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Rated: ASR · Assignment · Contest Entry · #2100355
History is inviolate....or so they say

There are no accidents. That’s what Kate kept telling herself as she worked feverishly to repair the mess she made. Dad would be so mad – if he found out. He mustn’t find out. In the side portion of her brain, Kate thought this must be what panic feels like, heart racing, sweat beading on her forehead, fingers trembling barely able to fit the components back in their spot. It was a new sensation for Kate.

She chided herself for letting her curiosity get the better of her. “The first time he lets you help and you ruin it. Dang, girl. Oh, Dad will be so angry.”

The sound of footsteps filtered through the mumbled instructions she whispered to force a focus at the task at hand. No time. She ran out of time. And only two more pieces to go. She would deal with them later.

Kate struck a pose next to the control panel. Rolling the pieces between her fingers in her pant pocket, she hope her voice sounded calm and nonchalant: “Hi, dad.” It didn’t work. Although he did not answer his slow and deliberate scrutiny of her, the control panel, and the dimensional ship gateway device, told him that she was up to something. At the final turn his dark brown eyes locked on her green ones. She looked so much like her mother in this moment with wisps of hair falling in front of her eyes and the quiver of her lip when she was hiding something. It would happen soon. Kate had her father’s intelligence, and her mother’s work ethics. She also had her mother’s tendency to fix what she broke and cover up what she could not fix rather than ask for help. Royal chose not to investigate further. All he had to do was not correct this version of the device.

“Dad, what are you thinking?”

Royal tossed off one of his rare smiles, “You look so much like your mother right now, like you have a secret and God Himself can’t pull it out of you.”

“Oh, well, I was just checking things over for the millionth time. Why can’t we do a test run at least?”

Royal chuckled briefly, “You are like your mother. She was so impatient.” The smile was replaced with a sad seriousness that was so rare for Royal, “And I was the one that suffered the consequences.”

“What do you mean?”

“I can’t talk about it. When you are a little older, you will find out for yourself what I mean.”

“Why so cryptic?”

“I made a promise. The future has been set in motion. That’s all I can reveal. Don’t you have class?”

Kate nodded. “I do, but I need to work on this some more. I want you to be proud of me.”

“I am proud of you. Actually, so proud that I am thinking about letting you take lead on this project. I did as much as I want, trained you as much as I want, and now I want to see what you will do with it. History can be changed. I am sure of it. With this machine, I can be a part of the big events. But I made a mistake somewhere along the line and am too close to it to see it. You can be the one to find that error and correct it.”

Royal took a step back when Kate slammed into him with a tight hug. “Thank you, Dad. I’ll make you even more proud. You will see.”

Royal squeezed his eyes tight. Through glassy eyes, “Yes, you will, Daughter. Now go.”

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