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Defusing a time bomb is tricky business even if the many-worlds interpretation doesn’t hold, and Mario isn’t helping.

“Have you ever done this before?” he asks, trying to get a better look.

“In simulations,” mutters Girard. Sweat accretes under his ears and armpits.

“Which wire do you think you should cut?”

“Ask me in thirty seconds,” says Girard, cutters poised.

Mario twists his watch and jumps forward. “Which wire do you think you should cut?” he asks again.

Girard lolls at him, skinless, his jaw across the room somewhere.

“Well?” says Girard when he returns.

“Not that one,” Mario says.