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THE TIME IDIOT
(2011) - a novel by A.R.Yngve - Sample Chapters

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CHAPTER 8

The next day, after Prescott had had a good night's sleep in a proper but well-guarded room, Colonel Nafuth drove him and Doctor Moh in a small car to the storage bunker.

Steve Nafuth was now wearing his uniform which was covered with decorations and medals. Prescott asked him where he had earned all those medals and stripes, and Nafuth replied: Korea, Vietnam, Australia, Spain, South America...

Prescott had gotten all his items back the evening before, except the gun. He had tried to call his family on the cell phone - but the thing didn't seem to get a signal in this timeline. The iPod worked, though, and he had played rock music until he fell asleep.

In the most cavernous parts of the bunker, Nafuth picked up some weapons from the humungous supply of military hardware, and loaded them in the back of his car: grenades, a small machine pistol, ammo clips and a crate of remote-controlled magnetic mines.

"This very latest explosive device is called a 'blockbuster,'" he explained and lifted one of the mines out of the crate.

"It weighs only ten pounds but can level a small city block. Make sure you're at least five hundred meters away before you press the remote switch - or the blast might suck the air out of your lungs."

"Isn't that a bit much?" Prescott said. "It could kill a lot of innocent bystanders."

"You don't use it on land, of course. Stalin, back when his name was Joseph Dzhugashvili, traveled by boat now and then. Just plant the mine on his boat, wait until it's safely away from shore, and boom! He's history."

"Will you please stop using that cliche," Calvin Moh protested. He looked tired and had dark shadows under his eyes. "Time travel makes 'history' a meaningless word. Nothing is set in stone anymore. I'm against this whole thing. We should travel into the future instead, to prevent future accidents."

"Sorry, Doc," said Nafuth and put the mine back into its casing. "But it's a whole new arms race. If we don't do it to the Reds, they'll do it to us sooner or later... maybe they already have?"

"Shouldn't we at least inform the President first?" Moh said, tugging at Nafuth's sleeve.

"This is the President," Nafuth said and pointed casually to Prescott. "In a changing world like this, who knows who will be our President after Stalin is gone? Him? You? Me?"

Nafuth's breezy tone of voice made Prescott feel uneasy. "Guys, I wouldn't mind talking this over with President Roosevelt first. I'm not doing this for myself, but for America... stop the car! Stop right here."

They had come to the spot where he parked the time pod the day before. Prescott stepped out of the car and rushed to the wall beneath the big sign. There was a very slight distortion of the background around the rounded outline of the pod, barely visible in the weak light, but he could see it.

He ran over to touch the pod, arms outstretched - and bumped his forehead into one of the bulges in the invisible hull.

"Ow!!"

The impact was not hard enough to trigger the pod's airbags, but Prescott was knocked flat and passed out.

When he came to a minute later, Moh was pouring liquid from a bottle over his face. The fresh lump on Prescott's forehead smarted.

Nafuth stood nearby, pointing a gun with a silencer at them. "Is he all right?" he asked.

Moh pried open Prescott's eyelids and studied the pupil. "Yes. Take it easy, Mr. Walker, you've got a nasty lump. Maybe in the back of your head too, let me examine." He searched Prescott's scalp and whispered in his ear: "Nafuth has gone mad! He's going to steal the time machine! You've got to destroy it - now!"

"What?" Prescott's head ached, and just hearing Moh whisper put a strain on his mind. "What happened?"

"Amazing thing, this," Nafuth said and patted the invisible surface of the time pod. "Optical camouflage. The Navy, our Navy, has been working on it for years. But even more amazing is that a moron like you were allowed to use this machine in the first place." He was deadly serious. "You're not going alone, Prescott. I'm coming with you."

Moh helped Prescott to his feet, and the man who was President - sort of - wagged an index finger in protest. "Hey! Hey... guys. I thought we had an agreement. I'm on your side."

"I've done some soul-searching," Nafuth said, "and I've realized that I never was on your side."

Prescott frowned. "You're a Red!"

Nafuth smiled a little. "That's right - a Red Indian, not a Communist. Moh talked about 'his people' so much, it got me thinking about mine. The true Americans. The first Americans. The ones your ancestors came and slaughtered and stole this land from. I'm going to bring back America back to its owners. You and I are going back in time to sink Columbus's fleet. Europe will not discover America for, oh, say five hundred years. And I will teach my ancestors how to build weapons to repel any Western or Eastern invader. My land, my people, will be free, strong and safe - forever!"

"You're nuts," Prescott said.

"And you're stupid. Thank you for helping me find Moh - now I'll make sure he won't build a second time machine to undo my mission."

Nafuth casually pointed his silenced gun at Moh and shot him three times. The scientist crumpled and died with very little noise. Prescott felt the blood rush from his own face and his spine turn to ice. He staggered against the hull of the time pod and looked for an escape route. There wasn't any.

"Show me how to open the pod, Prescott. I'm going in first. Use your, what's it called, I-Pod."

"Right. The iPod controls the time pod."

Prescott's head still ached, but fear made his mind work at double speed. He couldn't let this deluded Native American erase the entire history of the United States! Millions of lives were at stake!

He took out the music player from his pocket, set the volume to maximum level and handed it over to Nafuth. "Put on the ear phones. The machine gives you, uh, instructions through those."

Prescott was hoping the man would let his gun hand drift when he put on the headset. But Nafuth easily managed it with one hand and kept his aim rock steady. "Now what?"

"Point the remote at the time pod and, uh, press the arrow button to shut off the camouflage."

Nafuth pressed Play - and an opening riff by Anthrax crashed through his ears at top volume. He squinted hard and his hands instinctively moved to pull off the ear phones.

Prescott charged and knocked Nafuth over. The colonel still struggled with the headset, and Prescott tried to kick him in the head. Nafuth squirmed so hard that the kick missed and struck him on the knee. Nafuth howled and groped for his wounded knee. Prescott's second kick struck Nafuth on the temple and the colonel went limp.

"Oh my God oh my God," Prescott kept saying as he took back the blaring headphones and the iPod, and grabbed Nafuth's gun. He averted his eyes from the dead scientist on the floor, but Calvin Moh's blood seeped into Prescott's frame of vision. This wasn't at all how he had imagined time travel: having to fight his own countrymen! After a frantic search, he fished out the real remote and made the pod re-appear.

He climbed inside, locked the hatch and set the coordinates for Russia on the date in 1906, the date which Nafuth had suggested.

He put his hand on the launch key... and stayed his hand.

"Crap," he said, "I can't even speak Russian."

Then Prescott had a bright idea: he'd travel into a safe place in the past, somewhere with no trouble, and buy or borrow items he needed for his mission. But where...?

Sweden! The most boring place in the world. Sweden had to be safe. He could pretend to be a visitor from America.

So he altered the coordinates to Stockholm, the date of the present day, in 1906. He turned the launch key.

Prescott Walker felt himself turn inside out...


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