Chapter 14: Learning To Fly
Copyright© 2011 by Wandering Lanes
"Good morning Sir, can I help you?" Sally Randall asked me from her desk as I walked up to it.
"Good morning, I'd like to see Mr. Anderson, if he is available." I said with a smile.
She frowned, "Can I have your name please, and do you have an appointment?" she asked me while looking down on her diary.
I smiled, "My name is Chris Beaker, I'm afraid I don't have an appointment, but it's to deal with one of his franchises, Perkins detective agency." I told her, well I was dressed in my suit and not the Army Uniform that it appeared I was entitled to wear.
Still frowning she picked up a phone and spoke into it. "Mr. Anderson? I have a Mr. Chris Beaker out here ... yes Chris Beaker that's right. Well he's saying it's something to do with the Perkins detective agency ... I see sir, right sir. I'll tell him." She said and then hung up.
She looked at me and then back at the diary, "I'm afraid that Mr. Anderson is rather busy at the moment, Mr. Beaker. He suggests that you make an appointment for later on in the day, I have a slot free at three p.m., is that alright?" She said looking back up at me.
I could feel the effect of a spell that had been cast at me and I dispelled it. "That will be fine Sally. Oh and William Smythe sends his regards." I said - this was a recognition phrase for her contacts.
Her face clouded over and she hissed to me, "Just who are you?"
I whispered back, "Just who I said, Chris Beaker. But you have people worried about you." I could tell that she was covered with the after effects of spells cast on her. I created and deployed a few Nemesis units with orders to sedate her should she try to attack me, but apart from that they were to defend her. I couldn't be too careful while here.
She composed herself and her voice went back to normal, "I'll put your name in the diary and I'll see you at three, Mr. Beaker." She said.
I nodded to her and left the office, I wasn't surprised that Anderson wouldn't see me immediately, I felt sure that my mention of Perkins would cause some reaction.
I found an empty office and made myself comfortable behind the desk. I created a screen that would connect with the Nemesis units I had left behind, as well as those in Perkins' office. I sat back and watched the fun.
Anderson stepped into Sally's office; he didn't see the Nemesis unit slipping into his office while the door was open. "Sally? That man that was just here, can you describe him?" He asked while making a gesture.
Sally stiffened in her chair and then, in a monotone, gave a less than flattering, but accurate, description of me. Anderson swore "So it was Beaker! When is he coming back?"
"I made the appointment for three, just as you instructed." Sally responded in the same monotone, it was obvious she was under his control as she spoke again, "he gave the contact code - he's working for the police." She said.
Anderson shook his head, "Oh no, he doesn't work for them, he's got his own agenda. He's trying to close me down completely. That is something I won't allow." He gestured again and Sally shook her head, "Sally, can you call Perkins, on his private number please." He said and went back into his office.
Sally picked up a phone and dialled a number, she waited for a moment and then frowned, she dialled it again before hanging up, she pressed a button on the intercom, "I'm sorry Mr. Anderson, but there's no reply ... it seems the line is down." She said.
"What? But that's impossible! Try his secretary's number, find out where he is." Anderson's voice came back.
Sally went back to the phone and dialled another number. "Hello, this is Mr. Anderson's secretary; can you tell me where Mr. Perkins is?" There was a pause and then Sally spoke again, "What do you mean 'he's in his office but he can't get out'? ... I see! Please hold."
Sally pressed the intercom button. "Mr. Anderson, I've got Mr. Perkins secretary on the phone, she says that Mr. Perkins in trapped in his office, she doesn't sound too steady, sir."
"How is he trapped? Is the door locked?" Anderson asked.
"No sir, it seems that every-time he tries to step out of the room ... he reappears in the middle of it again, she sounds very confused."
"I see, well tell her not to worry, I'll send someone to deal with it." Anderson said, Sally passed on the message and then hung up.
On the screen I opened up a new window for Anderson's office where my Nemesis unit had secreted itself and was now shielded. Anderson was seated at his desk pressing a button on his computer.
"Come on Perkins you useless pile of shit, answer the call." He said angrily but then gave up. He went to the intercom, "Sally? I'm going to be busy for about ... oh an hour, no calls please." He said.
Getting up from his seat he went to what appeared to be a cupboard. "You know Perkins I'm getting fed up with your failures." He said and then after muttering a phrase he opened a tunnel into which he disappeared.
I quickly changed to Perkins' office and saw the man, dressed in rags – he looked more like a scarecrow like that. His face was unshaven. He was sitting forlornly on the floor.
The office was also in a mess, the quickened passage of time hadn't been kind to it. The wallpaper had fallen off the walls leaving strips of paper in places; mildew had taken hold in the corners of the room and also on the cracked windows, giving an eerie green light when the sun struck it.
Anderson appeared from the corner of the room, he paused as he stepped into the scene. "Just what the f$%K happened here?" He said.
"Beaker, he just came in and did this!" Perkins said waving his hands at the mess, "I don't know how he did it, but he did ... it was just like magic." He finished weakly.
"So why didn't you contact me? Why do you think I gave you a direct line?" Anderson asked.
Perkins pointed to the ruined phone that was on his desk. "It doesn't work; it was the first thing he broke." Perkins said.
Anderson shook his head and then walked to the main doorway of the office; he held up a hand and touched the invisible threshold, taking a coin from his pocket he threw it at the door. There was a 'plock' as the coin hit the floor in the middle of Perkins' office.
Anderson nodded and then looked at the secretary standing in her office. "Mr. Perkins is closing this office, you're fired." He said and closed the door.
He walked back to where Perkins was still sitting on the floor. "Get to your feet Perkins; I'm going to get you out of here." Anderson said pulling on the suit, but it tore in his grasp.
"Are you going to take me to your office?" Perkins asked as he got to his feet.
"Nearly Perkins, nearly. You do understand that you are the main problem at the moment ... and I can't afford to have you around, so I need to hide you where nobody will find you." He said and created a doorway, but I noticed the door was extra thick.
Anderson stood beside the doorway and gestured to Perkins, "Just go through this door and you will be safe." He said with a smile.
Perkins didn't hesitate but opened the door and ran through it. Anderson shook his head as the door closed, "It's a pity Perkins, you were useful, but then all good things..." With a gesture the door vanished.
Anderson concentrated and then spoke a phrase that shook the room, cracks appeared in the walls and debris began to fall down from the ceiling, he turned and walked to the corner of the room from where he entered and vanished.
I sat back in the chair and regarded the screens, Anderson had reappeared in his office and carried on working, the screen for Perkins office showed the room collapsing and so I recalled the Nemesis units from there.
I wondered about the fate of Perkins, where had Anderson sent him? I shook my head, obviously I wouldn't find out, or if I did I wouldn't like the answer.
I called mentally for something to eat and was surprised to find a note in the sandwiches and cola that appeared, 'If you want something hot then you'd better arrive at dinner instead of calling for a takeaway.' It was signed by Mary.
I reached into my pocket for my cell phone and dialled a number. When the call was answered I asked for Colonel Marlow.
"Yes what is it Major?" Marlow asked after I had identified myself.
"I think you ought to know that there's a building that is in a dangerous condition." I gave him Perkins' office address.
"What have you done now Major?" Marlow asked me with a sigh.
"I haven't done anything, it's just that some of my units were flying around and noticed this address was showing stress fractures. Can you get someone there to check the place?" I said.
"You know that this address is one of Anderson's company's addresses?" Marlow asked me.
"I do believe so, but you'll find I wasn't the last one to visit the place, check with the secretary about that, she's just been fired by the way." I said.
"Beaker I'm not employing you because you have a personal vendetta against anyone, you're supposed to be working for me." Marlow told me.
"This isn't directly involving my actions with Anderson, he's the one who attacked the place, you check on this." I said finding that I was defending myself.
He sighed, "Alright just why were you at the address in the first place?" He asked.
"I wanted to get some attention, if Anderson was diverted from his normal activities it could be that our Odin's could be placed without any problems." I said
This got Marlow's interest, "You think that Anderson is directly behind the problems our systems are having, but that would mean he's like you." He said.
"I've been told he is more like a Yang to my Ying, and now he's more aware of me." I said.
"Beaker just where are you at this moment?" Marlow asked sounding suspicious, I told him. "You're at his offices ... Just what are you going to do?" He asked me.
"I need to face Anderson; I need to know exactly what he has done and how to defeat him." I said trying to sound more prepared than I actually was.
"Beaker! ... I suppose I can't stop you at the moment?" Marlow said exasperated.
"Not just yet, I've left Shifu and Major Moodie in charge at the house, they will be able to manage and create the Odin files without me. I'm sorry Colonel but this is something that has to be done, all I ask is that you send people out to Perkins' offices to clear the area and ensure that when the building goes ... and it will ... that nobody is injured." I said.
Marlow sighed again, "Alright Beaker, but when you get back I'm going to have a few words to say." He said and hung up.
I looked at my phone, 'That went better than I expected.' I said to myself.
I looked at my watch; there were a few hours before the appointment. I locked the door and cast a spell to make people ignore the door itself so I wouldn't be disturbed and close my eyes.
Aristotle was standing in my library, "You will need to refresh your body and learn how to protect it by changing its form." Aristotle said holding up a book.
"Some more future knowledge?" I asked him.
"Just precautionary I assure you, but I would also study this book." Aristotle said holding out a book to me, 'The effects of radiation and its counters.' Was the title ... but it was written by ME!
I took the book and glanced at it, "How can this be?" I asked him.
"This was written by you following a battle you had." He said simply.
"But I haven't fought anyone ... yet!" I said
"In some future time you did ... and in that time..." he paused for a moment, "you died from your injuries." He said.
"So I'm going to lose, is that what you're saying?" I pressed him for an answer.
"Not necessarily, in that world you were not prepared. All I'm saying is that if you are better prepared so that then it might not happen to you." He said reluctantly.
"You're not sure? Even now you're not sure if I will survive?" I said almost incredulously.
"There is no proven evidence one way or another, although the future is there, there are many different routes that evolve, every movement creates a new future, books that are created are never written. But I still have them." Aristotle said his eyes downcast.
"So you're saying that this book could have been written by me, but another me who lost a fight. But with this I can learn how he lost and then change that future." I asked.
"Only one of a possible number of futures. I know this is confusing but don't think of this, keep your mind on the present." He said.
I shook my head and went to carry on talking, but he had vanished again, leaving me with the books he had offered.
I created an armchair and sat down, opening the first book, it was describing how to change the epidermis of a body to that of armour. I wasn't sure how much movement would be allowed and so I muttered the phrase.
There was no apparent change although I did notice that my hand changed colour, almost to that of lead ... why lead? And then I remembered the book about radiation and I knew I had an answer.
Cancelling the spell I got up from the chair and looked around the library and found a book about creating spheres of air, and how they can be moulded to follow the shape of a body in order to create a suit of air suitable for underwater use.
By reading the spells I knew they were lodged into my mind and could be called at a few seconds notice. I then returned to the second book that Aristotle had given me and read that, it seemed that dehydration was one effect and needed plenty of liquid to restore the body; also the body, and anything else, would be severely burnt by the radiation and would need protection.
I 'awoke' back in the room, feeling refreshed as if I'd had a full night's sleep, checking my watch I saw that it was nearly time for my appointment with Anderson.
I decided that I wanted to be fully ready and so I reached out and drained electricity from the plugs nearby, storing it away for later on – this was something I had learnt how to do one night.
Fairly crackling with power I left the office I had 'borrowed' and made my way to Anderson's office, I presented myself in front of Sally's desk. "Good afternoon Sally, is Mr. Anderson ready to see me now?" I asked her.
She smiled and nodded, "Yes, Mr. Beaker. If you will enter the office." She said pressing a button which released the door lock.
I nodded to her and opened the door; inside Anderson was seated behind his desk and stood up as I entered. "Mr. Chris Beaker. It's nice to actually see you sir." He said with a smile and held out his hand.
"And I you sir, it seems we have so much in common." I said shaking his hand and then I felt the spell that he had cast to make me tell him everything I knew. I was prepared for that and negated it, and then I sent the same spell to him.
Anderson's face went rigid and he sat down in his chair, I retrieved my hand from his unfeeling grip. "You decided to fight me Mr. Anderson? Why was that?" I asked him.
"You interfered in my West Coast operations, by your actions I lost several contacts within the police and also a good source of data from Central London. You personally deserved to be removed from the picture." Anderson said in a monotone.
"But I knew nothing about you or your operation, how was I a threat to you?" I asked.