Two years after Horatio stranded him in time, Samuel walked out of the wilderness. His neck was strung with kravask teeth (a sort of meaner mutant bear). A scar from his left ear down to his chinn marked his first encounter with a kravask. He strode with a pronounced limp that he’d earned during a fire fight with a military outpost that wasn’t supposed to exist. His clothes were in tatters from being repaired again and again. He wore a long knife over his shoulder made from the hip bone of a kravask and carried a military issue hand gun at his waist. In such a state he walked into a small coastal village north of where Los Angeles used to be.
He settled into life in the village slowly. Two years in the barren waste had made him twitchy and uncomfortable with conversation. At first the village hadn’t accepted him, few had seen anyone from more than fifty miles away, let alone someone who’d been in the waste and wore kravask teeth around his neck.
One morning he helped Old Man Jacobs fix his tractor and plant the Vergula plants that had brought a semblance of wealth to their community. Anything that allowed you to escape the drudgery of “now” was of high demand in the villages.
After that no one gave him a wide berth, but they didn’t talk to him either. He eked out a living fixing things and doing odd jobs. When he wasn’t working or searching the dump for scrap metal, he was in Old Man Jacobs’ barn doing whatever itinerant vagrants do, or so the village believed.
One night he stumbled from the barn bleeding and bruised.
“Who did this to you, son?” Doc Simpson asked while a nervous Old Man Jacob’s looked on.
Samuel tried to wave away the question.
“I ain’t never seen nothing like this before. It’s like you took a ride in a washing machine with a boulder,” Doc Simpson said.
“An accident of space-time,” Samuel said.
Doc Simpson who was not about to give up talking when there were words yet unused in the language continued on for a while, but he didn’t get anything more out of Samuel. Nor did Sheriff Winters when he tried to investigate.
A few weeks later Samuel up and disappeared, though a fair amount of blood had been left behind. A week after that the remains of a burned body were found in the woods. They buried Samuel and Old Man Jacobs erected a tombstone in his honor.
Horatio and his mercenaries swarmed the base. He brought a hundred men armed to the teeth. They rounded up Melinda, Alfred, and Quentin in the time it took for Melinda to ask, “How many?”
Brock had hacked into the internal sensors and sent troops to each of their locations. They handcuffed Alfred and Melinda and placed a device on Quentin that took over his basic motor control. They clumsily walked the android with Alfred and Melinda to the large storage unit on one side of the base. There Horatio stood along with a handful of his followers. They had unboxed some equipment and had begun setting it up. It looked much like the equipment Horatio had used to capture Samuel.
Horatio smiled when he saw them. “This is my latest masterpiece.”
When no one asked him to explain, he went on anyway. “You see it’s quite a bit beyond this trifle,” he said, pointing at the time shifter on his chest. “My time gate uses magnetic resonance to interrupt the flow of time or more importantly those who are flowing through time. It can grab people out of a time stream, but, as you’ll soon see, it can also fling them through it.”
“What do you want, Horatio?” Melinda asked.
To Be Continued…