Gently dragging the pistol from its holster, Lila glided it down Ian’s back and smoothly pulled it up in one motion to aim at Charlie.
“I think we’ll be going now. Not that it hasn’t been tons of fun.” Lila said lightly.
“Wait,” the man said. He put down his weapon and held up his hands as if to show he was harmless. “There is something I must show you before you go.” He gestured to the back of the apartment where the bedrooms lay.
“Oh, no. I’m not falling for the old ‘check out my etchings’ routine. If they were so great you’d have them hanging in the front room.” Lila began edging back toward the front door until she backed into something solid. Looking up, way up, she saw the man pictured on the dosimeter. “Sergey?” She looked accusing at Charlie. “I thought you said he was dead.”
“No, I said he was one of our best employees,” Charlie reminded her.
“Fair enough.” Lila agreed. “Still, that doesn’t explain what he’s doing here. What’s really going on?” She directed the final question to Sergey and passed the pistol to Ian who had moved to her right. He held it loosely in his hand, prepared to use it if necessary.
Sergey moved around her left and sat on the armchair kitty corner to the couch. “Lila, you’ve heard rumors about the experiments at El Segundo. I heard you say that while I was waiting in the kitchen.” He grinned suddenly. “I really was going to bring dessert, by the way.”
Lila looked cautiously toward the kitchen area. “What, bullet surprise, or perhaps brownies a la Chernobyl?”
“Tiramisu, actually.” Sergey motioned. “I can get it if you’d like.”
“Let’s hear what’s really going on,” Ian said. “Then we’ll decide if we’re playing along.”
“You are familiar with the concept of world line?” Sergey looked expectantly at Lila.
She nodded. “Spacetime, which is divided into the future, past, and what we think is now, but can actually be the past. Like if we’re standing there staring at the sun, we’re actually seeing it as it was eight minutes ago because light takes time to travel.”
“Correct.” Sergey nodded. “We think we may have found a point in spacetime where we are able to see images from the future, but they are very,” he paused, “disturbing.”
“Disturbing how?” Lila pushed for details.
“Like Fukushima,” Sergey said, referring to the nuclear reactor disaster that occurred in Japan. “Only 100 times greater.”