Snippet #2776137

located in Tempus Agency, a part of It's about time, one of the many universes on RPG.

Tempus Agency

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Character Portrait: Amélie Bai Character Portrait: Jason Joseph Rockler
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Time: 3PM
Year: 2019 / 1965
Place: Somewhere in midwest US / Syracuse, NY


Back in his room he walked to the small cabinet on the far side. He took out a classy looking bottle with a golden brown substance inside. He poured himself a small glass and landed 3 ice cubes in it. Taking the tumbler, he sat down on his couch and let out a sigh. Just when he thought he had this institution figured out, he was thrown another curve ball.
Jason was not one to wait in doubt, and at this moment any idea is better than no idea. He emptied his glass in a few quick sips and headed to the library. It was quite a walk as it was at the end of the east wing of the building. The room was large and fully filled with computer equipment. The amount of searching stations was enormous, and Jason had no problem finding a free spot. As usual he sat a bit to the side, he wasn’t a big fan of close encounters with his colleagues. Always those colleagues that try to talk your ear off…
There were no books to be found here, or at least not any physical ones. Most of the books were in storage and a team of administration workers was digitizing them. Jason had never met one of them, but he had heard the stories. All historical books could be found in the system. Sometimes it took a while to find what you were looking for due to the enormous amount of titles available.

This time Jason was looking quite specifically. He wanted to search the Time Travel Diaries, basically the mission reports of the institute. For all reports you had to fill out a list of questions before writing the report itself. One of those questions was the amount of time between the time at which travel started back to the point where they arrived. When he entered the search term 3 days, he received 406 results of past cases. When he applied the case status filter to ‘solved’ only 23 cases remained. With a sigh escaping his lips he opened the first case and started reading.

90 minutes later Jason had gone through 20 of the cases. Mostly the reasons were to save a loved one from an accident or worse, or to simply win the lottery. The last case had been a bit more disturbing. The case had not been solved based on the 3 days time travel. However, when the man went back 40 years and killed a farming family they were able to catch him. With the interrogation it came out he had tried his theory first by travelling back 3 days. It once again showed Jason the seriousness of the job he was doing. It might not be killers every time, but there was always a chance.
He leaned back and rubbed his eyes when he heard a zooming sound and saw a message appear on his computer screen. The message told him to immediately report at Movement where a message would be waiting for him. Jason gave his notebook at the reception and asked to load the unsolved cases on there. He could take the notebook (which looked like a book) back in time to keep the cases at hand.

Soon he found himself back in the elevator moving up to Movement again. Coming to the reception desk he simply showed his card to receive the message left behind. He took the letter without a word and moved back into the waiting room for the second time that day. He looked at it and noticed he had to make another stop before going.
A few rooms down from the waiting room was the Changing room. Considering the range of history and clothing, you’d expect it to be massive. The room you could enter was merely 10 x 6 meters. At the desk you gave the year and place and your clothes would come from the back. Jason always saw it as a bit of a mystery. It never took more than 10 minutes, which should mean they have masses of people working there, or it was a highly automated system. Whatever it was, you could always see the same grumpy lady sitting in front.

”Place?” was all she said when he stepped up to her.
”Good day to you as well, Miss MacKenzie. How are you doing today?” Although his attempt was extra cheerful, there was no reaction from the stern woman. Her half glasses were down on her nose, like an old-time librarian. Without moving she repeated. ”Place?”
A small sigh escaped his mouth as he checked his letter and gave the answer. ”Syracuse, New York.” Knowing the next question he added himself: ”1965.”
She madly typed in the information and a few minutes later Jason’s clothes came to the front. He quickly changed and went back to the waiting room. He was scheduled to arrive a day before the arrival of his current objective. He would have some time to get used to the lay of the land. It might make it easier to spot something that looks out of place.
Some 20 minutes later it was time. He once again went to one of the chambers and before he knew it, he arrived in 1965.
Last time there were some different buildings to choose from where the incident could have taken place. This time though, there was only one building which could be the target for a time jump. Henry’s Hamburgers was surrounded by a parking lot, not big by todays standards, but big enough. Jason saw cars parked where people enjoyed their food, and a picnic table in front where guests could sit down.
The children’s play area was not a thing yet, and drive-through didn’t exist. But the place was clearly recognizable by their signage. Jason had never been here, and honestly had never heard of the establishment itself. He weighed the option of going in as a customer. However, with the small seating area, the absence of his own vehicle and at least a day to spend, it wasn’t the obvious choice.

Instead Jason walked to the back of the restaurant, where he saw an older man taking out some of the trash. ”Sir, you think there is any work here for an honest man?” He walked up to the man and stretched out his hand waiting for the inevitable handshake.
The man invited him inside, and in a small office the two spoke. ”Where are you from, son?”
Jason answered with Kansas City. For some reason the man looked suspicious, although Jason couldn’t really place it. He looked around the office and started to notice the little things quickly. A medal on the wall, a picture of men in uniform, and a newspaper opened on the page with updates on the Vietnam war.
”Mr. Henry…, I won’t be here long. I was just cleared from medical leave, but they told me I have to wait before I can go back to Nam. I’ll just stay for a few days, but I find it hard to sit still and do nothing.” He added a bit of a pout, knowing all to well the selfie hadn’t destroyed it yet at this time.
The older man’s suspicion seemed to die right then and there. He got a smile on his face, stood up and pat Jason on the shoulder. ”Good man, Mr….” he waited for a response.
”Rockler, Sir. Joseph Rocker, but call me Joe, please.”
”Excellent, Joe. If it wasn’t for my bad legs, I would have loved to join you myself. We need every bit of help we can get to kick those commies back to the USSR. My wife burned her hand yesterday and we are a bit short in the kitchen. Think you can manage that?” The man walked to the door of the small office and opened it. ”There is an apron on the counter in the kitchen. And by the way, I am not Henry, it’s just a name. Call me Steven.”

Jason thanked him and walked to the kitchen right away. He picked up the apron and washed his hands. In a minute or 2 he was introduced to the colleagues and he started grilling. He enjoyed this part of the mission. Getting to know the people of the time, their stories and their hopes and dreams. Although war was raging and there were more diseases than in his own time, somehow the 60s seemed to be less cynical. And an honest day work actually felt good.
Jason’s position was optimal. Henry’s Hamburgers had been copied of the McDonald’s set-up. An open kitchen where the guests could see the food being prepared for them. He could see all people walking up to the windows without problem. He kept flipping burgers till the place closed for the day. He worked without a break but always with a glass of water around. He was sweating and regretted not having an extra shirt on him.

As the staff was all leaving, Jason stood behind. He needed a place to sleep and was looking for the nearest motel. He was happily surprised when Steven and his wife came up to him and offered him a bed and a shower for the night. He gladly accepted and at least did not have to worry for the night.
On his bed he read some of the other files without learning much from them. He was looking forward to the next day, hopefully to be able to make headway in the case.
The day had been a long one, so it was no surprise he fell asleep quickly.

When he woke up in the morning it was because of a knock on his door. It was Steven’s wife who now called for him. ”Joe, dear? We are going to the restaurant in 30 minutes, are you ready?”
He replied he would come with them as soon as he had a shower. And with the cold shower he had it only took him 10 minutes to be fully ready to go. In the kitchen there was a plate ready for him with some eggs and bacon. With a smile on his face he started eating right away and cleaned his plate afterwards.
Steven looked at him strange when Jason cleaned the dishes. Clearly it was the woman’s work, and letting Jason do it was not right.
”My dad died a long time ago. I always had to help my mom around the house. Really, I don’t mind.”

They got in the car, and drove to the restaurant. The work hadn’t changed much except for starting with eggs before the burgers. Jason noticed however, that by 11 am the burgers had already fully replaced any of the egg orders.
He knew that the incident was not long from now. He kept his eyes open on the customers while diligently doing his job. His attention was raised by the people at the cash register. He heard a tut-tut from one of the older ladies and noticed all men standing just a little bit taller. Steven’s wife came to Jason. ”Can you believe that Joe? Our country is at war, and those girls come up here barely wearing anything. It’s worse than those hippies.”
Jason just nodded as he tried his best to get a good view. When he finally saw the girls in full he knew right away they were the time travellers. First of all, they stood out like a soar thumb. Although the miniskirt was getting popular in Europe, America was a bit more conservative. Adding the bright colors and the feminist attitude Jason could be sure. In addition, of course, he recognized the girl immediately. He had seen her less than 24 hours ago in a small boutique in China Town, over 50 years from now. The other one, he could not recognize. She wasn’t in the same shop before.

His mind was racing. If there was more than 1, it might be a bigger issue than he had expected. It also ruled out an accident, seeing as it happened twice in a short time and considering the women were dressed for the occasion. Jason noted they went to sit at the table outside. ”Steven, can I take a quick smoke break?”
Steven agreed and walked out with Jason. They lit their cigarettes as they looked out over the parking lot. ”Those girls, do they look familiar to you?”
Steven told him he had never seen them before. ”Probably some city girls out for the day.”
Yes, and a far way from home… Jason thought. He saw the boys going over to the table and picked up the conversation. He could intervene now, but he had no idea how they had traveled. He needed a softer approach then just giving himself away. With his paper hat and apron on, he could only hope the girl wouldn’t recognize him. Although he was pretty sure she didn’t get a good look the day before.
If they leave, I might have to follow them. He was thinking of a way to get hold of their purse. He needed some clue on how they were doing this.