Friday, March 16th, 2029
I’m looking up at the warehouse. Andy’s looking at me, Lindsey is looking at Andy, and it is like a web of everyone looking at each-other. It almost hurts how much that analogy fits for all of this. A web, several interconnecting ideas and events that all have little to nothing to do with each other. Somehow, all of these tiny little pieces of history have come together and formed one time, now. The perfect roll of the die, the flip of a coin. Millions of chances to be taken and all of them lead to right here, right now. And they don’t stop here, they only meet up only to go on their merry way again. Hopefully, they converge once more at the time of Jack’s death, the time that Lindsey spoke about. When we can all celebrate and relax on the beach.
They’ll be celebrating without me. I close my eyes and take a deep breath. No, I can change the future. That’s what I’m here to do. I’m here to change the future, I have to keep that in mind.
“Come on, let’s go introduce our new guests,” Andy looks at both Lindsey and I and then to Sarah and Iris.
“Who should break the news to Jay?” I ask.
“I guess we’ll bring it up when it is time for it to come up,” Andy answers.
“What does that mean?” Iris asks.
“Whenever we get through of the questions.”
“Questions?” Sarah asks.
“Well, I’m sure Jay will have plenty for you and maybe you for him,” he says.
Andy is the first one to walk into the building followed by Lindsey, Sarah and Iris are next to walk in. I follow in the rear and we enter through a rusty metal door posted at the entrance of the building. It creaks as it opens on its hinge. We walk into a small narrow hallway, its cold metal walls seem to reflect the pre-spring air back onto our bodies.
Andy stops at the end of the hallway and he presses the button to the pager next to the door on the wall.
“Hey, Jay, it’s Andy and crew. We’re back and have a lot to talk about,” he says.
I hear rushed footsteps on the other side of the door and can bet that Jay had been working on something important before we’d shown up. Just then, a familiar voice rings out over the pager, “Y-Yes? Were you successful in your attempts? Was it him?”
“Let us in and we’ll explain,” I say.
“Right, right. My bad, I’ve just been so busy researching and studying this contained specimen and-”
“Jay, the door first,” Andy interrupts.
“Right, I’m sorry.”
I hear a mechanical sound as the tumblers of the door unlock and it swings open to reveal a large warehouse space, largely emptied of the storage facilities that had once rested here. It is now replaced by various pieces of laboratory equipment and about a dozen computers nearly lined up side by side. Jay is standing behind one of the desks with a bunch of equipment beside him. He’s wearing a brown jacket with some sort of writing on it, but I can’t make it out. His hair is starting to gray a little bit, but only in the front. He wears his stress like a new fur coat.
“I spy with my little eye, two new accomplices,” Jay says, a little whimsical.
“There’s an explanation for that, actually, Jay,” I say.
“This is Sarah, she’s one of Jack’s children,” Lindsey adds.
“Really? Is that…” Jay says and then stops himself.
He walks over slowly towards Sarah and looks into her eyes, a curious look in his.
“You can’t be…” he says, quietly.
“Can’t be…what?” Sarah asks.
“It’s been sixteen long years since I’d seen you last, I remember your eyes,” Jay says.
“She’s the one that I saw the day that Sal died right?” I ask.
“She was the one who was infected with my son and Sal’s two kids, the two who didn’t make it,” Jay says.
“What happened to this Sal guy?” Iris asks.
“Who is this Sal guy?” Sarah adds.
“Sal Muhn was a scientist alongside myself and various others. His two children were killed in the very experiments that you were put through, Sarah,” Jay explains.
“He was also killed because he refused to follow Jack’s orders,” I add.
“So, what of you?” Jay asks, looking at Iris. “Are you another…no, that couldn’t be right, I don’t recognize you at all.”
“No, I’m not infected with Radical-9, but I’m here to help all that I can! I’m Iris McCallum, Mr. Rein,” Iris extends her hand and I laugh.
“Well, it’s good to have you aboard, Iris,” Jay says.
“And your son, he’s a good kid,” Iris says.
“My…son. So that means…?” He asks.
“And therein lies the rub,” Andy begins.
“Long story short, we found him. The problem is that he was grabbed by Micah,” I say.
“And he is being taken to California,” Jay adds in.
“California?” Lindsey asks.
“How would you gather that?” Andy asks.
“I had a bad feeling about all of this, I’d seen it in my dreams last night. At first I couldn’t tell if it was my boy, my John. Then I saw his eyes.”
“You saw it in your dreams?” Sarah asks.
“Jay has the same power as John and yourself, Sarah.”
“You seem to know a lot about a person based on their eyes,” Sarah says.
“There’s a lot you can tell, like how a person is really feeling,” Jay begins. “There is a whole story just waiting to be read there, it just takes a person willing to read it,” he adds.
“So, he’s in California?” Andy asks, getting back on topic.
“Most likely, I saw Oliver Avery in the dream. Since he’s stationed way out there I’d say that’s the most likely choice,” Jay says.
“How would he have gotten there so fast?” Sarah asks.
“Micah’s power is so corrupted and overblown, his is like a leap through time compared to my jump,” I begin.
“Which means he could cross the entire country in what seems like seconds,” Lindsey adds, realizing it.
“This is very bad,” Jay says.
“Well, what’re we waiting for? We need to get moving, then!” Iris says.
Jay begins typing again into the computer and then he turns it off.
“C’mon, we have to hurry. Did you bring the car?” He asks.
“Yeah, it’s sitting out front,” Andy replies.
“We’re driving to California?” Lindsey asks.
“I don’t have the expenses to fly us out there and I don’t believe we can find too many coach airlines flying anyway,” Jay says.
“Well, then car it is, shall we get going?” Jay asks.
“Yes, let’s hurry,” Sarah says.
I nod in agreement and we head out of the door.
“Did you manage to make any progress on the specimen in there?” I ask.
Jay looks at me and then back to the computers behind us. “I think I may have a solution to our problem, yes.”
“Problem?” Iris asks.
“This was what I said I was working with Jay on. We were trying to find a way to neutralize the explosive reaction of Radical-9,” I say.
“And I think I have a way. It’s going to take some time to prepare, but in short I can construct a sort of gun that shoots out radiation. Think of like a police officer’s speed gun, invisible to the naked eye but still affective. This radiation would counteract the Radical-9 within the system of whomever you shoot it at,” he says.
“Unfortunately, the process of creating it will have to wait, because of our move to California.”
“Shouldn’t you be working on that, then? I’m sure we could handle finding John,” Iris asks.
“I’m coming to save my boy. I failed him once and I’m not going to let that happen again,” Jay says.
“How are we all going to fit in the car?” Sarah asks.
“Oh, that could be problematic,” Jay says.
“I can’t afford to get another car,” Andy says.
“Jay, you can have my seat,” I say.
Andy looks over to me, his eyes widen just a little bit.
“Gavin, you certainly aren’t staying here?” he asks.
“I’m not staying. He can have my seat because I’ll jump,” I say.
“Are you sure that’s really a good idea?” Lindsey asks.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get the hang of this power if I don’t practice with it,” I say.
“This isn’t practicing, this is walking into the big league match and putting up your fists,” Sarah says.
“Well then, ring the bell. I’m not going to deprive Jay the chance to see John and you still have Jen to think about,” I say.
“You don’t have to go in alone,” Andy says.
“He’s not,” Iris pipes up.
Everyone turns towards her and she looks around, takes a deep breath and walks beside me. “He’s not going to go alone, because I’ll go with him,” she says.
“No, I’m not going to allow that, it’s too dangerous,” I say.
“Oh, come on. I didn’t sign up for this to not do anything to help. I’m going with you and that’s final,” she says, unflinching. I look at her slowly. Her hair extends just past her shoulders and her unwavering gaze at me. In this moment I admire her bravery, but at the same time I don’t want her to be so careless. There are so many conflicting emotions about this girl, but I don’t want them to go away.
“Okay, you win,” I say.
She giggles and throws her arms around my neck.
Andy looks to the ground and laughs. He then looks back up and walks over to us. He puts his hand on my shoulder and looks me in the eyes.
“Now, don’t get yourself killed, alright?” He asks, his green eyes seem to be glowing.
“I’ll try my damnedest,” I say.
“I’ll keep him in line,” Iris says.
Sarah walks ahead and gives me a hug. She turns to Iris and puts her hands on her shoulders.
“Stay safe, alright?”
“Will do,” Iris responds.
“Where do you think you’ll be heading?” Lindsey asks.
“I’m going to see if we can find out anything, maybe something to help us save John. I want to see what California looks like this time of year,” I say
“Okay, I trust you’ll do well. We’ll try our best to catch up as fast as possible. We might have a few stops on the way, but we’ll get there as fast as we can,” Jay says.
I nod. Andy steps into the front seat of the car, its red paint job glimmering in the sunlight. Jay is next to follow suit, he climbs into shotgun and I see that he looks very weary. He looks like he hasn’t slept all night. Sarah opens the back door and sits in and Lindsey climbs in after her. They all shut their doors almost simultaneously and Andy throws the car into drive. The engine roars to life and they begin driving off into the woods on the outskirts of the lowly secluded warehouse.
I look towards Iris and she looks back at me with a grin on her face.
“You know, you didn’t have to do that,” I say.
“Don’t be silly, of course I did.”
I look at her with a piqued curiosity. “I would’ve been fine,” I say.
“You would have treated this as a suicide mission,” Iris says. I gaze upon her for a few silenced seconds and then look away. “I’m coming along with you so that doesn’t happen.”
Maybe she’s right. I already have been told that I die when this place explodes into a battlefield. Maybe that knowledge just doesn’t frighten me anymore.
“Alright,” I say, quietly.
“Alright, let’s go.”
I take her hand in mine and I close my eyes. It’s warm and…comforting. I breathe deep and in another moment I hear her gasp.
I open my eyes and I see we’re floating in the dimension between dimensions. It is full of purples and blacks and like some sort of dark void and it houses all of the different realities and sub realities of the world, the different times around us floating by in little bubble-like pockets.
“What is this place?” She asks.
“This is how I jump. Think of the multiverse as an ocean. Each timeline is like a different island across that ocean.”
“As of right now I can only reach the pockets closest to me, the ones achievable in my lifetime.”
We’re weightless in this form and I can see the amount of wonder in Iris’ eyes.
“Where do we go?”
“We have to find a scene we can recognize. Something at all that you know from California in your time,” I say. “We don’t want to end up stranded in some other timeline. Iris begins looking around her, taking in all of the small little bubbles around her.
“Okay, um…there was a statue erected. It was President Avery who ordered it up.”
“Statue?” I ask.
“Yeah, it used to be the Statue of Liberty. Oliver had it personally moved.”
“Personally…How do you even do that? How does one person move an entire statue across a country?” I ask.
A dimension slides by, a new one I hadn’t seen. The Statue of Liberty stands tall in the distance. It looks to be in the middle of a large body of water.
“The Salton Sea,” Iris says.
“What?” I ask, turning towards her.
“This used to be called the Salton Sea. It’s been since renamed,” she says.
“True,” Iris laughs.
“So, what’s this place called?” I ask.
“The Acheron,” Iris says.
“Acheron? What does that mean?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, I guess the only way to find out is to dive headfirst,” I say.
I take her arm in my hand and I place my hand on the pocket dimension. I feel a great force pulling me inside. I look back to see Iris being pulled in too. In another moment, all is dark.