Benwright took a deep breath.
“Okay… the physics of sending someone forward in time are totally different than sending someone backwards in time. We don’t really understand how traveling to the past works; it seems to break a lot of natural laws, like how mass can be in two places at once, but…”
He broke off as he noticed Colonel Bosze staring at him pointedly.
“But… ah… back to the point, traveling forward in time is relatively simple, from a paradoxical standpoint. Unfortunately, since it doesn’t cause as much of a disturbance, it’s harder to pinpoint the exact… landing point. So, the computer has records of where the STAd sent them but there’s no way to know how close they came to the targeted time.”
Bosze leaned back in his chair with a thoughtful frown.
“Where did the computer send them?”
The technician checked his notebook.
“Ten years in the future, to the day.”
With a sharp glance towards Vančura, the colonel leaned forward.
“Ten years? Why ten years? That’s a long jump.”
“No idea. Ask the prisoner, not me.”
That got a long laugh out of Vančura. Benwright started in surprise, then shot the big man a nasty look. He started to say something, but Bosze waved him down and ignored Vančura.
“So, we know they were aiming for ten years from now. Don’t worry about our guest; we’ve got plenty of time to get information out of him. Let’s concentrate on what we know before we start worrying about what he might tell us. Do you have an estimate on how far from their target they actually landed?”
After a last glare at Vančura, Benwright shook his head.
“It’s a pretty big margin of error. Anything from a few minutes to eighteen months. Tracking time travelers is like trying to figure out exactly where a fish jumped out of the water by watching the ripples. The bigger the fish, the easier it is, and there might actually be a splash, too. This… it’s like following a minnow in an Olympic swimming pool.”
The colonel sighed.
“Still, we’ve got an eight-year gap before they appear again. There’s a lot we can do in that time, regardless of exactly what we decide needs doing.”
A chain rattled as Vančura clapped his hands with exaggerated emphasis.
“And now you’re closer to the question you really ought to be asking.”
This time, it was Bosze who glared at him.
The big man smiled at him condescendingly.
“When did I send them? What about why did I send them and what are they going to do when they get where they went?”
Benwright’s eyes widened with realization, but Bosze spoke first. His eyes were suspicious and far from friendly.
“More importantly, why are you helping us?”
Vančura’s smile widened and he inclined his head to the colonel.
“And that is the real question.”
End Chapter 20– Part 3
Well, now… I didn’t see any of THAT coming. Somebody check Vančura’s cards!! I think he’s playing with extra aces!!
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 Chapter Eighteen