The vanished people ended up in a small room with no windows and no visible door. Everyone felt sick. Lincoln and Jennifer threw up. Elsbeth did as well, but just a little and said she was fine. Brianna and Father Aden were right there for Jennifer. Alexis and Nanette helped Lincoln, while Katie and Lockhart looked for a way out.
“No door, no windows, no vents,” Lockhart said.
Katie put her hand to the wall and admitted, “I don’t even know what kind of material this is.” She pressed her fingers into the wall and when she drew back her hand she saw where her fingers pushed into the wall, briefly making indents before the wall healed over and became flat and smooth again like nothing happened.
“Something like memory foam?” Lockhart suggested.
“But hard,” Katie responded. “More like a padded cell.”
“Where are we?” Elsbeth asked as she wiped her mouth with her sleeve. “Is this a dream?”
“Not a dream,” Alexis said, as she got Lincoln to sit with his back to the wall. Father Aden thought that was a good idea, and he got Jennifer to sit against the opposite wall.
“It did not feel like when the gods moved us instantly from one place to another,” Lockhart said.
“But similar, in a way,” Katie countered. “We have definitely been moved to another place, and no telling how far we have traveled.”
“How can we have traveled?” Brianna asked. On seeing that Jennifer was all right, she stood and put her arm around Elsbeth, her daughter.
“Teleport,” Lincoln mumbled, coughed to clear his throat, and tried again. “Like on T.V.”
“We could be in space,” Alexis added, speaking for her husband. “On those shows, they usually transport to a ship in orbit.”
Lincoln nodded and pointed to his wife, adding, “It feels like space. I got sick when I got taken to space by the Vordan, back in the real world.”
“When was that?” Nanette asked.
“A few years ago. Before we found you. About thirteen hundred years in the future,” Lockhart answered, and grinned. That was the kind of thing the Kairos usually said. “Back before we got stuck on this time trip.”
“Well,” Elsbeth spoke up. “Wherever we are, I am sure Roland will get Charles to turn out the whole Frankish army to look for us, and then woe to whoever kidnapped us.”
“That might not be so easy if we are in outer space,” Nanette said.
Brianna looked at Lockhart and Katie. “By space, you mean above the clouds, like out among the stars?”
“Hopefully not as far as the stars,” Katie answered. “But outside the atmosphere, maybe between the earth and the moon.”
“That will make it hard for any army on horseback to find us,” Lockhart said.
“But you have experienced this sort of thing before?” Father Aden spoke up from where he doted on Jennifer.
“Not exactly,” Alexis answered, but Lincoln waved, like he wanted to say something. People waited for him to swallow.
“I read about teleportation in the database after the first time the gods moved us from one location to another. The television version is impossible. There is no way to account for the infinite number of variables. Finite creatures can’t do infinite. There are ways around that. I remember a temporary wormhole is one way. I don’t remember the others.”
“You mean, you did not understand the others,” Alexis said with a smile for her husband.
“That too,” Lincoln admitted.
Elsbeth turned to her mother. “Maybe you could call Doctor Pincher and he might know a way to get us out of here.”
“No, baby,” Brianna said. “Margueritte might, but I’m not connected to the spiritual world in that way.”
“Little White Flower?” Elsbeth looked at Jennifer who sat with a hand on her stomach.
“No,” she said. “I’m not connected anymore, either.” She explained to the others. “I used to be a fairy. I became human to marry Aden.”
“Really?” Alexis spoke across the room. “I used to be an elf and became human to marry Benjamin.”
Father Aden interrupted before the two women started comparing notes. “It seems to me it is less important how we got here as why we are here.”
“Obviously someone brought us here for some reason,” Katie agreed with the father.
“And what do they want?” Brianna asked.
Lockhart punched the wall, but not too hard. The wall stiffened on impact, so it showed no dent. “I would guess we can’t shoot our way out of here.”
Nanette pushed her finger gently into the wall, and it showed a deep dent, but healed over as soon as Nanette withdrew her finger. “I may be able to do something, now that I have my magic.” She went to discuss it with Alexis even as one wall began to change. Jennifer and Father Aden had to quickly move away from that side. The wall turned transparent to where it appeared to vanish altogether. Lockhart slapped his hand against it to show that it was still there, only now it was invisible and see through.
Elsbeth looked while Lockhart distracted everyone with his hand slap. Elsbeth screamed. There were multi-legged insects of some sort, about the size of an average table chair, crawling all over the floor, walls, and ceiling of a much bigger room. People backed away from the transparent wall, but Katie took a close look.
“My god,” she said. “They look like Trilobites.”
Margueritte got the blacksmith and his helpers to take care of the horses. Tony and Decker had ghost unhitched from the wagon, and Tony figured the mule would not wander off. Margueritte took everyone inside and sat them at the table. Father, Lord Barth, sat in his regular seat on the end. Boston, Owien, Decker, and Tony sat on the side where Brianna, Jennifer, Margueritte, and Elsbeth usually sat. Sukki, Margueritte, and Elder Stow sat on the opposite side, with Margueritte in the middle, where Margueritte’s big brother Tomberlain sat with Owien and often enough, Father Aden and Roland.
Margueritte put her hand out to Elder Stow and said, “Scanner.”
Elder Stow only hesitated for a second before he pulled out the device. “You think some sort of matter transportation happened?”
Margueritte nodded. She opened the device carefully.
“Couldn’t Danna do something?” Owien asked.
“Or maybe one of the gods,” Boston was thinking the same thing.
“The gods aren’t cooperating,” Margueritte said, and then added, “Father, don’t look.”
Lord Barth covered his eyes for a minute as Margueritte went away and Martok, the alien Bospori came to take her place. Martok, a mathematical engineer, was a life that came from far enough in the future to understand all the technical specifications of the Gott-Druk device. He went to work, and Lord Barth only let out a small peep when he uncovered his eyes. Owien, Boston, and Decker all laughed. Tony had another thought.
“We might know what was going on if we had the database.”
“I was just thinking that,” Sukki said, but Martok shook his head.
“Stow, explain,” Martok whispered, while he worked.
Elder Stow had to think for a minute, but thought he understood. “We have basic matter transportation that we have been able to achieve in laboratory conditions. The actual breakdown and restructuring of matter is considered untenable. There are limitless variables and no way to account for them all. There are ways to sidestep that limit, but we are just beginning to experiment in your twentieth century.”
Decker understood. “So, whoever we are dealing with has a technology superior to the Gott-Druk, even a thousand years in the future.”
“Essentially, yes,” Elder Stow admitted and looked down at the table
Martok appeared to have finished and Margueritte came back to another peep from her father. She said, “There are plenty of choices. The question is which one—who are we dealing with?” She pressed on the scanner and a holographic image of a ship appeared to hover over the table. “Parked above us,” she said. “Just on the edge of space.” She studied the image and heard from other lifetimes and finally from Alice of Avalon herself. “Damn,” she said, as the image began to waver and break up. Something fizzed in the scanner, and the image vanished. “Damn,” Margueritte said again, and glanced at her father because of her words, but he just looked serious. Margueritte never swore.
Neither did Elder Stow, but he almost made an exception when he grabbed his scanner to check for damage. He got out the eyepiece he used for the microcircuits and almost cursed again.
“But we need help,” Margueritte yelled at the ceiling. By then both Boston and Sukki needed to know.
“What kind of ship was that?” Sukki asked.
“Who has a damn ship?” Boston asked at about the same time.
“Trilobites,” Margueritte said without explanation because Lady Alice made a suggestion. She stuck her hand out to Elder Stow and said, “Communication device, please.”
Elder Stow looked at her and pulled his scanner out of reach, like a child might protect his toy from the one who broke it.
“Just to make a call,” Margueritte said. “There should not be any feedback this time.”
Elder Stow detached the device from his belt and handed it over, reluctantly, and Margueritte went away so Martok could return and fiddle with the device.