Mark and Maddy and the Terra Nova Chronicles

Chapter 7

Lucas was ecstatic, "Project, this is Badlands. The 'main event' just happened. And it's big, bad and beautiful. It will be the perfect 'basket' for the 'Easter Egg' you sent earlier. Terra Nova's days are truly numbered now."

Hovering above the Sixer Camp was the biggest airborne assault vehicle they had ever seen. It was gray and ominous and dark, bristling with projectile and energy weapons and defenses. Its teardrop-shaped fuselage was 100 by 250 meters, and heavily armored.

Nothing the Phoenix Group had left behind at Terra Nova could dent this leviathan.

A Phoenix Group security monitor said, "Mr. Lucas, sir, we picked up enemy movements at the end of the Badlands. Shall we intercept them?"

Lucas grimaced, "No. Let them go. My father will circle the wagons for a final bloody defense. Let them all be together when they die. Then we have no one left to chase down afterwards."

Fortunately, the last of the tests of the weaponization of the Time Jammer was ready. Using a lab sized Temporal Weapon lens, they aimed and shot a box. It disappeared.

"Now we wait," said Malcolm

Ten minutes later, the box reappeared slowly.

"It works!" Jim Shannon said hopefully.

"But not in a good way, Dad," Maddy announced.

"How is that?" her dad puzzled.

"Well no matter how far into time we shoot them, their new time line will intersect ours, and there they will be waiting for us. We have to send them in the future in a different dimension, so we never meet again," she explained.

Malcolm and Maddy, in a frenzy, readjusted aspects of the time transport equations.

Jim and Elisabeth looked at each other in amazement at the brilliance of their almost 20 year old daughter.

They shot again, and the box disappeared.

Maddy looked at the displays, "Excellent, it is coexisting with us, but in a different dimension as well as time. We will be safe now."

"We are ready," sighed Malcolm.

The evacuation had started to the underground complex at Outpost B, and the only ones left in camp were the Terra Nova defense forces led by Taylor and Reynolds. In the lab were Maddy, Malcolm, Jim, and Elisabeth. Despite objections, the other Shannon children Josh and Zoe, and his friend Skye, were ordered nearly by force to go the Outpost. They had been in a heated argument with their parents earlier.

Jim Shannon, with Elisabeth by his side, pleaded one last time with his daughter, "Maddy, you must save yourself and your child. Your family must survive, even if the rest of us don't. You have to go to Outpost B and be safe, honey."

Maddy explained seriously, "I am a soldier's wife now. I understand being a casualty of war as much as Mark does, Mom and Dad. Josh and Skye will take care of Zoe. Some of the family will survive. Besides, do either of you understand temporal physics? If this is going to work, Malcolm and I both have to do this."

They hugged knowing the fatal truth of it.

Eventually the behemoth assault vehicle came over the horizon. As huge as it was, it was slow, depending on its armor and defenses to survive. Unknown to Lucas and his terrorists, the last of the Terra Nova crews were emplacing the Temporal Jammer lenses and concentrators around the colony.

If only the defenses were sufficient to guide the giant assault vehicle into the radius of effectivity of the lenses, they might have a chance. The jammer was hooked directly into the power core of Terra Nova, tapping many more Gigawatts of energy needed for its transformation from jammer to weapon.

The tactical displays came up in the lab, and Maddy and Malcolm stared at every piece of data with an intensity that impressed her parents.

As he looked out from the assault vehicle cockpit, Lucas mused, "And now for the last surprise."

He donned a backpack with electronic box and a belted himself in.

"Are you sure it will work?" Asked Mira.

"Long enough to let me infiltrate their command center to stop Maddy and Malcolm and get my father."

He rappelled down from the lumbering craft, and energized the device. Around him auroras formed, and the scene took on a surreal look.

The assault vehicle stopped. But in fact, it didn't really stop.

Lucas' personal time distortion device let him exist in the time between seconds. It stopped time, rendered him invisible, but let him make the three hour hike into Terra Nova. In the midst of the camp he entered the lab, and saw a complex of displays with all his enemies frozen and looking at them. They had indeed devised some kind of time jammer! No wonder they were ready and had sent the forces. It confirmed why the small transport was shifted all the way from Terra Nova to the Badlands. He was impressed with their work, but it was all wasted now.

"Well a jammer is going to do them no good now. Not with the assault vehicle here already and on its way to bomb Terra Nova out of existence," he smirked.

He was studying some other things, but before he could find the truth that Malcolm and Maddy had transformed the jammer into a weapon, he felt his personal time distortion device sputter and start to return him to real time. So he pulled his knife, and grabbed Maddy by the throat.

He returned to real time, appearing to all of them. Subdued by surprise and with a knife to her throat, Maddy screamed. All heads turned.

"Lucas!" spit Taylor.

Taylor's son laughed, "You think you will defeat us with a jammer? Well, I will stay here and prevent you from doing anything while we drop the nuke right on top of you."

"You'll be killed too. What kind of victory is that for you?" Taylor questioned.

"Wrong again dear father. When we drop the nuke, I will reengage my personal time travel belt, and run safely away before it detonates on top of you. You'll all be dead, the assault vehicle will veer off, and I and my people will survive and finally, finally get my revenge on you, Father."

Taylor shook his head in dismay hoping to use that to buy time, "How could I ever have failed you so badly as a father?"

"Do you really have to ask that again, Father? By letting my mother die," he said stiffly.

While the argument went on between father and son, Malcolm moved a few switches and dials unseen by Lucas.

Noting the delay tactics, Maddy tried her own move by letting her tears fall, "At least let me give my husband a goodbye."

Lucas guffawed, "Married? Reynolds? 'The Geek and the Soldier'. How cute. Of course, Maddy. I am not a complete monster."

Out at the fire control station at the main part of the weaponized Temporal Jammer, Reynolds awaited the order to fire on the transport. It could almost drop its nuclear weapon on the colony now. He wondered why they had not given the order.

The comm link crackled, "Mark?"

"Maddy?" he could tell with the quiver in her voice that something was wrong.

"We have company…"

He recognized the code word for intruders. Reynolds signed several armed guards to go for the lab for a rescue.

Back at the lab, Malcolm gave the sign that he had tuned into Lucas' time distortion belt's frequencies.

Maddy noted Malcolm's actions but continued, "I…I love you Mark. We will see you and our child in heaven."

"Pregnant?" Lucas laughed, "How quaint. But too late. You'll never enjoy that child."

Maddy's eyes narrowed at Lucas' final insult, "Oh yes we will."

She left the microphone open. That was the cue. Mark pulled the trigger on the Temporal Weapon. All around the colony in a six mile radius the remote antennae glowed, issued forth their bolts of energy, which intersected, broadened, and surrounded the assault vehicle. It froze in the air. In the command chair the pilot strained to release the weapon. But no one could move. It was too late. The assault craft was surrounded by a massive pulsating sphere of red/orange energy.

Lucas was also paralyzed as his personal temporal transport device was triggered and jammed by their weapon. Jim helped Maddy move quickly away from Lucas' grasp, lest she get trapped in the field's increasing power.

The red-orange energy surrounded Lucas too, and simultaneously both he and the massive assault craft – and its deadly nuclear cargo - disappeared.

Lucas and the vehicle reappeared on the surface of a scarred and rocky world. It was terribly bright. Lucas was outside the assault craft as hatches started to open and very puzzled warriors began to poke their heads out. The air was thin, vaguely poisonous, and the heat was incredibly oppressive. He was going to have to get inside fast to survive here.

Above him a very large angry orange ball of flames blazed in what would be the morning sky on earth.

The vehicle's commander stood by Lucas and asked, "Sir, where are we?"

"I…I am not sure."

Lucas looked at his temporal transport display, and was shattered by the truth. It was four billion years into the future. They were standing on the ground of the far distant future earth, not another world.

"Oh no," said a genuinely terrified Lucas.

He and his colleagues watched as the orange ball blossomed into a gigantic red sphere. It was our own star going nova in its final death throes.

It was the end of time for our solar system. There was no running. The solar radiation vaporized Lucas and the Sixers and the Phoenix instantly, with the assault vehicle and the world that once was known as Earth soon afterward.

The bomb they had intended to drop on Terra Nova was a one megaton device - more than enough to decimate the colony. The death throes of our own sun released the power of a hundred billion megatons as the earth and all on and around it were disintegrated.

Maddy, Malcolm, her parents, Taylor hugged each other in relief. Mark rushed into the lab entrance and cradled Maddy in his arms as she sobbed.

He asked desperately, "Maddy, are you all right? The baby?"

She smiled with relief as he wiped her tears, "We're fine. Is it over, Mark?"

"They are gone Maddy, wherever I sent them they are gone now."

"And gone forever," Malcolm said gravely.

"What did you do, Malcolm? asked Taylor.

They all looked at the chronometer on the Time Jammer display. It showed four billion years hence. They all knew what that meant.

"I'm sorry sir, I couldn't take any chances they would come back."

"No worries, Malcolm. That wasn't my son. Lucas hasn't been my son since he was 14."

The celebration that night was somber, but heartfelt, with the family gathered around the dinner table at the Shannons. Taylor and Skye were their guests.

"Are we all going to be OK?" asked Elisabeth.

Jim observed, "I hope so. I think now we have all the time in the world."

Mark laughed, "Well we have a new clock that will start running in about eight months! Then we won't have any time for ourselves for awhile!"

They all laughed, and toasted – Maddy with just a glass of juice - the new baby to come.

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