"Who's that, Mum?"
It all began when Kaitlin Down asked her mother, Hisspan, about the poster she'd spotted on the wall. The poster depicted a female Mobian swan, very pretty and dressed for ballet. The poster was in black and white, so no details were visible.
"Oh, that? That's Dinah Swann, famous American dancer. Born in 1888, died in an accident in 1944. She was a major role model of mine when I was learning to dance. She was very superstitious, but her grace and finesse on-stage absolutely captivated the audience. I wish I could've seen her in person..."
The question had been answered, but it had given Kaitlin a somewhat dangerous idea. She retreated to her room, dragging her twin brother Leon with her.
"Are you thinking what I'm thinking, Leon?"
"Uh, I don't know, Kaitlin. What are you thinking?"
"Well, Hisspan's birthday is coming up, and she's always saying the best gift is something only you could give. Kenshine taught us how to control our time jumps. We could go back in time, get Dinah's autograph, and make that our gift."
Leon shook his head in disbelief. "You're crazy, Kaitlin, but I know I won't talk you out of it. Let's prepare for the trip."
Kaitlin and Leon spent the next few days researching and preparing. They looked up the time and place of one of Dinah Swann's performances, bought some era-appropriate clothes from Constriction, and agreed on aliases and cover stories for themselves. If anyone asked, they said they were working on a school project.
Finally, they were ready. Kaitlin wore a full dress that dragged on the floor, while Leon looked dapper in a top hat and suit. Each of them carried some spending money and some note cards regarding the time and place, and Leon carried a notepad and pen for autographs in his pocket. They both felt ridiculous, but what had to be done had to be done.
"July 18, 1910, 1:00 P.M.; Maxwell's Lake town square," the cobra reminded the wolf.
"Yeah, yeah, I know. July 18, 1910, 1 P.M., Maxwell's Lake town square."
Kaitlin repeated the time and place over and over in her head. She pictured the information flowing into the energy blast as she formed it, then launched it at Leon. Leon in turn pictured the data in him as he slowed time, and in the energy blast as it connected with him.
When the portal ripped open and sucked them in, neither Kaitlin nor Leon had any doubts as to where or when it would lead.
THUD! Kaitlin and Leon landed less than gracefully in the middle of a flower garden. The gardener, a female stoat, jumped back in surprise.
Leon stepped forwards. "We're terribly sorry, ma'am! We, ah, had a little accident with our carriage. We'll help clean it up if we have to."
The stoat shook her head. "No, no, you shouldn't get your hands dirty, especially if you're going to the theater later today. My name's Josephine, by the way."
"Charmed. My name's L-- (Kaitlin elbowed him gently.) My name's Martin Brown, and this is my fiancé Jennifer."
Josephine and "Martin" both smiled as they shook hands.
"By the way, Josephine, can you tell us the time and date?" Leon continued. "I... my watch stopped last night, and I can never relax when it doesn't keep proper time."
The stoat gave Leon a funny look, but obliged. It was July 18, 1910, she said, and for the time she directed their attention to the clock tower, which read just past 1:00. The twins had landed exactly where and when they wanted to.
Leon couldn't help himself. He punched the air and cheered at their victory.
Josephine blinked. "...What?"
"Oh, I'm just... relieved to know for sure what time it is again."