21 hours, 24 minutes and 13 seconds earlier.
Northampton England, Wednesday August 6th 2262
The door to the teleporter swung open. The occupant stepped down out of it and stood on the port floor of the museum for a few seconds, to establish his bearings. He had put on a smart grey suit, one which was only a shade darker than his prematurely thinning grey hair, in an attempt to blend in with everyone else. This was the museum’s grand opening day, there would be a lot of new faces; nobody was going to notice another one...one that shouldn’t be there.
He took off his dat-com strap and looked at it for a few seconds; it was a shame to have to do this to something he had possessed for so long, but, if his plan were to succeed, then there was no other option. He couldn’t risk it being picked up by the building’s security network. He’d already caused a glitch in the system by using it to teleport into the building; there was no other way to have got in though. Hopefully the anomaly would be overlooked; at least until he’d completed his mission. If it was discovered then hopefully the perfect timing of his arrival would confuse things further and cause more of a conundrum.
He looked up and down the aisle; no one was about for the moment. He slipped in between two teleporters and placed the strap on the floor. He stamped hard on the face of it four or five times with the heel of his shoe before the screen finally shattered; pushing shards of it inside and destroying the strap completely.
He carefully picked up all the pieces and placed them in the inside breast pocket of his jacket; from his left trouser pocket he pulled out a replacement. This one was purely decorative; it had nothing inside to make it work; he couldn’t risk someone noticing he wasn’t wearing one and therefore drawing attention to himself. Every minute detail had to be right. He slipped it on his wrist.
The intruder walked swiftly across the port floor; not so quickly that he would appear to be running from something, but at a pace that wasn’t too leisurely either and likely to make people want to stop him and chat. He tried to look like he should be there, that he didn’t have a care in the world.
His heart raced as he smiled and nodded to staff and visitors alike on his journey to the traversolls and his next potential problem.
As he reached them he was relieved to see the large group of people waiting where he had expected them to be, a mixture of mainly staff and some visitors. He did a quick head count and made twelve - this was the right group.
He recognised a few faces, they wouldn’t know him though.
The doors to traversoll four slid aside revealing an empty carriage. The group started to file inside, most of them chatting politely to one another. The intruder followed them in. He stood up against the chromed back wall and closed his eyes, gently nodding his head as if he was listening to music via his dat-com strap. There was no sound wave travelling through his body and nothing to hear in his ears.
Three members of staff gave different voice commands in turn. He continued nodding to his imaginary music and held his breath waiting to hear the floor he wanted mentioned. It was. He breathed a gentle sigh of relief; piggybacking a ride with them was the only way he could get onto the floor he needed. After a short wait the traversoll burst into life; plummeting downwards at great speed.
The floor he wanted was to be the second stop. He hoped that in the sixty-eight seconds between now and then no one would try and talk to him; the last thing he wanted was his voice to be picked up on the building’s security system.
The traversoll came to a halt briefly before surging to the left for a few seconds and then finally stopping at the first destination.
“Twenty-Second Century Art,” the female voice declared as the doors slid apart.
Five of the party of twelve exited onto the floor and the doors closed again. Almost at once it lunged downwards and then forward. The intruder waited patiently. There was no going back now, he thought, not without giving the game away, besides there was too much at stake; this was literally life or death - he couldn’t afford for the plan to fail.
The traversoll came to a halt again. The intruder’s heart thumped loudly in his chest, surely loud enough for the others to hear. He had to stay calm, this had been rehearsed so many times; he should have nothing to worry about... if he managed not to look as nervous and jittery as he felt and draw attention to himself.
“Lecturer’s floor twenty-seven,” came the announcement as the doors opened once again. Five more people got out, closely followed by the intruder.
The group ambled slowly along the central hall chatting and in high spirits, the intruder kept a few paces behind pretending to be reading something on his dummy strap. He wanted to give the impression that he was deep in thought. The five voices sounded slightly hollow and echoic as their shoes clicked and clacked on the black marbled floor. The sun streamed through the high solar windows that ran the length of the hall on either side making the area feel larger than it actually was.
At the end of the hallway the group split; two entered the wing via the high glass doors on the left and the remaining three stood in front of the wing with matching doors opposite. The man at the front authorised his entry via the thumb-pad on the adjacent wall and the glass doors slid aside. He and his two colleagues entered the wing, the intruder followed.
The three staff headed into the communal area, which was a hive of activity, and joined a small group of people sat on three leather sofas. The intruder continued walking along the perimeter on the west side. The office he wanted was on this side. He glanced at the names on the flush thumb-pads in the wall to the right of each door: Bryan Polta, Rebecca Cave, Francis Fielding, Simon Kingsley, Dobry Zamoyski. The one he wanted must be further down, he thought. He started to panic again. Timing was crucial, a few seconds delay and the plan would fail. He put the thought from his mind and continued with his search.
A few more offices and he found the one he was after; Anna Chillipoc. To the left of her office was a drinks dispenser. He checked the time on her thumb-pad, which was set to display her name and the time alternately every few seconds, 13:16:28.He had a little over two minutes to wait. He turned his back to her door and spent time pretending to be ordering a drink, he obviously couldn’t otherwise his voice would be on record should it ever be checked.
At 13:19:08 Anna Chillipoc’s door slid open and Anna strode out like she was on a mission, her head held high. Please don’t let her double secure it via the thumb-pad, the intruder silently prayed; the mission would fail instantly if she did. This was the only part of the rigorously rehearsed plan that had been an uncertainty. There had been no way of knowing whether she would or not. She didn’t. She shot straight by him, mere centimetres away from him, and headed in the direction of the glass entrance doors he had just passed through minutes earlier. He swiftly sidestepped away from the drinks dispenser and into her office before the door could close itself. The timing had been perfect. He just hoped no one had seen him do it; there wouldn’t have been time to turn round and check. He leant his back against the wall next to the door and waited for a minute in silence in case he had been spotted. He waited with bated breath for someone to start banging on the door to see what he was up to. No one came. He glanced round Anna’s office. It was very bland; she hadn’t even selected a wall colour or covering yet. The walls were a preset light grey. There was no furniture in the room apart from the data-desk and a large burgundy leather chair with it. Both were positioned so that Anna could sit facing the solar windows with her back to the rest of the office.
The intruder snuck over to the data-desk. From his trouser pocket he pulled out an arched semi-circular piece of wafer-thin black rubber. He placed it in his left hand to determine which way round it went. It had been programmed prior to his arrival. He placed the voice replicator on his left thumb and pushed it up onto the roof of his mouth, his saliva creating a firm bond between the two. Here goes, he thought.
“Activate data-desk,” he commanded in Anna’s voice. The sound of a woman’s voice coming from his mouth had never ceased to unnerve him. She had been so fond of her voice memo’s and orders over the years a sample of her voice for the replicator had been very easy to come by.
Anna’s data-desk activated, the ebony top transformed into Plasmorph in seconds. It displayed numerous three dimensional black boxes scattered randomly everywhere.
“What function do you require Anna?” the female voice asked, thankfully deceived by the sophisticated technology.
The intruder glanced down at the boxes and then at the time displayed. He worked out he had eighteen minutes and thirty two seconds before she was due to return to her office. He hoped he wouldn’t need even half that time to do what he needed. He started checking the titles on each of the black boxes. After nearly two minutes of searching he found the box that he wanted.
“Open August staff schedules,” Anna’s voice commanded.
“Please recite the seven digit code required to access that file,” the data-desk requested.
The colour drained from the intruder’s face. He leant forward slightly and covered his face with his hands. The mission was over. Why on earth had she done that? It was something he hadn’t foreseen at all. He thought he had meticulously gone over every potential problem or scenario and covered everything between arrival and departure.
“Please recite the requested seven digit code required to access that file,” the data-desk repeated.
He lowered his hands and stared down at the data-desk. All he could do now was close it again. He thought for a few moments about the implications of his failure; his eyes started to glisten as he tried to hold back his tears.
“Please recite the requested seven digit code required to access that file,” the data-desk repeated a third time. “A security breach alert will be activated in fifteen seconds,” was added this time.
The intruder’s emotions switched from grief to panic in an instant. His problems had just got a whole lot worse. He knew from the buildings security protocols he’d studied in depth for the last few months, that a lockdown of the office and then the wing would be imminent. He had to leave, and leave now. He sprinted to the door, slowing down in front of it as it detected his presence and opened revealing the busy communal area. He slipped out and walked briskly toward the entrance doors, Anna’s door closing behind him.
In the central hallway he quickened his pace as he headed for the bank of traversolls. His mind was in turmoil. How was he going to get out of this mess he was in? He was too early for his planned traversoll ride to freedom and he couldn’t risk loitering on this floor for nearly nine minutes waiting for it.
He passed several people in the hall; he didn’t care now if he drew attention to himself, he just wanted to get out of the building as quick as he could.
As he reached the traversolls, number one opened its doors. He peered inside while eight people exited in turn. It looked like only one woman was staying. This wasn’t ideal but would have to do; it was his only possible means of escape at the moment. He stepped inside and after a few seconds the chrome doors slid together concealing the hall and bringing silence to the carriage.
The woman stared at him, waiting for him to give his destination. The intruder looked at her and smiled. He recognised her, but couldn’t place her. She had shoulder length silky brown hair and was wearing a knee-length jet black skirt, a white blouse and a black structured fitted jacket that complemented the skirt. It came to him. June Jones. She worked on the wing he’d just left. Would she recognise him? They had worked together in the past, but it had been many years since he had seen her. She hadn’t changed at all. His reflection in the chromed walls showed the full extent of his deterioration. How could she possibly recognise him from his ashen aging skin and thinning grey hair? He was the mere shadow of the man he had once been.
The traversoll sprang into life ending the short lived silence and shooting left then down at high speed towards June’s destination.
“You’ve got to tell it where you want to go,” June said with a smile, sounding a little patronising in the process. She stared at him waiting for him to speak.
There was nothing for it; the intruder would have to speak. “I’m just having a tour of….” He paused mid-sentence, he still had the voice replicator in; Anna Chillipoc’s voice had come out of his mouth. He coughed violently in a futile attempt to disguise what had just happened and to remove the voice replicator from his mouth.
June’s mouth fell open, her eyes widened, had this old grey man just spoke with a young woman’s voice?
Anna Chillipoc exited the traversoll and sashayed her way along the corridor that led to Popular Music Transmissions. She turned more than a few heads as she breezed along, ignoring everyone that wasn’t important to her.
One of her staff, Fletcher Henderson, was due to finish his second class of the day. He was lecturing a small group of twenty-two year old students. They had been sent by the BBC as part of their training programme. They all aspired to becoming the next generation of big names in broadcasting. The BBC had been a huge client to have won and would contribute twenty-four percent of the funds needed by the government to keep the museum viable. Anna wanted to make sure she had placed the right member of staff on the assignment. She wasn’t going to be the one to jeopardise the new contract with a wrong placement. Fletcher’s work history showed that he was the right candidate; but words on screen and audio and visual references from past employers were not enough for her. She liked to see for herself what someone was like, and what better way to do it than to turn up unannounced and observe them at work. Fletcher would be demonstrating how BBC Radio 9 used to operate in a reconstruction of Radio 9’s own studios. Several other museum employees would be performing the many roles from disc jockeys and producers, to archive workers and executives. She could hear the sound of the reproduction in the distance; the roar of a crowd, the unmistakable sound of live music from the late twenty-first century. She didn’t like music of any sort; an unnecessary violation of her ears. She would have to endure this for the next fourteen minutes if she was to achieve what she wanted. She sighed heavily as the door in front of her opened and the noise got noticeably louder.
She was now walking through what was a realistic replication of a period reception area. White walls and brown slate flooring gave the area its stark minimalist look and feel that was popular at the time. To her left was a tinted glazed entrance wall with two cumbersome looking glass doors set in the centre. They appeared to lead out onto a busy London street; this obviously wasn’t the case being situated on the seventeenth floor of a museum in Northampton. People passed by on the pavement going about their daily business and motor vehicles trundled by on the road. There were even shops and buildings on the other side of the road; the detail was exceptional. Anna was a little impressed at the sights inside and outside on the holographic street; not enough though to stop and take in her surroundings.
Her dat-com strap pulsed against her wrist. What now! She thought, a little irritated by the interruption. She raised her arm to see that the Head of museum Security, Bennett Hayes, was trying to contact her. His face, and details about him in text below it, filled the screen.
“Answer call, audio,” she said abruptly as she stopped walking and stood in the middle of the lobby.
“Ms Chillipoc?” Bennett asked, sounding unsure.
“Yes,” she replied bluntly, not attempting to conceal her annoyance at his call.
“You are Ms Anna Chillipoc?” he asked.
“Well, you just requested this call to me, who did you think I was?” she barked in an unfriendly manner.
Bennett was a little taken aback at her rudeness. “Can you confirm where you are in the building please.”
“As you will see on your strap I’m on the seventeenth floor in the Popular Music Transmissions section.”
“Yes, that is what it says on my strap,” he agreed.
“Well, I’m glad we cleared that up,” Anna said sarcastically. “Now if there’s nothing else I am very busy right now.”
Was this woman for real? Bennett thought, feeling a bit exasperated with her rudeness. “Ms Chillipoc, you left your office a few minutes ago.”
“Did you leave your data-desk activated?”
“Of course I didn’t Mr Hayes; I’m not a complete ignoramus. What is this about?”
“Ms Chillipoc we have received a security breach alert from your data-desk; if it’s not an error or oversight on your part then we have an intruder in your office.”
“Oh my…” Anna muttered, shocked at the news.
“I’m sending a security team there immediately; I must ask you to return to your office. My team will arrive before you so there will be no danger.”
“Okay… I’m on my way back now.”
“Can I ask you to keep this to yourself for now please until we can establish the facts?”
“Err… yes. Okay,” Anna said, sounding humble now rather than haughty.
“I will head there now too,” Bennett confirmed. “See you there Ms Chillipoc.” He ended the call.
Anna turned back the way she had come and headed for the traversolls.
Bennett stood up from his chair and thought for a few seconds, the Plasmorph of his data-desk still flashed between orange and green to warn him of the security breach in Ms Chillipoc’s office. His dat-com strap also pulsed rapidly on his wrist, should he have been away from his office.
“Activate an immediate lockdown on Ms Anna Chillipoc’s office,” Bennett commanded.
“Lockdown activated,” the data-desk confirmed instantly.
Good, thought Bennett. On the off chance the intruder was still in the office, they would be trapped until his security team got there.
“Security alert for team Night-Fire One. All members move immediately to floor twenty-seven, office A Chillipoc. A lockdown has been implemented. Report back on arrival.”
Bennett had just sent his best team consisting of two men and two women to attend.
“Restore data-desk to normal mode,” Bennett stated.
“Normal functions restored,” came the confirmation.
The data-desk stopped flashing and his strap stopped pulsing. He was heading for the door of his office to join Night-Fire One when the data-desk started flashing the same colours again, and his strap started to pulse rapidly. He was about to command the restore mode again when the data-desk stated the nature of the alert.
“Anomaly detected in traversolls one and five.”
His dat-com strap echoed the audio alert.
What the… thought Bennett, he rushed back to his data-desk. “Report on the nature of the anomaly.”
“Ms Anna Chillipoc detected in traversoll one and traversoll five.”
How the hell can that be! Bennett thought. “Report on methods of identification for both traversolls.”
“Traversoll one. Voice identified as Ms Anna Chillipoc. Traversoll five. Voice identification with corresponding dat-com strap recognition,” The female voice confirmed without the slightest hint of urgency that the situation called for.
Bennett restored his data-desk for the second time and then called Anna Chillipoc again.
“Ms Chillipoc it’s Bennett Hayes here again, can you confirm where you are exactly please?”
“I’ve just got into traversoll five. I’m heading back to my office as you requested no more than three minutes ago,” she said indignantly.
“That’s fine Ms Chillipoc, my team will meet you there; I have another urgent security issue to sort out; I will join you as soon as I can.” Bennett ended the call before Anna had a chance to say anything else.
Bennett contemplated the facts quickly. So it was traversoll one which had the anomaly; that was quite clear. Five had the genuine Anna Chillipoc in it… so who was it in one?
“State the occupants currently in traversoll one,” he commanded of the data-desk.
“Traversoll one is occupied by June Jones and Anna Chillipoc,” Was the swift reply.
“Who is June Jones?”
“June Jones is a member of staff from floor twenty-seven.”
Bennett closed his eyes to concentrate further on the situation. The other person in the traversoll couldn’t be Anna Chillipoc… and it had to be too much of a coincidence that Chillipoc was involved in two separate incidents; surely they had to be related? What was his next move? Should he suspend operation of traversoll one? He dismissed the idea instantly; he couldn’t endanger the life of a member of staff by trapping them with a potentially dangerous imposter.
“State the next destination and time of arrival of traversoll one,” he instructed.
The data-desk replied. “Traversoll one will arrive in two minutes and forty- four seconds on floor seven, Fashions Through Time section.”
He would send another security team to meet it as it arrived and apprehend the imposter. He checked his data-desk for the nearest security team; hopefully one that could get there in time too. There was one patrolling that floor at present, and at a guess, one and a half minutes away from Fashions Through Time.
“Security alert for team Horizon-Indigo Twelve. All members move directly to Fashions Through Time to meet traversoll number one. Arriving in…” he checked his data-desk for the detail, “…two minutes and twenty-three seconds. Apprehend both the occupants and bring them to my office immediately. Keep me informed throughout.”
He flopped back down in his chair and waited for news from both teams. This wasn’t how he had envisaged his first day going.
“Night-Fire One reporting our arrival at A. Chillipoc’s office,” came the slightly breathless male voice through the data-desk.
Bennett flinched slightly at the sudden volume of the voice. “Okay. I will cancel the lockdown now so be ready to enter the office on my command.”
“Confirmed,” the same voice answered.
“Cancel lockdown and open up A. Chillipoc’s office for team Night-Fire One,” Bennett stated clearly.
“Lockdown cancelled,” the data-desk confirmed. “Authorisation for Night-Fire One to enter.”
“Go!” screamed Bennett.
Bennett could hear the team entering the office at speed… he waited restlessly, listening with his eyes shut at the audio of the team searching the office.
“The office is clear,” the male voice reported after less than twenty seconds. “There is no one here.”
“Okay, stand down,” said Bennett a little disappointed, but not really surprised. “Wait for Ms Chillipoc to arrive and reassure her that the office is clear and safe to enter. Tell her I will catch up with her as soon as I get a chance.”
Seconds later…“Horizon-Indigo Twelve in place,” reported a female voice.
“Understood,” Bennett replied. “The traversoll is due to arrive in forty-six seconds.”
Bennett sat forward in his chair and waited anxiously. Who were they going to find in traversoll one?
“Are you okay?” June asked suspiciously, looking at the old grey man with whom she shared the traversoll.
The intruder continued with his coughing fit, he had to think of something and something quickly.
“I’m sorry I must have startled you,” he said in a very weak and rasping voice which was only just audible over the noise of the traversoll. “I’m inflicted with a type of dysphonia, this little gadget is supposed to amplify my voice and make me sound normal; not frighten the life out of people,” he wheezed, holding out his hand and showing June the damp looking voice replicator. She leant forward to take a closer look.
Was she going to buy this, he thought? “The damn thing is playing up lately and keeps coming out with the strangest of voices; it’s supposed to mimic mine.” He wheezed.
“I didn’t know such technology existed,” said June, a little relieved. “It just shows my ignorance about such things.”
She believed him, thank God for a small reprieve. “They’re fairly new,” the intruder lied. “So you could be forgiven for not knowing of their existence; not that they’re much good if you ask me,” he said with mock derision. He put the replicator in his inside jacket pocket.
“Does it hurt to talk?” June asked, not really sure what dysphonia was.
“No; it’s just hard to be heard,” the intruder rasped.
“Where are you heading?” she asked after a moment of silence.
“I’m just on a tour of the building; so nowhere in particular,” he said, wondering how the hell he was going to get out of the museum. “Where are you going?” he added.
“I’m on a long break between groups so I’m touring too. I’m heading for Fashions Through Time.”
“Sounds good to me,” the intruder gasped.
“I’m June, June Jones,” she said. “I work here as a lecturer. How about you?”
This was just what he didn’t need; twenty questions from an inquisitive member of staff, if she was ever questioned the least she knew the better. He coughed violently into his clenched fist to try and kill some time. The traversoll slowed down to a stop.
“Are we here?” he spluttered, in an attempt to divert her question.
“No, not yet,” she replied. “The traversolls are busy around lunchtime so I guess it’s stopped because the route is being used by another one.”
The intruder nodded and then coughed loudly again.
“Are you sure you are okay?” June asked again, frowning with concern.
He nodded again.
The traversoll burst into life once more and darted to the right.
“What did you say your name was?” she asked. “Do you work here or are you just visiting?”
Damn! The woman was persistent. He wheezed something inaudible and started another coughing fit.
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that,” she said.
Good, he thought, holding his left hand over his chest and his right against the wall in an attempt to look weak and breathless.
The traversoll slowed again and came to a stop. “Home Broadcast and Cinematic History.” It announced. June looked confused for a second. The intruder looked at her, wondering what was going on.
A look of realisation washed over her face. “Busy times mean you have to pick up other people en route.”
This was the intruders chance to avoid further questions from the interfering woman. As the doors opened he glanced down at his fake dat-com strap. “I’d better take this,” he rasped, tapping on the face of it with two fingers indicating that he had a call. He shot out onto the corridor and was immediately engulfed by a large group of noisy young children. There must have been fifteen of them with two adults. He fought his way through them politely while the adults tried to keep some sort of order to the group while herding them into the traversoll.
The intruder found himself in a corridor half the size of the one he’d just left on floor twenty-seven. This one had a solitary solar window which didn’t do the best job of lighting the small area. He made his way over to the only door. Above it on the wall was a digital sign displaying Home Broadcast and Cinematic History in green. A good a place as any to hide for awhile, he thought.
Before he got near the door it slid aside into the wall and another mass of children burst through. They were a similar age to the first set and were now filing into the traversoll. He stepped back against the wall before he was flattened by them. Another two adults were with them.
“WE’LL GET THAT ONE!” A young suited man shouted over the hullabaloo of the now twenty plus children. He pointed to the other traversoll to the right of number one; its doors were opening.
“OKAY; SEE YOU THERE THEN!” one of the adults from the first group replied from somewhere in the now merging crowd of youngsters.
The intruder gave the first man a knowing sympathetic smile and frown as he was swept past among the sea of children.
“That section is closing,” the suited man said. “Some technical problem.”
“That’s a pity,” the intruder said, confident that his voice would be masked by the raucous children.
The door to the section closed after the adult at the rear of the group passed through it; the sign above the door now flashed between Home Broadcast and Cinematic History and section closed due to a technical fault.
So much for a hiding place for a few hours, the intruder thought. He stopped the other adult, an older woman in a bottle green suit; she looked more than a bit agitated at the closure.
“Everything okay?” he asked innocently.
“Far from it!” she exclaimed loudly. “The entire section lost power half way through our lesson; so much for state-of-the-art technology.”
“Sorry to hear that,” the intruder empathised. “I was looking forward to that myself. Where are you off to now?”
“We’ve been relocated to section M1,” the woman replied.
“Would you mind if I tag along?” the intruder asked with a smile; seeing a chance to at least get outside of the building. He could come up with another plan then.
“If you can put up with thirty-five boisterous children then be my guest,” she said flippantly.
“Thank you; I will.”
The last of the children were filing into both traversolls. The intruder followed the woman to the open doors of both. She got into number one. He had a decision to make; which traversoll should he take to section M1? Number one or number two?
Horizon-Indigo Twelve were poised and ready to apprehend the two occupants in traversoll one.
“Seventeen seconds,” Bennett Hayes informed his team through their dat-com straps as he paced up and down his office.
There was silence from Horizon-Indigo Twelve as the seconds ticked by. Two of the group had positioned themselves a metre back from the front of the doors; the remaining two flanked either side up against the wall. No one would be able to get passed them. They were armed with their usual paralysis pistols which were concealed inside their jackets. These would always be a last resort.
“Five seconds,” Bennett barked.
The team stiffened, prepared for anything.
The intruder felt safer in the company of so many as the traversoll started its journey; even if the majority of them were loud irritating children. Where had his patience gone over the last few years?
He was stood right at the front just behind the doors. The youngsters laughed, squabbled and fidgeted noisily; bumping into him often. He smiled; there was nothing else he could have done.
After thirty-four seconds the traversoll came to a gradual halt. What now? The intruder thought.
The doors slid open.
The doors to traversoll one slid apart. Horizon-Indigo Twelve were faced with a woman in a dark green suit with countless children behind her. This wasn’t what they had expected.
June Brown squeezed through the children, relieved to finally be getting out of the traversoll that had suddenly been invaded by children. She stepped out onto the floor of Fashions Through Time only to be faced by four security officers.
“Would you stand over there please,” a female officer asked politely, indicating an empty area in front of a large floor-to-ceiling solar window that filled half the wall. “We have an incident,” she added.
“Err… okay,” June said, a bit taken aback at the request. She wandered over to the solar window and waited.
“A short thickset male officer stepped forward as the doors started to close on the traversoll. His presence in the vicinity of the doors reversed their action and they opened again.
“I’m going to have to ask everyone to leave this traversoll,” he bellowed over the noise inside.
The children fell silent.
“Okay, everyone out,” the woman in green announced. “Do as the nice man tells you.”
One by one the children and their carers filed out.
“We have a slight problem Mr Hayes,” the female officer reported into her strap.
The intruder was faced with a group of five people dressed in old Victorian hospital uniforms.
“I think we’ll wait for the next one,” a young lady posing as a nurse said with a smile.
The intruder nodded, noting how unflattering uniforms had been then, and how much there was to them. Barely any flesh would have been seen back then.
The doors closed again and traversoll two continued to section M1.
After a further thirty-two seconds the doors opened again, revealing a cloudless blue sky and a flat grassed area at the top of a bank. The intruder was the first to step out onto the coarse dry grass. Within a few seconds there were children everywhere; the two adults with them were darting here and there, trying to round them up like a sheepdog rounding up stray sheep.
The intruder looked down at the carriageway below and the countless vehicles. He then meandered around numerous children and looked out over the area behind the traversoll. The bank they were on led down to a large open expanse of a rough grassy terrain. This would offer the most likely means of escape; there must be a perimeter fence or barrier somewhere out there; one hopefully with little or no security. He took a quick glance over his shoulder; no one seemed to be paying any attention to him. He started his getaway down the steep bank, there was no concrete ramp to aid his descent this side. The thick weeds, undergrowth and gorse snatched at his trousers and jacket as if they were trying to prevent his escape. His heart raced as he picked up speed, this nightmare was close to being over. He reached the bottom of the bank and raced over the dry dusty terrain as fast as he could; desperate to find his freedom.
Bennett Hayes was furious with himself. How could he have not even considered the traversoll stopping en route? He could have ensured it didn’t stop before Fashions Through Time with his level of security. If only he had been standing by his data-desk then he would have seen the damn thing stop at Home Broadcast and Cinematic History. The imposter must have got out there and switched to the other traversoll in that section. That one had stopped twice, so there was no saying where they had gone from there. He was going to have a lot of explaining to do.
It had taken only five minutes to confirm the identity and rule out the three adults that had been travelling in traversoll one; the children obviously hadn’t been a threat of any kind either. He would interview June Jones as soon as he had time.
He left his office and breezed through his floor towards the corridor and the traversolls.
He now faced the rest of the afternoon with that obnoxious woman Chillipoc to try and get to the bottom of the incident with the intruder in her office. The more he thought about it the more he was convinced that she had to be somehow connected to both incidents, and therefore both incidents had to be related.
Anonymous audio diary 200
Discovered in 2087during the extension of the Moscow Kalininskaya metro line
It has been a week since my last audio entry, until now though I haven’t had it in me to report a thing; after the rambling mess of the last one it was probably wise to wait.
T has been of great support and comfort to me over the last week; there hasn’t been a day go by when we haven’t met up. I realised recently that I have become ever more dependent on her as time has passed. She is the only one I can be myself with since I arrived here, in her time, six months ago...
Together we have come up with another Plan A; I can’t alter the outcome of the last one so this is my only viable option now to amend time. It’s a simple enough idea, but may be difficult emotionally when I have to face and interact with them both. I have to remain strong and think of the end result – I can do this, I must do this.