Blythe's Machine 3
Chapter 4: Blythes Error 4

Copyright© 2010 by Wandering Lanes

Jack watched as Lloyd calmly put the gun back into his jacket pocket, "There was no need for that!" He exclaimed angrily

Lloyd looked at Jack with untroubled eyes, "I had my orders, to stop him from passing any information on." He said

"But we needed to know who he was talking to; I mean what does Operation Golden Blossom mean? Obviously he knew about that but we don't. Now how do we find this out?" Jack said heatedly.

"We'd just check what the last number dialled was, that will give us the trail." Bracewell said, "and I was the one who gave the order, you realise from that dialogue that Simon knew more about the man than he did about Simon, so that's what makes me think he's from the other world and wanted to keep up his work on this side. I couldn't let him carry on."

"If he was then how did he get into this world and why did he kill the Professor on this side?" Jack asked.

Bracewell shook his head, "We'll never know for sure, but I would conjecture that his counterpart from this world travelled into that world and that was when he met up with himself with the result that he was killed and then he came into the window and saw his chance to carry on his work in this world, he killed the professor so that he wouldn't be able to interfere. Maybe he worked out what had happened and was going to betray Simon to us. What else could Simon do?"

"Sounds very plausible, but as you said we'll never know." Jack repeated Bracewell's words back.

In another basement an unshaven Jack was talking to another Susan while trying to open the door. "I'd just got up enough sense to talk to the Professor when the Simon came to the house; I hid away but was able to hear most of what they said. Simon was saying that the Chinese would want to have his machine working properly but the Professor didn't want to listen to him, it got so heated and then there was a shot and the Professor fell back dead."

I think that's when he heard me, Simon that is. He turned around and spotted me, 'Adams?' he said, 'what are you doing ... no you're not from here, you're another one of those things. Well not for long.' And he ran off before I could stop him. I knew that he'd send people after me and so I had to hide, tried to lose myself in Woolies but they're closed in that world." He finished with a wry smile.

"Why didn't you try to contact us at Department 4? We would have taken you into protective custody." Susan asked.

"I didn't know if you'd listen to me, my Susan can be rather brisk when she thinks people are giving her the run-around, I mean how would you react if I said, 'Hi there, I'm from another world, I wonder will you protect me?'" He said watching her.

Susan started to respond and then thought for a moment before nodding, "You're right, we would have locked you up in the local loony bin." She said.

"And Simon would have had me taken out and killed before anyone realised what had happened, it would just be another madman committed suicide. No I had to be public." He paused for a moment, "I take it that you've never met your version of Jack Adams?" He asked.

Susan shook her head, "not before this, you see we haven't much contact with the police except in exceptional circumstances, with the war against the Chinese building and the phasing out of the police to the private sector it's soon going to be academic. What's so special about him anyway? Oops, sorry." She realised what she had been asking and to whom.

Jack laughed at her gaff. "I'm biased, my Susan was the same until we met up and then we clicked." The door moved and then opened. "There now let's see what happened up there." He added holding his hand out to Susan.

There was rubble all over the basement area but the stairs were clear, Jack led the way and opened the burnt door at the top of the stairs.

The view that came to their eyes was one of carnage; The Professor's house was a ruin, as were the surrounding buildings. Overhead the sky was covered with dark foreboding clouds, and in the distance a glow seemed to be building where the City centre used to be.

"Oh my god, what happened here?" Susan cried out in shock.

"Back downstairs, we'll be safer there." Jack took her hand and pulled her back into the basement. In the confines of the basement he shook his head, "Well I don't think we're going to get any electricity from there, sorry Susan but we're stuck here until my professor can find a way to get to us."

The professors were still calibrating the machine with the others looking on, "We have to allow for distance and geographical features." Blythe1 said to his counterpart.

"But wouldn't it show us whatever it was focused on?" Bracewell butted in to ask

"It would ... but what happens if we're below the sea level? Can you picture what would happen then?" Blythe said with a smile, "no we've got to ensure that everything is safe before we open the window."

"Oh, I see. Very well carry on." Bracewell deferred to the experts and stood back.

Susan glanced at Bracewell before she spoke, "What are you doing about the Chief Superintendent's body?"

"We're saying that an unknown person entered the Police Station and shot the Chief Superintendent. There's a complete lock-down there now until we're sure the man is arrested. We have a person in mind, he's going to be taken away from there and then the Station will be closed down due to the emergency. A private security firm, under our control by the way, will take over the duties – Martial Law by stealth you might say." He added with a laugh.

Jack shook his head, "So who's the patsy you're setting up?" He asked and when Bracewell just looked at him he shook his head, "Oh no, he's not the one for this job. He won't have the right temperament for you."

"He'll learn. It's either that or we lock him up for life." Lloyd said menacingly.

"So you're just going to rail-road him into this? That's disgusting, it's immoral and..." he turned around to look at Susan, "that's what you did to me, only I had my eyes wide open."

Bracewell put his hand on Jacks' shoulder, "Now Jack," he began but at Jack's look he removed his hand, "we have no choice in this. We can't let it be known that the Chief Superintendent was acting as a Chinese spy. We know that our Jack is already under suspicion of murder so it's only natural that he should be suspected of this murder. He'll be kept safe and in a way his work will be better with us than if left in the public sector, it will work out."

Jack shook his head, "I still think this stinks. You've set him up."

"Well it was either that or the firing squad. If you were given the choice which would you take?" Lloyd said in matter of fact tone.

Jack went to move forward to Lloyd but was stopped by Bracewell, "Let me tell you about Lloyd, he's had a ... difficult life, one that didn't show any problems until after he joined the Army. Once he had a gun in his hands he couldn't tell the difference between friend and foes. He's currently under my control, literally. I have to give him commands to function normally, whatever you do, don't act aggressively towards him anymore, he's likely to react ... and you really don't want that to happen." Bracewell shook his head as he said this last piece.

Jack shook his head, "And you want this man to join you people?" he sighed, "Well he might just fit in with you." He said finally and went to sit down.

"Got it!" Blythe said and the window opened showing a city from above, they saw a wall which surrounded the city and on the wall were carved dogs and dragons, some with stone balls in their mouths, the view descended to a large palace area and then started to move around the corridors.

"How do you know where you're going?" Bracewell asked as he watched the scene unfold.

"Oh just using my local knowledge, I studied the Chinese forbidden city while at school. The Emperor's meeting room is just in here." He said and the window went up to a door and through it ... only to enter a bedroom. "Dang it, looks like local changes. Okay where would you go?" He said again.

As the window pulled out of the room it focused on two men in army uniforms walking down the corridor, "Follow them." Susan said after a few seconds listening to them talk.

Bracewell glanced at her before nodding, "Why them?" He asked.

"They were saying that the Emperor was expecting them to have good news." She said before adding, "I learnt Mandarin Chinese while studying, it's was just something I thought I needed."

"Indeed." Bracewell commented but looked thoughtful

The two men carried on down the corridor talking away, Susan writing furiously into a notebook, after a moment she shook her head, "They're talking too fast for me, we couldn't get a video camera to record this can we?" She asked looking at Bracewell.

"Lloyd, fetch a video camera ... no two we're going to need them I think." He said, Lloyd nodded and quickly went out of the basement to come back a few minutes later.

"They're at the Emperor's chamber now." Susan commented and the cameras started running.

(The following has been translated into English – mainly as I can't type in Mandarin Chinese)

"How can we tell the mighty Emperor that we cannot get into the country, ever since they sealed up that tunnel they stopped our glorious advance." The Colonel said

"We'll have to tell him that we are analysing the best way to overcome their pathetic barricades. But I think we'll find that he is already aware of this, I found a spy in my personal guard ... one that is now with his ancestors." The Major told him with a laugh, "Such is the penalty of being stupid."

They knocked on the door and a servant wearing a robe and a hat with a button on it, opened the door. "The Emperor is most vexed with the Army; he wants to know why his troops have not yet taken London? He is looking forward to having the Crown Jewels in his hands." The Major-domo said in an aggrieved tone. "You had better have a good excuse for him."

"Learn your place servant, we are the Emperor's chosen men we obey him." The Colonel said angry at the man's' tone.

"And I am of the Emperor's household, know your place." The Major-domo responded

"One day I shall remove that button of his and put him in charge of the latrines." The Colonel said as the Major-domo approached the Emperor.

"You may approach the Golden One, Lord of the known lands and those spaces above, Kowtow to your Celestial Leader." The Major-domo intoned formally.

The Colonel and the Major went down onto their knees and then bowed forward so that their foreheads touched the floor. They waited there for a few minutes before a youthful voice spoke. "You may rise, unworthy ones. Rise and tell me your news. Have you yet breeched the borders of the Ghosts?" The window moved back to show the throne where a teenager was seated.

The two men got to their feet. "Your Supremeness, I have to say that the men under the Major's directions have forced the people of the Ghosts to hide behind their cliffs. We are surrounding them and will have them within our grasp shortly." The Colonel said quickly knowing the Major wouldn't dare contradict him.

The boy shook his head, "You were foolish to allow them to close the Tunnel. I take it that alternate plans for tunnels have been formed and that even now our troops are digging their way to these Ghosts."

"No your highness, we have gone through the -" the Colonel started to say but the boy stood up from his throne.

"You are removed from your command. The first thing you should have done was to start several tunnels as the Major had suggested in your quarters three weeks ago. You have given the Ghosts time to pull back instead of pushing forward, just because our men were tired it would have been a supreme victory over the land of the Ghost men. I give you leave to join your ancestors, or if you wish assistance... ?" The boy looked to the Major-domo who had unsheathed a sword.

"No highness, I obey your commands." The Colonel said and, opening a small ring and removing a pill from it, he put the pill into his mouth and bit down on it. Instantly his body went rigid and he fell to the ground dead.

"I'm pleased he didn't try to fake the scorpion venom. Now Colonel you will direct your troops to dig their tunnels, I estimate that it would take four years normally ... you have four months, use the slaves from the lands we have conquered to do the digging, no sense in wasting the lives of our men in this. You are dismissed." The boy waved his hand in dismissal and sat back onto the throne.

The Colonel, previously a Major, gave a short bow and then walked towards the door he stopped when the youth spoke again. "Oh, and Colonel, next time you will leave my spy in your ranks, should you find him this time."

Bracewell was watching the exchange, although he didn't understand what was being said, he saw the older man taking a tablet and falling to the ground dead and the second man, who appeared shaken, walking away.

The Major-domo was saying something before calling people in to remove the body, and then he left the young man alone in the room. Bracewell spoke again, "Professor is it possible that you can get closer to the Emperor?"

Jack spoke up, "You're not going to shoot him are you?" He asked.

Bracewell shook his head but watched as the window went close to the youth and, before anyone could stop him, Bracewell leaned forward and then pulled the youth into the basement. "You're under arrest!" he said to the Emperor of the Chinese Empire.

"You cannot touch me; I am immune from such things. Only those consecrated by my hand can touch me!" The Emperor said in perfect English.

Bracewell gave a smile, "Well your celestial Emperor, you are no longer in your home land, and I'm sure your troops will be wondering where you are while we interrogate you."

"For what reason? I am destined to rule the entire world and the stars, it was foretold to me." The Emperor protested.

"Tough, as I said you are under arrest for crimes against humanity, you and your troops have invaded Europe and Asia, turning the free people there into slaves and you -"

"You are mistaken, all those we have captured have been kept safe, we have shown then the error of their ways and -" The Emperor interrupted Bracewell only to be interrupted himself by Susan.

"Make the slaves dig the tunnel in four months, you didn't want to kill your own people, but have no compunction about those you've captured." She said angrily.

"They are my people now, to be used as I direct; such is the rewards that they expect." The Emperor said in a bored tone but was rewarded by a slap from Susan.

"So now by your rules, you are our subject, to be used by us or disposed by us, how long do you think you'd be allowed to live?" She added the last in Chinese so only the Emperor understood what she said

"But I'm an important person; you can't treat me like this." The Emperor shook his head in shock.

"Not here you're not. Here you are just another criminal, and you know what criminals deserve, but don't worry, you'll have a fair trial, before we follow your rules on execution." Susan turned to Bracewell, "We do have a serrated sword for the execution, don't we Sir?" She said with a wink to him.

Bracewell caught on, "Oh yes, it's a bit rusty but I don't think you'd mind that." He said.

"You people are barbarians, how can you treat me like this?" The Emperor said, but his pallor had gone slightly grey.

"We are at war, against an enemy who want to kill us all. Any of the Enemy will be dealt with in the same manner, if you wish we would give you a poison tablet to swallow." Bracewell said into the Emperor's face.

The Emperor shook his head, "That is the way of failure. I have not failed in anything." He protested.

"Yet here you are - our prisoner. You have failed to stop us, you have failed to frighten us, and you are just a child trying to pretend that you are a man. You've failed in that. Sergeant, take this prisoner away, take him through the bombed out areas, show him what his words have done to this country, and why he's going to fail yet again." Bracewell said putting handcuffs onto the Emperor's wrists. "You are just another prisoner to us now." He added as the Emperor was taken away.

Bracewell turned to Susan, "What did you say to him just then?" He asked

Susan smiled, "I put the fear of you into him, leave him to think about things for a bit, if not then you have him to use as you see fit." She said

Blythe spoke up, "There's something happening in the room."

Indeed the window showed the Major-domo coming up to the throne. "Your highness I want you to ... your highness?" He walked to the main doors and opened them; there were two guards outside now. "Where did the celestial one go?" He demanded from them only to receive blank looks, he shut the doors again and started looking around the room.

"He's probably gone to play with the slaves again, just like his father, affairs of state take precedence over hormonal states." He said which made Susan giggle, the Major-domo spun around. "Who is there?"

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