THE DANCE by Chris Harris

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SUMMARY: This story involves some hot pursuit through space and time.

The Dance

The sun fell like a hammer into the once turquoise sea and darkness was upon us in an instant. Of course the night offered no protection from those who sought to destroy us, as they already knew where, if not when we were. They also knew that I could see them; or rather see where they would be and where they once were.
Together we'd dance through the days and nights until our lives or theirs, were silenced; until the music stopped.
Our crime was not to have devised the field generators that enabled time control, but in our refusal to sign over its use to our would be assailants. The beauty of stretching a moment to eternity or skipping through decades past, was a dream realised, and one that we were not about to give up.
I could see from my console that we'd been locked on to, and that the "BLUES" as we called them, were following our random course. Every switch of day or time of day was being mimicked by the Blues capsule. Currently we lay some ten switches ahead, but over the last three monitored, it was clear that they were closing in, and that we needed to throw them off the scent; at least for a while.
The answer was to set up a series of random leaps and varied real time stays between switches. This I knew would create a larger number of solutions to be explored by he Blues, enabling us to widen the gap
Pursuing this strategy, I would be able to gain a whole "Ships day" of space between us and drop out for a minimum safe period of twenty hours.
With the computations for our diversions set, I watched closely now to see if the bait was to be taken. By shear chance our first switch had been anticipated, but two more and then another, confirmed that they'd lost us and would have to cover lots more ground to regain terminal pursuit.
With the Blues in confusion, and with my mind still spinning from the chase, we proceeded to shut down the generators, and prepared to leave the ship. Through the transparent nose- cone, I could see the sun rising and then slow to a stop around midday as the power fields died.
Before us lay a picture of frozen reality, a forever day, where nothing moved. Leaving the capsule, the soft sand felt rock hard under foot. It could not yield to our weight, as frozen time would not permit movement and even the heavy surf stood curled up and overhung like a sculpture.
Above, as in a photograph, the soaring gulls lay fixed against unchanging skies, and one, swooping low to almost touch its shadow, gazed knowingly into my eyes.
Sun worshippers locked in eternal bliss, lay rigid with fixed vacation smiles, as we passed by unseen. Further on an attempted launch of a dinghy had encountered a disaster, leaving three of its four crew, ship-wrecked in the boiling surf.
And what of the sun. Why should its frozen rays light the sky, when with time at a stand still, darkness should prevail? The magic and mystery of observers unseen. The science of nature, or the nature of its science, unfurled before us.

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