• “Master.” A gravely voice breathed, “Three intruders have infiltrated the lower levels and are headed for the main chamber.”

    Standing on a moonlit balcony overlooking the outside city, a hooded man frowned deeply. “They are more resilient then I imagined. Most people would have fled in fear by now.” He muttered to himself as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully, “Nevertheless, they may prove useful. Find them and bring them to me…alive.”

    “Yes, master.”

    “Also,” the man added, “They must not discover the foundries. If they do, you shall be the first one to die.”

    There was a slight hesitation before the voice replied, “It will be done, master.”


    “How much further?” Steven questioned as he, Jamie, and Aili made their way through a partially flooded passageway.

    Jamie glanced at her detector, careful not to let it touch the occasionally knee-high water for fear of it short-circuiting. “Not much. The Crystal should be just a few meters ahead.” She reported. The small device in her hand suddenly began to beep loudly and Jamie paused to study the detector’s screen. “That’s weird.”

    “What?” Steven asked.

    “I’m picking up some interesting material readings near the Crystal’s location.” Jamie replied. She shook her head in confusion, “The computer’s having difficulty recognizing it and I’ve got not clue what it could be.”

    Aili raised an eyebrow, “I don’t think I like the sound of that.”

    “Nether do I.” Steven agreed, “Let’s pick up the pace.”

    The three of them increased their pace to a brisk jog, quickly covering the distance to the T-split passageway ahead. But when they rounded the corner, they stopped dead in their tracks. “Okay,” Jamie said in a surprised voice, “Something tells me that this isn’t the normal everyday décor.”

    Stretched out before them was a long, octagonal-shaped hallway, lit only be the dim glow of green-colored torches. However, it wasn’t made of the familiar earthen construction like the others, but of a highly polished metal that reflected any light cast against it. “What in the blazes is this?” Aili breathed in amazement.

    Steven reached forward and rapped his knuckles against the wall material. “If I had to make a wild guess as to what this stuff is, I’d say that it’s some sort of ditirium plating.”

    “And that is…” Aili pressed, not really understanding the significance.

    “It’s the same kind of stuff that’s commonly used on both TimeSplitter warships and containment facilities.” Jamie answered, “They must have taken a few ores with them when they escaped through the Portal.”

    “Looks like the Splitters got here before us,” Steven observed, “and were planning to stay for quite awhile.” He gestured towards the metallic doorway at the opposite end of the hall, “Any idea what’s behind there?”

    Jamie shook her head, “Not really. I can still detect the Crystal’s signal, but not much else.”

    “I guess we’ll have to do this the old fashioned way.” Steven said, “Let’s open up this box and see what Santa’s brought us.”

    “And hope it’s not a nuke.” Jamie added with a grin.

    It took awhile to traverse the length of the hallway, and once they reached the door, Steven got to work on examining the door’s control panel. “Well, it’s an older lock.” He said, “Shouldn’t take too long to open up.”

    Moments later, the door slowly slid to the side and they cautiously stepped through. The chamber beyond was barren and lifeless, save for the rows of human skeletons strapped to the walls and a stone pedestal planted in the center of the room. “There it is.” Steven stated glancing towards where the Crystal sat atop the pedestal’s column, “Let’s grab it and go. I’m starting to get a bad feeling about this place.”

    Aili nodded and stepped towards the Crystal, Class-Six containment case in hand. Slowly by surely, she reached out and delicately lifted the glowing gem from its perch, then lowering it into the specially-designed cutout in the case’s black Styrofoam. Not long after Aili had finished packing the Crystal away, the entire room began to tremble slightly, but ceased a few seconds later. “Last time I checked, France didn’t get any earthquakes.” Jamie muttered, peering warily at the walls around them.

    “What’d you touch?” Steven asked Aili.

    Aili raised her gloved hands innocently, “Nothing! It’s possible the TimeSplitters rigged the pedestal in away that we couldn’t detect, so whatever happens next, it’s not my fault.”

    “Quiet.” Jamie hissed, “Do you hear that?”

    In the ensuing silence, Steven could hear a faint hissing noise coming from somewhere in the darkness. He activated his flashlight and cast it in the direction of the sound, revealing a small open compartment near the rear wall, a cloud of green smoke pouring out of its mouth. Steven’s eyes grew wide as he recognized what the substance was. “Gas!” he cried, “Get out now!”

    They spun around and began to run out of the room when the entrance door slammed shut. “Great,” Jamie said, “I hate it when we walk into a trap.”

    “The gas masks are no good.” Steven stated, ripping off his mask, “We’ve got to get out of here. Aili, fire up the blow torch.” He waited for a reply, but none came, “Aili?”

    Steven pointed his flashlight next to him and found her collapsed on the ground, unmoving. “Aili!” Jamie exclaimed as she hurriedly knelt beside her friend.

    “She alright?”

    Jamie nodded, “She’s unconscious, should be okay if…” she was cut off as she too lost conscience and fell to the floor.

    The effects of the gas began to take hold on Steven not long afterwards. He fought to stay awake as he grabbed the blowtorch from Aili’s pack and flicked it on, it’s light hampered by the density of the gas surrounding him. Coughing up a storm, he began to cut through the door, but hesitated as his vision began to blur making it near impossible to see what he was doing. Moments afterwards, the darkness closed in and his world went black.