Prologue: 2005 -

Things had once again escalated between the Zik Zak corporation and their rival Zlin. The city around Network 23 was beginning to look like the war zone it had become.

Cheviot had called an emergency meeting to address all of Network 23's employees.

"As you know, we have always had a secret plan for the survival of this network in the case of any emergency. Since it looks like this might escalate to atomics, we have decided to implement Code Nine."

Everyone looked at each other anxiously.

"What's code nine?" Theora asked Edison and Murray.

Edison shrugged.

"They place a single individual in a stasis chamber hidden in the old underground city," Bryce explained. "That person basically acts as a living time capsule, holding the secrets of the past until they are revived in the future."

"Where are they going to find someone with a mind as disciplined as that?" Edison began. Then he stared at Bryce. "You've got to be kidding! Bryce, you can't!"

"Wouldn't it make more sense if Max..."

"Max is coming with me," Bryce explained. "It'll be up to him to instruct whoever finds me on how to open the door. It's no big deal. Really. Look, the war will probably end in a month or two and I'll come out of stasis at that time. You'll see."

"I'm coming with you," Edison declared.

"As am I," Theora agreed.

"You can't," Bryce told them. "There's only one stasis chamber. Everything will be fine. You'll see. We'll all be back together in no time."

"At least let us see you off," Edison requested.

"That I can do," Bryce smiled.

"Then let's have dinner out together," . "All of us for one last time. Or at least until we're reunited in the future."

"Shawn's back at the restaurant," Theora told them. "I'll have him get us a table."

"Make it for nine," Bryce told them. "I'd like a chance to say goodbye to Reg, Dom and Bruno."

"Will do," Theora promised.

"Are you sure the chamber works?" Murray asked that evening as they waited at the entrance to the restaurant for Reg, Dom, Bruno, and Cheviot to arrive.

Bryce nodded. "They've had a seedling in it ever since it was first tested around the time I started working at Network 23. It's still a seedling to this day. No growth, but no withering either."

"So, Bryce," Bruno said as he arrived with Reg and Dom. "I hear you've decided to finally take a nap. Never could get you to lie down and rest for more than five minutes at school during break period."

"It's a habit he hasn't changed," said Cheviot, who had also just arrived.

Shawn approached them at that point. "Good evening. If you are all ready, I will..."

A nearby explosion suddenly rocked the restaurant, sending patrons diving for cover.

"No time," Theora apologized to her brother. "We've got to get to the Chrysalis! Now!"

"The Chrysalis?" Shawn asked. "In the old underground city?"

"One and the same," Cheviot told him. "If you know a shortcut?"

Shawn nodded and took off his apron. "Roland," he told another waiter who was passing him. "Take over. I need to get these people to the Chrysalis."

"Boss isn't going to like it," Roland told him.

"Nor does he have to," Shawn replied. "Just do it."

"And what do I do when he get mad?"

"Be glad you're not the one he's mad at," Shawn said as he lead his sister and her friends out the door.

"The town's really rockin' tonight," Reg commented, trying to keep a cheerful outlook as he and the others dodged explosions until they reached the entrance to what had once been the old Underground.

"Follow the route to Mornington Crescent," Shawn told them, hurriedly, once they were at the station's central hub. That's where the Chrysalis is. Hurry! I've got to get home to Winnie and the baby."

"Hey," Bryce spoke up, unexpectedly.

Shawn raised an eyebrow.

"Thanks," Bryce told him.

Shawn nodded and headed back to the exit that led to the street.

Using the light of his vidicam to guide them, Edison led the group down the empty tunnels of the old Underground. Above explosions rocked the city. A couple of times, they had barely missed being crushed by falling chunks of masonry. They quickened their pace, until finally they arrived at the main hub of Mornington Crescent.

The Chrysalis was there. Still intact and functioning. The seedling inside was still just about to open as it had been for many years."

"Bryce," Edison said, "Are you sure...?"

Bryce nodded. "I have to," he explained. "We can't risk leaving behind a wealth of technology with nobody to teach those who will come how to use it."

"We'll miss you," Theora said.

"What about Max?"

"Right here," Max said from a nearby monitor. "I was wonder wonder wondering when you were going to show up."

"I'll see you in a bit, Max," Bryce promised.

"I'll have breakfast ready when you awaken," Max joked.

"I'll pass..." Bryce told him as he stepped into the Chrysalis. "I've never been fond of fossils on toast."

"Good luck, kid," Edison said, his tone friendly, but full of worry.

Bryce gave a casual nod of reassurance, then closed his eyes. He wasn't sure if anything would be in the Chrysalis that could hurt them, but there was no reason to take chances. He didn't want to awaken in the future to find that he had gone blind.

The Chrysalis closed around Bryce until he could just be seen through it's translucent petals. Then it rose until it was hovering high in the middle of the chamber.

Explosions continued to rock the ground as Edison and his remaining crew tried to make it back to the city. They'd considered going above ground for the return trip, but had decided that would be an even greater risk than the tunnels. If they would just hold out.

The tunnels did not hold out.

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