On the M25 towards Heathrow Airport from Maidstone I grasped the strange phenomenon that was my ticket under my arm concealed from view by a sheet I had taken from my home along with my passport. However, other blankets soon became a major cause for concern.
‘Hey,’ I said with enough gusto to attract Kai’s attention, but not enough to distract him from the road. ‘Now I’m in on this History Maintenance Commission malarkey, you’d tell me, wouldn’t you, if there were any other alerts in operation?’
‘Of course, matey. One of the perks of being in the know.’
‘Well,’ I replied indignantly, ‘that’s a lie and until you tell me what other alerts are currently on apart from anything associated with Isaac Newton, I’m not getting in any airplane.’
‘What’s got your goat, pal?’
‘We passed a couple in their garden earlier,’ I calmly explained, ‘they were holding a blanket out. Then a few minutes before that there was a couple holding out a blanket on a hillside.’
‘It’s summer,’ he answered, without an apparent care. ‘One couple were about to fold a blanket after retrieving it from their line and the other were about to spread a blanket on the ground to have a picnic, simples.’
‘Bollocks,’ I responded. ‘I can see now what’s happening. It’s like I’ve had my blinkers removed. It’s obvious that there’s an alert out that the Wright Brothers might no longer invent powered flight. There’s an unusual amount of people holding out blankets in case planes suddenly no longer exist and one helluva lot of people are going to start falling from the sky. So there’s no way I’m boarding an aircraft to New York with what I have seen.’
‘Just as well that we’re not flying to the Big Apple, then,’ Diamonde chuckled. Although his condescending tone irked me what he said grounded my fears but simultaneously heightened concerns that the Wright Brothers achievements really were about to be wiped out and all sorts of dire consequences of there never having been aircraft took off in my mind. Previously blitzed cities would reappear as they did pre-war and W E Johns would have to write instead about a workout instructor exercising troops in the trenches called Biggles The Fighter Pilates.
‘So,’ I asked, ‘if we’re going by ship, why are we heading towards London?’
‘We’re not going anywhere overseas, mate, and neither are we London bound.’
‘Then, why did you request I get my passport along with my strange phenomenon and hand the former to you?’
‘So you wouldn’t be able to leave the country with the latter. This could well be of national, possible global importance. We can’t risk you doing a Lord Lucan or a Shergar on us.’
‘Then, if we’re not going to New York, where are we going?’ I naturally asked.
‘The very frontline of the battle to maintain history,’ he answered ominously.
In PART 7: It’s Wetty Pants Time.