The Device
Chapter 16

Copyright© 2013 by JOHNNY SACHU

David Evans was skipping eroded stones across the lake. Five was his best throw yet. He was looking for flat rounded ones on the sandy shoreline. They always worked best, he knew. He found the next rock, picked up the dark gray stone with white stripes of milky quarts running through it on both sides and concentrated, then as hard as he could, threw the rock. It skittered over the surface throwing bits of splatter as it ricocheted off the water. It was better than any other, David counting seven, and then the stone disappeared beneath the dark lake water with a small ripple of circular waves.

“Woo!” David yelped, watching the circles widen, thinking briefly of the physics involved. Of course, he thought, If I wasn’t wearing this flight suit it would be much easier.

He gazed skyward, sighed at the deep and beautiful blue atmosphere, then sauntered back to his glossy black helmet on the sandy ground, opened end up. He took in one last chest swelling breath of the cool air blowing across the relatively calm water then released it quickly. It’s been fun, he thought while feeling the coolness of the air disappearing as he donned the helmet, but I’ve got work back home. Better quit goofing off and get to it.

David was still alone, he noted, looking around again, for the umpteenth time. It was late in the day and the only people nearby were fisherman out on the lake, probably two miles away. The stretch of beach he’d landed on had been peacefully deserted, thank goodness. He needed a break from sight seeing by way of and from the vantage above those rounded building monolithic clouds. A morning tour of the world was getting routine, even though flight and those aerial acrobatics, he usually indulged in, was always stimulating in the rocket suit, keeping him sharp and on his toes, but this routine was all too familiar and having to admit it to himself, getting more than a little boring.

David fit the polished helmet over his head, turned the stainless snap ring around the connection at the base of his neck and all systems came on line. He locked the dark helmet in place with a slider seal, stood straight, touched the controls on his hand, firing up the engine to the rocket pack on his back. Though not really a rocket pack but it did the same thing and much more, then took off rolling the control ball forward. The engine gave off no sound while gravity pulled on him and David got that elevator sensation in the pit of his stomach moving upward ever faster. Soon enough, he was cloud hopping, popping through their building, churning, brilliant white summits and beginning to feel the extreme cold of their altitudes.

He was over Oklahoma somewhere, in the north central part of the state. But the landscape changed quickly as David increased his speed slightly, though soon enough, he pressed the button that activated the device to form that protective field around him as the cold air of the wind tugged on the suit’s black insulated fabric. The sound of fast moving wind vanished as well. The suit warmed quickly as David activated the environmental control within the equipment with a mere glance in the heads up display of the helmets face shield, the sound of flight rushing over his helmet was a distant thought. Only the noise of his breathing reached his ears. The device technology was totally quiet. Gravity fell away from his body like a dropped anvil and David took in a breath, a long deep one, then let it out with satisfaction. This was his element.

He rolled past hyper speed and increased his velocity even more. The protective bubble of the device’s field displacing and heating the air around it leaving a newly condensed cloud in its wake, very much if not exactly like a contrail. He aimed higher, seeing the moon rising on the distant horizon then aimed for it on a whim.

Leaving the atmosphere he rolled the speed control and shot forward, leaving earth behind as he had so many times before.

Landing on the gray/brown surface beside one of the left behind moon cars, David touched the little buggy. Looking around briefly, and lifted it. It only weigh a few pounds under the influence of the Device and took off again for earth. He hadn’t been gone a minute yet.

Before many minutes had slipped by, flying slower with the awkwardness of the moon car, there was Lake Superior, its edges crisping as he descended out of the blackness of space, angling down into the clear, though humid, skies over northern Minnesota. David quickly decelerated nearing the clearly defined city in the distance.

Home was easy to find and in moments he’d flown through the protective dome of his home’s own property, the device permitting the protective field to open with his own activated. Of course, he was unseen as time had stopped for him, the devices original design of ceasing time for its wearer. Unfortunately, it caused retro-aging for its user and was still something David had never fully worked out to his own satisfaction. It was working on him again, he knew, so he wanted out of the device’s field quickly. He could feel both fields interacting there, in that brief space through the two invisible domes yet the larger one wasn’t set high enough to alter his physiology. He lived within it.

Positioning himself to land, still holding the moon buggy, David descended slowly, his cargo weighing ounces to actual gravity weight, under the field’s influence.

The domes main purpose over his home and property and reason for being was to protect David from bombings by the U.S. Government. They had tried that, but of course, it was ineffective. That had been its original parameter for being made in past months, because of David’s fear over reprisals from them, the government, for his past indiscretions. It had spooked him but thankfully, that larger device, already activated, had protected him. As far as he knew, it was undetected by anyone or anything as well as undetectable. He wasn’t sure if they still knew about him, now, having gone back in time to where things where stable, then coming back to the future. David would never repeat his mistakes again, possibly. There was that time, before, When he began seeking revenge for things, mostly the death of someone he cared for, destroying things military, bases, Area 51, parts of Washington, much of the U.S. military, including the Navy, and hoped they hadn’t rediscovered him, again, now that he was silent and not causing mischief. He was ninety percent certain they hadn’t as things had been peaceful, lately, and David had been free to work on projects both scientific and his other passions of hot rod building and fast motorcycles.

He left the moon buggy in front of the house, gently letting it settle on it’s wheels, and entered the inner domain of the huge home through the door of the vast garage he’d left open. The garage was of course half filled with hot rods, street machines and fast bikes, but looking at the clock on the wall, returning his time to exactly when and where he had left, minutes earlier, and switched things in the flight suit and turned the device off; though not really off, just adjusting his personal device to a lower setting so time would pass normally and to where he wouldn’t retro-age any younger. Only then did he take off the technologically superior flight suit to his older one. This black one was kinda scary looking, he thought, with it deep ebony coloring and accents of stainless steel and blue piping. But the old Rocketeer suit was still functional, though seldom used since building the more advanced item.

He cleaned the interior of the suit, keeping it sanitary and smelling nice, as well as the boot’s bottoms with a wire brush and some sanitary wipes, polished the outer surface of the body, arms, and legs, then stored the suit away.

David went into the house, via the kitchen door from the garage, and opened the freezer, retrieving a box of pizza pockets and prepared them for eating, nuking them in the microwave on a paper plate for a little more than two minutes, then grabbing a cherry soda out of the refrigerator.

Setting his plate on top of one of the Viking Lander’s in his huge living room, David looked out into his yard through the big curving glass bay widows and watched some of the young Synthetoceras antelope, he’d brought back from the Pleistocene era, romping and playing with each other out on the property as he drank the cherry coke and ate slowly.

There were eleven of them now. One mature buck, three females, and seven kids of varying ages. He still thought them odd looking with that mouth like a camels and the third antler on the end of its nose. But they were graceful animals and David liked having them around, being beautifully colored in beige’s and white hair. Oh, he’d set them free, eventually, somewhere in the lower forty-eight, like a lot of his animals he brought back from extinction. These guys needed space though, he wouldn’t give them away, this small a herd, to zoos as often times he did if they were dangerous buggers, like some of the dinosaurs he’d returned from out of the past.

The Salt Lake zoo had a mating pair, when they got older, of Alberta Tyrannosaur and several kinds of Raptors he’d given them. Duluth had two Allosaurus that were now almost mature, and Atlanta had some Triceratops. Dinosaurs grew big incredibly fast, he’d learned. It was his way of making the world a more interesting place. He’d even given Argentina some Stegosaurus as well as a host of other animals to zoos and governments all over the world. Like the Russians who got Woolly Mammoths and Duck Billed, something or other dinos.

No one knew, of course, that it was him doing all this Santa-giving, and it was fun for David bringing back live specimens so all the professors wouldn’t have to incorrectly speculate over fossilized bones. They screwed up so much on their own he felt it was almost his duty to make them eat humble pie. They and the world could now merely watch the animals grow and record what they did, how they lived, what they ate, see what they actually looked like, and of course, the obsession of most of the college doctorate crowd, as if it were some kind of a degenerate disease, seeing how they reproduced.

The front gate buzzed. It was probably Angela Carlyle, his sweet young ‘car caretaker’. She cleaned, dusted, and started the cars as needed, keeping the lube flowing and the batteries charged; and he paid the high school girl well for it. He wanted her to appreciate the responsibility and so far, hadn’t disappointed.

Angela was fifteen, tall, with light brown hair, and a perky, full figure on that thin, young ingenue’s body. She was more than an eyeful to David but that only meant she was dangerous. He’d caused trouble for several young women before he turned back time but erased all his past mistakes and deeds. She was pretty articulate, too, when you could get her to speak, and she was curious about his cars and motorcycles, his fanciful engineering ideas, and especially the engineering behind some of his theatrical thoughts about time. Wondering if it were possible to travel it. She had an excellent mind, was quick to learn, as well as innovative. But Angela was quiet, mostly. She was the kind of girl you never knew what she was thinking, especially concerning you, if at all, and made you too scared to try and find out. He wanted her so much sometimes it made him sorry he couldn’t, wouldn’t, share more of his life with her. But he kept his distance. She was too young for him and he did not need added complications in his world anymore. He’d learned his lesson--probably.

“Is that you Angela?” he asked, over the microphone in the house, of which there were too many to number.

“No, it’s me, Phil, from the junk yard. I just picked up something you might be interested in. A chopped ‘53 Studebaker.”

“Really? Sounds interesting. I’ll be right out.”

“There’s also a young woman here. She says to tell you, her name is Angela.” Phil chuckled.

“Yeah, she works here. I’ll be right out.”

“Okay.”

David stuffed the rest of the Pizza Pockets in his mouth and took the can of cherry Coke with him, driving out to the fence line in the open air, 2 door, Jeep Rubicon.

He parked the Jeep, backing it in off the side of the tree lined entrance lane, and walked out to the locked gate. He punched in the electronic code, undid the chrome plated American lock and tapped the switch to electronically swing the gate open.

“Hi Angela,” he said, smiling and waving briefly. “Hey Phil.

A Studee’, huh? Looks sneaky.” It was low to the ground, or actually, the floor of the trailer to be exact, and dusty as hell. It looked like it had once been a show car.

“Yeah, Picked it up down in Blue Earth county. Guy had it for years parked inside one of his garages on his property. It’s dirty, and might need some interior work, but it looks like the bodies sound. No real rust, though, anywhere that I can find.”

David glanced at Angela, also looking at the car, walking towards the back of Phil’s oxidized orange pick-up and the car trailer with the Studebaker on it. She was curious about it.

His truck, something out of the mid-1960’s, looked almost as worked over as the trailered-in Studebaker, and appeared just as interesting as the car, and just as dirty.

“What do you think about this thing, Angela?” he asked her, without looking, having already made up his own mind about it.

“I’ve never seen one of these cars before. You don’t have anything like it in your collection. I do like it though, it almost looks like a European car. French or Italian.”

“It does that, doesn’t it? I like it too. It looks racy to me.”

“It was, at one time,” Phil said, David looking his way. “I was told that the reason the roof was lowered was for aerodynamics, not for show. It was a salt car, at one time. Ran at Bonneville, out in Utah, for several years. Supposedly made the 200 m.p.h. Club. Never held a record but it got close, I’m told, in its class that is. Then it was sold to some guy in Arizona who wanted to slick it out for the street, so the the story goes, and that owner did a sweet job with the whole car. Put in that cool leather interior, while still keeping the race roots of the car around, like the roll bars and other good stuff, doing over the chassis for the street like it was a formula one race car. He had to de-tune the engine, of course, but it still has a lot of muscle from the looks of it. Supposedly, it runs, if you put a new battery in it. Anyway, that guy sold it to the last owner who drove it and entered it in several local car shows in the mid-west.”

“Why did he want to sell?”

“He’s getting old. I had to squeeze him some, but he let it go in the end.”

“What kind of an engine has it got?” David wanted to know. Phil stepped up on top of the trailer levered the hood open. So they all climbed up onto the trailer, David extending a hand to Angela, pulling her up, even though she didn’t need a hand. He just liked being nice to her. She was just a kid after all. A gorgeous kid. He listened as Phil talked on about the motor now.

“It’s a 1970 Cadillac 500 engine, bored and stroked to 700 cubic inches. Like I said, it’s been de-tuned for the street, but it’s still a little wild, I’m told. Another reason it was parked, he told me. It’s got a lot of power. Too much for the old owner. The old man said he had it dyno-ed at 627 horsepower in this form.”

“Your kidding?”

“Nope, that’s what the guy told me.”

“And that’s de-tuned?”

“You know how the cars at Bonneville are, some of those V-8’s can make over 4,000 horsepower. They’re like controlled bombs. And sometimes they do blow sky high.”

David touched to motor, went over some things, following lines, feeling this and that, then finally asked the all important question.

“How much you asking,” he looked at Phil. He’d dealt with Phil a lot. He was honest enough and David trusted his judgment. He knew cars and had already sold him several in his collection, mostly junkers that had hot rod potential, but this was the best conditioned car, and the most complete one, he’d brought to his attention.

“I’d like to get thirty-two out of it. That would give me just enough profit to make it worth all the trouble I went through.”

David thought it through. He would have paid forty-two thousand for it. Money was nothing to him these days and Phil was an okay guy.

“Sound’s good,” David said. “Lets take it in. I’ll ride back here,” David told Phil as he smiled and closed the hood on that big beefy Caddy engine. “You want to take a bumpy ride, Angela?”

“Sure,” she said. “Let me get my bike first. She grabbed it and put it inside Phil’s truck bed with ease and they all went in through the gate, David adjusting his stasis ring to a higher level to include the vehicles, just to be on the safe side. Without it, and without David in contact with the truck and trailer, nothing could pass through that house’s device field that covered the property in a huge bubble, above and below ground. Nothing would or could pass through it, not flesh, plant or stone. He had to physically be in contact with the objects, within his compound of safety. People were often suspicious of his need to ride with them, the few people he let onto his property, but he always gave them some simple explanation about an electric security field he had to deactivate, personally. That usually satisfied.

However, after setting the stasis ring, he looked up and saw Angela staring suspiciously his way with a multitude of questions in her eyes. Nothing he hadn’t seen her doing before, but she’d never asked about it. She didn’t say anything this time, either, but he knew her well enough by now to know that she was definitely curious. She had noticed the thing he always had around his neck, that shiny watch like item and his ring he was always adjusting from time to time. He was sure she thought of it as a stop watch, or hoped she did, as she’d always seen him touching the device. She was nobodies stupid child but she minded her own business, another thing he liked about Angela.

David smiled and said, to pacify her for the time being, “I’ll explain later, Angela,” but he didn’t know what he’d say to her exactly and put it out of his mind when she looked away, while he stared at her in depth but found nothing of any consequence in her look or manner to be really concerned over. Her figure though was another matter. He took in a deep breath and let it out, looking away. She was simply too much girl.

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