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(Dotted lines mean a P.O.V. change)
“Dylan! Someone's been hit. Get over here right now!”
“There's a survivor?” I hear a man gasp. The man I can see nods. In a second, I see a guy in a leather jacket and jeans run over to me. I start to remember bits and pieces of what happened.
I remember driving with my best friend, and the bright white light. We jumped out of the car to see what was going on and saw everything around us was flying, like some kind of natural disaster. I recall my best friend yelling my name, then her disappearing into the sky. I spun around, trying to get my bearings. Last thing I remember was a branch hurdling towards my head.
I vaguely register ‘leather jacket’ touching my hair and pulling his hand back to look at the blood. My head starts to spin, my eyes lose focus, and suddenly my world turns black.
Air fills my lungs again. I gasp for breath as I slowly open my eyes. I see a girl with medium length light brown hair, green eyes, and freckles. Me. My hair has a weird part and a little tape where my head was hit. The memories come flooding back again. This time, I wonder about who the two people were who saved me, and what the bright light was. My cat pulls me out of my train of thought. She mewls from the floor, trying to get my attention.
“Are you hungry, Winnie?” I coo softly. She just mews again. I get up to feed her. The world spins for a second before going back to normal. As I walk towards her food bowl, her jumping around at my feet, I notice my apartment has been touched. Things are moved around. It smells of some sort of cleaning fluid, almost as if someone--or something--didn't want its smell to be noticed. Well, I had noticed alright.
The question wasn't leaving my head. Who were the people who saved me from that light? Google to the rescue. I type in ‘bright white light, man in coat, Dylan, leather jacket’. The only things I can remember about yesterday. Nothing comes up, which is almost impossible. I sigh, my hands hitting the keyboard. Winnie rubs her head against my leg, sensing I’m upset. I smile down at her and pick her up.
“You always know how to cheer me up, huh?” Her sparkling blue eyes look into my green ones, and I’m convinced she knows exactly what I’m saying. I decide I can’t give up on these people, even if Google isn’t going to help. I set my fluffy, brown tabby down and grab my coat and hat, getting ready to brace the cold, bustling streets of London.
“Chase, I blocked off her searches. It’ll look suspicious though because I didn't have time to make some false websites,” Kat, our computer genius, says to me.
“That's fine, she’ll lose interest soon,” I quickly respond. Jacob looks up from his computer with a disagreeing look on his face.
“Nope, she's walking around London now looking for us.” He motions me over to the cameras he’s looking at.
“Told you we should’ve retconned her,” Dylan snaps as I pass him.
“You’re a medic, Dylan. You know how dangerous wiping her memory can be. She didn’t see enough.” I turn and glare at him. He just shrugs and turns aways. I look back at Jacob and watch the security camera he’s brought up. Jacob started out here as just a caretaker of our base, but recently he’s become a real part of the team.
“She’s serious, I’ll give her that,” Kat says, watching as the woman asks almost every person on the street. Obviously she’s getting something, because she’s zigzaged all the way to roughly where our base is.
“Typical police. Always have to stick their noses where they don’t belong.” Dylan tosses a vial in the air and drops it, whatever medicine that was in it running everywhere.
“Nice catch,” Jacob says sarcastically. “So Chase, are we going to let her come in?”
I look around the base. All the alien stuff, the occasional extinct animal wandering around, and the most advanced technology in the world just sitting here, waiting to be seen.
“These dusty halls need a pair of new eyes. Get her here, Kat.” With that, I turn and walk back to my office.
I walk into the base, trying to hide the evident fear in my eyes. A teen had run up to me and had given me five pounds if I delivered her pizza for her. Five pounds didn’t make a huge difference to me, but I could tell she was desperate. She told me to go into a small, abandoned-looking building. I was not expecting this huge base, filled to the brim with machinery and technology I had never seen before. A man with midnight black hair, a face that looked as if it was chiseled out of stone, and a long military style coat looked me over. He has a very reserved persona to him, like he knows so much more than meets the eye. The way he held himself said authority. Everyone watched him with an indescribable awe, and you could tell he always had control of the room.
“She’s persistent. Good sign,” he says, turning to look at a dark brown haired man in a suit, then right back at me.
“Welcome to our base. This is Dylan, Kat, and Jacob,” he adds, motioning to the man in what looked like a medical area who I recognized as ‘leather jacket’ from earlier, then to a woman with short blonde hair and grey eyes at the computers, and finally the man in the suit.
“And I’m Chase Harper.” His icy blue eyes bore into mine, like he can see right through my attempt to look confident.
“I’m Tess, and I’m--” I start to say, but I’m quickly cut off by the woman at the computer, Kat.
“You’re a detective from Scotland Yard. You have a mother in Cardiff, but your father passed away a few years ago. No known children or relationships. Am I wrong?” She looks at me with a smug face. I open my mouth to contradict her, but she got everything right.
“Give her a break, Kat, she just got here,” the suit man, Jacob, says.
“No, no, don’t stop. I like this new and confident Kat,” the medic--Dylan--says. Chase just smiles.
“Yeah, you got everything right,” I say quietly.
“She’s not a mind reader or anything, if you were wondering. She’s just really good with computers. She looked you up when we realized you had followed us to the base,” Jacob finally clarifies. I just smile, pretending I’m not confused at all. Dylan finally walks over, wiping his hands on a towel. He stops at a tall tower in the center of the base. He turns towards Chase, a terrified look replacing his once confident act.
“It’s activating,” he says. Chase whirls around to face the computers.
“Kat, what’s going on?” he yells to her. Chase races over to Dylan as he messes with the tower. Kat starts furiously typing, and Jacob runs over to her to help out. I lean back against the wall, feeling confused and helpless. I want to help, but I have no idea what to do.
“Can I help?” I say after a moment of everyone panicking. No one even looks over at me. To them, I’m invisible.
“The rift’s opening in Regent’s Park. It’s the worst we’ve ever seen,” Kat answers me. I hear keys clicking at the speed of light as she tries to fix it. Dylan and I are messing with our rift changer, but it’s too late. We can’t stop it in the hub.
“No luck. I’m sorry, Chase, but I can’t close up the rift from here.” Kat sighs, taking her hands off her keyboard. I turn around to address the team.
“We’ve got to get there now! Kat, any technology that would be helpful. Dylan, sedative and any medicine we might need. Jacob, with me to get weapons.” I run towards our weapons room. Jacob stares at me for a second, not moving to grab anything.
“What’s your problem? Help!” I yell. He snaps out of his zone and starts to grab things off the wall.
“You want me to help you with this operation, sir?” he questions. This time I stop, confused.
“Of course. You’re a part of the team,” I state matter-of-factly. He just glances over at me.
“I thought I was just here to make sure the hub was safe,” he says to no one.
“You’re a lot more than that to me, Jacob,” I say under my breath. He doesn’t look over at me, but the smile he’s trying to hide shows me he knows what I said.
Once we have enough weapons, we race out to meet the others. Tess is helping Dylan, so I hand my weapons to Jacob before walking over to them.
“Dylan, get to the car with your things.” I turn towards Tess.
“What are you doing?” I step in front of her so she can’t continue.
“Helping out,” she states as if she was stating the weather.
“No.” Her head whips up in surprise.
“How could I be any clearer? No, you aren’t helping out. Give that to me and stay here. You can’t be a part of this.” I grab the medicine and race out, pushing the lockdown button right near the exit.
“Wait! I want to help! I--” the door slams shut before she finishes her sentence. I pause. Could she be helpful? No. I’m not putting anyone in danger who doesn’t know the full consequences, not anymore.
“Chase, get out here!” The engine on the car revs. I race out and hop into the front seat.
“Go!” I yell as Jacob steps on the gas.
“So what are we expecting when we get there, Kat?” I ask as we speed down the London streets.
“Not quite sure. The rift is opening more than ever, so we should be prepared to fight the past and future,” she answers, not looking up from her tracking device.
“Rumor has it we’ve got some people from the 1800s, but that might just be talk,” Dylan rambles as we pull up to Regent’s Park. He was right. An angry mob of people dressed in what looks like 1800s American style are wandering around, shouting at the occasional bypasser. Most people have cleared out, which is good news for us.
“Simple procedure. We just need to clear them out of the park and close up the rift. Dylan and Jacob, get these people out of here, and Kat, let’s close this rift.” I follow Kat while Dylan and Jacob approach the mob.
“Be careful!” I shout, and turn back towards Kat. “Where’s the rift opening?” She leads me over to a clearing concealed by trees.
“Can you make sure nothing falls through? I’ve never closed up the rift this way,” Kat says, worry etched into her face.
“Don’t stress about it.” I put my hand on her shoulder. “You can do this.”
She holds her device up, and the rift light appears.
“Chase, it’s not working!” Kat yells. I watch the rift grow bigger and bigger with no signs of stopping. Kat collapses, the weight of the rift crushing her. Racing over, I grab the device from her weak hands. I’m not losing a team member.
It feels like the universe is in my arms, the life being pulled out of me. Not an unfamiliar feeling. The bright white light starts to fade, replaced by the gold mist I recognize all too well.
My thoughts are overwhelmed by pain. I fall to my knees, my body trying to shut down. The rift’s fighting me.
“Chase!” I hear Jacob’s voice. “What’s happening?”
“Get…Kat...to safety,” I say in between breaths. The world is turning blurry, and I know what’s to come.
“Dylan, get Kat back to the hub. I’ll help Chase,” Jacob says.
“Stay…away…Jacob,” I yell, and I hear a bang. I let go of the device, and the world goes black.
I gasp. The cold, filtered air drags me back into reality.
“He…he…he was dead! You checked his pulse, he was definitely dead!” I hear around me. I sigh and open my eyes. My team and a confused Tess stand around me.
“As annoying as she is, Tess is right. How are you still alive, Chase? I’ve seen enough dead people to know a dead man when I see one,” Dylan says as he walks over to me.
“It’s a long story,” I groan as I try to sit up. Dylan and Kat rush over to help me.
“Well then start talking. We deserve some answers,” Kat snaps. She never yells.
“I can’t die,” I say.
“That was the shortest story I’ve ever heard,” Jacob scoffs, and I glare at him. He quickly turns away.
“I have no idea why. I die, and a few hours later I just wake back up. The timeframe depends on how I died.” I ignore Jacob’s comment from earlier. Most of the team just looks at each other.
“You don’t seem very surprised,” I say after a second.
“We all had our suspicions.” Kat pauses. “You put yourself in risky situations too often.”
“Well that’s one secret out of the way.” Jacob walks over.
“Finally something,” Dylan mutters as he cleans up some medical stuff.
“How are none of you suprised? I mean, who are you people? You just appear out of nowhere, save my life, leave, and I finally find you and you leave again? I mean, I looked around your base. This technology is beyond any cutting edge tech we have today--” Tess starts rambling.
“Dylan, she’s worse than you on your first day,” Kat teases. Dylan just rolls his eyes.
“Is anyone going to answer me?” Tess exclaims. I stand up off the medical table I was lying on, walking over to Tess.
“We fight aliens. This is all alien technology we’ve scavenged from fighting them,” I explain, putting my hand on her shoulder. “There’s a rift in time and space that is extremely active here in London. We try to control it, or at least keep it from getting any worse.”
She just stares at me, then looks around to the rest of the team.
“I know it’s a lot to take in, but you’ve got to trust us. Things fall through the rift. Things from the past, the future, and even from different planets. Our job is to save the human race and arm them for the future,” Jacob explains, walking over to us.
“What happened to my best friend?” she finally says after a minute of thinking.
“Sorry?” I ask, completely thrown off.
“The one I was in the car with, when you and Dylan,” she motions to him, “saved me.”
I look around at the team. No one seems willing to break the news, so I guess it’s up to me.
“I’m sorry Tess, she di--” I start.
“She got yanked through the rift. She’ll end up somewhere in the future or the past,” Kat finishes. I glare at her. She knows we can’t tell people about the rift and what it does. It’s classified.
“Oh.” She turns away from all of us, covering her mouth with her hands.
. “Chase,” Jacob pulls me aside, “she could be helpful. She definitely knows things that would qualify her. I looked over the security cameras when we got back, and she messed with some of the stuff. She also figured out how to use the cameras to make sure her cat was doing okay. She seems pretty educated.”
“No,” I hiss. I’ve been saying that a lot lately.
“Why not? You know we’re down a team member!” he hisses right back.
“Because I--” I think for a second. Jacob’s right. We could use another person, especially someone with police skills. “I don’t know.”
“Let her in then,” he pleads.
“I’ll think about it,” I settle with. He smiles softly.
“What am I supposed to do now? She was my roommate and my best friend. I’ll have to tell her family, and I won’t be able to afford our apartment anymore, and--” Tess starts to ramble again. Jacob looks over at me. I know what he wants me to do.
“Come work for us, Tess,” I say. She stops mid sentence and stares.
“R-really?” she stutters.
“I’m going to take that as a yes,” Kat says as she pulls up a new team member file on her computer. Tess starts to smile.
“Welcome to the Team, Tess Reynolds.”