Main street TOA
David walked around the main town area. The place was freezing. He looked around for Mary. She said she’d be gone for a second, this was 13 minutes if the clock tower was anything to go by. Eventually he just stopped.
“Mary?” he spoke out. Nothing. He put together that she had some unworldly powers (though who doesn’t here?) that allow her to have everything prepared before they even needed it, including showing up before being needed. He turned around, maybe she was just behind him. No one was there outside of some giant spiders and two humanoids, one of the less weird things he saw.
Tired of waiting, he decided that he would just look around the area himself. The place looked somewhat like Disneyland, minus the rides. Colors everywhere, some oddly shaped buildings, there was even a sign that said “Main Street TOA”. What “TOA” stood for, he’d ask Mary later. He looked inside one of the buildings, a bakery. Cakes, muffins, some other pastries he didn’t know about. The next building was a diner. There was a sign that said it was closed, however, there were two people inside. Upon closer inspection, he realized that he was looking at the Caretaker and some machine. Whatever they were talking about, he couldn’t tell. Neither of them had a mouth, but he could determine that the Caretaker was doing most of the talking. The Caretaker was moving its hands dramatically while talking, and the machine seemed to light up when it was giving a response. It reminded him of when he first got here, which was only about 30 minutes ago. This meeting seemed different, however.
His meeting, while the Caretaker did talk a lot, seemed to be more of a conversation. It was a weird one, but informative. However, the machine here seemed to be the one questioned, giving only a few flashes before the Caretaker spoke again. Feeling obligated to find out (along with being bored), he knocked on the window. The two looked at him. Suddenly there was a warping noise, and the Caretaker was gone. There was a tap on his shoulder.
“Excuse me…” it was the Caretaker.
David quickly looked at the shadowy giant, startled.
“How did you-” David started, though stopping as he really shouldn’t be too surprised at this point.
“Where is Ms. Sue?” it asked.
“I was hoping you would know.”
“Last I saw her, she was correcting a mistake she made.”
“What was the mistake?”
“That,” it pointed to the machine. “It was supposed to arrive a few miles away from here. Instead, it popped up on the street.”
“How did that happen?”
“Unlike everyone here, its transport was aimed here. Ms. Sue was calculating for the clone, not the original.”
“What happened to the clone?”
“It merged with the original.”
David had to think about that for a moment.
“Is that why I can’t leave here?”
“No. Again, you can’t leave because your in the hollow part of the time vortex.”
“Ms. Sue,” it interrupted. She suddenly walked by David.
“Yes, Sir?” she spoke.
“You left David alone.”
“Sorry, I was busy.”
“How far did you get?”
David looked at the two, wondering what they were talking about. The Caretaker seemed to be aware of whatever Mary was working on, but didn’t want him in on it.
“I was able to get 94% of the calculations done.”
“In that case, I shall take care of the remaining 6% after I’m done with Z.A.H.A.R.I.”
So that’s what the machine is called. Mary had an offended look, which it answered by motioning to David. She looked at him.
“Sorry for leaving you like that.”
“Oh, uh, it’s okay.”
“Well, anyway, TOA stands for Trollus Orion Alpha.”
“Huh?” he then remembered that he was curious about that. “Oh, thank you,” he looked at Z.A.H.A.R.I. It was just staring at them, waiting to resume its conversation. Mary regained David’s attention.
“Let’s go now,” she said.
He looked at her, “Okay” he had no reason not to trust them.