Go to Episode 1
The others were all standing around watching the TV as Martin entered the room. ‘What’s goi…?’
‘Ssssh…. Sorry, ssssh sir!’
‘I was jus….’
Sam turned up the volume on the TV.
‘…pictures live from the scene, our reporter Grant Penrose.’
‘Thank… you…. Angela,’ the reporter said with breathless sincere urgency. ‘As you can visibly see the edifice of the building structure itself is just a flaming inferno of fire. As far as we are aware as at the present moment in time the rescue services are issuing a negatively nil survival count as of now.’
‘Oh, shit,’ John said.
‘…some eyewitness witness reports speak of strange happenings occurring at around the point in time when the building structure exploded into a flaming conflagration.’ The reporter smiled indulgently, his awkward grin fixing as the camera remained on him. Just as his eyes widened in panic, a recorded interview replaced him on the screen.
‘…like man there were these… like… lights… in the… in the….’ The interviewee waved distractedly above her head as the camera panned down her body, revealing her tight skimpy T-shirt worn over very full, and obviously bra-less, breasts. The camera sharply jerked back to the eyewitness’s face as the off-screen interviewer prompted her. ‘The sky?’
‘Yeah… that’s it. The lights in the… in the… like you said… It was like some film… an alien invasion….’
Lisa snapped the TV off. ‘It has all the hallmarks of the Hound Dogs, don’t you think? Mandy?’
Mandy nodded briskly. ‘Yes Ma’am! No doubt about it, definitely Hound Dogs.’
‘Do you think they are on to us yet then?’ Lisa said, looking around the room.
‘If they were, we wouldn’t be here talking about it,’ Sam said as he got to his feet. ‘We’re going to get that interface and cable hooked-up. Come on, Fiona.’
Mandy slapped John on the thigh as she jumped to her feet. ‘Come on corporal, let’s get ourselves organised too.’
‘Yes Ma’am!’ John saluted as he stood up.
Martin had to sit down. The sight of John displaying any attribute more military-like than outright blind stupidity – somehow – really disconcerted him. Meanwhile, Lisa busied herself across the other side of the room, engaging herself in one of those tasks women can always find to do while they wait for the male mind to lumber towards some kind of comprehension.
‘Hound Dogs?’ Martin managed to say, finally.
‘Yes, Hound Dogs: The military wing of The Blessed Church of Elvis. Fundamentalist terrorists in other words, ruthless and deadly – very deadly, as you saw.’
‘The Blessed Church of Elvis? No, don’t explain yet. I think I’d better leave that one for a while. What had that on the TV to do with us? It was in America for God’s sake – thousands of miles away.’
‘One of those bodies they couldn’t find was probably Annabelle.’ Lisa sniffed and wiped at her eye briskly.
‘Did you know her?’
‘Yes. We both did. She was one of the bridesmaids… at our wedding.’
‘Our wedding…. Yours and mine.’
‘Wha…? You mean that us…? We… me and you…? You and me… are…? Like that dream you told me about in the supermarket?’
‘Yes.’ Lisa nodded and smiled. ‘It was felt that, as this was a one-way mission it would… could… only be fair to send couples. So: Sam and Fiona, John and Mandy, Annabelle and Sue, Peter and Roger and us two, too. But now, with the Hound Dogs on our trail and what they did to the others… well, I don’t know.’ Lisa looked away and then turned back as Sam came into the room.
‘A one-way mission?’ Martin remembered that email – from someone who was now probably dead… killed violently. He felt sourness in the pit of his stomach.
‘Yes, unfortunately we only know how to travel back in time, not forwards,’ Sam said. ‘Some doubt that travel into the future is even theoretically possible, being as the future has yet to exist. So – if we survive the mission – we are stuck in this backward, primitive, prehistoric time for the rest of our lives.’
‘Travel… back… in time…?’ Martin said.
‘Yes,’ Sam said. ‘We are from the future… er… like I said before I knew… er… as it were. We are all from the – it seems to me, now – very distant future.’
‘Oh, come on Sam it isn’t that bad,’ Lisa said. ‘Some of the people are almost civilised.’
‘The future…? How?’ Martin stared from Lisa to Sam and back again, realising they now seemed like strangers to him.
‘If I explained how, do you think it would make any sense to you?’ Lisa said.
‘No. But….’ Martin shrugged.
‘Don’t worry,’ Lisa said. She stroked his cheek with her fingertips. ‘It will make sense when you eventually break out of your cover personality. It is bound to happen soon, isn’t it Sam?’
‘Yes, of course… well, maybe….’ Sam said, but there was doubt in his voice. ‘But come on, everything is ready, but as soon as we fire it up the Dogs will be able to locate us.’ He led the way back to Martin’s room. ‘So there is going to be no chance of a test, no practice, no gradual build up of power. It will have to be a first time burst.’
‘What’s going on? What’s going to happen?’ Martin felt the panic rising in the pit of his still queasy-feeling stomach, like the day after a powerful curry and too much beer.
Lisa turned to him, putting her hands on his shoulders and looking him in the eye. ‘On the whole, until you get your memory back, I think it would be a good idea for you to try not to get involved, try not to figure out what is going on. Just trust us. We do know what we are doing. Honestly.’
‘Hang on. It looks like Hermione is waking up.’ Sam was about to check the new connection he had made to the computer.
‘I’ve got another email for you Martin, my love. Here you are.’ Hermione purred.
Martin sat down at the computer to read the message:
The confirmation code for the successful instigation of mission: JUGGLING BALLS has not been received from either Team Alpha One or Team Alpha Two.
Possible compromise of either – or both – teams.
DO NOT PROCEED ANY FURTHER.
TERMINATE MISSION NOW.
‘Well, it looks like it is all over… whatever it is.’ Martin swivelled the screen around for Sam and Lisa to read.
‘Shit!’ they said in unison as Lisa knocked a pile of Martin’s books and magazines off the desk and Sam dropped his screwdriver.
‘They’re on to us,’ Sam said. ‘I’ll get Hermione to go into standby mode and she’ll get us out of here in a few minutes.’ He turned to the door.
‘No, wait.’ Lisa stood up to point at the screen. ‘Martin, there are some more instructions for you, personally…. Look.’