The Eighty-eighth Key, Chapter 65.1


A brief ramble through the brambles, hardly time for tea. And hopefully I’ve got the chapter numbering all sorted out now, too…

Chapter 65.1

Three hundred miles from the Cape Flattery light and not a breath of air. The sea a cerulean mirror, and in early January the outside air temperature is almost sixty degrees Fahrenheit, the sea temp a frosty forty seven. Henry Taggart had plotted a northerly course, hoping to ride the east setting North Pacific current until the he could hitch a ride on the northeast setting sub-Arctic gyre, and to hopefully ride currents all the way to the entrance to Puget Sound. So far, the passage from Hilo had been under ‘bluebird’ skies, but two days ago the winds had fallen off to zero, and they were riding the current now, but only making a few knots over the ground.

The General’s Swan 65 still had plenty of fuel, but Debra’s aquaTarkus had seen a lot of generator time and she could possibly be ‘running the tanks dry’ if Henry chose to motorsail into stronger winds, if she chose to follow him. So, the night before they’d rafted up, tied the two boats together so Henry and the General could have a little strategy session — and besides, Daisy-Jane needed a good ear rubbing.

But soon enough, Henry and the General knew they had more questions on their hand than answers.

Such as: what if Ted Sorensen had a new ‘crew’ waiting for her? 

And of course, Dan Wingren wouldn’t know anything about that, would he?

And would they assume Henry was taking this rag-tag convoy to Seattle? And if so, how quickly would they detect and arrange an intercept of aquaTarkus? What if Henry decided to head to Canada instead of Seattle, or up to Alaska? Or…could this adversary even try to follow them?

“Henry?” the General added, thinking out loud now. “Why don’t you stay on board aquaTarkus and take her to Vancouver, and I’ll take Debra on the Swan into Victoria. I can arrange to fly her out from there.”

“You have both forgotten something,” little Dana said next, interrupting Henry’s response.

“And what might that be…?” Henry said.

“The ship that came for Debra once before has returned to the present. They are actively looking for her, and us, now.”

“Do you know where it is?”

“The ship?”


She closed her eyes and turned away, and she seemed to connect to the same external source she often did when Henry asked her difficult questions that required complex answers, but in a matter of seconds she came back to them. “It is near the Channel Islands off the Southern California coast. There are several US Navy jets in pursuit of the craft at this time.”

“Henry,” the General said, his face suddenly scrunched up in thought, “could you establish a link with our ship out at the base?”

“From here?” Henry asked, flabbergasted. “That’s close to seven hundred miles away, sir!”

“It’s worth a try, isn’t it?” the General added.

“I can try, but then what? Bring it out here? In front of everyone?”

“That’s the least of our worries, Henry. We’re sitting ducks out here, unless Dana wants to intervene again?”

“I don’t think they will come this far north,” Dana said.

“Why?” Henry asked.

“I sense the people in that ship are still very concerned, especially after their first encounter with us. I suspect they might not want to chance a second such event.”

“Do they have any weapons onboard their ship?” the General asked.

Again Dana turned away, and again she made her queries. “The ship is unarmed,” she eventually said, “however the crew may possess locally made weapons.”

“Can you control their ship?” Henry asked, on a hunch.

“I’m not familiar with the technology, so no, I cannot.”

“What about our ship?” the General asked. “Could you…?”

“No, I cannot.”

Henry looked at her long and hard, then he decided he had to ask just one more question: “Can you see what’s going to happen to us?”

Her eyes fluttered and she turned away again, but this time she walked down the companionway steps and disappeared.

“Well,” Henry sighed, “that answers that. She already knows the outcome and she’s not going to interfere with our decision making process.”

“So, she won’t try to stop a negative outcome? But, wait…she already has, right? When she sent that ship away off Oahu…?”

“Sir, we’re trying to guess what her agenda is, and I don’t think either one of us is smart enough to come up with the answer to that one.”

The General smiled, then he nodded his head in momentary defeat. “So, we make up our mind and hope we don’t throw snake eyes. Or…you try to summon the ship.”

“Then what?”

“Get Miss Sorensen out of here, get her to safety.”

“Sir, I’m not sure that’s going to work, at least not in the long term. No matter what we do, or where we take her, they’re not going to stop…”

“But…who, Henry? Who’s trying to take her? And why?”

“I have to assume her father, sir. And…I would say because she has…abilities, sir.”

“So you’ve said, but as to the first point I’m not so sure that’s a fair assumption. Frankly, we can’t fight an unknown enemy — if only because we’ll always be reacting to their moves. Somehow we’ve got to get out ahead of this thing, take the initiative away from whoever we’re up against.”

“Well, the easiest thing to do right now would be to clear customs in Victoria and hole up there, right in the middle of the city. No one is likely to pull off anything with a ship like that, not in the heart of a major city. That’d be just plain nuts, sir.”

“Yeah? Or just desperate enough to try something that nutty.”

“Well,” Taggart sighed, “maybe we’d finally get acquainted with whoever, or whatever we’re up against.”

The General nodded in agreement. “Be careful what you wish for, Henry, if you know what I mean.”

“Oh, I think we’ve still got a couple aces up the sleeve, sir.”

The General nodded. “Now all we need is about fifty gallons of diesel.”

“Or a nice wind out of the south.”

As it happened, neither was in the offing.


Harry didn’t know what to say. He wasn’t even sure how he felt.

About the only sure thing was that his boy hadn’t murdered Todd Bright. Which meant the two of them had staged the murder in the fairway behind the house in Davos. And the only reason he could come up with was that somehow Lloyd had decided to cooperate with the Mossad, because after their little charade the local authorities had come and supposedly taken his passport, and right after that he had been spirited away to Tel Aviv. But then DD had advised him that there never really was an issue with his passport, so that was all a ruse. 

And while all of these mental images flashed through Callahan’s mind he in effect stood there in mute shock, unsure what to say…

Yet Brendan Geddes was staring at the boys, then his fingers were dancing in the air, peeling back layers, and soon enough he walked forward and poked at the image of Lloyd Callahan…

…and the image of the boys simply disappeared…

Brendan didn’t seem a bit surprised, yet both Harry and Deborah were shocked.

“They looked so real,” Deborah sighed, “I felt like I could reach out and touch them.”

Harry was still struggling to speak. His hands were shaking, then he realized his son was gone. Again. “I saw him in a dream. He was smiling just like that?”

And then Brendan turned to face Callahan: “Tell me, when is a dream not a dream?”

“What?” Deborah asked. “What are you implying?”

“What if,” Brendan said slowly, grinning now as he spoke, “some dreams are real? What if dreams are like an open window into another dimension? And what if those dimensions are fractals, or even simple permutations of this one?”

“Are you saying,” Eisenstadt said, “that Harry saw these boys as they are in another dimension?”

Brendan beamed. “Yes!”

Then Harry spoke. “Brendan, is time another dimension?”

“YES!” Brendan cried. “And guess what, Harry? You know how to open all the windows!”


She had been hiding in the shadows all night, and she had seen it all. Every last detail, from an alien with his family visiting Callahan to this latest revelation, and now Didi Goodman had a decision to make.

© 2016-22 adrian leverkühn | abw | and as always, thanks for stopping by for a look around the memory warehouse…

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