Contrail's grip on the C96 went slack at the sudden arrival of a second flatmate, seeing as the newcomer looked noticeably more on edge and ready to clear leather
, so to speak, if things got out of hand. Not one for unneeded conflict, the aviator simply shot a disarming smile the man's way and held up both hands in mock surrender.
"And a hi-de-ho to you, too. Didn't quite understand the saying, slick, but I'll keep my hand off the trigger. Surely, you can understand my complete distrust of you both." While the first sentence was genuine, the second was a mix of sarcasm and, somewhat, truth. He didn't trust the two, nor did he recognize who they were or what their motives were. Hell, this could be a fever dream, for all he knew. The place that he floated in felt like a damn-near endless expanse, and his mind went nearly insane trying to cope with the boredom that arose when stuck in an infinite void. At the thought of food, however, Brock's mind turned away from existential reminiscing and towards the feeling of his stomach growling.
"While I don't necessarily drink, I'm famished as all hell. I'd love to stay for supper." The aviator stated, his conversational side coming to light. Perhaps he'd been too harsh on the two of them; after all, if a man invites you for dinner, he usually isn't trying to murder you. Maybe that was a practice elsewhere in the world, but as far as he was concerned, this was America. He hoped. Would be a real wake-up call if it wasn't.
“Let me try to prove it to you.”
Hell, he'd almost forgot the whole "time jump" ordeal, but now his mind was back on it. He had friends back overseas; a lover, even, if sending notes back and forth counted. Brock had debated many a times if it was worth expending fuel to fly across the Atlantic, but even he
doubted the Sparrow's capabilities to that
extent. Better safe then sorry, he reasoned, and thus he and... ol' whats-her-face remained separated by the expanse of ocean. Never to talk again.
The man approached with one of those funny-lookin' notepads and showed it to Contrail, who initially took it to be a wallet due to the large picture on the face of it. That is to say, until that picture moved
. Brock's smile flicked into a look of disbelief, his eyes widening as the damn thing moved on its own volition. It was like a photo album, but— hell, there wasn't
a way to put it into words.
"What in the name of Sam Hill..." The aviator muttered to himself, rubbing the back of his head in dismay. 2018— that meant—
“This is a cell phone. An iPhone to be specific. When they had this to their faces in the street, they were taking pictures of you.”
"I phone?" Contrail repeated with an ounce of skepticism, the scene on the street from earlier now clicking into place within his mind. That's why. They weren't reporters
, they were photographers!
Wait, right? Why were there so many of them? Had the business of taking pictures seen some sort of boom between 1945 and 2018? The sound of that didn't seem so bad to the stunt pilot, but... every damn person he saw on the sidewalk had one. A snap of the phone and a turn later, and Brock was staring his own confused self in the face. Was that a picture of him? Jesus, he looked rough
"They all had those damn... phones, you said... plastered against their faces. Everyone has a thing like that? Good lord."
"You can watch movies."
"Thank Christ, I mean— paying twenty-seven cents for a ticket? A little bit too exorbitant for my tastes. Least you can watch 'em on your own now, on that... thing." He responded, trying as best he could to keep up with the information being flooded into his obsolete mind. He could barely comprehend that one— a movie screen, tucked into your pocket and carried wherever, whenever—
“You can call anyone who has a phone and a cellphone.”
." LaVerne muttered in disbelief, regretting that the 1940s never had anything close
to something like this I Phone, as the man called it. Would've made calling Betsy a whole damn lot easier, that's for sure. Betsy!
That was her name. Cute, smart, but a bit of a B19, for sure. And he never loved the big ladies. It was why talkin' over notes had been so appealing, he supposed.
Contrail looked back up to the man holding the damn-near God machine with a concerned expression. 2018. 73 damn years.
He'd missed so much. To top it all off, the war ended just after he disappeared, it sounded like. He'd expected to be a bit of a war hero when he returned, but... well, there was nothing to look at. Where were all the statues? All the "hey, that's Contrail!"
and "Keep 'em flying!"
from the people he passed? They were taking pictures of him because he looked different, it wasn't that hard to find out. 73 years.
Those two words kept repeating themselves in his mind like a faulty gramophone. 73 years away from the States. You're forgotten.
It was all the ace could say in response. A defeated tone, evidently, mixed with a melancholy sense of regret. Everyone he knew was probably dead or on their last legs, and here he was, right as rain. It didn't feel fair
Masking the pain, Contrail's expression brightened into a melancholy smile. He attempted to look optimistic.
"Guess that makes me 73 years late for the mission report. Now, what's for supper?"