Armelle’s shout startled Eddie, but Vančura was already moving. He grabbed Eddie’s shoulders and hauled him toward the STAd, glancing over his shoulder as they went.
She didn’t stop typing, but the set of her shoulders looked strained.
“They set an alert on the console. Start up the knothole and every personal security terminal in the building goes on alert. Can we bar the door?”
Vančura ignored her and muscled Eddie into the STAd, levelling a finger at the little man.
“Don’t. Move. Armelle, put him through!!”
The hum of the STAd didn’t change.
“It’s not ready yet!! I need another minute. Can’t you bar the door?”
With a snarl, Vančura bounded across the room and leaned over her shoulder.
“We don’t have a minute, Armelle. There’s no ceiling on this room, remember? All they have to do is get some guns on the second level to shoot down at us and we’re finished. Barring the door isn’t going to help. What’s taking so long?”
She shook her head, still concentrating on the screen.
“It’s a government project, Vančura. There are safeguards and test programs everywhere. Even the safeguards have safeguards.”
“You can’t bypass them?”
“I’m a scientist, not a hacker. This is going to take a second… wait… okay, almost there.”
Pushing him out of the way, she slid her swivel chair towards a different monitor. It lit up when she hit the first key and the deep hum of the STAd changed in pitch. She threw a grin at Vančura.
“We’re good! Eddie, hold still.”
The console beeped once, then the harsh crackle and flash of electricity filled the room. A metallic smell rose, but Eddie was already gone.
“You’re next, Vančura.”
He lifted her out of the chair and set her on her feet.
“Wrong. Get going.”
“You don’t know how to work the STAd!”
“I hit that button right there, right?”
“Well, yes, but…”
He pointed at the machine adamantly.
“The last one through might not make it; racing to the knothole after hitting the button will be risky enough, let alone dodging bullets. You’re the only one who knows enough about time-travel to be useful in the future. Get moving.”
She didn’t argue. A second later, the flash and crackle echoed again and she followed Eddie. Vančura’s finger was hovering over the key that would start the cycle again, when the doors burst open. A small, black cylinder rolled into the room with a muted clank.
Vančura just closed his eyes. A flash-grenade. Colonel Bosze hadn’t wasted any time.
End Chapter 18– Part 1
Late this installment might be, but it made it! Poor “Twicebound”, sandwiched between Friday evening work and Saturday afternoon work. Don’t worry, from now on, I’m going to be writing it ahead of time, so this won’t happen again.
Want to read the previous installments? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen