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As promised in my introduction thread, I'm starting a story here. This is, from what I've seen, fairly different from most of the stories on here, but hopefully people will still find it interesting. I'm always open to criticism, so feel free to post on thoughts you have, good or bad. 
 
 
Splinter
 
Prologue
 
               “Splinter threatens more attacks on government buildings,” Tessa read as she browsed through news headings. If only she could go out there and do her job still, there wouldn’t be a “Splinter” or any other terrorists. Unfortunately, at 104 she wasn’t in much condition to take a terrorist cell down from the inside, or the outside. They probably wouldn’t let her in even if she did have the strength to walk. She slowly raised her glass of tea to take a sip. Memories would have to be just that, she supposed, unless someone invented a way to reverse her age in the next few years. 
              Her thoughts were interrupted by a knocking sound from the door. Strange, she thought, seeing as she hadn’t had a visitor in years. All of her friends and colleagues had long since died, as had her parents, and she never did have any kids. Slowly, she directed her hover chair towards the door.          
             “Identification: Unknown names, count: two,” An automated voice said as she reached the door. Even stranger, to have an unregistered in twenty second century, let alone two of them. Members of Splinter were probably unregistered, though they had no reason to visit her; not anymore.
             “Open” she said, more curious about these people than anything else. If they were from Splinter then it’s unlikely a door would stop them anyways. Instead of radical anarchists, however, a man and a woman in well-kept black suits stared blankly at her from outside. 
             “Am I speaking to former S.I.P.A.W. Agent Lutessa Anelisse DuClaire?” the man at the front of the group asked in a monotonous tone.
             Tessa nodded “Going to recite all of secret identities too while you’re at it? Just Tessa is fine, I don’t need special titles anymore. I’m retired, remember?”
            “We’re here to ask you out of retirement actually,” the man answered “You’re uniquely qualified to deal with a certain situation.”
             Tessa blinked “You have a situation that requires an old woman who needs a hover chair to get around? Because thst’s what I am right now, as much as I miss my golden days.”
            He continued staring at her as he spoke, almost like an android. Maybe he was an android. It was hard to be sure these days. “In a sense, yes. We actually need someone who was alive in the year 2017. According to our records, you would have been ten years old which, while not ideal, is is the best option we have.” 
            Tessa took another sip from her glass of tea. “I guess I’ll need the briefing on why, exactly, my ten year old self is relevant.”
            The man frowned “For all your successes I suppose I would have expected something a little different. I’ll chalk it up to the fact that you’ve been retired for fourty years. The question, regardless of how it was asked, is valid. In recent years, S.I.P.A.W. has been experimenting  with the concept of time travel. We created a successful prototype about five years ago, which sends a person’s consciousness into a past version of themselves. It had some practical use, but required far too much power to have much practical use. Unfortunately, the blueprints were stolen by Splinter. I trust you still pay attention to the news?”
           “You mean the news about them threatening to attack government buildings? Because I think I missed I missed the part about time travel.”
           “The specific details are not public knowledge, but it is good that you are familiar with at least the basic details of the situation. As I said, the device requires a lot of power, but our counter efforts have revealed they have the resources to send one person back to 2017; a person whom they refer to as ‘Rathalon’. We believe it to be a code name. Our mission for you, if you are willing to come out of retirement, is to stop Rathalon. We won’t be able to send any tools with you save for your knowledge and experience, but based on your reputation we have high hopes that will be enough.”
          Tessa could hardly believe what she was hearing. Until now she had believed time travel to be virtually impossible in any form. If they weren’t leaving anything out this would be a second chance at life, and a chance to do something useful again. “I accept,” she answered, doing her best to maintain composure. She was, after all, talking to government agents.

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Sounds promising. I wonder if she has forgotten something about when she was ten...

 

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It's a very interesting start. We need to get deeper into it to see how good a story it is. I believe they are going to mess something up and the time machine and she is going to be sent back farther than she expected. I will be waiting for more. 

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Chapter 1: A New Life
 
           Tessa’s eyes fluttered open and she looked around the room. It was eerily familiar, even after all these years. The device had worked, it seemed. She raised a hand up to her face and inspected the smooth, almost glistening skin. She realized she felt almost freel the coil of her old age lifted from her shoulders, or rather her entire body. She still lacked the strength she had during her time with S.I.P.A.W., albeit for the opposite reason, but strength was never her greatest virtue anyways.
           After a few moments it finally occurred to her that she could stand. Slowly, she climbed out of bed and balanced herself on her legs. It felt strange, after having been hover chair bound for nine years, but the muscle memory was there at least. She took a few steps towards the window, mostly for practice, and looked out. The design of the area seemed quaint to her, until she remembered that this was, by 2017 standards, a fairly modern neighborhood. 
           As she took in her new environment, questions started to race through her mind. What month was it anyways? Was Ryan still alive? Why did her pants feel wet? The last one, at least, was easily answered when she remembered that she was a bed wetter until puberty. The thought made her chuckle slightly. A bedwetting ten year old with a room full of plush ponies and dolls was the person entrusted with the fate of the future. Of course, S.I.P.A.W. didn’t have much choice in the matter, but it was funny all the same.
           After a few moments she came to her senses and quickly changed out of her diaper and nightgown and into a dress with a picture of a cartoon princess on it. Even that was strangely exciting, after relying on a robotic caretaker for so long. Still, it was doubtful Rathalon was sitting around laughing at his past self, so she headed downstairs.
           “Well someone is up early” a voice called from the living room on her way down. She froze for a second, before realizing that it was the voice of her mother. 
           “I guess I just felt like doing something different today.” she responded as she made her way towards the kitchen. There was, of course, another big question to answer as well. Where is Rathalon? She had no drivers liscense, or any real rights of any kind for that matter, and he could be anywhere on the planet. She grabbed a pack of pop tarts as she started to think through the possibilities. He would have to young, possibly younger than she was considering Splinter was mostly comprised of young people. It was doubtful they had many options for a person who was alive in 2017. 
           Why 2017 anyways? Clearly they had some reason, some plan they hoped to accomplish here. That, she supposed, was her first objective; figuring out why Rathalon was here. An assassination possibly, or several for that matter. What one person’s death would cause the world to fall into anarchy though? 
           Her thoughts were interrupted once again by her mother’s voice. “You know you still have half an hour before you have to get ready for school don’t you?” she asked, seemingly confused. 
           Tessa turned around to see her standing in a doorway. “I was just grabbing breakfast. Preemptive strike.” 
           “And you’re dressed. What happened to the girl who who hates waking up before noon?” her mother responded with a chuckle. She realized she might have a bit more trouble than she thought posing as her ten year-old self.
           “I guess my sense of time is a bit off today.” she said before shoving the rest of her pop tart into her mouth. She also realized this meant it was a weekday, so at least that part was narrowed down. She considered asking her mom about the date, but decided against it. No reason to draw even more attention to herself. She’d figure it out eventually. 
           She spent the rest of the morning walking around the house. Walking was never something she had particularly enjoyed before, but she had never spent nine years without the ability to walk before either. She eventually tracked down the family calendar, which was turned to September. Ryan died on the first day of October, so he was still alive. S.I.P.A.W. never did say she couldn’t make a few changes of her own to the timeline. 
She started to head up stairs with the intention of taking stock of her belongings when she once again heard her mother calling from the living room. “Alright Tessa, it’s time to go.” Rathalon wouldn’t wait for her to retake fifth grade either. Then again, would he? She had already established that he was probably stuck as a child just like she was. A time traveling terrorist in elementary school. Another funny thought about this whole situation, if it was actually the case. 
           The drive to school seemed strange, mainly because of the car itself. Gas powered and land bound cars had both been out of regular use for almost fifty years in her time. Still, it gave her an opportunity to refamiliarize herself with the time period. It was certainly less pristine than she remembered, but memories always tended to glorify the distant past. Many of the technological convieniences she had grown accustomed to were noticeably missing, but that she could deal with. At least she could walk.
           They eventually pulled up at her school, a small private school that was probably operating from a one hundred year old building. Two hundred years old for her, though she was the only one aware that it wouldn’t be standing that long. She walked inside and tried to remember where her classroom was. Upstairs probably, or was that fourth grade?
           “Hey Tessa,” a voice said from behind her.
           She quickly spun around, assuming a fighting stance before putting her fists down. “Oh, Ryan, hi,” she responded as she looked him over. He seemed surprisingly calm for someone who was going to die next month. He had no way of knowing that of course. Besides, this time around could be different.
           He gave her a concerned look. “You okay? You look like you’re a hundred miles away.”
           “More like a hundred years in the past,” she said jokingly “I’m fine though. Just tired. I actually had to wake up in the morning. It’s ridiculous.”
            He nodded “I’ll second that. We should probably head to class though. I heard a rumor that Miss. Vaughn ate a late student once.”
           She nodded and followed him. On the way she noticed some sort of poem written in large letters and hung on the wall. Strange that she didn’t remember it being there before, but then again, it had been quite a while.
Four little girls went down to a play
Three went home, and one met a delay
Two of them realized they liked it enough
They decided to go back there again next month
One who didn’t was left all alone
She slipped and fell and was buried at home
One who was there missed her friend on the road
Yet all three were there when the play was later showed
They decided it was time to make a new script
They argued and fought and one fell down a pit
Two little girls went home on a ride
One fell off the horse and was trampled and died
In the end, when the curtain was closed
None were left, they were all decomposed
- Ira Alan
           “Has that always been there?” Tessa asked while trying to discern the vague image behind it.
           Ryan took a brief look at it and nodded. “You asked that last week. I think it’s new this year. Cheery isn’t it?”
He was probably right. Maybe it didn’t stay up that long. It was’t exactly then kind of thing people put in schools, especially in the early twentieth century.
           As she walked into the classroom she looked around. At least this part looked pretty much like she remembered. She took a seat next to Ryan and pulled out her books. At least this would be easy. Annoying, but easy. She sat through an hour or so of lessons before the girl behind her slipped a note into her hand. She pocketed it, assuming it was just some childish nonsense. If it was something important they’d say it to her face later.
           After another hour of listening to Miss. Vaughn drone on about simple math and science that be would debunked within her lifetime, curiosity got the better of her and she quickly unfolded the note. “Tessa. We need to talk at lunch. It’s about Splinter. Henry.” She stared at it. Had Rathalon been more open than she had anticipated. Even if he had, how would anyone know who she was? Unless S.I.P.A.W. found another retired agent to send back. They said they could only spare enough power for one use though.
           “Tessa, Is that a note?” a stern voice interrupted her. Tessa immediately started tearing up the small sheet of paper. If it was read to the class it could compromise her identity. Both of their identities. “Obviously something you don’t want me to see either.”
            Tessa nodded. “Sorry, we’re planning something for Christmas. It’s a surprise, so, you know, we can’t have everyone finding out.” She stood up and put the torn scraps of paper into the trash, just to be sure.
            The rest of the morning went by uneventfully. She was distracted, and she knew that was obvious. Luckily she didn’t have to pay attention this time around. If Henry, who she assumed was Henry Jensen unless she had forgotten about someone, had any information on Splinter then that would change everything. Right now she knew nothing other than a code name, and it was unlikely that Rathalon was still using that name.
            After what seemed like an eternity, they were dismissed for lunch. She tried to follow the crowd out as quickly as she could, before she felt a hand on her shoulder. She spun around. “Can I talk to you for a second, Tessa.” Miss. Vaughn said.
           “I feel like I haven’t eaten in a year,” she replied as she tried to keep following the crowd out of the room.
           “This will just take a second. You aren’t in trouble,” Miss. Vaughn said insistently.
           Tessa turned around. Henry would still be there in a couple minutes she supposed, but it was still annoying. “Go ahead.”
           Miss. Vaughn put a hand on her shoulder again. “It’s just that you’ve seemed distracted today, but you also seemed to suddenly understand everything. Based on today I’d honestly think you’re some sort of prodigy.”
           Tessa nodded “Weird day today I guess. Planning for Christmas and all, combined with a lot of studying last night. Now if you don’t mind I really need to go.”
           Miss. Vaughn nodded. “Go on then, I just wanted to know if something was going on. You seemed different today.”
           Tessa hurried to catch up with everyone. She remembered where the lunch room was at least. When she got there, she was surprised to see everyone standing in a circle in the center of the room. As she got closer, Ryan broke out of the circle and walked up to her “One of the roof pannels fell off and hit Henry Jensen, if you’re wondering what the excitement is about.”
          “Is he alright. He needed to talk to me about something today.” Tessa asked. This hadn’t happened previously. The roof panel hadn’t even fallen off at all.
           Ryan shook his head. “Well, he’s unconscious, but he’s still breathing. There’s an ambulance coming.”
           It sounded like an accident, but it seemed too coincidental. Rathalon had to be here, somewhere. It narrowed down the search at least, but it also meant she’d have to be very careful.
          Ryan pulled his phone out of his pocket. “Guess we should text our parents. School is probably cancelled for the day.” as the phone switched on, Tessa saw the date and froze. September 29th. The last Friday of the month. This Sunday, two days from now, was the day it happened. This Sunday, Ryan Conrad died.
 
 
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Well I can't give it a like, apparently I am back to only being allowed one. I did like the chapter though. I am eager to get more information about what exactly Rathalon is supposed to be doing and how Ryan is going to die. I will be watching for more. 

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Thanks. I'm glad you like it so far.

As a note on future plans for everyone reading, I'm currently looking to maintain a biweekly schedule for chapters of this story. I was originally planning weekly updates and might still try that, but it depends how my inspiration and scheduling works out. Hopefully that's okay with everyone. 

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((I was going to wait until tomorrow to post this for a perfect two week period between chapters, but decided to put it up tonight. It's almost midnight anyways. Sorry for the long wait, I guess I'm a bit of a slow writer. It's a fairly long chapter this time though.))
Chapter 2: Changing Times
 
         Tessa paced around her room as she thought. It was Saturday afternoon and she still hadn’t come up with a plan. Her mother was conveniently “busy”, which ruled out any form of transportation on her end. Unless she just hopped in a car and drove herself, which had the risk of the police spotting her and ruining any plan involving that. Then there was the issue of her parents. They’d watch her closely after she tried that, far too closely to deal with Rathalon effectively. No, she had to find another solution.
          Ryan couldn’t do much about it. Even he’d never believe the time travel story, and she’d never talk him into sabotaging his mother’s car otherwise. Unless she could talk him into changing events without realizing what he was doing. That idea would work if she could put some specifics to it. She couldn’t though. She couldn’t fool him with something like that. Another plan then.
         She stopped in her tracks. Natalia. She knew Natalia then, not well maybe, but well enough to ask a favor. Whether she’d listen was another question, but it was worth a try. She looked around for a few seconds before finding her phone on the bedstand. She didn’t remember the passcode, but she didn’t need it. Her fingerprint was still the same, and that was all it took. Natalia Everett was even in her contact list. Good, she didn’t have to figure out her number. “Hey Natalia,” she sent in a text. 
          She couldn’t even remember asking Natalia for a favor in the previous version of her life. She was always happy just being able to refer to a billionare’s daughter as her “friend”. They were more like cordial acquaintances in truth, but she was out of options. She waited anxiously for several minutes, wondering if Natalia would see it fit to respond today, before a familiar ding answered that question.
          “Kinda busy. What’s up?” The response read. She responded, so that was a good sign. 
          “I really need to get to a friend’s house but my mom is busy. Think you could get your parents to send me a ride?” Tessa responded with shaking hands. If Natalia said no, she’d need another plan, but it already took her this long to come up with one. 
          She heard another ding and once again looked at her phone. “You people ALWAYS want something. Do I have a sign on my back that says ‘Natalia Everett Charity Foundation’ or something? Sheesh.” Tessa groaned and put the phone away. She could try negotiating, but she knew she’d have better luck asking a 2017 car to drive on its own. Another plan then, if she could think of one. She had to. She couldn’t let her best friend die twice. 
          Several minutes of anxious pacing went by before her thoughts were interrupted by a loud whirring noise from outside. She met her mother half-way down the stairs and stopped. “Any idea why an Everett Energy helicopter is in our backyard, Tessa?” her mother asked.
          Tessa blinked “I guess? I mean, I asked Natalia for a ride to Ryan’s place, but I thought she gave me a pretty resounding no.”
          Her mother shrugged. “I never quite understood that girl. You’d better get moving I guess. Have fun!”
          Tessa ran outside toward the helicopter. A blonde girl wearing a dress, which Tessa figured cost more than most cars did, waved from a seat in the back. “Finally!” Natalia yelled over the noise of the helicopter as Tessa got closer “I was starting to think you changed your mind!”
          Tessa took the remaining seat and shook her head “I just thought your last message was a pretty solid no. What happened to being busy?” 
          Natalia rolled her eyes “Busy with some super boring friends of my parents who didn’t really care if I was there, and I never said  no. You make too many assumptions.”
          “Well, thanks, I appreciate it,” Tessa said before giving directions to Ryan’s house and getting lost in thought again. Now she just needed a plan to stop him from going to a dentist appointment tomorrow. Or just stop his mother from stopping at the bank on the way home. At least she had options now. 
          “Tessa, you just going to sit here in amazement or what?” Natalia yelled over the din of the helicopter. Tessa looked around and realized they were already at Ryan’s house. She quickly hopped out and landed on the grass. To her surprise, Natalia climbed out after her. “Well thanks for letting us out over the dirt you idiot!” she called to the pilot as the helicopter flew away.
          “You’re staying?” Tessa asked once the noise faded.
          Natalia scoffed. “Well yeah, of course I’m staying. You think I’d go back and spend more time with my parents’ friends? Come on, I want to meet your friend.” She ran towards the porch without giving Tessa a chance to respond.
          Tessa followed and caught up at the door. She figured it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. Another difference in how things happened here could only help her situation. 
          Ryan swung the door open and looked out at them. “Well, someone is traveling in style, huh Tessa.”
          “Eww, Tessa, you didn’t tell me your friend was a boy. I’m not vaccinated for cooties.” Natalia said with a grimace. 
          Tessa sighed “Natalia, this is Ryan, my best friend since kindergarten. Ryan, this is Natalia Everett.”
          Ryan shrugged. “Tessa cured me years ago. Hi Natalia. You two going to come in?” Tessa and Natalia stepped through the door. The house was smaller than Tessa remembered, but then again, so was her own. “So, what came up that you needed a helicopter ride to come see me? I mean, I get it, but it’s still a first. I didn’t even know you two were close,” Ryan said.
          Tessa looked around for a few seconds and started to speak, only to be interrupted by Natalia. “So, what do you peasants eat, bugs?” Ryan laughed, and Natalia rolled her eyes. “That wasn’t a joke. I need to know if I should request the delivery of something more suitable.”
          “We aren’t exactly peasants, and no, we don’t eat bugs.” Tessa said before turning back to Ryan “I wanted to ask you about yesterday’s homework.”
          “You got a helicopter ride from the richest person in the city to ask about homework?” Ryan asked with an exaggerated tilt of his head “What happened to your phone? Or to not doing friday’s homework until Sunday night for that matter?” 
          “Well, and I just wanted to come over for a bit.” Tessa replied as Natalia strutted into a nearby room. Tessa watched her for a few seconds before turning back to Ryan. “So, what are you doing tomorrow?” She knew the answer of course, probably better than he did, but she also knew that would be hard to explain.
          He chucked. ”Fun stuff, like a dentist appointment.” He adjusted his glasses and continued “Oh, there was something I wanted to show you.” 
          Tessa absentmindedly wrapped a few strands of hair around her finger. “Let’s see it then.” Ryan ran towards his room while she was halfway through her response, and she followed after him. Once there he immediately clicked a desktop icon on his computer.
          “So what’s this about anyways?” Tessa asked. She realized it might be harder than she thought to try to change events, but at least she still had a little time. 
          “You’ll see,” he said with an excited grin. “Remember those programming lessons I was taking in the summer?” Tessa nodded, although she only vaguely remembered them. A screen with the words “Loading” written in large, blocky letters appeared on his computer. He stared intently at them. “Any time now.”
          Tessa took advantage of the wait to look around. The room was a bit of a maze, which she couldn’t really blame him for. She hadn’t exactly been any better organized at that age either. She still hadn’t gotten around to cleaning her room since traveling back. The entire south wall was covered in drawings, aliens if she had to guess. Most of them were depicted fighting a little girl who looked suspiciously like herself, aside from the gun. “Is that me carrying a machine gun?” she asked, pointing at the drawings.
          “You haven’t seen those before?” he said, still watching the computer intently, “That’s Anelisse, and it’s a laser machine gun.”
          “Anelisse is my middle name. And laser weapons are relatively small, since they rely on energy rather than matter to function,” she said, before rembering that it was 2017 and laser weapons only existed in fiction. “I mean I’d think anyways. It would make sense.” 
          He laughed “Well, I’ll shrink her unrealistic laser machine gun in the next update then. Aha! Speaking of which, behold!” Tessa turned    back to the screen and looked at a digital image of a young girl she assumed as Anelisse, wearing a pink flowery dress and holding the same weapon she had wielded in Ryan’s drawing. Her long auburn hair flowed around her shoulders, adorned with several pink and purple   bows. Next to the picture the word “Play” was written in blocky letters. “I’m afraid the graphics aren’t as good in the game itself,” he said after giving her a few seconds to look.
          “Well, the resemblance is uncanny in that picture,” she noted as she walked towards the chair. 
          Ryan stepped back to let her sit down “Feel free to give it try, well what I have. It’s kinda small still.” She sat down and clicked play. She hoped he was right and she’d be able to get back to saving his life soon. Still, the idea intrigued her. She never knew he had gotten this far in computer programming before. 
         After another loading screen, she found herself looking at a two dimensional map, with a somewhat pixelated version of herself, or “Anelisse” as the game called her, at its center. She pressed the up arrow and Anelisse ran up the street a bit, where several pixelated aliens similar to those seen in the drawings started firing red laser guns at Anelisse. They didn’t look like real laser weapons either, but she decided to forgive that seeing as he had no way of knowing what they would look like.
         After a few seconds of mashing buttons, she finally tried clicking on the aliens, which caused Anelisse to release a barrage of pink lasers in their direction. A few hits on each caused them to explode into glitter, and she looked up at Ryan. “So I’m fighting aliens using a glitter laser machine gun?”
         “Well what else would you fight aliens with?” he replied. She turned back to the game and continued up the street, gliterizing several more groups of aliens as she went. It was simple even by 2017 standards, and far more so compared to the virtual entertainment of her time period, but it was strangely relaxing. Maybe that could be the solution to her present problem. She may not have had a glitter laser, but she had enough training with S.I.P.A.W. to stop a single gunman at a bank. She didn’t need a complex plan, she just needed to be there.
          Anelisse approached a larger alien holding a weapon similar to her own, although with darker colors, a large red bar appeared on the top of her screen. At the same time, Natalia walked through the door. “So, you two just decided to ditch me?” 
          “You wandered off first,” Ryan said with a shrug “Tessa is fighting the final boss of a video game I made. You can try it after she finishes if you want.” 
         Natalia looked at the computer screen “Looks dumb.”
          “Your loss.” Ryan replied.
          “I didn’t say I wouldn’t try it. I just said it looks dumb.” Natalia said with a glare. 
          Tessa was too focused on the game to get into the conversation. The red bar seemed to be going down each time she hit the alien. Another red bar, this one on the bottom of the screen,seemed to be going down when she was hit. Logically, it made sense that the red bar on the top was a measurement of the alien’s health while the red bar on the bottom was a measurement of her own. If her assumption was correct, then she seemed to be winning. Once the top red bar was gone, the large alien exploded into sparkles and a message “You have been beamed aboard the alien mothership” appeared on the screen before she was returned to the picture of “Anelisse”. 
          She stood up and looked at Ryan “So, does that mean I lost?” 
          “No, you did fine. That just means I haven’t made the next level yet. As I said, small,” he said with a short laugh. “Your turn Natalia.”
          Tessa decided to stay and watch Natalia’s play through. She doubted she’d come up with a better option for saving Ryan, and it would seem odd if she just left the room now. Besides, she had to admit she was a bit curious about how this would go. She was surprised to note that Natalia actually figured it out faster than she did, although not by much. “Is it okay if I sleep over tonight?” she asked while she waited for Natalia to fight through the aliens.
          “Um, I’d have to check with my mom but it’s probably okay if you don’t mind sitting in the waiting room at the dentist,” Ryan said while keeping his eyes fixed on Natalia’s alien resistance efforts. 
          Tessa nodded. She hadn’t packed for this, but she had slept on far more strenuous circumstances than simply not having her pajamas for a day, so  that didn’t concern her. She wore a lot of her favorite clothes for several days in a row as a child, so that wouldn’t be an issue either. Besides, she was about the same size as Ryan, so if something came up she could always borrow from him. There was, of course, the bedwetting issue. Unfortunately, that was a physical issue with the development of her bladder, so there wasn’t a lot she could do about it except wait. Well, that and keep wearing those diapers at night in the mean time. What were they called again? Goodnites or something? Not like the name mattered, she still didn’t have them with her.
          Tessa’s thoughts were interrupted by Natalia  “Is that it? There isn’t more to it?” 
          “I’m still working on it. That’s just the first level.” Ryan said. 
          “Well I hope so. Why does the main character look like Tessa? How would Tessa even afford a sparkle gun? Those things are like a million dollars each.” Natalia responded while crossing her arms. 
          Ryan shrugged. “Tessa’s been my best friend since kindergarten. Today was the first day I talked to you. I’ll try and get you in somewhere though.” Natalia didn’t respond. 
          “We’re having a sleep over if it’s okay with Ryan’s mom, so don’t worry about waiting for us,” Tessa said in an attempt to break the silence.  
          Natalia glared. “I’m not waiting for you. I’m staying. Unless you want to kick me out and make me tell my parents.”
          “No one’s forcing you to leave,” Tessa replied “I just didn’t think you’d want to.” 
          Natalia pulled a brush out of one of her dress pockets and ran it through her hair. “Like I’d wanna go back home and listen to boring people be boring. Not like you two are much better right now. I mean seriously, are we just going to stand around until we go to bed.”
          Ryan smirked. “Well, I found this show on Netflix I wanted to see. You’ll like it, maybe, I dunno. I haven’t watched it yet. Come on!”
          They ended up watching the entire first season, which was all of six episodes. Tessa guessed she would have found it rather boring as an actual ten year-old, but she had to admire the irony in the little girl who could see the future. Not to mention the fact that all those people had been placed in 2004 by the future. Tessa was glad she knew who she was supposed to stop, or at least that it was a who. 
          Once the show finished, Tessa noticed that Natalia had fallen asleep. “I guess we don’t need to worry about who gets which couch then,” she remarked.
          Ryan nodded. “I was worried she’d try to kick me out of my bed. You still don’t mind the couch do you?”
          Tessa shrugged. “I’ve slept in worse places. Like, the floor.” She decided not to mention that she meant the floor of an African Empire prison.            
          "Oh, I don’t suppose you can reprise you role from kindergarten as my supplier? I kinda forgot to pack today.”
          “My mom quit her job in the nursery two years ago, so my source is gone. Sorry,” Ryan said. 
          “Guess I’ll just hope for the best then tonight,” she responded as she headed towards the kitchen to grab some paper towels. It wasn’t the best solution, but it was the best she had. Once she finished stuffing paper towels into her underwear she made her way to the couch. She realized she felt a bit light headed, probably from staring at the TV for so long. A drink would probably be a very bad idea right now, she figured, so she decided to just see how she felt in the morning. 
          She awoke the next day and quickly realized she was the only person still asleep. So much for her training to awaken at the first sign of movement. She supposed that must have been mostly muscle memory. Not that it mattered, they hadn’t left without her at least. She ran to the bathroom and removed the damp paper towels. They had at least managed to spare Ryan’s couch, and the wet spot on her underwear would dry off soon enough. The light-headedness had gone away. It probably was nothing anyways. 
          She stopped at the mirror as she was about to open the door. She couldn’t go out with her hair like that. She searched through the drawers for a comb when she heard Ryan’s mother calling for them to leave. At least she had the excuse of being ten years-old for now. She ran out out the door and took a seat in the car. “Trying to provide a nest for birds, Tessa? Seriously, your hair. Do something about it,” Natalia said as they drove out of the parking lot. 
          Tessa shrugged “I forgot to pack, and I didn’t have time to look for a comb.”  
          Natalia pulled her brush out of her dress pocket and handed it to Tessa. “Here, no excuses. Fix it.
          Tessa ran the brush through her hair while she reviewed her plan in her mind. She and Natalia being there could be enough, but she had to assume Ryan’s mom would still stop at the bank at the same time, the robber would come in and take hostages, and eventually, if she let it play out, he’d kill Ryan. She unfortunately didn’t know the details beyond that, but a crazed gunman was nothing compared to the elite imperial guards she fought on her way out of that prison. She just hoped her combat knowledge had still held up after fourty years of retirement. 
          She was snapped out of her thoughts when she realized they had arrived at the dentist office. “So what are we, moral support?” Natalia asked as they stepped out of the car.
          “You could have always called in that helicopter if you didn’t want to go with,” Tessa replied as they headed towards the door. 
          Natalia grabbed her comb from Tessa’s hand. “Then you would have gone out with your hair like...that. At least now it's palatable.” 
          Ryan was called in almost immediately after they entered, leaving Natalia and Tessa in the waiting room. Natalia had been surprisingly quiet, but Tessa was glad. It gave her time to go over her plan a hundred more times. She only had one shot at this. She wished she had some way to run a holographic simulation, but that technology didn’t exist yet even if she did have time, so she’d have to settle for mental simulations. 
          She stood up once Ryan stepped back into the waiting room. “So how’d it go?” 
          He shrugged. “They stuck sharp objects in my mouth repeatedly. No cavities though so at least I don’t have to worry about going back any time soon.”
          Tessa nodded. “Let’s get out of this vile place.” 
          They walked back to the car as she continued running the bank scenario through her head. “Are you okay Tessa? You’ve seemed distracted all day. Like, really distracted.” Ryan asked while they were in the car.
           “I’m fine. Just bored,” she answered.
          Ryan’s mother cut in. “I need to stop at the bank. How would you kids like to stop for ice cream after?” 
          “Could do the icecream first, then we could eat it while we wait in line,” Tessa replied. 
          Ryan’s mother shook her head. “All the icecream places in town are past the bank, silly. Besides, the lines usually aren’t too long.”
          Tessa sighed. It was worth a try at least. She went back to running the scenario through her head until they arrived. Once there, she stepped out of the car and walked towards the bank, leaving the others to follow. She wanted extra time to look over the interior, figure out where the gunman would come in, what she could use as a makeshift weapon if need, and about a hundred other things she had been trained to look for in a dangerous area.
          “What’s the rush?” Ryan asked as the others walked inside.
         She kept looking over the area. “I slept through breakfast. I want that that icecream.”
          “Sounds like a good reason,” Ryan said. 
          Tessa followed them as she continued her survey of the room. She noted several places to take cover, which wouldn’t be much use since she wasn’t the main target. A few vases could serve as makeshift weapons if needed. She didn’t expect to even have a chance to grab them, but it was always best to be prepared for every scenario. She did her best to stay near Ryan in order to put herself in a better position to defend him. 
          After a few minutes, a female voice called “Next!” and Tessa followed the others towards the empty counter.
As they got there, another voice, this time male, followed the sound of the door swinging open. “Sit down, put your hands on your head, and don’t move. This is a robbery!” The sound of screams, the loudest of which was Natalia’s high-pitched screech, filled the room as everyone did what they were told. 
          Tessa waited as the masked man asked the tellers to hand him all of their money. She had in mind the police got a tip and would be here in a couple minutes. She looked for a chance to catch him off guard, but he noticed every time she so much as tried to move a muscle. After a couple minutes, as she expected, the sound of police sirens became audible from outside. She watched as they talked to him over the phone while he kept his eyes fixed on the hostages. Still not distracted then.
          “Are we going to be okay?” Natalia whispered, all of her usual aloofness drained from her voice. 
          “We’ll be fine,” Tessa whispered back while keeping her eyes fixed on the robber. 
          He began walking towards them, clearly angry at how the negotiations were going. This was probably the part where he grabs Ryan. She got ready; all she needed was a second and she could have him on the floor. Assuming, that is, she hadn’t lost her touch. To her surprise, he instead grabbed Natalia and pointed his gun at her head. “Leave now or I can promise you this little girl won’t!” he yelled into the phone as Tessa began recalculating her plan. It made sense now that she thought about. Natalia was added to the equation, a new variable that didn’t exist last time. He wasn’t after Ryan specifically, so why wouldn’t he go for the little girl with a thousand dollar dress, at least?
          The situation still remained mostly the same though, she figured. She lost her initial attempt, but that part she had planned for. He seemed a bit less focused on the rest of the hostages. Good. After a few seconds he turned to face the door. It was only a second, if that, but a second was enough. Tessa grabbed the glass vase from the counter and threw it towards his head. He turned back just in time to pull the trigger as the vase stuck his head, but the bullet simply fired harmlessly into the wall as he fell to the ground. 
          Tessa breathed a sigh of relief and looked around. The police officers were already coming inside to take him into custody. Some of the other hostages were slowly rising to their feet, while others had their hands pressed over their eyes. Natalia was shaking, and a puddle had appeared under her feet, but she seemed otherwise unharmed.
          Tessa walked over to her. “You okay?”
          Natalia nodded shakily and squeezed Tessa’s hand. 
 
          Later that day, once everyone was back home safely, Tessa found a news article about the robbery on her phone. “Little Girl Stops Bank Robber,” the headline read. In her actual childhood she would have enjoyed being referred to as a hero, but this time it was worrying. It didn’t prove who she was of course, but if Rathalon found out he’d be likely to at least grow suspicious. As she read further she began to feel light headed again. Well, her ten year old body wasn’t used to this kind of stress, so she supposed that was to be expected. She layed down and closed her eyes. A little rest, that was all she needed. She could start looking for Rathalon tomorrow.
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I really like the setup here! You’ve created a lot of fun tension and Tess’s maturity in childish situations is a fun dynamic.

I’d love to see some more description of the emotions of the characters, just as a contrast to Tess’s professional detachment. Also I’m curious why all these ten-year-olds are so jaded-sounding. Probably a popular affectation, from what I remember of being that age. Oh, and a question! What happens to Child!Tess’s mind when Adult!Tess is inhabiting Her body?

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Thanks so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it. 

I do plan on getting into their emotions a bit more over the course of the story. Popular affectation is a pretty good assessment of their jadedness. There are a few other contributing factors, but those will come out later. 

As for the question of Child Tessa's mind, that is a very good question. All I'll say for now is that S.I.P.A.W. believes the younger version of the mind is overwritten when the older mind is sent back. 

 

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Very good . I really enjoyed all the action. My question now is; now that Tessa has altered the past, what effect will that have on the future? So much change could come from one simple thing. I am looking forward to reading more. 

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Thanks for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed the chapter. 

I can't say too much about the consequences of Tessa's alterations. Spoilers and all. She is definitely creating ripples though, and some of them will likely be bigger than she planned. 

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A neat read!

 

Just a thought : it would be easier to read if you left space between lines of dialogs and narration paragraph, imo. ;)

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This is a great story, I enjoyed the dramatic tention in the bank robber sceen.  I wonder if preventing ryan from dying is going to have the butterfly effect or probably something les dramatic?  I look forward to reading more.

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Thank you both for reading. I'm glad you enjoyed the story. 

The formatting is somewhat of the challenge on these forums, and something I will probably revise a bit as I go forward. Everything looks nice on the word document I type it on initially, but the forums don't keep that for some reason. The spaces between lines might be a good idea though. I'll keep that in mind.

 

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