Northeastern Seattle, late Monday evening…
Patrick had let Tadosh borrow one of his cars out of his personal fleet for the search of Drogheda, Stefan, and Tage. Patrick used another one of his other cars in case anyone around Seattle had seen him in his everyday car, that way they would not be able to identify him. They decided to split up the neighborhood between them and do a visual search for Drogheda, Stefan, and Tage. Of course, given that it was late in the evening it was an especially difficult task.
“Doctor, I think I have something,” Tadosh said to Patrick over their radio link after well over an hour’s search. Tadosh was looking at his detection device as it displayed in holographics a particular block in a bright-green color. He was driving precariously as his head went back and forth between the detector and the street before him.
“What block are you on,” Patrick asked, putting his radio up to his head as he steered his car.
“Seventy-fifth and Lux!”
“Just park your car around there somewhere…I’m on the way!”
Patrick swerved his car dangerously close to a truck as he did a U-turn on the street he was driving on. He then sped in the direction of Tadosh’s location.
When Patrick finally reached Tadosh’s area, he saw that the small man was already standing at a corner, waiting for him. Patrick parked his car not far from the corner and trotted to where Tadosh stood. Patrick and Tadosh were dressed in black to conceal themselves. Since Patrick’s hair was sandy-blond, he donned a black baseball cap to cover it. Tadosh’s hair was very dark brown to the point of being virtually black, so he did not need to worry about covering his head.
“Where to,” Patrick inquired as Tadosh whipped out his detector to show him the location.
“There’s no mistake about it now, Dr. McClain, I’m definitely reading teleporting signatures! They’re originating from this apartment…” Tadosh first pointed to the holographic map, turned off the detection device, then pointed to the actual apartment.
Patrick nodded. “Why don’t we just teleport into their room?”
“Oh, we could do that, Dr. McClain, but there are two problems with that plan: One, the detection device only shows us trace signatures of teleportation. That is, each time that any of us teleports, we leave quantum residue behind…they could still be in the apartment now, they could be on the other side of town! The second problem of just teleporting into their room is, if they’re even in there, there’s a strong possibility that they’ve set up a trap for us…remember, Dr. McClain, they’re from my time. They know that I have the ability to detect teleportational residue. Just as they have that ability, too.”
“Hmm…” Patrick thought for a while. “I guess, for now, we’ll have to do it the old fashioned way.”
“I’m afraid so, Dr. McClain.”
They both jogged to the apartment complex in the night. Tadosh had picked up Drogheda’s gun back on Saturday after he had been shot by one of Patrick’s security guards. He had later given it to Patrick and showed him how to use it after he taught Patrick how to teleport. Patrick was now jogging up to the apartment with that late-23rd century gun and, like Tadosh, was zig-zagging around parked cars, garbage cans, and trees. Patrick happened to look over at Tadosh and saw him smiling.
“You just love all this cloak and dagger crap, don’t you,” Patrick whispered to the Pangean secret agent.
“Actually, Dr. McClain, I used to have a partner back in my time…he was killed during one of our operations…it just feels good to be able to work with someone I can trust again.”
Patrick looked at him for a brief moment then resumed sneaking to the apartment complex. Tadosh referred to his detection device once again, just to make sure they were headed to the right apartment. He nodded toward Patrick. At this point, Patrick was following his lead. Tadosh got down on his belly and began to slither toward a group of bushes that was not far from the complex. When they got behind the bushes, Tadosh, now, took out another device from a pouch he had strapped around him.
“What’s that do,” Patrick asked in a whisper, still trying to catch his breath from all the jogging and slithering around.
“It’s kind of equivalent to your time’s infrared spectrometer…only, this is far more advanced.” Tadosh also whispered.
He engaged the spectrometer device. It, too, displayed in holographic images, but one had to place the device up to your eyes to see. Much like a pair of binoculars. Tadosh put the spectrometer up to his eyes and took a while to see what was going on. As he did, he updated Patrick.
“Oh, yeah, Doctor…they’re definitely in there! I see all three of them, and there’s the Solar Converter Receiver! Looks like they’ve modified your Receiver by cutting it down to fit within the apartment.”
“Are they doing anything with it now?”
“Well, I see…hmm? I’m not sure, but I think I see some special equipment that’s often used for chronoportive research!”
“You mean, for time traveling?”
“That’s right, Dr. McClain…” Tadosh then handed the spectrometer to Patrick for him to see as well. “If I’m right, I think our friends are trying to figure out a way to chronoport without your Solar Unlimited! Just strictly using your Receiver!”
“Can they do that? I mean, you said that you all can time travel while the Solar Unlimited is on. Having the SCR by itself is like someone trying to drive a car, but they only had possession of the steering wheel!”
Tadosh thought for a moment. “Actually, Dr. McClain, I think your analogy is more like someone stealing the engine to a car and trying to get away…that’s very possible, you know.”
“I don’t get it.”
“Let’s keep using your analogy…if that same someone who stole a car’s engine had enough knowledge of how cars work, he or she could conceivably make another car body out of scrap! You can easily find discarded tires, car frames—“
“—skip finding car parts, you could find an entire car body without its engine in a scrap yard!” Patrick said this, realizing the implications of what Tadosh was saying.
“That’s my point, Dr. McClain. The hardest part of making a car is its engine, that is, if you build from scratch…Doctor, Drogheda and his colleagues are now in the process of fitting car parts to an engine!”
Patrick looked through the spectrometer once again then handed it back to Tadosh. Tadosh began looking through it again as they spoke.
“Then, that means they’ll be able to chronoport after all! Tadosh, we’ve got to stop them!”
“Agreed…Doctor, I suggest that you—“
Patrick looked at Tadosh, waiting for him to finish.
“What’s wrong, Tadosh?”
“There are only two of them in there now…”
While Tadosh continued to look for the third figure in the apartment with his spectrometer, Patrick slowly peeked his head around the bush, hoping that what was in his mind was wrong. As soon as Pat’s head cleared the bushes, a long line of red laser fire nearly took his head off!
“Doctor, stay down,” Tadosh said to him as he started punching his bullet-like photons at Tage, whom was at the front door of the apartment building. Whenever Tadosh fired shots at him, he would periodically duck into the building. Like at the basement lab at the Miracles, Inc. skyscraper, they were making a mess of things!
Screams from the other tenants of the apartment building were now ringing in the background. Some even yelled out to one another to call the cops.
Stefan teleported right behind Patrick and Tadosh. After hearing the distinct searing sound of teleportation coming from behind, Patrick immediately turned around and jumped onto Stefan before he could fire a shot. The two had got into a wrestling match and both fell to the ground and tumbled away from each other. Seeing the opportunity, Patrick fired off a lancing laser beam at Stefan with Drogheda’s gun, but Stefan quickly slapped the buttons to his teleporter and vanished right before the laser struck him.
Tadosh and Tage were still at it, engaged in a draw.
“Doctor…! The SCR!”
Patrick had forgotten about it. He was still learning how to use the portable teleporter, so it took him a few seconds longer than he would have liked. He was about to punch the buttons when he saw Drogheda and Tage materialize yards away in the parking lot of the apartment building. They were both carrying the Receiver, one at one end, the other on the other end.
Patrick was about to teleport to where Drogheda was until Tage finally left the battle against Tadosh and teleported to where his friends were. The three of them hustled the SCR into the back of a van and jumped into it and began driving off.
“Forget it, Dr. McClain,” Tadosh said as he reached out and stopped Patrick from teleporting to the van. “Right now, we need to get the rest of the equipment they left in the apartment before the cops get here!”
Tadosh quickly keyed in commands to his portable teleporter and disappeared in a blue flash. By the time Patrick straightened himself up erectly so he could punch the buttons to his teleporter, Tadosh was already in the apartment room, grabbing at various makeshift equipments that were oddly integrated together. Patrick joined him in a couple of seconds.
They both busied themselves with loading up their arms with some of the various technologies that filled Drogheda’s apartment living room, such as coffee makers, computer keyboards, hard drives, computer monitors, play stations, camcorders, outlets for houses with cords running in and out of them, television remotes, and CD-players! In some cases, the equipment was taken apart, exposing motherboards and wirings.
“Why don’t you teleport that load to your car, Doctor. Then teleport back for more…I’ll do the same. There simply too many gadgets here!”
“All right…” Patrick, arms full of equipment, quickly reconfigured the coordinates in his portable teleporter and did as Tadosh suggested.
By the time the cops had gotten to the apartment complex, Patrick and Tadosh were on their way out of the neighborhood in their respective cars.