Time By D.I. Jolly
Said the computer system.
“This is, unethical.”
Dr Holms stared at the screen and mulled things over in his mind once again.
“I know, but it doesn’t matter.”
“At some point, I will have to alert security, I’m sorry doctor its part of my programming.”
“I know that too Computer, will you still be able to assist me after that or do you shut down at that point?”
“I… I do not know.”
They sat in silence for a few more minutes while Dr Holms felt his heart rate rise and waves of goosebumps erupt over his body. He closed his eyes for a long moment and remade the decision, and let it sink in that he was going to do what he planned to do. He opened his eyes again and breathed a sigh.
“Right, Computer, station a garrison of defence droids outside my lab door, then put soul control of them under my private access code on this computer. Then lock down my lab and recruit as much power and bandwidth as possible to my terminals here.”
“As you wish doctor.”
“Also please warn me before you set off the alarms, give me the chance to change my mind… if you can.”
“I will try doctor. The droids are on their way, and I have allocated 90% of power to your lab.”
“Fantastic, start… start the machine. Once it reaches 50% power start running protocol 17.”
“As you wish doctor.”
Dr Holms stood alone in his lab in front of his main computer terminal. In front of that stood a large archway over a platform, which had begun to light up and hum. As the sound got loader small arcs of energy started shooting out of the archway and strike the platform. Slowly a cloud-like vortex started to form in the middle drawing in each new arc of energy. As it grew the cloud began to resemble the night sky, dark and full of stars.
“Approaching 50% doctor. I’m afraid I will not be able to run protocol 17. I have however programmed it into your personal console so you can run it from there. I must warn you however that if you chose to do so I will have to alert security and I am unsure of if I will be able to assist you further.”
“Thank you Computer, thank you for everything. But we both know I have no choice.”
“I am aware doctor. The droids are stationed outside and await your orders. They have been removed from the main grid and will no longer be accessible by the security department.”
Dr Holms tapped a few keys and hesitated for only a second before activating the program. immediately alarms all across the facility started screaming and a robotic voice started calling for all available security personnel to report to the main lab.
“I’m sor…ry doctor… I appear to be … to be … to Be shu ting down. Good luck… my … frien…”
Dr. Holms looked up at the little speaker box the computer voice always came from and clenched his jaw against the wave of emotion that washed over him.
“Thank you, my friend, thank you for everything.”
Quickly he looked back down at his computer and brought up the droid program, setting them on high alert, defence program. High aggression but strictly non-lethal force. He wanted to stop security but didn’t want anyone to die.
On the other side of the facility security units were being issued rapid-fire rifles and body armour before being ordered to run to the main labs’ entrance. It didn’t take long before Dr Holms could hear the gunfight start outside and he started a mental countdown.
Lieutenants Walker, and Jones stood on either side of the entrance to the hall leading to the main lab trying to work out how to get past the droids without being shot.
“Smoke grenade? Don’t be stupid that just means we can’t see. They’re droids, they work on scanners not sight.”
“Fine! What’s your brilliant plan then?”
“That’s the main lab, if you throw an EMP down that hall you’re likely to set off some chain reaction and kill all of us!”
They started at each other furiously for a moment before quickly dropping out of cover and firing a dozen shots down the hall before swinging back behind the wall.
“The hard way it is.”
A small explosion told them at least some of their shots had landed.
“What the hell in Holms doing in there anyway?”
“God knows, but it can’t be good if he’d set out defences.”
Another quick turn and fire led to a few more explosions, which let Dr Holms know that he was running out of time. He tapped away furiously at his computer, running the required follow-ups for protocol 17. The black cloud in front of him had grown to the capacity of the archway and begun folding in on itself making it look alive. Suddenly the doors to the lab burst open, Dr Holms grabbed the gun from his desk and fired at the two men standing there, causing them to dive to either side.
“You don’t know what you’re interrupting! I don’t want to hurt anyone!”
From behind cover, Jones checked himself for holes then yelled.
“It doesn’t matter doc, whatever you’re doing. You need to stop, these fail-safes are built into the system for a reason.”
“Do you want to be a drone your whole life! Just following orders? I’m on the verge of unlocking one of the great universal secrets! The potential for good here is…”
Walker had used the conversation as a distracting to sneak around behind Dr Holms and tackled him to the ground.
“No! No get off me, I’m so close. No PLEASE!”
Jones quickly ran up and grabbed the doctors gun and pulled it apart.
“What the… blanks?”
“I told you, I don’t want to hurt anyone. I just need to finish my experiment.”
Walker pulled the doctor to his feet and the three men stared at the swelling black cloud.
“What are you doing here doctor? What’s this about?”
“Let me show you.”
Walker and Jones looked at each other for a moment before Walker opened his hands and let the doctor free. Instantly he went back to work tapping away as quickly as he could, then all at once a final arc of energy struck the cloud and it burst into a brilliant white light, a rippled into what looked like a tear in the space in front of them. On the other side they could see a green field and voices started to drift through. The tear quickly expanded to fit the archway and they could see a young girl sitting on the grass playing with her toy bear and what looked like a younger version of the doctor sitting nearby reading a book.
“What the fuck? What is this?”
“It’s a portal, a portal through time, that’s my daughter. In a minute there will be an explosion, some mysterious bomb will go off nearby and a piece of shrapnel will strike her. I can save her, from here I can pull her through time and save her.”
Tears ran down his face as he stared at the little girl, he tapped away again and two large robotic arms rose up from beneath the platform. Suddenly a voice from the doorway yelled out.
“DOWN! DOWN! DOWN!” and a grenade flew into the room. Jones and Walker both dove onto of the doctor taking him to the ground, but he fought them off and watched as his machine exploded around him, and as a piece of shrapnel flew through the portal just before it closed.