The Time Catalyst

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Chapter 5

Downtown Seattle, at the Miracles, Inc. Tower, Thursday afternoon…

Patrick, dressed casually in jeans, a polo shirt, and a pair of sneakers—it was his way of letting his employees know that he really “wasn’t” there—glided into the lobby of the Miracles building amidst a buzz of dark suits and business dresses. A few of the guests in the lobby recognized Patrick when they saw the young man breeze by. He gave them a complimentary nod and a smile.

“Uh, Dr. McClain…!” It was one of the first shift security guards at the circulation desk. As was standard, there were two of them at the round desk.

Patrick walked over to see what the young man needed. “Hey, what’s going on, guys?”

“Ms. Fillmore was just looking for you.”

“Hmm…did she say—“

Just as Patrick was speaking, his cell phone chimed. He glanced at the caller id field; it was Cheri. Patrick and the two guards laughed at the irony of the timing of the call as Patrick walked off and headed toward the elevators.

“You’ve got impeccable timing, Cheri.”

“Why, where are you?”

“I’m at the elevators on the—“

“Good! Can I see you at Personnel…?”

Patrick went silent. This had to be trouble. Patrick made sure to tell Susan, the other Solar Unlimited scientists, and the two guards last night not to relay to anyone else about the situation in his office. He worried if Cheri’s call had anything to do with Tadosh. “Sure…I’m on my way.”

Patrick saw the tall blonde at the back of the Personnel office. She was at a terminal that was used specifically as an employee data bank. She was busy looking up something on it when Patrick walked up behind her.

“So, what’s going on, Cheri?”

“Thanks for coming by, Pat…” She started to say more, but then she got a glance at his attire. “Casual Thursday and no one’s told me about it?”

“Well, you know…it’s one of those unofficial days for me.”

Cheri just looked at him for a few seconds.

“What,” Patrick asked her.

“You look good in jeans, Pat. You should wear them more often,” she said with a seductive grin.

“Why thanks, I’ll make sure to tell Samantha you said that and watch her come down and use you for a punching bag.”

It was a game they both played. But one they both knew to make sure to keep it a game.

“We’ve got a bit of a mystery here with three of your new employees,” she said, getting down to business as she turned to face the computer monitor. It showed three faces with sub-text below the pictures.

“Hey…!” Patrick pointed to one of the photos on the screen. “I just spoke to that guy last night. He’s a janitor…kind of gave me the creeps!”

“Yeah, you’re not the only one. We’ve had several complaints about them, though not your typical ones.”

Patrick looked at her with a puzzled face. She went on.

“They don’t harass people in any way, Pat, these three guys just seem…unusually inept. For example, I don’t think they’ve ever been around an elevator before. Michael from Accounting caught one of them just standing in front of an elevator the other day, apparently waiting for the door to open without him pushing the button!”

“I don’t know, Cheri…I’ve done that before when I had a lot on my mind.”

“But every time you take the elevator?” Cheri let her words sink into Patrick before she continued. “Then there’s this complaint by Allan in Research and Development about one of the younger of these three going around his office after hours and rummaging through his computer and paper files! I know this happened twice with some other employees, Pat, but idiots like that tend to search the net for porno sites and video games…not this guy.”

“Why, what was he looking for?”

Cheri looked over at a corner of the desk and picked up a stack of print outs and handed it to Patrick. “Allan had suspected the guy was doing this, so he tagged his PC and tracked down what he was doing…”

“ ‘The Vector of Space-Time Continuity,’ “ Patrick read out loud as he flipped through the print outs, “ ‘Black Holes and the String Theory’…’Particle Accelerators and the—Fourth Dimension’…” Patrick was beginning to piece things together. For the Fourth Dimension was time.

Patrick’s body felt a chill and goose bumps welted his thin body.

“I don’t get it, Pat. I mean, the first day at work they were all in the lunch room and didn’t know that the carton of milk contained milk in it! They seem so clueless in one aspect. But yet one of these guys was surfing the net for things related to physics? Drogheda claims it’s because they’re from Europe, why they’re so—“

“Drogheda?” Patrick dropped the printouts onto the desk and craned his neck to look at the information on the computer screen. He hadn’t taken the time to read the sub-text on it. Patrick recognized the name from his conversation with Tadosh.

“Yeah,” Cheri said with inquisitive eyes, “he’s a clerk in our Accounting division.”

The two fell silent as Patrick read about the three employees. Cheri still had that inquisitive look in her eyes.

“Patrick, what’s going on?”

“Why are you asking me that? I’m just trying to figure out what’s going on, too.”

“Your reaction when I mentioned Drogheda tells me that you know something about him…want Cindy to fire them? I know you generally prefer to leave it to your supervisors to do that.”

Patrick thought about what Cheri said then he got an idea. “No…no, why don’t you just let them be, for now.”

Cheri glanced at him, suppressing an urge to disagree with him. Patrick figured this, so he partially explained.

“I think I’ll get a specialist to get these guys; do it secretly.”

Cheri nodded her head several times at his given reason. That seemed to suffice Cheri’s curiosity of Patrick’s unusually laidback attitude about the whole situation. But for Patrick, it was a way for him to provide cover for Tadosh to do his duty for Pangea and nab the three time-criminals without anyone needing to hear that Tadosh and the three others were from the future.

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