The Time Catalyst

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Chapter 20

McClains’ personal estate, outside of Seattle; Sunday afternoon…

Patrick had just completed his jog on the estate. He stopped jogging just yards away from his mansion and walked the rest of the way as he wiped his lean face of the sweat with a towel. He stopped in the middle of his front yard and let the cool spring breeze caress his soaked body. And that’s when he realized that Samantha’s car was still on the driveway.

Samantha was supposed to have gone to Olympia, where she had a seasonal part-time job with the State of Washington as a professional advisor on legal matters. Patrick looked into the car and saw some of her paperwork on the car’s floor on the passenger seat side. Patrick decided to phone her with his cell phone. The phone rang once, then disconnected right away. Patrick stared at his cell phone as he thought. He then walked into the front door to their house.

“Sam…! Sam…!”

Patrick walked all over the first floor of the house. He then headed for the staircase but stopped himself after seeing a note taped to the banister. The note simply read, Give me my men back or give me access to the Solar Unlimited, and you’ll get her back. It was then that Patrick cried aloud in his empty house.

Two hours later that afternoon, in the McClains’ house…

Just the day before they had all gathered at Patrick’s swanky office in the Miracles Tower, relaxing with a good meal after chronoporting Stefan and Tage back to their rightful time and into the waiting hands of Pangean officials. But today, Tadosh, Thomas, Cheri, and Sonya were all at Pat’s house, sitting solemnly as they thought on how they could rescue Samantha from Drogheda’s clutches.

Earlier, as soon as Tadosh emerged from his car, he had whipped out his spectrometer and, sure enough, detected teleportation residue in the air. Without a doubt, Drogheda had decided to risk being traced by his teleporting and did a little nabbing of his own. Now, Dr. McClain and Tadosh were on the defensive.

Tadosh also risked being traced by Drogheda as he teleported himself to the coordinates that the spectrometer showed where Drogheda had teleported to. Tadosh had materialized in an alley in downtown Seattle. It could have been any number of alleys in Seattle. Drogheda had taken care not to teleport from his new apartment. Hence, the Miracles team still could not determine where he was setting up a makeshift time machine and where he was holding the Princess of Miracles. There was nothing else for Tadosh to do but teleport back to Patrick’s house, several miles from the depths of downtown Seattle.

At that point, it did not matter that Drogheda could trace Tadosh’s teleportational activities. For one, he had already discovered where the McClains lived, secondly, Tadosh was now fully ready for a head to head confrontation. It was one thing to mess with Dr. McClain. After all, he did create the first ever time catalyst in human history, even if it were by mistake. But to kidnap his spouse, who had nothing to do with it, was quite another issue!

“Pat,” Sonya said in a overly soften voice in the living room where everyone was, “I’m just saying this because we need to look at all possible options…”

Patrick looked over at Sonya with reddened eyes. He sat patiently, ready to hear any suggestion that would get his wife back.

“Maybe we ought to call the cops on this one. Or even the FBI…like Tadaosh said, Drogheda could be anywhere around Seattle with her!”

“Can I respectfully disagree,” Tadosh interjected after a long silence that followed Sonya’s suggestion. All eyes turned to Tadosh. “I can say this with experience, that getting the authorities on this would only agitate Drogheda. And with him being in possession of Sam, I don’t think that’s what we want…think of the profile that we’re dealing with, here: a violent neo-Anarchist, who, by the very nature of being an Anarchist, abhors authority! Sending in the cops or the FBI would only spark that keg of gun powder!”

Even Sonya had to acquiesce to Tadosh’s point as they all nodded. Again, the room went into a silence. They all thought hard for any alternatives.

Patrick suddenly lifted up his head as a thought occurred to him. Without even needing to hear his colleague’s question, Patrick obliged.

“I tried calling Sam on my cell phone earlier today…”

Everyone else in the living room glanced at each other. Was this just a desperate spouse who was grasping at straws?

“Pat,” Cheri came in, “I, I just don’t see how that helps us—“

“The phone rang once and it was disconnected!”

Now the others were thinking within themselves. Patrick had never bothered telling them this point since he was too occupied about Sam’s kidnapping.

“It could have been Drogheda with her cell, simply hanging up on you,” Thomas guessed.

“True,” Pat said, still having a new fire in his countenance, “but think about Stefan’s communicator that Tadosh and I told you about earlier…in 2008, we don’t have recorded voices as a record of what numbers we dial or what calls we receive on our phones, like from Tadosh’s time. But what do we have in our time instead…?”

Everyone looked to each other with inquisitive faces. Even Tadosh didn’t know where the Miracle Man was going with this point!

“We have a list of incoming and outgoing numbers, right?” Patrick looked around the room. He continued. “Phone companies and even some government agencies have lists that show us these incoming and outgoing calls, but also the lists show us what time the calls were made or received…okay, now what if we used our time’s technology with Tadosh’s technology?”

“You mean, being able to trace the call instantaneously and having the ability to visualize it,” Tadosh said, still wondering if he understood Patrick’s point.

“Right,” Patrick said. “But not just trace when the call was made, but track the actual signals that the phone gives out…even when Samantha’s not calling on the phone.”

“You mean like a global tracking system on steroids, but for phones,” Sonya guessed.

“Well, sure,” Patrick said as he stood up now. “Just the mere fact that it has a working battery inside it makes this possible…let’s try to trace Sam’s cell phone heart beat, in a matter of speaking!”

Tadosh slowly shook his head as he looked at Patrick with admiration. “Now I see why history has chosen you as the creator of the first time catalyst…” Tadosh reached over to his pouch of equipment and pulled out his communicator. “Okay, Dr. McClain, now how can we do this without your wife’s cell phone?”

Patrick retrieved his own cell phone and pushed the redial button on it. Samantha’s cell phone number was then displayed on his caller id.

“Now, we’ll have to play around with it a bit,” Patrick admitted as he walked over to where Tadosh was with his communicator on hand while the others just looked on. “Do you have some kind of an adaptor for your communicator, Tadosh?”

Tadosh, without saying a word, reached into his bag again and pulled out some kind of compact adaptor that reminded Patrick of five outlet plugs pieced together.

“Great,” he simply responded as he turned to look at the others in the living room while Tadosh began his task of tracking Samantha’s phone signal. “Look, guys…as you’ve seen before, things can get a little sticky with Drogheda. I don’t expect you—“

“—Pat,” Cheri said with a tired, but determined, voice, “spare us the hero crap…we’re all staying to help you two out.”

Thomas and Sonya both tried to smile, but the weight of concern for Sam was so heavy on their faces that their smile turned out to be grins. But that was good enough for Patrick.

Later…

“Pat…! Pat, wake up,” Cheri called out to him from the living room. “Tadosh detected something!”

Patrick, upstairs in his bedroom, had taken a nap while Tadosh searched for his wife’s cell phone’s innate signal. He glanced at the clock on a wall of his bedroom and saw that he had been asleep for only about thirty minutes. It seemed much longer to him. Then he remembered that he had gone for a jog before discovering that Samantha had been kidnapped…his body was still tired from the jog and the stress of his missing wife.

When Patrick made it back to the living room, he saw Sonya, Cheri, and Thomas all gathered around a seated Tadosh. In front of Tadosh, on the living room coffee table was an odd jumble of Tadosh’s and Stefan’s communicators, Tadosh’s teleportational spectrometer, and Patrick’s primitive cell phone. All of these equipments were connected in some way or another to each other…Tadosh had modified his search for Sam’s cell phone signal by including Stefan’s communicator and his own spectrometer.

Patrick had been around Tadosh and his late-23rd century gadgets enough to know that Tadosh was using both communicators to somehow boost his signal search and that he was using his spectrometer detector to visually track where Drogheda had likely taken Samantha. Once again, the holographic image was that of the metropolitan area of Seattle.

“It’s a bit faint, but I’m almost certain that’s where Sam’s innate phone signal is,” Tadosh said with some piquancy. “Congratulations, Dr. McClain, I think your idea is a basis for my century’s communication technology!”

Tadosh pressed a zoom-in button and the hologram magnified the location of the signal, which was illustrated with a highlighted zone of street blocks.

“That’s just south of Madison Street,” Patrick said with surprise.

“Yeah,” Thomas needlessly shared, “just a relatively few miles east from downtown.”

“Now, like I said, the signal from her phone is a bit weak, so I would advise that when we go over there that we do it cautiously.” Tadosh looked behind him at everyone else, just to emphasize his point.

“Think we should just teleport over there, Tadosh,” Patrick asked.

Tadosh took some time to think about this question as he peered at the levitating holographic image of Seattle, its subtle light reflecting off of Tadosh’s face. “Well, if I’m wrong about this signal being your wife’s phone, we might surprise an innocent family sitting down to a Sunday meal! And, even if I am right, what if Drogheda took the phone from her and just threw it away in some public garbage can?”

That was something Patrick did not think about. He nodded his head as he spoke. “Yeah…good point. And if we teleported to a wrong place, that would alert Drogheda that we’re on to him after he looks at his own spectrometer, and…and he could do anything to Sam!”

“On the other hand,” Sonya pointed out from behind Tadosh, “if we try to drive over there so we won’t be detected via teleporting, it might take too long! Drogheda might even decide to move out of town, if he gets his own time catalyst going!”

“Out of town,” Cheri said sardonically, “I worry about him taking Sam with him out of our time!”

Now that was something Patrick had never thought about. And, now, he was terrified. The living room went silent, save for the pulsating hum from all the equipment that was on the coffee table. Then Patrick had a thought.

“You know, we could always give Drogheda one of the things he demanded…”

Everyone else in the room looked at Patrick like he was crazy.

“Tadosh,” Patrick requested softly, “do you mind unplugging Stefan’s communicator so you could look up Drogheda’s communicator’s code number…whenever someone is doing a ransom they always leave a means of communication. Otherwise, how will they get their payment if they can’t talk to the one with the money?”

Cheri, Thomas, Sonya, and even Tadosh all looked at Patrick with astonished faces. But, yet, they understood. For it seemed like all their options were played out. How else could Patrick get his wife back safely?

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