The image in the frame showed a man and a woman getting out of a car then entering a building together. The scene shifted abruptly to show her leading him through a flat’s door by the tie. There was an angle shift to inside the apartment and as the door closed on the outside world the woman purred, “I’ll get us a drink while you make yourself comfortable.” The view dropped to the level of the man’s hands and followed them as they put the tie down on a coffee table, followed by a receipt for something and a set of car keys.
“Ah!” The audience of one, the owner of the hands in the framed image, sounded relieved. “That’s where I put them! Then why couldn’t I find them?”
From the image the woman’s voice floated out, “Here’s our drinks. Come and look at the view with me?” The man smiled at the memory but the image stayed on the keys as he disappeared from it.
“Did I knock them behind something?” He went to use the controls in front of him again but suddenly in the image another man’s hand scooped up the keys. “What the?” He punched the controls to follow the keys.
They left the flat in the other man’s hand and went downstairs. The stranger unlocked the car and got in behind the wheel. “He took my car? But it was downstairs…”
“Dr Vane?” He’d had no idea that he wasn’t alone. The interloper picked up his right hand and wrapped it around the handgrip of a pistol. “I’m sorry about this, but if my world’s going to exist then you, and Dr Pryne can’t be the ones to discover time travel.”
“What?” Lucius Vane looked at him, stunned.
“Those pretty pictures of the past are just a precursor. The two of you and your work end now.” The stranger was still holding Lucius’ hand on the pistol. “If it’s any consolation, she never believes you killed him. Despite the fires and everything else.”
“But I can prove-.”
“Nothing.” The stranger smiled at him regretfully as the sounds of people calling his name came from the outer lab. He jerked Lucius’ arm around and fired the pistol through the closed door. “Because you’ve just resisted arrest, violently.”