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above the cold sky shone

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Sally awoke to a faint thumping sound which, at first sounded like the opening riff of Mr. Brightside. Salvaging the song from her busted phone ranked among her proudest achievements at ODAR, and she spent the hour after her accomplishment playing the song for anyone she could find.


The thumping came back louder this time, with the typical...yelling? No, that couldn’t be right. She peeled her face off a stack of diagrams and managed to stumble to her feet, almost stubbing her toe on her desk. As she checked her watch to see that it was too early o’clock, Sally stretched her neck, sore from the awkward position it landed in when she fell asleep working on the new Timepiece modifications.


“I’m coming, don’t get your panties in a twist!” she said, pulling on jeans and a t-shirt. “Or whatever kind of underwear you have in the 40s, I guess.”


She opened the door to reveal Anthony and Esther standing on her doorstep, looking tired and confused.


“Hey, what’s going on? I need my beauty sleep and it’s way too early for me to be up and about,” she said, rubbing the bleariness from her eyes.


Anthony pointed at the sky. “Sally, it’s snowing!”


“What?” She glanced up to check. Yep, he was right. “I mean, I know what snow is, but how?”


“We don’t know right now, which is why you two are going to have to figure this out” said Esther, brushing some snow off her shoulder.


Sally stepped out into the morning light. “Why do we have to do it? I have that new experiment to finish up and those weird signals to decipher and, well, a bunch of sciencey stuff.”


Esther rolled her eyes “Don’t put this on me, Sally, this was Chet’s idea. Apparently everyone else has essential tasks today, so you two are on figure-out-why-it’s-snowing duty. Here.” She handed Sally a few empty vials and containers. “You can bring these to the lab later. Have fun!”


Sally gave Anthony a quick hug, and walked a little ways away from her house to a large clearing. “You know, I still don’t think we should have to do this! I’m a physicist not a snow scientist-wait, do we have snow scientists?”


“Not that I know of, although who knows what ODAR has tucked away out here,” said Anthony. “I’ll admit, it is nice to get away from my work for a little while.”


Sally’s skin shivered where the snow touched it, the contrast changing to a bead of water in an instant. There was no wind or chill that often accompanied the snow, and it only came down lightly, politely-nothing like the bone-chilling storms she endured back at MIT. They followed the snowflakes in their arcs toward the ground, trying to catch them in their vials like children catching fireflies.


“Yeah, it’s a nice change from saving the world. Or endangering it, I guess.” Sally said, and then grinned. “Caught one!”

They continued like this for a few minutes while Sally tried to dredge up the remnants of her freshman chemistry class from years ago (or was it ahead? ODAR hadn’t standardized time travel terminology yet). After they captured a workable sample of snowflakes, they walked over to the closest thing they could find to a chemistry lab and set up a few simple tests with the help of a tattered textbook tucked away in a cabinet. After a message from Sally’s lab and couple of hours of speculating and re-testing, they came to the earth-shattering conclusion that the snow was...just snow. Apparently there was a Timepiece malfunction that Sally later assured Donovan was completely harmless. Well, mostly harmless.


Sally stepped out of the lab, hoping to get some real work done before the end of the day, and she turned to see Anthony stopped, staring at the sky with a relaxed smile.


“Anthony? Hello? You’ve seen snow before, right?”


“I just...I didn’t see this coming.”


“I thought you predicted assassinations and baseball games, not the weather. What’s going on?”


Anthony paused for a moment. ”I suppose I just spend so much time trying to predict great things that I don’t know how to react when they actually happen. It’’s beautiful.”


She stepped outside into the New Mexico air full of impossible snow, and grabbed his hand for a moment.


“Yeah, it really is.”