Read Chapter 20 “Kids on Their Way to London”
Jenny and her troops were blocking the only path that could lead Patrick and Maggie straight to London. With the Corporate Troops right behind them, Patrick knew this standoff wasn’t going to come to a pretty end. The waiting game only made his anxiety increased beyond what he thought he could control. As a high-ranking Corporate Army officer, he couldn’t show any weakness to anyone under any circumstance. Anxiety in his patriarchal culture was a massive weakness that could classify him redundant and useless if anyone ever found out.
As always, in highly stressful situations, he had to push his anxiety to the darkest nooks of his heart. He needed to think fast on his feet. If the Corporate Army caught up with them, there would be no escape for anyone. Unfortunately, the fear and anxiety clouded his vision, and no ideas were flowing.
– “Why do you want me so badly?” – Maggie’s frustration was boiling out of every scrap of her body each second they were delayed.
– “I’m changing the future, and the only way to do so is to stop you from travelling in time” – Jenny felt her body starting to shake slightly. She knew that the shakes increased every time she jumped through the time loop. To control her body during the episodes required large amounts of energy and concentration. She hoped that no one ever was going to discover her dark little secret. Jenny strongly believed that even a slight delay would destroy Maggie’s grand plan to travel back in time to help Ecotopia develop sophisticated enough technology to travel to other planets in the Galaxy. And maybe, just maybe, the painful reality they were experiencing right now would simply cease to exist.
– “How?” – Jenny surely had Maggie’s attention now. If this girl standing right in front of her was right altering the past could have changed the future. However, for that to become a feasible possibility, she had to go back as far as 1999.
– “We can’t… not now… we have no time!” – Patrick interrupted. Both, Maggie and Jenny turned to him.
– “The Corporate Army is right behind us. You want to avoid confrontation at all costs, regardless of how advanced your weapons are. We need to get going.” –Patrick tried to control his voice but could feel it rising ever so slightly.
– “Whatever, you can go, but she stays.” – barked Jenny.
– “Let her go and keep me instead.” – Patrick bargained.
– “I have no need for you.”
– “Come with us then. We go as your prisoners. Maybe we can help each other out.” – Maggie couldn’t help but notice how Jennie’s body twitched slightly now and then.
– “No. We wait here.” – Jenny ordered.
Maggie could feel the time pressure, and in her last desperate attempt to save the kids turned her back to Jenny and whispered to Patrick.
– “I stay, you go. Find the kids. They will take you back to Ecotopia. We have no other choice.”
A sign of horror crossed Patrick’s face.
– “Not without you.” – Patrick took Maggie’s hand and embraced her gentle fingers with such tenderness only a lover can feel and express. Maggie wanted to say something, wanted to tell him how long she waited for him. But all those years and lifetimes later it just felt less important. Nothing would and could change the distance between them, not even the love they felt for each other when the world was still undivided and within reach to save. She turned to look at Jenny to bargain once again for her freedom.
At that very moment, the mayhem began just the way Patrick feared it would have happened. It started with the roars coming from the above, which couldn’t be mistaken for something they weren’t. Knowing what was coming, Patrick swiftly passed the compass to Maggie and grabbed her hand running towards the fog.
– “It will help you find your way to London. Go! Find our kids!” – he screamed at the top of his voice. Whatever was going to happen to him didn’t matter. Regardless of how cruel the consequences of his actions were going to be, he was happy in knowing that he was a father and seeing Maggie possibly for the last time in his life was a dream come true.
In that brief moment, before parting ways, he realized how little they spoke and how much there actually was to talk about. There was so much he wanted to ask about the children but never did. He wanted to know how her life has been, whether she ever thought about him, was she happy with her choices? He heard stories about Ecotopia but never dared to ask any of his prisoners if the stories were true. Maggie could have put to rest his curiosity. But now it was too late, and yet another regret piled up on an altar of his regrets.
Jenny’s travellers were skilled in combat and fought many battles together. However, nothing prepared them for the ferocity of the attack coming from the above. Instead of picking up her weapon, Jenny ran across the land towards Maggie and Patrick, leaving her companions behind. She knew getting sentimental now wouldn’t help anyone. Besides, she was too close to complete her mission to get dragged into yet another senseless battle. Unfortunately, the travellers were too exposed in this barren land and were getting slaughtered.
– “Where do you think you’re going?” – Jenny asked, pointing her gun at Maggie.
– “To find my children. You can come with me if you wish to. Once we back in Ecotopia our doctors can check this condition of yours” – Maggie just wanted to get the hell out of this place as fast as possible. Patrick was trying his hardest to shield her.
Jenny was thrown off by Maggie’s decisiveness for a moment. Maggie looked at Jenny and nodded. Before immersing herself in the cover of the fog, Jenny glanced one last time at her travellers getting crashed. She tried to convince herself that going back now wouldn’t have helped anybody.
The two of them ran back into the fog. Patrick stayed behind. Maggie and Jenny ran and ran before Jenny could run no more. She sat down, hoping to regain control over her body. When Patrick reemerged from the fog, the killing spree was already over, while the flying spotters were searching for any survivors. Amongst the sea of bodies, Patrick was the only one standing.
By some kind of cosmic miracle, Patrick’s droid got the power back just in time to save his life. The droid instantly connected with the other droids, letting them know that Patrick was on the ground, unharmed and grateful for the rescue. Since he had no idea how to explain his presence there, he hoped that somehow, he’d be able to wiggle out of this mess unharmed. Two flying spotters appeared in front of Patrick to escort him towards the pickup place.
Slowly walking to his destination, Patrick made pace with the impending cruelty of his fate. Secretly he hoped that this would have given Maggie enough time to get as far from this place as possible.