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The Hands of Time

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Chapter Two.

Four days later a package arrived in the post, it had been sent by couriers, and John took delivery, he read the invoice and then opened the package. Inside were fourteen motors from Moller, and two none operational scaled models of the Moller Sky-car, and two pamphlets, and a collection of additional literature, giving specifications and a breakdown history on how the Sky-car was designed and brought into operation.

“Oh my, what am amazing invention” said john to himself, “Little Sparrow is going to truly love these”. He carefully placed everything back into the box and pocketed the invoice, and he then resealed the box and wrapped it carefully, knowing Sparrow would take as much pleasure in trying to undo the wrapping paper, as he would in opening the box.

When the weekend arrived, John and Susan had arranged a special surprise for Sparrow, they had phoned Adrian’s parents and explained what it was that they had wanted to do. Once they had secured their blessings, they had arranged for Adrian to sleep over with Sparrow and to camp in the back gardens tree house.

Unknown to the children this was so John, and Adrian’s father who had at long last returned from Hong Kong, could prepare a surprise for their children. Apple Computers had looked at the research material that Sparrow had prepared and even viewed their You Tube web page, as john had made a note of the web address and password.

They were so suitably impressed that two nine year old boys had undertaken such a project, and that they agreed to sponsor them, on condition that they could create a video of their own of the planning and construction from what had gone by as recorded on You Tube and from then onwards.

John had contacted Doctor Moller and spoken to him, explaining what was happening, and had suggested that he might like to sponsor the children, so he sent each of the children wiring diagrams and miniature blue prints on how he would go about creating a scaled model. The two model Sky-cars had all movable parts but no working motors installed.

John knew instantly that both cars would be butchered for their parts, and that Sparrow would insist, in using his own design, as this would win the creators higher marks. What the package did offer the children; was all the remaining parts, which they required to complete their own version of their Sky-car. In addition, both fathers had restocked the workshop with various electric power tools, and a mini lathe, and a new working station, each set up with computerised software and a brand-new iMac which was to be jointly owned by the two boys but secured within the workshop.

Adrian only lived two streets away, and the children could talk to each other with miniature transceivers operating on a 27 MHz wave band. Adrian was himself very gifted and like Sparrow he was passionate about engineering, and had been entering science and engineering projects since he was six years of age.

When Sparrow had joined up with him and they had started entering joint team work projects, they found they could enter and win competitions set for older children, on at least two occasions, and had won the first prize, until the judges realized the age of the entrants, and had to withdraw the prize as both children were five years under the qualifying minimum age; however on all of those occasions an extra prize was created in recognition for their skills and projects, since then the rules had been changed and there was no longer a minimum entry age limit.

Quietly the two boys sat in the tree house, Sparrow had purchased on eBay, a wireless coloured miniature cctv camera operating on 0.flux which meant the built in infer red lights could create a greenish image in near total darkness.. Both boys had set up the camera in the kitchen hidden inside a small wall clock; from there they could tune in the receiver and connect it to the iPad’s and watch as well as hear what was been happening in the kitchen and another which Adrian had set up to work from inside the workshop.

So come Saturday Morning they had both watched their fathers and a group of workmen creating the new workshop for them. Incredibly one of the workmen had stolen two power tools, placing them inside his holder while there was no one else within the workshop. The children had been recording everything simply from excitement, and in trying to see what they could and could not do.

At first the items were not missed and by the time they were required for use, the workman had transferred them into a friend’s car that had turned up delivering pizzas and cold drinks. The children had not even realized that the power tools had been taken until on Sunday when they were taken to view their new workshop, they had overheard John saying, “it was a shame we had not thought about securing the area, that way we might at the very least have seen who it was that had taken the tools.”

Adrian looked at his dad, “We have a CCTV camera set up in the workshop, we had not known that you had planned this for us, it was just something that we did, and we have even set one up in the kitchen in Sparrow’s home.”

Both children were innocent and honestly had no real idea as to what it was they had done. To them it was a simple exercise and something which any nine year old child would try to do.

“If we look through the recording we might just see if we have captured who it was that took, our tools dad,” the recordings had been compressed to save space and it took about sixty three minutes to have viewed through the recording on fast rewind.

John handed a recording of the video to the local police and that night the workman’s home was raided under a search warrant, the police were surprised to learn that he was actually a step son of two serving police officer from Avon and Somerset’s HQ.

In his home, garage and shed they recovered a mini warehouse of stolen goods, it transpired that he had an unknown drug habit, and had been stealing and fencing various stolen items. His mother and father, both serving officers, were surprised and felt embarrassed, and ashamed that their son had blighted his good name, but after the initial shock, they had both vowed to stand by their son and do all they could to help him.

The competition was coming closer and Adrian took charge of installing the motors into the movable ducts along with finishing off the wiring and soldering. He also had to ensure the vehicle could actually operate as a car, and had to ensure that all moveable parts were in place, and functioning within the parameters of their design.

Sparrow in turn had secured a circuit board and had soldered everything he needed and then wired the servers so that each section of the Sky-car could operate independently with his remote Control unit.

Eventually two days before all projects had to be handed in, the children took their first test flight, and everything under the conditions of the sponsorship had to be recorded in HD video. After a few test flights, and minor adjustments, the Sky-car was fully functional, and although it would not have won any prises, for been a pristine flawless body, all part worked as designed, and it flew and handled very well.

It did not have the seven or more back up operational computers, as that was simply completely out of the reach for nine year old children. However it did operate and run in true harmony, and running apples software from an iPad 3 model, which was in itself, good publicity for the children.

Sparrow was so excited, as they had entered the project into two competitions, one for under eighteens, and one was an open competition, for anyone in their county, which children or adults could enter, and with higher marks been given for delegated team work, and a detailed breakdown, of design, building, or construction, and decision making, as they had received enough parts and motors to have built two identical Sky-car’s.

On the day of the competition, Adrian’s dad had taken in the equipment including the actual models and remote Control, along with room dividers two exhibit the designs and display everything. Apple had loaned a computer for the contestants to run their videos, and a huge 92 inch display HD monitor with full cinema surround sound.

He had also taken in the children as he had a huge Mercedes people carrier, and the children had needed to be their early to set up all their own equipment, marks were deducted if additional helpers were brought in, to do anything other than carry the equipment. The whole idea of the competition was to encourage those within the team as recorded entrants to display their abilities in organization, delegation, and as well as team work, as the judges had set into place certain obstacles which each entrant had been unaware of, simply to observe how they handled an unexpected situation, only moments before it was there turn to present their displays.

This was something that Adrian had heard about while researching into competitions as held in other countries, so he had talked it through with Sparrow, and they had tried to put together a basic plan in how they would handle certain obstacles, should something happen to them. When it was there time, to present their joint project the first thing they did was to start by introducing a video showing Doctor Moller’s Sky-car in operation, and a brief history about its conception and construction.

All applicants were prevented from entering the display hall, where the judges were interviewing and marking, other than the team up, and at that point in time, and once their display had been completed, they were ask various questions, and then told to leave the room by a separate door, from which they entered, and then they had to wait in a room staffed by teachers, until all the presentations were complete, Then and only then, could all applicants and their families meet, and talk about their various projects.

As soon as Sparrow started the video, for his presentation, the power to the computer and video had been cut, which was designed by the judges to see how the team handled an unexpected situation. Sparrow responded quickly, “I do apologize, it would appear that there is a slight fault with some of the schools equipment, however if you would be so kind as to grant us permission we could present our display on our portable computers.”

He kept himself calm even though inside his heart was pounding; it was then that a member of the judging team spoke. “That will be alright son, we have found out what was the fault and have corrected it, you may continue now with your original presentation.”

What had confused the judges is that there was actually no constructed item on display, other than a scaled street of buildings, tower blocks and houses sitting on the table. As the room was placed into semi darkness, the huge display monitor presented the details of the Moller Sky-car, as the video was playing, some lights lit up on the table making it look as if certain buildings were been used by people, and then there was a small explosion on one of the floors which was by far too high for extension fire truck ladders to reach.

Some glass appeared to be broken and what looked like smoke started flowing from one of the windows, and then one floor below another simulated window was broken with the sound of glass breaking, and a person calling out, “help me, help me I am injured and I have a baby and a child and we cannot leave our apartment.”

At that moment, from over one of the room dividers appeared two Sky-car’s, both been flown independently, and one had a huge Red Cross painted on its side with words saying Sky-car Ambulance, and the other car with Fire Team: Emergency Rescue car, printed on its sides.

In perfect harmony the Sky-cars manoeuvred themselves into place, hovering perfectly still, while the display screen was showing a specially written piece of animated software from Doctor Moller, showing an example of the scenario as was been played out by Adrian and Sparrow.

Then in a distant corner of the room another light appeared displaying a small table with a building sitting on it looking like a hospital. One of the Sky-car’s left the scene and travelled across the room and landed perfectly, and then drove like a car until it was next to an ambulance and a team of models with a stretcher, waiting to take delivery of any patients needing hospital care, while the remaining car appeared to be using a miniature hose which one of the servers lifted from the runners and a small jet of water sprayed from it onto the building.

It was purely done for affect, at that both Sky-car’s, once again came next to each other, and flew back out of sight, and then the lights came on and the presentation was over. Both Adrian and Sparrow walked from beside one of the room dividers, and were carrying their Sky-car’s and the Remote control units. For safety reasons they had ensured that both Sky-car’s and their Remote Controllers were switched off, as they had not wanted one of the judges handling them, only to find one of them trying to fly away and possibly do some damage.

The judge’s question both of them for much longer than usual, and they were amazed that two nine-year-old boys could have built, let alone designed such complex equipment. The presentation was incredibly original, and three of the four judges gave a perfect Ten Points, and with only one judge deducting one point, as he felt Sparrow had hesitated slightly longer than he should have when the power was switched off.

Out of a total of One Hundred points they were the first ever to have scored Ninety nine points, and all three fellow judges, were annoyed at their fellow judge, for deducting the single point, as they felt he had been petty minded, and just could not ever, give a person a perfect Ten Points.

When all the points were awarded it turned out that two other projects had been inspirational, and the Third Place had received Ninety-Five Points, the Second Place had received 98 points, and the First Place had been awarded to Sparrow and Adrian’s Team with a staggering 99 points.

For the Open Competition they had again had just one point deducted and won a joint First Place along with two Royal Air force technicians’ who designed and built a miniaturised Dragonfly, with built in optical surveillance equipment. It had been a wonderful evening for both Adrian and Sparrow, and after the demonstrations when the families were finally allowed to be with their children, John and Susan were nowhere to be seen.

Some twenty minutes later the head teacher walked up and sat next to Sparrow, “Hallo Sparrow that was a wonderful project, you truly are an incredible child, and you deserved to have won a One Hundred Points, it was not fare to have deducted a single point because the power had been turned off.”

While he had been talking, Sparrow’s Grandfather came and sat next to him, and placed an arm around his shoulders. “Grandpa, I never knew you were coming to see my project, did you like it?” enquired the child.

His grandfather was holding back tears, “It was wonderful Sparrow, and I know your mum and Dad were so proud of you, when they phoned me last night, they could not stop telling us about how well you had done.” He was finding it difficult to talk; a plain clothed police woman came and sat on the other side of Sparrow.

“Hello Sparrow, my name is,” Sparrow interrupted her, “I remember you, and you came to give a talk to our class about two weeks ago, let me think for a moment, oh I know your name is Detective Susan Miller.”

“Yes, that’s right son, what a good memory you have; can you remember what it was that we talked about?” she enquired. “Oh that’s an easy question, we were learning about drug misuse and how certain people can abuse solvents and drugs, you told us to say NO and to tell a trusted adult if someone tried to sell or give to you any kind of drugs”, quickly replied the child.

Susan bit into her lower lip, and made a half effort to smile, she was just about to talk when Sparrow ask her a question. “Is there something wrong?” He looked at his grandfather and back to Susan, “Let’s go for a walk into the canteen, with your granddad, I have heard there is lots of chocolate ice cream there, waiting for you, and we can eat some, and talk all about your project, and that Dragonfly, did you get a chance to take a look at it, when its flying I could not tell it from a real one.” Said the wpc. As they made their way out of the hall, a police officer had been talking to Adrian’s father, and explaining to him that John and Susan, Sparrows parents, had been taken to hospital and had been declared dead on arrival.

It later transpired the thief who had taken two power tools had been released on bail, and while under the influence of Heroin, he had stolen a Dump truck, and had deliberately driven it head on into Sparrow’s parents’ car. It was believed the impact had killed the father instantly as they both had to have been cut free, and that almost all of the bones in John’s bodies would have been broken.

Susan was just holding onto life, blood was trickling from her mouth and she could not move, when a paramedic came to help her, he could see that her legs were totally crushed, and a piece of metal had become separated and pinned Susan into her seat like a giant staple. “Tell Sparrow…,” she was finding it so difficult to talk, “Tell Sparrow he is our son, that we love him and are so proud of him, let him know that we will be watching over him, and when it’s his turn to return home, that we will be here waiting for him”. She tried to carry on talking, but coughed up a huge clot of blood, and then closed her eyes, smiling, “look, there can you see him, it’s John he is waiting for me,” at that, she breathed in coughing, and with even more blood flowing from her lips, and paused for a moment and then died, passing over to the other side.

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