It is with a great deal of respect that I attempt a sequel to Andre's Norton's book, 'Operation Time Search'. I've read her work since I was a teen and she is/remains my favorite author, even though she has passed on to the flame.
'Operation Time Search' Synopsis
Ray Osborne agreed to take pictures of a historic Indian mound for a local newspaper under dispute with a local government installation. He is caught in a beam and transported back in time. Ray finds himself in a land filled with giant trees and part of an inland sea.
He is captured by a hunting party in armor carrying swords. They give him over to Atlanteans and the ship he's on sails. On board, he is befriended by Cho, one of the Sun Born and a native of Mu. The two escape, are rescued, Cho makes Ray his Sword Brother, and the two go back to the Motherland.
The Sunborn have telepathic abilities. They use the ability to keep in contact with their various colonies. Somehow, the Atlanteans, block their connection, causing great concern among the Naacal, priests of the flame, and the ruler, the Re Mu. They discover because Ray is not a man of their land or time, they can use him to cut through the curtain and discover what the followers of Ba-Al are up to, including their leader Chronos.
Later, the Naacal priests fashion Ray into a weapon and an agent against his will. He goes to Atlantis in disguise to do their bidding and ends up captured by the rebel priests. By chance or design, he finds the true ruler of the city, although both are condemned to die in the embrace of the 'Loving One', a foul, slug like creature summoned from the pit to be used as a tool by the Ba-Al priests.
During the final battle between Atlantis and the followers of Mu, the 'Loving One' is released. Ray and young and true leader Uranos are shackled in the temple of Ba-Al to be sacrificed. Ray used the flame to hold back the creature, despite suffering injury inflicted by the blood hungry slug. His Sword Brother Cho, fights his way to the top of the temple, used a crystal given to him by the Naacal, and ultimately defeats the 'Loving One'.
After Atlantis is defeated, the Re Mu enters the city and judges it. It is decided that the inhabitants will be allowed to leave under the leadership of Uranos. The city is destroyed, the intent to wipe the city's name from history. Cho returns to Mu and Ray returns to the Barren Lands, or the treed wilderness where he came into this ancient world.
He finds the time portal open, but is unable to go through it. Almost, he becomes trapped between the two, until he decides to stay in the past where he now belongs. His final decision is that he wants to establish a colony in the Barren Lands.
Unknown to him, two continents in the future, suddenly appear as if they'd always been there.
I do not own the characters of Operation Time Search. I write this in respect and in memory of my favorite author and for the enjoyment of others who admired Andre Norton.
Operation Time Search II : New Lands
Dragonlots aka Dana Bell
'"Ask your computers for a new equation. We plant a man over there by mistake-and we get two continents in exchange. It seems we may have a somewhen on this side, too. Only it's in the here and now, and we have to deal with it. Those lands-if they people-if they are open-they have to be dealt with."
"Up for grabs, unless they've arrived complete with inhabitants," commented Hargreaves. "Perhaps we had better begin wondering about that. Maybe Osborne will have the best of two possible worlds from now on."'
'Operation Time Search', Chapter 18.
General Colfax straightened subconsciously as he prepared to enter the oval office. He noted with approval the two secret service agents on both sides of the white door. Their plain black suits were a stark contrast against the walls and one moved to open the door for him, before straightening as if the agent had never moved.
The career soldier walked into the office. He'd been there dozens of time, so the shiny wood floor with the presidential seal rug, the red and white flowered couches, and the historical desk behind which sat the most powerful man in the western world sat, had little effect on the general.
"We have a problem," the president began without preamble.
"Two actually, sir."
"So I was informed." The president tossed the report he'd been reading on the already cluttered desk. "What to you recommend?"
It was then Colfax realized that only the two of them were in the office. Absent were senators or cabinet members who should have been there to address the situation.
"You've read the report, Mr. President, and understand how this happened." Colfax's heart began to speed up. Something wasn't right here.
"I see what the scientists think happened." The President got up and turned his back to the general, seeming to gaze out on the immaculately kept grounds. "I want to know what really happened." He faced Colfax. "Find out."
"Yes, sir." Recognizing the dismissal, the general left the room, already organizing in his mind the team he needed to investigate the two new land masses and possibly, what influence Osborne had had on the past to change the future.
Fordham, the original director of the now suspended project that had started the entire mess, had managed to assemble part of the team the General needed. The man hadn't included himself, but he'd assigned some of his brightest. Colfax could well believe that as he gazed about the plane at the team sitting in the various seats.
Burton, who had been responsible for the computerized recall program which had both succeeded and failed to bring back Osborne sat near the front. He was leaning toward a couple of his peers talking earnestly.
Two rows back an attractive brunette scribbled furiously on a notepad. Colfax had originally thought she was an assistant, only to be informed Dr. Carol Ringuard was the foremost expert in linguistics, anthropology, and a couple of other fields. The woman wasn't young, rather in her mid thirties, nor did she dress the part of a scientist. She had on a fashionable dress that complemented her slightly tanned face and had pierced ears. Two simple gold posts adorned those. Dr. Ringuard also wore a watch and on her other arm was a jet bracelet inlaid with sparkling jade.
The others in the party were soldiers and a bull dog sergeant to keep them in line, along with a couple of military aids. A good strong team and Colfax knew he'd need them. From the few reports they'd gotten from flyovers by civilian and other traffic, both continents were inhabited. Not to mention the fantastic descriptions of the cities they'd seen and the craft that were used.
"Those reports make them sound like something out of science fiction," Burton commented as he took a seat beside the general.
"They do," Colfax agreed. "Too bad we couldn't retrieve Osborne. Maybe this wouldn't have happened."
"Or maybe, by the time you tried, it was already too late." Both men looked up at the Dr. Ringuard. She stood in the aisle, both her trim hands planted on seat backs. "Or maybe, he did exactly what he was supposed to do."
"What do you mean?" Colfax demanded.
"There are a lot of theories where time travel is concerned. I know Fordham went over some with you."
"He did," the general agreed.
"There are others."
"I'm surprised you'd know them." Colfax regretted the words. Her expression hardened.
"Don't under estimate me because I'm a woman. But considering the results of Fordham's experiment, we're about to see the results of time tampering first hand, however accidental."
The pilot landed the plane in what appeared to be the capital of the continent in what was once the Pacific Ocean. Colfax's decision to visit that one first was based on the need to beat the Russians there. He trusted their NATO allies to contact the one in the Atlantic.
He glanced out the window to see a terraced city much like the Mayans had built, only more sophisticated and advanced. More advanced than any of the cities in the west and certainly more so than those of the Soviet or third world countries. A chill went down his spin at the implications. The people here could easily topple the tipsy balance of power between the east and west.
"Wow," Burton mumbled.
The general nodded, as he habitually checked his uniform. He represented the United States of America and he wanted to make the best first impression.
"You look fine." Dr. Ringuard threw him a teasing look before fixing her startling blue eyes on the door being opened.
Colfax knew he needed to be the first one out. He pushed past the others, two soldiers trailing him down the narrow row. Looking out, he took in what he assumed was their greeting party. There were three, all in white. One was a woman and her wrinkled face broke into a smile. Her companions had cowls over their heads.
"Welcome," her voice greeted.
He started as he realized he hadn't 'heard' her. Rather, it had echoed in his mind. The general quickly forced himself to recover from the shock. "I'm General Colfax representing the United States of America." With great dignity he descended the stairs and extended his hand.
"I am the Sunborn Alita." She stared at his hand and he lowered it. "We come to greet you and bring you to the Re Mu."
"The Re Mu?"
"Probably their leader," Dr. Ringuard muttered in his ear.
"Of course." He supposed it should have been obvious, like the US president.
Their greeting party turned and his followed. The general could see no surface transportation and wondered if they were expected to walk the entire way.
They wove through marbled streets. Along many of them were small shops which Colfax assumed meant they kept to the tradition of small family businesses. He could see various wares, beautiful jewels, armor, swords, silks, and other merchandise.
Dr. Ringuard ran to catch up with them yet again. She tended to fall behind trying to look at all the shops.
"This is no time to shop," he scolded.
"I'm not shopping," she snapped back. "There is much to be learned here."
He assumed it had to so with her fields of expertise and let the matter drop.
At last they turned a final corner and were escorted into a small courtyard. All around them were large leafed plants, bright tropical flowers, and a small monkey who chattered and scampered away through an open window.
"Through here," the woman directed. She and her companions backed away from the open door.
"Come into my parlor," Burton said.
The general hoped they were not walking into a trap. He led the way into the hallway decorated with pictures. Colfax paid very little attention to them, but their anthropologist paused to study a couple. He did notice they'd lost their greeting party.
"Absolutely fascinating," she said. "They've documented some of the history in these paintings."
"Do you understand them?" Colfax wasn't really interested but any information garnered would help when he met the Re Mu.
She paused as if considering her answer. "Not without more study."
The hall ended. They entered a large room. Light filtered in from tall high windows. More pictures were painted along the walls. Several of his soldiers scattered about their sergeant as well taking up key positions in the event of a firefight. Colfax nodded his approval.
"Welcome." Again the mind touch.
A tall man approached them wearing a robe of pure white. Upon his head was a crown made of several jade snakes, their little red eyes glittering. Blue eyes studied them and Colfax didn't miss the quick dart to note his soldiers and where they were.
A slight smiled touched the other's face. "No one will harm you here."
"I like to be prepared."
"I am the Re Mu," the man introduced himself.
Ringuard had wandered off yet again, and he wondered if he was going to have to order her to stay with the group.
"What does this picture mean?" she asked.
The Re Mu smiled lighting up his near flawless features. "It is a record of a most important event." He walked to stand beside her. "A stranger from the future came and in our time of need, was our tool to end a darkness threatening to overwhelm the world."
No doubt he meant Ray Osborne. Colfax cleared his throat. There were more important matters to attend to and he'd learn Osborne's story later. Maybe it would be clue to clean up what had occurred.
"What happened to this stranger?" she persisted, ignoring the general's signal to return to group and the matter at hand.
"That is a long story." He clapped his hands and several servants appeared. "Wine and refreshments for our guests." The Re Mu smiled at the doctor. "I think outside in the garden would be a better place for the telling of tales."
"Sir, I don't think you understand the importance of what has occurred," the general began, "we're the first of what I'm assuming will be several visitors and,"
Putting his hand up, the other man stopped him. "We do understand more clearly than you think. Come, the fate of Lord Ray of the Sunborn is of the utmost importance and will help in our dealings with you." Graciously he offered his arm to the woman and she accepted. Colfax saw the other start at seeing the Ringuard's bracelet, but covered his startled look well. The man was a master politician.
Walking through what had to be the throne room, he took them outside to yet another garden. Tall trees shaded it and there were benches and a table, now laden with drink and food.
"Please," the Re Mu indicated the food. He sat down. Ringuard sat next to him.
"So," she began, taking a piece of fruit and nibbling at it. "What about this man from the future?" Something in her tone indicated she knew a lot more than she should and Colfax worried she'd had access to classified files he'd tried to keep secret, except to Burton who already knew because he'd been part of the recall they'd tried.
"It begins for a second time in the Barren Lands,"