Chapter 2 "Arrival"

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“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future.”

 

        - John F. Kennedy

Huron River Valley

December 21, 2391ce (101 PA)

 

In The River

        Meg didn’t know when she passed out but the impact of the Jeep into the river followed by water seeping into the compartment brought her back to consciousness. Her head rang with pain and a sharp piercing whine, her body felt like she’d gone a dozen rounds with the heavyweight champion, and the spot on her chest where the Incan ring rested was a throbbing source of agony.

        The seepage of water into the SUV was slow but steady.

        Oh God, oh God, oh God. What the fuck is happening? Did I drive off the bridge?!

 

        The front of the Jeep began to dip into the fast moving water. Through the holographicly cleared window she could see not the water of Belleville Lake but a moderately sized and swiftly flowing river. Large chunks of ice kept pace with the Jeep as the current dragged them down river.

        Where’s the fucking lake? Why the hell did I pass out? If I ran into the side of the bridge why isn’t the Jeep smashed?

        These thoughts raced through Meg’s mind while she fought to unbuckle the safety harness. Her fingers felt thick and stupid as she fought with the easy release catch on the device. The water was quickly rising and had already crested the tops of her boots, filling them and soaking her feet with ice cold water.

        “Son of a bitch!” Meg screamed shocked by the intensity of the cold water.

        That was when the ring on her chest began to burn again. If the pain before had been like being burned by a red hot poker, this pain could only compare to thrusting her body into a nuclear furnace. Every nerve in Meg's body was electrified and she was sure the interior of the car would catch fire any second.

        She was consumed with fear and desperation.

        Please, oh please, I don’t want to die! Please, Mommy, help me!

        It lasted a full heartbeat, and then it was over.

        There was no more pain from her chest. There was no more feeling of intense freezing pain from her feet. The full body ache and ringing in her ears disappeared. In fact, if asked, Meg would have said she’d never felt so good in her entire life. She still felt that the water was cold but it was now an almost pleasant sensation.

        Meg reached one more time for the harness release as the water passed her waist. She gripped the circular device, squeezed, and it was crushed into a hundred pieces. While that was not Meg’s desired result it did the job of releasing her from the harness. Meg hit the button to lower the windows nothing happened. Then, grabbing the door handle, she braced to push hard, there was a lot of water on the other side and she was unsure she’d be able to open it until the cabin was completely filled.

        If I have to wait unto the pressure is equalized the current might kill me before I can make the surface. But I doubt anyone outside of a comic book could open this door now.

        Much like her father, Meg had the engineering bug. She was one semester away from her master’s degree from the University of Michigan and already had a plum job with her father’s company lined up for the summer. She understood the physics of the situation but pushed on the door with all her might anyway.

        The door opened like the water on the other side wasn’t even there.

        Meg was so shocked when the door opened and the current grabbed it that she was wrenched from the interior of the Jeep and dragged out into the river. Once more the intense panic filled her and threatened to overwhelm her.

        Then she was calm.

        In a flash she realized a series of impossible things. The icy water was having no effect on her. Despite the darkness of the night and murkiness of the water, her vision was crystal clear and bright. She was having no problem fighting the current. It was as easy a paddling around the pool in her back yard on a bright summer day. And finally she wasn’t breathing. Not as in there was no air so she couldn’t breathe, but as in there was no need to breathe. She had no need to take in a fresh lungful of air.

        This is insane!

        Meg easily tread water several feet below the surface of the river. The slow but steady movements of her arms and legs were more than sufficient to keep her stationary despite the current. She scanned the underwater scene around her in fascination.

        It was what you would expect the bottom of a river to look like. Rocks, mud, weed, fish, and the other things that made the sub aquatic fresh water world unique were present. She giggled when several small fish swirled past her feet. Then looking straight up she headed for the surface, and hopefully some answers.

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