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Mario shimmers into being, shakes off the chronoference nausea and sticks his hand out, waiting for a newspaper to blow into it.

Eventually he opens his eyes. His hand remains empty.

“Goddamn collapse of print media!” he swears.

One of the guys sitting on a nearby cafe patio raises his eyebrow. “What’s the matter?” he asks. “Lose your job?”

“Not exactly,” mutters Mario. “Um. I don’t suppose you have the date?”

“1-20-2018,” says Mako.

“Wow!” says Mario. “Thanks!”

Mako grins. “Now how about you give me your digits?”

“Sure!” says Mario. “But they won’t work until you invent ansibles.”


Ridley’s hand pauses at the top of the check. “Um,” he asks, “does somebody have the date?”

“May 13, 2005,” says Mako, behind him.

Ridley starts to write, then looks back and grins. “You always provide the year?”

“Never know whether you’re talking to a time traveller.”

“Aren’t they supposed to look at newspapers?” Ridley leans on the counter, enjoying himself.

“Sure, and give themselves away that easy?” Mako scoffs. “Besides, being helpful could earn me the… appreciation? Of hot future guys.”

The man behind the counter is still waiting for Ridley’s check. He tries hard not to drum his fingers.