“What’s the matter Steve?” Rudy asked as Steve completed his last round of tests at Rudy’s complex in Colorado.
Steve pointed to the time machine Dan had invented. No one had used it for some time but it still made Steve very nervous. “I remember one time I got close to that thing I wound up face to face with Jessie James…remember?”
Rudy nodded. “We got you back though. I wouldn’t go to close though Dan has made lots of improvements on it.”
“Yeah I remember the laser beam.” Steve shuddered at his last trip back when he had actually met himself shortly after his accident. “It still works then?”
Rudy nodded. “Like a top. Dan has it so perfected that Oscar actually wants to use it to change history…”
“I thought you said that couldn’t be done.” Steve reminded
“I still feel that way, but let Oscar have his dream. Anyway you’re finished for now. By the way how are Jaime and the kids?”
“Their doing pretty good” I can’t believe Dan is almost ready to graduate. It seems like just yesterday he was 12, the twins were 7 and little Joey was four when they came to live with Oscar.”
Rudy nodded. “I feel the same way. Dan’s here by the way. He’s working on another project for school an end of the year type thing. He actually wanted to submit the time machine but Oscar won’t allow it.”
“I don’t blame him that thing is dangerous.” Steve exclaimed.
“That’s why we had it shipped to this lab…not very many people around.”
“That’s a good thing.” Steve laughed. “Well I’m going to hit the shower I’ll be back in five.”
“Ok Steve. I’ll see you then.”
After Steve left Dan walked into the lab. “How were Steve’s tests?” Dan asked.
“He did great. He’s a little nervous about your time machine though.” Rudy grinned.
“He has been caught more than his fair share of times.” Dan replied.
“I’ll say he has.” Rudy chuckled. “Are you going to fix the laser now?”
Dan nodded. “Dad wants me to fix it right away. He still thinks he can change history someway or something like that…” Dan thought for a moment. “Oh well I suppose there is no harm in humoring him.”
“Just be careful. I have a meeting to go to. If you have any problems just give me a call.”
Dan leaned over the computer. “Sure Rudy.”
Dan had worked for several minutes on repairing the laser that transported the object in question back into the past. “I just wish you could go ahead.” Dan thought as he set a blank paper in front to the laser. He walked back to the keyboard and mindlessly programmed a date not even looking to see what he was doing and then hit the switch. The beam hit the paper and in a mater of seconds it was gone.”
“Great it works!” Dan thought. “Now if I could just figure out how to send someone ahead in time. He was so busy concentrating on that he didn’t notice Steve walk back into the lab.
“How is everything Dan.” Steve asked.
“Just fine Steve.” Dan muttered more to himself as he remained hunched over the computer.
“What are you working on now?” Steve walked over to where he stood.
“How to send someone into the future” Dan replied.
“Sounds interesting, where’s Rudy?”
“He had a meeting.” Dan muttered still concentrating on his task at hand.
“Well I’ll leave you to what you were doing.”
Steve started across the lab to the door as he did he unknowingly stepped in front the laser beam just as Dan called out “I’ve got it!!”
Steve stopped to look at Dan. In his excitement Dan hit the switch. Within seconds Steve disappeared.
“Oh no!” Dan cried “Not again!!!”
He ran out of the room to find Rudy and his father
Steve brushed himself off. “Ok Dan where did you send me this time.” Steve muttered as he tried to figure out just where in time he was. He looked around to find he was standing in the middle of a dirt street in what looked like a town you would see on a late night western movie.
Steve watched the people dressed in odd clothes run back and forth through the street. “Oh great” Steve complained. “I’m probably going to meet Jessie James again. I need to find out what the date is.”
“Mr. Heath…Mr. Heath.” Steve heard a young boy call. Not paying any attention Steve walked farther down the street trying to find out what the date was.
Finally the boy caught up to him. “Mr. Heath.” He called again
“Are you talking to me?” Steve turned toward him.
“Yes sir Mr. Heath.” The boy replied. “Mr. Jarrod says for you to meet him in the sheriff’s right now.”
“I’m afraid you have me mixed up with someone else.” Steve replied. “My name is Steve.”
“Ha, ha very funny Mr. Heath” The boy laughed “Mr. Jarrod says if you don’t get over to the sheriff’s office right now you’ll be in big trouble.”
“Who is this Jarrod person anyway?” Steve asked.
The boy fell down laughing. “You sure are funny today Mr. Heath.”
“Ok I’ll play along.” Steve smiled. “Where is the sheriff’s office?”
“That’s a good one Mr. Heath. But I’ll show you. It’s right over there.” The boy pointed across the street.
Steve saw the small office just across the dirt street the sign above clearly read sheriff’s office. Steve walked across the street to see what this Jarrod person wanted. “Maybe now I’ll get some answers as to where I am.” Steve muttered as he strode across the street.
As he stepped into the sheriff’s office he saw two men standing talking with the man in uniform whom Steve assumed must be the sheriff.
“You wanted to see me Jarrod?” Steve asked.
Jarrod spun around. “Yes Heath…” He stated at Steve for several moments. “You’re not Heath.”
“No I’m not. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell people. My name is Steve…Steve Austin. I can’t tell you how I got here but…”
Everyone turned as the door opened once again and another man stepped in. Steve stepped over to him. “I assume you’re Heath?”
“Yup” Heath replied. “Who are you?”
“Like I was saying I’m Steve.” Steve replied staring at the man who looked just like him.
“How did this happen.” Oscar shouted as the three entered Rudy’s lab.
“I don’t know dad.” Dan replied. “One minute Steve was standing in front of me…the next thing he was gone.”
“We have to get him back.” Oscar cried. “What year did he go to?”
They read the display on the monitor. July 2, 1877 “Oh terrific” Oscar growled.
“That’s not the worst.” Dan managed. “The computer blow out a circuit right after Steve left.”
“You mean Steve is trapped in the past and we can’t go get him?” Rudy spoke for the first time since they had entered his office.
“That’s right Rudy. Until I can repair the computer Steve is stuck in that time.”
“How soon till you can have it fixed?” Rudy demanded.
“Maybe an hour…not quite that long.” Dan responded. “Then I’m taking this thing apart and never using it again.” He turned to Oscar “Dad. You’re going to have to find another way to change history.”
“I agree.” Oscar admitted. “This machine is way too dangerous…even here.”
“It’s about time you admitted that. Come on Oscar let’s let Dan work on the computer. He works better when he is alone. Come on I’ll buy you a cup of coffee.”
The two left Dan to his work.
“Do you think he can fix it?” Oscar asked when they were settled in the coffee shop across the street.
Rudy shrugged. “I hope so. Other wise we’ll never see Steve again.”
Nick and Jarrod both looked from Steve to Heath. “Say just what the devil is going on here?” Nick shouted.
“Maybe dear old dad had twins with Leah.” Jarrod suggested.
“I think we would have heard about that one by now.” Nick continued to yell.
“Now boys” The sheriff chided. “Let’s get back to the case at hand. Nick now you saw you saw the Emery brothers take one of your prize steers?”
“Yes I did Heath…” Nick turned toward Heath then Steve. “Heath saw him too.”
“Is that true Heath?” the sheriff asked.
Heath nodded. “Yup” He replied.
“Well then you boys go home and I’ll take a ride out to the Emery place and see if they have any cattle with the Barkley brand on it.”
“I’m going with you.” Nick offered.
“No you’re not Nick. You stay here. I’ll take care of the Emery boys. You go home with your brothers…” He turned to Steve. “What about him?”
“I don’t know.” Jarrod stated. “ say we take him back to the ranch…I’m not sure what else to do.”
“Are you willing to go with the Barkley’s?” The sheriff asked.
Steve nodded. “I suppose so…” For some reason this seemed familiar…comfortable to him. He felt like he had known Heath, Nick and Jarrod all of his life. “Yea I’ll go with them.”
“That’s good. The Barkley’s are a wonderful family.”
“I’m sure they are.” Steve agreed.
“We’ll just get your horse.” Nick said when they left the sheriff’s office.
“Uh I don’t have a horse.” Steve stammered. “Trust me you wouldn’t believe me if I told you how I got here.”
“That figures.” Nick complained. “We’ll get you one from the livery. Go with Heath He’ll help explain things.”
After Steve rented his horse he and the Barkley brothers headed out to their ranch. “I wonder what mother is going to say about him.” Jarrod spoke softly to Nick while Heath and Steve rode a few paces behind.
“Oh I’m sure she’ll be thrilled.” Nick snorted.
When they arrived at the ranch Victoria was sitting on the porch with Audra talking. “Here come the boys.” Victoria smiled.
“Yes mother but who’s that with them.” Audra wondered.
“I have no idea.” Victoria squinted into the sun.
They approached the house and everyone climbed off their horses’ “Mother we’d like you to meet our new friend Steve.” Jarrod called out.
“Hello Mrs. Barkley.” Steve offered his hand.
Victoria stared at him and then to Heath.
“I know mother isn’t it amazing.” Jarrod grinned.
“This is incredible.” Audra gasped as she too looked from her brother to Steve.
Victoria finally took his hand. “I’m so sorry Mr…Mr…”
“Just call me Steve.” Steve shook her hand.
“I’m glad to see you Steve.” Audra shook hands with him too. “Why don’t you come in? Dinner is just about ready.”
Steve followed the family into the house.
“Why don’t we sit here?” Victoria pointed to a chair next to the fire place.
Steve sat next to an end table with a photograph on it. He recognized it right away it was in a photo album his mother had. The picture was of Victoria and her husband Tom. Steve had been told several times over the years that they were his great-great-great grandparents…
“How’s it coming Dan.” Oscar asked when he and Rudy arrived back at the lab.
“I’m just about there.” Dan sighed.
“What’s wrong?” Rudy asked.
“I had to replace every circuit…to be really honest I practically rebuilt the whole thing…”
‘Why so up set if it’s going to work.” Rudy continued.
“It seems a shame to take it apart now.” Dan sighed again.
“You know that has to be done.” Oscar scolded.
“Yea dad I know. Well it’s just about ready. I’m going back.”
“Dan that’s out of the question” Oscar raised his voice.
“Dad I’m not a little kid anymore. It’s my invention I want to at least test it once.” Dan reminded.
“He has a point Oscar.” Rudy looked at Oscar. “He has the right to test his own project.”
“I suppose you’re right. I guess I still see him as a 12 year old boy.” He turned to Dan. “Do you think you can find him?”
Dan nodded. “I don’t think it will be too hard.”
“Are you ready then?” Rudy asked.
Again Dan nodded. “Just let me grab the remote link and get it programmed to today’s date.” Dan took the remote link from Rudy’s desk drawer.
“I thought we kept that in the vault.” Oscar raised his eyebrows.
“We did until the last time Steve went back in time. I thought it would be better to keep it close by.”
“I suppose you’re right.” Oscar muttered. “I still am not real happy about this. But I guess Dan knows what he’s doing.”
“I’ll be back before you know it dad.” Dan gave Oscar a pat on the back. “Don’t worry I’ll be careful.” Dan assured.
“Mrs. Barkley.” Steve began “May I ask is this your husband?” Steve pointed to the photograph.
“Yes it is.” Victoria replied. “That’s my husband Tom.”
“Where is he?” Steve was hoping to see his great-great-great grandfather.
“He passed on a few years back.” Jarrod tried to spare his mother anymore heart ache.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to bring up any hard feelings.” Steve apologized.
“Don’t give it a second thought.” Victoria’s moment of sadness passed. “It is unusual how you look like Heath.”
“There is an explanation for that…only I don’t think you’re quite ready for it.” Steve muttered.
“What was that?” Audra wondered.
“Aw nothing” Steve finished.
“Well.” Nick began. “Heath I think we can finish those fence posts before dinner.”
“I’ll help to.” Steve offered
“No you’re our guest.” Victoria tried to stop him.
“Oh I’m more than that.” Steve once again muttered to himself.
“If you want to help you need to change.” Jarrod offered. “That suit you’re wearing looks pretty expensive. We have something for you. Heath, help him out would you.”
Heath headed across the room “Yup come this way.”
Twenty minutes later Steve emerged in cloths more fitting for the time era he was in. He carefully hid his wallet containing money with more modern dates on them so no one would see.
Out on the range Nick was giving Heath orders as to where he wanted the fence posts placed.
He turned to Steve “Here I’ll show you how it’s done.” He dug a hole then stuck the post in. “Not quite. See this line here?”
“That’s how deep the hole should be. I want the posts up today so we can start the fence tomorrow.”
“You go it. Where’s Heath?”
“He’s over there. He’s working that way so if you go this way. You should meet.”
“Where will you be?” Steve asked.
“Up in the barn getting the boards and wire ready for the fence is that ok with you.”
“Just perfect” Steve grinned to himself.
As soon as Nick had walked away Steve started digging the holes. He dug about half way and then slammed the post into the ground. He caught up with Heath before he had two posts done.
“You work fast.” Heath managed.
“You don’t know the half of it.” Steve smiled. “Let’s go somewhere where we can talk.”
Heath looked at the all the fence posts in place. “Well I guess Nick can’t complain if we’re done.”
“I still don’t like this.” Oscar argued. “But I see your point Dan. “Are you ready?”
Dan nodded. “I sure am.” He held up the remote link “it’s all set as soon as I find Steve I’ll get him back here.”
Dan stood in front of the laser and Rudy threw the switch “if you have any trouble don’t worry about Steve just get yourself back here.” Rudy ordered just before Dan disappeared.
Dan looked around at the dirt street “Wow this really does work.” Dan thought. “Now I have to find Steve.
Back at the ranch Nick discovered he needed more boards so he was going to send Heath and Steve in to town to buy them. He was surprised to find his brother and companion gone and all the fence posts in place.
“There you two are.” Nick called when He saw Heath and Nick walking toward him.
“I wonder what he wants now.” Heath grumbled. “He’s always worried I don’t do enough work around here.”
“Why is that?” Steve asked.
“I’ll tell you in a minute.” He turned toward Nick. “What is it Nick?”
“I need you to go back into town and get more planks for the fence. They know exactly how much we need. It should be waiting for us at the lumber mill.”
“Ok.” Heath agreed. “Come on Steve we need to take the wagon.”
“Only if you drive” Steve tried to act as if he were joking but he had never driven a team of horses and wasn’t about to start.
They climbed on to the wagon and headed back into town. “Now that we’re alone tell me about Nick.” Steve pressed.
“It’s like this our father Tom Barkley and my mother Leah…”
“You mean Victoria is not your mother?” Steve questioned.
“Nope it’s been sort of rough since I got here. I don’t think Nick really trusts me. It’s better than it was in the beginning but we still have a long way to go.”
“What about Jarrod and Audra?” Steve asked.
“They’re great. I even call Victoria ‘mother’ it’s just Nick. I think he’s afraid I’ll take something from him. I’m not sure.”
“Sounds reasonable I suppose.” Steve said.
“I guess so. I’ve lived with them for about a year now.” Heath went on. “Like I said most have accepted me.”
“Well that’s good.” Steve continued as Heath pulled the wagon to a stop in front of the lumber mill.”
“Hi Heath I have your order ready. Need any help loading it?” The man asked.
“Nope I think we can manage just fine.” Heath jumped down from the wagon and was joined by Steve. “We can get it can’t we?” Heath asked.
Steve nodded. “No problem.”
Just as Steve hopped off the wagon Dan passed by.
“Dan!” Steve called.
“Steve! Boy, am I glad to see you.” Dan breathed a sigh of relief. “Come on we need to get back home.”
“Not right now. I’m helping some one out. This is Heath Barkley.”
Dan stared at the two men.
“I’ll explain everything in a little bit. Right now I need to help load this lumber. You sit up in the seat. I suppose I better not let you out of my sight since you’re the one with the remote link. Right?
“It’s in my pocket. We really shouldn’t stay to long.” Dan pointed out.
“We’ll be fine. That thing is programmed to the same time you left right?”
Dan nodded. “That’s right. To Dad and Rudy it will be a matter of seconds no matter how long we stay.”
“Is this a friend of yours?” Heath asked.
“Yea. Steve replied. “His name is Dan. Dan this is Heath Barkley.”
“Dan shook his hand. “Pleased to meet you” Dan replied.
“Like wise.” Heath responded.
“Do you mind if Dan comes with us?” Steve asked.
“I reckon that would be alright.” Heath added.
“Will Nick give him a bad time?” Steve wondered.
“He could, but we’ll worry about that if it happens. We better get this lumber loaded and head back.”
When they arrived back Victoria was waiting on the porch. “Who’s this” She indicated Dan.
“He’s a friend of mine.” Steve answered. “I hope you don’t mind.”
“No, not really, Nick and Jarrod would like to speak with you in the study. I’ll show you the way.”
Steve turned to Dan. “I wonder what that’s all about?”
“Do you want me to come with you?” Dan asked.
“I might need your help.” Steve whispered.
Victoria showed them into the study. “He’s back Jarrod.”
“Come on in Steve…and who do we have here?”
This is a friend of mine. His name is Dan.” Steve explained.
“I see, and is he here for the same reason you are?” Nick interrupted.
“What?” Steve asked.
“We should be asking you the same thing.” Jarrod held up Steve’s wallet. “Who are you and where did you come from?”…
“Where did you get that?” Steve was beginning to feel anger toward his new found family, especially Nick who seemed to always be on Heath’s case about nothing.
“Mother was gathering up clothes and it fell onto the floor” Jarrod continued.
“What made you open it?” Steve asked.
Jarrod shrugged. “Mother didn’t open it. It was open when she picked it up.”
“I see.” Steve continued. “And she felt it was ok to go through it?”
“She saw photographs…photographs that have color?” Jarrod gave Steve a quizzical look.
“That’s my family.” Steve explained.
“Ok I’ll buy that…but what about the fact that the pictures are in color?” Jarrod paused for a moment. “So we looked further. We didn’t mean to pry, we just couldn’t understand how the photographs could be in color…”
“I understand.” Steve whispered.
“We found money…the dates on the money…if that’s what you call it, those dates haven’t happened yet. And this” Jarrod held up Steve’s driver’s license “It says it expires in 1985, that’s over 100 years from now.” Jarrod eyed Steve suspiciously.
Steve began to feel a little better. “I guess you deserve to know the truth. After all you are family…”
“I knew it! I just knew it!!” Nick shouted. “You’re here to make a claim on us.”
“Quite the contrary” Dan spoke up. “Jarrod you said that Steve’s driver’s license expires in 1985…”
“His what?” Jarrod asked.
“What you’re holding in your hand it’s called a driver’s license you need one to operate a motorized vehicle.”
“A what” Nick joined in.
“Here” Dan pulled a picture out of his own wallet “This is a car. My dad is buying me this one for my graduation in a few weeks.” He passed the picture around “They won’t be invented for about another twenty some years. Some people call them a horseless carriage at first.”
“I don’t understand this at all” Jarrod slumped down in a chair.
“It’s very simple. You see when I was a kid I invented a time machine. I know that this sounds a little off the wall…”
“I’ll say it does.” Nick snorted.
“Ok Mr. Barkley then you try to explain all of this.” Dan challenged. “Try to explain the picture…I mean photographs…you try to explain everything.”
“I can’t.” Nick admitted.
“Ok then, I’m afraid you’re just going to have to take our word for it. Believe me Steve wants nothing from you he has a family back in 1983. That’s the time we’re from.”
“Go on.” Jarrod urged.
“Anyway” Dan continued. “Steve got caught in it the time machine that is and he ended up here. I have this.” Dan showed them the remote link. “This will get us back where we belong.” He explained.
“There’s more isn’t there?” Jarrod looked at Steve. “You said something about being related.
“I am. Only not in this day” he pointed to Heath. “He’s my great-great-great grandfather.”
Everyone in the room fell silent. “Are you serious?” Jarrod broke the silence.
Steve nodded headed for the door. “May we?”
“By all means” Jarrod and Nick followed Steve into the parlor.
“It’s this.” Steve pointed to the photograph of Victoria and Tom. “My mother has this picture. It was given to her by my father. I’ve been told they are my great-great-great grand parents.”
Victoria who had left the men folk to handle their odd guests had been sitting and talking with Audra in the Parlor she now sat speechless on the couch.
“I’m sorry I didn’t mean to spring it on you this way.” Steve apologized. “It’s just that…”
“Is what you’re saying true?” Victoria challenged.
Steve nodded. “Yes it is. I don’t really know how to explain it but…well we’re here and I suppose we better be getting back.”
“The photographs I saw the children…are they yours?” Victoria asked.
Again Steve nodded. He took his wallet from Jarrod “Here this is my wife and these are our children. “This is James, Jennifer and Carl Steven.”
“I love this. My four generation great grand children” Victoria held the picture close to her for several minutes then handed it back to Steve.
Steve put the picture in his wallet then put it back in his pocket. “He then turned to Dan “I suppose we should go.”
“Dan nodded. “Here Nick…Jarrod I’ll show you how it’s done.” He pulled the remote link out of his pocket. “This is linked to the computer back in 1983. All I have to do is push this button and Steve and I go back to where we came from.”
He wasn’t’ able to finish Audra came into the room. “Jarrod the sheriff is here. He wants to see you Nick and Jarrod.”
“That must be about the Emery brothers stealing our cattle.” Nick ran ahead of them.
Nick, Jarrod, Heath, Steve and Dan all stepped out onto the porch. “Yes sheriff.” Jarrod started the conversation.
“They deny it Jarrod, and I saw no steer with your brand. The Emery Brothers say they haven’t been on your place at all.”
“They’re lying!” Nick snapped. “Heath and I saw them.”
“That we did.” Heath agreed.
“We’ll just have to hope they strike again. This time we can catch them in the act.” Dan stated.
“How do we do that?” Nick wondered.
“With a camera. You have one don’t you?” Dan asked.
“Of course we do.” Nick began “But what’s that got to do with…”
“I get it.” Heath snapped his fingers. “We take a picture of them steeling then we’ll have proof. Are we supposed to stay in the barn all night? That might not be possible what if who ever is watching falls asleep?”
“They better not!” Nick barked.
“We can all take turns two at a time. Nick you and I can take the first watch. Then Heath and Jarrod Then Steve and the sheriff…that is if the sheriff doesn’t mind staying.”
“If it means catching a crook red handed…I’ll stay.” The sheriff assured.
“Then it’s all set.” Dan stated. “Bring the camera and we’ll get it all set up.”
While Nick, Heath and Jarrod went to find the camera Steve pulled Dan aside. “Why didn’t you make the two of us partners?”
“From the way Nick is I thought it would be better if we had separate shifts. Steve once this is resolved we have to go back. You know that?”
“Yeah I do. Good luck with Nick.” Steve smiled as the Barkley boys reentered the room.
Late that night Dan and Nick sat watch. Dan held the camera tight.
“You know if they show up I just might take them now.” Nick stated
“You wouldn’t get very far. They have to actually take the steer off the property…”
“You sound like my brother the lawyer Jarrod.” Nick scoffed.
“I’m studying the law.” Dan explained. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. They could say they were here for a midnight stroll…shh I hear something.”
“It’s probably just Heath and Jarrod…”
“Their watch doesn’t start for another hour.” Dan reminded. He held the camera up to his eye and snapped the picture as they Emery brothers stole yet another steer out of the Barkley barn.
They were just headed out of the barn when Heath and Jarrod were coming toward them.
“No need.” Nick said. “They’ve been here and gone. This time we have it on film.”
“I just need to know where to go to get the photograph made up.” Dan said.
“We have a photographer in town I’m sure he’ll help.” Jarrod stated
“Let’s get this to him right away.”
The next day the photographer had the photograph already for the sheriff.
After looking at the picture the sheriff headed out to the Emery farm. This time he found the Barkley’s steer hid in the barn. He arrested the Emery brothers for stealing.
The sheriff no more returned with the brothers in tow when Nick came into his office. “I just wanted to make sure you brought them in.”
“Now Nick.” The sheriff began. “You know we don’t take kindly to cattle/horse thieving around here. The law will take care of the Emery brothers.”
“See that it does.” Nick warned.
“Stop worrying.” The sheriff smiled. “The Emery brothers will hang for stealing you steer. I now believe they stole the other one as well.”
“That’s what I came to here.” Nick shook the sheriff’s hand. “I’ll see you later then.”
“By the way nick do you still have your guests?” The sheriff asked.
“Nick nodded. “Turns out they are relatives of ours.”
“No doubt in that seeing how that Steve fella looks just like Heath.” The sheriff noted.
“Yeah well I need to get back to the ranch. I’ll have Jarrod come argue out the legal doings of all of this.”
“I’ll be looking forward to that.” The sheriff bid Nick good bye then went to check on his prisoners.
When he got back to his desk he had another visitor. “Afternoon Mrs. Emery” the sheriff spoke kindly.
“Where are my boys?” Mrs. Emery sobbed.
“I’m afraid your boys did a very bad thing.” The sheriff tried to explain.
“I don’t care. I need you to release them at once.” Mrs. Emery pleaded.
“I can’t do that.” The sheriff tried to reason. “You know how we feel about horse and cattle thieves around here.”
“They didn’t mean it. They’ll never do it again. I’ll assure that besides the Barkley’s could spare a couple of head of live stock.”
“I’m sure if you would have asked…”
“Asked what sheriff we were to go begging like some…”
“The Barkley’s are more than generous. You know that. If your family has fallen on hard times…”
“The only ones who are going to have hard times are the Barkley’s. My husband will see to that.” Maggie Emery threatened.
“Now don’t go saying things like that.” Mrs. Emery.” The sheriff cautioned.
“”We’ll see.” She stormed out of the sheriff’s office and out on to the street. “Ok Heck it’s up to you. You take care of those Barkley’s once and for all….”
After talking to the sheriff Nick came back home “well” he announced the sheriff arrested both of them.”
“That’s good.” Jarrod replied.
“Are Steve and that boy still here?” Nick asked.
“I think they wanted to make sure that the sheriff arrested the Emery boys before they went back.”
“Maybe I can put them to work here.”
“I think we better let them get back to their own time.” Jarrod chided. “I mean they helped us out a lot. It was their idea to take a photograph to out fox the Emery brothers.
“I know. It’s just that those fences aren’t going to mend themselves.” Nick persisted.
“You can ask. But according to Dan one press of the button and they’re off.” Jarrod reminded.
“I’m not all for certain that I believe them.” Nick snorted.
Outside Jarrod’s study Dan and Steve over heard the conversation. “Care to make them believe us.” Dan smiled.
“How do we do that?” Steve wanted to know.
“I bet you could mend their fence in say under twenty minutes…”
“I get it. I mean this day in age who’s going to believe them? and bionics are so far off into the future…”
Dan smiled as he nodded. “Want to show them what you’re made of and help Heath out at the same time.”
“I’d love to show that Nick up.” Steve grinned.
“Well then what are we waiting for?” Dan gave Steve a slight shove into the study.
“Yes Steve what can we do for you?” Jarrod asked.
“I was wondering if I could be of any help before I go back? I mean you’ve bee very kind
“Just talk to Nick here he’s in charge of all of that. I’m the lawyer of the family.”
“A Lawyer?” Dan asked. “I am studying to be a lawyer myself. In fact I’m going to do both a lawyer and a doctor. Could I ask you a few questions?”
“I’d be glad to answer any that I can.”
Out on the families ranch Nick began barking orders “Now I want this wire tied to the fence posts as fast as the two of you can get it done”
“Yes sir.” Steve grabbed the first piece of wire and as fast as he could tied it to the first then fence posts in just under two minutes. “He looked up at Nick who sat on top of his horse. “Is that fast enough?” He smiled.
Nick and Heath stared first at Steve then at one another. “How did you do that?” Nick asked.
“The miracle of modern science” Steve explained. “You see Dan and I were telling you the truth.”
“I think I believe you now.” Nick admitted.
“Well that’s good. I think I’ll go get Dan. We really need to get back.”
“I understand…” Nick gave a shy smile. “Do you think you could finish with the fence?” It would take Heath and I the better part of two days to finish.”
“I’ll have it done in less than an hour.” Steve smiled. “Then we have to get back to our own time.”
“I wish you could stay.” Heath sighed.
“I know.” Steve put his arm around him. “But I really have to get back to …”
He was interrupted when the sheriff came riding up a top speed. “”I’m glad I caught you out here Nick.”
“What is it.” Nick asked.
“It’s old Heck Emery I guess he’s pretty upset that you folks had his boys arrested…”
“Now wait a minute here.” Nick argued. “I didn’t have them arrested they had themselves arrested.”
“I know that.” The sheriff continued “It’s just that…well you how ole Heck can be. “He’s got it in his head those boys do nothing wrong.”
“Well they did this time.” Nice growled. “We even have them in a photograph. You found our steer in their barn.”
“They say you said they could have it. Then changed your minds” the sheriff added.
“You don’t believe that do you.” Heath asked.
“Of course not” the sheriff responded.
“Then what are you doing here.” Nick asked.
“I need to talk to you guys. Is Jarrod around?”
Nick nodded. “He’s up at the house.” He pointed to Heath and Steve “You better come too.”
“What is it sheriff?” Jarrod asked.
“It’s like I was telling your brothers. Heck Emery is not happy…”
“Has he made any threats?” Jarrod asked.
“Well no he hasn’t.” The sheriff replied.
“Well then I really don’t see that there is anything to worry about.”
“But…” The sheriff continued to warn.
“I think we can handle anything that comes along.” Nick offered.
“I hope you’re right.” The sheriff turned to leave. “Especially with visitors.”
Steve and Dan had stood on the sidelines watching the exchange. “Maybe we better go now Steve I mean if there’s going to be trouble.”
“That’s exactly why we should stay.” Steve reminded. “If there is going to be trouble I think I should stay and help.”
“But you could alter history without meaning to.” Dan reminded.
“I don’t think we need to worry about that. Besides I have a fence I’m helping put up and very quickly to I might add.”
“Steve. You’re not using your bionics are you?” Dan scolded.
“As a matter of fact…”
“You really shouldn’t.” Dan warned.
“It’s not going to hurt anything.” Steve scoffed.
“Well I hope it doesn’t.” Dan sighed.
“Look I’ll be careful I promise.” Steve assured.
“Just be careful.” Dan advised
“I will.” Steve continued to assure
“Well come on men.” Nick called “that fence isn’t going to put itself up.”
“We’re coming.” Heath and Steve replied.
Steve and Heath followed Nick outside and they had the fence up before dinner was ready.
After dinner Jarrod and Dan continued to talk about the law. Dan had been wondering what he was going to write his final essay on when he took the bar exam and now he knew. He was going to compare modern day law with the ‘law of the west’ to coin a phrase.
While Dan and Jarrod talked Steve felt as if he were trying to protect his family from some unseen evil force.
Later that evening as the Barkley’s prepared to turn in for the night there was a loud knock at the front door.
“I’ll take care of it.” Heath called out
“Thanks Heath. Try to send whoever it is away. It’s been a long day.” Victoria yawned.
“I will.” Heath headed for the front door while everyone else started upstairs.
“Yes, can I help you?” Heath politely spoke as he opened the door.
“You sure can Barkley.” Heck Emery spat.
Recognizing Emery’s voice Jarrod and Nick started for the door as well.
“What do you want Emery.” Jarrod shouted.
He was answered by several shots. By the time it was over Heath lay on the floor with several gunshot wounds including to his head and back.
“Nick!” Victoria screamed. “Go get the doctor!!”
While the family waited in the parlor for the Doctor to come and give them a report on Heath’s condition the sheriff interviewed the family.
“Steve and Dan stood in the foreground. “Here I thought they were going to need me. I think it’s you they are going to need.
Dan gave a slight nod. “If there is anything at all I can do I’ll do it.”
“That’s good to hear.” Steve whispered back. “Heath looked like he was in pretty bad shape.”
“It might not be as bad as it looked.” Dan added
“Then on the other hand…” Steve didn’t get a chance to finish. They all turned when the Dr. entered.
“Well.” Victoria demanded….
“It’s not good Mrs. Barkley.” The Dr. sighed. “If he does survive and that’s a mighty big IF” He’ll more than likely never walk again…”
“What are you trying to say?” Jarrod put a protective arm around his mother.
In the corner Steve and Dan watched everything very closely. Steve turned to Dan. “Is there anything you can do? I know that procedure you have been working on is still in the developmental stage…”
“Actually it’s ready to go. I’ve just been looking for the right candidate. But I can’t do it here.”
“Explain that to me.” Steve requested
“What I’m trying to say Jarrod is that Heath’s condition is very bad. He could die at any moment from either one of the bullets in his head or the one lodged up against his spine.”
“The bullets are still in him.” Nick practically screamed.
“I’m afraid this is beyond my scope.” The Dr. sighed
“What I’m trying to say” Dan continued is that I don’t have the equipment I need…”
“I still don’t understand.” Steve interrupted.
“Steve, we need to take Heath to our time.” Dan explained. “Everything I need is in the lab.”
“Can we do that?” Steve asked
Dan nodded. “But we need to act fast if we’re going to save Heath.” Dan continued.
“But I mean you’re sure we can take him back with us?” Steve questioned again.
“Remember, when I first invented the time machine? I brought John Dillinger back.”
“I’d forgotten about that… Ok let’s do it.” The two approached the Barkley’s
“Well, Dr.” Victoria was saying. “I believe my son is stronger than you give him credit for. All the Barkley men are.”
“That may be true Mrs. Barkley…I’m just giving it to you as straight as I can. I’ll be back in the morning to see how he’s doing.”
“Thank you very much.” Audra showed him to the door.
“Mrs. Barkley.” Steve approached her.
“Oh yes I’m sorry I forgot you and you friend were here.” Victoria tried to hold back the sobs.
“There may be a way to save you son. Although it is a bit drastic” Steve turned to Nick and Jarrod. “Do you remember what we discussed as to how Dan and I arrived here?”
Nick and Jarrod nodded.
“What we told you was the truth. We can take Heath and the rest of you for that matter to our time. We have a friend who is the best surgeon in the world. If anyone can save Heath, its Rudy wells.” Steve hesitated a moment. “And this young man right here.” He pointed to Dan.
Victoria shook her head.
”Look Mrs. Barkley” Dan began. I know this is hard to believe. But you’ve seen the pictures in Steve’s wallet. Compare them to the pictures of today. I know you’re having a hard time believing us but it’s true.”
“I don’t know.” Victoria moaned. “I just don’t know.”
“I do know one thing.” Dan pressed. “We are wasting valuable time. If I’m going to help Heath we need to get him back to our time right now…if it’s not to late already.”
“I’m not so sure we can believe you or not.” Nick began. “I mean what you’re saying…”
“I know.” Dan finished. “it doesn’t make any sense. Let me prove it to you.”
Dan ran up the stairs followed by Steve and the entire Barkley clan. “Ok Dan shouted holding tight to Heath’s shoulder “Everyone grab onto me!”
Everyone did grab on to Dan. Not necessarily because he told them to, they were trying to stop him. But Dan hit the button on the remote link and soon the entire group was standing in front of Rudy and Oscar.
“What the devil is going on?” Oscar shouted
“Oscar. Watch your language.” Steve chided “There are ladies present.”
“Steve what is going on?” Rudy asked after seeing Heath’s condition.
“I don’t have a whole lot of time to explain.” Steve began. “This man here is Heath Barkley and from all that we can determine he is my great-great grandfather. He has been shot…”
“I can see that. Come on Dan help me get him down to surgery.” Rudy called out.
Dan helped Rudy stretch Heath out on a gurney and the two headed for the OR.
“You see.” Steve turned to Nick and Jarrod. We were telling you the truth.”
“I can’t hardly believe it.” Nick stared around the lab at all of the equipment. “How is this possible?”
Oscar turned to Steve. “Who are the rest of these people.
“I guess you could say they are my family. My great-great uncles I suppose. This is Nick and Jarrod. Oh and this is Audra.” The he pointed to Victoria I guess this is my great-great-great grandmother.”
“I see.” Oscar stammered. “You want to tell me just what is going on. How was he shot?”
“It’s a long story Oscar.” Steve started He began to fill Oscar in on what took place after Dan’s time machine transported him back to 1877.
“I’ll ask you later how this happened.” Rudy started once they had Heath in surgery.
“I’d appreciate that.” Dan began. “I’m going to apply that new procedure I’ve been working on. It’s ready to go we’ve just been looking for the right person…I think we’ve found him.” Dan indicated Heath.
“Is he really Steve’s great-great grandfather?” Rudy looked at the extremely familiar face laying on the gurney.
Dan nodded. “No doubt about it. Steve is very certain.”
“Ok then” Rudy agreed. “Go ahead. I’ll try to relieve the pressure in the brain.”
“Of course I strongly suggest that no one knows about what we’re going to do.” Dan suggested.
“I agree.” Rudy nodded. “Let’s get started.
“That’s incredible.” Oscar mouthed when Steve finished his story “absolutely incredible.”
“I know I found it pretty amazing myself.” Steve gave a slight smile. “We need to keep the rest confined to this one room though.” Steve suggested
“I have to agree with that.” Oscar nodded. “How long do you think Rudy and Dan will be?”
Steve shrugged. “I really don’t know.” He sighed. “From what the Dr. in 1877 told us the injury to his back is pretty bad. Dan was going to try his new implant on him.”
“Think it will work.” Oscar sounded skeptical.
“Dan is pretty certain that it will.” Steve headed across the room to where the shocked Barkley’s stood. “Is everyone alright?” Steve asked. “We don’t want you to leave this room. I don’t want sound like I’m holding you prisoner or anything but there are things out there” Steve pointed outside “that you just won’t understand.”
“All I want to know is how my son is doing!” Victoria cried.
“We’ll know soon. Rudy is very good at keeping us informed he also shoots straight from the hip.”
Across the room Nick and Jarrod stood talking. “I for one would like to have a look around.” Nick stated
“Same here” the two watched as Steve continued talking to Victoria.
“Come on Nick.” Jarrod pulled his brother out the door. “We’re going to see what the 20th century is all about. Maybe we’ll see one of those horseless carriages.”
“Fat chance” Nick scoffed. “I’m sure we’ll see it just like it is in the cities. Imagine a horseless carriage.”
“You saw the picture.” Jarrod reminded.
Nick shrugged his shoulders. “I still don’t buy it.”
The two headed down the hall and went through the doorway marked stairway and started down.
“Well that does it Dan.” Rudy yawned. “I feel terrible I usually try to inform the family but…”
“I know we didn’t have time. I’ll close up if you want to go on out.”
“I’m taking you up on that offer.” Rudy headed for the door leaving his wonderful assistant to close up the incisions from the tremendous surgery they had just preformed on Steve’s great-great grandfather.
Everyone in Rudy’s office jumped to their feet the minute Rudy walked in. “Mrs. Barkley.” He addressed Victoria.
Victoria stood and prepared herself for the worst. “Yes Dr.” She spoke softly
“Heath is going to be fine. It will take a while before we know if Dan’s method worked. But at least he’s alive.”
“What do you mean by that?” she asked.
“Well I mean it will take us some time to know if Heath is going to walk again…but right now the prospect looks very good. You can go see him in just a bit.”
“I’d like to go to him now if you don’t mind.” Victoria pressed
“Not at all just follow me.” Rudy led her down the hall to a room Dan was just coming out of. “She wants to sit with him.” Rudy explained.
“That’s a great idea. I’m heading back to the lab. I think we need to send everyone but Heath and Mrs. Barkley back to where they belong. I mean Heath is going to be here for some time.”
“That sounds good.” Rudy agreed. “I don’t want Steve going back though. The law in 1877 will deal with the Emery Brothers”
“I’ll keep him from doing that.” Dan smiled.
As Rudy led Victoria into Heath’s dimly lit room Dan headed back down to the lab, ready to send Nick, Jarrod and Audra back to where they belonged.
“Hi Steve, Rudy and I were just talking. I think we need to send everyone but Heath and Victoria back to 1877.”
“I’ll go with them…” Steve began.
“Rudy says let the law in the time deal with it. They’ll handle it.” Dan held him back. “Now” he turned to Audra. “Miss Barkley where are your brothers?” Dan looked around the lab.
“I don’t know.” Audra stated.
“Down on the street Nick and Jarrod were amazed by the sites they were seeing…
“What do you mean you don’t know?” Dan stammered. “They can’t leave this room.” Dan began searching for the two Barkley brothers.
“I’m sorry.” Audra said. “They were here a few moments ago.”
“They couldn’t have gotten too far.” Dan shouted as he ran out the door.
“Wait Dan!” Steve called. I’ll help you.” Steve ran after Dan who stood at the door leading to the stairway.
“Why not take the elevator.” Steve suggested
“Because two men from the 1870’s aren’t going to know how to run an elevator besides this is right across from Rudy’s office.”
“Let’s go then.” Steve opened the door and the two bolted down them.
“Wow.” Jarrod finally said.
Nick too stared in amazement. He poked Jarrod in the ribs. “What did Dan call those?” He pointed to the cars lined up in the parking lot.
“A horseless carriage…or…” Jarrod snapped his fingers “a car. Is that what he called it?”
Nick shrugged. “I really wasn’t paying that much attention.”
“Well I was. He showed us a photograph and said it was a car.”
“Now I remember.” Nick agreed.
Nick and Jarrod turned toward the road where they saw more cars. “Dan was right. They do move without a horse.” Jarrod admitted.
“This is amazing.” Nick followed Jarrod out of the parking lot and the two headed down the road. There was nothing around but trees.
“I thought there would be more here.” Nick sounded dismayed.
“Well maybe there is a town up ahead.” Jarrod indicated. “Let’s follow the road and see where it leads us.”
When they came out of Rudy’s Colorado complex Steve and Dan didn’t see Nick and Jarrod anywhere. “I’ll search the parking lot Steve.” Dan suggested. “You get in the car and see if they went up the road at all.”
“I’ll go north” Steve agreed. “If you don’t see them in the parking lot, get in your dad’s car and head south.”
Dan nodded. “I’ll call you on the car phone if I find them.”
Steve also nodded “me to.” He jumped in his car and headed north searching for Nick and Jarrod.
Nick and Jarrod continued south along the highway till they arrived in Colorado Springs. Once again they were amazed by what they saw.
They stared open mouthed into store fronts displaying articles of clothing and were astonished by how much everything cost.
“I thought the cost of living was high where we live.” Nick pointed out.
Finding the parking lot empty Dan jumped into his dad’s car and headed south. ‘I wonder if they headed into Colorado Springs.’ He thought.
Dan picked up the car phone and dialed Steve’s car. “Any luck?” He asked.
“No Dan I don’t see them at all. I’m going to turn around and head south toward Colorado Springs.”
“I’m on my way there now.” Dan explained.
“They couldn’t have gotten this far on foot.” Steve pointed out.
“I agree. I’ll see you in town.” Dan hung up and continued driving glancing ever so often out the window to see if he saw the way word Barkley brothers.
Dan parked his car on the street and inserted a couple of dimes into the parking meter then he looked up and down the street searching for Nick and Jarrod.
Just as he was about to give up Steve pulled up behind him. “Have you found them yet?” Steve asked.
Dan shook his head. “Not yet maybe we’re in the wrong place.” Dan sighed. “I think when I get back to the lab I’m going to smash that thing into bits. It’s caused nothing but trouble since I created it.”
“You have to wait till you send everyone back before you do that. “ Steve reminded.
“I guess you’re right. You take this side of the street. I’ll take that side. Meet back here in ten minutes weather we find them or not.”
Steve agreed and began his search. He thought he should check in the stores. ‘They may find something interesting.’ Steve thought as he entered the department store.
As he entered he saw a crowd gathered at the escalator, wondering what the commotion was he thought he better check it out. It took some time but he finally made his way to the front where Nick and Jarrod were starring at the escalator while trying to put their feet on the moving steps.
“Come on!” Some one in the crowd shouted. “Either go down or get out of the way!”
Just as Steve was about to lead Nick and Jarrod away the manager of the store came over. “Is there a problem?” he stared and Nick and Jarrod.
“Yeah there’s a problem!” The same man shouted. “These two idiots won’t get going and the rest of us want to go down stairs.
The manager glared at Nick and Jarrod but before he was able to say anything Steve grabbed the two. “Come on you two. You’re getting too much into character.” He turned toward the manager. “They are in a movie that’s being produced. “A western. escalators weren’t invented yet. I guess they are taking their roles a little to seriously."
“Just get them out of my store.” The manager demanded.
“No problem.” Steve took hold of Nick and Jarrod and led them back to the entrance. “Come on, Dan is waiting for us at the car.”
“Ah you found them.” Dan heaved a sigh of relief when he saw Steve. "Now to get them back to the lab so we can send them back.”
Steve and brought Jarrod and Nick back to the lab. “They’ve just been site seeing through the twentieth Century.” Steve noted. “I think they’re ready to go back now.”
“That sounds good.” Jarrod agreed.
“Then just step over this way. I’ll send you back to just a few minutes after Dan brought you here.”
Nick and Jarrod gave their mother and sister a light kiss then Dan hit the switch sending them back to 1877.
“Think they’ll be alright.” Steve asked.
“They’re fine. I’m sure.” Rudy smiled.
The next two months were very hard for Heath. But with Steve right beside him and his mother encouraging his every effort Heath slowly learned how to walk again.
It wasn’t long and Rudy and Dan both felt Heath was strong enough to go back to where he belonged.
Heath and Victoria dressed in the clothes they had had on when Heck Emery had shot Heath. Then they stepped in front of Dan’s laser and vanished back to their own time.
They were standing on the porch just ready to open the door when Nick opened the door. “Well Heath, mother welcome back.” He shouted. He called to Jarrod and Audra. “Jarrod! Audra. Mother and Heath are back!!”
Audra and Jarrod came running. They hugged then headed inside to have breakfast.
“I hope you didn’t think getting shot would get you out of helping me mend the fences did you.” Nick smiled. He put his arm around Heath. “I’m glad you’re back. We’ll get to those fences later.”
“That sounds fine. I’m ready just about anytime.” Heath smiled how about tomorrow after breakfast?”
“That sounds fine with me. You just relax today. Take it easy.”
They all sat at the breakfast table.
“By the way what happened to Heck Emery.” Heath asked.
Jarrod shook his head. “They hanged him along with his sons.”
“That’s terrible!” Victoria shouted. “Jarrod...”
“I tried to defend them mother. The jury just didn’t like them stealing cattle and shooting Heath.” Jarrod pointed out.
“I understand... I guess.” Victoria sighed.
“What are you thinking about?” Rudy finally managed to get Dan’s attention.
“I was just wondering how Heath was doing.” Dan sighed.
“I’m sure he’s just fine. You have a graduation to get ready for don’t forget.”
Dan nodded. “I guess you’re right. I better get ready. I still have that report to write for my law class.”
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