Eduardo was lying back on a youth hostel bed somewhere in London, looking rather dazed.
'Wow,' he said faintly.
'Oh, you're back, are you?' said Kylie, who was sitting on the end of the bed and brushing her hair.
'Almost,' said Eduardo.
'Well, I wish you'd hurry. What the hell happened to “Women are gas cookers; men are microwave ovens”?'
'Oh, it's just something I read back in the days when I was curious about sex.'
'Curious no longer, huh?' Eduardo grinned, nudging her with his foot. 'How many more of those whores' tricks do you have up your sleeve for future birthdays?'
'Probably not enough to see you through your twenties, I'm afraid,' said Kylie. 'Unless I get some more, of course. Anyway, you're back to normal now, right?'
'Yeah, I guess I am. Why did you wish I'd hurry?'
'Because I want to give you your present.'
'I thought you just did.'
'I mean the kind of present you have to unwrap,' said Kylie, crossing the room to fiddle around in her hiking backpack, then pulling out a gift-wrapped cube some seconds later.
'But you already gave me Harry Potter,' said Eduardo, sitting up.
'That wasn't wrapped and it wasn't on your birthday,' said Kylie, 'and no one else is going to give you a wrapped present today, are they? I thought it'd be nice, but if you don't want it...'
'Of course I want it.'
'Good, because I sure don't.'
'Oh?' said Eduardo, laughing as he accepted the present and peeled away the wrapping paper, which was decorated with red buses, blue Big Bens, Beefeater caricatures with hats as big as they were, and the words Happy Birthday scattered here and there. 'Nice paper.'
'They gift-wrapped it for me in the store,' said Kylie. 'I'd have done it myself, but then I'd have had to buy a whole sheet, and what would I have done with the rest of it?'
'I understand,' Eduardo said solemnly, as he finished unwrapping the parcel and its contents fell into his lap. 'Oh, wow, it's a Rubik's cube.'
'It's a really special Rubik's cube,' said Kylie.
'So I see,' said Eduardo, picking the item up and examining it. 'I guess this is a little harder than a regular one, isn't it?'
'I hope it's more than just a little harder, or you won't be challenged.'
'Well, I guess I'll find out. What do we have on here?' The nine squares of each face made a picture, and Eduardo turned the cube over in his hands to look at them all. 'Here's the London Eye, and that bridge that woman yelled at me about for thinking it might be London Bridge...'
'Right. A red bus with an abusive driver on it, probably...'
Kylie laughed. 'Of course.'
'Big Ben,' Eduardo went on, 'a black cab parked next to a red mailbox and, um... some kind of castle or something.'
'That's the Tower of London,' said Kylie. 'We're going there today.'
'Yeah? Hoping to see more ghosts?'
'No, but even if we do see Anne Boleyn or someone, I don't guess we'll have to stop them from doing anything stupid like Branwell Brontë.'
'I don't believe any ghost is as stupid as Branwell Brontë,' said Eduardo, as he handed her the cube. 'Will you mess this up for me, please?'
'Of course,' said Kylie, taking the cube to the other side of the room to disorder it. When she was satisfied that it was in as big a mess as she could make it, she took it back to Eduardo.
'Thank you, querida,' he said, and kissed her as the Rubik's cube swapped hands.
'I think I'll grab a shower,' said Kylie, picking up a towel and a few toiletries, then scurrying off to the shower room. When she came back fifteen minutes later, Eduardo was hunched over the Rubik's cube with a frown of concentration on his face.
'Is it very difficult?' asked Kylie.
'Yes, actually,' said Eduardo, and he held the cube out to her. 'Look at what I've done!'
Kylie took the object from him and saw that the squares from each picture were all on the same face as their fellows, but in completely the wrong order.
'I'm not surprised,' she said. 'Well, actually, I am surprised that it took you the whole time I was in the shower to do this.'
'It didn't. I've done it like this about six times, and the closest I've gotten to a complete picture is the back end of the bus. I don't even know how I did it, or if it would be any help if I did know!'
'Don't you like it?' Kylie asked peevishly.
'Of course I like it,' said Eduardo. 'My skills with a plain old Rubik's cube are old news. Imagine how good I'll feel when I figure this one out.'
'If you figure it out.'
'Nice to know you have faith in me.'
'I do,' said Kylie, 'but I don't want you to get upset if you end up wanting to go to an internet café to look for help. With each square having one specific position on the entire cube, by my calculation that makes it nine times more difficult.'
'Well, it took me less than an hour to figure out my first regular one, so by that logic I should have this done by dinnertime.'
'Maybe my logic is wrong – it might be greater than the sum of its parts. Anyway, you won't have almost nine hours to work on it because we're going to the Tower, remember? Now let's go get some breakfast before there's nothing left but a few limp sausages.'
Though Eduardo didn't spend all day playing with his Rubik's cube, he did take it to the Tower, and ended up working on it whilst sitting on Tower Green in the late afternoon. Kylie was standing on the walkway surrounding the grass and gazing at a black noticeboard. When she had finished she trotted over to Eduardo, lay on the grass, put her head in his lap and said, 'Did you know this right here was where they did the actual executions?'
'No,' said Eduardo, scowling at the Rubik's cube.
'I was just reading a list of the most important people to be executed here.'
'We're all equal in death, Ky.'
'We should be, but we're not. There are a lot of people who died here whose names aren't on that sign, and there are a lot, a lot more people who've died with hardly anyone ever knowing anything about it.'
'Did anything nice ever happen in London?' Eduardo asked.
'What do you mean?'
'Since I've been here I've learned about the Great Fire of London, and the Black Death, and various attempts at treason, and all kinds of ways people were punished, whether they'd committed a crime or not. Some of the people on your list over there weren't even guilty, were they?'
'It's not my list,' said Kylie. 'Anyway, who do you mean?'
'You mentioned Anne Boleyn earlier, and she must be on there. I'm no expert, but I've seen a couple of movies, and they all say the evidence against her was fabricated because Henry wanted to get rid of her. Didn't the people who went after her say one of the guys she was supposed to've had was her brother?'
'Oh yes, he's on the list too, but not the other, um...' – she produced a guidebook from her shoulder bag and consulted it – 'four guys.'
'Five innocent guys and one woman. It was cold-blooded murder.'
'Well, maybe, but we weren't there. Maybe Henry really had reason to think they were guilty.'
'The best evidence they had was a confession that they tortured out of one of the guys.'
'Wow, you sure remember those movies, don't you?'
'Just those few details,' said Eduardo. 'And wasn't that guy the only one who got tortured because he was the only one who was lower class?'
'Let me see if it says in my guidebook,' said Kylie, flicking through the pages. 'Um... yes, Mark Smeaton, a court musician. It also says here that you were more likely to get your sentence commuted to beheading if you were higher class; otherwise men were hung, drawn and quartered for treason, and women were burned alive. Wow. I'd think burning is worse, wouldn't you? Just about. I mean, they're both horrible.'
'Well, women always got the worst of it.'
'I'm sure you know Henry didn't have either Anne Boleyn or Katherine Howard burned. It says here he even gave Anne the cleanest execution possible by getting a specialist swordsman from France.'
'What a nice guy.'
'You seem to feel very strongly about this,' said Kylie. 'In Orkney you were telling me you weren't blown away by history, but you seem to be getting blown the wrong way by all of this.'
'I do, don't I?' said Eduardo, with a laugh. 'It's not like I've even thought about it much before now. I guess it's partly because this Rubik's cube – which I love – is starting to get really frustrating, and it's partly because I know violent, horrible history like that often leaves something behind. Didn't you say earlier Anne Boleyn's supposed to haunt this place?'
'Apparently she walks the Bloody Tower with her head under her arm. But I don't believe that's her sentient, departed spirit – just an impression that some people have picked up on.'
'You believe in that kind of ghost, then?'
'Sure. Why shouldn't I?'
'Well, because all of the ones we've dealt with were sentient in some way.'
'That doesn't mean they're the only kind.'
'No, I guess not,' said Eduardo. 'Well, now I've made one face.'
'You've done what?' said Kylie, squinting up at him through the sunlight, and she saw that he was frowning at his Rubik's cube. 'Oh, well done, sweetie.'
'I don't know about well done, querida. I have the picture of Tower Bridge, but the other five faces are still just nothing.'
'But it must mean you're getting closer.'
'I hope so.'
'So you're back focusing on the here and now again,' said Kylie. 'You're right about the history here not being nice, babe, but something very nice is happening right here, right now.'
As she spoke, she snaked her way up through the gap in his arms and began to kiss him. They stayed like this for some minutes, until Kylie pulled away and said, 'Are you still doing that Rubik's cube behind my back?'
'No. Well, maybe just one or two twists.'
'Don't make me regret giving it to you.'
'I think I'd better put it away for a while... come back to it refreshed later.'
'I'll put it in here.' She took the Rubik's cube and shoved it into her bag with her guidebook, then looked at her watch. 'It's just after four thirty now, so if we have an early dinner in the next hour or so, we'll be in time for...'
'For what?' Eduardo asked, surprised when she tailed off and looked both sheepish and amused.
'Just a thing I thought I'd like to do,' said Kylie, 'but I don't quite want to say it, after that conversation we were just having.'
'What the hell is it – something death-related?'
'Yes, very much so. If we can be in a certain part of Whitechapel by seven, we can join a Jack the Ripper walking tour.'
'Oh, Jack the Ripper. You're interested in him?'
'Yes. Or her.'
'Nobody knows who it was,' said Kylie, 'and there's no guarantee it was a man because there was no sexual contact with the victims, or anything else to indicate which gender it was apart from a lot of guesswork based on typical psychotic behaviour. There's a list of male suspects as long as your arm who're all men you can read about somewhere – some because they were suspects at the time and some well-known guys who've been thought of retrospectively – and sometimes on that list you'll see “Jill the Ripper”, and all the reasons why it could've been a local midwife. She'd have known enough about anatomy to cut them up like they were, and she'd have been able to walk the streets at night with a bag of tools without looking suspicious.'
'Are those “all the reasons”?' Eduardo asked.
'Well, yeah, pretty much.'
'Maybe it was some dude history hasn't recorded and nobody ever heard of.'
'Some dude nobody ever heard of wouldn't have had the anatomical knowledge to cut them up.'
'Some doctor nobody ever heard of would. Or a butcher, maybe.'
'Yeah, I guess so,' said Kylie. 'Anyway, the chances are it was someone no one's ever heard of rather than one of the prominent ones, statistically speaking.'
'You make it all sound so clinical,' Eduardo said good-naturedly. 'You know those women were real people, and I bet you're not going to tell me those murders might not be as bad as we think because we weren't there, are you?'
'Guess I'm not,' said Kylie. 'So what you're saying is, butchering a prostitute in a back-alley that smells of piss is really no different from executing a queen of England right here.'
'That's exactly what I'm saying.'
'I love it when you think about things. And when you tell me what you think.'
'Hey, c'mon – I always tell you what I think these days.'
They kissed again, attracting the attention of a nearby raven, who hopped over to them and watched with its head on one side for some moments. Then it interrupted them with a short, sharp squawk. They broke apart and looked at it. It looked straight back at them out of one beady eye.
'The raven himself is hoarse that croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan under my battlements,' said Kylie.
'What the hell are you talking about?' said Eduardo.
'I'm quoting Macbeth.'
'Well, we were talking about death, and now here's a raven.'
'Oh,' said Eduardo. 'Weird coincidence.'
'Not really,' said Kylie. 'They do live here. It says in my guidebook there's a superstition that if the ravens ever leave, the Tower and the kingdom will fall.'
'Yeah?' Eduardo looked at the raven that was watching them. 'Lucky they decide to stay, then.'
'Luck has nothing to do with it. Their wings are clipped.'
'What? Oh, come on, that's cheating!'
'Yeah?' Kylie said with a laugh. 'So what do you think should happen?'
'England should perish in fire and water, maybe?' said Eduardo. 'I don't know, babe. It seems kinda hard on the ravens, though, doesn't it?'
'Well,' said Kylie, disentangling herself from him and getting to her feet, 'they seem happy enough, so let's not get into a big philosophical discussion about that. We're supposed to be getting this early dinner, remember? Let's get to Whitechapel and have it there.'
In Whitechapel, Eduardo and Kylie found a pub that served food all day, and went inside. When they came out an hour or so later, they found that the air was absolutely saturated with fog.
'What the hell is this?' said Eduardo.
'Fog,' said Kylie. 'Or maybe smog.'
'I didn't think London had this anymore!'
'Well, it does now.'
'I don't know,' Kylie said pensively. 'It doesn't look like ordinary fog, does it? This is a real pea-souper!'
'And they definitely don't have those anymore, right?' said Eduardo. 'It was something to do with the Industrial Revolution, wasn't it?'
'Yeah, I think so.'
'So what's happening?'
'Why should I know any more than you do?'
'Because you do know more than I do!' Eduardo said shrilly.
'Don't start putting yourself down, sweetie,' said Kylie, taking his hand. 'And whatever you do, don't let go of me until we're out of this... whatever it is. I don't suppose it's some kind of gimmick to scare people who're going to meet the Jack the Ripper walking tour?' She didn't sound hopeful.
'If it is,' said Eduardo, 'I don't know how they expect anybody to find the stupid tour. It seems pretty real, Ky.'
'Then I guess the obvious answer is some kind of time slip.'
'I hate time slips.'
'Oh yeah? Well, you weren't in the last one.'
'It's not so easy being left behind,' said Eduardo. 'We were the ones who had to worry about you, and figure out what to do, and get that message to you. Who can we leave a message for here – Oscar's biological father?'
'Maybe,' said Kylie, 'but let's just wait and see what happens before we start making complicated plans like that. It's probably nothing to do with a malevolent spirit, like the last one – sometimes these things just happen.'
'They do?' Eduardo said sceptically.
'Well, of course they do. Didn't you ever hear about those two women who went to Versailles?'
'What two women?'
'They visited the Palace of Versailles on the anniversary of the day an angry mob invaded the palace and started the French Revolution. These two women saw a load of people in eighteenth-century dress, and they saw Marie Antoniette and a man running to warn everybody about the mob. He even warned them! It's generally thought that it was ghosts, not time travel, but you never know.'
'But is this the same?' said Eduardo. 'I mean, for one thing, is today the anniversary of anything?'
'Besides the birth of my gorgeous boyfriend,' said Kylie, 'I really don't know. But if we're thinking about Jack the Ripper, I do know that the murders didn't officially start until August.'
'I mean the murders that everyone says were definitely him.'
'Or her,' said Eduardo, nudging her.
'Right,' said Kylie, with a small smile.
'Okay,' said Eduardo, 'so what are we going to do?'
'Well, it's silly to just stand here. Let's get moving.'
'And go where?'
'We'll just follow our noses. Those women in Versailles just kept moving, and after a few minutes they joined up with a group of tourists in the present day.'
'Well, that sounds like an excellent plan.'
They began walking, each holding onto the other and groping about in the fog with their free hand, until they came in view of a gas lamp which afforded them some vision.
'Maybe now we can see where we are,' said Kylie, squinting around at the damp brick buildings that loomed through the darkness.
'What does it matter where we are?' said Eduardo. 'It's just some crummy street in London. It's not exactly a landmark to help us back to the present day, is it?'
'Eduardo, don't be a jerk.'
'Sorry. It's just that I'm freaking out and I don't see what we can do to help ourselves.'
'I'm freaking out a little too, sweetie,' said Kylie, 'but let's not panic just yet. Oh look, there's a newspaper – that should tell us something!'
In her excitement, she let go of Eduardo's hand and scurried off. He ran after her, keeping sight of her in the light from the gas lamp, and bumped into her backside when she bent to retrieve the newspaper from the gutter.
'You said we weren't supposed to let go of each other,' said Eduardo, grabbing her arm as she stood up with the damp paper in her hands.
'I was right about that,' she said. 'I'm sorry, sweetie. Okay, let's go over to that lamp and see what's in this thing.'
'It won't be anything useful.'
'You don't know that.'
'It might not even be today's paper.'
'Well, it's still in pretty good condition considering it's been lying in the gutter – it at least has to be yesterday's. Come on!'
She led the way over to the gas lamp, then looked at the newspaper, her eyes first seeking out the date in the corner.
'July nineteenth, eighteen eighty-nine,' she said. 'There, it is today's date. Our today, I mean... except for the year, obviously, so... well, let's see if it's been a slow news day.' Her eyes dropped to the front page headline, and then widened as they took in the words printed there. 'Sweetie, listen to this! Another East End Tragedy. Jack the Ripper Again at Work!'
'How can that be?' said Eduardo. 'You said he didn't start until August.'
'August last year. All his canonical victims were killed in eighteen eighty-eight, as far as I recall, but at least someone seems to think he's at work again now. Let's see here... London was horrified yesterday morning by the report of another murder and mutilation case, and under circumstances that unhappily lend much probability to the thought that it is a repetition of the tragedies of last year. The locality is within the quarter of a mile radius common to the previous murders, and within a stone’s throw of, and between the scene of the death place of Catherine Eddowes blah blah blah... have recently received letters from “Jack the Ripper” stating that he would recommence his work in July. Wow. So if the murder was discovered yesterday morning, it must have happened the night before – July seventeenth. This isn't much of an anniversary to trigger paranormal activity, then, is it?'
'Good,' said Eduardo. 'I don't know about you, babe, but I wouldn't like to be wandering the streets of London on the same night as Jack the Ripper.'
Just as he finished saying this, a shadowy figure emerged through the fog. It was wearing a long coat and holding a large bag in its right hand. Kylie gasped out loud; Eduardo grabbed her with both hands and manoeuvred them both into the mouth of a dark alley. The figure stopped near them, and gave a low chuckle.
'The pretty ones tend to overcharge, sir,' it said. 'See that you get your money's worth.'
They both held their breath as the footsteps receded. Then Eduardo asked shrilly, 'Do you suppose that was really him?'
'Or her,' said Kylie. 'I found it hard to tell.'
'Yeah, but from what he said...'
'A woman might've said that,' said Kylie, leaning forward and peering cautiously out of the alley.
'Get back here!' Eduardo hissed. 'There's nothing stupider than getting lost in the fog with Jack the Ripper around thinking you're a prostitute!'
'I can still see him.'
'Let's follow him!'
'Or her. Oh, come on!' said Kylie, gripping onto Eduardo's wrist and pulling him after her. 'Maybe we can see who it is! Or at least figure out if it's a man or a woman.'
'It might not even be Jack the Ripper!' Eduardo said desperately.
'Keep your voice down!' Kylie hissed, as they followed the figure at a discreet distance. 'Look, he's... she's... not wearing a hat. Victorian gentlemen always wore hats out of doors. I think.'
'Well, he's no gentleman.'
'It could be a midwife, like I said before, with that bag.'
'A midwife with a very deep voice.'
'Only deep for a woman,' Kylie said irritably. 'It really could be!'
'Why would you actively want Jack the Ripper to be a woman?' said Eduardo. 'Why are we even being stupid enough to...? Dios mío, Kylie, look!'
They came to an abrupt halt moments after the figure stopped in front of a young woman in a ragged dress. The two exchanged a few words, then the coated figure put a hand gently on the woman's arm and led her off down an alley.
'Oh God,' Kylie whispered. 'Oh crap. Oh Jesus.'
'We have to help her,' said Eduardo.
'How? It's impossible!'
'Dangerous... but we have to try. Let's just follow them and see what happens.'
'Yeah... good plan,' said Kylie.
As they walked on, Eduardo said, 'Y'know, it still might not be Jack the Ripper. We might just find them... well, you know.'
They exchanged a look in the dim light, then stepped boldly in front of the alley mouth. The light from a nearby building and a lamp on the parent street afforded them some vision, which the woman was using to rearrange her undergarments in some way with her back to the shadowy figure, who was even then taking a sharp knife from its bag.
Kylie's fear seemed to evaporate as she called instinctively, 'Look out!'
The young woman whirled around, stared at the knife for the briefest of moments, then let out a piercing scream as the figure lunged at her. She ducked out of the way of the knife, slipped by her attacker and ran to the end of the alley. Eduardo and Kylie sprang apart to clear a path for her.
'Run home!' said Kylie.
The woman stared at her with eyes streaming tears, then nodded her thanks and ran like the wind. When Kylie looked back to the alley, she saw that the killer was advancing along it with knife in hand. A moment later, Eduardo grabbed her wrist and they, too, ran like fury.
They went on running until Kylie pulled up short, forcing Eduardo to jerk to a halt, and said through panting breaths, 'Wait... stop... I think we can stop now.'
'I guess we'd better,' said Eduardo. 'God knows where we've run to.'
'Well,' said Kylie, gathering herself quickly and looking around. 'I think... I think we've run back to the future! Look!'
Eduardo looked to where she was pointing, and saw a KFC. He took this in, then looked around and saw that the rest of the landscape was equally as modern, and clear from fog.
'Oh, thank God!' he said, taking Kylie into a crushing embrace. 'I was really starting to compose a letter in my head to Oscar's biological father. And look – there's a tour group, like you said those two women found!'
'Yeah?' said Kylie, freeing herself from his arms and turning to look. 'Oh, yeah, I guess that's the tour group we would've joined. But I don't feel like it now. I've had enough Jack the Ripper walking tours to last me a lifetime.'
'Me too,' said Eduardo. 'So what do you wanna do now? Go back to base and get some sleep?'
'Soon,' said Kylie, 'but first I want to find an internet café.'
'Kevin sent me an e-card,' Eduardo said smilingly, when they were sitting next to each other in a bank of computers, surrounded by people who were engrossed in screens and taking no notice of each other.
'Some birthday, huh?' said Kylie.
Eduardo looked at her. 'Are you okay?'
'Yeah, I'm okay,' said Kylie. 'I mean, it was pretty harrowing, wasn't it? But I'm okay now. I'm just trying to find out if we managed to solve a mystery or rewrite history.'
'I don't see how we could've solved the mystery,' said Eduardo. 'We couldn't even agree if that person was a man or a woman. Or could we? I mean, it had to be a man, right? That girl was getting herself ready for him.'
'A woman might pay for the services of a prostitute. Or maybe the girl went with her expecting to get a backstreet abortion. When she first saw the knife, she didn't seem exactly surprised, did she?'
'I thought that was just shock. And y'know, that wasn't the case with any of the other victims, was it? I mean, I don't remember hearing about any of them being pregnant.'
'They weren't,' said Kylie. 'Our girl would've been the exception to that particular rule. But I guess we'll never know. Anyway, whatever we did, it didn't lead to the discovery of that killer's identity, whether it was Jack the Ripper or not, and whether it was the July seventeenth killer or not. The press was all over that murder at the time, saying it was almost definitely Jack the Ripper, but I knew really that she... her name was Alice Mackenzie... that Alice couldn't have been one of the canonical victims because of the date; I just didn't really think about it while it was all going on. Anyway, no one seems to think it was really Jack the Ripper now, so if it was a woman that doesn't mean Jack the Ripper was one too, and vice-versa. But then all this guesswork could be totally wrong, however “expert” it might be, and we really did meet the actual Jack the Ripper a half-hour ago! Or a half-hour from our perspective, anyway.'
'Well,' said Eduardo, 'like you said, we'll never know. What about those letters the newspaper told us about, saying he was gonna recommence his work and stuff? Were they fakes or something?'
'That's what they say,' said Kylie. 'A lot of letters were sent claiming to be from Jack the Ripper, and only about two of them are thought to be genuine. But then how can anyone really know?'
'There's no record of any death linked to Jack the Ripper on the nineteenth,' Kylie went on, 'and that girl's murder would have been linked, and I don't think there were any more deaths after that. Hold on...' She clicked the mouse a few times. 'Yeah, these press reports from August are all Alice's postmortem and stuff. It didn't happen to anybody else after her.'
'Well, that's great,' said Eduardo. 'It means we definitely saved one life, whether it was from the actual Jack the Ripper or not. And maybe it's somehow because of us that it didn't happen again.'
'What I'm wondering is,' said Kylie, 'if I'd done this internet search this morning, would I have found another victim alongside Alice Mackenzie because we hadn't saved her yet, or was it the predestination kind of time travel?'
'I don't like thinking about that stuff,' said Eduardo. 'It makes my head hurt. Anyway, you didn't do the search this morning, so – as we keep on saying – we'll never know.'
'Yeah, you're right,' said Kylie. 'We don't seem to have messed with history too much, anyway, so I guess I can relax. Shall we get out of here, or do you want to see if you can find out anything about how to do that Rubik's cube?'
'I'm gonna do the Rubik's cube by myself, Kylie, thank you very much. Let's go.'
They left the café and walked slowly down the street, hand in hand, both looking pensive.
'So,' Eduardo said suddenly, 'were you worrying about that? Messing with history, I mean.'
'Yeah, kinda,' said Kylie. 'I mean, when you're in that situation you have to do something, don't you? But what if we'd found ourselves in a position to save Anne Boleyn? Would we have done it?'
'It would've changed English history, like, a lot if we did that. And ours too, by extension.'
'It's hard to think exactly how,' said Eduardo, 'but yeah, I guess it would.'
'And what about the Titanic?' said Kylie. 'If we're ever in a position to save the Titanic, babe, we really shouldn't do it.'
'What?' said Eduardo, horrified. 'Why the hell not?'
'Because shipping regulations were changed as a direct result of what happened. The obvious one is having enough lifeboats for everybody, but there were other things too, because so much was wrong on the Titanic. If she didn't sink on her maiden voyage, those regulations wouldn't have changed when they did, and then sooner or later something just as bad or even worse would've happened.'
'What could possibly be worse?'
'The same thing happening to the Titanic when it was full.'
'What? Wait,' said Eduardo. 'You mean it wasn't even full?'
'Just over half, I think.'
'Madre de dios.'
'Well,' said Kylie, 'luckily we aren't going to the Liverpool docks, so fingers crossed we'll never get into that situation.'
'But we are going to Paris tomorrow, right?' said Eduardo. 'And you already told me at least two people have been back in time to the start of la Revolución Francesa.'
'Well, I don't think we could do much to stop an angry mob of oppressed Parisians, and anyway I'll bet nothing like that ever happens to us again.'
'I sure hope not.'
Kylie nudged him and said, 'I'll bet your Rubik's cube doesn't seem so important now, huh?'
'My Rubik's cube is very important,' said Eduardo. 'I plan on really making some progress on it while we're going through the Channel Tunnel. How long does that take, by the way?'
'About two and a half hours.'