CRY HAVOC! AND LET SLIP THE DOGS OF WAR!
The head scientist picked listened to the voice on the other end of the phone. They had carried out the final test, and then activated their machine for the first time. The results had not been encouraging.
"What went wrong?" the voice on the other end demanded.
"According to our diagnostics," the scientist replied, "The flux capacitors were burnt out due to a massive burst of energy when we attempted to open the rupture."
"What do you mean 'attempted'?" the voice said suspiciously.
"Our readings indicated that no rupture was opened, but the sensors did detect a surge of energy from where the rupture would be. The energy patterns match the Temporal Potential Energy described in Dr Taylor's thesis."
"So we are affecting time, just not opening an Anomaly?" the voice inquired.
"Yes, sir," the scientist replied, "But the power requirements to do so were substantial, and then the feedback of TPE overloaded the capacitors."
"Consult the Thesis again," the voice ordered, "Look for any similar phenomena."
ARC – HOLOCENE ERA
Dr Malcolm Taylor had never moved so fast in his life. He dived to one side as the Neovenator charged, grabbing Lester and pulling his boss into his office. The therapod ignored them, going for the other guards at the barricade, who were attempting to fend off the Eotyrannus in the Operations Room. Walls and ceilings crashed to the ground as the dinosaurs found themselves confronting each other.
The smaller Eotyrannus swarmed into the corridor, attacking the larger Neovenator as much as the confined corridor allowed. They also smashed down walls and glass partitions. Then the Neovenator, maddened by the bites, charged at the ARC's outer wall. It crumbled like paper, releasing a very big, very angry, and no doubt very hungry, dinosaur onto the streets of London.
Griffin O'Conner slammed his way through the door to the player's changing room, and fired at the ceiling. Naked and semi-naked footballers turned to stare, their jaws dropping open in a comical, stupid kind of way.
"You've all got to get out of here!" Griffin said, "Through any door that doesn't lead to the tunnel."
One of the footballers, began to speak, only for Griffin to shoot at the floor between his feet, causing him to jump back. They got the message after that, and began to hurry to the other exits. The door to the tunnel began to rock, as the swarm slammed into the outside. Griffin heard the click as the other door – the only other door – was locked by the last footballer.
Griffin spun, looking for any other way out. Apart from the showers and lockers, there was nothing. Apart from the player, hammering at the locked door and screaming to be let out. It was a cruel way to dispose of a rival player.
Griffin yelled at him, "Get into a locker!" but he continued to scream.
"He's gonna shoot me! Help, guys! I can't play with a bullet in me!"
Pulled open a locker door, Griffin yelled one last time for the player to get into a locker, then gave up. Griffin dived into the locker and pulled the door shut, as the door to the tunnel swung open and allowed the swarm in. The footballer didn't stand a chance.
Griffin took the opportunity, and hurried to the tunnel door while the swarm was occupied. He slammed it behind him, and turned the key that was built into the lock.
"Fuck," he said several times as he leaned against the door, listening to the footballer's screams.
"Griffin?" Becker said as he reached the door. The kid turned, looking ashen.
"Hey," he said, smiling weakly, "I think it got pissed off when I made a reference to its Auntie Marge, and the tub of margarine."
Then he sank to the floor, resting his head on his knees, breathing heavily.
GUNS ISLAND – ORESTRAN ERA
"And what does that mean?" Danny demanded.
"Something is happening," Helen said, shifting to a melodramatic voice, "That could destroy us all!" She threw her hands into the air in mock horror.
"Enough with the jokes," Danny snarled, his hands curling into fists, "And tell me what's going on!"
"Careful," Helen wagged a finger in his face, "I've got squads of clones at my beck and call. They're armed, of course. And Griffin here has inherited the martial prowess of the original. Which is the ability of one of the most notorious cage fighters in Newcastle, just to clarify."
Danny suddenly became aware that the kid was standing at the back of the room, the muscles in his body tense, as if waiting for a word from Helen. The kid's ice-blue eyes bored into Danny's skull, as the kid blinked freely.
"And he's very fast," Helen whispered.
Then she turned, smiling sweetly and half-walking, half-skipping back to the table, "Now," she said, settling down at the table, "Let's talk about things. Do you take sugar?"
"No," Danny said warily, as he sat down on the opposite side of the table.
"Oh, Mr Quinn, relax," Helen said, playfully, "Milk?"
Helen snapped her fingers, and the Griffin-clone poured two cups of tea, added milk to both and sugar to Helen's. Again, his body held Helen's gaze until he stepped back in silence.
"So," Danny said, still being careful, "What exactly is going on?"
Helen regarded him with shrewd eyes. Then she spoke.
"Multiple anomalies have opened into the Humanean era, some located within the ARC itself. They form a perfect square-based pyramid. A second square-based pyramid of anomalies has formed over Haringey, about twenty miles into the sky. You are familiar with the energetic properties of square-based pyramids?"
"Something about nothing aging inside the ones at Giza," Danny said, frowning. What could Helen be up to? Was this really true? Or was she just trying to manipulate him
"Not quite," Helen said, "It seems that the flow of energy around a pyramid is more efficient and concentrated than around any other shape. Dr Malcolm Taylor, who replaced my late husband at the ARC in this new timeline, once postulated that anomalies are created due to build-ups of temporal potential energy around temporal instabilities. Now imagine what effect a concentrated flow of time energy would do to the reality around it."
"Sorry," Danny said, "I failed my temporal physics o-level in school."
The ghost of a smile flickered across Helen's face, "It's bad. Trust me."
"Going on your past form," Danny said acidly, "That's going to be rather hard to do."
Helen looked hurt.
"I can't believe you'd think such a thing!" she cried, again mocking, then became serious again, "I want to stop the future you saw from occurring. I've learnt that my original plan would have screwed up time even more, so I'll need to find a better way. But what's going on now…" she lost all her joviality for a brief moment, "Could destroy all of history."
Danny was quiet. Helen was unbelievably sincere.
Then Griffin appeared at her shoulder, wordlessly handing her a slip of paper. Helen read it quickly, then passed it back.
Turning back to Danny, she spoke, "It seems things are heating up. My spies in your era are reporting that a number of dinosaurs have escaped the ARC, and into Greater London," she giggled, "It seems the government will have a job hushing this one up! Not that they won't try, of course. Lord Bathelwaite is on his way there now with the SAS."
ARC – HUMANEAN ERA
Lester lay on his back in the laboratory, shattered glass around him, and an Eotyrannus standing over him.
Saliva dribbled from its jaws, splattering onto the shoulder of Lester's suit. Its eyes were slitted, jumping around as it stared down in surprise at its next meal.
Then it was lifted off its feet, slamming into the wall of the lab, where it exploded.
Lester lay on the ground, staring into the sky, through the holes in the roof, and the rubble of the ARC.
He glanced along to see Bathelwaite standing over him.
"Are you alright?" the Lord asked, helping Lester to his feet and guiding him out of the ARC, towards a vehicle with a machine gun mounted on it. Taylor was already there, absently staring at something from his pocket.
In the distance, something roared, and people screamed.