March 14, 2013

No. 331A - CYOA2 Part 6 - Everything is Going as Planned

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“That was an excellent meal,” said Martin. He wasn’t lying. Captain Land had prepared a feast for her guests although, throughout the dinner, she’d been elusive when questioned. Martin would have liked to have found out why she needed him, specifically. He resolved to uncover the answer.

“It was, wasn’t it?” Captain Land agreed. “We have an excellent support staff on board. They’ve been poached from the best hotels all over the world.”

Hodge and Ridgeway were having their own discussion at the table. Martin heard the words “energy” and “isolated” but couldn’t make out the rest. Turning back to Land, he asked her point-blank about his situation.

“Why me?”

Land swirled her wine glass and said nothing.

“Why do you need me?” Martin insisted.

The Captain leaned back in her chair and crossed her arms. She sighed deeply and then replied. “You’re going to find out eventually, I suppose.” She waited a little longer before finally getting to the point. “We need you to calibrate the machine.”

Ridgeway and Hodge’s conversation stopped abruptly and everyone turned to stare at Martin.

“I don’t know how to do that,” said Martin. “I’m really just a delivery man.”

Land smiled. “Why do you think they told the delivery man about the entire project?” she asked him. “I should be clearer. You’re the calibration. Perhaps Mr. Hodge can explain it better.”

Hodge fixed Martin in an uncomfortable gaze.

Martin shifted in his seat.

Ridgeway’s eyes were wide, but she stayed silent.

“You’re the first one,” said Hodge. “We tried this experiment twenty-seven years ago. You were the result. Our technology then was primitive, and we didn’t know much about the time-barrier. You came through and the lab went up. Took the city with it.”

Martin swallowed hard. “A city exploded? It seems like people would remember that. You’re crazy.”

“Of course they do,” said Land. “Everybody does.”

“Chernobyl,” Ridgeway whispered. “That was us,” she said, realizing.

“That’s right,” said Land. “This time we’ve decided to conduct our business without as many neighbors.”

Martin spoke up. “But what do you mean ‘I came through’?”

“You got the briefing,” said Land. “You know what we’re doing.”

“I’m from the future?”

Land nodded. “You were a baby, then.”

“And now?”

“Now, after all this time, we’re ready to turn on the machine again,” confirmed the Captain. “Finish your dessert. Then we’ll head down to the core.”

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