Royal Engineers Testing Facility N, island of Sark, Channel Islands, October 31st 1973.
Herbert Bellamy paced. It was all he could do besides sit and sitting wasn’t going to cut it, especially since he hadn’t eaten in forty-eight hours, or sleep the last twenty four in preparation for his mission. In less than an hour he was going to be launched backwards in time to essentially save the world from itself.
“Are you ready Mr Bellamy?”
Herbert stopped and looked at the pudgy man behind the smeary reinforced glass. “I think so Pickle.”
Pickle, not his real name but a nickname that somehow stuck, gave a thumbs up. He flipped a series of switches that filled the metal room with aerosol cleanser to ensure any germs from 1973 were killed and wouldn’t merge with their 1903 counterparts to create horrid diseases that there would be no cure for. Herbert closed his eyes as the lemony spray enveloped him.
“Could you state the mission objectives please, Mr Bellamy?” Pickle asked.
Herbert coughed, wiped his eyes. “I am going back to 1912, to Vienna. There I will eliminate six targets via the most subtle of ways as to avoid catastrophic time ripples to prevent World War One and World War Two.”
A section of the metal wall hissed and slid open revealing three small cylinders of ice. Bellamy picked up the first one in two fingers. “They didn’t find another way to get these back in time?”
“Sorry Mr Bellamy,” Pickle shrugged nervously. “It has to do with the heat transferral of the localised wormhole that won’t allow...”
Herbert motioned for Pickle to stop talking. “I understand Pickle. Could you please turn around while I put these cold buggers where they really don’t belong.”
Pickle obliged and Herbert gave himself a cold prostate exam. “Now Mr Bellamy, in canister one you have six doses of black mamba venom, one of the deadliest poisons known to man. It shuts down the nervous system with death occurring between ten minutes to three hours. Canister two has the glass syringes to administer the toxins to your targets. And canister three has your documents.”
“I should...be grateful...they didn’t bundle...them all...as one!” Herbert grunted as he carefully placed them.
Pickle smiled and checked his watch. “A ty govorish' po Russki?”
“Da, I speak Russian.” Herbert replied as he wiped his hands with antiseptic goo.
“Moj srpski treba da radi, ali to će učiniti.” Herbert replied. “I also speak French, German and some Italian.”
“And you do know that this is essentially a suicide mission, Mr Bellamy?”
Herbert nodded. “Yes Pickle, I do. I do it for Queen and country, for the greater good of man. I will change the past and receive little or no credit for it, possibly even erasing myself from history altogether. I do this to prevent a wave of evil that sweeps the planet and causes the deaths of millions. I gladly lay down my life to save millions.”
“Very noble,” stated Lord Strathbyne, the head of the covert facility, entering the control room puffing on a cigar. “Well done Bellamy.”
Herbert looked at him. “Pickle?”
“Yes Mr Bellamy.”
“Isn’t Lord Strathbyne left handed?”
Pickle looked at Strathbyne who drew a pistol and fired four shots into him, blood splattering onto the glass. Strathbyne pulled off his moustache and dropped the cigar.
“Well done Herbert,” he said as his Russian accent came to the front. “Your attention to detail is astounding!”
“Yudashkin!” Herbert pounded the glass with his fists.
“You English think that fixing the past will make the present and future better.” Yudashkin said as he flipped dials and switches in the control room. “Always for your benefit. Did you know that we regard Stalin quite highly. A monster, yes, but our monster and maker of our Soviet Union. You wish to change that, and Moscow will not allow it.”
“Let me out!”
“Oh no my friend, you are too dangerous an operative to let go,” Yudashkin laughed. “But we cannot allow you to succeed. So my orders are to make you disappear. So I think I will send you back to when there was the last ice age, perhaps thaw you out. Or just fling you into far off future. Either way, this is goodbye comrade Herbert.”
Herbert pounded on the glass. “Yuri! Don’t! YURI!”
The room hummed with ionising particles and the lights flickered as the machine powered up. Herbert tried desperately to exit the room but the thickness of the room combined with his lack of sleep and food made it impossible. Suddenly more gunshots rang out, blood exploding from Yuri’s chest and onto the glass, the Soviet spy then sliding down it like a macabre sponge. Pickle swayed behind him gun in hand.
“Have you out...in a jiffy...Mr Bellamy,” Pickle wheezed before collapsing. Herbert smashed the glass again as the machine thundered to life. There was a flash of light followed by searing heat and Herbert Bellamy was no more.
The sky swirled and tightened into a ball as atoms shrieked and tore before spitting out a shivering, steaming and naked Herbert Bellamy onto the ground. He lay there wheezing and convulsing as his body adjusted to the forces he’d just ridden to get to where he was. Slowly and and shakily Herbert got to his feet, covering his nakedness with his hands.
He looked around at his surroundings, dazed and confused when he spotted an A-frame with a newspaper pinned to it. “Museum Heist! Priceless Amulets Stolen! Police Baffled!”
“Nice suit,” remarked a woman walking past him, giving him the once over.
“I’m awfully sorry to bother you madam, but this might sound strange,” Herbert stammered. "But when am I?"
“You’re the second weirdest thing tonight,” she remarked as she exhaled a cloud of smoke. “But where you are? Jersey.”
Herbert pressed his fingers into his eye to relieve some pressure on his aching brain. The woman with the scar on her chin simply stared at his manhood. “No, when, what year is this?”
“1940,” she replied as she fished out a dime and flicked it to him. “Now go get some pants before your thingy falls off okay.”
She left as Herbert wondered exactly what was going on.
(The woman Patsy from The Shadowmen #1)