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After a few more minutes of preparation in the form of more information on Mary Manchester, and us coming up with a plan of what to do with her, I was back in the center of Jill’s lab, spinning through the history on the Accessory to find a Fire Escape entry that had an exit point close to the time stamp on the CCTV footage both geographically and temporally. Jill showed me how access the search-by-time-and-space option. First you select the location and then the time and Jill’s software matches you up with the closest in both space and another in time.
As Jill at one point explained to me, the nature of the portals themselves prevents you from using a portal at the same or too close a time as someone else, unless you are coming from the same starting point in time and in space. So, Jill’s algorithm finds a Fire Escape that has been used as an exit point around the same time as your target time. That way you can use it without having to worry about getting in that other person’s way or materializing partially inside of them. Yeah, teleportation’s a bitch if you’re not careful. Jill said the nature of the portals and their relationship to the dimensions on either side of it is supposed to automatically correct for that, but she decided it would be best to play it safe and have the software correct ahead of time, just in case.
So, the two Fire Escapes the software found for me were both annoying. One was close to the location, but not the time and the other was the opposite. Both gave me the same options, really. Either I got there early and close and wait, or get there far away, with barely enough time to walk there. By this point, we had gotten some things from our apartment, including my phone and watch charger, so I could just ride share, if worse came to worst, anyway.
“Keep it simple, kid! Just get there early and close.” Dot said.
“I should come with you. Or, somebody should,” Kate said.
“Yeah, that’s just what I was thinking,” KJ said.
“We only saw Jacob in the CCTV footage, so we only know for sure that he was there,” Jill said.
“Exactly–what if we were there and just stayed outside? Across the street or something?” Kate said. Jill nodded. I put my hands out with my palms facing KJ and Kate. “Guys, I can do this on my own. All I have to do is go talk to a lady in a coffee house.”
“Hey, that can be really challenging, man!” KJ said. Kate smirked at him shaking her head, and then looked back at me. “Jacob, you know that only you have the Accessory. You take it to go there, we can’t run support for you.”
“I know. I was in that boat before when I got kidnapped by the Galak-ga. It’ll be fine.”
“Dude, the run-in with the Galak-ga was anything but fine!” KJ had a point.
“This is Earth this time. It’ll be fine.”
Both of them crossed their arms and shrugged.
I held the Accessory in front of me and activated it, and disappeared.