Disclaimer: none of the characters are mine, but belong to Impossible Pictures™.
When Jess Parker saw Becker and the others return to the ARC in various states of hurt, she was aghast. Abby appeared largely unhurt, except for broken several toes and long, but shallow wounds on her back, arse, and thighs; Becker, Matt and Connor were also had long and shallow wounds, but also had to take tetanus shots; and Emily was the same as the men, but had a bandage around her face.
"What has happened?" Jess exclaimed weakly.
"As we have explained to the nice police officers, Ethan Dombrowski. That's who happened," Becker growled. "Apparently he got rid of Danny, and has come back for revenge... or something."
"But why? We meant him no harm!" Jess almost wailed: last time Becker and she had confronted Dombrowski on their own, they almost ended up blown up – and this time Becker and others had been blown up, basically speaking.
"That's because he doesn't care. He's insane," Becker exhaled. "Some people in the army were like that...eventually came to a bad end...but Ethan had skipped that stage altogether and is now aiming for self-destruction – only question now is how many people are going to get hurt because of him."
"That's... that's just inhuman," Jess whispered, quietly. "Dr. Burton, at least, he wanted to make the world a better place..."
"Yes; pity that he was Helen's puppet all the same." Connor, after receiving his tetanus shots, was a rather miserable person and unconsciously tried to share his misery with others (even though they were just as miserable as he was).
"Indeed?" James Lester raised his eyebrow and joined the discussion. "The last time I saw Mr. Quinn – when he was going to follow his brother to the Pliocene, that is – he claimed the Dr. Cutter was as dead a dodo, or something like that, basically. I believe that he knew what he was talking about, you know?"
"Really?" Connor and others exchanged thoughtful looks. "That's interesting, Mr. Lester. Danny was never a liar, and I really wish we could talk to him-"
"Well, you'll be able, if he recovers," Lester said flatly. "While you were away on your excursion with Mr. Ethan, I received a call from a hospital, asking me to come over. I arrived, and there was Danny, heavily sedated; only operated, even in worse shape than Emily."
"Right now, he's in the hospital, under observations of police and medical staff. He, apparently, has some friends left in the Force, and generally speaking, the Force was not very amused, and after Ethan's little firework display, it is amused even less. Consequently, it'll be working in tandem with us for the time being, until Ethan is caught or killed." The last words were said with distaste but firmly, Lester having clearly resolved whatever moral quandaries the choice of shooting Ethan on sight had been brought forth. "Any questions?"
There was a general silence – the police force was not the only organization that wanted Ethan to be gone for good by now.
"No?" James Lester asked to be doubly sure. "Very well. Then off you go to the medical wing, and then you will be briefed about our new co-operation with the police in a greater detail. The minister," for a brief moment Lester looked much more feral than the usual, "has agreed to permit this co-operation without much argument, so no problem from that quarter, by the way. For now – dismissed!"
...As Jess helped Becker and others get to the center's medical wing, James Lester let his confident mask slip away. The bullet in Danny's leg was identified as belonging to a Lee-Enfield rifle Mk III, whose production was stopped in the early 1950s, after WWII (Becker was able to identify it only because he had written his thesis upon it and similar WWI weapons). The explosives used by Ethan earlier today consisted not only of self-made nail bombs, but also of discarded and mostly empty WWII Soviet-style flamethrower fuel tanks for the extra bang and flame. Together, this could mean that Ethan had a time anomaly leading to the WWII era or some time nearby, and that was just too disturbing to think.
"If we end up invaded by the bloody SS that'll be the icing on the cake," Lester muttered.
He was wrong./ / /
Not unlike James Lester, Ethan Dombrowski wasn't usually wrong, but this was one of those times, as he looked over the remains of the futuristic insect from a distance: not only black-clad armed forces of the ARC were guarding the scene of the incursion, but London's police officers as well. Ethan had come and gone from pre WWI Victorian England to its 21st version, but in a certain light he had not gone anywhere at all: once again the police were after him, and the differences between them and their Victorian age counterparts were largely surface-deep and superficial.
"Police officers," he whispered delightfully to himself (from a safe distance), "it begins again. Soon, it will be as it was once before, soon it will all be – home."End