Los Angeles Sector August 2nd, 2040
Heavy rain fell in sheets to the streets below, creating swirling pools of water in the ditches and potholes. Plasma orange lights dimly lit the avenues creating an eerie glow in the darkness. The faint light illuminated surrounding walls and they appeared to move in waves that streamed down in unison toward the concrete sidewalks. An occasional gust of wind shifted the direction of the downpour, penetrating the dry cracks in the brickwork. Tap-tap. Tap-tap. Tap-tap. A sound resonated across the main boulevard and echoed in each adjacent alley he passed. Handy’s feet purposefully walked in uniformed strides to his destination, passing the main street and ending at the abandoned industrial park - a complex web of passages and rustic manufacturing centers, all of which he knew by heart. Turning down a narrow street, he stopped momentarily at a corner to glance behind him and then he quickly stepped into the shadows. His breathing became labored as he approached the remaining 100 yards; partly out of fear, partly in anticipation. He respectfully bowed his head, closed his eyes and whispered a few words that dissolved into the night. Within seconds, fear dissipated and his resolve, stronger than before, returned. His faith was his strength. He slowly opened his eyes and slipped out of the darkness. His mission tonight was to create a portal to the past and locate the one who could deliver their message. His team agreed upon the few, qualified choices, but it was up to Handy to ultimately decide. Up ahead, two vacant buildings and a single side street marked his destination. His eyes focused on the cul-de-sac and he scoured the landscape for any sign of movement. Barren trees and outcroppings of brownish grass lined the darken avenue which added a dismal ambiance to the surroundings. Continuing on, he stuck close to the rough wall while keeping an ear to the wind. He slowed his pace as he reached the end of the alley. Drawing closer, his head jerked back and his
eyes meticulously swept back and forth, confirming that he was indeed alone. With unwavering determination, he stepped ever closer to the brick wall and reached out to touch its surface. Satisfied with this location, he pulled a small rectangular object from his oversized bronze raincoat and held it against the wall. Both hands briskly separated and the object elongated; first horizontally, then on the vertical plane. The object resembled a chalk board in size and shape. He worked quickly, stopping frequently to glance behind him through the endless downpour. At last he seemed content with the dimensions of the “board” and held it firmly against the wall. He lowered his head and turned away to protect his eyes. A shimmering yellow light materialized from behind the object, spewing smoke and sparks in every direction. When the dazzling light subsided, he inspected all sides of the board to assure a secure engagement. The portal had been fused in place. Next, he moved to the right side of the board and pressed against the uppermost corner. A matchbook-sized square slowly emerged and several circular dials ascended into view. Placing his right hand over the closest one, he turned his attention to the black center of the board. As he lightly touched and nudged the knob to the right, a thin green line formed in the middle of the board and a faint humming noise emanated from inside. By slowly advancing the dial, the green line expanded and then separated to create a green border - leaving the center area a dark, endless void. His hand fastidiously embraced the next dial. As he gently rotated this knob, numbers and faces raced across the screen. The glow from the images illuminated his face in the night. His eyes darted back and forth throughout the search, but his face remained expressionless. Slowly the numbers and images came to a halt. His eyes narrowed and his mouth curled into a slight grin. The rain blurred the image in certain areas, but the picture was relatively clear. It was the face of a distinguished looking man in his late-thirties. His eyes were blue, hair slightly gray around the temples, and the mouth was full, but stoic.
He gazed at the face for several minutes and then scanned the reams of data linked to him. His grin turned to a smile as he secured his selection by engaging the corner control panel. The screen faded to black. As he stepped backward, the object began to transform. At first, the edges took on the shape and texture of the surrounding brick wall and the morphing effect quickly spread across its surface. Within ten seconds, the object melded into the surrounding brick wall, leaving the bricks unblemished to the untrained eye. He smiled with deep satisfaction. Looking in both directions, he turned on his heel and disappeared into the darkness. The rain fell in droves for the remainder of the night.