Roland the Chronicler Part 2

Chroniclers Badge“Is your helmet comfortable?” Neetang asked.

“Yes. It’s comfortable, but why do you ask me that every time I past-travel?”

“Because one day it may not be comfortable and you might get hurt. Don’t fight me, Roland. I’m a chrono-tech. It’s my job to protect you, and bring your stubborn self home alive.”

“I’m sorry. I get antsy before each mission. It isn’t you; it’s my fear of the unknown.”

“You told me the unknown is what attracted you to past-travel,” Neetang said, while his raised eyebrow added, ‘Didn’t you?’

“Yeah, I did. What can I say? I’m a complicated guy full of bravado and self-doubts. Do you have information on my merge target?”

“It’s a male dog named Buzzy. He’s the offspring of a Briard that Jefferson acquired while the ambassador to France. The breed is known to be intelligent, good companions, and rarely a problem.”

Rarely a problem, sounds ominous, what aren’t you telling me, Neetang?”

“The breed’s killed livestock under its protection.”

“Surely, not if they’re well fed and cared for?”

“Perhaps not, but if Buzzy develops a taste for livestock, I suggest you get your complicated self through the portal. Jefferson’s been known to execute dogs that he blamed for livestock losses.”

“Okay, and thanks for the heads up. Anything else?”

“The portal will open in a kitchen near its fireplace. The flicker of flames should hide it, but more importantly, we expect Buzzy to be close. Look for a large shaggy canine.”

“Got it. Big dog.”

“Don’t get farther than a light-microsecond from the portal before you merge.”

“You’re such a tech-nut, why don’t you just say 300 paces like a normal person would?”

“Because a chrono-tech is precise in all that he says and does.”

“You’re helpless. Let’s start the checklist. My when-where date is July 14, 1803 Pre-Eruption Time.

“Check.”

“My when-where place is the presidential office of Thomas Jefferson.”

“Negative. It’s the home of Thomas Jefferson at Monticello in old Virginia.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, I’m sure. A chrono-tech is precise in all that—”

“Never mind, I shouldn’t have asked. What time of day will I arrive?”

“It’ll be just after dawn. We expect Jefferson to receive guests before noon. Your job is to merge with Buzzy and chronicle the interaction between them.”

“You expect me to merge with a dog hours before I chronicle. What are you thinking?”

“Look, it’s not my call. Our intelligence predicts the best time to merge with the dog is in the early morning before the household is active.”

“I see your point, but what am I going to do while I wait?”

“Stop whining and be glad you’re being sent to a safe environment. Here we go. I’m closing the stasis chamber now and will open the portal in ten, nine, eight, seven…”

I couldn’t hear Neetang once the chamber sealed. But, I didn’t care. I was mentally preparing for the disorientation that came with past-travel. I knew what to expect from the transfer, but I never knew what would actually happen.


David P. Cantrell is an author and a member of the Edgewise Word Inn staff.

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Author: David P. Cantrell

I'm a retired baby-boomer enjoying life.

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