I didn’t like it when Thenie had that look on her face. It meant that she had a plan that I wasn’t going to like. I especially didn’t like it when she was sliding her owl charm back and forth on her necklace chain. It meant that she’d already figured out the details, and all she had left was to get me to say yes. That was when Thenie was at her most dangerous. Because most of the time it was very hard for me to say no to her. Especially since most of her plans were things that, deep down, I wanted to do too.
“I can get us in,” She whispered as loud as she dared with Mom still in the house somewhere, “I can get us into The Invention, and I’m willing to be that with just a little work you can spoof the computer into thinking we have a trip, and gain us a little bit of time before they realize we’re unauthorized and yank us back out.”
“Probably about three hours.” It was a point of pride that Thenie was leaning on now. Most unauthorized trips would be detected in less than ninety seconds, and I’d been practicing with some simulations—and I was very good at what I did. I was confident despite a complete lack of real world evidence that I could get us at least three hours.
“See, that’s perfect!” Thenie threw her hands in the air and gave me a huge grin. “We’re the perfect age for this, Appo. We’ll go back to when Dad was just a touch older than us. He’ll have just started giving lectures then—and we’ll just look like a couple of college groupies, wrapped up in all he had to say, and huge fans of his work. We’ll listen to the lecture, do the meet and greet, shake hands with the man we never got to know, and come home safe and sound. Illegal, yes, but really hurting anyone—no!”
I couldn’t help but think about the consequences. “What if we change something, Thenie?”
“We’ll barely be noticed. We won’t talk to anyone but Dad and each other. We won’t say anything your average adoring fan wouldn’t say. We’ll be very, very careful.”
“And, if we’re caught here? Do you know how much trouble we could be in for unauthorized time travel?”
“First Legal Offense for you, and second for me. Thirteen months in for you, with opportunity for parole after six months. For me—three years, no parole. Oh, and neither of us can ever get a security clearance ever again for anything.” Thenie shrugged like the idea of going to jail for three years and the loss of any job worth having was nothing. It’d be retail jobs for the rest of our lives—and Thenie’s first Legal Offense came from when she punched a customer in the face. I’d be five years into a nine year degree for nothing.
“You really think it’s worth it? All that risk, just to see Dad for three hours?” My hand went to the crow charm on my necklace. Thenie played with hers when she was excited, I played with mine when I was nervous.
Thenie looked me in the eye, and as usual, cut straight to the truth of the matter. “Don’t you?”
I sighed. She was always right. Always, always right. It was an absolute pain in my ass. “When are you thinking we’re going to do this?”
“Tomorrow night, when mom’s after her shift. She won’t even know we left the house if all goes according to plan.” Planned out and ready to go. If I pressed, she would probably have the exact minute we were to leave the house, so we could have our trip and be back home with an hour to spare before Mom even began to come home. She was always good with her reckless planning.
“I guess tomorrow night it is, then.”