Blythe's Machine 3
Chapter 3: Blythes Error 3
Copyright© 2010 by Wandering Lanes
It was half an hour later, Lloyd and Susan had arrived at the house and were with Jack in the basement; Professor Blythe was working away at the machine, checking it over.
Lloyd stared at Jack. "Well? What happened?" He demanded
Jack looked back at the machine that had just destroyed itself, "He took her through the window. She's trapped there." He said softly.
"Not really Jack m'boy, this happened to me several times with my machine, but it's simple enough to get the parts, the only thing that's the problem is the wavelengths used by the other Blythe, but I can get that from his notes." Professor Blythe said.
"We need to get it fixed as quickly as possible. Captain use all means to obtain the parts that the Professor requires, this has top priority." Lloyd said and then patted his clothes, "I need to contact Bracewell and let him know what's happened. It's too bad that our Susan had to be taken." He said looking at Susan.
"Hey, that wasn't my fault, she got too close. I almost had him. Anyway why didn't she disarm him? She does know Judo doesn't she?" Susan said and looked at Lloyd.
"Judo? That's been discredited since it's an Eastern martial art. There's little use in it." Lloyd said dismissively and walked out to phone his boss.
Susan looked at Jack, "Oh great, all that training I had and she doesn't know it! But then that does give me an advantage in this world." She whispered to him
"It does? I thought it would be a danger more than anything else, what have they devised in place of it?" Jack whispered back his words making Susan frown as she thought about them.
"Okay Susan now what do we do, I don't want to go through that machine until we're sure we're going after that Jack and the Susan from this world ... oh it's so confusing, we need to have other names so that we know who we're talking about, you know Salt and Pepper, Mustard and Cress -"
"Shiver and Shake?" Susan said with a laugh remembering a different pair having the same conversation.
Jack smiled, "Which one's Shiver?"
Susan continued the line with, "Oh, I'm Shake."
They continued laughing until it wound down and they sobered up, "But it doesn't help them. Does it?" Jack said nodding towards the machine, its lights dim now as the power still hadn't been restored.
"We can't do anything until the Professor fixes it, why did he come through anyway? Surely he knows that it's impossible to set the machine to return correctly?" Susan asked.
"Not quite true my dear, it is possible, you just have to adjust the output correctly, for me that's by calibrating the machine to my locator box that I have. I've done this several times already, helping out my less than perfect other selves." Blythe said entering the room, the two soldiers with him seemingly covered by wires and electrical boxes.
"Did any of them admit to losing us?" Susan asked.
"Well, for some reason you two seem to be always around, in one form or another, you two are suited for each other, that's why when the Susan Pulse from my world was injured my Jack went after the man. It took me three days to find the right frequency again, from what you say it's my Jack that's gone back into the machine; if only he had waited he could have returned with me." Blythe said
"You're that certain that you're able to return?" Lloyd asked as he re-entered the basement.
"Oh yes, this is purely cosmetic, and with the addition of a few parts this will be up and running in no time." Blythe said not understanding the meaning of Lloyd's words.
"Ah, good. Then I suggest you do that." Lloyd said smiling.
"What are you up to?" Susan asked Lloyd.
"Obeying my orders, just as you should be doing if you were in my shoes. Now Bracewell is on his way to sort out this mess, you and this Jack Adams are to remain here until he arrives." The sound of a rifle being cocked made both Susan and Jack turn around. "Don't make us force you to do this." Lloyd added with a regretful smile on his lips
"This isn't the way to do this Lloyd ... I don't know, you swing from a being a prat to a nice guy, I'm just not sure what you are in this world." Jack said as they were led away to the upstairs.
Bracewell arrived and had company, he went to the room where Susan and Jack were sitting reading the files that Professor Blythe had been creating while building his machine. As the door opened they both looked up.
"I'm Bracewell from Department 4 ... my god you look just like her, you know the Chief Superintendent from the local police station don't you?" The mentioned man looked around the room nervously and then spoke up.
"You failed in whatever it was you wanted to do, what was it? Open a line to the Chinese from here?" He asked.
"What? Whatever gave you that idea?" Susan asked.
Bracewell gave a small cough, "I did. That was why he agreed to come here." He said looking at the Chief Superintendent.
"That's the most absurd thing I've ever heard, and to tell you the truth I've heard a lot recently." Jack said.
The Chief Superintendent shook his head, "Well wasn't that what Blythe was trying to do when he got killed, and I understand you let the killer escape." He said accusingly.
Susan went on the defensive, "He hasn't escaped exactly, and he's still in this house, only not in this world." She said.
The Chief Superintendent waved his hand. "Oh I supposed he's gone back to some other dimension world, is that it? Well I'd need better proof that your word on that before I'd believe it."
"What about Jack here, you thought he was an evil spirit come to take over the world. What changed your mind?" Susan asked.
"I haven't. It's just that he hasn't done anything yet, but when he does..." He paused patted a hip pocket and then continued. "I'll be waiting for him."
Susan frowned, "Are you normally armed?" She asked.
"Of course, I'm well trained in the use of firearms and I have my position to protect."
Now Susan was interested, "Were you armed when you came to visit Professor Blythe?" She asked.
The Chief Superintendent paused for a few seconds before he responded "I've never visited Blythe, I had no need to."
"Oh, sorry I was sure you had, I'm not sure why I did." Susan said sounding confused.
"No, I know of Professor Blythe of course but not to have any dealings with him." The Chief Superintendent said with a sneer on his face
"So why did you block any communications between Blythe and Military Intelligence?" Susan asked which made Bracewell interested.
"Did you? But that's against the information act, Blythe is a – was - a well known inventor, we had an idea that he was about to make a breakthrough, we needed all information from him regardless." He said angrily.
"We were getting too many complaints from Blythe, complaints regarding noises from a deserted basement; in the end we treated him as a nuisance complainer. It's standard procedure." The Chief Superintendent defended his actions.
Bracewell shook his head, "That didn't matter, we'd be happy coming out here for nothing just in case one time it was important."
"But he was always raising false claims, kept saying there was an intruder in the house, he could hear them, and so we had to ignore them every time." The Chief Superintendent
"Such as the time when Blythe was killed." Susan said.
"Well ... well ... well I couldn't see that was going to happen, if he hadn't..." The Chief Superintendent stopped talking. "Well he was very agitated the last time. Almost ranting he was."
"Yes, well the telephone isn't a good medium to convince people when you're rushed." Bracewell said.
The Chief Superintendent straightened, "No, no it isn't. Well if there's nothing else you want to show me? Well then I'll be off, still have a missing police officer to deal with ... strange thing is that nobody's missing." He said with a puzzled air but then he left.
Susan turned to Bracewell, "You didn't tell him that your Susan was the one?" She asked.
Bracewell gave a smile, "No." he said simply and then turned to Jack. "So what's the situation now?" He asked.
Jack pointed to Susan, "She's the one from your department, ask her." He said
Bracewell regarded Susan, "So Pulse, what happening?" he repeated himself.
Susan gathered her thoughts. "The Jack that took your Pulse denies that he's the killer of Blythe ... from the knowledge I have of Jack Adams, I believe him. So there's the problem of who did kill Blythe."
Bracewell frowned, "I thought the ballistics showed that your gun had shot the Professor?" he addressed Jack.
Jack looked at Susan before replying, "That's what we've been told, but I haven't read the full report, I gave my gun to Brice before I was put into the cell."
Bracewell nodded, "So there's no actual evidence that the gun was tampered with?" He said
Susan looked at him, "What are you getting at? That someone did something to the gun? But why?"
Bracewell gave her a sorry smile, "Are you sure you're like my Pulse? If you say that Jack couldn't have shot the Professor then I believe you. So someone else had to have and then they would have to be able to swap Jack's gun for theirs."
"But the only person who had the gun was Brice, but I don't think he was the one who did this." Jack protested.
Bracewell shook his head, "No he is too obvious." He agreed and then changed the subject. "How's the other Professor's doing?"
Susan looked at Jack, "We don't know. Lloyd's imprisoned us in this room. All we've got is these records of Professor Blythe's machine, they're very interesting. It seems that he wanted to spy on the Chinese in their headquarters and had added a communications circuit so he could eavesdrop on them ... Just that he couldn't understand Chinese, he didn't realise that until later." She said
Bracewell laughed, "That's the Professor, there's always something about his inventions that isn't right, and so instead of being able to listen into other countries he managed to connect with other worlds.
"And the communications circuit allowed him to hear his other selves complaining about the machine, only he thought he was hearing things in that room and panicked, he didn't realise what was happening so he called the police, who found nothing. There's a note here." Susan picked up the book and began reading. Simon came by today, he told me that due to the number of calls I've made he was stopping the police from visiting, I tried to explain why my work was so important and what I was doing, he insisted on going down to the basement alone, it was a few hours later when he returned that he told me never to activate the machine again, he also had installed a connection to the police station. Which was nice of him. The only problem is I don't know who Simon is. But he was high up." Susan finished.
"But the main concern is the hours that he was down there, I think he managed to enter the machine and found himself in another world. I don't know what happened there, but it made him so unnerved that he tried to stop the Professor." Jack said.
"So when did your duplicate arrive?" Bracewell asked Jack.
Jack shook his head "No idea, but with his beard it had to be a couple of days ago. He seems to have come here with some purpose in mind."
A knock on the door announced Lloyd's arrival with Professor Blythe, Bracewell turned to face them saying, "Well the answer might be here."
Blythe almost danced into the room, "Well I've done it and I've connected to my world, Susan ... that is my Susan, is anxiously waiting news." He said.
Lloyd nodded, "It's true sir, you were there and you ordered me to return the Professor." He said sounding amazed then he realised what he said. "I mean your counterpart in this Professor's world."
Bracewell nodded, "I suppose he also threaten you if we failed to do so?" He said questioningly.
"Well ... yes sir, but with us holding the power supply there's nothing they can do about it." Lloyd said smugly.
"That's what you think." The Professor said which made Bracewell and Lloyd look at him while Susan started to laugh.
"Well done Professor, I take it there's a timer on the system that you have to reset or else the system will lock itself onto your home world forcing the window open and resisting all attempts to close it down." She said nodding to the Professor.
He smiled, "Exactly! So if you have any thoughts about stopping me from returning home..." He paused for effect.
Bracewell gave a sour grin, "All right, you will be sent home with our thanks for your help, but we do need some way of finding our Susan, she's stuck in some other world and probably at the hands of a mad-man."
"I wouldn't really worry about her; it just where they are that might be in question." Blythe said worried for the first time.
Susan Pulse, operative of Section 4, opened her eyes. The room she was in was the same basement that she had seen in Blythe's room, but it was in darkness. There was a voice in the darkness.
"Shit where the blazes is the light switch?" Jack's voice spoke and then, "Ah! Wrong side of the doorway." There was a click and nothing happened.
"Stand where you are. I've got you covered." Susan said, lying as she had left her gun in the car.
"And where are you going to go when you do shoot me. Look I don't know if anyone's explained this but we're not in your world any longer." Jack said while sounds showed that he was searching the room for something.
"What do you mean? Gunpowder won't work in this place?" Susan asked frowning.
"Nah, that will work nearly anywhere, from what the Prof. says the window will only work in co-existent universes, the same rules apply. Oh surely this world had a flashlight?" Jack said his fingers going over the shelves looking for something.
"You've changed, at least your voice has, what happened to the anger you had?" Susan asked.
"I had to leave that world, you see I saw who killed the Professor there, and he got a glimpse of me so while I was there my life was in danger, at least here there isn't that problem. Ah! Found one." Jack said and turned on the torch he had found. "Good grief he's not been down here for some time."
The beam from the torch showed the dust and cobwebs that laid on the dials and switches of the machine. He tutted as he touched a coil and then pulled his hand back, "Shit, that's hot, must be some sort of residue energy, so if that's still there then we should be able to warm up this thing, all we need is the circuit breakers to be reset I would think." Then he looked at Susan. "Sorry about forcing you here, but I had to escape from that dammed world."
"Why didn't you just tell us? We could have done -" Susan was asking.
"Done what? I recognised the man who killed the Professor in your world; he would have had me in a cell and killed before I could do anything." Jack found the door and tried the handle, it was locked.
"What do you mean you recognised him? Did he see you?" Susan asked.
"Of course he did, I'd been around the house hiding from the Professor for a couple of days, I'd been trying to return home." He rubbed his chin feeling the stubble there, "I suppose I did let myself go a bit. I wonder if the Professor here has a razor?" He tried the door again and it gave slightly so he put his shoulder to the door and forced it open allowing access to the area behind it.
"But who was the killer?" Susan persisted.
"The Chief Superintendent, Simon Williams." Jack replied as he left the room.
In the lighted house of Professor Blythe, Susan outlined her thoughts to Bracewell, Lloyd and Jack. "You see it had to be the Chief Superintendent. Who else would be able to block any investigations here? Who else would be able to stop reports from Blythe to be passed on? And he's armed, he admitted that himself."
"But what about the small matter of the gun? The Ballistics report showed that Jack's gun was the murder weapon, bullets from the fence's house showed that it was the same gun. The evidence is overwhelming that Jack, or rather that other Jack did the murder." Lloyd said.
"Ah yes, the gun ... how do we know that what was handed over was Jack's gun, and even allowing for similar weapons to be given out the rifling wouldn't be the same." Susan said but Jack interrupted her.
"But my fingerprints were the same throughout the worlds; even Jacquie had the same prints as mine."
Susan sighed, "Yes but that is different, you were the same person. No, weapons are not the same, there's a random element on how they're given out, you can't be sure that the pistol you receive is the same one on a daily basis, so the odds on having a matching pistol is immense." She pointed out
Bracewell nodded, "So what are you suggesting?"
"I think the Professor invited the Chief Superintendent to see the machine, somehow he entered another world and something happened to him there, when he returned he made the Professor shut down the machine, but he was still worried, he blocked all communications from the Professor and left an alarm in the basement just in case someone else came through. A few days later he returned, there was an argument and he shot the Professor. Somehow the other Jack was there and then we entered the house and set off the alarm." Susan finished looking around for reactions.
Lloyd snorted, "That's the most preposterous set of events that I've ever heard before." He said
Bracewell looked at him, "Why? I have to admit that Simon hasn't been acting normally." He said which was matched something that Susan noticed earlier.
"What is the name of the Chief Superintendent?" she went back to the notes that the Professor had written and handed them to Bracewell who read the pages. He turned to Lloyd.