still sounded crazy. My plan was to pick up as many untrained recruits as I could and go head-to-head with the worst baddies in the universeâ both of themâwith no backup or plan B. No matter which way you looked at it, it was both insane and suicidal.
But it was also my only option.
âOkay,â she said abruptly. âLetâs do it.â
I just looked at her.
âWhat?â she said finally, her tone and posture ratcheting up a notch. âIsnât that the answer you wanted to hear?â
No , I thought unwillingly. To tell the truth, Iâd never really thought about whether sheâd agree or not. There was never an option in my mind. The plan had been to find Josephine,convince her to help me, take her back to base, then go find all the others and do the same. The fact that sheâd agreed to fight in a war she hadnât even known about until five minutes ago made me feel sick, like I was knowingly sending her into a minefield without a map.
In a way, thatâs exactly what I was doing.
âYeah,â I said, but I donât think she believed me. I know I didnât.
G ETTING J OSEPHINE TO AGREE to let Hue take us into the future was easier than I thought it would it be. Getting her to actually do it, however, was harder.
âNo way,â she said adamantly, watching the way Hue rippled over my body like a suit of Silly Putty.
âIt just feels a little weird,â I insisted. âIt doesnât hurt.â
âI donât care if it feels weird, I donât want that thing that close to me.â
âHis name is Hue,â I said, pushing down my temper. âAnd heâs a friend of mine, and heâs helping us. You donât have to do anything except trust me, okay?â
She fell silent, a muscle twitching in her jaw. She was only willing to trust me so far.
âLook,â I said, taking a step closer. Josephine drew back but didnât step away. I held out my hand. After a hesitationthat started to grind on my nervesâwe didnât have time for thisâshe took it.
Go to her, Hue , I said silently. Slowly. Sheâs scared . With Hue wrapped around me like a second skin, Iâd found we could communicate without speaking. At least, inasmuch as I could ever communicate with Hue; he seemed to understand basic language (several different ones, in fact), but sometimes there were concepts or nuances that confused him. Or he just ignored me; it was hard to tell.
The Hue putty began to flow down over my arm, toward our hands. I felt her fingers tighten in mine and a resistance like she wanted to pull away, but I held her firmly. Hue moved over our fingers, slowly covering her hand to the wrist. There he stopped, waiting.
âIt does feel weird,â she said, though she didnât seem as spooked.
âYeah,â I agreed. âLike Silly Putty, right?â
âNever mind.â I sighed. This was a common cultural difference with para-incarnations of myself. Even though both our worlds had McDonaldâs, there was nothing saying that whoever had invented something like Silly Putty in my world had also done it in hers.
âItâs kind of like Putty Dough, I guess,â she said.
Close enough. âSure,â I agreed, still holding her hand.âNow, trust me , okay? Weâre going to do exactly what I said. You have to get closer to me so that Hue can cover us both; heâs not that big. Then Iâm going to Walk. Youâll understand it when you feel it.â
âFine,â she said shortly, like she was agreeing before she could change her mind. I stepped forward, putting my arms around her shoulders, while hers settled somewhat hesitantly around my waist.
Honestly, I wasnât really sure how this was going to work. I didnât know if Hue needed to be covering Josephine as well, or if I just needed to be touching her. All I knew was that the