Others, 47

“I’ve been saying for…” Rhonda Peregrine looks at a device on her wrist. “A cumulative total of eleven staff meetings that it’s foolish to try and establish a timeline of the Involuted Clock’s appearances. We can say that this is its most recent one, or maybe it’s the first one, who knows and more importantly, it really honestly doesn’t matter.”

“I must disagree.” Omtal Wake nods, all six of its eyes on Rhonda. “Establishing a pattern for the Clock’s appearances lets us predict its behaviour.”

“That’s simply not true.”

Business Hours

Bob appears in the Department of Temporal Law Enforcement’s intake zone, hoping to get a shower before the staff meeting. He could have taken one before he left, but he’d been busy doing the kind of thing that necessitates showers, and it’s too early in the fucking morning for that kind of paradox.

Since the intake zone is for people transporting in, he quickly moves out of it before someone tries to appear on his head like last time, emerging into the precinct. It’s a circular, mostly white and silver grid of desks and workstations, ringed with evidence rooms, conference rooms, the captain’s office and the locker room. Bob heads there instead of to his workstation, because if he sits down he’ll just work and never shower, and he’s trying to be better than that.

He gets a message after five steps. Report to my office.