After receiving the very disturbing bit of information Tom and Dalby sat down in the auditorium. There really was no other choice because the gastight doors had already closed and would remain closed until the presentation had concluded.
It was just then that the viewscreens in the room flared to life and another male of Chairman Clench’s species appeared on screen: “Ah! People of Earth, greetings to each and every one of you! I am Spinlock, X-S Management Supervisor, speaking to you live across the galaxy where we're all set for yet another spectacular demonstration! Dr. Feemis . . .”
As he spoke he indicated a female of that same species sitting at a console behind him. She turned to speak just then, “Hello. Look, I don't think we should–“
“--We should waste another moment. I couldn't agree with you more. Ready when you are.” Spinlock interjected.
Feemis spoke again: “Thank-you. The analysis modules above your head will now lower into place. Please remain seated in an upright position with your arms at your sides. When the modules touch your shoulders, they will stop automatically so . . . remain seated and do not interrupt their operation.”
The harnesses, which resembled theme park safety restraints, were lowered onto audience’s shoulders as Feemis began to talk the audience through the procedure: “Data link online and analyzing now...”
“And we've got our lucky traveler to whisk across the galaxy. In just a moment the analysis module will rise and...” Spinlock replied as the lights landed on Dalby.
Distant yelling could be heard just then in the background on the viewscreen: “I don't care! Stand aside! Ah, Spinlock.”
“Chairman Clench!” Spinlock said, voice conveying a mixture of surprise and feigned delight.
“So, is everything on schedule?” Clench asked.
“Well, to tell you the truth...” Dr. Feemis began before Spinlock cut her off.
“We’re ahead of schedule!”
“Excellent!” Clench replied.
“Just selecting a volunteer.” Spidlock replied.
“It’s off.” Clench announced.
“Oh good!” Feemis said, visibly relieved.
Her relief did not last long as Clench spoke again: “I’ve been seized!”
“Something you ate, sir.” Spinlock replied.
“Seized with inspiration! A new idea!” Clench began.
“Oh terrific.” Feemis said with an enthusiasm she didn’t feel as she eyed her instruments.
“We’re live, right?” Clench asked.
“Oh yes, sir, very.”Spinlock replied.
“Hello, everyone. I've recalculated our plan. You see, if we bring one of you here, well, I just get to meet one of you. However, if I'm teleported to Earth, I can meet all of you! Shake each hand and personally answer all of your questions about the wonders of X-S, I'll be with you in just a moment. Prepare yourselves for an unforgettable encounter.” Clench began.
“Uh, sir! I doubt this is a good idea!” Spinlock began before Clench cut him off.
“Ah, remember, Spinlock, doubt is the rust of a feeble mind. The only way to seize the future is to grasp the present. Let's go.”
“Grasp the present! Yes, well. The Chairman certainly has a way with words, wouldn't you say Dr. Feemis?” Flustered yet trying to regain face Spinlock turned to Dr. Feemis.
“Grasp! Grasp, right! But first I have to totally recalibrate...” Feemis replied as her fingers danced across her instrument panel.
“Come on! Seize, grasp!” Clench ordered impatiently as he stepped into the large glass tube in the center of the teleporter room.
“Okay Doctor?” Spinlock replied.
“I am going as fast as I can.” Feemis replied.
“Spinlock!” Clench ordered.
“Yes sir!” A harried Spinlock replied.
“Dr. Feemis!” Clench shouted.
“What!?” Feemis shouted back.
“Spinlock!” Clench shouted.
“Must I do everything!?” Spinlock replied to Feemis and began to start pulling on levers.
“No! Nooo! I didn't lock the trajectory, we don't know where we're sending him!” Feemis protested as Spinlock leaned over her instrument panel.
“No! No, I didn't mean it!” Spinlock said as Clench started to dematerialize with a scream.
After witnessing Clench dematerializing Dalby’s eyes went wide. “Christ that could’ve been me...”
“I don’t think we’re outta the woods yet.” Tom remarked as the demonstration continued.
“Another planet, in our transmission path. It must've intercepted the signal.” Dr. Feemis said from the distant control room.
“What?” Spinlock asked.
“W-wait! Wait, I've got something.” Feemis replied.
“Well, boost the power and send him to Earth.” Spinlock ordered.
“Well, what if it’s not him?” Feemis protested.
“Course it's him, send him to Earth! Ladies and Gentlemen, live and in person--Chairman Clench!” Spinlock announced.
“Uh, Spinlock, since when does Clench have wings?” Feemis replied.
“Wings??” Spinlock replied.
As they spoke fog began to materialize in the glass tube in the center of the room as molecules began to re-materialize into a three meter and vaguely serpentine shape...
“Uh oh...” Dalby groaned.
“Uh, analyzing now.” Feemis began.
“Well? What is it?” Spinlock asked.
“Okay, lets see. Ornitheus, Carnivorous...” Feemis began.
“Carnivorous? It eats meat?” Spinlock asked.
“Exactly, genius. Those people are in a lot of danger.” Feemis replied.
“Now what's happening?” Spinlock replied.
The sound of glass buckling and starting to break echoed through the darkened chamber as the massive insectoid life form smashed a pincerlike claw against the tube repeatedly.
“The teleportation tube is starting to break!” Feemis began.
Spinlock stammered as his eyes widened: “B-but it’s unbreakable...”
The tube shattered as a pincer smashed through. Tom ducked to avoid a large hunk of glass.
In the vehicle hanger where the DeLorean, Jules Verne Train, and Delta Flyer were kept Telfer, Kano, Dr. Brown and Clara were all clustered around the Flyer.
Henry unlocked a panel in the Delta Flyer and held out a Type-1 hand phaser.
“Are you nuts?!” Telfer whispered,”You’re letting them use 24th Century weaponry?”
“What choice do we have?” Henry replied: “This attack affects us all.”
“This end’s the dangerous end, right?” Clara asked as she pointed at the solid state contacts at the front of the weapon.
“Now it is.” Henry replied as he activated the power source. “These top buttons are how you adjust the power settings. The right button increases and the left lowers its power setting. The bottom button is how you fire.”
“I have a weapon of my own.” Emmett said as he reached into a compartment inside the Jules Verne Train. He pulled out an 1873 Winchester fitted with a telescopic sight nearly as long as the weapon itself.
“Right. Do you have anything for Clara?” Henry asked.
“No. I don’t.” Emmett replied, “I can leave Clara with me.”
“It’d be best if she was armed as well. And able to defend herself.” Henry replied, “I’m not implying that you can’t protect her. But it would be best if she were armed.”
“We’ll need people to protect the vehicles.” Emmett began.
“You just volunteered for that assignment.” Henry replied, “Telfer, give them a hand. I’ll assist Bishop with any triage in the infirmary and defend it as well.”
“What about Tom and Kenneth?” Telfer asked.
“I’ll see if I can’t get a hold of them...” Henry said and tapped his comm badge, “Kano to Paris...”
The glass tube shattered as the winged insectoid alien flew out into the auditorium.
Spinlock’s voice shot out over the comm: “People of Earth, quiet! Listen to me please! Don't scream! If you remain perfectly quiet it probably won't eat you! Oh no! I told you to BE QUIET!!”
“Sage advice.” Tom said in a low voice to Dalby as he worked at the safety harness he was wearing. It was just then that his comm badge chittered to life.
“Kano to Paris. We’re arming up to prepare for Biff’s attack. What’s your situation?” Henry asked.
“Henry...I can’t talk right now...the situation is...” Tom began as the alien jumped into the aisleway.
“....extremely hostile...Keep talking.” Tom said before ripping the comm badge off his shirt and lobbing it as far as he could throw it.
“Tom? What in blazes is going on?” Henry asked. His voice blared loudly over the comm badge and the alien tracked the sound and swung a pincer at it, smashing the comm badge.
The sound of wings flapping could be heard and Tom felt the air moving as the alien flew over his head.
“We need to get it back in the tube.” Spinlock’s voice echoed. Evidently the video feed to X.S. Tech was still active.
“We can’t teleport it anywhere. We’ve lost power.” Feemis shot back.
“Well send someone to restore it!” Feemis replied.
“We’ve gotta try and stop that thing.” Tom whispered to Dalby as the two men ducked into an alcove.
“How!?” Dalby hissed back, “Did you see that monster!”
“We’ve got to do something. We can’t just let it eat these people.” Tom replied.
“We can’t do much good in that monster’s gut.” Dalby replied.
“We’ve still got to do something!” Tom protested.
The alien hissed and yowled as it heard the noise of the two men arguing.
“I vote that something being getting the hell out of here!” Dalby said as he tugged on the door. Sealed. Gas tight. Damn it!
“Now what!?” Dalby asked.
“I’m thinking! I’m thinking!” Tom replied.
“Well think fast!” Dalby said as the alien flew towards them. Dalby drew his phaser and fired three blasts. All three of them left minor scorch marks on the creature’s exoskeleton.
“This could be a disaster...” Dalby groaned as the two men ran from the flying alien.
Up Next: Tannen’s attack and the defense of the X.S. Tech facility.