet as she would have liked because the manager looked around a few times before they finally reached the vault. Luckily, the pins and needles in her legs were not stopping her from her invisibility act as she flitted in and out of existence behind him.
Finally they reached the vault and Rosalind waited as he slowly went through the security measures before finally heaving it open. And that was all she needed. She stumbled into an alley way a few blocks away panting. It had taken 3 minutes to walk from the desk to when she saw inside the safe, her head felt like a marshmallow in a vacuum chamber: not good. But she also felt a sense of triumph.
She waited until midnight before appearing inside the safe just to be, well, safe. Once inside she began delicately packing wads of cash into a ratty old leather suitcase she had found during her time on the streets. Once finished she appeared in the alley next to the train station she had visited earlier that day. The ticket vender was closed so Rosalind placed her suitcase on the ground beside the kiosk and sat on top of it, leaning back against the kiosk and letting the warm summer breeze caress her face.
She was so warm. So incredibly warm and safe. She could hear the faint sounds of birds chirping outside her window, the sound of children laughing as they played games in the street below. The sunlight filtering in through her window was warming her bed but there was something missing. Robert. She could feel his absence from where he usually slept beside her.
He must be making breakfast she thought to herself sleepily as a faint fragrance of French toast filled her nostrils. I hope he will make me some as well.
I should get up. I cannot just sleep the day away. There is work to be done… Rosalind could hear faint footsteps. She smelled French toast and bananas, and the ever so familiar warm and inviting scene of Robert. He smelled musky, earthy, mildly of cinnamon. He came close to her and she breathed him in. He was saying something to her but she could not quite hear him. He bent down and kissed her gently on the forehead. She tried to turn up her head to return the kiss but she found herself unable to move.
Rosalind, Robert’s voice was faint, the words seemed to drift away like smoke.
Rosalind, again Robert’s voice, this time much clearer though it sounded as if he were having difficulty finding breath. She could feel nothing.
Rosalind, this time a desperate scream. Rosalind fought to open her eyes but she could not. She could hear Robert crying out her name, his voice pained. And then her world exploded. She was everywhere and nowhere all at once, all she could feel was hot searing pain, though where she did not know for she could not feel her body. Her entire existence was just pain. She tried to call for Robert but she could make no sound. All she could do was exist, motionless feeling only pain while she listened to her brother call her name. His voice began to fade as though he were moving away from her. Rosalind desperately tried to stop him, to call his name, to touch him. His voice finally faded into nothing and Rosalind was left alone, silently screaming in agony. She felt her eyes flutter. Heard a voice.
Rosalind’s head snapped up painfully fast, her entire body spasmed and she was falling. She opened her eyes to see a kindly well-dressed gentleman kneeling over her looking concerned. She tried to sit up but the man shook his head “Non non, mademoiselle, restez-ici. J'ai appelé un médecin pour vous.” His voice was kind and Rosalind could hear genuine concern in it. Rosalind felt ill, her head was spinning so she tried to take deep calming breaths to ground herself. It was a while before she became aware of the dampness on her face, and felt the trickle of tangy blood down her throat. Rosalind reached a hand up to her face and felt the familiar sickly sticky feeling of blood on her face.
Hemorrhage, she thought dazed. It must have been getting into the bank… Rosalind tried to get up again, “Where is my bag” she managed in broken French. The man said something that she wasn’t quite able to catch, her French was much too rusty to keep up with him in this state. The confusion must have been evident on her face because he leaned out of her line of view and when he returned he was holding her bag, the fact that he seemed to be struggling with it made Rosalind feel better.
Rosalind’s head wasn’t spinning nearly as much so she attempted to right herself for the third time, this time successfully pushing the man’s hand aside when he tried to keep her on the ground. She blinked as she tried to ascertain what time it was. The sun was in the sky but the kiosk hadn’t opened yet, but upon a second glance, Rosalind realized that this man must run the kiosk.
“I need a ticket to Munich,” she said as forcefully as she could, which turned out to be about as forceful as gravity at the subatomic level. When the man ignored her she gathered her strength and said it again “I need to buy a ticket to Munich please.” This time her voice did not betray her. The man looked unsure but Rosalind nodded and repeated the request as she slowly got to her feet. She felt steady and, once the man seemed content that she was not about to fall over again, he got out his keys to the kiosk and opened shop.
“What time is it?” she asked as he stepped behind the counter. The man gave her a concerned look before answering.
“It’s almost 7:00 am, but I still think you should wait for a doctor mademoiselle” it took all of Rosalind’s self-control to not roll her eyes. The man meant well but there was nothing a doctor could do for her; her body had been rejecting this reality, probably because whoever shared her existance in this world had never had the unpleasant experience of having every atom of their being blasted across all of infinity.
“That is quite unnecessary sir. I was just waiting all night to buy a ticket, I have a tendancy to get nose bleeds in the summer, one must have started after I dosed off.” Rosalind crouched over the suitcase slipping a hand in to pull out a handful of bills. When she stood up with the money in hand the man was shaking his head, worry still plain on his face.
“Mdemoiselle, I’d never seen anything like it. You’re face… I’ve never seen such agony on a face before. And you kept screaming a man’s name,” Rosalind must have looked about to faint again judging by the look on the man’s face. She quickly recovered, eyes downcast as she handed him the money.
“I must have been having a nightmare. I just lost my brother recently you see… In fact, I’m going to Munich for his funeral.” That seemed to seal the deal with the man, his eyes were full of pity as he took her money in exchange for a ticket. He said some words of sympathy and Rosalind thanked him before walking to a bench near the train tracks. The train would not depart until 9:00am. Rosalind leaned back on the bench. This was going to be a long journey.
The train ride to Munich had been long. This was made all the worse by her lingering headache from her episode at the train station. It gave her time to think through her plan. Once she arrived she immediately arranged for transportation to a hotel near the University of Munich. After procuring a state room (and some clean clothes from a shop across the street to avoid the horrified looks she was getting) she headed to the University to contact the physics department.
She intended on paying to have access to the physics department. Ideally they would allow her access because of her exemplary talent and skill but, if they were anything like the men in her home world they would reject her because she lacked a penis. But all men spoke the language of money and if she threw enough of it at them they would ignore that and allow her to practice science in peace. Or so she hoped.
Her initial talks with the physics department went just as she had expected. They nearly laughed her out of the room when she demanded access to their facilities. It did not matter how many equations she spouted out, or how many well-known theories she recited, they refused flat out. When she suggested paying them they all but laughed in her face again. Apparently, unbeknownst to her the German economy was tanking, their currency was worth next to nothing. When they found out that she had French currency they started singing a different tune, albeit begrudgingly. They agreed to allow her access to their facilities granted that she be in the company of at least one man at all times to help her with the equipment. She was to pay them $5000 per day that she worked in the lab. Rosalind knew it was a terrible deal but she was desperate. She needed the access to resources only a university could provide so she agreed.
She insisted on starting right away, the men were in the midst of arguing when she threw the cash on the desk in front of them. Needless to say they showed her to the labs right away. There were already some grad students in the lab working on various thesis projects when she entered. A few of them looked up when she entered, confusion plain on their faces. When she began writing her formulas on an empty chalk board one of the boy’s eyes nearly popped out of his skull from pure shock.
The first two days consisted of Rosalind writing her formulas for the Lutece field from memory, along with everything she could remember working on before contacting Robert for the first time. She intended on trying to contact him the same way as before, through the quantum entanglement of a particle that they could then use to send Morse code messages to each other. She needed him to open a tear on his end at the same time as her in order for them to reach each other just like that had all that time ago when they had finally met for the first time.
While she was just writing equations nobody seemed to mind her presence, in fact they seemed to forget she was there half the time. It wasn’t until she finally required use of actual equipment including a gamma-ray microscope that they started to object.
“You do not know how to work such delicate equipment,” said the tallest of them. Rosalind ignored him and pushed him out of the way. He tried to grab her and she slapped him across the face.
“I know how to use the equipment I am not an insolent child. If you insist on watching me work then go right ahead but do not think for a second that you can stop me from completing my research.” Rosalind’s voice was cold and if one were to look into her eyes, like this pour soul, they would feel like their death was imminent while they remained in her way. The tall boy sulked away but stood close enough that he could watch her handle the instruments with practiced ease.
After hours of work Rosalind was finally able to send her message to her brother, through the magic that is quantum physics she had finally managed to manipulate the frequency of a single atom blinking in and out of existence.
ROBERT I AM ALIVE STOP.
PLEASE SEND TIME SINCE ABSENCE STOP.
DID DEWITT SUCCEED STOP.
She kept sending the message. She repeated the message for hours. Late into the night she continued to send it. Over and over again. She just hoped that she wasn’t too late but then again, how would she even know? Hours soon turned into days and the men at the university who were already uncomfortable with her presence had now become close to their breaking point. She had not left the lab since she started sending the message. She had not slept or eaten for two going on three days. She looked a mess, her clothes disheveled, her eyes bloodshot and red. The only thing that had kept them off her back for so long was her promise to double what she was paying them per day they allowed her to stay. But on the third day of sitting at the machine, tapping away, the head of the physics department finally decided enough was enough.
His name was Dr. Lucas Kantor. He looked older than his 67 years, his face was wrinkled and his hands were covered in liver spots, his hair was stringy and white and he walked with a cane to support his bad hip. He shuffled into the lab so quietly that even if Rosalind had been paying attention to her surroundings she would have failed to hear him enter. It was not until he was at her side that she acknowledged his existence.
“Miss Lutece?” he wheezed, leaning forward on his cane as he tried to catch her eye. Rosalind gave a murmured reply to acknowledge him but kept tapping the message. “It has come to my attention that you have not left this lab for three days now. People are beginning to worry” He spoke slowly, each word seemed like a weight he had to lift before finally letting go. He coughed into a handkerchief, and when she gave no reply he continued. “While your generous donations to our department have been very much appreciated, we must ask you to terminate your experiment and leave the premises by the end of the day.”
Rosalind waved that she had heard, never stopping her work. Dr. Kantor stood beside her for what felt like hours but was probably only 10 minutes before he finally left.
About an hour later Rosalind finally received what she had been waiting for. At first she did not even realize what was happening, she had been so focused on sending that she had almost zoned out. When she realized what was happening she let out a triumphant roar so loud that the tall grad student in the room jumped so high he fell off his stool, sending his delicate instruments flying across the room. He cursed at her but Rosalind was not paying attention. She had finally received her response.
THANK GOD STOP.
FIVE MINUTES STOP.
NOT YET STOP.
MAYBE AN HOUR STOP.
Rosalind was pulled violently away from the instruments. She kicked back trying to free herself but it was no use. There were three large men from campus security. They were terminating her research early thanks to her outburst. She screamed in frustration demanding to be let go but they carried her out of the building kicking and screaming. She couldn’t count the number of times she nearly teleported herself out of their arms but that would have only caused more problems that it would have solved. When they finally put her down outside she adjusted her blazer and tie before walking off huffily.
Her anger at being torn away from her work was only mitigated by her joy at having made contact with her brother. Not only had he been looking for her like she had thought he would but their world lines had different relativities just as she had hoped. By her calculations that mean that for every 6.8 days she spent here one minute passed in her home world.
Robert guessed that DeWitt would finally succeed in about an hour. That gave her 408 days to build a new machine, contact her brother, and create a tear to return home. She could finally relax a bit, slow down and actually think.
Rosalind suddenly felt extremely tired, the toll of staying awake for 3 days without food was finally being felt. Before she could sleep she needed some food so she trudged to the nearest bar. It was just starting to get dark but the bar was already packed. Rosalind had to weave her way through a sea of people to get to the bar to place an order. A man at the bar started to stand up to offer her a seat but she shook her head somewhat angrily. She may be exhausted but she would not take something that was offered to her based solely on the face that she was a woman.
The man sat back down and turned back to what he had been doing. The air in the bar was thick with cigarette smoke, which made Rosalind gag. While she may enjoy the occasional smell of a nice cigar now and then, the over powering carcinogenic smog was most unpleasant. Everyone in the bar seemed to be buzzing with anticipation, the excitement was palpable. Rosalind leaned against the bar and asked a nearby patron what everyone was waiting for.
The man was about to reply when suddenly the droning grew into a roar people began clapping and cheering as someone entered from the back door. Now Rosalind could see a makeshift stage at one end of the bar and a tall man who seemed to be in his late 30s approached the stage. He had cropped jet black hair and a short mustache that vaguely resembled that of Charlie Chaplin though the ends were straight rather than flared. He exuded an aura of command and once he took to the stage everyone quieted down right away.
Rosalind’s food arrived and she ate as she listened to this man give an electrifying speech urging the citizens of Germany to vote in the upcoming elections. He was extremely charismatic and spoke of strengthening the economy, creating new jobs and focusing on the sciences. Rosalind was entranced by the way he spoke, so much so that she ended up staying in the bar to continue listening to him speak. Though his grand speech only lasted for an hour or so he continued to take questions late into the night.
The bar slowly began to empty as the night went on until suddenly it was almost closing time. By this time most of the people from earlier had left. Rosalind finally took a seat and leaned heavily against the bar, she had forgotten just how tired she was until she sat down. The bar tender was doing a last call when the charismatic speaker sat down beside her.
“What is a woman as lovely as yourself doing in a bar like this?” he asked kindly as he leaned against the bar.
“Why wouldn’t a woman like myself be in a bar? Do I not have the same rights as a man to be here? Why would a man with your charisma be in a bar like this?” Rosalind’s tone was a little overly defensive but it made the man laugh.
“I meant no offense, I am just not used to seeing women with such obvious intellect spend their entire evening in a bar like this.” Rosalind’s eyes must have seemed harsh because he held up his hands as if to surrender before saying, “please, let me buy you a drink. As a peace offering.”
Rosalind narrowed her eyes but the man seemed kind enough. “I’ll have an Old Fashioned then.” The man raised his eyebrows in mock surprise and ordered the drink.
“You must be from out of town” he said while they waited for their drinks. When Rosalind looked surprised he quickly added, “Your accent. Is it English?” Rosalind nodded making his smile widen. “And what brings you to town?”
“I was doing some research at the University here in Munich” she said cautiously. His eyes burned with curiosity, a curiosity that reminded her of herself when she was working on unraveling the secrets of the universe.
“What sort of research?” he asked as the drinks arrived. He paid the bartender and tipped the man generously.
“Quantum physics.” Rosalind was hesitant to say too much but at the same time she sensed that this man could help her. He had been promising the people that he would try and create jobs, that he wanted to advance the field of science. Perhaps he had some way to help fund her research.
The man was indeed extremely interested in quantum physics and, as it turned out, he had his own theories about multiple worlds. Though he had no degree in the field he was utterly enthralled by Rosalind as she explained the idea of quantum particles and multiple universes. Rosalind wasn’t sure if she had even intended to tell him half of the things she did that night but in the end it was for the best. By the time they finished their drinks the man was offering to pull some strings with a lab in Berlin. Apparently he had connections there and was willing to pay her to continue her research.
They stumbled out of the bar together at 3 in the morning and just as they were parting ways the man slapped himself in the face.
“Forgive me, I cannot believe how rude I was, I never introduced myself, nor asked for your name.” He slurred a few of his words when he spoke. Rosalind laughed at how ridiculous the entire situation was. They had spent hours talking, he had offered her a job, and they had never even known each other’s name.
“I’m Rosalind Lutece” she said extending a hand which he took eagerly.
“And my name is Adolf Hitler. I am so excited to begin work with you Ms. Lutece.”
I apologize for this chapter so much longer than the others. I never meant for that and I don't like having one be super long I just could not bring myself to end the chapter anywhere else. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter 5: Something New
The Doctor gets a call from an old friend.
The universe is in a state of flux, things are always changing. Stars are formed, burn, condense and explode. People love, hate, laugh, cry, live. Die. No one knew this more than the Doctor.
“Come on! You have to have an opinion! You’ve been around the galaxy a few times, you must have some special insights that you aren’t sharing with us.” Amy Pond narrowed her eyes and pursed her lips feigning suspicion. “What are you not telling us Doctor?”
The Doctor jumped back, his arms flailing around his head in surrender under Amy’s piercing Scottish gaze. “I just don’t want to pick a side, I’m not one to get in the middle of a marital…spat.” He raised his eyebrows innocently, smiling at his companions. He could see Rory Williams rolling his eyes behind Amy, he was not falling for the Doctor’s feigned neutrality.
“Come on Doctor you need to take a side, it’s not about us, it’s about what’s right and what’s wrong. It just so happens that the position I hold is the correct one.” Amy continued as Rory groaned and threw up his hands in exasperation.
“Come on Amy! Just admit that you’re wrong!” Amy whirled around to face her husband, annoyance clear on her face. “Uh, Doctor, tell her!” Rory said sheepishly, withering under his wife’s gaze.
The Doctor sighed theatrically and skipped up the stairs of the TARDIS before plopping himself down at the top of the stairs so he could look down on the Ponds as they leaned on railings near the control panel. The Doctor thought long and hard, he had made many tough decisions in his lifetime but taking on Amy Pond was nothing to sneeze at. She could be fiercely loyal yes, but she could hit very hard. Rory on the other hand wouldn’t dare do such a thing, he was too much of a sweet heart. Just as he was about to open his mouth Rory help up his hand, pointing at the Doctor.
“Wait just a second!” Rory took a step forward and peered into the Doctor’s eyes. “You answer us truthfully, don’t just side with Amy because- well you know-“ he trailed off nodding his head as he searched for a delicate way to describe his wife’s tendency to being able to inspire absolute fear in just about everyone, even a thousand year old time lord. Judging by the look on Rory’s face he was drawing a blank.
The Doctor angrily fixed his bow-tie. “Are you suggesting that I would lie just to please someone?” The Pond’s gave each other a knowing look, Amy trying to suppress laughter. The Doctor sighed dramatically and waved a hand in the air to get their attention again.
“All right, all right let me think a minute. So it’s all a matter of who would win in a fight right?” if he was going to do this he needed all the information laid out again. He’d been trying to stay out of the argument for so long he honestly had lost track of what it was even about.
Amy nodded. “Yes. An astronaut and a caveman somehow meet through wibbly, wobbly, timey wimey things. One thing leads to another and they fight. Who would win?”
“But, are they armed with weapons or technology of some sort? I mean, because, if that’s the case, then the astronaut would win hands down. But lacking that,” he sprang to his feet and pantomimed sparring, “the caveman could take the astronaut with brute strength. Is this a strong astronaut? How long has he been in space in one of those tin cans you humans call space ships?”
Amy and Rory opened their mouths to answer just as the phone rang. The Doctor looked around confused. Amy and Rory kept arguing but all the Doctor could hear was the phone ringing. The ringing grew louder and louder.
The Doctor jerked up out of bed suddenly, sending blankets flying across the room. The phone continued to ring, bringing him out of his dream and into reality. Whether it was a dream or a memory the Doctor was not sure, all he knew was it had been vivid which made his return to reality all the more painful. The phone rang again. His arms and legs flailed around him as he tried to gracefully spring up out of the bed. He ended up entangling himself in sheets and falling off the top bunk his bunk bed. He hit the ground hard and moaned as the phone continued to ring. How could be calling the TARDIS? The Doctor sprang to his feel and sprinted out of the room and down the hall to the control room of the TARDIS, the ringing of the phone echoing through the halls as he ran. He slid around the corner and through the doorway to the control room before bounding to the ringing phone which he picked up eagerly.
“Hello” said a gruff voice that the Doctor instantly recognized.
“Winston! Winston Churchill! How are the children-uh I mean, oh dear-why I haven’t talked to you in – well I don’t know how long- how long has it been?” The Doctor perked up and almost jumped for joy at the sound of a familiar voice. He’d been alone for longer than he liked to admit now.
“Well I- today’s date is May 3rd, 1931.” Churchill stammered, most people did find themselves a little flustered when they spoke to the Doctor, even over the phone he was a force of nature. The Doctor smiled nodding as he began poking buttons and turning dials on the TARDIS, keeping the phone to his ear with his shoulder.
“What’s up?” The Doctor said excitedly, prodding Churchill for information. While it would lovely to get social calls, the Doctor hardly expected the Winston Churchill to be calling him purely for social reasons.
“Look Doctor, we need your help. I fear for the safety of London- no- the world.” His voice was grave and the Doctor could hear him lighting a cigar before continuing. “I believe we are on the brink of war. A war that will encompass the world.
“Look, Winston, I’d really like to help but there are somethings that I just cannot stop- wait-“The Doctor stopped mid thought, analyzing what Churchill had said. But it can’t be he thought wildly to himself. He could hear Churchill saying his name worriedly on the phone. “What year did you say it was?”
Churchill took a drag off his cigar before repeating the year. “1931.”
“Ah yes, right-o, be there in a jiffy” he tossed the phone back on the receiver before wildly flipping switches and turning dials, steering the TARDIS to London, May 3rd 1931. The Second World War wasn’t due to start for another 8 years. Now history could change a little bit here and there but never this much. This was something new. Something exciting. Something dangerous.
“Geronimo” he whispered as he flipped the last switch, sending the TARDIS flying through time and space. He held on tight trying (and failing) to keep his balance as the TARDIS flew. Every bump and swerve sending more adrenaline coursing through his system. By the time he arrived in 1931 he’d forgotten all about his dream of the Ponds and was ready for a new adventure.
Chapter 6: Sleepless Night
After a sleepless night Rosalind has a surprise guest in her lab.
(See the end of the chapter for notes.)
“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.”
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