The Time Catalyst

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Chapter 21

Miracles, Inc. Tower, Sunday evening…

Patrick did not tell the security guards who he was meeting that night, only that he had a special guest. He asked the two young men to take the rest of the evening off. In true Miracle McClain fashion, their time was still paid. Needless to say, such benign gestures made Patrick quite popular among his employees. The janitorial and maintenance crews had already worked that Sunday morning, and he did not see one of his pencil-pushing office workers hanging around, so Patrick pretty much had the edifice to himself.

Pat waited at the circulation desk. He lackadaisically looked at the many surveillance screens as he slouched onto one of the chairs at the booth. His mind flipped through much of the month that had gone by, how he and his wife had gotten to this position of her being a ransom pawn and Patrick in an uncomfortable situation of doing what he was planning, due to someone from a distant future, no less.

On one of the monitors, Patrick saw an old boxy car drive up close to the entryway and park. Instantly, Drogheda popped out of the driver’s side and went over to open the door to one of the back passenger area. Unconsciously, Patrick caught his breath and straightened his posture. He watched the good-quality surveillance monitor closely. He looked to see if Samantha seemed harmed in any way. From what he could tell, she seemed fine. She looked shaken, as was expected under the circumstances. But Patrick would have to wait to see her in person to make a better judgment of her condition.

Patrick figured he would look less threatening to Drogheda if he wasn’t in the circulation desk; too many hiding spots for a weapon or another person within the doughnut-shaped desk. So Patrick stepped out from the circulation desk and stood, almost at attention, in front of it by several feet. He let his arms dangle to his side, again, as a gesture to show Drogheda that he had no weapon.

Drogheda finally entered into the lobby with Samantha. Samantha was still in her tight-fitting professional, dark dress and shoes that she had worn for her working trip to Olympia that she never did go on that Sunday. Patrick had always liked to see his wife in that dress. It made him feel uncomfortable knowing that she looked that good around Drogheda…he wondered if he had touched her in any way!

Drogheda had Samantha walk in front of him by a few feet, making it obvious that he was holding his 21st century pistol at Sam’s back. Samantha’s face was relatively calm, given the situation.

“Dr. McClain,” Drogheda called out from behind Sam, “like I said over the phone, I don’t want any tricks…okay, let me see those teleporters.”

Patrick nodded and dug into his jacket’s pockets and pulled out four portable teleporters, each one from Tadosh, Patrick, Stefan, and Tage. He then carefully slid them onto the floor, making them slide at a considerable distance toward Drogheda. Drogheda, yet pointing his pistol at Samantha, told her to walk slowly toward the teleporters. Upon reaching them, Drogheda picked them all up and placed them into his carry-on pouch.

“You don’t get her until I go through the procedure in the lab and I am on the roof, standing next to your new SCR and ready to chronoport, you understand?

“Yes,” said Patrick, dully.

Drogheda gestured to Patrick with the gun that he should lead them to the basement laboratory. Patrick walked toward the secret entry for the lab as Drogheda walked behind Samantha. They meandered their way through the stairwell and halls in the basement until they finally reached the door to the lab. Patrick engaged the front door with his id badge and stepped inside. Suddenly, Drogheda grabbed Samantha by the neck from behind her and pointed the pistol at one of her temples. Patrick turned to see what was going on. He stood silently, looking at Drogheda.

“I’m not stupid, Doctor…where’s Tadosh?”

“Trust me, Drogheda,” Patrick said with an exhausted look and the shake of his head, “he’s not here. Risking my project is one thing, risking my wife is quite another.”

“Well, then where—“

“I told you, he’s not here!”

The stress was getting to Patrick. Even Drogheda could see and understand that. Drogheda looked at Patrick for a while longer then glanced around the lab and proceeded inside, yet clutching onto Sam with his weapon pointed right at her head. The door automatically shut behind them.

Drogheda gave an appraising look around the lab as he nodded his head. “I see you’ve cleaned up since I was last here…”

Patrick had no response to his remark. Once again, Drogheda looked around the lab a bit more until he found the terminal he was looking for. He waved his pistol in that direction at Patrick, indicating that Patrick needed to go there. From behind, Drogheda pulled Samantha with him. After the McClains stood next to the computer, Drogheda rolled up two chairs for them and ordered them to sit with the pointing of his pistol. He then reached into his pouch and pulled out some industrial-grade rope.

Great, Patrick thought, he’s going to bind us up!

Just as Patrick thought, Drogheda took the rope and tied both of the McClains to separate chairs. Patrick was reminded of when he had Stefan and Taged tied up with Tadosh’s help. Only, Drogheda did not cover their eyes and shoved earplugs on them. Not because he was so nice, it was a simple matter of a lack of time. After securing the McClains, Drogheda proceeded to engage the Solar Unlimited.

“Do you really want to be responsible for altering history, Drogheda,” Patrick suddenly called out.

Samantha snapped her head in his direction and gave him a look that could have killed a whale! But Patrick gave a shrug, indicating that at that point it didn’t matter. Drogheda stopped for about two seconds to look at the couple before he ducked his head down again to look at the monitor in front of him.

“That Tadosh has quite a big mouth for such a little man! Dr. McClain, tell me…” Drogheda was now moving to another part of the lab. “…do you believe in predestination?”

Patrick gave a quick glance at Samantha, not wanting to irritate her any further. But she just looked at Drogheda with inquisitive eyes. So Patrick saw no problem in conversing with the Anarchist.

“Truthfully, no. In fact, I’m not sure if I believe there is a god that pre-determines history or the future—“

A future,” Drogheda chastised, one of his index fingers pointing in their direction as he ran over to another bank of terminals to operate the Solar Unlimited. The sounds of machines were finally beginning to hum loudly now. “Before you and that Pangean do-gooder chronoported my two colleagues—I assume that’s what you did with them—we found out that this history is not the same that my generation learned of in school!”

Patrick was nodding his head as he and Sam looked at each other. “Yeah, Tadosh told us about that…so why do you want to compound the situation, Drogheda?”

“Who said anything about compounding it, Dr. McClain? The fact that what we call history and the future are now confirmed to not be inalterable shows that the Anarchist philosophy is the logical choice for humanity! For literally thousands of years, we humans have been stifling our progress as a species based on a faulty premise that life can be plotted out, as if we were living one big novel!”

Drogheda was now at another terminal, punching in equations that he was reading from one of the stolen files from the University’s Computer Engineering Department.

“But now,” Drogheda continued, “thanks to your time catalyst, Doctor, we were able to prove that history and the future are not fixed! I don’t suppose Tadosh even bothered to tell you certain details…?” He peered over the terminal to see the McClains’ reaction.

Indeed, Patrick’s face began to tighten with the disconcerting feeling of the unknown. Sam just sat quietly, stoic. Drogheda chuckled as he continued to key in equations.

“Let me guess…he painted me as some kind of whacko who’s bent on spreading chaos in the time-line continuum, right?” Neither of the McClains responded, so Drogheda continued. “Well, I should say that’s partially true. I am a neo-Anarchist, after all. I make no apologies for it. It took years for me to come into the light of how much freedom that Anarchism offers me personally, and what it can do for all of humanity…Did your little secret agent friend tell you that I’m also a physicist?”

Well, that hit Patrick like a ton of bricks! He looked over at Samantha, whom was equally surprised as her eyes met his.

“It’s true, Dr. McClain. You and I are professional peers! For about twenty years I worked in the field of applied physics. Mostly by governmental appointments, believe it or not! But, if you think about it, a former government official would be the perfect type of person to lead the Anarchist movement…I’ve seen from personal experience the stifling hand of government. My fellow doctor, if you’d only seen the number of failed projects from my time because of government bureaucracies…!”

Drogheda was now at, yet, another computer, sufficiently keying in algorithms for the Solar Unlimited’s programming from the sheets of paper he and his colleagues had stollen from the University and some private, scientific corporations. Miracles, Inc. was only one of many victims from this small gang of misfits. He continued.

“Then, of course, you have government’s ugly brother…religion! I tell you, Dr. McClain, in some ways religion is even worse than government. So many scientific projects in the 2200s did not come to fruition because of the public’s inhibitions based on moral views…their views that are not shared by everyone in society!”

“Look, Drogheda, I honestly agree with you on many of those things! Take it from me I’ve had my share of public protests over many of my own scientific endeavors! But that doesn’t mean you have to totally abandon government or even religion—and I say this as an agnostic! We’ve got to have some kind of rules in society to govern us, otherwise we’d have—“

“Anarchy,” Drogheda finished with a broad smile. He continued to work at the terminal while he talked. “What good are rules and regulations, Dr. McClain, if society continues to hold back on medicines that could cure ailments? But because of some moral bent we ban the research into such medical endeavors! What good are laws if they stand in the way of me pursuing my personal dreams that may not be popular among some segments of society?"

“I agree,” said Patrick from the chair he was bound to as Samantha looked on. “So why don’t you run for a government office so you can change those laws and regulations? Do you really have to go about it in a radical way?”

“Actually, Dr. McClain, I did run for office…I ran for the presidency of the United States of America back in 2284. Of course, I didn’t even make it to the general elections…”

Patrick and Samantha were stunned. Drogheda liked seeing this expression on their faces. He chuckled to himself as he shook his head.

“That Tadosh is quite a fellow. He likes to simplify things. Since we Anarchists don’t share his views, then he pretends that we are non-productive citizens. He pretends that I wasn’t a representative of the Anarchist Party; that I’m some wild man who seeks to harm people.”

“Then what do you call going around the world and plotting coups against stable governments, Drogheda,” Patrick threw out at the man. “Opening a time portal for all of your fellow neo-Anarchists into our century is a slap in the face to all physicists!”

Patrick’s words caused Drogheda to pause. “Oh, I see now,” he said sardonically. “You must have gotten hold of Stefan’s communicator and traced our conversations…well, that doesn’t matter now, does it?”

“Sure it does,” came a woman’s voice from a corner of the lab.

It was Sonya. She held in one of her hands Stefan’s or Tage’s lancer gun that the Miracles team had confiscated after Tadosh and Patrick captured them. She blasted off a couple of choppy beams, for the gun was on a strong stun setting so that they could capture Drogheda alive…though that could have been very easily changed! Drogheda barely escaped as he flung himself backwards and rammed right into a large printer.

“Quick, Sonya,” Patrick yelled out as Thomas and Cheri now popped up from their hiding places and began to cut the McClains lose from their binds, “get him before he teleports!”

But it was too late. By the time Sonya had once again pointed the barrel of the lancer gun at him, Drogheda had already turned into a bright blue puff of vapor after engaging the teleporter that was wrapped around his wrist.

“Great,” Sonya said as she reached for her hand-held radio. “Tadosh, heads up, fellah!”

“I see him,” came his response over the radio.

On the roof of the Miracles skyscraper, Drogheda had teleported not far from the new Solar Converter Receiver, but he also materialized right into Tadosh’s trap. As soon as Drogheda had turned so he could take a couple of steps and grab the Receiver and teleport somewhere else in Seattle proper, Tadosh tackled him hard to the roof’s floor. Since Drogheda had all of the teleporters in his pouch but his own around his wrist, there was no way the Miracles team could have teleported after him! Which was why Tadosh was that much more desperate to grab Drogheda.

Tadosh was prepared this time. He aimed his laser puck pistol and blasted out the interface to Drogheda’s portable teleporter…the fight was now on equal footing!

While down in the basement lab, Patrick was barking out orders to his makeshift civil defense team, including his wife.

“…come on, people, we should be going faster than this! Drogheda already got the system up and running part-way!”

Every now and then Patrick glanced up at one of the surveillance monitors that displayed the action on the roof being played out by the two middle-aged futurians. Sometimes Tadosh had command of the scuffle, but then Drogheda would throw in a surprise kick or swing at him. At this point, both were too occupied in subjecting the other for them to use their respective guns…for the moment.

“How are we supposed to know exactly when to punch the system,” Thomas asked, perspiration glistening his round face.

“Tadosh said he would simply tell us over his radio link,” Patrick said as he turned from the monitor and faced Samantha who was working at another terminal. “Sam, I’m going up!”

“No, Patrick…!”

“I don’t think Tadosh can hold him out too much longer!” Patrick turned toward Sonya. “Sonya, can I use the lancer?”

Without protest, she tossed Pat the mid-sized gun. Pat then ran for the elevators in the laboratory’s lobby.

Drogheda managed to get a good kick to Tadosh’s gut, causing the Pangean to ricochet off of a ventilation system and onto the roof’s patchy floor. Tadosh yanked himself up right away. He knew that Drogheda had a good shot at him with his 21st century pistol. Two firecracker-sounding pops echoed in the open air around the Miracles, Inc. roof.

The nearest building to the Miracles Tower was the Monorail Station, just to the southeast of Patrick’s secular cathedral. But the Miracles Tower was so high up that no one else was likely to hear, much less see, what was going on. The only possibility of the battle on the roof being spotted was by people eating a Sunday night dinner in the restaurant within the Seattle Space Needle’s famed “saucer.” But even then, it was turning dark as the evening progressed and the Space Needle was about a quarter of a mile away, to the southwest of Miracles, Inc.

As Tadosh crouched behind the ventilation equipment, he pulled out his laser puck pistol again and knocked out several photons as Drogheda ran for cover on the wide-open roof until he found sanctuary behind another large ventilation housing. Now the brawl had turned into something of an Old West shoot out conflagration. Ironic, given that both men were from the late-23rd century and that one was using one of the most advanced firearm known to humans at the time.

A few times during the standoff, Drogheda had to reload. During one of those times, Tadosh tried rushing Drogheda as he laid down a repressive fire of laser pucks. But Drogheda was simply too fast in loading his next round of bullets.

As soon as Tadosh got about ten feet from his own ventilation housing, Drogheda popped out from behind his and actually nicked Tadosh on one of his shoulders with a shot, causing some splattering of blood into the air and on the ventilation equipment he was nearby. The bullet-wound wasn’t terribly serious, but it was clear that Tadosh could not break the standoff until Drogheda ran out of bullets. And, by the way Tadosh’s laser-fuel registered, he was about to run out of his laser puck photons before Drogheda ran out of bullets! Tadosh did not have the luxury to bring that much extra gun-fuel for his time travel…once he was out of laser pucks that would be it! Whereas Drogheda, using a 21st century weapon, had a variety of gun stores to shop from for more bullets since it was the 21st century. An obvious disadvantage of time travel that Tadosh had cursed himself for not thinking of!

As the standoff resumed and Tadosh began losing more laser pucks each time he shot at Drogheda, Tadosh was startled by a long red laser beam that zoomed out in Drogheda’s direction and sliced his hiding place in half. Tadosh looked back to see who had come to his aid. It was Patrick, running from the doorway of the roof. Patrick virtually crashed into Tadosh’s ventilation equipment as he tried to escape Drogheda’s vindictive gunfire. Patrick pulled out his hand-held radio.

“Okay, guys, I’m in position.” Patrick had stayed in contact with the team while he rode on the elevator. They told him what transpired on the roof via their security camera and how things went in the lab. “How many more minutes before we’re ready to start pouring down sunshine?”

“Ten, at the most,” Thomas’ voice came through Pat’s radio, though barely audible with all the noise of gun and laser fire.

“Dr. McClain,” Tadosh said as he raised his voice to be heard, “I don’t think I could last three more minutes of this, much less ten! I’m almost out of gun-fuel! I think Drogheda has enough bullets to wipe us both out!”

Patrick shot a few more choppy photons at Drogheda. He had switched the gun back to that strong stunner setting. “I don’t suppose you were able to nab one of the teleporters from him?”

“No…!” Tadosh had to duck from several more shots.

Part of the problem for Patrick and Tadosh was there weren’t enough big objects to hide behind on the roof. The Miracles Tower was of the modern school and did not have very much “clutter,” in the way of large water containers, shacks, and the likes, just the two ventilation equipment and a couple of large radar dishes that did not provide any cover and mostly looming antennas. Just then, Patrick had an idea.

“Think you can hold him off for two more minutes,” he asked Tadosh.

“Not much more, Doctor! Please make it quick!”

Patrick barely made it safely into the doorway of the roof as he ran in a zig-zag pattern so Drogheda could not shoot him. Of course, it helped that Tadosh provide cover for him as well. He headed straight for his 95th floor penthouse office as he flew down the stairwell. Patrick knew the layout of the entire Tower almost by heart. He knew precisely where Drogheda was standing relative to his office floor plan.

“Patrick,” Tadosh said frantically over the radio, “I’m down to three more shots…! Drogheda will know I ran out and it’ll be open season for Pangean agents! And after he takes me out, he can still get the SCR!”

“Tadosh,” Patrick responded, feeling the time pressure, “how come he hasn’t teleported himself by now? I know you’ve shot out his teleporter, but we gave him both of yours and the ones for Tage and Stefan as part of the deal to get Samantha back!”

“That’s the advantage of having two people with weapons up here, Dr. McClain,” Tadosh said over the gun fire in the background. “He would have to re-program the coordinates for each teleporter to take him where he wants to go…we both have been able to distract him from doing that. But I can’t distract him up here by myself, especially when I’m out of pucks!”

“Pat,” came Thomas’s voice over the radio link as he and the others in the lab monitored the situation over the security camera, “whatever you’re going to do, do it now! Even if Tadosh gets away, Drogheda will take one of the other teleporters and grab the SCR and teleport away from here…then he’ll be able to open a time door and let loose several Anarchists from 2287 into our time, no doubt with 2287 weaponry!”

Patrick quickly reset the lancer gun to ultimate mode as he ran to the back of his office. He could actually hear the gunfire from above, though muffled. Then he heard Tadosh’s last three photonic puck shots!

Patrick took aim to his posh office’s ceiling and shot out a lancing laser to it. Much like using a high-powered car wash sprayer, Patrick maneuvered his gun so that it cut a large semi-circle into the ceiling. He expected to cut a clean circle when he was done, but because of the weight of the ventilation housing that was next to Drogheda, the ceiling collapsed into Patrick’s office sooner than he thought it would when he had sliced only about half of that circle. Next thing Patrick knew, he was engulfed by an avalanche of falling debris!

There was a sprawling jumble of mess in his luxurious office! Right in the center of all the carnage was the ventilation equipment. There were two pieces of the large apparatus since Patrick had sliced it in half early on the roof. After the rushing sound of debris falling into his office had subsided, there was nothing but silence in his office now. No gun or laser shots, no shouting, no tumbling debris… Patrick, after removing a couple of big chunks of the roof off him, quickly got to his feet with his gun in a readied position and looked around for Drogheda in all the mess.

“Patrick, are you all right,” Tadosh exclaimed worriedly over the radio. Tadosh knew that Patrick had been the force behind the ventilation system’s crash into the penthouse office since he was able to see the long, red laser fire shinning through the crack of the roof as Patrick cut around the system.

Of course, that caused the others, Samantha in particular, to panic after hearing Tadosh. Plus, they, too, saw the large equipment suddenly drop into the office via the surveillance camera.

“Pat,” Samantha was saying over her radio, “Pat, Honey…are you all right up there…?”

“Stand by, everyone,” Patrick responded with a whisper as he slowly walked around in all the crumbled up roof and ceiling junk, looking for Drogheda. He placed the hand radio up to his mouth again. “Tadosh, why don’t you—“

That’s when Patrick top-right chest was shot! Patrick had automatically dropped the radio and fell backwards with a yelp. But in the course of his fall, Patrick managed to make the fall into a controlled roll off his back and landed on his feet. He then dove behind one of his cabinet files and did a flipping turn he didn’t realize he had in him and shot at Drogheda—without having time to reset the laser lancer to stun. The force of the laser threw Drogheda against the decrepit ventilation equipment, which, in turn, caused him to bounce off that and onto the debris.

“Oh, no,” Patrick said to himself, suddenly feeling a cold shiver rising through his body, both because he knew that Tadosh needed to capture Drogheda alive for legal proceedings in 2287 and because of the pain from the shot to his chest.

By now, he heard Tadosh’s footsteps on the roof. When Patrick looked up, he saw the Pangean agent jump down into his office and, with cat-like reflexes, land on his feet.

“What’s going on up there…? Tadosh, do you see Pat…?” It was Cheri’s voice on the radio. For now Patrick, Tadosh, and Drogheda were all out of monitoring sight of the surveillance camera located on the roof.

After taking a look around the room and at a slumping Patrick, Tadosh finally answered. “Call an emergency medical outlet, or whatever it is you have in this time! Pat’s hurt real bad…I’m about to check Drogheda’s situation.”

Tadosh stepped over clumps of ceiling and equipment and bent down to inspect his prey. Before Tadosh even touched him, there was a faint grunt from Drogheda, which made Tadosh quickly look up at Patrick. Patrick, feeling relieved that he didn’t kill anyone even with his own predicament, sighed from the whole ordeal and grunted from his pain. But he was able to pick himself up from the ruble.

“I’ve got to get him to the Solar Converter Receiver ASAP, Dr. McClain,” Tadosh said as he moved Drogheda and dug out one of the portable teleporters from Drogheda’s pouch. “Pangea has doctors who can stop the hemorrhaging…this man must stand on several trials for the harm he’s done in my century!”

“Okay,” Patrick said, regaining some strength. “I’ll take the stairs and see you up there—“

“No, Doctor. There’s no need…all I need now is for you to go to the lab and rest until help gets here and make sure your team gets us home. Besides, they’ll need more hands to operate the Solar Unlimited…think you can help until the medics get here?”

Patrick looked down at his bleeding wound that he had one of his hands over, trying to reduce the bleeding. He looked back up at Tadosh and nodded. Tadosh’s bullet-induced wound on his shoulder was merely a flesh entry, so he wasn’t worried about his own health.

Tadosh and Patrick took a long look at each other. It dawned on Patrick that this would be the last time he would see Tadosh. The little man that he found in his office about a month ago and was so alarmed by, ended up being a good friend to him and his family and friends.

“Thank you, Tadosh…”

“Dr. McClain, I thank you for the much needed help. There’s no way I could have done this on my own.”

“Take care of that family of yours…father.” Patrick had a bit of a chuckle as he said this. It was still hard for him to imagine this secret agent being remotely wholesome, in having a wife and children.

Patrick got on the radio and told the team that he would be in the basement in a few minutes while Tadosh quickly finished keying in the coordinates for teleporting next to the SCR. Before Patrick vanished through his office’s doorway, Tadosh called out to him.

“Hey, Pat…”

Patrick’s face beamed as he turned to see what Tadosh wanted. He liked the fact that Tadosh addressed him informally. But Tadosh’s face was quite sober. “Remember our conversation…remember, you must discipline yourself from yourself! You know what to do…” He said the last part with a firm nod to Patrick.

Patrick returned the nodded, and ran toward the elevators. Tadosh took a look around the office one last time and shook his head before teleporting he and Drogheda directly next to the Solar Receiver. Drogheda was moaning from both of his wounds: from the fall with the ventilation equipment and the lancer shot. Tadosh just let him lay on the roof’s floor while he stood, waiting for the chronoportation procedure to take place.

“Okay,” Tadosh said to the Miracles team over the radio as he looked at the Seattle skyline in the night, “we’re in position!” Tadosh, realizing how busy the team would be at this time, then took his laser puck pistol and shot out the surveillance cameras! Interesting that Tadosh's pistol, yet, had more energy left in it...

After Patrick’s elevator finally got to the basement level, he sprinted to the lab’s door as he kept one of his hands over his gun wound. He saw that Samantha, Thomas, Sonya, and Cheri were already running around like workers at a fast food restaurant during the lunch hour. Samantha had stopped what she was doing and ran toward him. But Patrick gratefully gestured to her that he would be all right. It was hard for her to swallow this, given how much blood had splattered all over her husband. Never the less, she returned to her station.

“How are we doing, people,” Patrick called out to them as he automatically fell into his own task.

“We’ve got just forty-five more seconds before we’re at optimal level,” Sonya responded. “If we miss this chance, we’ll have to wait a couple of months or so to get all the satellites into the correct orbits!”

“That would be plenty of time for several future Anarchists to chronoport to our time,” Patrick observed with alarm.

“Exactly,” Cheri agreed. “So let’s do this right the first time!”

“Great…! Tommy, what do you say in the area of receptor functions? We don’t have to worry about any overload from the Sun’s energy do we?”

“The grill’s ready to cook, I’m just waiting for the hamburgers,” Thomas quipped as he worked on his console.

“Sam, Honey,” Patrick said with some laughter after hearing Thomas’ response, “are you doing okay in the telemetry department over there?”

“Yeah…these reading are doing just like the manual said they should at this time!”

“Wonderful…! Sonya?”

“That’s a go on photovoltaic and reflector grids! Go, on satellite feed! Go, on alignment rectifier!”

“How’s about you, Cheri…?”

“Go, on all related boards with clearance on airline flights, no birdies to report.”

“Well then…” Patrick looked up at the security monitor for the roof but saw that it was blank. He frowned to himself but continued anyway. “…let’s go!”

With that, Patrick punched in the last algorithms to finally engage the Solar Unlimited. Patrick and Thomas already knew how the reception of the solar energy looked like at nights since they had worked on the project and had seen the solar energy beamed down with the surveillance camera.

As the full run of the Solar Unlimited project got underway, the energy from the Sun came down quite visibly in the night sky. It looked much like a huge spotlight at night only the energy flow was thinner and a pale-yellow as it impacted onto the Solar Converter Receiver. The beamed energy shimmered in the night sky, just like regular day light shimmers in the Earth’s air due to the atmosphere. The spectacle lasted for but ten seconds and was gone.

“Hey,” Sonya said as she craned her neck while trying to look at the security monitor, “what happened to our visual?”

The others were now gathering around the same monitor, trying to figure out the same question.

“I guess it got shot during the shoot out on the roof,” Patrick surmised as he shrugged.

“Well, we’ve got to verify that the process took place,” Samantha insisted as she was the first to head for the elevators. The rest of the Miracles team followed after her, Thomas and Sonya helping Pat as he awkwardly trotted behind.

“That’s the lawyer taking over,” Patrick kidded as they all marched out of the lab. Including Sam, they all laughed.

The laughter wasn’t just because of Patrick’s sense of humor. It was also a release of psychological pressure that had built up during the whole ordeal for the team. The realization that the entire episode of chronoportation and Anarchists from the future—a future—was over was a great relief for them. While on the elevator, Samantha and Thomas dressed Patrick’s injury with the medical kit that they grabbed from the lab.

When they all got to the roof in the Seattle night sky, with the glittering lights of downtown to the south of them, they saw what they wanted to see: the Solar Converter Receiver, a ten-foot antenna topped with a radar dish, standing at attention, all by its lonesome. To double re-affirm, the Miracles, Inc. team had scattered about the roof and looked all over, making sure that Drogheda did not pull a fast one on Tadosh during the chronoportation phase. For good measure, Thomas took a lancer gun and jumped down into the collapsed ceiling of Patrick’s office and searched the office and the immediate floor beneath the 95th level.

No one from 2287 was around.

When Thomas walked back up to the roof to tell the others, they all broke out into a celebration! Patrick and Samantha held on to each other as they both wept for joy while Cheri and Sonya shared a dance with the affable Thomas. Finally, from a distance, the sounds of ambulance sirens howled in the night sky as the emergency vehicles approached the Miracles Tower. It was quite a spontaneous Sunday night party with the beautiful Seattle skyline serving as the backdrop.

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