Sapphire tells Steel to follow her advice, and guides him through the apartment that he's occupying. Silver says that they need to be back in the communications rooms in four minutes and thirty-two seconds, and transforms a scrap of metal into a glowing stream of energy.
Steel steps out into the hall and Sapphire continues directing him through his apartment, which matches the house that she's in. She explains that both capsules are sealed, and the crew of her capsule weren't part of any invasion force. Sapphire says that her crew were part of a surveying team examining how to extend their family structure into the 20th century. She discovers that one glass ornament has been reverted to its original silicate state, and Steel continues following her in his apartment to a bedroom. Sapphire sees the past, including the corpses of children and animals in a bed. Steel tells her that they're entering into the main capsule in a few seconds to deal with the Crystal. He says that she should go back to the screen in the communications room and wait, and they'll go into the main capsule at the same time.
The glowing light appears to the Changeling and tells him to go. The Changeling ages another doorknob to dust and goes into the empty communications room. He sits in the chair and the screen lights up, revealing the rural capsule. He sees Sapphire arrive in the communication room at the other end, and ducks out of sight as Sapphire goes to the screen and tells Sapphire that she's ready. Silver has enlarged and finished the energy stream, and Sapphire senses that the parents are gone and the child still isn't there. She senses a third adult and the power source seems dead. Steel tells her not to try and make contact with, and realizes what it's trying to do.
Silver tells Steel to have Sapphire come through immediately. She does so at her end, and Steel and Silver enter the energy stream at their end. They pass through images of the past, including Rothwyn making her journal entry. Steel arrives in the communication room and finds Silver and Sapphire already there, looking at each other. Sapphire explains that they passed through a defensive time field and the Crystal wasn't involved. Silver sits down on the chair and the communications system briefly involves. Steel figures that the time force brought the capsules there and wonders why it let them through. Silver says that they have to go back the same way, and Steel finds the aged hole where the doorknob was. Sapphire confirms that part of the door never existed, and Sapphire realizes that the person responsible was hiding just before they arrived. Steel suggests that Silver either come with them or stay by himself.
Silver joins Sapphire and Steel, and they search the capsule. Sapphire discovers that the walls are made of the same synthetic material as the outside of the capsule, and suggests that she might have been wrong about the crew. They enter the nursery and Sapphire realizes that there was a child in there two hours ago but now nothing. Steel tries to break the sealed window with a chair but it's unbreakable, and he finds a pile of sand. Sapphire tells Silver that it was glass, and Silver reconstitutes it.
Steel checks the bedroom and picks up a pillow, remembering the swan that attacked him. Sapphire goes to the kitchen and looks briefly at a knife and the eggs.
Silver looks in the living room and sees the glowing recording device on the wall. He joins the others and shows them the recording device, and figures that it's transmitting to the base 1500 years in the future. Steel tells him not to activate it because the people at the other end would recall the capsule. Sapphire senses someone in the next room.
The Changeling steps out and approaches Sapphire. Steel pulls her back and asks where the others are, and the Changeling says that there are no others. The Changeling knows who they are and is surprised to see them in the capsule, and Sapphire says that she needs to be closer to the Changeling to do an analysis.
Steels asks the Changeling about the teams' survey into the past. The Changeling says that the project is for rural and urban observation. Silver signals to Steel, who asks where the other members of the team are. The Changeling tells him that he's the only one, and Sapphire says that the Changeling represents his own future, and Silver figures that the Changeling is a machine and he can fix it. Sapphire insists that the Changeling is human, and Silver walks off.
Sapphire realizes that the Changeling is at the beginning and has a need but no knowledge. She realizes that he needs sleep and warmth and food and love. The Changeling curls up and Sapphire realizes that the Changeling is a baby, ten or twelve weeks old. Silver says that they're attributing human characteristics to a machine, and offers to open the Changeling up. Steel tells him to stay away, but Silver insists that he can handle any machine. When he approaches the Changeling, it touches Silver and he disappears... and the Changeling advances on Sapphire and Steel.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 11, 2019