FB2-19 "Into The Maelstrom"

FB2-19 "Into The Maelstrom"

A Chapter by dw817

Cheani's voice was distorted from her connection beyond the Gate, "No sir. I can't describe it. No sir ! Sir !! I - don't - I don't want to, it's - I will contact you when I arrive, sir. Cheani Out."


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F U T U R E   B A R R I E R
( The 2nd Novel )
Secret Technology, Unrequited Love, Absolute Vengeance

© January 2015 Written by David Wicker
Please do not reprint without permission

CHAPTER 19 - "Into The Maelstrom"

* * *

This chapter is Rated: EVERYONE

Learby spoke quietly in reply, "Darceon. We weren't expecting you. Your wife - ahhm -" and he paused in thought.

As he stammered his words, Darceon suddenly jumped down from the incredible height over the safety railing but was cushioned by glowing repulsor discs on his boots. Some papers near his feet shot against the sides of the consoles to avoid the tantalus field. At this point all the guards in the laboratory had their weapons pointed at him.

As he approached, the 6-ringed energy dampener powered down completely and the violet and blue wisps from the unbridled Gate reached out even further.

The hissing was unmistakeable now, it was definitely chanting. It was likely that travel through the Gate was somehow linked to spirits and the undead, and perhaps the beyond.

Learby finally continued, "Darceon, we regressed your wife for the murder of Steve, Jennie's husband. If you like, you can put down your weapon peacefully and we will regress you as well. Then you two can be together as you like."

Darceon was caught off guard and lowered his aim slightly, "Regression, wha - what is that ?"

Learby continued with a steady voice, "Painless I assure you, Darceon, and it's not lethal." he sniffed, "And it will place you precisely with your beloved wife. I wouldn't lie to you about that. Well, do you agree ?"

Darceon kept his weapon straight on Learby and approached him. All the guards shifted their aim to follow his movements but none fired, not having a clear shot for fear of hitting Learby. Learby raised his arms up higher, frightened at the imposing presence he had on him.

He then leaned close to look at Learby. He was hiding something and he knew it. There. The unmistakeable trace of a smile. No, he wasn't going to be regressed, whatever that was.

"I think I'll find my own way, thank you. Gentlemen, ladies, I bid you ad-" and with that he ducked into the Gate, or perhaps the Gate grabbed him, it was hard to tell because his last word was cut off shortly as he approached and it appeared a mass of wispy tendrils pulled hard on him, knocking him off his feet. His gun was thrown clear and clattered uselessly to the side.

In any case he was gone. There was a moment of silence as Learby walked quietly to retrieve the gun and then clicked the safety on it. Then he spoke louder, "Get those dampeners back up, quickly !"

Jeffrey nodded and moved away from his post to run towards the scaffolding ladder and climbed up to the console to reactivate it. And just in time as it appeared something -unfriendly- was trying to work its way out of the gate.

Once the 6 rings started glowing again, there was a howl of frustration from -something- and it vanished. The Gate was safe from incoming traffic again. Then Learby and Jennie were taking off the helmet from Cheani and saw that, although her helmet had a burn mark on it, it had not penetrated her face. She had only fainted from fear and was fine.

Learby pointed to Jeffrey. "Jeff, stay up there and ensure the dampeners are in full operation. We don't want to lose the safety margin on this again." then he spoke to Cheani who was rising up and having a drink of liquor to wake her up.

"Cheani," he said, "Are you okay ? Are you still up for the journey ?"

She swallowed hard but said in her quiet voice, "Yessir."

"Good girl." then he turned to the group. "I need someone to operate the controls here !" and he pointed to where Jeffrey was standing earlier.

Sally raised her hand and volunteering, stepped forward. Jennie returned to the left side and fumed at Sally who stood on the right side. She knew something was wrong but she also knew that Jeffrey slept with her, and that was unforgivable in her book.

For all I care, he can suckle her fat a*s like a newborn she growled to herself angrily, furious that he would ever break their years of harmony fidelity and yet ... was it entirely his fault ? She would give it more thought later. But one thing was certain, the friendship between her and Sally was OVER.

Then the pair turned the power back on the Gate and the floor under them rumbled as new energy was poured into it for use. The Gate was being prepared for entry.

The lights in the room flickered slightly and a near-deafening roar of a high-powered engine was heard as the 5 circles started to rotate quickly and finally spinning so fast it looked like a piece of solid crystal refracting rays of light in rainbow streams around it.

Cheani put back on her helmet and it glowed to life with inner lights. The burn mark was not severe and the headgear had not been compromised. She gave a thumb up to Learby and both Sally and Jennie touched their controls again on the sides of the Gate.

The three green lights glowed again and this time, there was no interference. She hesitated for a moment, the expression in her face could be seen, and there was moisture inside the helmet's face. She was crying. There was no doubt in Cheani's mind now that she would not be returning - not to this world, but this was for the mission, and it was very terribly important.

* * *

The dampener rings while shimmering prettily began to vibrate the casing around them, shaking as if they weren't perfectly balanced. The girls and Jeffrey looked in shock. It was supposed to hold better than that !

"Now, Cheani !" Learby yelled above the roar of the engines. "We can't hold the stability for long !"

She put her head down, sighed inside the helmet, and quietly stepped through the Gate and - well - just vanished. The dampeners operated correctly and there were no problems. The three lights that were green flickered uncertainly and then and then suddenly turned bright yellow.

"She's in !" Learby said above the roar of the engine. Just then a sharp piece flew off of the dampener disc and collided into a desk smashing a beaker on the floor.

"Shut it down !" Learby yelled in panic !

Jennie and Sally both trembled as they quickly entered new values on their consoles and the yellow lights faded from yellow to orange, then a dark red, finally black. The spinning circles ahead started to slow down too shooting sparks in all directions as the brakes were applied, making a high-pitched whine as the energy was released from them.

It was a near flawless execution, and the most important thing was, nothing had escaped from inside. The Gate was turned off and now it was time to find where Cheani was.

Learby ran over to a console on the side wall, and then spoke slowly and deliberately into it, "Cheani, can you hear me ?"

There was a terrible sound of blasted static and no reply. He touched the controls to find the right frequency where she was as it had apparently shifted since her entry. The audio was stabilizing as she was -between- and that was a very difficult place to be in. He paused for a moment, then spoke again, "Cheani, report d****t !"

Then it sounded like an unearthly howl from something completely malevolent and evil which quickly faded from the speakers. "Sir !" she said above the noise in the Gate. "I hear you ! I am proceeding to the waypoint as listed in my route."

Learby rubbed his beard for a moment giving a look of triumph to the mass of people around him. There was polite cheering and applause. Then it got silent again. He licked his lips before speaking in awe and reverence, "Cheani, not one of us has ever entered a Gate voluntarily and lived to tell about it. You are the first. Can you - can you describe it to us ?"

Then there was a strange warbling whistling sound and you heard her voice sounding slightly distorted as if razors were cutting through her speech making herself sound unearthly and terrifying, "No sir. I can't describe it. No sir ! Sir !! I - don't - I don't want to, it's - I will contact you when I arrive, sir. Cheani Out."

And then the speakers were quiet. Learby reached into his pocket for a kerchief and wiped his sweaty brow. Cheani's position in Central had always been to describe and record in elaborate detail the workings of complex equipment and system failures. For her not to be able to even remotely describe where she was, even a simple explanation. Well, that was unheard of.

Then there was a moment of silence. Jeffrey hurriedly climbed back down the ladder and looked to to the two girls. He knew who he wanted to comfort at this point, Jennie, who had his back to him, and she had her hand to her head worried about the girl in the Gate, but he also saw Sally who was looking right at him, angry, should he choose to console the wrong one.

He sighed, lowering his head and went to Sally. She eagerly grabbed his hand. It could be worse he told himself. He wasn't sure HOW but he was certain that it was possible in any case.

"People." Learby spoke in a tired voice. "We - can't do anything until Cheani contacts us again on this frequency. We - can only hope she makes it. If not - we WILL have to try again, with another volunteer. I'm not going to lie to you. Even with the protective gear we are - uncertain - as to who or what you may encounter in the Gate."

Then he paused in thought and spoke quieter, "How Darceon and the older Tyr arrived unharmed when they did that many years ago makes me believe they did not arrive from our future but from some dark dimension where time travel is common to them."

"We can only hope Darceon was torn to shreds by being dragged in the Gate thereby ending any further terror he could place on ours or any other worlds."

"Team !" he spoke loudly and crisply and saluted. Everyone in the room returned the salute, and there was an odd moment of silence, almost as if it was a marked period of time to mourn Cheani, as if he was certain she was already dead and this was her moment of remembrance.

The silence continued until Jennie audibly sniffed, being caught up in her tears.

Learby, eager to end the somber mood spoke crisply again, "Dismissed !"

Jennie gave one pained look to Jeffrey, her eyes clouded with tears, and then ran out. He looked at her but decided it would be best to stay and hold Sally's hand as everyone else left. Learby was the last to leave and spoke to them, "Lock up, Jeff and Sally. We shouldn't have to use the Gate again for a-while." and then he left.

Sally took this time to smuzzle up against Jeffrey and gave him a big hug. He knew he had to get her perfectly comfortable with him if he was going to remove all the blackmailing evidence from her residence.


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