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Manhunt Through Time Chapter 3: Atomic City

Third POV

Las Vegas 1962. A crowded casino fills the senses. Talking and laughter, the rolling of dice on a table, slot machines, and the melodious voice of Frank Sinatra fills the ears. “Ladies and gentlemen, please head to the pool. The show is about to begin!” A perky female voice says through a speaker system. People leave the crowded casino for the outdoor pool.

In one of the rooms above, a woman gets up out of bed at the sound of the perky voice. She dons a robe and walks over to the window. An atomic bomb explodes in the distance and the crowd cheers. “You should come see this, Jack,” the woman said.

“I’ve seen it before,” Jack said.

“Takes more than an atomic bomb to impress the President of the United States, does it?”

“Hmm. Sure does. Takes you.” Jack joins the woman by the window and they share a kiss.

Garcia Flynn kneels down behind an outdoor slot machine and takes pictures of the couple.

 

Eve’s POV

The night prior I read the dossier Agent Christopher had on me. Thankfully not much changed over the last two trips. My past remained unchanged for the most part. Only little things had changed. For example, I got the bar a month earlier than in my original timeline. I fell asleep on the couch and woke to a shrill ringing.

“Hello?” I asked, yawning.

“What happened on September 21st, 1962?” Agent Christopher asked.

“Um, I’m not sure. The Cuban Missile Crisis happened a month later.”

“We’ll figure it out on your way in. Flynn took out the Mothership, and we’re hours behind him.”

I carefully put the dossier away and got dressed. A car came to pick me up twenty minutes later and drove to Mason industries. Another car pulled in behind us and Lucy got out of the passenger seat. Together we walked inside and we each grabbed a seat at the nearest computer to figure out what was so important about September 21st, 1962. Mason and Rufus went off to talk about something serious.

“I got it!” Jiya exclaimed. “Guys, I know where they are.” We all walked closer to Jiya’s screen. “Um, uh, okay, so it turns out that the negative-mass kinetic energy given off by the Mothership actually leaves behind a trace of… They’re in Nevada,” she said, catching our dazed expressions. “Somewhere in this 50-mile radius.”

“Uh, not exactly a pinpoint. Can we do any better than 50 miles?” Mason asked, sitting at the computer next to Jiya.

“Sorry, no.”

“Well, it’s either the desert or Vegas, so… Vegas,” Wyatt said looking at the map.

“But why would Flynn go there?” Agent Christopher asked.

Lucy slid her chair back to her computer and began typing. “I’m looking,” she said. “Okay, September 21st. Vegas, 1962. President Kennedy was in town for a DNC fundraiser at the Sands hotel. Sinatra headlining.”

“So what are we thinking?” Rufus asked. “Flynn’s gonna ‘JFK’ JFK one year early?”

“I imagine it’s much worse than just one assassination. The Sands Hotel was the meeting place for celebrities, politicians, Mafia… If any one of them ended up dead it would be a disaster,” I said.

“Well, we need to get there first,” Wyatt said.

We all walked off to our respective dressing rooms. Lucy chose a simple yellow dress while I went for something a bit more eye-catching. I chose a powder blue, sleeveless, dress with white polka dots. It also had a tiny belt wrapped around the waist. Lucy lightly curled her hair and pinned back a small piece away from her face. I chose to straighten my hair and use an entire can of hairspray to give it some volume. The boys were waiting for us in the lifeboat. Lucy and I sat in our respective seats and Wyatt had to help Lucy strap in.

“Something you want to tell us?” Wyatt asked Lucy.

“Huh?” she responded.

“Your rock,” I said, clipping on the last seatbelt.

“Is that part of the costume?” Wyatt asked.

“Oh. No, apparently, I’m engaged,” Lucy answered.

“Congratulations?” Rufus commented.

“To who?” I asked.

“Exactly,” Lucy said. “His name is Noah. I’ve never met him before, but there’s all these pictures of us on vacation that I have no memory of. I mean, ever since…  that we got back from the Hindenburg, my life has completely changed overnight.”

“You gonna take his name or are you gonna keep yours?” Wyatt asked.

“I don’t even know his last name.”

“Well, look on the bright side.”

“There’s a bright side?”

“You still got the honeymoon to look forward to,” Wyatt joked.

The lifeboat door closed and the vessel started to shake. I closed my eyes and waited for the shaking and rumbling to be over. Lucy looked like she was going to throw up. The shaking eventually stopped and Rufus opened the door and we found ourselves in the middle of the desert. Wyatt stumbled out of the plane and put his hand on his knees presumably to hold in the vomit wishing to escape.

“You couldn’t land any more out of the way?” Wyatt asked after he got his bearings.

“You rather I park on the Strip?” Rufus asked sarcastically. Off in the distance, we heard an explosion. “We’re too late,” Rufus said.

“That’s not Flynn,” I said. “There’s a nuclear test site about 60 miles on the other side of town.”

“Who’s crazy enough to test a nuclear bomb outside of Vegas?”

“The US Department of Energy,” Lucy answered.

“During the ‘50s and ‘60s, they tested over 1,000 nuclear weapons in the Nevada desert,” Wyatt answered. “Set ‘em off a couple times a week.” Lucy and I looked over at him in surprise. “What? I know my military history.”

“Before Vegas was known as Sin City they called it Atomic City,” I said.

We started walking through the desert when Rufus asked. “Anyone got any sunscreen?” I shook my head and let out a small chuckle.

A little over two hours later we reached the casino. People were everywhere gambling at all sorts of tables. “There’s, like, 54 years worth of baseball games we can bet on in here,” Rufus said. Lucy gave him the ‘are you serious look’ and Rufus replied, “What? You don’t like money?”

Wyatt went to case the place and he told the three of us to blend in. I grabbed a drink off a nearby cocktail waitress and pretended to be interested in gambling. Wyatt walked back to us and told us that there was no way to sneak into the show. Lucy offered to call in a bomb threat but Wyatt shot her down. He argued that he finally knew where Flynn was going to be and that it would only spook him. I noticed that Rufus disappeared but the other two did not.

“Guys, I got uniforms. We can get in,” Rufus said, ending their debate.

“What? How did you…” Wyatt asked.

“‘Cause in ‘62 I’m pretty much invisible. It’s my superpower.”

Wyatt and Rufus got white server uniforms while he grabbed cigarette girl outfits for Lucy and I. Lucy sent him back but I chose to be a cigarette girl for the night. Wyatt seemed surprised but I just reminded him that we needed to cover more ground. The four of us split up to change before meeting back inside the lounge.

The Rat Pack started playing “Luck be a Lady” and the crowd seemed to enjoy it. My ass got slapped at least twice. Needless to say, I was grateful when the song was over. Wyatt must have spotted Flynn because he took off. I got Lucy’s attention and we went in the same direction. A woman with red hair came out of the kitchen frightened and Rufus caught her before she could leave. Wyatt stumbled out of the same room with a bloody nose.

“Are you okay?” Rufus asked the woman.

“I think so,” she answered.

“Why was he after you?” Wyatt asked a bit more aggressively than needed at the moment.

“I don’t know,” she answered, her voice sounded scared.

“Are you Cristy Pitt, by any chance?” Rufus asked.

“What? No, my name is Judith Campbell.”

“You’re Judith Campbell?” Lucy and I asked at the same time.

“Who’s Judith Campbell?” Rufus asked.

“Only the greatest woman in espionage,” I answered.

It took master persuasion skills and a firm grip to get Judith to safety. While I got us a car Wyatt, Lucy, Rufus, and Judith all met me at the service entrance. Wyatt got in the driver’s seat and drove to a cheap motel and booked a room. 

“What do you think you’re doing?” Judith asked as Wyatt shoved her in the room.

“I’m saving your life. You’re welcome, by the way,” Wyatt sassed back.

“Snark isn’t going to help Wyatt,” I said with a certain edge in my voice.

“You let me out of here!” Judith demanded.

“Lady, I’m trying to protect you,” Wyatt insisted.

“By kidnapping me from another kidnapper?”

“All right,” Rufus said, clearing his throat. “We’re Vegas PD.”

Lucy spoke next trying to play along with Rufus’s lie but failing miserably at it. “We’re, us… we’re undercover.”

“Let’s see some badges,” Judith asked, disbelief clear in her voice.

I walked over to the minibar and poured a small bottle of bourbon in a class and added a few ice cubes. “Guys, lying isn’t going to get her to trust us, so why don’t the boys go check and make sure we weren’t followed while the girls chat?” I offered. I handed the drink to Judith and she took it with a small smile.

“I like you,” she said.

“Awe,” I said in a high pitched girly squeal. “I like you too.”

Wyatt just stared at me like I had grown a second head. I nodded towards the door and he seemed to get the hint. I patted Rufus on the arm and he went with Wyatt.

Once the door closed Judith asked, “Are you gonna be straight with me?”

I sat down on the coffee table and she sat on the couch. “We work with the government and we are trying to apprehend the man that tried to grab you. His name is Garcia Flynn and he is wanted in connection to his family’s death. He is a very dangerous man and if he wants you as badly as I think he wants you, he won’t stop until he has you,” I said.

“Why does he want you?” Lucy asked.

“Lots of men want me,” Judith answered. “They’re usually more polite about it.”

“Why don’t you go freshen up and we’ll get this sorted out?” Lucy offered.

Judith got up from the couch and walked into the bathroom and slammed the door behind her. Wyatt and Rufus rejoined us, telling us that the perimeter is clear. “Did she tell you what she knows yet?” Wyatt asked.

“She doesn’t trust us and for good reason,” I said. “She is at the dead center of 1960s politics. She is Kennedy’s mistress and Sam Giancana’s mistress.”

“The mob boss?”

“Remember the plot to kill Castro I told you about?” Lucy asked. Wyatt nodded his head so Lucy continued. “She is the one that delivers messages from JFK to the mob.”

“Okay, this is some real Oliver Stone stuff right here,” Rufus joked.

“She has some of the most powerful men in the world wrapped around her finger,” I said.

“So she’s an operator,” Wyatt said. “What does Flynn want with her?”

“Think about it. If she’s dead before she can deliver the messages back and forth from JFK to the mob, history would change as we know it.”

Just then a loud rumble came from inside the bathroom. Wyatt broke down the door to find Judith attempting to escape. After threatening to tie her up to keep her here we found out that Flynn had pictures of Judith and JFK. Flynn threatened to expose such pictures if Judith didn’t do what he wanted.

After an hour the tension in the room lowered considerably. Wyatt went into the adjoining room to do who knows what while Rufus stayed with us girls to keep watch from the window. Lucy offered Judith a glass of water but she didn’t want it.

“So, you and brooding blue eyes in the next room,” Judith said looking at me. “You sleeping with him?”

“Uh, no,” I said flustered.

“He could use it. He’s wound pretty tight.”

Snap! Rufus stammered before walking into the next room. “Something tells me he’s not ready. He’s still mourning his dead wife and I have my own personal hell to get through before I invite anyone to the party.”

“So, how’d you know? This Flynn guy tell you?”

“Doesn’t matter. Your secrets are safe with us. As soon as we find Flynn, you can go back to-”

“To Jack? All right. Go ahead, say it. You think I’m a tramp.”

“Absolutely not. I think you are intelligent, intuitive, and fascinating.”

“Don’t think another woman’s ever called me that before.”

“Well, it’s true. A woman in this day and age doing anything except being a housewife, it’s pretty impressive.”

“Honestly, I… felt like a nobody. And then one night, I met Jack. And the next morning it was all different. Like a roller coaster. You ever wake up one day and not recognize your own life?”

My mind flashed back to the day I found out that I was going to be a mother. I still remember being so scared, having all that responsibility on my shoulders. “Yeah, I do,” I said. I looked over at Lucy and she seemed to be lost in her thoughts.

“And now I never know what’s going to happen next. I really don’t.”

“Isn’t that terrifying?” Lucy asked.

“Some of the time.”

“Do you ever wish that you could go back to your old life?”

“Never. It’d be easier, I guess, but I think if I did, I’d always wonder.”

“Wonder what?”

“If I was missing out on something better.”

Wyatt walked back into the room and asked her if Christy Pitt meant anything to her. She said that the name didn’t ring a bell. Wyatt sent Rufus to do some more investigating before proposing a ludicrous plan. Wyatt wanted to use Judith as bait for Flynn. Lucy and Wyatt expressed their reservations to this plan and Judith inquired about her pictures. Wyatt said that Judith would get her pictures back when this was over. Lucy asked for a private word with Wyatt. When they came back Wyatt seemed more agitated and Lucy seemed frazzled.

Wyatt and Judith drove back to the Sands hotel leaving Rufus, Lucy, and I to find our own way back. We hailed a cab and walked to the service entrance. Rufus walked up to the hotel concierge and lied to the clerk about having a bottle of champagne that needed to be delivered. I looked behind us and saw that Flynn and his guys were walking through the hotel lobby. Lucy told us that she wasn’t just going to stand there so we followed them to the elevators. I saw the stairs and we took them up. We were running down the hall to find Wyatt just standing in front of the elevator doors.

He turned around and pointed his gun at us. “Whoa, hey, it’s just us,” I said.

“I thought I told you to wait downstairs,” Wyatt scolded.

“Yeah, no, you look like you had it well in hand,” Rufus muttered.

“What happened?” I asked.

“She doubled-crossed us. That’s what happened,” Wyatt answered. “She went right to Flynn.”

“Well, of course, she did, because Flynn still has the pictures and she’s still afraid that he’s gonna use them,” Lucy said. “He has the upper hand. Plus, you could’ve been a little nicer to her.”

Wyatt ignored both of them and walked right past them. “What? No. Hey, where are you going?” Rufus asked.

“What are we supposed to do now?” Lucy asked.

Wyatt kept walking down the hall ignoring us. “Just figure out who or what Christy Pitt is,” I said. “I’ll deal with him.” I chased after Wyatt, giving him enough space to sulk but not enough to lose him. I found him in front of the Western Union Telegraph. He wanted to send a telegraph warning Jessica about her impending doom.

“… Even if he’s being an ass. Just let him take you home. And know that he loves you. More than you’ll ever know… Yeah. Thanks,” Wyatt said, putting money on the counter. When he turned around he seemed surprised to see me. “Worked in ‘Back to the Future II’.”

He started to walk past me when I called him back. “I can’t judge you for wanting to have her back in your life. Just don’t get your hopes up. There are fifty years or so for something to go wrong. Death is the one thing we can’t outrun.”

“I don’t believe in fate. It’s all just dumb luck and random chance. It’s just a roll of the dice.”

Rufus ran up to us all excited like. “Guys, guys, guys. I know why Flynn is here. It was staring at me right in the face. I’m so sorry, it was staring at me the whole time.”

“Slow down,” Lucy said, trying to calm him down.

“It’s just such an outdated phrase. I’ve only heard it once used at MIT. Leave it up to Anthony to call it that.”

“Rufus, what are you talking about?” Wyatt asked, growing impatient.

“Christy Pitt. It’s not a person. It’s the Christy pit-”

“Wait, the Christy pit. As in the plutonium core for an A-bomb?” I asked.

“That’s it, the one named after Robert Christy.”

The four of us walked through the main casino and headed to the front doors.

“How in the world could Flynn possibly steal an atom bomb without anybody noticing?” Lucy asked.

“Technically he wouldn’t have to steal the whole thing, just it’s plutonium core,” I answered for Rufus. “Once the pit is removed, it’s actually quite small.”

“Wait, so Flynn is suddenly an expert at dismantling an atomic bomb?” Wyatt asked.

This time Rufus answered, “Flynn doesn’t have to be. He’s got Anthony.”

“Could they take the core in the Mothership?”

“I don’t know. It’s not exactly something we ever tried before, but if it explodes during a time jump, who knows what it’ll do? To the past or the present?”

“And Flynn’s just crazy enough to try it,” Lucy said.

We walked outside and to our advantage, a car was just pulling up. Rufus pretended to be the valet to get the keys. He made another quip about being invisible and we all got in the car and headed towards the desert. Along our journey, we spotted Flynn and Judith in a car coming at us. Wyatt decided to play chicken with them despite our very vocal disapproval of his idea. Thankfully Wyatt and Flynn both swerved and we avoided a crash. 

Unfortunately, no crash meant a gun battle. Wyatt told us to stay in the car when the bullets went flying. Lucy managed to convince him that he couldn’t do it alone so Rufus set out to talk to Anthony while Lucy and I went to rescue Judith. Lucy and I made it to Judith bullet free.

“Judith,” Lucy called out as we crouched down beside her.

“I didn’t know,” She said scared. “I wouldn’t have helped him if I knew about the bomb.”

“We believe you. Okay? We’ve got to get out of here. Come on!” We each grabbed one of her hands and ran for our car. Once again the three of us remained bullet free.

Flynn made a run for his friend’s car and they drove away. Rufus stood in front of Wyatt claiming that Anthony gave us the nuke and that he was in trouble. Wyatt lowered his gun still angry. Lucy sat in our borrowed car talking to Judith. Judith got out of the car and started walking away.

“Hey!” I called out to her. “Are you gonna be okay?”

“Always am. Oh, hey. Sorry about the crack on the head, gorgeous. Don’t take it personal,” Judith teased Wyatt.

“What happens to her?” Wyatt asked.

“Eventually, her secrets come out anyway,” Lucy answered. “She’s vilified by the public, and she dies of cancer.”

“Damn,” Rufus said. “She seems like she had it all together.”

“No one’s got it all together,” I said.

“Better get that suitcase back where it belongs.”

“Hopefully before anyone knows that it’s gone,” Lucy muttered.

“No, no, no, no,” Rufus exclaimed. He opened up the case to find it empty. “He switched it.”

“Rufus,” Wyatt said. “Does Flynn have the nuke?”

“Unfortunately he does.”

In defeat, we walked back to the Lifeboat and jumped back home. We clambered out of the ship and were met with questions from Agent Christopher. She chewed Wyatt out for not completing his mission already. We also branded Anthony as a terrorist because he is helping Flynn. Rufus, of course, objected to the statement but in the eyes of the law what Anthony did was terrorism.

After Agent Christopher left we all went to our respective changing rooms. I left my purse in the conference room and went back to get it. I found Wyatt sitting at his computer with a disheartening look on his face.

“Did it work?” I asked, picking up my purse from the table. He slightly shook his head no. “I… I’m so sorry, Wyatt.”

“It was a long shot,” he answered trying to play it down.

“Then try again when we are closer to her death date in time. Try again. Maybe one day it will work.”

“I thought death was something you couldn’t outrun.”

“Doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.” I walked out of the room and back to the dressing room where I changed out of my 1960’s attire and traded up for lounging around clothes.

 

Third Person POV

Anthony, Flynn, and their associate left their warehouse and drove back to Las Vegas. They didn’t stop at the glittering casinos nor did they watch any shows. They drove to the middle of the desert and started to dig. At the bottom of their pit, they hit a metal oil drum. They unearthed it from the dirt and Anthony opened it up. Inside was the Christy pit from 1962.

My name is Sydney. I am currently a Junior at Winona State University. I love to write short stories and fantasy stories. I am an avid Disney fan.
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