Intrigued, and fascinated, I once more look into the "watch" face, to learn more about this fascinating era beyond my days. From what this newscaster says, it's 2028. He's also going on about events so amazing to me that I'm really too overwhelmed to take it all in... things like Europe becoming one big country, other countries not even existing anymore. Oh, and how thirty years ago, scientists realized that the feared "ozone hole" was a naturally occurring phenomenon.
Enough with being impressed already. I put the picture away and start walking back in the direction of my hole-in-the-wall office... or at least, towards where I *think* it is. I never really stopped to think if this time-jaunting thing affected distances and locations as *well* as my immediate surroundings. I *know* that Gunsmoke town was small. It couldn't have been any bigger than five blocks long!
Well, I get there anyway. Call it luck. Stepping into my office, I'm not suprised to see that it's almost identical to the 1950's scenario... with a few ultra-modern conveniences thrown in. And there, on my desk, sits that ancient WYSE terminal still. I'll bet that sucker was collecting dust here while I was in Dodge getting a haircut.
I take off my coat and, seeing that my coat tree is missing, toss it onto a chair. In mid-flight, however, a silver, fist-sized ball pops out of the woodwork and sprouts three barbs. *Shades of Hellraiser!* I dive for the cover of my desk, expecting for this thing to gouge straight through the wood and *BLICK!*, bye bye Laz!
I hear nothing but my heart doing a jackhammer in my ribcage for the first twenty seconds, and then just nothing as I calmed down and my adrenaline levels took a nose-dive. I peek out expecting to find this ball spinning around wielding more blades than a Swiss-Army Knife, but all I see is my coat hovering near the door, hanging on a hook protruding from my "attacker". I'm glad I'm alone in this room.
Retrieving my coat and the ball to inspect further, I sit down behind the old desk. Another amazing gadget. There aren't any cavities for the prongs to stick out of... it appears solid. Also, it's completely reflective. And *sharp*. If it *were* a weapon, it'd be a nasty little son-of-a-bitch to try to fend off with anything less than a stainless steel shield. I let go of the coat hanger and it retreats to the corner behind me.
I drop my gun, holster and all, back into the dusty drawer I pulled it out of seventy-some-ood years ago, and then turn back to the terminal. This time, though, instead of trying to telnet, I'm going to try the Lynx library hook-up. It's a long-shot, but going through lists of authors' names *might* give me some clue as to who I'm looking for.
My luck turns for the better, and I actually access Lynx. I scan through, noticing that none of the copyrights date any later than 1992. Makes me wonder if they haven't bothered to update their files since I "left" or if maybe Farrell's funding has been at zero for that long. Probably the lack of money. While I'm doing this, I almost fail to notice the figure that just snuck through my door.
He's kind of hard to miss... wearing a white spandex jumpsuit that covers him from head to toe, every square inch, including his eyes. Assuming he has any. And he's got a build that outclasses Ferigno and Schwarzenegger combined. Attacking this guy with a dozen friends would be suicidal. I start to get up when he pulls out a clicker-pencil and points it at me... aw, hell, that's a weapon... and *mine's* in my drawer! I'm reaching for a holstered pistol that isn't even there, and I hear an unearthly chuckle emanate from my friend here.
I stare at the featureless mask and, for the first time during my ordeal, feel real fear...