The Time Catalyst

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Chapter 4

The McClains’ private estate, ten miles outside of Seattle, Washington, Thursday morning…

Patrick was downstairs in the living room, watching television when Samantha came downstairs. She was dressed for work at the University of Washington and had her tote bag with her. Patrick, on the other hand, still had his pajamas on and his slippers; a cup of coffee was in one of his hands. He was watching the morning news on an international channel.

Samantha, slightly heavy-set with medium-length, brunette hair, looked at her husband with concerned eyes.

“Aren’t you going in today, Pat?”

“Oh, hey, Hon…I didn’t hear you come down.” Patrick’s demeanor was leveled, but not cheerful either. “No, I decided to take today off. Things have been a bit—tense, lately.”

“Well, okay…”

Samantha went over to the kitchen and poured herself some coffee as well. She filled up her stainless steel travel mug, glanced at the Seattle Times headlines, and went over to where Patrick was sitting. She sat on the arm of the sofa he was on and flashed him a slightly flirtatious smile. His return smile was a bit restrained.

“Sure there’s nothing to talk about? You got home pretty late last night.”

Patrick was quiescent for a brief while, then grabbed the TV remote and put the sound on mute. “Have you ever been in a situation where you weren’t sure someone was telling you the truth, but you suspected that he or she could be? But that same person told you to give up something very important to you, yet, you weren’t sure if it was worth giving that important thing up, because it could be a ruse!”

Samantha frown Patrick’s convoluted retort. “Pat, the way you’ve asked that, it could fit just about any situation! Mind being a bit more specific?”

Patrick grunted.

“Let me guess,” she said; her flirty smile long gone now, “it has something to do with this top secret project you’re doing?”

“Sam, Baby, you know I can’t tell you about that!” Upset, Samantha got up from the sofa and went over to grab her jacket. Patrick kept talking. “Sam…? Look, just trust me on this. It’ll all be worth it! I promise you. Remember, plausible deniability!

“Pat, I’m not one of your employees that you have to worry about me spilling out your patented secrets,” Samantha said with a lot more gusto in her voice. “I’m your wife, for goodness’ sakes!”

“Sam, we all slip. Remember that time I made the mistake of confiding in your mom about us holding off on getting kids…? Remember? That was my mistake. It has nothing to do with you, Hon, it’s just that people sometimes slip up and tell what we shouldn’t.”

She went over and gave him a quick kiss on the lips, usually a sign that she was still mad at him, but her face had softened a bit after Patrick’s explanation. “Okay, McClain, I’ll let you off the hook for now, but whatever’s on your mind needs to come out somehow. Write it down on paper and then shred up the paper, get your recorder and tape yourself expressing your concerns, then erase it afterwards, try talking to one of your lab assistants who’s involved in this project of yours, that way it would stay in-house…in the long run, if you keep this inside you, you won’t need me or anyone else to expose what you’re up to. You’ll tell on yourself through your mistakes!”

Again, she kissed him, this time a little longer. And she was out the front door.

Patrick kept the TV on mute as he began to think more on his weird experience last night. He was still perturbed at the sight of Tadosh winking out of sight right before his very eyes! There is no way in the world that could have been faked, he thought to himself. He thought about the blue flash and the electrical arcs that appeared upon Tadosh’s vanishing…by-products of some quantum mechanical time machine? It had to be real!

Patrick wondered if Tadosh would suddenly chronoport into his house, pointing that odd gun at him. But then he relaxed once he considered the implications of what Tadosh said to him and realized that Tadosh should not have the ability to do so: the Solar Unlimited project was the time catalyst. Patrick was safe at home and his team was not scheduled to run another test until around noon. Apparently, Tadosh and the three other people from 2287 could only time travel when Patrick and his team were running the project with the solar energy cascading from the Sun…but then, Patrick realized, Tadosh had vanished in his office last night without the Solar Unlimited running!

Difficult, indeed, was the notion of time traveling.

Then there was the question of him killing off his own Frankenstein creation. Even if Tadosh’s story were remotely true, surely Patrick would have to dismantle the Solar Unlimited. He had a moral obligation to, again, if Tadosh’s tale panned out. He couldn’t live with himself knowing that his scientific project, meant to help people all over the world with unlimited solar energy, had a hand in some crazy Anarchist’s plight to create havoc in his time, or in the future!

That morning, Dr. Patrick “Miracle” McClain decided to pull the plug on his monster. All he needed to do, now, was to get dressed and somehow get in contact with Tadosh. Patrick assumed that he would have to go to the Miracles, Inc. building for that. Since he had to leave in such a hurry—in every sense of the word—Tadosh never got around to tell Patrick how to reach him.

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