Author : Sam Clough, Staff Writer

The best definition of ‘coincidence’ is ‘you weren’t paying attention to the other half of what was goin on.’ Related to this is the little-known fact that effect can predate cause. Me and Darien were an effect. The cause’s name was Milo.

“Time?” I shouted forward, struggling to match Darien’s pace. I saw him glance at his wrist.

“One minute twenty-six. Now shut up, and run!”

I redoubled my efforts, barely keeping my footing as I chased Dar around corners. He ducked through a gap in a broken chain-link fence. The sign on it read ‘Absolutely No Entry’. With fifty seconds to get into position, Darien certainly wasn’t bothered about trespassing, and so, neither was I. Darien shouldered his way past a flimsy door, and shuddered to a halt. I stepped after him.

“Six seconds. Hide.” Darien hissed, gesturing towards the stacked crates all around. I ducked between two particularly large boxes. Dar slipped behind the bulk of an offlined stacking robot.




An access door at the far end of the warehouse began to roll up, letting light into the gloomy space. I glanced down towards the opening, and saw a double silhouette: one man and a general-purpose assistant-droid.

I was supposed to follow Darien’s lead: he would incapacitate the human target, I would take out the robot pet. Double footsteps, regular as clockwork, began to echo towards us. We were the self-styled magicians: agents of synchronicity. The subtle rearrangers of reality. A little nudge here and there so things happen…well, just so.

Milo and his robot stepped past my hiding place, apparently oblivious to my presence.

Darien moved. I covered the space between me and the pet in two steps. I hooked my foot around its ankles, and jerked it backwards. It toppled to the floor, and I slapped magnets to either side of it’s head, thoroughly disabling it. Darien had drawn a compact handgun, and was pressing it against the back of the Milo’s neck.

“We know what you’re thinking. And no, it wouldn’t work. Left pocket.” I obligingly reached into the target’s leftmost pocket, and drew out the small box. I worked the simplistic controls, and two barbed spikes slid out of one side. It buzzed gently as electricity arced across the gap.

“A little close defence? Nice, Milo.” I laughed, and carried on fiddling around with the device.

“Don’t chatter.” Dar hissed.

We held the tableau for another minute. I could see Darien counting the seconds. That’s the first thing they teach you – big events hinge on the smallest coincidences. One ‘disrupted schedule’ can throw the fate of nations one way or the other. Milo was on his knees, shaking violently. Obviously, and painfully afraid for his life.

“And, time.” Darien replaced his handgun in it’s hidden holster, grabbed the mark’s neck, and hauled him upright. I returned the shockbox to Milo’s pocket, and retrieved my magnets from the junked clanker.

“What the hell!” Milo growled, and scrambled to his feet.

“Veracity. You should go home, Milo. And don’t stop for anything.”

Just as Darien turned to walk away, the first of the klaxons sounded.


Discuss the Future: The 365 Tomorrows Forums
The 365 Tomorrows Free Podcast: Voices of Tomorrow
This is your future: Submit your stories to 365 Tomorrows