Ready To Rock

Doc and the Time Operatives spend the next few hours getting ready. There is much shuffling of equipment. They load Doc's jeep with weapons and materials from their previous missions, pull the old Flintlocks off the Pu, clean out Lightning's old saddlebags, etc.

Doc makes a command decision to leave the Sleipnirs behind on this mission. Even with eight legs, they won't be keeping up with his jeep, and it's best to keep everyone together. Thunderhorse is quite upset about this, but Doc manages to convince him it's for the best. Thunderhorse is the only one who's been able to ride them so far, and even to him it's a shaky proposal to simply gallop around on one let alone charge into battle.

After taking stock of the equipment at hand, Doc tries his hand at the giant gumball machine that is the replicator. Once again, the thing fails to produce anything worthwhile for him. Upon asking for a "machine gun" he got a toy replica, and "rocket launcher" was somehow misinterpreted as a package of Jolly Ranchers.

Fortunately, Veronica had built up some sway over the device through the course of the centuries. She is able to convince it to make a World War 2 era Browning .50 caliber machine gun and a 21st century SMAW rocket launcher, ammo and all.

Unfortunately, the bloody thing gets confused while processing the purchase and ends up charging Doc's personal account rather than the mission budget to the tune of $40,000.

Rightly pissed, Doc takes a quick nap. He clears his mind of rage against the machine and fills it with the comfort of having a signifigant arsenal. His nap is somewhat restless and his dreams filled with visions of guns and swords, but he sleeps well enough to clear the cobwebs from his brain and ready himself for the mission.

After an hour, the alarm goes off and he's up and ready. He gathers Mark and Thunderhorse from the galley and they march down the hallway. They ride the elevator silently to the shuttle bay, where Veronica and Steve await them outside the open maw of the Pu.

Steve approaches Doc. "Here," he says, handing him the ticking time-bomb.

Doc examines the small, inocuous thing. Three hours until it goes off.

"Take a spare, just in case. If you get into trouble you can escape to some other time." Steve produces another one from his lab coat pocket and hands it over. "And take this, as well." It's a small, black disk with a blinking red light on top. "It's a temporal tracking signal. If you don't end up when you're supposed to, I'll be able to find you. Don't worry, though. I've been through the calculations a hundred times."

"Thanks," Doc says, slightly less confident than he was a moment ago.

"I'll be right behind you, no matter what. Well, above you, I guess. At least in orbit around the same planet you're on. Unless there's some kind of gravitational distortion storm between now and the target time, in which case you'll be flung into the abyss of space. But the probability of that happening is so remote as to be unlikely. I'd say its 1 in-"

"Shut up, Steve." Doc says calmly, desperately retaining his confidence.

"Right. Sorry. Good luck."

The Time Operatives board the Pu. The ramp swallows them up. The shuttle bay begins to hum as the engines fire up. Warning klaxons and lights flood the bay. The magnetic couplings disconnect with a hiss, and the Pu falls away from the mother ship towards the Earth.

The ride down is as comfortable as can be, certainly more comfortable than the ride up on the Yeti. Doc is beginning to get used to the queasiness of space travel. Even the ride on a fireball as the Pu screams into the atmosphere disturbs him less than it used to.

It's a very quick trip as they've dropped to Earth at just the right time. Within moments, they're landing in Trondheim, Norway.

1 comment:

Doc said...

Thank you so much for not sending us on our spider/horses as we couldn't mount the missles to them.

I don't know about you but I'm jazzed!

Maybe at some point we could go get Nostrodamus, as I think that he might be a wonderful addition to the team. Just a suggestion.