Cleaning up after
Cleaning up afterDisclaimer: None of the characters are mine, but belong to Impossible Pictures™.
For several moments there was just silence (augmented by the tinkling and the creaking of the broken-down objects – even in death, a spinosaurus was a big animal and took over a lot of space, formerly occupied by other objects that got broken in the process), and it got broken, naturally enough, by Lester.
"What has happened here?" the civil servant asked flatly, clearly not impressed by the plot's development. "Helen, you're behind this?"
"More like in the front," the time traveller shrugged, clearly unimpressed by Lester's logical reasoning. "As for your first question, well, the short version is that Connor fed one of my time travelling devices to a dinosaur, that energy source mutated dinosaur into something else that was hermaphroditic, possibly insane... oh, just think of me with my humanity removed and the ability to travel through time at will."
"That's not true," Jenny said flatly to Lester. "Not really."
"Jenny, please, don't," Lester said flatly. "I'm not quite sure how you got involved, but-"
"It's all in the files, really, and Jenny will explain it to you personally," apparently it was Helen's turn to interrupt Lester...and then Philip Burton joined in, in a matter of speaking.
"Ah, James, glad to see that you're in the thick of things, as always," he said grandly. "Here's your jacket, by the way."
For several moments Lester just looked at the ARC's co-owner, hoping that he would go away, but no such luck, apparently. "Philip – why do I need my jacket?" he finally asked.
"Because the minister has called, and we talked and he wants to talk to both of us in person," Philip said cheerfully, with his trademark good cheer that made Lester really hate him. "And since he's the man in charge – after Her Majesty, of course – we really shouldn't keep him waiting. Mrs. Cutter-"
"Yes?" Helen said, her head cocked rather like that of a raptor that is busy observing a bigger carnivore, a T-Rex or a spinosaurus.
"Thank you for your restitution," Philip replied. "Both I and Matt Anderson – you really ought to meet him one of these days – are very appreciative of them: he of the animal files, and me of the generators."
"Don't mention it, and besides, it was their idea," Helen shrugged, pointing both at Jenny and Danny Quinn. "Sort of a PR action, you might say."
"And a jolly good idea this was!" Philip Burton agreed easily, even as he determinedly tugged Lester on his sleeve. "James, let's go!"
"This isn't over," Lester said firmly, even as he followed Burton out of the ARC.
"Of course not," Helen easily agreed, as she sat down next to Jess. "So, how's the unwrapping going on?" she asked the younger woman.
Becker glared. So did Jess, but with a far lesser intensity. "What?" Helen asked nonchalantly.
"Nothing much," Connor answered instead. "But if you think if you'll be able to suck-up-"
"I never suck up to anybody, you little stooge," both Helen's answer and glare were very intense – surprisingly intense because Helen had never taken Connor seriously before. "And for the moment, Connor Temple, you don't have the moral high ground to talk to me in such a matter, for if Iymrith had been able to get its talons on Jenny, it would've been the end."
"Oh really? How's that?" Connor asked, clearly unbelieving. "Jenny, no offense, but-"
"Connor," Danny spoke for the first time, "here's what have happened while we were away..."
James Lester was in a foul mood – not just because Helen Cutter was back, most likely bringing with her the usual trail of ambiguity and obscurity, not just because Philip Burton was sitting across him in their limo, chattering about something moronic as usual, but because he didn't have all the pieces.
Helen Cutter didn't destroy the humanity – check. At least, Lester didn't think that she did – he didn't feel like he had sprouted any new limbs, tails, scales, feathers or any other body parts recently.
Danny Quinn stopped her (somehow) – check. But how exactly he was able to persuade Helen to stop this dinosaur-thing? (Lester didn't doubt that Connor had mutated the dinosaur – Connor Temple was that kind of a person, actually.)
Finally, there was the fact that implication that Helen Cutter was considering Lester's earlier offer of amnesty – at least partial amnesty – offered to her when she had helped him oust Christine Johnson out of the ARC. Lester didn't doubt that Helen did not do it from the goodness of her heart, but then again, this was Christine Johnson, goodness of one's heart didn't have to do anything with her. But then Helen promptly turned on Christine and on them, so Lester assumed that his offer got thrown out of the window, because it just wasn't compatible with Christine's death.
...Well, if Lester had his way it probably would've been, but somehow he doubted that the minister would see it that way.
The minister, of course, was quite tricky himself – Lester was aware that the man had been playing him and Johnson against each other for a long time, but he didn't expect the man to turn on him when he failed to save Johnson and diminish his influence in favour of Burton. This did not sit well with Lester, not at all, his loyalty to the Crown aside.
And now – this summons. Right when Danny returned with Helen Cutter (and Jenny Lewis – Lester had to admit that they had neglected her, especially in light of their former friendship). What was going on?
...As Lester mused about the mysteries of his life, the limo stopped, and he – alongside Burton – made his way to the minister's residence. There was another visitor already as well, and she was very, very familiar.
"Hello, James. Hello again, Philip," Christine Johnson smiled her trademark smile. "I'm back."
Lester sat down heavily on the nearest lawn chair as he realized (under Burton's rather bemused gaze) that his life just rather got worse.End