Thank you for joining us for another entry into the characters from my first novel. Chronolocity Vol 1 A Fistful of Chronotons. In this entry we meet Edwin Buckley. He is a very timid computer genius who is working as Mr. Cross’s right hand man. When we first meet Mr. Buckley he is flustered and sweating out the fact that Levy’s appearance has somehow altered their delicate plans.
The song, Don’t Sweat it, Mr. Buckley, The British are Coming, the British are Coming, sees our story, and the timid Englishman, take a turn in an attempt to set things right again.
“It was a fluke! A lightning bolt right out of a clear blue sky, utterly preposterous! I still don’t believe it!” exclaims a chunky thirty-something- year-old bald-headed man. He began jabbering the moment the elevator door opens.
Levy snickers. I love this very proper English accent. That just makes someone seem smarter for some reason.
“I’ve never seen anything like it before, Mr. Cross! There was no way anyone could have foreseen it.”
Mr. Cross holds up his hand in a motion of silence. “Mr. Buckley.”
Yep, somebody is upset about something
Mr. Cross places three deft-fingers on the short man’s thick shoulder. “Take a breath: one, two, and three.”
The portly man did so.
“Now, are you relaxed, Edwin?” He places a large thin hand on the larger man’s chest.
“Yes, better.” The man wipes his sweaty brow with a well-used handkerchief. Mr. Buckley slightly nods his head.
Mr. Cross wafts the air around them. “Breathing is good. It calms the nerves and the soul.
“Yes, sir” Mr. Buckley exhales.
“I have a bit of a surprise for you, old friend.”
“Good news would be…good right about now.”
“That’s what I am the bearer of,” Mr. Cross announces calmly to the rotund man. He steps out of the lift and motions for Levy to follow. Mr. Buckley pulls a pair of round gold-rimmed glasses from his shirt pocket and places them on his round, rubbery nose.
“Our next guest has arrived.”
“Oh, thank God. He appears uninjured.” Mr. Buckley taps his forehead and extends his hand. “We have not lost a traveler yet.”
Levy takes his hand firmly.
“It is a pleasure, eh, an honor to make your acquaintance, ah…is it Master or Great Prophet or just plain Moses?” He side-glances at Mr. Cross. “Would you do the pleasure of translating my greeting?”
Mr. Cross is speaking that weird language again.
“May, I?” Mr. Buckley asks.
Levy nods, not understanding what Mr. Buckley is about to do.
The man reaches forward and touches the fabric on Levy’s fatigue- patterned pajama top. Most of the mud has dried, but he is green and brown all over.
“Hmmm, the Egyptians were even more advanced than we were led to believe.” He mumbles under his breath. “This fabric is remarkably knit, almost as if it were made by machine.” Mr. Buckley looks shocked.
“The Egyptians did perform brain surgery and designed the pyramids, after all.” Mr. Cross reminds him. “Their ingenuity was renown.”
Mr. Buckley stuck out his lip. “It’s not unlike how clothing was fabricated before the early 21st century. Remarkable, completely remarkable.”
“Remarkable indeed.” Mr. Cross guffaws.
“What?” Mr. Buckley isn’t getting the clue. With a disapproving eye, Mr. Buckley squints. “Sir, is there some other joke that you aren’t sharing with me?”
“Do I pull that many pranks on you, old friend?”
“More than I would care to mention.” Mr. Buckley pulls on the lapels of his wrinkled lab coat.
“Well, why don’t you ask the young traveler where he got his clothing? I think that’s a good enough place to begin.”
“Ah, forgive my next question as it may sound rather…” Mr. Buckley stops in mid-sentence. “Odd.”
“Odd is normal around here, Edwin. Go with it.”
Mr. Cross loves to drag out a story. I never do that.
Mr. Buckley continues. “But where, might I ask, did you secure your rather beautiful clothing?”
Mr. Cross translates.
Why is Mr. Buckley staring so intently at the buttons on my pajamas? Then Mr. Cross babbles on with such flair. He makes language seem so easy. I just wished I knew what he was saying about me.
Both men stare at him. They wait for a response.
He called me Moses earlier. What’s up with that? Wait…
Mr. Buckley turns back to Mr. Cross.
“When they said Moses stuttered in the Bible, did that also mean he was hard of hearing?” Mr. Buckley says through closed teeth. His eyes grow wide. “Oh my, did…his trip, his landing, affect his hearing?”
“No, Edwin.” Mr. Cross ignores Mr. Buckley’s worried statement and speaks to Levy in English.
“Son, tell Mr. Buckley where you got your clothes from?”
“Uh.” That’s a weird and random question, but what the heck.
“My mom got them at a Target. I think it was the one in Temecula.”
“Uh.” Mr. Buckley’s mouth tried to form words, but he just mumbles in shock. That causes his jowls to shake like gelatin. Mr. Cross decides to let him in on the ‘joke’.
“Not only did your time machine catapult our young friend outside the safety zone…” He nods toward Levy. “But in addition, you obviously got the wrong traveler.” Mr. Cross folds his arms.
“What? How is that possible?” Mr. Buckley answers shakily. “We have accounted for any and every variable that could disrupt the Time/Space continuum.”
“Does that include freak lightning bolts tearing up our time pod?”
“On top of that, the Chronostruct encoder is scrambled?”
Mr. Buckley’s silence is drenched with shame.
“So, if our targeting program is non-operational, our work is going to be harder than usual.” Mr. Cross removes his hat and runs his finger along the brim.
“I will investigate that.” Mr. Buckley taps his eyeglasses and blinks his eyes a few times.
Is he taking notes on his glasses? It sure looks like it.
“Chalk one up for the ‘impossible side’.” Mr. Cross drew a check mark in the air.
“Moses? Is he not him?”
Mr. Cross releases a whistle. “Wrong Moses, wrong time.”
“Then,” Mr. Buckley wipes his face. “Who is this?”
Our story changes and so does the resolve of Mr. Buckley. He has to choose to help Levy make history or save his own son who is lost in time.
Mr. Buckley seems to regain himself after a few moments. He dabs off the sweat and tears. After a few deep sighs, he manages to stand to his wobbly feet. “I’m done.”
“That’s right, Edwin. You know that in the end you can’t sacrifice your son for…” Mr. Cross searches for a point., “proving that I am wrong and you all are right.”
“I…am done fighting this.”
No, you’re stronger than he is, inside.
Mr. Cross knows that it is only a matter of time and the right bait to get Mr. Buckley to cave in. Mr. Cross taps his remote tauntingly.
He enjoys having control over others. Mr. Cross isn’t in a rush. He could torment Mr. Buckley all night. He treats it like a game between them.
“Come on Edwin, this is why you joined the project in the first place, isn’t it?” Mr. Cross’ eyes have a hypnotic glow to them. “You’re so close. Why throw it all away to help these boys?”
Mr. Buckley casts long glances at each of the four boys standing behind Mr. Cross.
“Thanks for trying, boys.” He stands tall with an unexpected jolt of courage.
“Mr. Cross, I’m sorry…” his voice cracks with emotion.
“That’s what I like to hear…”
Mr. Buckley rounds his shoulders and stands as straight as he can. “I can’t help you anymore.”
“I understand why Sam did what she did.”
He positions himself behind the black console. That seems to throw Mr. Cross off track.
“The future does not revolve around you and I alone. We should have been more like guardians of time than reckless thrill seekers.”
Mr. Cross’ crooked smile slowly disintegrates into a scowl. The anger in his face makes even his lips pinch and quiver.
“That’s not…the answer I was expecting, Edwin. I am very disappointed.” Mr. Cross holds out the data film at arm’s length. “In a way, I feel sorry for you and your failure as a loving parent.”
One last nasty shot?
He squints with one eye and presses a button.
The laser instantly dissolves the purple strip. With a flourish, Mr. Cross shows his empty palm. “Fineto!” He spins his hand around, “Nothing up my sleeve.”
A wicked smile spreads across Mr. Cross’s face. He clicks off his laser and whips it back into his pocket like a gun in a holster. “Ze jest to, że, that is that.”
“You are…” Levy struggles through his rage, “a twisted monster!”
“You surprise me, Edwin! I thought we were in this together to the end!” Mr. Cross bellows. “Actually, it is going to be more like a glorious new beginning.”
“Be strong, Mr. Buckley. Don’t let him scare you.”
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