Twicebound: Chapter Twenty Five – Part Two


Benwright looked as if reality had tried to slap him in the back of the head and he hadn’t dodged fast enough.  “The STAd? We never studied the energy wave signature for it, not beyond the initial tests. The whole point was to stop STAds from activating, not activate our own.”

He stared off into space, trying to sort through the math to see if Armelle’s idea would really work.  Vančura, however, didn’t have time for disbelief.

“Is there anyway to test it?”

Armelle and Benwright both answered at the same time. “Easily.”  “Not safely.” Armelle glared at the man, then turned to Vančura.  “It’s easy to test, but there’s a non-zero chance the STAd could fail catastrophically.”

“A non-zero chance.”  There was a conspicuous absence of amusement in Vančura’s voice. “People only use that phrase when they don’t like the actual percentage.  I need numbers, Armelle, or different test, one that is less likely to destroy the STAd.

She shrugged.  “Destroy the STAd?  No, no; the time machine would be fine.  There’s a 50% chance that the backlash from forcing a shut down would level the whole facility, though.  It’s not good, but it’s the only way to test this, unless you have another STAd you haven’t told us about.”

Benwright shifted in his chair, glancing at Vančura, but he didn’t say anything.  Armelle noticed and her eyes narrowed.  “Do you have another one?”

“No.  We might have something better, though.”

“And what would that be?”

Before Vančura could answer, the deafening scream of a siren filled the room, its wailing alert rising and falling in a jarring, out-of-sync tempo.  Eddie yelped and dove for the nearest cover, while the others covered their ears.  Vančura smiled and got up, motioning for them to follow.  As they trooped down the corridor, the siren became quieter, until it had fallen to a soft, but persistent whine.

Armelle dropped her hands from her ears and winced.  “What was that?”

“Just what we need, actually.”  Benwright sounded ecstatic. “It’s an activation alert.”

Her eyes widened. “Somebody’s using the STAd?”

Vančura’s quiet answer was almost lost in the low wail of the siren.  “Someone’s using an STAd, yes.  Just not our STAd.”

End Chapter  25 – Part 2

And here’s where things start coming to a head, people. Time machines everywhere, but not a minute to think…

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, Chapter Twenty Three

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