“I’m not sure I understand.”
Perry smiles and takes a deep breath. “I know I have forever to explain this to you, Quentin,” he says, “but I’d rather not take it.”
Quentin chuckles as the pair look out on the fractured landscape, great glaciers of obsidian glass undulating as would the pistons of a great engine. “I don’t mean to be daft, just having a bit of a hard time with the concept. Where is this place?” Perry shakes his head. “You’re still using the wrong adverbs, chap. You are not in a place, you are at a time. Or an untime, rather.”
“Well how did I get here? Or, now, I suppose?”
“I thought it would be obvious. You’ve time travelled.”
“Yes, you said that eariler, and I maintain that the thought is just as ridiculous as when I first heard it. I am not a scientist –”
“Well that much is apparent,” interrupts Percy.
“Yes well, glibness aside, that merely proves my point. If I am having such a hard time fathoming what has taken place, how can I possibly have the wherewithal to travel through time itself?”
“That’s a rather good point,” says Percy, thoughtfully tapping his pipe against the heel of his shoe. “perhaps you hit your head on the way in and have forgotten you were a brilliant astrophysicist. Or instead got incredibly drunk and fell into a passing wormhole.”
Quentin pretends to contemplate this for a moment. “Untime?” he continues.
“Yes. Well you know time travel is impossible, of course.”
“But you said–”
“And this is when impossible things go.”
Quentin lets the grammar of that sentence wash over him as a flock of sparrows bursts fully formed from a rotted apple in the distance.