The world split open.
Kerr’s gut turned. He tried holding his breath, but it didn’t help. He hoped he could keep his breakfast down.
The crack in the air before him puckered and stretched like it was giving birth. Air roared from the hole. Light poured out, making Kerr squint. The LENS on his eyes adjusted by applying a brown tint.
The air in the room changed directions. Kerr felt his hair move as wind rushed into the new vacuum.
And then there was silence — no sound at all.
Kerr had read about this, but never experienced it first-hand. He was seeing an actual Portal. He realized the sides of his mouth ached from his smile. “It’s beautiful!” he whispered.
Beside him, Colonel Braun chomped on his cigar. “It’s something to see the first time, but when you’ve seen one, you’ve seen ’em all.”
Kerr straightened his face. Across the table, Private Johansson sputtered a mocking laugh. Ignoring him, Kerr looked back to the Portal. His mind took in every detail. He wanted to remember everything.
The brightest glow was in the center of the opening. Shining beams shot out — rays of swooping flashlights. Was it coming from the Passage itself?
Kerr willed himself to stay in place. Like a siren call, the lights beckoned him forward, but he knew better. Entering the Passage now would mean being lost in a sea of time.
Now something was happening in the lights. They began to fade away. In their place was another world.
Kerr smiled. He could make out an underground structure full of concrete pillars. They stretched away into the distance. White lines marked the ground at regular intervals.
Colonel Braun cleared his throat, “Welcome to 1993. The place is New York, New York, in the grand ol’ Eyu-nited States of America.” He drawled out the last part of the sentence in an accent Kerr couldn’t place, but he understood the sarcasm. The United States of America had been a grand social experiment in its day. It was a pity it never worked out.
Kerr was about to step into history. He started to catalog all the major events he could remember from 1993. His questions tumbled out a little too quick, “Who are we meeting? What’s the exact date?”
Braun held up a finger to silence him. His eyes shifted to Private Johansson and locked before issuing a command, “Take point.”
Private Johansson nodded and readied his gun. He moved through the Portal — now wide enough for two men side by side. He bent to a crouch as he walked, still moving fast, keeping his gun raised at the ready. Nothing special happened when he crossed the threshold of the Portal — like walking through an open door.
On the other side, Johansson stopped moving. He made a slow rotation on his heels, eyes scanning in all directions. He held up two fingers and waved them forward — all clear.
“Bring it in,” said Braun. “Murphy. Hendrikson.”
Murphy moved with brisk urgency. On the other side, he looked left and right — confirming that it was clear. He squated behind Johansson, gun at the ready. He watched one way while Johansson watched the other. They were careful not to make any noise.
Private First Class Hendrikson also walked quickly, gliding through the air. His short form made no noise at all when he moved. He sliced past the other two soldiers and disappeared from view behind the concrete pillars.
Braun nodded at Major Blanc. “Ahead and hold.”
Major Blanc tucked the silver briefcase under her arm and walked through the opening. Her other hand gripped a pistol with a long silencer, barrel angled downward. Her boots clicked on the pavement with confident calm. She took up position behind the other soldiers, looking back at them.
Braun looked at Kerr. “After you, sweetheart.”