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A New Time

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            On the television, the local Seattle news airs the Thanksgiving’s Day Parade downtown. Hundreds are gathered to partake in this annual ceremony. From within the kitchen of the Chase household, Kate speaks: “Dinner time!”

            Victoria quickly swipes through her social media profiles, seeing many posts celebrating Thanksgiving:

 

Max Caulfield (@NoirAngel)

Happy to be celebrating with my girlfriend and our parents! #Thanksgiving

 

Sean Diaz (@ProfSeanD)

Feliz día de acción de gracias!

 

Taylor Christensen (@TayChri)

So grateful for the people in my life! @NathanManP @ChasingVictory @CWagner

 

            As she swipes up, she closely scans whose posts she is seeing. She asks herself, “The fuck?”

            “Language, Victoria!”, yells Victoria’s mother.

            “Yeah, Vic.” Kate walks behind Victoria and wraps her arms around the back of her neck. She whispers into her ear, “You… are seeing this too, right?”

            “Uh huh. I don’t really believe this. I mean, who is Sean Diaz anyways… Wait, my parents met his dad once. And isn’t that superhero kid’s last name Diaz?”

            Victoria’s father explains, “The Diazes are good people, Vic. Esteban was real proud of our ‘Automobiles of Australia’ exhibit back in 2008. Can’t blame ‘em. It was well-researched.”

            Kate looks at Victoria and the two say, “This is a dream, isn’t it?”

            An unseen speaker explains to them, “No, this is quite real! Oh, what a Thanksgiving! Victoria with a girlfriend of her own!”

            Victoria looks at the speaker - dressed in a pink and white dress - and asks, “I’m sorry, who are you?”

            “I’m your Aunt Dolores! I know it’s been a long time since we’ve last met, but I’m back! Had to spend some time doing government work in Rhodesia, but I’m here now, and that’s ALL that matters.”

            Kate looks around and asks the partygoers: “Can me and Victoria get a moment please?”

            “Of course!”, says Aunt Dolores.

            The two rush into the bathroom and Victoria locks the door. She tells Kate, “Okay, so this is a dream? Last I checked, it was mid-March and not late-November. Also, the last thing all my old Vortex Club pals told me was ‘Go fuck yourselfie, Victoria, you abhorrent human being’, so why wouldn’t I be blocked by them? And why would Nathan be free? ”

            “Seems like a dream. And that Aunt Delores person… is she your actual aunt?”

            “Nope… I have an Auntie Mia in North Carolina, but no Aunt Dolly…”

            Kate snaps three times as she realizes, “Dolly… The Doll! Remember what Max told us about an evil Doll woman. The Doll!”

            Victoria strokes her chin and states, “I remember. Is this her superpower, to fuck with us in our dreams?”

            “I’m afraid it might be, or it’s something like it. Do you think we’re trapped?”

            “No, we can’t be. Not in a dream. If there’s a will, there’s a way. And there’s only one way to get out of a dream, I think… besides waking up, of course. We gotta die.”

            Kate crosses her arms, asking: “Okay. How would we do that?”

            Victoria punches the bathroom mirror, leaving no wounds and a lot of shards of glass. She grabs a shard and holds it to her throat. “See you on the other side, Kate!” She holds it to her throat still.

            Kate claps and tells her, “C’mon, Vic, you can do it… I’ll follow right after.”

            Victoria’s hand shakes and she drops the shard. “I can’t do it.”

            Kate scoffs and tells her, “It’s just a dream.”

            “I know, but it’s gonna hurt a lot and I’m a little scared.”

            “Okay, just close your eyes. I’ll help you through it.”

            “Okay.” Victoria closes her eyes. “Breath.” As she is encouraging her, Kate picks up a shard of glass and lunges for Victoria’s throat.


 

            “AHH!” Victoria jolts back to the waking world and clutches her throat. She looks at her hand and sees no blood. She laughs and yells, “Yeah, screw you, Dolly!”

            She looks at Kate and sees her still asleep. She shakes her a bit: “Katie, wake up!”

Suddenly, Kate also jumps back to consciousness, bolting off the couch. “Ow!”

            Victoria runs up to Kate and asks her, “Oh my God, are you okay?”

            Kate nods and Victoria hugs her tightly, telling her, “Thank you”

            “Before you asked, I jumped out of that window behind the toilet. Landed headfirst onto the hood of a Subaru and… ouch.”

            Victoria pecks Kate on the cheek and tells her, “We need to check up on Max and Daniel.”

            Victoria and Kate grab each other’s jackets and puts them on in a rush. Upon seeing each other wearing each other’s jackets, they both say in unity, “You look great in that. Keep it.” Kate giggles. The two grab their shoes and run out of the apartment.


 

            “The hell is happening?”, Future Daniel loudly asks.

            “Daniel, if you keep talking like that, you’re going to get correa!” Esteban says this before Future Daniel runs up to him and hugs him. “Hugs are nice and all, but that doesn’t make swearing in the house ok- WHAT THE HELL?!”

            Esteban jumps out of his seat, afraid of this crimson intruder. He pushes Future Daniel away and rushes to the front door. Present Daniel and Sean run out of their rooms and see this Future Daniel.

            Sean jumps in front of Present Daniel, telling him, “Stay back, enano. Get in your room.”

            Future Daniel takes off his helmet and lets everyone see his older face, his untamed mohawk, and his forlorn eyes. Present Daniel asks, “Who are you?”

            “I’m you. From the future. Six years in the future.”

            Sean asks, “Are you a ghost?”

            “No, of course not. This Doll woman - she’s a supervillain - sent me here for some reason. But I’m so happy about that! It’s been so long since I’ve seen any of you! I have so much to tell you!”

            The four take seats in the living room and Esteban urges Future Daniel, “Okay, start at the beginning.”

            Future Daniel begins: "Once upon a time, in a wild, wild world, there were two brothers and they lived in Seattle with their father. That was until their father was shot and killed by an anxiety-ridden police officer. Framed for crimes they didn’t commit, the two brothers headed South in search of their father’s hometown, Puerto Lobos. Along the way, they meet people who wanted to hurt them and people who wanted to help them. But the brothers gradually fell apart as the little one was lost in his own growing mind. He hurt his older brother and tried to leave him but fate put them back together one last time. The little brother made it home, to Puerto Lobos, but his older brother… did not. A few years passed as the little brother did everything in his power to right his wrongs, putting on a mask to fight crime as the Superwolf. Then, one day, fate brought him a new chance at life in the form of a wormhole. He fell in, and was transported to a new time, in the past. But not his past. One like it, but with changes. In search of his home, he was captured by a shadowy organization where he was experimented on by mad scientists and his fellow metahumans - people with powers like him. But he met one metahuman, a girl with the ability to go backwards in time, and he helped her out. Within time, he was sent to hunt her but he was freed by two different girls with the ability to take him down. Unknown to them, he was possessed by an evil metahuman and his defeat freed him from her influence. In search of the rewinding girl, he met space pirates and a former soldier. Him and the rewinding girl then went back home to meet with her friend and they fell asleep. Now, the little brother is back home. Telling his family the tale of the two brothers…"

            With the story finished, Future Daniel begins sobbing and he is comforted by his past self, his father and his brother. Esteban tells his future son, “Let it out, Daniel. You’re home.”

            “I don’t… know how much time I have left until I wake up! I want to be here forever! I want to save you all!”

            “And you can, enano. We’ll see you again. Where are you now?”

            “Arcadia Bay. In Oregon. But please, don’t come for me, things are dangerous. I’m still hunted and I don’t want you getting hurt!”

            “You can always come to us, future me. I’ll let you sleep in my bed if you have to!”

            “Thank you, young me. Okay. I’ll come ASAP.”

            “Just do what you have to do, son. We know you have important things to do, being an up-and-coming superhero and all. But once you do come, we’ll welcome you with open arms.”

            “I know, dad. I guess it’s time for me to go back now. I love you all.”

            “We love you too, Daniel.”

            The family hugs once more and Future Daniel fades away.


 

            Chloe looks around her throne of riches and says, “This isn’t right, where’s Max? She was just explaining to me how she fought a clown!”

            Upon further peering, she realizes, “Dammit, I fell asleep! Max is gonna be pissed. But I need to know right now; how do I get outta here?”

            She looks around and sees a rusty blue car with a shiny little bumper on it. A sly smirk comes to her face as she reaches for a gun in her pocket. She pulls out a pistol, much to her surprise, and aims at it. “Goodbye, cruel bumper!” She fires, and the bullet ricochets back at her face.


 

            Chloe jumps out of bed, seeing that she is now back in her room. Triumphantly, she throws her arms in the air, saying, “Hella yes! Suck it, Sandman!” She covers her mouth and looks around at the sleeping Daniel and Max. She whispers, “Sorry.” before sitting back down. Suddenly, she comes to a realization: “Wait. That other throne… Was that for Max?”

            Chloe rushes over to Max’s sleeping face and asks her, “Max, where are you?”


 

            Max sees nothing.


 

            Dolly falls through white space, spinning endlessly. She entered Max’s mind, but she wasn’t there for her… well, her but also not her. There is another Max that she’s been dying to meet.


 

            The OmniMax sees herself sitting at the Arcadia Bay lighthouse, strumming a guitar in peace while looking at the white oblivion that is the Transect - a gateway of which a time traveller can jump from one timeline to another. She is wearing what almost every Max wore back in Blackwell: gray hoodie, blue jeans, a pink t-shirt and sneakers. Dolly faceplants into the ground behind the OmniMax before getting up, her face covered in soil. She shakes her head to get rid of the dirt and smirks behind her mask.

            “Where are we, Maxine Caulfield?”

            “A place of no concern to you, clown.”

            “First of all, I am not a clown, I am a doll. Secondly, I am in your dream! It was a trick question! Aha!”

            “I cannot dream. I sacrificed the ability, among many other earthly traits, to make the ones I had come to fruition.”

            Dolly looks away, asking herself, “The fuck?” Suddenly, she comes to a realization: “You’re not my Max, are you?”

            “Of course not. I am the Max of no time. The OmniMax.”

            Dolly spins around to face her: “YES! My plan worked! That phony Max was something of a gateway to you. The one who took control of her, who let her Chloe die, who let her get captured by us at the Agency, who was-”

            The OmniMax grabs a clean and shiny scimitar and points the tip of the blade at Dolly’s throat to shut her up. Even Dolly is shocked by this: “I know my sins, Dolly. Now, what do you want?”

            “I want to take, maybe just a piece of your… essence, to bring it back to my boss, Dr. Court. Y’see, to power this wormhole generator thingamajig that the Agency of Metahuman Containment has in the works, she needs Maxine Caulfield to act as a battery. We’ve tried a few times to recapture her; once with a platoon of our best men, then with this clown named Tangi, and again with this little boy calling himself ‘the Superwolf’. All have failed, so now, it’s up to me.”

            Dolly pulls out a vial and opens it up for the OmniMax, telling her, “So spit into this thing for me?”

            The OmniMax stares at Dolly in bewilderment. Dolly shakes the vial as if to try and egg the OmniMax into assistance. She asks Dolly, “Why should I help you?”

             Dolly raises her eyebrows and shrugs as if to tell her, “I dunno.”

            “Then, no. You may not have my… essence.” The OmniMax goes back to looking off into the Transect. Suddenly, she hears a blade whiz through the air, aimed at the back of her head. She grabs it without looking and spins around to face Dolly.

            Mockingly, Dolly explains, “I didn’t do that!”

            The OmniMax throws the blade away and rushes Dolly with her scimitar. Dolly manifests two more blades into her hands and makes a “bring it on” gesture.


 

            Victoria and Kate rush to the Price household and Victoria knocks on the front door.

            From behind the door, Chloe states, "Sorry, but no one is home at the moment! Come back never, Victoria!"

            "Chloe?! You're here too?!"

            "Shocking, I know. Now, leave."

            "Chloe, listen, I know you and Victoria… weren't on great terms back in the day, but we have to see Max and Daniel!"

            "Don't we all? Look, Kate, I like you, but Victoria isn't allowed in here! And if she comes in, we're fighting on the spot."

            "Jeez, Vic, what did you do?"

            "I… kinda sorta tried to drug Rachel Amber before the Tempest."

            Kate’s eyes open wide and she claims, "That's not nice!"

            Shaking, Victoria elaborates: "Look, I know, it sucked. It was stupid and horrible of me. But then she and Chloe drugged me back, so even-stevens."

            "What- I- Why was everyone drugging everyone?! Okay, y'know what, forget it, can you two just make up?!"

            Both shoot back at Kate, at the same time, "NO! SHE'S AN ASSHOLE! NO, YOU'RE THE ASSHOLE! AH, SCREW YOU, VICTORIA/CHLOE! NO, YOU!"

            Kate, seeing the two bickering, drops her face into her palms in frustration. She balls her hands up into fists and yells, "Enough! Both of you, stop this fighting! It's stupid, Max and Daniel are both in danger and you two are still on this! Get over yourselves, or at least wait until things aren't as intense, okay?!"

            Victoria looks at Kate, shocked.

            Chloe opens the door, shocked.

            Kate crosses her arms and says, "May we please come in, Chloe?"

            Chloe nods and lets the two into the house.

            As the trio walks up the stairs in awkward silence, Victoria whispers to Kate, "That's, uh, new. It's kinda cute."

            "Not now, Vic. And thanks. Also, sorry."

            "It's okay. I'm sorry too. Are you sorry, Chloe?"

            "What? Sure, I guess. Now, let's just go into my room and see how the two are doing."

            Chloe opens the door to see Daniel wake up from his dream. He looks around and smiles, still fresh from his encounter with his family. Kate asks, “Daniel? Are you okay?”

            “I am. But I need to go to Seattle. My family is waiting for me.”

            Daniel prepares to go through the door but Victoria stops him and tells him, “You can… Actually, we can, but not right now. We still have to go save Max from her dream.”

            “I know. You guys can do that, I’ll hop in my hamster ball and leave you to it. Meet up with you there.”

            Kate interjects: “That’s not what she meant… Look, I know how it feels, wanting to leave everything behind when things seem dark, I’ve been there. But we can’t go yet. Not without Max.”

            Daniel crosses his arms and states, “Fine. How do we do this?”

            Chloe looks at Max and explains simply, “We have to wake her up.”

            The group rushes to Max and starts violently shaking her, uttering phrases like, “Get up, Max!” “Wakey wakey, Max!” “Breakfast, Max!” “Rise and shine, Max!”

            Back inside the Transect, OmniMax jabs her sword at Dolly, only for the villain to catch it with her two blades in hand. The OmniMax is stronger than Dolly, pushing down on the scimitar and bringing Dolly down on one knee.

            OmniMax begs of Dolly, “Yield. And you shall go free.”

            “Never!” Dolly swipes OmniMax off her feet, causing her to slam onto the floor. Dolly hops on top of her and attempts to plunge her blades into the OmniMax’s chest. The OmniMax deflects this attack with her scimitar and pushes Dolly over, causing her to roll over the cliff. She hangs on to the soil while staring down at the white oblivion beneath the two of them.

            “Maxine! Uh, OmniMaxine, please help me! I’m sorry!”

            Dolly offers the OmniMax her hand but the OmniMax refuses, turning away from her. Suddenly, Dolly loses her grip and falls into the Transect, screaming as she does.


 

            Max jolts back to reality and she sees everyone holding on to her limbs. She asks, “Uh, is everything okay?”

            Chloe hugs Max and states, “You’re back.”

            Max returns the hug and confusedly asks, “Yeah… What happened?”

            Daniel steps forward and simply explains, “Dolly happened, Max.”

            “Damn. What did she do?”

            “Got into our dreams, showed us things. Me and Katie saw Thanksgiving dinner together.”

            “I got to see my family again!”

            “I saw two thrones, one for me and the other most likely for you. But you weren’t there. What did you see?”

            Max shrugs and explains, “Nothing. Literally nothing.”

            Victoria asks, “What was Dolly’s plan then? Make us consider our goals… in… Oh.”

            Kate adds another question, “Why?”

            Max replies, “Only Dolly knows.”

            Chloe slides back into bed with Max, caressing her head while half-asleep. Daniel climbs into a pile of old clothing near the bed. Victoria and Kate look around and give everyone two thumbs-ups before walking out of the room.