McKinley was nearing exhaustion with Dave, he had tried to convince him that focusing the sighting portal on the time and place that Seanna was killed was the right thing to do and it was useless. He was a machine and he had his in built programs give him his ethics. Dave was in control of the portal, the other mechanoids and everything. McKinley had to resign himself that his idea wasn’t going to happen.
“Humans die all the time Sir – we cannot save everyone, you will all stop functioning one day as will we. That is how our existence works!”
Dave was explaining for about the fifth time – McKinley could make out a difference, was it anger? Frustration or just programming?
“Fine! Have if your way Dave! If it wasn’t for this ship of yours being here this wouldn’t have happened anyway!” This was McKinley’s last ditch and he knew futile attempt at trying to reason unreasonably with a robot. Dave just turned away and returned to the job of repairing the core with his mechanoids. One of them brought out a metal pod, larger than a human head and placed it onto a cradle. With the push of a button the pod unfolded like a flower. Peering over McKinley could see that inside there was a beautifully elegant crystal. It looked completely flawless in it’s shape and in it’s clarity. It was almost invisible except for the bending light at it’s angles.
“What’s that?” McKinley asked.
“It is a Uranite crystal sir!” Dave replied “These are extracted from the atmosphere of Uranus and then worked to form a crystal that can reliably bend time.”
“Wow!” Was all McKinley could think of saying as he looked at it’s near invisible perfection.
“This crystal in it’s normal density would be 10 times larger before processing…” Dave went on “This is done using plasma…”
“Ok Dave, I get it!” McKinley cut in “I’m impressed, but let’s not push it!” McKinley climbed down into the work area, looking around him as they placed the crystal precisely in it’s frame.
“When that Uranite crystal back in the core and working, what happens then? Like what will we see in this portal?”
“You should really wait above sir!” Dave explained “The portal at the moment is unreliable and unfocused, we cannot control it. We will focus the power and at unity time it will show us out present time and place.”
“I see…” McKinley mumbled with interest. He stood watching as the mechanoids pushed the assembly back into the core. The old crystal slipped off and landed next to him. Pausing for a second, it still looked flawless, he reached down and picked it up. “It weighs nothing!” McKinley noted “It’s also cold, I expected this to burn my hand off!”
“Such is the nature of Uranite crystals sir – they defy many of the natural laws of physical existence.” Dave wasn’t paying much attention, he seemed to have connected with the core and was busy calibrating. McKinley watched the time portal flashing away, events in far distant past and future were being played out at high speed.
“Mesmerizing isn’t it?” McKinley jumped, startled at the sudden presence of Jearo.
“Where did you come from?” McKinley asked looking at Jaero and then back to the portal “It is, I can’t understand much of it as it’s just images.”
As they watch the timeline started slowing, becoming more and more present time. McKinley was watching their arrival, the team moving into the Titan and all of the events, slowly moving up to now. A moment later, there she was, he was watching the mechanoids being deployed and poor Seanna. The view was so close, McKinley couldn’t bear to watch it as suddenly that creature appeared and turned his weapon. As McKinley watch time seemed to move slowly, it wasn’t the portal, he was thinking fast, weighing it all up in his mind in less than a second.
Lurching forward McKinley reached into the portal, for a split second back to where it happened. He pushed his past self down and grabbed Seanna around her waist. With every muscle straining he pulled back with all his might, pulling Seanna back through the portal. It was like pulling back through a tunnel of light and dark, hidden shadows of people and places. Ignoring it all he kept pulling her back, not letting go. Until suddenly there was light again and he fell back with thud, Seanna lading on top of him and rolling off.
A blast shot back out the portal right after them and hit the core. Seanna sprung up drawing her fist back “OK! What the hell was…” Collapsing to the floor with a thud McKinley smiled as he looked at her, he had done it!
“Sir! Are you alright?” Jearo sprung to McKinley’s side.
“I’m good. I think.” He sat there for a moment, felling fuzzy as if having woken from a bad sleep. He rubbed his head “I’m fine thanks!”
“That’s good sir!” Dave replied “However there is a problem, the core of Titan is now irreparably damaged. The blast from that weapon has fractured the cooling system and there is no way of repairing this.”
Looking round, McKinley noticed that the room was filling with gas, gas that didn’t look or smell god at all!
“You must evacuate immediately sir!” Dave announced.
“Bring her up Dave!” McKinley barked pointing at Seanna “While you’re at it, I think she needs some of your anti time illness stuff!” McKinley shot up the ladder after Jearo. Dave and the other mechanoids got into the control room a few seconds after.
“What’s happened?” asked Blake
“We’ve got to get away – now!” Blake nodded and started motioning the rest of the people towards the hyperloop car. McKinley stopped Jaero ” Tell Collins to prepare Tranquility to leave – in a hurry! Also tell Neila to prepare Tycho for a fast docking and rapid evacuation.”
“Sir!” Jearo replied.
“Tell Collins to also watch out for some unexpected visitors, those creatures may try and escape too!”
Nodding Jearo got onto her comms link and started issuing instructions. McKinley had got Jearo by the arm and was pulling her as fast as he could. The mechanoids were following Dave taking the lead, the crew were already manning the hyperloop car when they arrived. McKinley looked around at a lot of anxious faces.
“How long do we have Dave?”
“I do not know, it’s very hard to predict. But certainly less than an hour!”
McKinley was helping Seanna down with Blake taking her other arm. They settled her into the capsule, McKinley turned around to Dave.
“No arguments Dave, you and your mechanoids are coming too! I need you!”
With no resistance, Dave and his mechanoids one by one entered the hyperloop capsule. The door shut and the procedure began. McKinley thought that is was taking far longer than it should and was mumbling for speed under his voice. He looked across at Blake who looked back at him grimly. McKinley could offer no comfort.
Copyright 2016 Simon Farnell