The extraction room was a gymnasium sized room with what looked like a pool of water in the middle. Hovering high above the pool was a giant net that spanned both the length and width of the pool. Along one wall was a massive panel of dials, levers, and numbers.
It was in this room that both Sam and Earl had first stepped into the outer world. It was here that the Guardians of Time pulled chosen recruits from their lives; usually after a long consultation with the applicants and strenuous tests. In Sam’s case, however, it was completely against his will and without his knowledge.
There were times when someone chose to abandon the mission and return to their own timeline. It was impossible to enter someone else’s timeline, and there were strict rules stipulating that one could only enter at the point in time that one left. But Sam was very comfortable with ignoring the rules.
Earl, despite it being his idea, was not.
“How old was she when you last saw her?” Sam asked. He stood at the control panel and started inputting information into the computer.
“Just 6 years old. I thought I was going to make this massive difference in the world and that it would all be worth it.” He looked down at ground, gently bouncing up and down on the balls of his feet.
“And was it?”
“I don’t know. We’ve erased wars and plagues and helped millions of people, but if I’ve somehow ruined her life, somehow I feel like I’ve failed. Like it was all a mistake.” He looked over at Sam. “Does that make sense?”
“No,” Sam said, not looking up.
Earl frowned. “What about you? If you want to get back to your timeline so badly, why don’t you just go?”
“I tried. My father sealed off my timeline. I can’t access it.”
“I thought everyone was supposed to have access to their timeline?”
“Yeah, well my father seems to enjoy making exceptions when it comes to me.” He turned around to face Earl. “Okay, I think it’s set. Are you ready?”
Earl stared down at the pool. Below him flickered an image of the old farmhouse where they used to live before he’d joined the Guardians of Time. He had one shot to make this work.