I see bombs exploding around me and marines fighting back with Anti-aircraft gunners. US planes and warships are in place too and a major combat at sea and air are in operation. I find myself suddenly adrift at sea and float between warships. The whole sky is aflame. Being still obsessed with the war I cannot switch to another mode. I float on watching the live battle between metal giants. I do not know how long I have drifted in the ocean of actions. The remarkable thing is nothing touches the time portal. I am totally unscathed. I am just a bystander. I finally fall asleep. When I wake I can see the sun is out the time portal has landed itself somewhere. When the portal reverts back into a robot strapped around my waist, I find that I am alone on a beach again. Has my mother’s warning come true? Am I now Tom Hanks (Chuck Noland)in the movie *Cast Away? I start looking for Wilson the volleyball which serves as Chuck Noland’s personified friend and only companion during the four years that Noland spends alone on a deserted island.
What I see is more shocking than the shocking volleyball if ever it is there. I see two men approaching. I am confronted by Thompson and Thompson the two who claim to be investigating for the Consumers Association. “Good morning! Nice to see you again!” One of them greets me with a handshake. The other one does the same in words and deed. They seem to ignore my condition: wearing old marines fatigue uniform, stinking of swamp creatures, with a swollen face due to insect bites. They escort me to the back of a black van and shove me inside. The windows are all shrouded with London fog and I can see nothing as the car speeds off. Soon I realize we are not on the ground. We are gliding in the air! “So you notice? We have our time portal too!” one Thompson remarks. “To be precise, this vehicle is a giant drone, not exactly a time portal.” Another Thompson remarks. “We have intercepted your blog and chat group beaming. Hahaha! So we know when and where you will land!”
I have been hijacked. Inside a drone with two lunatics. “We have no time for delay. You will give us the key and our agent will go to the house and open the vault and take the Drone#1 for us.” One Thompson says. “You see, we don’t even need you to take it for us or tell us what is inside.” Another says with a big grin. “Elementary. Just give us the key.”
“You see the fog? We are flying over the worst fog ever in the history of mankind. All we need to do is open the trap door below your seat and you will fall through into it. No one will see you again.” One Thompson tells me the consequence if I do not cooperate.
“The best option is to give us the key to the Dronexit#1. Once we receive confirmation it is in the hands of our agent, we will make sure you reach home safely like nothing has happened.” One says earnestly. “Yes, on our honor.” Another agrees.
“To be precise, your password.” Their hackers have failed. That is why they have resorted to this despicable criminal act. What choice do I have? To give the password or not to give? That is the question that matters now. The drone gives a running commentary of what we have below us, and right now it is a crocodile farm. Thompson orders the drone to hover over it as he says, “it is a perfect place to open the trap door!” Sadist!
“Password, please!” One of them is losing patience. One thing I am good at is originality. So I give him the password to one specific vault compartment which houses one box labelled Dronexit#1. Their agent soon confirms by mobile phone he has successfully got the box thus labelled. So These two clowns gentlemanly turn me loose at the entrance to Dronesville.
As I reach the street where I live, I can hear my dog Gracie barking like the house is on fire. The agent has chained her to her house and she is frantic. When seeing me, she barks again with relief and glee. I soak myself in a nice hot bath and take time to chill out later with a tub of ice cream with green tea flavor. Ah, home sweet home. My door bell rings and I know from Gracie’s bark who the visitor is. Who else but my former English teacher?
She has come to pick up her box in my self-custody. The box labelled Dronexit#1. “Is it safe?” She asks. “Yes, I have guarded it with my life.” I answer calmly. I key in my password and a specific compartment of the vault opens and releases the right box for the right owner.
I never know what the box contains. Being apprenticed in detecting fake diamonds I have acquired a skill to produce fakes when needed. Yes, you are right. I produced a few copies of the box with different contents. The vault has many compartments and each has its own unique password. The genuine safe keeping items require both the password of the owner and the password of the custodian (me) to access.
By the time the two Thompsons realize that they have failed in their mission I would not be around in this house. My former English teacher just told me that the police authority have acquired the property because of the famous vault. Since they will move into the neighborhood there will be no need for me to do the nightly drone patrol anymore! Hurrah! I can then be free to pursue my obsession with history. Remember? I am employed by the treasure hunters. Treasure hunting in historical sites of course! (To be continued for the last episode)
photo: Misty morning: A view of London from Greenwich, with Canary Wharf on the right and the Shard on the left in the distance. (by James Morrow)
*Cast Away is a 2000 American epic survival drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, and Nick Searcy. The film depicts a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane crashes in the South Pacific and his Robinsonade attempts to survive on the island using remnants of his plane’s cargo. The film was a critical and commercial success, and Hanks was nominated for Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 73rd Academy Awards for his performance.