Part 2: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-327-cyoa2-part-2.html
Part 3: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-328a-cyoa2-part-3-ridgeway-is-ally.html
Part 4: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-329a-cyoa2-part-4-martin-doesnt-know.html
Part 5: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-330a-cyoa2-part-5-martin-plays-along.html
Part 6: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-331a-cyoa2-part-6-everything-is.html
Part 7: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-332a-cyoa2-part-7-martin-goes-quietly.html
Part 8: http://aroundgray.blogspot.ca/2013/03/no-333a-cyoa2-part-8-experiment-begins.html
“What is he talking about?” Land asked Ridgeway and Hodge.
“Not sure,” said Hodge, hurriedly. His attention was focused on the foreign drone that was approaching the lab. “That’s the more immediate threat,” he said, pointing.
Martin grabbed Hodge’s arm. “No. The barrier is. There’s something wrong with it.”
Hodge shook our of Martin’s grip. Keeping one eye on the foreign drone, he punched a command into the computer. The original drone disappeared back into the barrier. “You’re right,” he whispered to Martin.
“What is it?” Land demanded.
“The information I’m getting back says that the drone’s gone further into the future this time,” said Hodge. “Seventy-five years.” Then his eyes widened. “Wait. Now it says forty minutes. Changing to a year. Now five. Now a month.” He turned to the others. “It’s doesn’t just go to one time.”
As he finished saying the words, the circumference of the time-barrier increased suddenly, engulfing the mysterious drone and penetrating the walls of the lab. Ridgeway, who was standing closest to the windows, disappeared into the portal.
It collapsed in on itself just as quickly, returning to its former state, floating in the middle of the Core.
The three left behind stared blankly at the empty space.
Martin recovered first. “I’m going in,” he said. Before anyone could stop him, he grabbed a pistol from the Captain’s holster, and had leapt off the observation deck into the barrier.
He hit the ground hard. Rolling upright, he found himself still in the massive bay. He wasn’t alone though. He was surrounded by a ring of armed troops. All of them had their guns trained on him.
“Get up,” said the leader.
Martin followed the order. “Where am I?” he asked.
“The same place you left two years ago,” replied a familiar voice. The statement echoed through the Core.
“Hodge?” said Martin, straining to see into the lab. “Did Ridgeway make it here?”
There was a sinister laugh. “She did,” said Hodge. “About six months ago. You’ll meet her again shortly.”
“I need to get her and go back through,” Martin told him. He finally saw the scientist. He began to get a very bad feeling.
The last two years had been unkind to Hodge. Martin saw a large scar running up the man’s face, and one of his hands had been replaced by a crude metal hook. What stood out the most was Captain Land’s hat perched jauntily on Hodge’s head.
“Where’s the Captain?” Martin asked. “She’ll back me up.”
“Oh yes,” said Hodge, scratching his chin with the hook. “The Captain. Well, it seems that soon after the barrier opened, she had an accident. I command the Nautilus now.”
One of the guards nudged Martin with the barrel of a gun. The prisoner was marched back to the cabin he’d been held in when he’d arrived on Nautilus. The journey was much different now, with various parts of the base having been patched and ruined, as if a battle had taken place. Particularly gruesome were a number of man-sized scorch marks in the main passageway. Martin’s cell had seen the door replaced with crudely welded bars. Martin was thrown in, and left by himself.
It was three days before he saw anybody again.
Hodge appeared, whistling as he approached.
“Why?” Martin asked when Hodge stepped in front of the bars.
Hodge didn’t answer. Instead, he drew a pair of handcuffs from his belt and motioned for Martin to turn around. Once Martin was shackled, Hodge put his hook through the links on the handcuff chain and pulled the prisoner along with him.
“Where are we going?” Martin demanded.
“You’ll see,” said Hodge.
Martin was taken to another control room, one that was on the far side of the Core. Instead of computers, this one had more industrial machines. There were large switches and levers everywhere. Hodge sat Martin down on a bare metal bench.
“Now,” said the villain. “Now you’ll help me with my true experiment.”
“I won’t do anything until I see Ridgeway,” Martin told him defiantly.
“Very well,” said Hodge. “She’s over there.” He pointed with his hook. Ridgeway was indeed there. She was strapped to a chair very much like the one the Martin had been in when the barrier first appeared.
“Why is she in the chair?” asked Martin.
Hodge laughed his devious laugh. “She’s my calibration,” he said with a cackle. “Oh, that’s right. You still think you’re the reason the barrier opened in your time. No, sorry. That was me. Or, it will be in about ten minutes here. It didn’t start early at all. I opened it to the past.”
“Remember when Land told you about the three people who came through the portal at Chernobyl? How one returned to their time? That was me. You, me, and the girl, we were all ripped from our homes and sent back. Thirty-six hours to be precise. They didn’t know how close the ends were, then.”
“It was only a little more than a day?” asked Martin.
“Correct,” nodded Hodge.
“And Ridgeway helps you how?” Martin pressed.
Hodge grinned. “I’m not going to use myself as a guinea pig, am I? I needed somebody else. Since there were only three people who are up to the task, my other options are clear, aren’t they?”
Martin realized what he was saying. “But she died,” he said. “Land told us the third girl died.”
“And just who do you think told Land?”
“So that whole time you worked on the experiment, you were planning this? To kidnap me and Ridgeway?”
“No,” said Hodge. “I worked here the whole time so that I could rule the world. With a functioning and properly calibrated time-machine, I have ultimate power.”
“I’ll save Ridgeway,” Martin told him, with cold resolve in his eyes. “And I’m going to stop you.”