Benedict was tired, the tone in his voice showed signs of stress, “This is Mission Control, more than 271 hours into this exercise. It has been a long day here. A few moments ago I asked you all to sit down and prepare for the coming events. Agent Labrinth, step up to the gate.”
He cast an anxious glance at the Mission Control clock. He continued, this time his voice crisp and fast, “All right. Everything is looking good. I seek Go/Stay authorization for insertion of agent Labrinth into the Catalyst timeline.”
As Cannonball called off each of the service groups, the team leaders shouted a response.
Engineering - Go!
Vitals - Go!
Power - Nominal!
DelCon - Go!
Surgeon - Go!
Cannonball said, “We are good for insertion. Go-go-go!”
Agent Labrinth took one last look at Mission Control, took out her gun and stepped towards the gate.
She took a breath watching for the Guidance team leader’s hand signal.
Labrinth told herself, “It is 3:32 pm on 10 November 1975. I am Stephanie, known here as Agent Labrinth. I am 27 years old. Agent Labrinth will return. Stephanie will come back. Nothing can stop me. I will be back here in 7 hours.”
“But I will come back a year older,” she heard herself say.
She has seen the grainy pictures the analysts had data mined from the future. Cityscapes changed beyond recognition. A world population that had almost doubled. There were new political boundaries that made no sense. Wars were taking place in places unheard. Unreal images of spaceships, robots, and monsters appeared without explanation. There was technology she did not understand. She thought, “This time, I have time to make Catalyst explain.”
Guidance gave her the signal, and she moved fast into the blue light, conscious that the reactor pulses had started to pick up. She took another step, as waves of tremors, like small earthquakes, flooded the floor.
The facility screamed as it suddenly drew power from everywhere. Labrinth saw that all the clocks had stopped.
Suddenly she saw stars. And then they started to move towards her.