140 Mile Stretch: Flying Blind


It had been seventy two hours, and they had been costly. ‘Oscar Minnix’ was holding the gun. “Let me tell you a story, one about a young couple in love. They were agents for project Skylark. His name, at least his cover name, was Oscar Minnix.”

“Her cover name was Elyse, she loved him very much. Their mission was to secure a local politician who was a target. They saved his life, but he turned out to be corrupt. We found that out on a supply train that carried the stolen medical supplies from his own charity initiative.”

“The man raised this very gun to kill Elyse, Oscar pushed her to safety. He died in her arms. Elyse killed the man, then cradled her husband, they had married secretly on this mission. They couldn’t tell Walter, he wouldn’t allow it.”

“Walter didn’t allow a lot of things, except corruption. It turns out, he knew about the train, and the stolen supplies. When Elyse confronted him, he explained that it was necessary.”

Walter spoke up, clutching his wound. “I explained Virginia, that, we would have gotten the supplies back, after he signed the agreement.” The wild eyed, heart broken mastermind of the revenge plot almost screamed. “You could have told us, we would have waited.”

Cameron interrupted, “We don’t have much time, and neither do you. This plane is going to explode, and it will start a chain reaction through time. Let us stop this.” “No, it isn’t. This plane is historic, isn’t it Phyllis? Of course ‘Phyllis’ isn’t your real name, no more than ‘Virginia’ is mine. In our business, nothing is real, is it?”

“You like history Tom, here’s what the Internet says. Air Mail was formally established as a new class of service by the United States Post Office Department on May 15, 1918, with the inauguration of the Washington-Philadelphia-New York route. That is of course the plane were standing in.”

“It’s also the perfect transmitter to relay your series of explosions. You’re going to use it to scatter explosions through time aren’t you?” “Oh yes, of course you know I can’t transmit from Washington to Washington, but I can from New York. We’re in the vicinity of the flatiron building, it made a great scrambler until you destroyed it. It also will help me boost this signal.”

“How does Tom’s Grandfather figure in?” Walter asked. Virginia laughed. “I had the unfortunate luck to end up in Moscow, Pennsylvania on my first test run. A very young man then, your Grandfather helped me figure out how to get back, and how to control it. We learned together. Of course, he didn’t know what I was planning until it was too late.”

Tom swallowed hard. “Why didn’t you kill him?” “I should have, but I was sentimental. I liked him, he was a friend, so I threatened his family. I made him promise that he wouldn’t reveal my identity. He gave me his word on that. The trouble is, he was smart.”

Now Tom laughed. “He told me everything but who you were. Of course, he gave me enough clues. He changed the fake name of your company’s CEO from Oscar Minnix to Olivia Minnix in my research. Tell me, what did he hide, what are you looking for?”

“I’m sorry, you won’t get to hear that, it’s time for you all to ….” She wasn’t allowed to finish her sentence. Virginia dropped the gun as electricity riddled her body. She slumped to the floor, as Cameron seized the gun. Tom looked at the person behind her holding the taser. It was his Grandfather, “Hello Tom.”

They spent the next few hours dismantling Virginia’s machinery. “This one was meant for the Whittaker White House. She blamed him, and his chief of staff, for her husband’s death. They were Walter’s second and third in command on Skylark. She was going to eliminate myself and our family in Pennsylvania. That would stop me from stopping her.”

“What about North Africa?” “The current leader of the country in North Africa where this all started is visiting New York. His Vice President, her friend Razi, would be the new leader upon the President’s death. He would use the massive fortune from their newly discovered resources to back Virginia’s hand picked Presidential candidate.”

Tom made the connection. “He’s the guy with the dyed hair claiming to be Minnix isn’t he?” “That’s right. Who wouldn’t elect a modern Edison that ‘invented’ time travel. Along with his Wife, a former CIA operative, Virginia ‘Minnix’.” “So Grandpa, what did you hide, and where?”

Now, his Grandfather laughed. “My version of her scrambler. She knew I was out there, and would try to stop her. If she tried to set off an explosion I’d jam it as soon as the surge was detected. What she didn’t know, is where I hid it.”

“That’s where her complexity worked against her. She reasoned I gave it to you, or to Cameron. He and I met by the way, at President Lincoln’s White House. I had him retrieve some records from another White House to secure the evidence on Virginia before she destroyed record of that North Africa train ride.”

“Where did you hide it?” Cameron asked. “Simple, in the plane’s engine. The very vehicle she had planned on using, I was going to use to stop her. I knew she’d want to take out Reynolds herself. That’s what brought her down, her own vengeance.”

Phyllis had taken Walter home to get medical attention, he would live to go back into hiding. More ‘Oscars’ were out there. “What will you do Grandpa?” “Live the life that God intended for me. I plan on, with His help, living it right the first time, that way, there’s no need to travel through time. I suggest you both do the same.”

Tom hugged him, and he and Cameron traveled home. Once there, Tom retired from politics. He realized, not only did he not want to be President, he wanted to teach. He joined a local college as an adjunct, teaching agriculture and surprisingly drama. It seemed the college’s acting professor had been arrested. Tom would fill in for Sykes.

Cameron was assigned as the new head of a retooled Project Skylark. Their new mission, to preserve the time line. Allowing people to do as Tom’s Grandfather had said. To live their lives, hopefully the right way the first time, without risk of temporary temporal manipulation.

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