Tried a new way of posting the image.
“How long have I been asleep?”
“About two hours.” Gary said holding up a cup of coffee from the kitchen.
Sharon shook her head. “Too much caffeine last night, I will get a shower, some clean clothes and I will be ready for the day.”
“Good we got three more places to check out.”
“Three, I thought there was five places to check out?” She said stretching and yawning.
“Andrew checked out two on his way back from dropping off Jimmy, Clark and Bruce.” Andrew responded, yawning now. He called this next part towards her back as she started to walk down the hall. “Oh and I finally got a hold of my uncle.”
“You did?” Sharon said turning quickly and coming back to the kitchen.
“Yep, and I think I know something about the Disruption Field.”
“You do,” Sharon was almost jumping up and down. “Tell me already.”
“Well my uncle responded to a letter that my father wrote him. My uncle was surly and rude, but he told me all about it. My father asked him all about things that he might have had or given away and or gotten when my father was in high school.”
“He knew exactly what it was, and it matches up perfectly with the invention.”
“Well what is it?” Sharon said excitedly.
“It’s a lamp.”
“A lamp, like a pull the string the light comes on.”
“Yeah but it was made out a world war two one mortar shell.”
This stopped Sharon cold. “A mortar shell?”
“Yeah one of those homemade jobs, something like you would make in shop class, wood base, mount the shell, run a cord thru it and put a socket on it and you got yourself a lamp.”
“Did you uncle make it?”
“No he said he won it in a poker game from some guy that came from Hill Valley”
“What, you mean the place with the time machine report.” Sharon asked referring to the The Enigmatic Findings Group report.
“Yeah.” Gary said shaking his head.
“Then what happened to the lamp?”
“My uncle lost in a bet to a guy going back to college, something about smashing beer cans with his head, full ones.”
Sharon laughed. “Now I know why you uncle is the prop master for professional wrestlers.”
Gary just shook his head.
“So your father was looking for this lamp made out of a mortar shell.”
“Yeah looks that way, I wonder if he found it, but more importantly I wonder if it will be in his lab?” Sharon shrugged her shoulders in response, then kissed Gary quick and headed off to the bathroom.
The three of them climbed back into Gary’s truck, only two places left to look for the lab, this one had turned out to be a bust, nothing but an empty building with lots of trash strewn about.
“I got a good feeling about this next place.” Andrew said motioning for Gary to take a right up ahead.
“That is what you said about the last place.” Gary responded.
“Well yeah but I like the name of this owner ‘Szigeti Mate Limited’ what do you think are they a dating service?”
“Well they could help you out.” Sharon said laughing.
“What is that supposed to mean, I’ll have you know Bobbie sent me a text last night, I think we might try and reconcile.”
Sharon was about to protest when Gary slammed his hand onto the dashboard. “Szigeti, Sziegti was the name of one of Nikola Tesla’s best friends. My Dad was crazy about Tesla.”
“See I told you I had a good feeling about this next place.”
Sharon rolled her eyes and looked over the map. “Okay boys if you really think this is the place we should really be careful, I am betting Gable is going to be hanging around the place, waiting to see if we find this place on our own.”
“That is a little far-fetched don’t you think. I mean Stuckey said we had till seven p.m. tonight.”
Gary spoke up. “He stated he has a lot of money tied up in this project, I am betting he is hedging his bets.”
Fifteen minutes later they arrived at the address. They had walked the last block looking for Jack Gable’s dark mini-van was nowhere to be seen. After walking past the address once on the far side of the street they crossed and came back to the old brick building which sat alone, no windows, and only two doors, one in the front and the other along a gravel driveway on the side of the building.
“I know what this place used to be.” Andrew stated.
They were a few doors down and walking towards it. “What?”
“It used to be an old telephone switching building.”
Sharon looked at him. “How do you know that?”
“I did a report on changing technology when I was in high school. This building used to be full of mechanical switches that was how they connect one phone to another. But with the advent of the computer, all the mechanical switches were done away with, so these buildings required less and less space, what used to take a building this size now fits in a simple table top computer.”
“Wow, I am impressed.” Gary said as they arrived at the door. He had pulled out the keys and was looking at them, it took two tries from the five keys on the ring to find the right one, they opened the door and peered in. There were lights on, and Gary took a deep breath and entered the building.
It was a bit like he expected from Stuckey’s description, big room, cement floor and walls, lite with fluorescent lights surrounding a smaller room made out of concrete blocks and painted white. The three of them walked around the perimeter of the smaller building carefully, and when they got to the back side opposite the front of the building they found door. It was a metal sliding door recessed into the wall, with no other openings, along the wall where the door was a row of work benches mounted along the exterior wall.
Sharon started going thru the boxes containing files. While Gary and Andrew looked closer at the door.
“EFG files.” Sharon announced after looking into a couple.
“Old computer,” Gary announced. “I wonder if this is the same model my father had when he was a kid.”
Andrew nodded. “Maybe, that is why he used it, he knew it very well, and any new hacker would first have to figure out the antiquated operating system before he could even begin to hack it.”
Sharon came over and joined the boys around the computer. Gary was looking at a laminated card that was flipped over the screen. “Here is the warning Stuckey said was here,” he continued to read it, flipped it over and noted the opposite side was blank. He flipped it over and laid it on top of the old computer monitor.
“Green on black computer screen, I have not seen one of these since elementary school dude.” Andrew said as he brushed some dust off the monitor.
Gary read the screen out loud. “Enter with each question with one key stoke only, Y, N, O, F or 1, 2,3,4,5, 6. The only person that should know all answers is my son Gary. Hit the number 1 if you are Gary.”
Gary looked around at his two companions. “Are we ready to start guys?”
Gary looked at Sharon first; she nodded her head and smiled. Andrew put his hand on his shoulder and nodded. “Go for it bud.”
Gary took out his hand and hit the 1 key.
A half an hour later the computer showed they were on the last question, it had been relatively straight forward, in fact it had been easy, all the puzzles, all the clues left behind for Gary had been the answers in the computer. The first question had read like this. “Was the puzzle box made of wood?” The simple answer expected by the computer ‘Y’. The next was just as easy. “There were four comic books listed in the smaller envelope left with Andrew’s pull list? Y or N.” The answer of course was N. The computer list went on like this for thirty questions, it even got into the resistor, tap code problem, asking if such and such letter matched what color bands on the resistors, working the problem backwards.
“Okay last question guys.” Gary announced and the other two leaned in closer to the screen and he read the words in green lettering. “Do you have the key? Y or N.”
Gary turned to Sharon before he hit the key. Sharon was already digging around in her bag, and a few seconds later held the key up for everyone to see.
“Hey what key is that?” Andrew asked.
That is when they heard the sneering nasally voice of Mr. Stuckey. “Ah, the key we have been looking for.”
The three of them turned. Mr. Stuckey was flanked by a very large man holding a shotgun and Jack Gable. The shotgun was not pointing at them currently but was held down at the big man’s side.
“How did you know we found the place?” Gary asked as the three came closer.
“Oh I had some video and audio surveillance going, Jack has been waiting in his van for you kids to find it, and when you did he called, I came and brought Jerry here as insurance policy.” He said motioning towards the guy on his right with the shotgun.
Gary thought about running for it, but was unsure if Stuckey or the man with the gun was bluffing.
“You two” He said motioning towards Sharon and Andrew. “Over here where Jerry can keep an eye on you, but first Miss Towner give Gary the key.”
Sharon handed Gary the key, she winked at him as she handed him the key and then walked with Andrew towards the corner Stuckey had pointed out. Gary did not know what the wink meant but he figured Sharon had something planned. Stuckey came over and looked at the screen. “Well are you going to push Y or shall I?”
Holding onto the key with his left hand he hit the ‘Y’ button. That is when the computer started a countdown, from twenty. Gary read the words at the bottom of the screen. “Insert key and turn when the countdown reaches zero.”
“Ah a sort of dead man’s switch, please place the key in the lock Gary.”
Gary looked at his friends who were watching as well, then back at the numbers on the screen.
“While we are still young, young Gary.”
Gary inserted the key and waited for the numbers to reach zero. When he did he turned the key and nothing happened for ten whole seconds. Then he saw a recessed panel next to the door slide back and reveal six differently colored keys, all lite from behind. Gary looked back at the screen. It had gone black.
“That screen has not gone blank in three months; I had a camera pointed at it all this time.” Stuckey said pointing to a corner of the room. Gary saw the lens now up in the rafters. “Boy I hope you know the right keys.”
Gary turned and looked at the keys; he stared at them for a good minute. Nothing came to him. “Guys, I got six buttons here, red, orange, yellow, blue, a darker blue, and purple, any clue.”
Sharon shook her head as did Andrew.
“Is there anything we did not answer yet, something we might have left out?”
Sharon shook her head. Andrew snapped his fingers. “Yea, at the end of the resistor code, once we figured out the words and numbers, which lead us to the library, wasn’t there something else?”
Gary smacked his own forehead. “Yeah there were three colors.”
Stuckey leaned in close to Gary. “Well what were they young man?”
Gary closed his eyes and thought fast. “What happens when I tell you? You going to let us go?”
Stuckey looked at him. “Once this door is open, and I have what I want, then yes you and your friends can go.”
“Okay here goes everything.” Gary reached out and hit the buttons: Red then blue then blue again.
Categories: The Disinclined Purveyor of Sequential Art