Chapter no 111

Quantum Radio

Strong hands caught Ty, breaking his fall.

The quantum historian dragged him to a chair and propped him up. The person squatted down, their mirrored helmet close to Ty’s face. He saw a warped reflection of himself, which fit this moment perfectly. He felt as though the video was like walking through a house of mirrors: seeing the world in a warped way and then finally striding out into the light and seeing the truth—what had actually happened to his family.

As his senses returned to him, he managed to speak. “You lied.”

The computerized voice echoed in the cafeteria: “About?”

“You said you never intervened in worlds. You only observed.” “That’s true.”

“You intervened in ours. In my life. In my family.” “We are not the ones who visited your father.”

Ty squinted. “The Covenant.” “No.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You will.” The historian’s helmet focused on Ty, seeming to stare at him. “Do you want to see the rest of the video?”

“No. But I need to. I need to know what happened. Play it.”

On the wall in the space station, the video of Gerhard Richter sitting in the chair began playing again.

“I have refused this request. I will not desert my wife or my children. I do not care the cost. I will face the future with them or not at all.”

Richter paused. “They have told me that certain events in the near future will change my mind. I do not believe it. Nothing will change my mind. I grew up with only half of a family in a ruined world. My children won’t endure the same thing. I want something better for them.”

In the video, Richter stared straight ahead. “Is that all?” he asked.

“Details,” the voice said.

Again, Ty tried to identify the person speaking, but couldn’t.

Richter exhaled. “Very well. This entire matter is bizarre beyond words, but I will indulge you—on the off chance this becomes relevant to the future.”

He pinched his bottom lip, seeming deep in thought for a moment before resuming his speech.

“Again, what my visitors have told me is quite familiar to me: that my son, without a father figure in his life, will develop… a certain hunger, a drive to prove himself. That quest will lead him to a discovery that has to do with subatomic particles—quantum technology. The role they’ve asked me to play, beyond deserting my family, is to make investments that might support that discovery. It’s absurd. They have urged me to partner with the American group previously mentioned—the Advanced Research Projects Agency within the Department of Defense—to develop quantum technology. It all seems far-fetched to me. In fact, I had to ask what the word ‘quantum’ meant. It’s a fancy way of saying very small. I hardly care. As with so many things, time will tell.”

Richter fell silent.

“Details,” the voice said again.

Richter exhaled. “My visitors have informed me that my son’s discovery will result in the creation of a device—one integral to humanity’s future. I don’t quite understand the details of what I’ve been told, but they insist that when the device is completed, it’s imperative that he gain custody of it— him and no one else. I’ve been told that I will have to help my son escape with it from a facility in the United States.”

Richter stared at the camera. “Is that sufficient? I’m growing weary of this.”

The image on the wall faded.

Ty looked back at the four suited figures. “Where’s the rest?”

“That is the entirety of the video.” “What happened?”

“You know what happened.”

“He said he wouldn’t leave us. He did.”

“Things happened after the video. Things that changed his mind.” “What things?”

“This is not the time.” “Make it the time.”

“Time is a force of nature. None of us control it.”

Ty brought his fingers up to his temples and massaged them, willing his mind to work, to process what he had just learned.

“What’s happening here? I know it’s more than you’re telling me.” “We are telling you all we can.”

“You’re not,” Ty said.

The quantum historian was still, the mirrored helmet reflecting Ty’s face. “Worlds and time hang in the balance, Ty. This is the end of what we can tell you at this juncture. Now, we need your answer. Do you still accept our offer?”

“They’re still in,” Ty said. “And so am I.”

“Very well,” the historian said. “It will take us a few hours to treat Miss Santos. We will do so in the med bay. The rest of you may roam the station. I believe it’s of interest to you.”

“Extremely. But there’s one other thing I want. It’s sort of a strange request.”

“It’s the multiverse, Ty. Everything is strange, and anything is possible.” “On our world, there was a movie made in the 1960s. It’s a World War II

film called The Guns of Navarone. Do you know it?” “We are familiar with The Guns of Navarone.”

“Would it be possible for Nora and me to see that movie?”

There was the briefest of pauses, then the historian nodded once. “It will play on the far wall of the observation deck when you give the voice command ‘play movie.’”

“One last thing,” Ty said. “Kato wants to know why you wear the suits.” “Kato will get his answer in time.”

Ty let his head fall back. “I knew you were going to say that.”

You'll Also Like