Melinda arrived at their base of operations in the forty-seventh century. It was an old, abandoned military installation built on Mount Kilimanjaro after the seas rose. Melinda tapped her foot and waited.
Minutes ticked by without Samuel’s arrival.
Melinda leaned over to the wall and punched the intercom button. “Alfred, you seen Samuel?”
“Nope,” answered Dr. Alfred Bromsley, an alchemist and accidental immortal.
“Is he playing one of his stupid get-there-fifteen-minutes-after-me jokes?”
“Let me check the tracker…”
Melinda turned away from the wall to where her fiancé should be arriving. The empty space flooded with green, blue and purple light.
“Never mind,” she said into the intercom.
But as the light solidified into the shape of a man, Melinda thought the shape was off. Then the man raised a shotgun and fired.
Horatio held one of his disturbing grins. “So you just popped the question, huh?” The two acolytes stood on each side of him, weapons at the ready.
Samuel spit on the ground in response.
“Oh come now, I can’t be happy for the gadfly that buzzes around my head?”
“Some gadfly: this must’ve taken years to plan.”
“Ah, but years mean nothing to an immortal. You’re a dandelion in the wind, a speed bump on my road to glory.
“Melinda, though, she’s the prize. I bet you thought yourself clever for finding that blue diamond all by yourself. A real genius in tight pants—and that hairdo. You just walked along and happened to see it in that cave wall, big and shiny and easy to liberate.”
“Nonsense, you couldn’t have known where I was going to get the diamond.”
“True, but all I needed was a guess.”
“Even if you did, I had it cut and shaped it was a diamond through and through.”
“Too true, but something that big, something that old can cause quite a stir in the time tree if it shows up in a new time. Large enough to find it. If you know what you’re looking for, of course.”
“The base… Melinda…”
“Yes, but knowing where your base is isn’t enough to destroy it is it?”
“What are you saying?”
“Well, you’d have to have the ID code to even land in that time. That fool Bromsley made sure of that.”
Samuel looked down at his chest. He now realized his time shifter was gone. He looked up at Horatio. “You’ll never crack it. It’ll take a century to crunch the numbers.”
“Oh, but I don’t need to crack the code. I have a much simpler plan.”
“Wait, where’s Brock?”
The spray of buckshot flew straight for Melinda as shiny blue and purple points of light. She braced herself for impact, but the bullets smashed into the wall behind her. Pain shot up her arm, but pain she could deal with. She breathed a sigh of relief and ran from the room as Brock cocked his weapon.
The buckshot had still been time shifting as they flew and were out of time sync with Melinda. They passed through her, except one that materialized and then exited her tricep.
She sprinted down the hall to the next intercom. She held her wounded arm with her opposite hand. As she reached the intercom, it exploded. She tucked her head down and jumped past the corner as Brock cocked the shotgun to fire again at her.
Melinda zigged and zagged through the hallways. For the first time she thanked the forty-seventh century militia for their labyrinthine hallway designs.
She found an intercom and heard no sounds of pursuit behind her. She punched the button. “Alfred, Brock’s here.” She tried to get out more, but had to catch her breath.
“How unusual,” Alfred said. “He typically comes on Saturdays.”
“No, Alfred! It’s before we flipped him.”
Before she could respond, her eye caught a glimmer from around the corner. She dropped to a crouch as the third intercom met its end.
She jumped up to run, but doors closed in front of her, turning the hallway into a dead end. She turned to face Brock and his shotgun, cursing Alfred under her breath.
Brock raised the gun to eye level as he aimed down the barrel at her.
“Come now, we can work this out,” she said with a nervous laugh.
He smiled and pulled the trigger.
To Be Continued…