Killgrace and the Removal Man

The Transport Capsule was still there, where she had built it all those years ago, untouched and waiting. Its shields were more than a match for this type of event. The rest of the laboratory flickered hazily in misty half-existence, torn between her current reality and the erased work of her vanished partner. She had stepped in to stop Jackson just in time, or everything they had built would be gone.

Susan looked across the bench for the small pack of copper mirrors, used for their industrial laser work. They were fading in and out, ghostly and translucent until her hand closed on them and pulled them back into reality. She slipped them into a pocket. Ten, so she would have a few spare. Then she entered the Transport Capsule.

She had accessed the engine core a hundred times for maintenance. It was easy enough to open the engine shields, watch the motor rotating in its housing, and then timing the movement precisely, reach inside. Her hand closed on the bronze rod that stood as analogue for the engine, and with a quick yank she removed it. She stood up, taking a breath, and focused on the engine rod, attuning it to the ring. The strange thing about infinite mass objects was that they could be so light when most of their mass was elsewhere and half of it did not exist yet. Holding the engine core in one hand, signet ring gleaming on the other, she stepped into another time.

The stadium was packed, jubilant people taking their seats ready for the game. The silence was odd in such a throng, and she had to push her way through the frozen crowd, packed shoulder to shoulder at the entrances. Jumping the stiles she walked towards a door marked “Staff only”. The security door could have been a problem, but the guard’s keycard was on his belt and she swiped it for access. Returning it, she felt quietly grateful that she would not have to come back this way, and climbed towards the roof. According to the logs Jackson had vanished a helicopter, then two security guards who tried to stop him, then hit the VIP box and erased those inside, who were many of his remaining competition. She looked at the eclectic guest list and wondered if he had invited them himself. By this point in time he had had the power.

There he was, kneeling in the roof girders, bracing the gun against a joist for greater stability. She picked her way across the girders, careful of the long drop, and unscrewed the lens of the device. Trying not to look down at the drop below, she slid the copper mirror inside, and reattached the lens. In a nanosecond he would pull the trigger and the splash-back would erase both man and machine. All the timelines he had changed from this point would vanish.

Taking a breath, grateful she did not have to find a way out of this stadium or back through the rafters, she stepped through time and space. Her feet hit the pavement a month earlier and she swayed from vertigo and relief as her balance came back. Jackson was easy to find, leaning out of his moving car, the gun already aimed at the police headquarters, specifically the two investigating him. The area effect would hit most of the building. The knock-on effect would be international. Stepping round the solid water splashed up from a puddle under the wheels, she placed her second mirror. At least Jackson had confined his activities to one geographic area. Trying to find her way to Paris, Tokyo or Australia in a time frozen world would be difficult.

The next point: the G8 summit the year before. She swallowed. He had simply erased politicians until he got the combination who did what he wanted. Before that he had casually erased people until he found the combination that got him access to the summit. She stopped for a moment considering the death toll. Jackson might have claimed he was just turning them into someone else, but she suspected he had not actually cared. Susan ignored the summit. The security would be high, and completely ineffective, and she needed to catch this one at the start of the chain, not the end.

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