I answer the door to two smartly-dressed, sunglasses-wearing men in black. They flash ID cards at me. "Agents Mulheardy and White, CIA," says the one on the left.
I shout over my shoulder, "Ed! It's for you!"
"'Kay!" he responds, and in the following few seconds, a particularly sensitive ear might detect the sound of every computer in the house performing emergency crash backups to a server in Ecuador, and beginning low-level formatting of all their drives.
I let the two agents in and offer them a cup of tea. They decline.
"What's happening?" asks Ed, joining us as we gather in the kitchen.
"Can you identify these individuals?" asks Agent Mulheardy, opening his briefcase and presenting us with a large, full colour photograph of a pair of men, both grinning cheesily, in front of a background of horizontal lines indicating their heights as 5'11" and 6'4".
"That's us," observes Ed.
"This photo was taken forty-eight hours ago at a top secret United States government research facility underneath Mount Kerrig in Nevada. The two individuals in the picture are still being held in custody there."
Ed inhales deeply. "Given that (technically) neither of us have left the United Kingdom in over twelve months, is this picture explainable due to clones, robots, lifelike dummies, time travel, lookalikes, long-lost twins, amnesia, aliens, magic or Photoshop?"
"Time travel," says Agent Mulheardy. Ed nods knowingly. "For the last five or so years, the Kerrig Facility has been researching the serious possibility of travelling either backwards or forwards in time. We have been doing this with the help of your research, Eduardo."
"Your name is Eduardo MacPherson?" I ask incredulously, having always known him as Ed.
He shushes me, and asks the agents, "And how long have you been watching me?"
"Since you invented the giant robot."
"Ah, the giant robot. You've been ripping the data directly out of my computers since then?"
"You have no secrets from us, Mr. MacPherson."
"So you know about the--"
"Oh yes. We're all very impressed, by the way."
"What are they talking about?"
"Got the world top score in Puzzle Bobble, I'll tell you about it some other time--"
"Getting back to the subject," says Agent White. "Thanks to the wormhole technology we, aha, 'borrowed' from you, Ed, scientists working at Kerrig have been surprisingly successful in building their time machine. This time last week they finished a prototype machine which should in theory have been able to send an object backwards in time. It didn't work.
"What we were expecting was that a second copy of the object we put into the machine - typically a piece of fruit - would appear in it several minutes before the experiment began. But instead, any object put into the machine to be sent back simply disappeared. That was until around midnight two days ago, when, completely out of the blue, a pair of humans materialised inside it. They identified themselves as Samuel Hughes and Eduardo MacPherson, gave us your address and told us to go and fetch you."
"To cut a long story short, we need you to come to the Kerrig Facility with us and try to sort out this mess," says Agent Mulheardy.
Ed looks at me and I shrug. We stand to gain little from resisting. "All righty then."
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