I started NaNoWrimo only to hit the usual roadblock of life. I’ll never finish, but it at least got me writing and I’m still chipping away at it. Better than not doing it. Here’s a sample:

“Cool.” He didn’t mean it. “Is that it?” Brandt asked.

“No, there’s one more going,” Garcia said. “He’s a physicist. His name is Merrold.” Garcia pointed to the tables with the mountains of paper and lead covered computer boxes. One of the shaggy haired scientists looked up when he heard his name. He quickly went back to his work. Seers yelled at him in his best command tone and Merrold shook himself free of what he was doing to shamble over to the group.

Merrold wiped his hand on his coat before he shook hands with Brandt. Brandt noticed it. A sweater. Wet palms. Nervous. And this was rounding out his group. Three meat heads who looked like they were auditioning for the eventual remake of Predator, two nerds and a twitchy scientist with sweaty palms. Brandt shook his hand anyway. “Nice to meet you professor. Is there anything we should know before we head off to parts and times unknown?” Brandt asked.

“Professor? I’m not a professor,” Merrold said a little confused.

Oh jesus. Brandt’s inner monologue groaned. He looked at Seers who stood off to the side like a nervous matchmaker hoping his Frankenstein like mashup was going to work. “General, can I have a word please?”

Seers held out a hand for them to step away from the group who went back to gathering up gear, calibrating video cameras and tinkering with computer schematics for time travel. The walked and toward a table that had large water dispenser, a trough of egg and some sausage laid out before Brandt arrived.

“General, can I speak frankly sir?”

“Of course.” They stopped now and stood face to face away from the group near the eggs.

“I don’t know about this team sir. I feel very uncomfortable going in to this type of unknown situation with these guys.”

“What’s wrong with them?” The General seemed perturbed and stepped into the conversation a little to show Brandt he was still the boss in this cave.

“Those three guys,” pointing to the hard asses he met first, “are more for storming a dictator’s stronghold than they are for quietly slipping in and out of enemy territory. And those guys,” jamming a thumb toward what he couldn’t believe were actually CIA agents, “will get us all killed and you know that. Don’t get me started on Professor Frink over there.” Merrold stared off into space like he was concocting a secret theorem that no one, nowhere would ever understand.

“Look Brandt, I know it’s not ideal, but this is what we have to work with. Those three hard asses will do what you say and blast you out of any situation you get in. Remember, the Germans are still lingering outside France at this point….”

Brandt interrupted him, “which is precisely why we need stealth and not brute force.

Seer held up a hand. “I’ve personally reviewed their files and they will work. The other two are there strictly to document. They too will do what you say and stay out of your way. They are no worse than probably some of the teenagers who went over to fight in the 40’s right?”

He didn’t give him any time to respond. “And as far as Merrold goes, he’s the only one who really understands how this thing works. He’s your only hope of getting back safe and sound.”

“So why doesn’t he stay here?”

“Someone has to calibrate another device on the other side to bring you back. Stapleton brought something with him that was supposed to do that. Merrold worked with him on this from the beginning and he said that’s how it needs to be done. Someone over there is going to have to make that thing work to bring you back, and I figured it should be him.”

Brandt looked from Merrold to the Cohen Brothers (as he now dubbed Wesley and Dexter) to the 80’s action heroes and thought, fuck I’m really screwed. It occurred to him to just turn around and start walking. He was pretty sure he knew his way out. If he could open the doors or have someone do it for him, he’d climb back up those stairs, out through Carvaccio’s office and call a cab to pick him up at the gate. He didn’t think they’d stop him. He would just refuse to go. At this point they wouldn’t be getting him a new crew. This is what he’d have to go with. He shook his head, figured how many times does anyone get the chance to time travel during any given week, and made the somewhat suicidal decision to give it a go. This all happened in the time it took Seers to blink four times. It wasn’t like stepping off a cliff but more like getting into a metal box that was about to be lowered into the ocean. He knew it was a death sentence, but every time he did it, there was always a glimmer that tickled the back of his ball sack and told him nothing was set in stone.

“Fuck it. Let’s do it.”

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