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Timewalker Chronicles – Book Two
By Michele Callahan
Silver Storm – Expanded and Revised Sept. 2014!
On a hot summer night twenty-five years ago a freak lightning bolt struck Sarah St. Pierre on Lake Michigan. Presumed dead, her body was never found. She simply…vanished.
Timothy Daniel Tucker retired, but the group of people he once worked for aren’t willing to give him up so easily. They watch him, waiting for him to crack, waiting for an excuse to bring him back in to finish what he started.
When Tim finds a beautiful naked woman floating in Hendrick’s Lake, he suspects a trap. She claims to be the same woman who disappeared over two decades ago, but she hasn’t aged a day. Worse, she knows intimate details about his covert work on a weapon that could destroy all of humanity. Trust is impossible, but Tim will not stop until he discovers all of her secrets, until he uncovers the truth.
Hunted by an unseen enemy, Sarah claims to see things no one else can see, to know things about the future that no one could possibly know. And she has a frightening power no human should wield. Falling in love is an unacceptable risk but Tim can’t walk away from her visions, her power, or the fierce desire she ignites within him. Predator or prey? Truth or lies? Love or duty? Decisions must be made. Millions of lives hang in the balance…and the clock is ticking.
Timewalker Chronicles – Book Two
By Michele Callahan
Editor’s Note: Some language. To maintain a PG-13 rating, the *F words in this excerpt have been replaced with symbols. The rest of the excerpt is intact.
“Evening, Sir.” The armed guard would serve Tim’s purpose tonight, not his commander’s, not the Department of Defense’s, and not the company’s. Tonight the guard would keep out anyone who might be able to stop Tim, but the kid didn’t know that. The young soldier was wide-eyed and enthusiastic, traits Tim admired and had once shared. But that was before, back when service and duty had meant everything to him, and to his father.
Tim hoped the poor kid would be far enough away that the blast wouldn’t kill him.
“Have a good night.” Tim nodded at the guard and scanned his badge for the last time. The darkness of night closed in behind him as Timothy Daniel Tucker walked into the lab building that had been his second home for the last few months.
He’d taken this job because his father insisted. Senator Tucker was a high-ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, and had pulled some strings to get his prodigal son into the civilian sector working in this weapons development program once his Army gig was up.
Senator Tucker was powerful, a former Army Ranger, West Point grad, and all-around badass, even at sixty-two.
He’d wanted his only son to follow in his footsteps. And Tim had tried. West Point followed by Flight School and his own command. But he’d never been able to leave his test scores and mathematics degree behind him. They’d both followed him around like skunk spray, arousing interest from very dangerous people.
His dad had gotten him this job. Tim had done what his father and his country had asked of him, until he realized that the DOD didn’t care about space travel or unlimited green energy. The people footing the bill only cared about power and control, about military superiority.
He’d warned his dad what was coming, what kind of weapon he would create. The Senator had spoken up in committee.
And then the Senator and his wife of over thirty years had died in a tragic car accident on the way home from a fundraiser.
They’d f*^&ing killed his parents.
Tim had no proof, but the writing was on the wall. The timing too perfect. The suits that had been following him ever since? Well, they had relaxed the last few weeks.
“Their mistake.” Tim whispered the words under his breath as the glare of artificial lights flash bombed his pupils, much too bright after the dark outside. He ignored the cameras spaced along the sterile hallways, watching him like all-seeing eyes.
It had taken him several days to set everything up. But after tonight, no one would ever set foot in this space again. He’d make sure of it. His parents’ death would not be in vain. He’d see this through, come hell or high water. No f*(&ing way he was going to be the obedient dog on a leash now that they’d murdered his parents.
“F(*& you, pricks.” Tim opened the door to his lab, stepped inside, and locked the door behind him. Standard protocol.
What he did next, was not.
“Come on, baby. Time to play.” Tim switched on the separate power generators and waited for them to charge. He was alone tonight, but he often worked late hours alone. He did his best thinking when the world was quiet. No red flags there.
He walked to the safe, entered his access codes and pulled out his laptop and notes. Exotic Matter. Negative Matter. The stuff had a couple different names now. It wasn’t anti-matter, dark matter, or any other variety of theoretical particle known to science. This one was new, and made by conscious choice in a lab, not born to the universe. It promised unlimited power, travel to the stars at faster than light speed, and a whole new arena in electromagnetics and quantum physics. Space travel. Time travel. Wormholes. “Beam me up, Scotty.”
The metaphysical, new age, religious fanatics who’d been spouting about a “mirror world” for years would crow and shout in celebration. Where they’d see vindication and a new era of knowledge, he saw nothing but death.
Tim had spent every moment of his life in service to his country, practically from birth. His father had been a hardcore military man his whole life, his mother a regular rock star on the fundraising circuit, and his upbringing more about fitting their perfect mold than living a real life.
He’d kept his head down and done what was expected of him. Perfect son. Perfect soldier. Perfect scientist. This new experiment in theoretical physics had garnered him a lot of attention from a lot of very serious people.
“Dead f(*&ing serious.” Tim set his laptop and notebook down at his workstation and braced himself on stiff arms, gathering his courage for what came next. This move was inevitable, the only way he could atone for what he’d done. He’d realized too late exactly how deep this rabbit hole would go.
The men in suits and sunglasses were his constant shadows now. He’d tried to quit this supposedly civilian contractor’s job months ago. They’d wheedled and cajoled him, tempted him with ridiculous bonuses and new lab equipment. He’d stayed.
Then, a few weeks ago, he’d had some success in the lab, and realized what was coming. His dad had agreed with his total end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it assessment and tried to pull the plug on the program.
And then? Dead.
Coincidence? He’d thought so the first few hours, walking around in a numb haze, trying to piece his life back together, ever loyal to cause and country.
Their deaths were the end for him, that and his success. He’d done it…created Negative Matter from nothing, measured it. Stabilized it. Done it again.
Created humanity’s destruction. The atomic bomb? Child’s play. The Hadron Collider? Anti-matter? They had nothing on this.
“Jesus. I’m a one-man Manhattan Project.” He rubbed his hand through the dark hair he hadn’t bothered to cut in three months. At first, he’d done it for the thrill of the chase. The challenge had been irresistible. But he was in deep shit now. The suits wouldn’t be able to comprehend the danger of weaponizing the stuff. They’d do what they were told, and trust their superiors to call the shots. It was what they all did. What they were trained to do.
Not anymore. Death didn’t scare Tim, he’d faced it too many times in the field during his Army years. Being the next human being responsible for creating a weapon of mass destruction? The sad, haunted look on Oppenheimer’s face on those interview tapes when he spoke about the atomic bomb? His haunting quotation of, “I am become death, the destroyer of worlds.” Being that guy? That scared the holy shit out of him.
He had to destroy it all. Tonight. All the pieces were in place for the colossal accident to occur. And he had to get the Casper Project off his back. That group had been investigating his past Army ops, listening to recordings. They were breathing down his neck, too, wondering how he knew what he knew, how he’d warned his team about stuff before it happened.
Tonight he’d kill two birds with one stone. This might be the most brilliant plan he’d ever come up with. Or the most stupid.
“Okay, baby. Let’s do this.” Tim slid his arms into the sleeves of his fire-resistant lab coat while he talked to his computer and did a visual recheck of his earlier wiring. It was still in place.
Everything he’d accomplished had been done in this room. Nowhere else. No one else knew what had happened here, or how he’d done it, and now they never would
The hair on his arms and neck rose as the magnetic energy built in the air around him. Magnetricity, that potentially unlimited power source, sparked to life in the controlled space.
Instead of monitoring the flow of power, turning it off and controlling the amount of energy passing through the experimental graphene plates, Tim let it grow.
“Time to forget what you know, sweetheart.” Tim pulled several highly charged magnetite blocks from a nearby cubby and laid them flat on top of his laptop’s keyboard. The screen went crazy, then black. The magnets would erase all the data on the computer’s hard drive. If anything managed to survive, what came next would be the knockout punch.
Tim reached over and plugged the laptop’s power cord into the wall. He was going to blow every breaker in this building. Hell, more likely for a half-mile radius. He had to assume the data from the vid monitors would be erased as well. They were on an automatic backup off-site, but he knew the sync schedule, and he still had a good ten minutes. He only needed two.
“Here we go.” Tim walked to the first switch he needed to blow, and flipped it. The small electrical explosions started on the opposite side of the room.
Crackling now with a life of its own, the energy built and jumped all around him like a giant lightning bolt trapped inside his lab. Classic arc flash, but bigger, and more powerful than most electricians would ever see. The energy was beautiful, frightening, and it did its job.
Everything blew up. His laptop jumped off the counter, smoking. The magnetite bars hit the ground and the arc flash moved on, jumping from wires in the walls, to lab equipment, to him.
The last thing he remembered was smiling as the white light jumped into his body and lifted him from the floor, throwing him backward into the wall. It hurt like hell, the right side of his head and neck burned with searing heat, and he smelled cooked human flesh, but he wasn’t dead. Yet. Guess he could thank his rubber-soled shoes and FR-rated lab clothing for doing their jobs.
More explosions followed, but Tim’s ears got fuzzy, then stopped working. He tried to follow the arc flash’s growing destruction with his eyes. The fire suppression system activated, but it wouldn’t help. Red warning lights flashed once from the ceiling, then exploded. This thing was better than an EMP. It would wipe out everything until one of the generators actually exploded, breaking the circuit.
“Mr. Tucker? Sir?” He heard pounding on the door as the building activated their emergency protocols and the rescue team tried to get into the lab.
He didn’t answer. He couldn’t. His jaw muscles were locked. It didn’t matter if he opened the door or not. Either way, they’d come in.
Every light bulb in the ceiling exploded in a rain of glass and sparks. It was beautiful. He heard cursing from the hallway, and car alarms going off outside. The camera lenses in the corners shattered and the wires started to smoke. The windows went dark as all of the building’s exterior lights exploded.
He watched his new baby jump around the room for as long as he could before the world went black…
Michele Callahan is a wife, mother, romance and science fiction addict, and founder of RomCon, the only Fan Convention geared toward women who read romance and genre fiction. She suffers from a dangerous case of sci-fi/fantasy fever and never turns down an opportunity to sit through a Star Wars, True Blood, or Matrix marathon. Her favorite things in books; hot heroes, superpowers, freakish things that can’t be explained by modern science, and true love! Her past jobs include fast-food drive through goddess, nurse’s aide, cashier, anatomy & physiology instructor, medical office manager, and entrepreneur. When she’s at home her life is ruled by her family plus two 100 pound rescue dogs and their wagging tails (which should really be classified as dangerous weapons).
Links to Michele’s website, blog, books, etc.
Book 1, RED NIGHT: http://goo.gl/FR4qx4
Book 2, SILVER STORM: http://goo.gl/FJm7pc
Book 3, Blue Abyss: Oct. 26
Book 4.5, CHIMERA BORN: http://goo.gl/3CeqsE
Book 4, Black Gate: Nov. 2
Book 5, White Fire: Nov. 9