Harry Thompson, N-Class-C, “Should have seen that one coming”
Robin McKinney, A-Class-C, “Fledgling”
Location: Plainsville Redaction Zone
Time: Too Early For This
Purpose: Shameless Promotion
There were many reasons why Harry Thompson was the one here. They had been explained to him in detail. He had already decided that he was going to have to write a paper about the anomalous “Rhetorical Question” and why it wasn’t meant to be answered. Unfortunately, he hadn’t had a chance to do that yet, because the Foundation kept finding - as they informed him - better uses for his time.
As Harry was the Foundation’s foremost expert on the subject of the Rhetorical Question, he didn’t answer that, even in the privacy of his own mind. He’d actually been having a relatively normal week, too, getting caught up on paperwork and making sure L-14 was running smoothly and daydreaming about the day when the Foundation would finally tell him his tenure as “Acting Location Manager” was up and they’d found some other poor idiot to do the job.
He was painfully aware that this daydream of his was as unlikely as many of the ones he’d had as a child, most of which had involved dragons. On the other hand, he’d actually met
one of those, so maybe there was a slim hope that he wouldn’t be doing the job forever.
And on the subject of Hope, that was precisely why he was here: Plainsville, the seriously weird town that she’d been investigating for way too long now. With as much research as she’d had time for, he’d have expected more organized reports - but he supposed that was the Foundation way. The papers were always “forthcoming.”
Harry wasn’t exactly pleased to be the bearer of bad news, but he had managed to make his way in and out of Plainsville before (point number one on the list of “answers to questions that didn’t need an answer”), he was reasonably competent in the field (point number two), he was expendable if need be (point number three, thank you Hack, good to know you haven’t changed what with the new situation), and he had already developed a rapport with Agent Phillips (point number four, somewhat contested, Harry was pretty sure Agent Phillips didn’t much like him and was going to like him even less pretty soon).
Plus a host of other reasons. He was not kidding about the list. He made his way into the weirdness that was Plainsville with the unerring accuracy that was the weirdness that was his anomalous butterfly-vision-thing (papers “forthcoming”), which highlighted the quickest and easiest route to get to Agent Phillips in a yellow line that no one else could see. He’d experimented with it a bit, it seemed to work best on ACF assets or things that ought to “belong”
One of these days he’d get that paper written. It wasn’t going to be today, though. Robin followed him at her usual sedate pace, alert for danger but trusting him to find the way. She was used to his weirdness by now, and had adapted to it as well as anyone could - possibly better than Harry himself, but that might have something to do with not having to get an inside view of how bizarre everything was.
The house either hadn’t changed, or had changed back. Harry didn’t trust it, but knocked at the door anyway before stepping back a bit more than might have been strictly necessary.
Plainsville. Why me?