The Old and the New
Previously on "The Passage".
Harold, Klarks old instructor, explains the ways of a Chronomage and the reason he is still alive. He is given a break before receiving his first mission and heads to the cafeteria. It is there that he makes two new friends, Leon and Sherry.
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"Welcome Klark." Harold was sitting in a large chair around a meeting table.
"Hello profess... Harold." I was a little dazed from the jump. It was the first time I had ever been jumped through time by another person.
"A little woozy I see, well I figured you would be so I prepared you a small snack." A plate of saltines and some water were sitting in front of an empty chair. I sat at the table and slowly munched away. A folder slid across the table and stopped in front of me scattering a few pictures around.
"His name is not important, his hair is not important, his clothing is not important." Harold got up and pulled down a projection screen. "You only need to memorize things that cannot change with his look. Birth marks, scars, even eye color. Anything you can use to identify him."
A larger picture of the man I was looking at shone onto the projection screen. "What do I need to remember this guy for?"
Harold motioned to the folder. "This man has decided to try and make himself a quick buck by selling technology from this age in another. You and two partners will be going to a western town called Cimarron. Your objective is to find him and tag him so that our professional Chronomagi can return him to our time."
"Cimarron! Western times!" I choked slightly as i got excited. "Isn't this something that should be handled a little more... diligently?"
"You and your team have forty eight hours to tag him and return to the academy before professionals are dispatched in your place. This is your first mission so I suggest you don't screw it up."
Another folder slid my way. I opened it and found the photo's of my two team mates. "You will be in charge of this mission. Your team mates will be at your command. Remember I.R.S.H. and be careful out there. You can still be killed by things like bullets and stab wounds."
"But Harold, I really don't think this is a good idea."
"Who's Harold?" Leon and Sherry were standing in front of me. They were both wearing western costumes and had small satchels appropriate to the time.
I looked around and saw that I had been jumped again, only this time without warning. "O, um... never mind. Is that mine?" Sherry was holding a spare outfit and satchel.
"Yeppers, this is yours. I picked it out especially for you." She handed it over and I shot Leon a nervous look.
"Don't worry, I made sure they weren't ass-less chaps." He chuckled and the two of them went to sit at the table. I changed in a side room then went over to the table as well.
"So, I assume you both were briefed on the mission." They both nodded in agreement. "OK, well... I was told that I would be leading this mission so, I guess we should just go to the time and look for the guy."
Sherry rose her hand. "Don't you think we should make a plan first?"
"Sherry! We're supposed to follow orders, not give them." Leon was worried he'd get in trouble for going against his leaders' orders.
"It wasn't an order, it was a thought; a suggestion if you will."
"Don't worry Leon, she's got a point; and we're all in this together. Teamwork is the reason we were put in a team." Leon let out a sigh of relief as Sherry pulled out some paper and pens. "Well, where do we start?"
"Well," Sherry began writing down a large list. " We're going to need to find a place to stay, we have to get our trackers ready, we need to finish studying the pictures, then we have to get information from the locals..."
Both Leon and I watched in amazement as she threw words down onto the paper with lightning fast speed. Finally she passed me the paper covered from top to bottom with things we needed to do.
"And they made me the leader..." I folded the paper and put it in my shirt pocket. "Alright guys, join hands, and remember I.R.S.H."
We joined hands and began the chant. "The flow of time's where we must go, to find the things we need to know."
Harold watched through a one way mirror as we ported out of the room. He smiled at the new group of Chronomagi he had just formed. He chuckled as he thought about what I had said; 'And they made me leader...' He turned and went back to his own business.
"All in due time Klark, all in due time."
"Alright, this looks safe." We were standing in front of a portrait that showed a back alley in Cimarron. I looked at the mission log to double check the time frame. "Cimarron, 1840." I looked at my partners and friends. "Ready guys?"
With a nod we joined hands and jumped through the portal. We landed in a cloud of dust and debris, and Leon quickly climbed out of a broken barrel.
"We should leave before somebody notices." I motioned to an inn across the street then stopped before entering the street. "Does everybody know how to talk in an appropriate way?" They shook their heads. "Dammit, I figured so." I took a deep breath then crossed to the inn.
"Howdy Ma'am. Me and my pals here are lookin' for a place to keep warm for a couple o' nights. Reckon you could help us out?" I gulped as the barmaid studied me.
"Why sure, we got just the thing fer you and yer cute little friend over there." She winked at Leon who began blushing and hid behind Sherry.
"It's gonna cost you twenty coin a night."
Money! I knew we forgot something. "See, the problem is..."
"The problem is you deserve a nice tip and forty coin just won't cut it. Here's sixty coin, keep twenty for your troubles ma'am." Sherry reached in her pocket and pulled out sixty coin. The barmaid smiled and hid her tip inside her top.
"Your room is right this way miss."
Sherry began following the barmaid as Leon and I stared in amazement. We glanced at each other and decided it would be better to just not say anything at all. We followed behind Sherry trying to avoid standing out.
We got to the room, thanked the barmaid, and waited for her footsteps to leave our range.
"We got one thing out of the way, now we have to study the pictures and quickly find this guy so we can get out of here." I pulled out a small envelope with the photos Harold had given me. We all studied them vigorously for twenty minutes or so before heading out.
"Remember guys, Stay out of trouble, stay out of sight, and try not to make a scene. If you think you've found the guy follow him and call the rest of us so we can confirm. Do not tag him until we all agree." Sherry opened the door to the room and left.
"I'm telling you man, they should have made Sherry leader. She's practically doing it anyways."
Leon laughed, pat me on the back, and we left the room making sure to close the door behind us.