Silverwood: Chapter 7

The chamber of the Council of Portals was abuzz with anxious voices talking over one another. Doctor Dinkle was not present.

The Grand Magistrate General and Chairman of the Council of Portals was named Doctor Egeaklv. Everyone called him “Judge” or “Magistrate” or “Doctor” or “Chairman.” The Chairman stood in the same spot at the head of the table that Doctor Dinkle had occupied the day before.

The Chairman was tall and elegant and very unimpressed. He frowned in his tailored charcoal-grey suit accented by a pocket square in an otherworldly shade of purple. His shoes shined like mirrors. His hair was swept back from his face. His jaw was set. He held his gold-rimmed reading glasses between his long fingers and waited. He was a picture of organized competence amongst chaos.

The blathering and chattering in the chamber showed no signs of abating so the Chairman occupied himself unrolling a clear square sheet onto the table. The sheet lit up with characters and images and data. He poked at it here and there and slid a few items around. He pulled up some particulars on Doctor Dinkle. He canceled Dinkle’s membership in the Council and revoked his citizenship in the city. He deleted Dinkle’s mortgage on his apartment and eradicated his credit. He erased his birth records. Doctor Dinkle would now be living in the woods on his own. He had ceased to exist in the civilized world. The Chairman and the Council were finished with him.

Having completed that chore the Chairman looked up again at his supposed colleagues. He put his glasses on and sat down and folded his hands in front of him on the table. One by one the others in the room heeded his signal and stopped talking and sat down.

“So,” a stocky man in an ill-fitting brown suit barked, “it would seem we’ve got a real mess to clean up.”

The Chairman glared at Stocky Man and looked back down at the display. On the map, circles representing the stolen portals and the Book of the Future moved steadily away from headquarters in the possession of their new owner. It would be only a matter of time now before the Tromindox jumped forward in time and found themselves a very large batch of new victims. The only option the Chairman could see was to retrieve the portals quickly before they could be distributed so widely as to make this an impossible task.

“We will have to retrieve the portals quickly before they can be distributed so widely as to make this an impossible task,” the Chairman said.

“What about the book?” another Councilmember demanded from somewhere within a pile of bulky blue robes. Various heads topped with bowler hats or covered in elaborate headgear ornamented with gold threads nodded. What about the book, indeed.

“The book complicates things,” the Chairman said. “It’s missing the one page we need so we’ll have to make do and only work with hunters and agents who have the skills to travel through time without using it.”

“Or people who are already in the right time frame,” someone suggested.

“How the hell are we supposed to know what time frame the Tromindox have gone to?” another Councilmember asked. “They took the damn book. Not that it’s worth anything any more as far as we know…” The room erupted again with declarations and opinions and hand waving and the bobbing of bowler hats and clanking of jewelry. Each member of the Council secretly – or not so secretly – held the firm opinion that every other member was some kind of an idiot and that the shortcomings of their colleagues were the reason why these types of disasters continued to plague their organization.

“The only way to get to the right time frame is to follow them through when they go. That’s the only solution,” someone asserted.

The Chairman watched The Book of the Future and the portals continue their path across the map. He frowned, and zoomed in. Based on this display it appeared that the Book of the Future had been altered, possibly repaired. Dammit, he thought. That stupid beast had the missing page all along. He wiped this information from the display before anyone else could see it. That would only inflame tensions and lead to more useless declarations from this room full of fools. He looked up again. The light sheet illuminated his face from below.

“There are very few agents who would be able to contend with a challenge like this,” the Chairman said. “We will require an individual with the skills to track this Tromindox and be there when it travels to another time frame. And follow it through. Undetected. Ideas?”

“There’s only one agent skilled enough and everybody knows it,” someone said. “And that’s Silverwood.”

“Silverwood? Kate Silverwood?” someone else blurted. “That woman is crazy! Besides, she’s no use to us now. She’s not an Agent any more. She’s a creepy bounty hunter. She won’t listen to a thing you say. Total freak, that one. Not to mention she took her kid and blasted off into the future somewhere. I say good riddance.” Heads nodded in agreement.

“Not Kate Silverwood, you idiot,” the Chairman said, “Her husband.”

Everyone looked around at each other. That’s it, look around at each other, the Chairman thought. What a useless bunch of bureaucrats.

“That man is a criminal!” someone shouted. “He’s no better than her. They’re both nuts. Deserve each other. That is, if they were living in the same time frame…” a few derisive laughs echoed through the chamber.

“Well, now that we have taken the opportunity to discuss the shortcomings of the Silverwood clan, who, by the way, were never known to even once lose control of The Book of the Future during all the centuries that they looked after it,” – the Chairman looked over his glasses at the group – “perhaps someone here has a better idea of how to deal with a situation that should NEVER HAVE HAPPENED IN THE FIRST PLACE!” A lone piece of the Chairman’s hair had flopped onto his forehead and his pocket square was askew. He glared at each person at the table. Nobody met his gaze.

The Chairman gathered himself. “Now clearly this is a highly specialized job,” he continued. “A highly dangerous job. And Mr. Silverwood is obviously the only person with the skills and knowledge to do it and so I will go and speak to him. Offer him a deal.”

And none of you have the guts to do it, so as usual I will have to, he thought. This is how this whole situation got screwed up – because I asked someone else instead of doing it myself. And surprise, they screwed it up. Fake portal – what were they thinking? No Tromindox is going to fall for something like that. I’ll have to go and see Mr. Silverwood myself. If – I can remember where to find him.

The Chairman took off his glasses and put those away and rolled up the data display and placed it under his arm. He straightened his suit coat and pocket square and smoothed his hair. He took one more look around, sniffed, and walked out of the room.

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