Hours passed by before the goods train which Shamathia and Andy were riding
finally stopped in a little city. It was about noon, and Andy said they would
have to eat something before they could go on with their journey. In a small
café close to the station, Andy ate a small breakfast while Sammy rested in
his backpack. Her batteries were still quite full and after they were flat she
still had the generator and a full tank of hydrogen.
When Andy had finished, they went to a forest nearby where they were undisturbed
and discussed what to do next. Andy's plan was to try to send Shamathia back
to Neopia, then disassemble the robotic body, take the stolen parts and bring
them back to the military base. Maybe they would forgive him if he said honestly
that he was sorry and regretted what he did. He could also explain them what
exactly he did with the parts.
Sammy was not too happy about this idea. "You said yourself that you could
not return me to Neopia, didn't you? And those military people are never going
to forgive anything, it is just not their way!"
"Great, I know myself that this is desperate," Andy replied angrily.
"Have you got a better idea misses extra-smart ?" They looked at each other
for a moment. "Sorry," said Andy finally. "I did not mean it but... I am tired,
exhausted and really at the end, what shall we do now?? That storm-commando
messed up the house, I have no idea what happened to mom and dad, and worst
of all, they are after you or rather the parts you are build of. It is a disaster."
"Well, you there is something else we could do," Sammy said after a little
while. "They want to have me, right? Then they can have me. You walk with me
right to that military base and show how great their parts are working. If you
can create such an incredible robot with them, what must experts be able to
make out of them then."
Andy thought about this for a moment but then shook this head. "They would
only take you away and make terrible test with you. I really don't want that
you end up as a robot to place bombs or spy tactical buildings or terrible things
like that. No, you will good back to Neopia and have a good life there. Let's
see where we can find Internet access."
Andy had decided to return the parts he stole to build Sammy's robotic body
and send Sammy herself back to Neopia. They went back into the little town to
where they had escaped after their house had been stormed by soldiers and looked
for an Internet-access. Soon they realised, that they would not find any and
so they made up another plan.
Together, they would go to the military base now, which was only about one
hour away. Before Andy would give back the parts, Shamathia would send her own
program via e-mail to Andy's address. Remember, Sammy's robotic body had an
integrated cell-phone with which she could send e-mail messages. As soon as
the affair was over, Andy could "receive" the program and return it to Neopia.
And so they headed towards the military base, Shamathia sitting on Andy's shoulder
because he could walk much faster than her. When they had done about half of
their way, they were stopped by the weather. It started to rain, first only
a few drops and then very heavy. Normally, this wouldn't have caused them to
stop their walk, but because of all her microelectronic components, Sammy was
really in danger. Of course, her artificial fur was water-resistant, but if
it got too wet, water might drop into deeper regions below. So, the searched
for a dry place and found protection under a huge oak-tree, whose leaves were
so thick that hardly and rain passed through. And the few drops that actually
did hit them, were bearable. It kept on raining all afternoon long and until
the early evening. Finally it stopped, and through the clouds on sky the sinking
sun could be seen.
They went on walking and by night they finally reached the outskirts of the
military base. From a hill they watched the main entrance gate, which was heavy
guarded by three armed soldiers and barbed wire.
Andy opened his backpack and reveled a tiny sub-notebook and asked Sammy for
assistance. He connected the notebook to her left front-leg to gain access to
the Internet via the cell-phone. It was very slowly, far too slowly to return
Sammy's program, but quick enough to check out security systems. When Andy had
entered the military base for the first time, he had used a security bug in
the computer system to gain access and he wanted to see if they had already
found that bug. To his surprise, they hadn't. He quickly typed in some rows
of commands and then said that the "backdoor" to the base was now open once
again. Sammy did not quite understand but she would find out soon.
They went back few meters until they reached a little river. After following
it upstream for a moment they came to a large pipe for drainage waters. It was
blocked by thick iron-bars and a code-lock. Andy typed in the number he had
gotten from the security server of the base few moments ago and the lock snapped
open. The tunnel in front of them was completely dark. "Sammy, I can't see anything,"
Andy said. "Last time I had a torch with me, but this time your eyes have to
see for mine. Please go ahead and tell me what you are seeing."
Sammy activated the night-vision goggles and they entered the tunnel. Andy
did not shout the bars behind them but put it a jar.
It them quite a long time to reach the far end of the tunnel, for it was very
difficult for Andy to crouch through the dark tunnel and also because the base
was big. On the other side was a opening in the ceiling through which light
was falling. Iron steps on the wall were leading upstairs. Andy put Sammy on
his shoulder and climbed up. Very carefully they peeped out of the tunnel to
see if any guards were nearby. The base was quiet. The only sound were the three
guards at the main gate, whose laughter they could hear through the darkness.
Andy took heart and climbed fully out of the tunnel...
...and was surrounded by a group of about four or soldiers just a second later.
They had been waiting for them in a dark corner of a building just next to the
tunnel. "There he is. Don't move or we gonna shot you!" one of them said.
"You think you are very clever, don't you? But now you're in the trap. Of course
we found the security bug, we only did not fix it so that we could catch you
more easily," said another one. "And how kind to bring your robot with you right
away, that makes things so much easier. Now come with us and do not dare to
make wrong move or it is the last thing you're doing!"
They pushed him towards one of the buildings. Just before they had arrived
there, Andy reached into his pocket, took out the sub-notebook unnoticed and
hit the soldier next to him so hard into his face with it, that the tiny screen
broke and pieces of it cut deeply into the soft flesh. Then he ran towards on
corner of the building. Shots fell, he reached the corner, was around it, still
went on to run. He lost orientation completely now, and so he run into a small
lane which turned out to be a dead-end. The situation looked desperate, he just
opened a door and rushed inside. Quickly, he locked the door.
Andy looked at himself. Fortunately, Sammy was still sitting on his shoulders.
She had pricked her claws into his flesh deeply to not fall down, but he had
not even noticed the pain. As he now rested, a sudden pain flashed through his
body, not from Sammy's claws but from his left arm.
They looked around in the room they had entered. It was a long corridor, leading
from one side of the building to the other. It was empty now, and the lights
were switched of. Before they could think of anything to do now, an alarm started.
A moving-detector on the ceiling had noticed them. Andy went almost crazy when
the alarm started. He rushed down the corridor opening one door after the other
to see if he could find anything of use. The first room was a computer room,
but all computers were switched of and the screens dark. Next door. An empty
room. Next door. A storeroom fully of boxes and barrels. Soldiers are trying
to opened the door. Next door. A large laboratory. Andy went in and locked the
door behind them. He switched on the lights and looked around. What the heck
was this? The room was filled with electronic devices and computers. In the
middle stood a machine that looked like... Both Andy and Sammy had never seen
something like this before. A metallic chair, with a helmet on it. On one side
a large control panel. Cables went to many of the computers in the room. And
then both of them saw the notice board all at once. The headline read: "The
Chrono-shift Time Machine Project". Below it was written: "Beta-test next Friday.
Prof. Alan with bring the test-subject. Everyone to be present" Another message
was partly wept out "... can take his own copy of the manual below this board.
I expect everyone to read it for ..."
Andy's thoughts began to rush. He had heard about plans of the military to
do research on time travel but he had never known they were so far. This was
totally crazy, if it lay in the possibilities of anyone to travel around in
time, nothing was safe of constant any longer. A working time machine was the
worst thing existing. And if this prototype was working, it was also his last
chance to repair the damage he had cause ... or the best way to make things
Blood was dripping from his injured arm. He decided to take the risk. "Sammy,"
he said, "Quickly read that manual and start this thingy, it is our last chance.
If we go back in time to the night I stole the parts, I can return them and
no one is going to notice. All this disaster is not going to have happened!
Or even better, we can go back in time so far that we can stop you from searching
for the hidden castle!!" Sammy jumped from his shoulder and studied the manual
as fast as she could. With her robotic body she could read far more quickly
than any other being. "Sorry I have to disappoint you, but the manual says that
time travels of more than seven months could change the time line irreversible...
we can only try to stop you from stealing the parts, I think I can do it," she
said, "But I really don't know if this is right to do. It could make things
worse than ever. What if you meet yourself? You might go nuts!"
"Switch the time to 3:43 am on that day," Andy replied, "I left the base at
3:41 am and the burglary was noticed at 4:28 so we have 45 minutes to repair
my own damage. Come on and get this thing running."
Shamathia jumped onto the control board and pressed several buttons. A generator
in a corner stared humming, lights everywhere on the machines went on. Suddenly,
somebody tried to open the door, then something big and heavy was banged against
"All right then," Sammy said, "Take on that helmet. I can delay the time-skip
long enough to jump on your lap so I can go with you." A voice from outside
could be heard.
"Stop it! You have no idea what you're doing!!"
"Are you ready?" Sammy asked.
"OK, then... sequence started... twenty seconds to go." The door was broken
in and two soldiers entered the room. When they saw that the sequence had already
been started, an expression of terror could be seen on their faces. "That was
a greater mistake than even you imagined!" One of them shouted. Shamathia jumped
off the control board and onto Andy's lap, he was now wearing the helmet. 10...
5... 3... 2...1... GO!!!
There was in incredible noise and all at once they had the feeling to be accelerated
extremely fast. The room around them transformed, was stretched into the length
and finally dissolved into a grey nothing. And then everything was around them.
For a moment they were everywhere in time, in all places at all times. Everything
seemed distant and close all at once. They saw empires rise and fall, past and
future. It was a glimpse of eternity they saw, just before the travel was already
They were still in the laboratory, Andy standing on the ground and Sammy next
to him. But they were alone now, and Andy's left arm was untouched. Also, they
room around them was different. The metallic chair was no longer their, the
computers stood in a different order. The notice board still had the same headline
but the messages were different.
"What time is it?" Sammy asked. Andy looked at his watch and said with a smile
"It's 3:43 am and I have just stolen the parts. Wo-ho, the machine really worked!
I can believe it, this was... oh, it is too much for a small mind like mine
to understand. Come on, we have something to do, and we have not much time."
To be continued...