March 19th, 1030 TTE: that was the day that Matthew and I were sent on that tragic assignment.
We had just received intel on where a shipment of timetanium that was stolen two days ago went: to a member of the Titans of Time, the terrorist group that was planning large scale changes to the timeline so that they could shape the world into the one that they wanted.
"Looks like it's going to be another late night," said Matthew as we prepared to confront the terrorist. We were loading up our weapons and putting on our bullet proof vests.
"Yeah," I responded. "Hey, I'm going to give Judy a call first."
"Alright, I'll meet you in the car."
I called home and Judy picked up, "Hey James."
"Hi, honey," I said to my wife, "I'm going to be late tonight."
"Well, at least say good night to Stephanie first."
In the background, I could hear Judy calling our four year old daughter over and handing her the phone, "When are you coming home, daddy?"
"Soon, I just have to finish up some work. So you be good, don't cause any trouble for mommy while I'm away."
Stephanie handed the phone back to Judy, who said, "Be careful, James."
"Of course, see you tonight, Judy."
I disconnected the phone, and walked out to the car where Matthew was waiting, along with a Special Strike Unit team. A paramilitary unit, the SSU team would help Matthew and I infiltrate the warehouse that we had tracked the timetanium to.
We all got into our vehicles made our way over to the warehouse. On the way over to warehouse, we discussed the operation, and fine tuned the plan of attack.
We arrived at the warehouse and got the team into position. Then, we charged in.
We gave anyone inside the customary chance to surrender. Some did, dropping to the floor with their hands on their head. However, some didn't and they pulled out their firearms, resulting in a gunfight. We managed to take out most of the hostiles, quickly and efficiently. Some of the SSU members stayed back to subdue anyone that was still alive, while the rest of us carefully made our way towards the central office of the warehouse.
An SSU member kicked down the door to the office. As soon as it went down, we saw someone jumped in a time portal, while the others in the room opened fire on us.
We took cover, but time was running out and the portal was closing soon. Without another viable choice, I yelled out to the SSU team, "Cover us, we need to get to that portal before it closes!"
They sprung into action, providing suppressing fire as Matthew and I ran towards the portal. The hostiles hid behind their cover as we ran. Along the way, we passed by two hostiles behind their covers. Matthew and I managed to take out one each, right before we jumped into the portal.
We emerged on the other side in some sort of living room, and the portal closed behind us.
In front of us, was a bespectacled woman holding a girl with an arm around her neck and a gun to her head, "Well, hello, Agent Lam, Agent Lawson."
It was Metis, a high-ranking member of the Titans of Time, and also a highly respected (and highly feared) time travel scientist. We have had several run-ins before. This was especially bad news. With the timetanium in her hands, she could create enough time travel devices for the Titans to wreak havoc on the timeline.
I kept my gun pointed at her. "Well, I see that you've busy with the timetanium. We'd like that back now."
Metis smirked and pressed her gun against the girl's head, "I don't think so. Surely, I don't have to explain to you who this is, Agent Lam?"
Matthew's face had gone pale. "James, that's... that's my mother."
That threw me off a little bit, but I remained calm and kept my gun aimed at Metis. "You're not getting away, Metis. So why don't you just let the girl go, and maybe the judge will go easier on you."
Upon hearing my calmness, Matthew regained his composure and aimed his gun at Metis. "Yeah, what he said."
However, Metis just stood there and somehow managed to get an even smugger smirk on her face. Attempting to get her to surrender again, I said, "Let the girl go, Metis. Maybe you'll even get to start over fresh, in the witness protection program."
Metis laughed at us, mockingly. "I don't think you understand, Agent Lawson. If I kill this girl, then Agent Lam over there would have never existed; and without his existence, you wouldn't be here. The both of you will disappear from here, leaving me free to go wherever and whenever I want."
As soon as she was done gloating about her ingeniously fiendish plan, she pulled the trigger, killing Matthew's mother.
"No!" yelled Matthew. Matthew was about to kill Metis with his gun, but it faded from existence in front of our very eyes.
In shock, Matthew stepped back and stared at the spot that the gun had been. Then, Matthew himself started becoming translucent.
"Matthew!" Helplessly, I watched as Matthew disappeared, fading into nothingness.
Metis broke out into her laugh again. "Lucky for you though, Agent Lawson, you'll still exist. But you definitely won't be here to stop me!"
I fired my gun into her leg.
With a yelp of pain, she fell down, clenching the bullet wound that I had just inflicted on her. Quickly, I moved in and pulled her hands behind her back. I placed handcuff on her wrists and removed her time travel device.
She screamed, "Why didn't you disappear too?!"
I glared at her, fighting back my tears. "I don't know, and I don't care. I'm taking you back and if you resist, the next bullet will go into your head."
She quieted down and I picked her up onto her feet. I opened a time portal back to the TPA headquarters in 1030 TTE and I pushed her through it.
I walked through the portal myself. On the other side, I saw that my push had caused Metis to trip and fall onto the ground. I ordered one of the guards to open a cell for her.
I walked over to Metis. Silently, I picked her up again, and dragged her into a cell. All the while making her suffer the pain of having to walk with a bullet hole in her leg. But it wasn't enough, it would never be enough.
The guards called a doctor to treat her bullet wound, and I went to report what happened to Captain Mortimer. I knocked on his door, then, after he had given his permission, I entered his office.
He stood up and smiled, "Agent Lawson. I hear that you caught Metis. Good job."
"Thank you, sir. But... she got Matthew."
My eyes widened in shock. "You know, Agent Lam, sir."
Captain Mortimer stared back at me with a puzzled look on his face. Then, his face fell, and with a heavy sigh, he asked, "How did he die?"
"Metis killed his mother in the past, then he just... disappeared."
"I'm sorry, James. But that means that Agent Lam has been wiped from the timeline. This means that many of us won't remember him."
Perplexed, I asked, "Then why do I remember him?"
"I'm sorry, James. It's a paradox."
I stood there, unsure of what to say, unsure of what to do.
Captain Mortimer placed a hand on my shoulder. "Listen, James, I know you're upset about your partner. Please, go home and get some rest, and take a few days off."
"Ye- Yes sir." I turned to walk out the door.
"Please leave your badge and equipment with the guard in the armoury"
I turned around, still stunned at the events. "What?"
"I'm sorry, James, but that's procedure. You have to leave your badge and equipment locked up during this... period. Surely, you understand the temptation of using your... equipment right now, don't you?"
I nodded and headed out of the captain's office. After I left my badge and equipment in the armoury, I headed back home.
As soon as I closed the door, Judy called out my name, "James? Is that you?"
"Yeah..." I replied, weakly.
Judy came out of the kitchen and gave me a hug. She could sense that something was wrong. "What's going on, honey?"
"Judy, do you remember Matthew?"
Judy looked at me with a confused look. "Of course I do."
Hearing that, I hugged her back and tears streamed down from my eyes. Not knowing what happened, Judy asked me, "James, are you crying? What's going on?"
"Matthew... Matthew's dead."
Her body went limp went she heard those words. Then, she held on to me tightly and cried, "No..., no..., not Matt."
Not knowing what to do, we just stood there, crying for our non-existent friend.