The Time Catalyst

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Chapter 7

Downtown Seattle, at the Miracles, Inc. Tower, Saturday noon…

With Samantha being married to the world-famous, mega-rich scientist, and with Thomas being a principle scientist on Patrick’s staff, the two had no problems gaining access to the Miracles lobby on the weekend when the building was closed to the public.

Like all of the elite team members of the Solar Unlimited project, Thomas inconspicuously made his way around the corner of the elevators and went behind the huge potted plant to activate the secret door that led to the basement lab. Samantha quietly followed along. After going through all the secured doors and corridors, Thomas and Samantha finally reached the inside of the lab…where they saw Patrick, once again dressed in jeans and a polo shirt, standing next to one of the main computer terminals. He was standing uncharacteristically stiff, and barely nudged when he saw his wife and Thomas. In fact, he did not move at all.

Standing next to him was a small man, middle-aged and dressed in a military uniform; his head topped with a beret. He, too, had a lack of response as Thomas and Samantha slowly walked up to them.

“Pat,” Samantha called out to him as she and Thomas kept walking to the two men, “Pat, what’s going—?”

She stopped after seeing another middle-aged man approximately eight feet from the two men. Thomas recognized him right away. He was Drogheda, the newly hired office clerk in the Accounting section of Miracles. Thomas had seen him a couple of times that week when he needed to discuss procurement issues for the secret project…of course, Thomas never told the actuaries exactly what the money went to.

And then Samantha and Thomas saw the gun in Drogheda’s hand. It was a unique looking one, but, all the same, Sam and Tommy had no desire to see it put to use!

“My, you are as pretty as the history books depicted you,” Drogheda said, as if nothing were wrong.

Samantha looked at Patrick with a frowning face, as did Thomas.

“It’s a long story, guys,” Patrick remarked, an exhausted feel to his voice evident. “Let’s just get through this alive so I can tell you later.”

“Come on,” Drogheda said to Thomas and Samantha as he pointed the gun at them and gestured with it for them to walk up next to Patrick and Tadosh. “So nice of you to join us, Mrs. McClain,” Drogheda polited as she and Thomas rested their feet right next to Pat and Tadosh. He totally ignored Thomas. “As you can see, we have a bit of a dilemma here!”

“Drogheda,” Tadosh knew he could do nothing to stop him at this point, but he still was determined, “Leave Mrs. McClain out of this! In fact, all of them, this is between you and me!”

“The conundrum is,” Drogheda simply went on, “ol’ Tadosh, here—being the over-grown Boy Scout that he is—wants your husband to obliterate his latest invention. All because his masters back in our time doesn’t want free-thinkers like me to use it as a time-door…”

“What…!” Samantha and Thomas exclaimed this quite loudly as they looked at Pat.

Patrick’s face winced as he closed his eyes and slowly lowered his head. He tried his best to keep all this chronoporting business away from his family and friends, to say nothing of the rest of the world!

“Yes, that’s right, pal,” said Drogheda in a very patronizing tone as he looked at Patrick directly, “the dog’s out of the bag—“

“That’s cat, you idiot,” Tadosh corrected him. “They say in this time, the cat’s out of the bag!”

Drogheda simply shrugged with a smile. “Well, whatever…the other part of this dilemma, Mrs. McClain, is that I need the Solar Unlimited for transportation through the quantum highway, so to speak. Truth is, I’m not even interested in this time, I don’t understand why your husband doesn’t just step back and let me have what I need so I’ll be on my way and leave all of you alone!”

“You know I can’t let you do that, Drogheda,” Tadosh interjected. “You’ve created enough mess in our own time! That’s why governments all around the world in 2287 banned chronoportation research!”

“Tadosh, it’s been fun having you for an adversary, my friend.” Drogheda raised his gun up to Tadosh’s head, causing all three of the 21st century primitives to converge around him in a futile attempt to protect their protector. “But I think it’s time that we stop this little game…”

Just then, the sound of two gunshots rang in the lab. Drogheda’s hand with his gun was struck by one of the bullets, causing him to yelp as his weapon flew across the room. Blood had splattered onto Patrick and the three others next to him. Patrick saw his chance and, without thinking who it was that shot Drogheda, leaped toward Drogheda. The two men fell back onto a large printer, causing it to rock violently.

It was then that Patrick saw who rescued them. One of the guards from the lobby had come down with Cheri Fillmore. Patrick would worry about how she found out about the secret lab later.

Patrick received a few good blows to one of his temples from Drogheda as he tried to wrestle down the 23rd century pirate. The guard didn’t want to shoot at Drogheda since Patrick was still on the man, so he joined in the brawl. Tadosh was just about to do the same when he noticed a couple of bright blue flashes from separate parts of the lab. Electrical arcs and a loud sizzling sound exploded after the flashes…and out came Tage and Stefan, Drogheda’s henchmen. They had even bigger late-23rd century guns on them!

“Get them out of here,” Tadosh bellowed to Thomas. Without protest, Samantha, Thomas, and Cheri all ran straight for the front door of the lab.

Tadosh was already shooting at both of the two young men who had just joined the battle. His gun shot out white-hot laser pucks while Stefan’s and Tage’s guns spewed out lances of red laser fire. Between all three, they were making a total mess of the high-tech laboratory! Patrick and the guard were both still working on Drogheda. Even though he was older than both men, Drogheda was fit and nimble. He’d either throw a heavy office chair at them or he’d do a fancy martial arts technique on them.

“Tage, the SCR,” Drogheda shouted to the young man ducking behind a metallic cabinet drawer. “Grab the SCR…!”

Patrick knew exactly what Drogheda was trying to do. What a battery was to a car’s engine, the Solar Converter Receiver was to Patrick’s entire Solar Unlimited project. No matter how big the network was, should Drogheda and his men steal the SCR, it was like trying to drive a luxury BMW without its battery—pretty to look at, but would go absolutely no where!

Apparently, Tadosh also understood the implications of the Receiver. He took a big chance at being shot from Stefan as he started barreling toward Tage before he had the chance to run. But then Tage engaged some buttons on his wristband and vanished into a blue mist with tiny lightning arcs. It was the same technology that Tadosh used to disappear in Patrick’s office. Tadosh stopped himself from running into an office partition wall then had to jump out of the way from one of Stefan’s long laser bolts.

“Dr. McClain, this is very important,” Tadosh yelled to him as he got behind one of the lab’s large metal cabinets and resumed punching out his laser pucks at Stefan, “where is your SCR?”

Patrick and the guard had managed to get Drogheda in an institutional hold that’s usually reserved for troubled patients. Patrick told the young guard that they needed to do this before Drogheda disappeared the way that Tadosh and Tage did. Drogheda’s hands were being held down by the guard so he couldn’t teleport himself while Patrick held down his strong legs.

“Oh my word,” Patrick exclaimed, just learning that Tadosh did not know of the location of the vital hardware. “It’s, it’s on the roof, Tadosh! It’s on the roof!”

As he had done in Patrick’s office, Tadosh activated his teleporting device that was wrapped around one of his wrists, like Drogheda and his men’s teleporting devices. But this time he had to punch in a few algorithms to teleport him to an unexpected location…then he was gone in a blue vapor. This, of course, meant that Stefan had to do the same thing to stop Tadosh from stopping Tage! Then he, too, had teleported out of the lab. With everyone else that was in the lab being gone, including Samantha, Thomas, and Cheri, there was an eerie quiet that descended upon the expansive dungeon.

After several more seconds, the front door to the lab was opened, revealing a herd of Seattle police officers behind it. Cheri had called them much earlier before the shoot out. She and Samantha and Thomas were far behind the cops as they began to file into the trashed-out lab. Paper files, shattered computer monitors, severed communications wires, up-turned chairs and tables had all greeted the Seattle police. The captain of the police walked in and whistled.

“Why, I haven’t seen this much fire-power since Vietnam,” the captain commented.

He then gestured to his subordinates to retrieve Drogheda from the clutches of Patrick and the company guard. Samantha, Cheri, and Thomas finally inched their way back into the lab as well.

“Wait,” Patrick pleaded before the police. “We’ve got to take this wristband device off him first!”

The captain glanced at his officers with a frown then looked upon Patrick. “Is it a bomb, is that why you two or holding him?”

“No, no its…” Patrick knew it would be fruitless to even try to tell the cops about time traveling and teleportation! “Look, we just need to cut the band off, or something…you guys have a pocket knife or—?“

Just as Patrick spoke, Tadosh had teleported back into the lab. Of course, the Seattle police weren’t expecting someone to pop into the lab seemingly from nowhere, so they all jumped upon seeing him and then focused their primitive guns on him.

“Down, down right now,” the captain barked at Tadosh with a frightened face. “Mister, I don’t know where you came from but—“

“No…! He’s with us,” Samantha cried out as she muscled her way passed the cops and stood next to him, once again trying her best to protect Tadosh. “Officers, this man has been protecting my husband from that guy over there and the others.” She said this as she tilted her head toward Drogheda, who was, yet, on the floor as Patrick and the guard kept him pinned down.

“What others,” the captain asked with much confusion. The other officers began to look around the disheveled lab. In fact, some even began to walk around the facility to look for other people.

Samantha, Thomas, and Cheri now began to look around the lab as well. They were out of the lab during the major portion of the small battle, so they did not know that Tage and Stefan had teleported out of the lab. The police captain’s question had reminded all three that they had seen Stefan and Tage teleport into the lab. Now they, too, began to look confused.

“Sam, Honey,” said Patrick with a slow shake of his head as he looked at her while he kept Drogheda’s legs down, “just…just forget it! I’ll explain later.”

“Explain what later,” the head cop said with an irritated tone. He was becoming impatient with the whole ordeal.

Just then, Drogheda used his martial arts skills to shove the guard and Patrick off of him and pushed a button on his wristband contraption, and teleported away with a blue flash and a low, hissing sound. The police officers had to either restrain themselves from shooting at the now-vanished Drogheda since Pat and the guard were still in the same area, or they had to restrain themselves from screaming for the apparition they had just seen. Tadosh had teleported into the lab in a somewhat secluded corner of the lab, but Drogheda’s trick was done right in the open in front of everyone.

Tadosh’s face first expressed shock, then sadness. He drooped his head down with a heavy sigh as he firmly shut his eyes and began to slowly shake his head out of disbelief.

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