Guarding the Past

The time rift tore open in a flash of colors and vertigo-inducing haze. Two figures materialized within, clad in the jump-suits that seemed to be the common trend among time-travellers. Three guards stood waiting, weapons trained.

“Geez, really?” Alfy said. “This is what, the third time this week?” He unhitched the safety and waited for the command.

“Clean it up,” Sarge barked. And they fired. The would-be time-wanderers fell to the ground, spreading blood over the tiled floor. “And clean that up!” Sarge always made the same joke. Every time. Alfy wasn’t sure if it wouldn’t be better to have a CO that didn’t try to have a sense of humor at all.

“I wonder why there’ve been so many,” Rick said. Even after only one shot, he was checking over his weapon. Alfy wouldn’t be surprised if the guy tore it down and cleaned it. How had Rick managed to survive in a cave all those years? “I mean, I went by first two tours down here without a one. I’d been starting to think the whole thing was a prank, or maybe some punishment tour given to get us out of the way. And now, what, like a hundred in the last year?”

“If you count all sites, yeah,” Alfy said. “I guess we’re living in interesting times.” Flick the safety on, back up against the wall to station. Sarge would release them for a break soon enough. The temporal flux would keep anyone from coming in for at least five hours.

“Or about to be,” Rick said. “Way I’ve been told, they always like to come in ahead of whatever they’re trying to prevent. Gives them time to get make a plan, get situated.”

“Funny how their plan never seems to include us,” Alfy said.

“Well, if they knew about the TPC, they’d never leave home in the first place.”