Consequences Chapter Fourteen
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Carl stood helplessly and shaking with fear. He couldn't see a thing! The air was cool, almost thin, and there was a strong wind blowing.
"B-Britney?" he asked. "Sheen? Libby? Goddard?" No answer.
Carl sat down sadly on a rock. All alone, no idea where or when he was. No idea how long he would stay blind. His sight did seem to have improved just a little bit. Instead of a great white and red pulsating light he could almost see a few vague shadows here and there, but it still hurt. If only his mother was there to pat his stomach and say "Nonny nonny nonny" he would feel better.
Carl heard movement behind him and jumped up. "Who's there?" … It was coming closer! Carl couldn't run, not without tripping, and he couldn't hide. "I'm warning you," Carl tried to be brave. "I'm armed and dangerous! I-I … I have a bazooka!"
Whatever it was stopped just in front of him. He could hear something breathing and he seemed to sense something large in front of him. Suddenly Carl yelped as he felt something wet on his check. Something had licked him!! Carl was just about to sprint away, heedless of whatever he might run into, whatever he might trip over, when he hesitated. He put out his hands and felt fur. That smell! That touch! He knew it anywhere!
"Oh Llama! It's so good to see a friend! It's been such a bad day. Or couple days. Or week. I don't know, this time travel is so confusing." Carl said, petting the creature.
Suddenly a hand grasped his wrist and Carl yelped with surprise and tried to run again. "Let me go! Let me go!"
"It's all right," a gentle female voice answered. "I won't hurt you. But you do look hurt. Can I help?"
Carl calmed a little bit but was still trembling. Then he realized the girl wasn't speaking English, she was speaking something similar to Quechua, the language of the Incas. Being President of the Llama Lover's Society, he and Vice President Elke Elkberg had decided to learn Quechua so they could talk to Llama's in their own ancient tongue. They found an online course called "Quechua in 300 Easy Steps." It was rough going, Carl could hardly speak English well, but he did it for his love of Llamas. And for Elke too, who was a great help as they chatted online. The Llamas at the zoo did seem to enjoy it, perhaps remembering their ancient masters, and he and Elke had then met many actual Quechua speakers over the Internet in South America, still living up in the mountains with the Llamas. He could very well BE in South America then, Carl thought.
"Who are you?" Carl asked.
"My name is Arianna," the girl answered. "Who are you? You look more whiter than the others, and much differently."
"My name is Carl Wheezer," Carl answered. "Wait! There are others like me about?" Maybe it was Sheen or Libby!
"Yes," Arianna answered. "More like you than like me. I have not seen them myself but father has told me of them; tall white men with black hair on their chins, wearing shining armor. They carry sticks that shoot fire and some ride great beasts." Arianna paused. "What's that on your head?"
Carl put his hand to his head. "What? What do you mean? My hair? Is it messed up? An atomic bomb will do that to a guy's hair, I think. I'm just thankful my hair didn't melt or something."
"No, not your hair. Your hair is orange and very unusual, unlike any I have seen," Arianna said. Carl felt his glasses taken off. "These things. They look like jewels worn on the nose, or ice but they're not cold."
"Oh those. My glasses. They help me see. Well, not now, but when I'm not blind."
"You cannot see?" Arianna asked, putting Carl's glasses back on his nose.
"No," Carl shook his head.
"Then I must take you to my village, to the doctor. We must tend to you. The healing baths there may aid you as well. Come, let us ride."
The girl helped Carl up onto a Llama and then they began to move. Carl felt he should be more scared like he usually was in Adventures, especially with things being such a mess and no knowing where his friends were, but the Llamas were a great comfort. As was Arianna.
"How far away is your village?" Carl asked.
"Not far at all. Five days travel, perhaps. I was visiting my grandmother in Chachapoyas and she sent me back with some coffee that father likes so well. I was riding over the pass when I saw you," Arianna paused again, and then she said "I saw you appear, Carl Wheezer. You came out of a ball of light. I have never seen anything like it before."
"It is pretty whacky, isn't it?" Carl said.
"Carl Wheezer, are you a god?" Arianna asked.
"What?" Carl asked in amazement.
"Some of my friends say the Silver Men are gods. But my father says they are only men, evil men, for they eat and they destroy and they take women."
Carl was silent a moment. He and Elke had studied Llama History. It was possible, he thought, that Arianna was referring to Spain's conquest of South America. Elke was much better at history than he was, but some of what Arianna said sounded familiar. "Um, Arianna, where is your father? WHO is your father?"
"Emperor Atahualpa," Arianna answered. "He is waiting for me in Cajamarca. The Silver Men are coming to meet him and he is waiting for them with the Army."
The Emperor! Carl was amazed. Atahualpa was the Last Emperor of the Incan Empire. Any Llama lover knew that! Cajamarca was a battle … not a battle a massacre! A small group of Spainards led by Pizarro wiped out several thousand unarmed Incan soldiers, wiped out the Emperor's Honor Guard, and captured the Emperor himself. Atahualpa was ransomed for literally tons of gold and silver, then executed all the same. THIS event was then end of the Incan Empire.
"Carl Wheezer, are you okay?" Arianna asked.
Jimmy had led them into the past to stop Hitler, stop World War Two. That was a great evil … but so was this! The destruction of a whole way of life, the destruction of an Empire by evil and greed, total genocide! Not only that THE worst Llama massacre in recorded history. The Spaniards preferred horses, though they only had a few, and they liked the taste of Llama. Jimmy would want Carl to do something about that, wouldn't he? Maybe that's what Britney meant when she said she was sending him somewhere he'd like.
He also thought about the movie Ghostbusters; "When someone asks if you are a god YOU SAY YES!"
Carl gulped hard, then said "Yes, Arianna, I am a god. Your father is in terrible danger. We must reach him as quickly as possible."
Arianna was silent. "Then it shall be done, Lord Carl Wheezer," Arianna answered.
"You can just call me Carl, Arianna," Carl said with a smile.
"Of course, Lord Carl," Arianna answered.
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Goddard looked around. He did not recognize his location, he seemed to be in someone's bedroom, a very fancy bedroom with a covered four poster bed and fine furniture made of rich wood. Goddard's sensor array came out and did a sweep. He could not locate Jimmy or the others anywhere within range. There were no WiFi portals available. Radiation levels were normal so he must be sometime before the war, perhaps even before the Atomic Age. There was radio communication but he could detect no visual images in the air and very few audio waves; the only audio he could detect was sporadic, weak, and not even speech. It seemed to be a series of impulses.
In the future Goddard never had to put up a disguise but because Jimmy had made him use one in their excursions into the past, he activated a holographic program. One of his favorites: a cute shaggy schnauzer with a big wet nose. His decoder then recognized the radio transmissions; they were in code, Morse code.
Morse code was a series of radio dots and dashes used to represent letters and the code was used before the ability to transmit speech was invented. Goddard heard: "SS CALIFORNIAN TO ALL SHIPS. STOPPED FOR ICE FIELD AT …"
"SHUT UP! SHUT UP! I'M WORKING CAPE RACE!" came a louder radio response.
Goddard went out of the bedroom, through a very lovely sitting room, and out into a fancy hall.
"I say!" came a voice. "Look! What are you doing here, ol' boy?"
Goddard saw three men and a woman dressed in very fine clothing; tuxedos for the men and a brilliant silver gown for the blond woman. Goddard barked and wagged his tail.
"Isn't he the cutest things?" the woman said. "Do you think he's one of the Mister Moore's foxhounds?"
"No, I don't believe so dear. But we can't very well have him wandering about the halls, can we, what? Oh steward!" The gentleman held up a finger.
A young boy in a uniform hurried up the hall to them. "Yes sir?"
"I believe we have a lost dog here," the man pointed at Goddard.
"Very good sir. I'll take care of him, don't worry." The steward picked Goddard up and Goddard licked his face. Then Goddard saw the writing upon the steward's cap and yelped with surprise.
Goddard had never been programmed with time travel protocols, Jimmy never foresaw any need to. Goddard didn't think any consequences upon the future, only about saving lives. He leapt from the steward's arms to the floor and began to bark. He ran to the end of the hall and looked back at the people looking at him, still barking.
"I do believe that pup wants us to follow him!" one of the men said.
"Well we can't very well have him barking like that," another noted. "He'll wake up the whole ship! Lead on, Rover!"
The group trotted behind Goddard as he made his way to the ship's deck. He hurried to the bow of the ship and looked straight ahead. The sea was smooth as glass, the stars brilliant, and the sky dark. There was no moon.
"Oh, it's so cold out here!" the woman said, hugging herself.
"What is it boy?" one of the men asked. "There's nothing out there!"
Goddard barked again and pointed straight ahead with his nose.
The group looked into the darkness. "What are we looking for?"
"Oh, come now," another man said. "Let's head back to the lounge for a warm brandy and then off to bed."
Goddard decided to pull out all the stops. A giant hand came out of his back and a finger pointed directly ahead. The people gasped.
"EGAD!!" one man cried. The woman gasped and swooned into another man's arms.
"How on earth did you do that?!?!" a third man demanded.
A second hand came out of Goddard's back and he held up the Neutroscope.
"A pair of binoculars," the steward said. "I heard from the Lookouts that we couldn't find any binoculars after we left port." He put the Neutroscope to his eyes and Jimmy's super technology zoomed the view forwards a thousand times. Directly ahead was a dark gray mass coming towards the Titanic fast; an iceberg.
"Jesus Christ!" the steward exclaimed.
"Such language!" a man declared. "I shall report you to the Head Steward! What's your name, boy?"
But the steward handed over the Neutroscope and dashed to the Bridge, Goddard at his heels. Two of the First Class Passengers followed; one gentleman stayed behind to tend to the lady.
The Steward barged into the Bridge.
"What's this? Witter! What's the meaning –"
"Ice berg sir!" Steward Witter cried. "Right ahead!
First Officer William Murdoch didn't question where the steward had discovered his information; the look upon his face was enough to know he was not kidding. "Hard a-starboard!"
Quartermaster Hitchens spun the ship's wheel. "Answering Hard a-starboard sir!"
"Full Speed Astern!"
"Full Speed Astern sir!"
"Close the watertight doors!"
"Closing watertight doors sir!"
The phone on the bridge rang and Murdoch picked it up. "What did you see?"
"Iceberg right ahead!" came the lookout's voice.
"Thank you, we know," Murdoch said and hung up.
Now the iceberg was clearly visible, looming up out of the darkness, a huge mass glistening in the starlight approaching at 22 knots. Slowly it began to move to the right, to port, and then passed by.
"Blimey that was close!" Quartermaster Hitchens exhaled. "I could have reached out and touched that berg!"
"You're right about that!" one of the gentlemen added. "I could have chipped some ice for a cool drink, though I still prefer a warm brandy."
A stern look came across Mister Murdoch's face. "Steward Witter, would you be so good as to fetch Captain Smith? Tell him it's a matter of utmost importance to the ship's security and safety."
"Yes sir!" Witter said and dashed off.
"Mister Kelly, give us Full Stop on the engines. I do not want to risk any further incidents tonight."
"Answering Full Stop sir!"
Steward Witter returned quickly with Captain Smith. "What is it, Mister Murdoch? Why have we stopped?"
"Sir," Mister Murdoch answered. "We came dangerously close to hitting an ice berg. I do not believe we should be in these waters at Full Speed."
"Mister Ismay desires that we break the speed record, Mister Murdoch, and arrive a day early in New York," Captain Smith said. "He does sign our checks and it would be a glorious arrival for the ship."
"Captain," one of the gentlemen spoke up, "I would rather arrive a tad late than not arrive at all!"
"Hear hear!" his companion said. "It truly was frightening. My heart was in my throat. Who knows what could have happened if we had collided with that berg? We might have been seriously damaged and had to wait to be towed to New York. That would have made a poor show, what? And on our maiden voyage as well!"
The Captain rubbed his beard thoughtfully. "Mister Ismay was quite determined to continue at Full Speed Ahead," he said. "But he IS asleep at present and I did not feel comfortable with his – ah – recommendations. Very well, let us wait here until dawn. Signal the Engine Room to cool down the engines but have them prepared for Full Speed prior to dawn. Vent steam if necessary. If Mister Ismay awakes, I shall take full responsibility for this."
"Very good, Sir," Mister Murdoch said.
"It is no big deal, Captain," one of the gentlemen said. "Mister Ismay should be proud of this ship. Would he rather have us a little late to New York City or row into the New York Harbor in lifeboats?"
"That would be a very long voyage indeed, Mister Thayer," the Captain laughed. "But you needn't worry about things going as bad as that. Even if we had grazed that berg, God himself could not sink this ship. Now if you will excuse me, gentlemen, I think I must thank the Lookouts for their timely warning."
"The Lookouts did give warning, Captain," Mister Murdoch said. "But Steward Witter and Mister Thayer here were aware of the berg before that."
"How is that possible?" the Captain asked.
"It is indeed strange," Mister Thayer said. "It is thanks to this little dog here, who is unlike any dog I have ever encountered. He might very well be an automaton, though how he came to be here is beyond me."
Goddard, who had been ignored until the danger passed, barked and wagged his tail.
"I see," Captain Smith said. "Steward Witter, fetch Mister Moore, the Master of Hounds. I wish to see if any of our four-legged friends are astray this night." The Captain bent over and picked Goddard up. Goddard licked his face. "And you, my fine friend, might have saved the White Star Line's reputation. Perhaps you'd like a midnight snack before we figure out who you belong to?"
Goddard nodded his head. "If no one claims you, I'll gladly put you up for the rest of the voyage. A talented dog like that might be full of surprises!" Goddard suddenly struggled in the Captain's arms. "What is it boy? What's wrong?" Goddard gulped hard then dropped a couple lug nuts onto the metal floor. Goddard hung his head with embarrassment.
"Egad!" Mister Thayer said with a gasp. "Full of surprises indeed!"
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There it is for now. Comments and reviews VERY welcome. History is getting a bit messed up, what? As Stephen Hawking once said "Meddle not in the affairs of time, for it can be one whacky confusing mess."
Sorry it's been so long since an update, but I've been a tad busy. See ya!