Traveler: Storyteller Tales: Return to Happy Hill

The far wall cracked and about a quarter of the potential hole in the wall fell away.

Martok did not make a very big target since he was so short.  Only his head and shoulders stuck out above the lab table, but all the same he caught a bullet in the facemask in his cape.  The cape hardened immediately and rejected the bullet, but not before the bullet pushed into his lip and he bit his own lip with his very sharp teeth.  He ducked down and let out a very loud roar in his frustration.  That sound caused every person in all three rooms to stop what they were doing and tremble.  One poor man wet himself, but Martok could not worry about that.  His anger was up and he grabbed the nearest chunk of Reichgo equipment and heaved it toward the far wall.  This time the wall collapsed entirely, and Martok shot the box he saw with his laser-gun.  It was the box with the blinking lights and those lights went out instantly.  In the same instant, the three men in the next room as well as the two in the quarantined room collapsed, unconscious.

Martok ran and jumped into the quarantined room without waiting for the fire extinguishers to put out all of the flames.  Teacher Nancy was right on his heels.  “Glen, you are not escaping me.  I don’t care how strange you get.”  She spoke with as much volume in her words as she could muster and still whisper.  The whisper was not really necessary, but Martok smiled at the thought and felt good about the sentiment.  It abated his anger. 

After a quick examination of the room, he headed straight for the box which was sitting on a table in the center of the room.

David and Pickard came to join them after a moment while the others removed  the brain controllers, as they were calling them.  Goldman collected them and was careful to be sure he got them all.  He did not want one of these scientists slipping one in a pocket for later examination.

“What is it?”  David asked as he arrived.

“A computer,”  Martok said as he took off the cover to see what damage he did.

“Don’t be daft,” Pickard objected.  “Computers are great big things with reels of magnetic tape and stacks of punch cards.  This can’t be a computer.”

“Well.”  Martok paused as he looked inside.  He took a moment to put his hood down and sent his helmet back to where it came from while he called for Mishka’s black bag.  He pulled out the magnifying glass and examined some of the silicon chips to be sure he had not melted them.  “Actually, this unit probably has more computing power than every computer currently working on the Earth put together; but this is only a relay system.”

“No.”  The scientists were arriving and not believing what they were seeing.

“What are these?”  One man held up what looked like a pair of headphones.  Martok glanced over.  There were about twenty on the table there and several unfinished ones as well.

“Brain controllers.  Probably the only way Earth technology could make them, but they would have the same effect as the neck chips if worn.”

“No.”  That one man was determined not to believe any of it.

Martok found a speaker that he could turn into a microphone.  He ripped the hot wire out of his laser contraption and turned to David.  “Unplug.”  He said, and David ran back through the other rooms to where he could pull the plug.  He brought the whole extension cord into the quarantined room while Martok wired up what he was calling the relay computer.  When it was plugged in, he immediately rattled off a long string of numbers.  The he switched off for a minute.  “Gentlemen.”  He turned to face the crowd but looked at Goldman.  “You need to see who else may be unconscious in this building and be sure to get all of the brain controllers removed, starting with the Director.”

“The Director?”  Nancy asked.  She wondered if it was safe since Doctor Mishka was so concerned that they not touch him.

“He should be fine by now.”  Martok said, and again he did not add the words, “I hope.”  “But you and David can stay with me.  I will need your help.”  Then he paused while the others grumpily left the room.  They were certain they were going to miss something important.  “Pickard.”  Martok caught the man’s attention at the last minute.  “Please make sure Goldman gets them all.  If anything scares you, the idea of controlling people’s minds in that way should be at the top of the list.”

“Oh it does.”  Pickard responded.  “On this planet, we just overcame a fellow named Hitler not that long ago.  I shudder to think what might have happened.”

Martok nodded and waited for them to close the door before turning on the relay computer once again.  “Reichgo.”  He said.  “This is the Kairos.  The Kargill will be informed concerning what you tried here.  If you try it again, I will be very angry.”  He switched off and began dismantling the console, adding for the two present, “They do not want to get me angry.”

“I can believe that.”  David said as he and Nancy looked around at the room for the first time.  They were holding hands and needed that human touch at the moment.  It did not take long for Martok to dismantle and break the relay computer and his makeshift laser gun so they could not be rebuilt and would yield no real information to close examination.  He did slip a few pieces into Doctor Mishka’s black bag, but otherwise he left the junk where it lay.  When he turned to the couple, Nancy surprised him by reaching out to touch his alien, bloody lip.

“Just blood.”  Martok assured her.  “We are more alike than you know, but I will be fine.”  He tried to smile despite his puffy lip but decided his best option was to go away.  Doctor Mishka returned.  “And now there is but one more thing to do.”  She turned to her bag and pulled out what looked like a bug bomb.  She set it off where it would seep into the corners of all of the connected rooms.  She escorted David and Nancy into the hall and went to the unconnected rooms, tossing something like a horse pill into each – a pill that split on contact with the floor and fogged those rooms as well. 

She assured Nancy and David that the unconscious people in those rooms would not be hurt by the fog.  “It is merely an anti-viral that should clean up any residue of the pox on the men and the equipment.”  Then she smiled for her teacher before she turned to David with instructions.  “Tell Goldman to collect all of the Reichgo equipment and the homemade brain controllers as well and lock them away in his own building.  Tell him I will be along to collect them at some later date.  Now, be sure he gets them all and everything.  Please, David.  There are some things the human race does not yet need to know.  I only have you to depend on.”

Nancy was thinking.  “I assume the Reichgo were thinking if they got the smartest minds in the nation under control, it would not be hard to get the rest.”

“Not to mention they needed those minds first because they would be the only ones bright enough to figure out how to build more controllers with the limitations of the technology.”

“It is hard to think that way,” David said.  “The Labs was always years ahead of the rest of the world, but all of this makes me feel like we have not begun to learn anything yet.”

“And the scary part is realizing how close we came to being taken,” Nancy said.  The others looked at her without actually verbalizing their questions.  She got it, though, and fleshed out her thought.  “We would not have known anything if Bobby Thompson had not gotten sick.”

“Quite right,” Mishka agreed.  “The Reichgo might have succeeded if one of them had not had a cold.”

“Kind of H. G. Wells in reverse,” David said.

Indeed.”  Mishka spoke as a wry smile broke out on her face.  “Mister Wells was a strange man, but nice in a way.”  Nancy and David looked at her and then smiled at their own thoughts.  Mishka spoke again.  “Now, though, I believe it is time we got back to school.”

Nancy looked quickly at her watch.  “My God, David.  It’s eleven-thirty.  The Moms will all be showing up.”  She stuck her hand out and David reached for his keys.  “I have to get Glen back before his mother wonders where he is.  I’ll bring the Hudson right back after we are closed up.”  She reached down, picked Glen up off the floor and hugged the boy.  Without realizing it or noticing, Mishka had vanished and Glen had finally been allowed to return to his own time and place.  As Nancy carried him and followed David to the front door, where one of the security guards was trying in vain to wake the other one, Glen put his head down on Teacher Nancy’s soft shoulder.  He yawned a big yawn.  It had to be his nap time.

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