A sequel to the short story Stopover at the Majestic
When last we visited, the year was 1965 and our two strangers were chatting up one another in the lobby of the Majestic Hotel, just before it was to be torn down. One of the strangers is Timeline Police. The cop knows our Time Traveler is not from 1965 but the closely guarded Timeline has been disrupted; how is not known. The police are investigating. Could our time-traveling Stranger end up being trapped in 1965 at the Majestic? After their conversation, our Time Traveler, Mr. Curtis, decides it is time to move on. So with a doff of this hat and a swirl of his cane, he does and in a flash, he's gone. Again. Only to encounter unexpected twists along his journey through time.
The year is 3068 and Mr. Curtis is now visiting another world in the Gamma Quadrant of the Solexa Solar System. The planet, similar to Earth, is not all that old. However, the surface is desolate except for one large city. Mr. Curtis, it seems, has been drawn here to see the city's largest building. He is, among other things, a curiosity seeker.
The building is a relatively old hotel, rather grandeur in stature. Upon first glance, he thought he recognized it but he's never been here before. Then it hits him: It's a replica, an exact replica but a working replica nonetheless of the long-ago demolished Majestic Hotel in Lake Charles, LA, back on Earth in 1965.
How could that be? Who built it and why the Majestic?
As he stands there in front of the lobby admiring its architecture, he feels a tap on his shoulder and a voice, "Hey there. Fancy meeting you here."
Startled, Mr. Curtis swings around to see who is disturbing him.
It's the Timeline Police cop from Earth!
"I could say the same thing about you," retorts Mr. Curtis. "What are you doing here?"
"I'm investigating the breakdown of the Timeline back in 1965, when you and I first and last met," says the cop. "You seemed to have left the Majestic awfully quickly. And now I see you here in front of another Majestic Hotel more than 200 years in the future. Curious! What gives?"
"Well, it is curious. I felt a strange yearning to come to this planet and when I arrived, I was drawn to this spot, where the hotel is. Believe it or not, I did not expect to see another Majestic Hotel," explained Mr. Curtis.
"You said you were investigating the breakdown of the Timeline back in 1965," inquired Mr. Curtis. "Have you any answers?" he asked. "I know I did nothing to impact the Timeline. That's not to say I wasn't tempted, mind you."
"Well," intoned the cop, "something happened to the Timeline because the Majestic Hotel back then was not torn down in 1965. Oh, sure, a parking lot is in its place or was but that was later."
Mr. Curtis interrupted, "But, all the history books say the hotel was torn down in 1965 and show photos of its demolition. How could that be if it was not torn down then?"
"Trust me," said the cop. It wasn't. And the only way for that to have happened was for someone to adjust the Timeline. I don't know who and I don't know how but it was done. The evidence is where we are standing. This is not merely a replica of the Majestic, Mr. Curtis. It is the Majestic. Somehow when the Timeline was altered, the hotel was transported to 3068, right where we are standing."
"Okay," sighed Mr. Curtis, "now I feel like I'm in the Twilight Zone. Before we know it, Rod Serling is going to come out from behind the Concierge Desk!"
"So where does this leave you in you investigation, Mr. Timeline Policeman?," asked Mr. Curtis. "Since this happened back in 1965, wouldn't it make sense to return to that time and ask around?" he said.
"I've considered exactly that, but I may need some help to draw out our Timeline provocateur," said the cop.
"What did you have in mind?," inquired Mr. Curtis.
"Come join me for a cocktail at the Majestic Bar and I'll fill you in with my plan," invited the cop.
"You see, I figure it this way," started the cop. "We'll need to look around the lobby of the 1965 Majestic and see if we spot anyone who looks slightly out of place. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced the Timeline was altered back in '65 somehow and we've got to correct it," he continued.
"You keep saying 'we'," said Mr. Curtis. "How can I help?," he inquired.
"Simple," said the cop. "You know or at least suspect what a time traveler looks like, how he acts. I need an extra pair of eyes to help me, and you're it," affirmed the cop.
Once back in the lobby of the 1965 Majestic Hotel, the two sat pensively in great high-back chairs, surveying the area and trying not to appear conspicuous. That is until Mr. Curtis suddenly arose from his chair and said "I need to gradually move around some. Maybe I can pick up some chatter from some unsuspecting chap who might provide us with a clue or two."
As Mr. Curtis meandered around the lobby area, the cop stayed seated but struck up a conversation with a fellow who had just sat down by him. After awhile, and with this conversation going nowhere, the cop noticed Mr. Curtis making his way back towards him. Then he noticed Mr. Curtis stopping and looking over near the Concierge desk.
The cop noticed what appeared to be a conversation with the General Manager and the Concierge, but the GM was holding something that appeared to be quite familiar. It was a walking stick just like the one used by Mr. Curtis to travel in between times.
Mr. Curtis, seeing the same thing, gradually started walking over to the pair to strike up a conversation. He naturally wanted to compare walking sticks and also gauge how nervous the GM would be to see someone else with what appeared to be an identical "stick."
Once within speaking distance of the GM, Mr. Curtis noticed out of the corner of his eye that the cop was meandering over to speak with the Concierge so the two of them would not appear suspicious to the GM.
"I see you have a walking stick just like mine," said Mr. Curtis. A rather startled GM responded that the two "sticks" were not exactly alike but very similar. That's when Mr. Curtis noticed that instead of a green inset jewel on the very top as his stick has, the GM had a red jewel.
That could mean only one thing: Time Travelers with red jewels are evil. They live to upset the Time Line. Mr. Curtis knew he had to act quickly. He also knew that the cop was unaware of what had just been noticed. More significantly, the GM now knew that Mr. Curtis had him pegged as the one who upset the Time Line that sent the 1965 Majestic into the 31st Century.
In less than an instant, all hell broke loose. An explosion from somewhere in the hotel rocked the lobby and smoke started to fill the area. People began running toward the exits while screaming "FIRE!". As Mr. Curtis was regaining his wits about him, he noticed through the smoke haze that the Concierge had been knocked out and the cop was laying on the ground unconscious. He immediately turned to where the GM had been standing, but there was no sign of him. He'd disappeared.
The lobby was a scene of chaos. Mr. Curtis, still somewhat dazed, began to slowly move around and see to the cop. It would be a few minutes before emergency personnel would appear on the scene. In the midst of all this, Mr. Curtis wondered if the explosion were merely coincidental or if it was a plan by the GM to help him get away and remain on the Galaxy's Most Wanted List.
That would have to be a question left for another day. Why was the GM/Time Traveler doing all this? Why did he want the Majestic transported to another time? Why be so reckless? Too many questions. Too few answers, thought Mr. Curtis. Now what?
As he tried to make his way around the immediate chaos where the cop lay, Mr. Curtis felt unsure of himself. He got more woozy and unsteady. Then as he got to the cop, Mr. Curtis suddenly fell to the floor, unconscious. Their search for answers would have to wait.
To Be Continued . . .