“We’re good to go,” Brooklyn says holding up a tablet. “Looks like GoPro checked and verified all the systems. Everything is working as it should. Assuming we can take his word for it.”
“The doctors cleared you to come back to work?” I ask as I walk toward the cab of the RV.
“I think they just got tired of me bothering them about it. Apparently repeated midnight calls to their homes does the trick. Besides, I wasn’t going to let GoPro get the glory of being one of the world’s first time-travelers.”
Over the comm, we hear GoPro’s voice, “You know I can hear you, right?”
“Duh,” She says making a face that shows she didn’t. “Wouldn’t have said it otherwise!”
Cleaner plops down behind the wheel as I take the passenger seat. “You guys ready for this?” I ask, looking back at the team.
They all signal an affirmative.
“Let’s do it,” Cleaner says. “Long Haul to Base Camp, fire it up.”
Out the driver’s window I see Greaser working the controls, “Long Haul, you are clear to launch,” he replies. “I’ll keep the portal open for the first couple of hours until you guys make it to the highway. So, uh Brooklyn, remember, we can hear everything you say until then. After that, you’ll be on your own. Don’t call us, we’ll call you!”
“Story of my life,” I say.
Cleaner places his thumb on a button that reads his print, activating the throttle and steering controls. With REFC technology, there really is no on or off, just access. He gently pushes the throttle and the truck slowly lurches forward toward the Continuum.
As the truck moves into the portal, my stomach churns. One second I am in the present, inside Soundstage 47, and the next I’m outside in a barren future. I turn to look at the team behind me and they’re gone. The entire back of the vehicle has disappeared. I see a clean slice in the trailer walls with nothing but desert and the ghost town of Studio D behind us. As the truck keeps rolling slowly forward, the trailer grows longer before my eyes, like an illusion you’d see in a theme park ride.
One by one, the crew appears, each with a terrified or bewildered look on their face. Everything in front of them was constantly visible, but once each crossed the portal threshold, everything behind them disappeared, until it, too, crossed the threshold. It was as surreal as anything I have ever experienced.
For once, Brooklyn has nothing to say.
When the desert behind me disappears and I see the rear wall of the trailer, I know we have passed completely through the portal.
“Welcome to the future,” I tell them.