In the apartment, Eldred and Rothwyn hear Sapphire call to Steel. Sapphire's image appears in the apartment for a moment, and Rothwyn goes to check on their child. When she goes in, she sees a swan in the crib. She shrieks and comes at it, hands extended.
On the roof, Sapphire stabilizes Steel as he struggles with the bird.
Rothwyn chokes the swan dead and finds herself clutching the torn pillow. She looks down at her harmed baby, and crying, smiles with relief.
Sapphire tells Steel that she saw the swan as well, and they realize that it wasn't a real one. The woman figures that it was being used as an instrument of attack, and Steel realizes that the claw marks on his face are gone. Sapphire wonders why it took the form of a swan rather than an eagle, and Steel wonders if the family inside of the capsule provoked the attack or whatever is inside with them. Steel says that it's time to set the charges so they're prepared in case they lose.
The agents go to the elevator and Sapphire warns that the people in the apartments below could die. Steel is willing to sacrifice their lives for the sake of humanity. He figures that they'll blame the architect when the building collapses, and says that it's only a precaution. Steel makes sure that the elevator won't go up to assure that no one notices anything amiss.
In the apartment, Eldred enters the nursery and looks at Rothwyn.
Steel gets a piece of board to hold the doors open, and then pries open the lift doors. He wonders what the three people in the capsule are up to. Sapphire points out that a man, a woman, and a baby are hardly an invasion force. Meanwhile, Steel pulls out the elevator cable.
Rothwyn shows Eldred the pillow and the couch that moved by themselves, and wonders where it all came from. Eldred says that it was provided, but Rothwyn figures that they're in too good a condition to be antiques and insists that she needs to know where the furnishings came from. He insists that their just pieces of equipment, but Eldred says that one piece tried to kill their child and make her kill him. Eldred says that their child is fine, and Rothwyn describes Sapphire. She says that Sapphire is outside and says that they have to go back to their proper time as soon as possible. Eldred points out that communication has broken down, and his wife reminds him that he said it's temporary. He tells her that he'll contact the others that night, and Eldred says that she's mentally being driven to leave the place but not the time. Eldred tells her that they can't leave, and the doors and windows aren't real. He promises that he will contact the others later, but Rothwyn says that something is going on that isn't covered by the rules of the project. Eldred agrees to set up the screens and says that some minds can't adjust to different times. Rothwyn insists that she was chosen because of his changing, and Eldred says that her mental state deserves a report.
A monitor screen in the apartment activates and a lecture voice talks about the relevant nature of time and space. In the nursery, a hand reaches over the edge.
Sapphire blocks the stairs and Steel ties a knot in the lift cable to keep it from going up beyond the floor.
In the nursery, the now-older boy climbs out the crib and picks up a blanket as the voice continues lecturing.
Sapphire goes out on the roof.
Rothwyn begins a journal entry.
Eldred goes to a panel and transmit to the rural study group.
Sapphire comes to an invisible wall.
Rothwyn says that something is happening there and it's not her imagination.
Eldred gets no response from the rural study group, and switches to the provincial study group but gets no response from them.
Rothwyn suggests that a medical analysis would be of use. She insists that there's nothing to worry about and says that they're making contact with the other two study groups, and there's a doctor with one of the groups.
The changeling child smiles and activates a baby's noisemaker as he continues aging. He sets the noisemaker in the crib, and Sapphire mentally hears it. She sees the Changeling in her mind and walks off.
Steel lets the cable slip back into place and tests his work. Sapphire calls to him telepathically, and he runs out onto the roof. Sapphire says that three power sources are being used, and one is some kind of tabulator. The second is a communication device, and it's the third power source that she's worried about. Sapphire insists that it's wrong, and the child is wrong as well and it's no longer in its crib.
The Changeling walks down the hall to a pitcher of water on a table. When he touches it, there's a flare of energy.
Sapphire says that the man and women are still in the capsule, and she thinks that there's another adult connected to the first two. She realizes that it's not energy as such, but Time. Steel wonders what the family used to travel back 1500 years, and Sapphire figures that they would have used a device made out of Time. Her partner realizes that they succeeded in crystallizing a unit of Time and it could have gone wrong. Sapphire sys that she can't communicate with it unless she's inside the capsule, and Steel asks why the crystal isn't on the family's side anymore. He tells her to excite it so that they can see it, and Sapphire irritably agrees.
The female agent concentrates and realizes that it's not just a machine. She gasps in shock and disappears, but Steel can hear her in his mind, moaning in pain.
Written by Gadfly on Feb 11, 2019