Twicebound: Chapter Twenty Two – Part Three

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Eddie had gotten as close as he could to the display and was studying the photo intently.

“I thought y’said y’got Benwright and d’Colonel ta trust you. If’n dat’s so, how’d he ennup in a truck in China?”

“I also said that neither of them saw the attack coming.  Bosze’s superiors were furious when he got caught off guard; after all, he was in charge of a project with a fully functioning time machine…”

That drew a chuckle from Armelle.

“That had to have hurt.”

Before answering, Vančura tapped the console again and brought up a new picture, then turned a sardonic eye on her.

“Everyone involved got hurt, actually.  The “shot-callers” fired Bosze and threw him out of the service as well, but he saw that coming easily.  He was gone the next day, with all of this…”

The picture showed a bank of computer towers, cases removed and tossed on the floor.  Each one had a row of cables dangling from the motherboard, obviously disconnected.

“Hard drives.  Everything the Sandglass facility had on anything and anyone.  Science papers, data from tests, computer simulations, personnel files, all of it.  Quite impressive, too, how he vanished.  We assume he must have had connections in high places to disappear so effectively.”

Armelle frowned, thinking hard, then glanced at Vančura.

“Hold on.  Why didn’t his ‘superiors’ just fire up the time-machine and go back in time and stop the original attack, or at least stop Bosze from making a run for it?”

To her surprise, it was Eddie who responded.

“Coz d’colonel weren’t no dummy.  Not’s’where ‘is own skin wuz conserned, ‘ninnyway, .  ‘m right, eh, Vancy….er…uhm… Vančura?”

The big man stared at him for a moment or two, then nodded minutely.

“He’s right.  Bosze sabotaged the STAd when he escaped.  Three microcharges in critical systems essentially destroyed it.  We scrapped the whole thing and built a new one instead of trying to repair it.  By the time we got the project up and running again, there wasn’t any point in trying to preempt the attack or Bosze’s defection; he had already built two more STAds for other countries.”

Armelle shook her head and closed her eyes wearily.  It was quiet for a few minutes, then she looked at Vančura.

“So, our trip through the knothole and all this… was for nothing?”

He looked surprised.

“Oh, I never said that.  We’re definitely going to fix this.  All of this was just to get you two acquainted with all the little problems that cropped up in the last few years.  Temporal travel was never the answer to the problem, you see.  If we actually want to keep time as we know it from unraveling at the seams, we need to take a slightly more… aggressive approach.”


 

End Chapter  22– Part 3

Yup, still no idea where this is going.  Awesome!

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 
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty One

Chapter Twenty Two – Part One

Chapter Twenty Two – Part Two

Twicebound: Chapter Twenty – Part One

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“Look, we’re not the bad guys here.”

Vančura leveled a cynical gaze at the colonel, then raised his wrists and rattled the handcuffs.

“These restraints would indicate otherwise.

Bosze didn’t look amused.  In fact, he looked more than a little irate.

“You did break into a secure government testing facility and monkey with a highly  sensitive piece of equipment.  The handcuffs are protocol, but I’ll admit, I enjoyed having you put in them.”

The big man studied him, a frown starting to develop, obvious even under the indomitable composure.

“You bribe a crooked judge and prison warden to kidnap us off the street chip us like animals, then force us through an experimental machine.  And you aren’t the ‘bad guy’?”

Bosze’s grin was anything but pleasant.

“Hey, I haven’t done any of that yet.  You can’t blame me for something I’ve done in the past for the future you came from, but that I haven’t gotten around to doing in the future for this present.  Just now, the only criminal here is you.”

There was a quiet pause as Vančura considered that.  Finally, he nodded.

“You’ve got this time travel problem down to a science, I see.  Impressive.  So, since I’m the ‘bad guy’ in this particular iteration of our first meeting, what’s next?”

Surprise bloomed on the colonel’s face, then he laughed.

“Oh, I never said you were the bad guy.  You’re just the guy who broke into the wrong place on some mis-guided…”

He stopped, frowned, then stared at Vančura, eyes widening.

“Wait a minute.  ‘Us’.  You kept saying ‘us’, not ‘me’.   Kidnap us, chip us, force us.  Who is ‘us’?  We sent someone else through the STAd with you, didn’t we?”

It w as Vančura’s turn to grin.

“Slipped out of me on accident, I’m afraid.  The question you really ought to be asking, though, is who went through the knothole without me.  Or, to put it a different way, who did I send through it?”

Bosze paled and he slammed a fist onto the intercom button on his desk.

“Benwright! Get down to the STAd and check it’s logs for the time immediately around the incursion!  Move!”

He leaned back, staring at Vančura like he’d seen a ghost.  The big man just chuckled.

“Makes you wonder who I sent through, doesn’t it, Colonel?  In fact, if I were you, I’d be wondering very, very much.  I might even be worried.  If I were you.”


 

End Chapter  20– Part 1

Ah, Vančura… what are you up to?  I gotta tell you, readers, Vančura is the the single most unpredictable character I’ve ever written.   If I ever figure out what he’s planning, I’ll be sure to tell you about it, but don’t count on it being any time soon.

Also, Merry Christmas, one and all.

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 
Chapter Nineteen