Author : George R. Shirer

Serefina and I barely managed to get the hatch closed before the first of the crew caught up with us. We’d barely secured it when someone started pounding on the other side, making all kinds of dire threats.

Exhausted, we sank down to the floor of the small cabin, our backs to the hatch.

“I hate Jules Verne,” gasped Serefina. “If I ever meet him on one of these jaunts, I’m going to punch him in the balls.”

I didn’t mention the fact that we wouldn’t be in our current predicament if Serefina hadn’t snapped the bloody captain’s neck. What was the point? Plus, I didn’t expect much better from her. Serefina was here as part of a prison-release scheme.

I pulled out my pocket watch and flipped it open. “We’ve got five minutes before the snapback.”

“Think the hatch will last?”

“If not, you get to go nuts,” I said.

She grinned and dug beneath her skirt, producing the knife she’d taped to her inner thigh. The submarine crew hadn’t searched her as thoroughly as they should have. Probably because she was a woman. Idiots.

“At least I got the plans,” said Serefina. She patted her horrendous brooch, which concealed a state of the art camera. “Think they’ll be happy?”

“We’ll find out soon enough.”

My pocket watch chimed. Foxfire danced across the corners of my vision. We stood and Serefina clutched my hand.

“I hate snapback.”

There was a flash and a gut-wrenching sense of dislocation. The pair of us staggered against one another. Opening my eyes, I saw the director watching us with an amused expression.

“Bad timing, lovebirds?”

Serefina snorted and pushed away from me. We were back in the real world, surrounded by the hum and throb of the Fforde Machine.

“Perfect timing,” I said.

The director didn’t bother asking for details. He’d get them in the mission report. Instead, he simply held out his hand. “The plans?”

Serefina removed her brooch and handed it over. “All there. The complete technical blueprints of the Nautilus.”

“Well done.”

“Will they even work here?” I asked. A lot of Fictional tech didn’t work in the Real.

The director shrugged. “Not our concern. We’ll turn the plans over to the client and let them find out.”

He turned away and Serefina’s guards descended upon her, to escort her back to her cell.

“When’s the next job?” she asked.

“Soon,” said the director. “We’ve got a client interested in the cannon from La Voyage Dans La Lune.”

Serefina grinned. “I’ll have to brush up on my French.”

She looked so happy, I didn’t have the heart to tell her the film had been inspired by more of Verne’s works.


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