Chapter 5 – The Traveler

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Jeep and Blaine took the dusty old tarp off, which was more of a task than it sounds. The tarp was tied in the corners — more like lashed — and they needed to find a pair of scissors, then a sharp knife, before they could cut through the ropes that held the plastic covering to the vehicle.

Once they cleared that off, the gleaming black vehicle did resemble something off the highway from a long time ago.

“It really does kind of look like a 1965 Buick Riviera,” Blaine said.

“I didn’t know you knew anything about old cars,” Jeep said.

Blaine smiled his droll smile. “I Googled it.”

The covered headlamps, the bold contours of the vehicle, the tires and the windows very much resembled the sleek, solid tanks that mid-20th century Americans prowled the roadways in, but the wheel wells were hermetically sealed, the doors looked more like airplane hatches, and there were none of the visible seams one might see on a vehicle intended to stay on the ground and in atmosphere.

“This baby probably gets three miles to the gallon,” Jeep said, running her hand over the massive front fender, and then she stopped and looked at her companion. “What do you think it runs on? Not gas.”

“Rockets burn liquid nitrogen.”

“Rocket boosters are 150 feet tall. There’s no room in this thing for that kind of boost.”

“Nuke? Some kind of renewable energy? How do you charge it? Where do you get fuel?”

Jeep shook her head, shifting her attention from the big machine to search the shelves on the garage wall. “It’d be too easy to find all that in a manual, or any of Mom’s notes, I guess.” There was no obvious binder full of papers, laptop that could be full of files, or even a significant-looking thumb drive or disc.

“Diane Jacobus could probably give you some of those answers.”

“If she wants to tell us. The more I think about it, I think you were right to be leery of her, Blaine. Didn’t you get the feeling she didn’t really want to tell us anything about this machine?”

“Absolutely. She was like something out of an old spy movie. Maybe The Lady Vanishes.”


“I showed you that once. Really old movie, set in a train, sweet old coot disappears and turns out to be a covert operative.”

“I think I remember it. It had a plucky heroine and her handsome dude sidekick.”

He raised his eyebrows. “He was more than a sidekick, I believe, but I’d rather be the handsome dude sidekick than a paramour anyway.”

“I’m glad,” she said, looking at him askance. “We’d never be able to have a romantic meal together, with your uncooked meat and blood drinks. Eww.”

“I’ll never understand why you have to have the blood boiled out of everything, and you’ll never understand why I need it raw,” he said. “It’s simple biology.”

“I know,” Jeep said. “I do understand, I just think it’s a little icky.”

On that point, they agreed to disagree and lapsed into a thoughtful silence while they waited for Diane Jacobus to arrive.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

And waited.

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