Warning, people. This installment, to put it colloquially, is really a ‘doozie’. Most of you know and love Eddie Kaul. Even if you don’t love him, you probably think of him as the only main character who’s even more confused than you are. Well, that just changed. Eddie has started to understand time-travel. Yes, it’s complicated, and Eddie’s slow, down-to-earth interpretation of it makes it even worse. But he is figuring it out. And if he helps you figure it out, too, will you please come explain it to me? Because even I don’t understand this installment of…
Chapter 4 – part 3
The bus ground to a halt on the gravel in the parking lot of the two-story building. Eddie stared out of the barred windows at the structure, wondering who the government had hired to design such a boring building. Even though he knew what was inside it, the structure still reminded him of an enormous, big, nothing.
His subconscious wasn’t laughing now and he wasn’t scared. As he glanced over at Vančura, he realized why the big man so perfectly at ease. Having the future in his own past meant there wasn’t anything he wasn’t ready for. Eddie looked back out the window . This time around, he knew what Hell’s ticket booth looked like.
* * *
“Go get Benwright and step on it! We’ve got one with a chip, guys.”
One of the guards scrambled for the door and the other moved to keep a close eye on Eddie. The guy looked a little nervous, with his weapon trained and ready, but Eddie figured that was understandable. If you knew someone might be a time-traveler, staying wary would be a good idea. Of course, Eddie hadn’t seen enough to make him dangerous, but the guard didn’t know that. The only problem with his vigilance was that watching Eddie meant leaving Vančura unsupervised. That was a really bad idea.
By the time Benwright got there, the doctor was already finishing the examination. He was still excited, but the initial shock had worn off and his professional attitude was returning fast. Benwright, however, started talking before he was even through the doorway.
“He said you’ve got a live one, doc? How? We haven’t got the STAd running yet, why would we have sent one of the subjects to this time?”
“I’ve no idea, but there’s no doubt about it. The chip says he was logged today and will be sent through tomorrow. The data is a little confusing, but it looks like the jump will be three or four days in reverse.”
“That’s not possible! Sure, he could be sent back before we get the STAd running, even though that doesn’t make sense, but there’s no way he goes out tomorrow. The STAd isn’t working yet!”
For the first time since entering the room, Eddie spoke, and it was with a grin.
“Oh, it’ll be workin’, Bennie. Dis time t’morrow, it’ll be hummin’ away jus’ like a big wasp.”
Every eye in the room locked on him and Benwright raised a disbelieving eyebrow. Eddie wasn’t sure how he knew the word ‘dibelieving’ but he did know that’s what that eyebrow was.
“Is that so, mister. And what do you know about special relativity, quantum physics, and molecular electricity?”
Eddie blinked at him.
“Nothin’. Nothin’ at all. What’s ‘special relatability’? ‘ninnyway, it don’t matter much. I’m not d’guy you needs t’be talkin’ to.”
The doctor snorted derisively, but Benwright’s eyes narrowed.
“Who should I be talking to, then?”
Eddie grinned and nodded towards the holding room where Vančura was waiting. The guard kept his eyes on Eddie, but the doctor and technician both glanced at the one-way glass panel, taking in the big man for the first time.
“And what does that muscle-bound gent know about science?”
Shrugging against the restraints, Eddie looked up at the ceiling.
“More den me’n’you, Bennie. He knows wot’s goofy wi’ th’knothole”
He frowned and glanced back down at the technician. Benwright stared at him: Eddie’s eyes were crossed in thought.
“Uh. Well, ‘e knew wot’s goofy… no, ’e will know wot’s goofy. Dang, I can’t figger dis stuff out. Time’s ‘sposed t’run one way, dat’s all. My marbles ain’t designed f’r all dis cross-work clock-puzzle business.”
A flash of insight crossed his face and his eyes untangled themselves.
“Oh. I got it! ‘E did know, ‘cause ‘e told you. ‘E does know, ‘cause ‘e’s goin’ t’ tell you. And ‘e will know, cause odds are we’re goin’ t’have to go tru dis all over again inna few days.”
With that, Eddie slumped back in his chair.
“Doc, you gotta get me a drink. All dis thinkin’ is tirin’ out my brain cells. I gotta rehydriate them, ‘fore dey shrivels up and dies.”
The doctor blinked several times and absently took a bottle from a rack near the chair. He poured it into three cups and handed one to Benwright, then gestured to the guard to unstrap one of Eddie’s arms. With a happy sigh, Eddie sloshed back the water, wondering why Benwright and the doctor both looked slightly dazed. He didn’t really care, though. He was starting to understand the mess he had gotten into. He decided that was probably the first step in getting out of it.
End Chapter 4 – part 3
Go to Chapter 5 – Part 1
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And, in case you didn’t notice, even my complete lack of comprehension of time-travel doesn’t keep me from posting a new installment of ‘Twicebound’ every Saturday!