Dawson Filter looked around the room that he’d just entered. The first place he looked was at a calendar, since he’d come to the room by time machine, and had an imperfect biological clock.
“October 14, 1932,” the calendar said. Dawson Filter initially thought it was lying; talking calendar technology was only invented in 2021, after all. Then he remembered time travel, and it made sense for the calendar to be then.
The second place he looked was at the person in the room, whom he identified as his friend Felipe, an intern of sorts.
“Hello,” he said to the aforementioned person, “where are we?”
“On the Earth Moon, Dawson,” Felipe replied, “on the Earth Moon.”
Felipe had aged. Grey hair grew from his scalp, and his nose had turned downward slightly. Seeing Dawson Filter’s eyes move along the edge of his hairline, Felipe decided to answer as many of the questions in Dawson’s head as possible.
“Do you remember the apocalypse, Dawson? When that arsonist Makayla Pundit burned down that forest and every single fire hazard in the world burst into flames as a result? I saved everyone. Did it in four seconds, by some counts. I counted twelve years. That’s still over 400 people a second, so it was a productive twelve years. Then I went on a series of adventures for thirty-five. I set up this place as my base. As a result of these things, I am old.”
Dawson Filter thought about what Felipe said. He thought about his own mission, to discover the True Meaning of Feelings. He’d given Felipe the time machine as part of an internship program; so Felipe could help out around the quest. Felipe had shown great initiative, and Dawson Filter would be more than willing to offer him a full-time position. But Felipe was over qualified.
“I was thinking that maybe we could work together on the feelings quest,” Felipe continued, cutting off Dawson mid-thought, “You and the rest of the Quest Committee can stay at my base. The Luna programme doesn’t start until 1959, so no one’s going to find us. It’ll be just like the good old days, but I’ll have a few more quests under my belt this time. I told some people in the future about your quest, too. And how to build time machines. Theirs aren’t as nice as ours, though; and they haven’t made much progress with the quest, either, except to establish that it has something to do with the way people feel. I can bring your troop here now if you like. It’ll be even easier if they like.”
Dawson Filter nodded, and saw Felipe come back with Sylvester Denny, Twelve-Anne, and Babe Listowel a few seconds before Felipe left.
“Hello, all,” he said.
“Hello, one,” they replied in unison.
“What can I do for you?”
“Not much, what can we do for you?”
“Equally little. Let’s do the quest things.”
Babe Listowel set down a table he’d been carrying to lay out everything the group had gathered. The crossword puzzle, the IFTB’s Guide to Being, Twelve-Anne’s memoirs. Dawson Filter suddenly realized why Felipe had brought them 1932: because 1932 is a leap year, and it’s symbolic of all the leaps the Quest Committee was sure to make. Felipe sure was good at symbolism.