Miracles, Inc. basement laboratory, Tuesday morning, 1:43 am…
Tadosh admitted to Patrick that they would need more help to figure things out, especially since there were only two of them and it was really early in the morning. Patrick called Cheri and Thomas on his cell phone before they had gotten back to the lab after their ordeal with Drogheda and his men at the apartment complex. Both Thomas and Cheri graciously made no complaints about Patrick calling them so early and agreed to be at Miracles to meet them there. Patrick called Samantha, just so she would know what was going on, but she had to try to get some sleep for her classes at the University in the morning. Just as well. Patrick preferred for Sam to stay out of the chronoporting business.
The lab was spruced up a bit but still had the burn marks all over the walls and the floor from the laser show from a few days ago. Patrick and Tadosh had spread out on the floor all of the equipment they had gathered from Drogheda’s apartment. Tadosh, who obviously knew chronoportation technology the best in the group, took a long time looking at the home appliances on the lab floor, trying to figure out how they had anything to do with time traveling. To help out, Patrick had gotten several of his draft plans depicting the entire Solar Unlimited project. The drafts helped Tadosh out tremendously.
“Well…,” Tadosh said after a long sigh as Patrick, Cheri, and Thomas all sat on chairs behind him; Tadosh was crouching next to the equipment, “the best that I can see what Drogheda and company were trying to do was taking lemon and making a lemon factory out of it! It’s ingenious the way they augmented these mundane appliances and almost made them usable for chronoporting!”
“I noticed that you said, ‘almost,’” Thomas noted. “So, does that mean they weren’t able to time travel yet, even before you guys showed up?”
“That’s right, Thomas. They were in the middle of collecting items needed for full-chronoportation, of course, aided with the Solar Receiver they stole from Dr. McClain. We just slowed them down for probably another week or so. I will say, though, that I noticed in the apartment that they didn’t seem to have anything for solar energy reception, you know, like solar panels.”
“Hmm,” Cheri said as she rubbed her chin, “you’d think that would be one of the first things they would have grabbed for a solar-based project!”
“Yeah, I know…probably because they had the Solar Converter Receiver. It, no doubt, likely still has some juice left in it from when your team last used it.” Tadosh contemplated further. He finally stood up and faced the other three in front of him, his face very somber. “You mind if I ask you all something…?”
Observing the way Tadosh’s demeanor had changed, Patrick, Thomas, and Cheri had all glanced upon each other worriedly.
“Sure,” Patrick responded in a soft voice, waiting for the other shoe to drop. “What’s on your mind, Tadosh?”
“I’ve been so busy running after Drogheda and his goons until I’ve forgotten about the bigger picture in life…over the past weekend, as I was relaxing at your house, Dr. McClain, I came across some news on one of your television sets…the United Nations still exists in this time, doesn’t it?”
The others either looked at one another or they cast their glances to a corner of the lab as they thought on Tadosh’s words.
“What are you saying, Tadosh,” Patrick finally said, “that the United Nations doesn’t exist in your time?”
“Well, of course not. That’s to be expected, Dr. McClain. Do you all remember the League of Nations from your history classes?”
“Of course,” Thomas now interjected. “It was the pre-cursor to the U.N. during the early-to mid-1900s.”
“The reason I bring that up is because it shows that organizations, governments, and corporations rise and fall over time. The League of Nations lasted some twenty years. You don’t actually expect the United Nations to last forever, do you? Or the United States, for that matter!”
“I still don’t understand what you’re saying, Tadosh,” Cheri blunted.
“What I’m saying is that, during my time, my generation had learned from history that the U.N. had dissolved years before 2008!”
“What!” All three Miracles people looked at each other, then at Tadosh with disbelief.
“It’s true…as a young man in school, I learned that the United Nations folded before the war in Afghanistan between America and the Taliban. By looking at your news in this time, your generation refers to it as the War On Terrorism. As I had learned it, the U.N. broke apart right after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. I won’t bore you with all the details, but the basic reason for its collapse was because of the Western nations sided with the United States while the Eastern nations took sides with Afghanistan…
“I was shocked to hear anything about Iraq in this time’s news about a war with the U.S.! In fact, from the history that I learned, Saddam Hussein was assassinated by a political rival in Iraq. Trust me, in our history books, there’s nothing about the United Nations from 2002 and on, and there’s nothing about the U.S. going to war with Iraq!”
Well, that hit Patrick, Cheri, and Thomas like a ton of bricks. They all sat there, dumbfounded. Patrick’s eyes started to shift around as he thought on the implications of what Tadosh had just dropped on them. There was, now, a lot more at stake with all this time traveling business than just Patrick’s career!
“And that’s not all,” Tadosh said, after he patiently waited for his first words to sink in. “After I saw several other news reports—some national, others international—I learned that, in your time, something called the Communist Revolution had occurred…Nelson Mandela is actually out of jail and had been president of South Africa…America never had a woman President…why, humans haven’t even colonized the Moon, yet!”
“The Moon,” Patrick repeated, blankly. He began to rub his hair as his nerves were being tested. “How could I have been so stupid? I bumped into Tage while he was cleaning one night. He made some odd comment about whether or not one of my inventions would take people to the Moon, and how we never know about the consequences to the choices we make in life…that sick freak was playing with me then!”
“Wait a minute,” Thomas finally said, one of his hefty hands extended as if to visually stop the conversation. “Tadosh, are you saying that all of those things that you saw in the news about our time, that none of those events happened in your history or were different from what you know to be history?”
“That is exactly what I’m saying, Thomas.”
“So…” Thomas now stood up from his chair and began to pace. “How could that be? I mean, isn’t there only one history and one future?”
“From what Tadosh tells us, apparently not!” Cheri leaned back in her chair, the shock of the news finally wearing off.
“Come on, Tommy, it’s nothing new! We’ve all heard about scientific theories or seen Science Fiction movies or read Science Fiction books that speculate that there may be more than one reality that we experience. We’re talking about time-lines. It’s like several branches stemming off of a tree. Each branch being of an alternate reality of the same “tree trunk” in quantum physics.”
“Very good,” Tadosh commended Cheri as he nodded in her direction. “That was Pangea’s greatest fear about Drogheda’s plans…that he would try to alter history or the future—or both, for that matter.”
“Alter the past or the future to what end,” Patrick asked as he glanced at the equipment strewn out on the floor.
“Like I said to you when I first met you, Dr. McClain, Drogheda’s an Anarchist. Money isn’t his incentive, nor is an actual political or religious philosophy. He’s not like the Anarchists of this time that you’re familiar with. The ones from the late-2200s are very pernicious! Many have actually tried to use androids to infiltrate different nations and assassinate world leaders…including several of the United States’ presidents. There were some androids, unfortunately, that were quite successful.”
Again, Patrick, Thomas, and Cheri all looked at each other with unsaid words. No one said anything for a long while. Tadosh walked around the large clutter of home appliances on the floor. He then picked up the schematics for Dr. McClain’s project and began studying them in earnest. But Cheri turned to Tadosh to address him.
“Say, Tadosh, how are you getting home after all this? If we destroy the Solar Unlimited completely, wouldn’t you be stuck here?”
Patrick and Thomas looked up at the same time. They hadn’t thought of that!
“That’s true, Ms. Fillmore. Pangea has ordered me to stay behind and continue to pursue Drogheda and his men even if none of us from 2287 were to ever find a way back home.”
“So,” Cheri pressed further, “we would need to keep the Solar Unlimited running until you’re ready to go back to your time after you’ve caught them, right?”
“Or kill them,” Tadosh said very nonchalantly as he continued to look at the diagrams and equations on the project’s drafts. “But my actual goal is to get Drogheda alive, since he needs to be processed in the courts of law of 2287…Tage and Stefan are merely his helpers. Though they’ll come in handy as witnesses against Drogheda and his network of Anarchists. But if worse comes to worse, I’ll simply smudge them out.”
This made the Miracles team feel uncomfortable. They had a bit of a romantic view of Tadosh being an agent of the law, chasing down terrorists from the future as he, with nobility, would catch them with his bare hands and whisk them away into the sunset.
Patrick looked at his two employees with a reassuring smile. “Hey, let’s remember, guys, he is a secret agent…we can’t expect him to deal with Drogheda like an altar boy!”
Tadosh, finally realizing what Patrick was talking about, immediately turned from the drafts and stood up quickly, as if embarrassed to have been so rude. “Yes, yes…what Dr. McClain said is absolutely correct. If any of you don’t feel comfortable with how I deal with these criminals, now’s the time to back out…” Tadosh’s eyes scanned all three Miracles people.
“Well it’s obvious that I can’t pull out,” Patrick said straightway as he looked at Cheri and Thomas. “But I don’t expect you two to stay…things are starting to heat up now!”
Thomas was shaking his head. “It just wouldn’t seem right for me to pull out, now that I know a little bit more about what these guys are up to.”
Cheri wasted no time as well. “I’m in…I’m still trying to get my hands around this time traveling stuff, but, let’s face it, some kind of future is at stake! It may not necessarily be the one that Tadosh would recognize, but it’s worth fighting for all the same.”
Again, Tadosh smiled at Cheri’s remarks. Her somewhat fatalistic attitude was something that he could relate with as a time traveler who may not make it back home.