Chapter 1: Blythes Machine (again)
Jack looked at Susan as they drank the coffee. Professor Blythe had listened to their conversation in silence.
"I know it's hard to understand, but that machine of yours can let people travel through different dimensional worlds, I'm not sure I can explain it properly—" Jack started, but was interrupted by Blythe.
"I think I can. I thought that gave a window to a different part of the world, so at first I was disappointed to only see my laboratory through the gap. I had thought I'd failed again ... but now I know I haven't. I've created a dimension viewer." She got up and walked to the fireplace, where she pushed a button.
The door to the room opened and a young oriental woman was there, "Haruka, can you keep Susan and Jack here? I've got some things to do. I will be back." Blythe started to leave the room.
"Professor, you don't understand. We need to return to our own world. We can't waste time," Susan pleaded.
Blythe shook her head. "At the moment, from what I can gather, my machine is connected to a world where there was a war in which the country was taken over by fascists. Is that the world you want to return to?" She asked Susan, who shook her head. "Very well, I need to experiment more to fine-tune the connections. At the moment it's all hit and miss, plus I need to make some enquiries." She walked out, and Haruka placed herself in front of the door.
Jack shook his head. "She didn't believe us. She thinks we're a couple of madmen, err, persons. I wouldn't be surprised if she was calling the local loony bin for new jackets for us. You know—the ones that tie your arms to the back."
"Well, even though she watched us enter, it is a bit too much to understand. I think we should just leave and try ... what?" Susan wondered.
"Can you see me going to the station and telling them I'm Jack Adams, and expecting them to welcome me? Hell. I'm probably already at work." Jack smiled at the thought. "I wonder what they'd say if I did appear next to me. And what would happen if I shook hands with myself?"
Susan shuddered. "I wouldn't. What if you should blow yourself up? How much damage would that cause?"
Jack gulped. She was right. He got up from his seat and walked to the door where Haruka was watching him. "I'm sorry, Sir, but you to remain until Mistress returns," she said in a soft, accented voice.
Jack smiled at the woman and then reached for the door. "I'm sorry, Haruka, but I can't -" His voice broke off as the diminutive woman took hold of his arm and then gave it a twist, making Jack turn around, and then she pushed him back into the room. Releasing him, she gave a shallow bow.
"You will stay in the room." She repeated Blythes' instructions
Susan gave a wry smile, "I would think that Haruka is well-trained. Black belt?" she inquired of the young woman, who nodded and bowed to Susan, who removed her shoes and removed her jacket before bowing back to the woman.
Haruka gave a smile as Susan approached. Susan took hold of Haruka's blouse and then, wrapping her right leg around the woman's left leg, she pushed Haruka to the floor. Standing back to allow her to rise, "Ouchi Gari," Susan explained to Jack who was none the wiser
Haruka nodded and then they approached each other again. This time as Susan reached for her, Haruka turned and, raising her leg, brought Susan up and over to land on the floor. "Harai Goshi," Haruka said in her soft voice.
The next time they met, Susan went down on her back, pulling Haruka with her. Susan brought her leg up, propelling Haruka over and away from her. As Susan got to her feet, she called out, "Tomoe Nage."
When Haruka got to her feet, she gave a nod and then moved to Susan. This time, she turned, holding Susan's blouse, and brought her right leg up as she tugged on Susan's left arm, but somehow Susan blocked it and then reversed the movements, throwing Haruka instead. "Sneaky, trying for Sumi Otoshi, but that wasn't next in the list. She skipped one," she said, assuming that Jack knew what she was talking about. She saw the puzzlement on his face. "They are throws from the Judo book, Kodokan Judo; she's missed one set and moved to the next."
All of which left Jack none the wiser.
Susan approached Haruka, who was waiting for her. "I'm sorry, Haruka, but we need to leave. I do respect you and your actions and so—" Without warning, Susan brought her hand around in a fist and struck Haruka on the chin, felling the woman instantly. Susan turned to Jack and shrugged, "Right cross, if all else fails..." She didn't finish as Jack took her hand and they rushed to the door.
Outside the house, the street was quiet. Jack looked up, but saw only sky.
"We're going to have to walk," Jack said to Susan, who smiled.
"So where are we going to?" she asked.
"Search me. Let's just see what's going on here. It's a whole new world," Jack said, raising his arms to embrace it.
They made their way to a nearby café and Jack ordered sausage, egg, and chips for two with tea. He gave a five-pound note and took his seat, waiting for the food.
Susan looked at him. "So what are we going to do? Without the machine in Blythe's house we're stuck here. You realise we don't actually exist in this world. How are we going to live?"
"Well, I've got some money and it seems good enough here, so we're okay for the short time. I hope that Professor Blythe understands and that she agrees to get us back home," Jack said seeing a paper nearby. He picked it up and began reading.
Susan noticed that the staff behind the counter was watching them, but once they noticed her eyes, they began working away normally. Soon, the waiter brought out two plates and placed them in front of them.
"Thank you," Susan said with a smile
The waiter didn't return the smile but went back to the kitchen.
"Strange man," she commented, but Jack was too engrossed in the paper to respond. Susan started to eat her food, realising that this was the first she had touched since going through Blythe's machine.
Jack put the paper down. "Well, I've learnt one thing. Here, the women are in charge of things. It's almost like home — I mean exactly like home, except for the role reversal. Gwendolyn Brown is the Prime Minister; she took over from Antonia Blair. The Middle East crisis is ongoing with complaints." He began to eat and then looked up. "You know, this is really good," he commented and then concentrated on eating.
Because they were concentrating on the food, they didn't see the marked police car approaching on the road, and when two officers entered the café and walked to the counter, they were still oblivious to their presence.
The officers came to Alex and Susan. "Excuse me Madame, Sir. I would like you to come with us," one woman said while the other man hand his hand resting on the Asp in his belt — just in case.
Jack turned to look at the woman, "Jenkins? Is that you?" He asked slightly shocked. If it was Carl Jenkins, then he had changed.
Jenkins frowned and looked at Jack. "I don't know you, Sir, and would ask you to put your hands behind your back." She produced a pair of handcuffs.
"What's the problem?" Jack couldn't see what they had done, but got to his feet and placed his hands behind him.
"You're under arrest for suspicion of handling forged currency. You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence should you not mention anything you may rely on in court, do you understand this caution?" Jenkins was expertly fixing the handcuff to Jacks wrists.
"I understand but I don't know what you're on about." Jack protested.
Jenkins held up a plastic bag holding the note that Jack had given to the counter staff, "You tried to pass this as legal currency did you not?" Jack nodded. "Well how did you think they'd accept this? It's completely wrong. Now come with me to the station."
Before they were taken out, Jenkins's partner frisked Jack to see what he might have on him, "Well, look what we have here. A police officer's wallet and a warrant card. There's a holster here as well ... where's the gun?"
Jack thought back to the alternative world where the Gestapo had taken his weapon from him. "Let's just say that I lost it," he finally said
"Okay, then we'll add impersonating a police officer along with the charges." Was the final decision after nothing else was found. Jack's wallet along with his cash was also removed.
Susan was similarly handcuffed and searched before the pair were taken out to where two police cars were waiting, Jack was placed in one and Susan into the other.
"Hey, Bobbie let's see that note again." Jenkins's partner asked while they were driving along the streets that Jack knew so well. The man gave a laugh. "How the hell did you think you'd get away with passing this rubbish?"
"I think you'd better wait until the interview before I answer that question so you can get it on tape; otherwise it's not admissible in court." Jack said.
"Oh, some kind of street lawyer, are you? Okay, chum. I'll wait." The partner said shaking his head.
At the station, Jenkins drove into a compound and a large metal gate closed behind their cars. She opened the door for Jack, who walked to the entrance and waited for one of them to enter the security code, looking away as they did this but knowing that the code was 2664.
The Custody Sergeant was already busy with a drunk who had somehow managed to achieve his state at ten o'clock in the morning. Jack was placed in a holding room with Jenkins's partner watching him. The handcuffs were removed since Jack hadn't made any threatening moves.
Susan, who wasn't cuffed at all, was placed on the opposite side, so that they couldn't talk to each other. A CCTV camera was also keeping an eye on things. Jack was called to the desk where the custody sergeant waited, looking bored.
"This gentleman was arrested on suspicion of passing forged currency, on searching him a warrant card with the name of Jack Adams was found, and since I didn't recognise any of the authorising signatures on the card, I subsequently cautioned him for impersonating a police officer. Also in his possession was a quantity of currency which I believe is also forged," Jenkins informed the custody Sergeant.
"I see. You have heard the evidence of the officer here, is there anything you wish to say?" Jack shook his head and then he thought again.
"Is it possible to get DI Wilson down here to identify me? He knows me."
The Custody Sergeant looked at Jack oddly, "Oh 'He knows you' does 'he?' Well, I'll ask 'him' to come down at his leisure; I know he's busy at the moment. In the meantime, I'm allowing you to remain here while further enquiries are carried out. The officer will process your information and also take some fingerprints, and then you will be taken to a cell until the officers are ready to interview you. Do you want anyone informed of your situation at this time? And do you require a solicitor?" Jack shook his head. At the moment, he knew that Susan might be able to do something and so he was prepared to wait.
"If you'll follow me, we just have a few things to do first." Jenkins said.
Jack knew the routine; it was something he'd been doing for the most of his career. He found himself almost leading the way to the fingerprint room with Jenkins just behind him. She regarded him closely; she could tell that he was at home here.
"Have you been here before, then?" She asked him.
"Not exactly, it's just ... you'd never believe it, so why should I try to explain," Jack said with a smile. He wasn't sure he'd believe it either. Jack followed the request of Jenkins and placed his fingers and then hands on a machine. She then used a camera to take his picture before he was taken to a cell.
Jack knew that it would take at least 30 minutes before a full check on his identity could return and after that he could expect to have an interrogation with both Jenkins and her partner. He smiled. The female Jenkins was almost the same as her male counterpart in his world ... and then it hit him — the note — the £5 note — it had Queen Elizabeth on it. If things were as screwy as they seemed to be, then it was probably the wrong person, he just hadn't thought about it before he handed over the note.
Jack smiled; if he was logical then it was possible to get the forgery charge thrown out. The additional charge of impersonation might be another matter. Jack sat down on the shelf that was the only seat/bed in the cell, (apart from the stainless steel toilet) and waited.
Susan was dealt with in much the same way, except when she was asked if she wanted anyone contacted she nodded, "Yes, I have a card in my purse with a number on it, if you would call that and let them know that you have a person in custody, they will be happy," she said with a smile, although she wasn't sure if they would send anyone to check on her; she didn't actually exist in the 'company, ' but they had so many anonymous people that they'd do something.
She had her fingerprints and photograph taken before she was taken to a cell in a different side of the station. Since she now had some time to spare she moved through some Tai-Chi exercises before she sat crossed legged, meditating.
After about two hours, the flap on Jack's cell was opened and eyes looked at him.
"Nope, don't know him at all," A woman's voice said. There was a whispered conversation and then the same voice said. "You've got to be joking! Have you had it checked?"
"Of course, they didn't like it but they doubled-checked with the backup files ... it's the same results. They don't understand it." This voice was the custody Sergeant's.
"But that's impossible unless ... he couldn't have hacked into the system could he?"
"No, Ma'am, they've checked the files completely, it took down the system for an hour while they did that, and there's no indication of any hacking, also when we used her fingerprints it came back correct." The Sergeant's voice showed that he was under some strain with this problem, whatever it was.
Then Jack found out. "But how could he have the same prints as my DS? It's impossible!"
He realised that this woman was D.I. Wilson ... not Charles Wilson, but the Wilson from this world.
"Guv, it's true — I have to speak to you urgently," Jack said, rushing to the flap.
Wilson looked at Jack, "Don't call me Guv, I don't know you, and I'm not sure I want to. Why are you so sure you know me?"
Jack laughed, "I don't know you, you. But I do know a Charles Wilson who's a Detective Inspector whose section I joined a couple of weeks ago. He was the one who put me with Susan Pulse a couple of days ago ... I think it was anyway."
Wilson shook her head. "My DS is Jacquie Adams, she's been with me for a couple of weeks, I don't know what game you're playing ... but I don't want to join."
"You may not have a choice in this; if Susan has contacted her lot on this side you may be involved more than you want."
"Are you threatening me, Sunshine? If so, let me tell you I've heard a lot worse from those smaller than you!" Wilson said and then walked off after closing the flap in Jack's face. As she walked off, he heard her say, "I don't know, trying to say I know him..."
Susan opened her eyes to the sound of the door being opened and a man walked in. "Follow me, please," He said, not allowing Susan to put on her shoes.
As she left the cell, she noticed an officer was also waiting for her, just to ensure she didn't try to run, as if there was anywhere to go in a sealed police station.
They went to an interview room and the officer stayed outside while Susan and the man settled at the table. The man studied Susan before speaking. "When we got the call, we didn't know anything about you ... we still don't. How did you get the contact number?"
Susan hesitated, "Are you recording this? You should be if you're following procedure." She said and the man nodded imperceptibly. "Very well, my name is Susan Pulse; I'm assigned to section six-two-nine of the Home Office."
The man snorted, "I find that hard to believe, I know all the operatives in that section, you're not one of them, and as for your name, I'm Sam Pulse from Section six-two-nine. Now do you want to start again?"
Susan smiled, "Hello, Sam, you're my counterpart on this world then? Do you know of Professor Blythe and his, sorry her, machines?" She asked at Sam's blank look — one that Susan had practised herself — she continued. "Well, one of them is a trans-dimensional window, which I and Jack Adams stepped though. This is the second world we've encountered. The only difference in this one is the gender setup."
Sam shook his head, "What do you mean gender setup? And what do you mean by second world?"
Susan shook her head. "Sorry, Sam, at this moment you don't have clearance to carry on. I suggest you get the information back to the office and ... is the head commander Bracewell? Well, whatever his or her name is, get someone to Professor Blythe's house and secure the machine in the basement. Also get an armed guard on it both inside and outside the room; we may have an incursion from another world gaining a foothold to this one."
Sam looked reluctant and so Susan shook her head, "God damn it! Was I ever this dumb? Treat it as Alpha 4 coding, Yankee-Yankee-Charlie-Rose!" She said which made Sam look up and almost salute her before he remembered himself.
He got up and walked to the door before he stopped. "You'd better go back to the cell, and someone will be dealing with you."
Susan nodded and waited for the officer behind the door to escort her back to the bare cell she had left.
Science Fiction /