Part 7

From the Story Arc: Legacy of a Fallen Hero

Previous Story in the Arc: Part 6 by October Star (Friday, August 26, 2005)

Next Story in the Arc: The Wake of the Storm by Althea Nagy (Saturday, October 01, 2005)

(posted Saturday, September 24, 2005)

Shyft sat at her desk, brow knotted, with a chewed up pencil behind one ear and a half-lit cigarette hanging out of her mouth. Her notes were jumbles of four-dimensional mathematics, long physics equations and have jotted notes. Simulation after simulation ran on the four computers she had Belladonna Aura set up and network on the workbench. CeCe tossed variable after variable into the simulations, looking for the silver bullet.

Her phone rang. Caller ID marked it as the Portal Corporation. She snapped it up. "Da! I mean hello! Is CeCe!"

"CeCe! Hi! It's Tina." Tina Macintyre was one of Shyft's growing circle of friends on Peregrine. CeCe was a little disappointed. She was expecting a call from Bruce.

"Da, Tina. Is good to hear from you. What is?" She rotated the energy output control to see if the magnitude of beta particles would jump the wormhole in the simulation.

"Are the technical readouts and blueprints of the portals working for you?"

"Da. Is most horosho." Shyft snarled as the particle stream took effect, and simply projected the targets into random locations simultaneously. "Are you certain all energy readings and displacement properties are correct?"

"Absolutely, I checked all readouts twice. Everything you got went through command and control ops. That's live functional data." Tina twitched her nose in a small smile. She could tell CeCe was not getting the results she wanted. "Is there a problem?"

Shyft watched a simulation as the portal ripped itself apart and created a spatial anomaly not unlike a dimensional tear. The city would have been fatally irradiated within forty-five seconds. "I am nyet having luck with my simulations."

"Then this message from Dr. Boyd may be of some help?"

"Shto?" Shyft nearly fell out of her seat as the cherry from the cigarette fell into her lap. "You are hearing from Bruce? What does he say?" She brushed the ember to the concrete floor and stomped it out. Waitron would clean up later.

"He said he looked at the documents you retrieved from the destroyed Crey facility, as well as doing a few of his own calculations." She shuffled through the paperwork. "You two are scary. I'm glad you're on our side."

Shyft's eyes flared in frustration. "Tina, what did he say?"

"I don't understand exactly what he is saying..."

"Zamalche!" She pounded on her desk. "Just read the note!"

"Fine!" There was a quick crumpling sound as she unfolded the paper. "CeCe, interesting problem. I don't think Crey accounted for muons when they developed their portal. Portal corp is shielded by building design. Try looking at dynamic gamma ion flow within a charged muon spray. Your dates show heavy solar flare activity that correlate." Tina paused. "Muons?"

"High energy particles generated when cosmic rays interact with the Earth's atmosphere." Shyft thought for a moment then slapped her forehead. "Of course!"

"What?"

"Tina, I need a portal for a few hours. See if you can get me one cordoned off for a couple hours. I will run the simulations first, but if he's right..."

*****************************

Vlada collapsed, the sheets soaked with sweat. As his head rested on Katza's chest, he could hear her heart pounding, racing. They lay there, breathing in concert, not wanting the moment to end. Her eyes stayed closed, but he felt the rhythm of her breathing change. She was thinking again.

"Shto?" He moved up, and met her lips with a light kiss before rolling to her side. "What are you thinking of?"

"Shyft is saying she will fix soon. I..."

"Good." Her mouth closed suddenly at his firm affirmation. "Soon Alexei will be back here where he belongs."

Katza's eyes closed again. "Thea does miss him terribly. I hear her crying sometimes, when we talk on the phone."

"Da. Will be good to have my grandson back." He reached over and brushed the hair out of her face. "I am thinking it is best if you do not pack, and change into some simple hospital scrubs, or a hospital gown. Will be easiest way to explain things."

She sat up suddenly and looked at Vlada like he had gone insane. "What are you saying?"

A sly smirk crossed his face. "You are coming back with me, da?"