I should follow him, but I didn't see where he went. When I follow him out of the room, he's disappeared. Looking back behind me I can see Miss Ice (Veronica to her friend, when she was talking to her) shuddering in slow motion. It's kind of how I imagine an iceberg would shrug.
"You should take advantage of this to leave," says someone, and they tap me on the shoulder. I'm shocked, but it's a very slow shock, instead of starting violently I spasm very slowly.
"Ah, I'm sorry. You'll find that things start speeding up soon and you'll get your normal physiological reactions back then. Everything's a bit, well, new here at the moment. I'm not sure there have been conditions quite like this before.
I look at the speaker and find that he's blurred. His hair is brownish, and I think he's probably a little bit stocky, but he's constantly blurred, even when I squint. "Who?" I say, a little stupidly.
"Joaquin," he says, and holds out a blurred hand. When I touch it he stops being blurred and the rest of the world around me blurs instead. He lets go again while I'm trying to understand it.
"Look, as soon as the shockwave goes outside out timelike cone it'll be like it doesn't exist anymore. At least for us because we'll all be moving at the same rate again. There might be issues if the universe turns out to be closed and the wave reflects, but it looks like we'll deal with them when we get to them..." He talks like that for several minutes, most of which goes straight over my head.
"Who was the other guy?" I butt in, hoping to hear something that sounds like english again.
"An engineer," says Joaquin. "An important one. Look, we need to get going and get you somewhere a little safer. Ronnie over there is going to be rejoining us soon." He points and see that she's gently oscillating as the shockwave retreats and time comes back together.
"Why are you helping me?" I manage as he takes my shoulders and steers me down the hallway to the kitchen and the back door.
"We need your updates on where the conspiracy has got to. We hadn't realised that they'd got a prototype of Miriam, let alone Hiram. We may have to move faster than we realised."
Outside the backdoor is a silent garden. A bird in flight hangs in the middle of it, its wing just starting to crawl upwards. A flagged path runs up the garden and we follow it round a corner at the top to a wall with espaliered trees. Joaquin hops over the wall like a gymnast, and I pull myself up, heavy and ungainly, behind him. After the wall is a road, and on it stands a motorcycle, a large blue behemoth with wide fat tires, too much chrome and a very pointy windshield. Joaquin straddles the bike casually and waves at me.
"Get on," he says.
"It won't go," I say, standing my ground. "It's caught in Hiram's effect."
"Hah! The mathematics of Hiram are worked out to the second perturbation. This will go, because it rides on the carrier wave that propels Hiram."
Thirty seconds later I find out that travelling at 160kph through a world that's not quite static is the most terrifying thing I've done so far.