Samuel awoke to find himself still in the field he’d arrived in.
Pain throbbed in his brain and made thinking hard.
As minutes passed the pain subsided. Samuel began to take in his surroundings. His hands and feet were shackled. Each set of shackles had a long chain that connected to one of the long poles Horatio had sunken into the ground. The rest of the equipment used to alter the magnetic fields and pull him out of his time shift was gone.
“Why build a prison of steel when you can build a prison of time?” Samuel said to himself. Horatio’s last words to him, the crowbar in the hands of one of the mercenaries, the world cutting to black: memories came back in a rush.
He pulled up his sleeve and found his Chronometer. It read 2534 and gave him coördinates in the center of North America. Normally this would be when he’d contact Alfred and get a feel for the time, but he’d left his communicator at the base when he and Melinda had left. He was pretty sure he knew what time this was given the red glow of the sky and the endless field of grass. It was shortly after The Great War, a war that claimed nearly seventy percent of humanity and drove the rest of the population into isolated towns filled with mistrust. Worse yet, North America had been devastated and almost no one lived in the interior. His hopes of finding help were slim to none.
The shot exited the gun in slow motion.
“Bless you, Alfred,” Melinda said under her breath. She ducked under the shot, took the gun out of Brock’s hands, and punched him in the gut. She ran back the way she had come. As she reached the next hallway the time dilation field holding Brock collapsed.
The buckshot crashed into the door where Melinda had been standing. Brock made an audible “Oof” as the force of Melinda’s punch reached his body.
She stepped across the threshold and Alfred closed the door behind her.
She strolled to an intercom and hit the button. “Thanks, Alfred. What happened to the time dilation field?”
“Brock’s little popgun hit a power line and shmarggled the grid. I couldn’t hold it any longer.”
“You think that hallway section will hold him?”
“It wouldn’t hold the Brock I know for long… He’s already dismantling the remains of the intercom; probably in search of something that’ll control the doors.”
“Can you override his attempts?”
“Maybe the first few, but I’m sure he’ll bypass my controls soon.”
“Any luck finding Samuel?”
“Not yet. Anything he had that I could track has been muffled in some way. I’ve got Quentin searching his data banks of all known museums archives and archeological site records to see if he left anything for us.”
“Have you tried talking to him?”
“Samuel? Why would I…?”
“The shotgun seemed to get in the way earlier,” Melinda said. Her arm still stung from the pellet’s exit.
“How did we flip him in the first place?” Alfred asked.
“He just showed up. Said he knew he had to help us.”
The lights went out. Emergency lights popped on.
“What was that, Alfred?” Melinda asked.
“He seems to have cut the power somehow,” Alfred replied. “Looks like everything’s down except vital systems like the intercoms and core containment. The control room is running on a generator–Oh no…”
“Quentin’s sensors are registering new life sign readings. Multiples.”
“Power failure shouldn’t have dropped the Chronal block. Should it have?”
“No, it’s worse. Brock used the power failure to re-cycle the system. It looks like he reversed the block.”
“What do you mean?”
“Instead of keeping Rasch and his minions out, it’s keeping us in. We’re stuck.”
To Be Continued…