Sunday, March 11, 2018

Time Man #3

Harold helped load Martin’s bicycle basket with the smaller items that had been fixed and ready for delivery. “Here is the list of addresses,” Harold gave Martin a piece of paper with names and addresses on it. “This will take you most of the day so when you are finished the rest of the day is yours. See you tomorrow.”

“See you tomorrow, Harry,” Martin waved and pushed off.

Harold turned to go back into the Fix-It Shop but didn’t make it. Somehow, in the blink of an eye, Harold disappeared.

The planet Colossus slowly careened through space, a plume of fire shot out the back, rocketing the planet where it needed to go. Colossus was ruled with an iron fist by Gladiator. Gladiator traveled the universe in search of people to fight and worlds to conquer. Most of the population on Colossus were enslaved people, forced to work either to serve the natives or to keep the planet running.

“Time Man has arrived in the arena,” Claxur, Gladiator’s right-hand man said.

“Good. We can see what I’m up against when I arrive on Earth,” Gladiator growled. “Time Man is supposedly Earth’s greatest champion. We’ll see about that.”

Gladiator went down to the arena where he saw Harold Banner standing there. “What’s the meaning of this? Who are you?” Harold demanded.

“I could ask you the same thing,” Gladiator said and put his arms behind his back. “I was expecting someone named Time Man.”

Harold tried not to give away his identity. “Sorry to disappoint,” Harold said. “I’m far from being a Time Man. But I do fix watches for a living.”

“Mm. Must have been a crossed wire,” Gladiator turned around to leave. “Dump him into the dregs.”

The guards went over to Harold, grabbed him and dragged him out of the arena. They threw him down into the crowds of slaves who quickly swarmed him to take anything of value. Somehow he was able to keep his sundial and put it on so he could become Time Man and push the people away.

From the looks of these people, I’m clearly not on Earth anymore. And if that big guy got me here then he’s probably my only ticket back. He heard a commotion in the crowd and saw one person, a shop-cart keeper, grabbing a woman while another was pushing her into the shopkeeper’s arms.

Time Man went over and picked up the shopkeeper by the shirt collar. “What’s going on?”

“The woman is mine now,” snarled the keeper.

“I don’t want to be his,” the woman cried.

“She has to. I needed food for myself and my--our--kids. She’s the only thing I could pay with,” the other man explained.

“Perfectly legal transaction,” the shopkeeper said as Time Man put him back on the ground.

“You can’t just buy and sell people,” Time Man said. “Or barter them.”

“Maybe not where you are from--although it probably happens anyway,” the shopkeeper said. “It’s perfectly legal here. It keeps the planet moving so to speak.”

“I’m sorry, Kaora,” the other man cried. “But our children will be fed. We will see each other soon.”

“I will return her when she’s all used up,” the man groped and fondled his new piece of property. “You can then have the remains.”

Time Man was bothered by what he saw but as he looked at the other stores and street carts he saw the same transactions. People trading kids or wives and even themselves to buy what they needed to live. “This isn’t right,” Time Man said and looked at the massive tower that was attached to the arena he had been thrown out of. He flew up and smashed his way through a window. Two guards quickly descended on him who he easily handled. An alarm was going off which would probably bring other guards.

He was right. A group of guards came around the corner but Time Man was ready. He easily took out the guards. When the last guard was out, a voice come on over an intercom. “Time Man,” it was the voice from earlier in the arena. “You are here. Follow the hallway behind you to the arena. I will meet you there.”

“Can you hear me?”

Silence. Then, “Yes.”

“I’ve only been on this rock for a few minutes but I don’t like what I see.”

“That is not my concern. I’m not listing all the problems with Earth to you, am I?”

“Earth may have its problems but it’s better than this hellhole,” Time Man said. “So, you brought me here, are you ready to send me back?”

“Prepare him battle,” Gladiator turned around and began walking away. “We’ll just take care of Earth’s mightiest hero right now.”

Gladiator’s fist slammed into Time Man’s jaw. Time Man could feel it crack. He fell to his knees and reached for his sundial. Gladiator picked him up where his cape met his suit and held Time Man up to his face. “I expected more from you,” Gladiator spat. Gladiator struck Time Man in the ribs. More cracking. Gladiator dropped Time Man to the floor. He, again, tried to reach for his sundial. Gladiator stomped his foot onto Time Man’s arm.

Time Man screamed and worked to get himself back up and to reach his sundial to stop time. Gladiator began cackling to the few who were watching. “If this is the best that Earth has to offer then it is ripe for the taking.”

“No,” Time Man groaned and painfully got his hand over to his sundial and stopped time. “I’m not a fighter but I have a few tricks up my sleeve.” Wincing through the pain, Time Man picked up Gladiator and carried him over to the window. He broke it and moved the glass out of the way. He lifted Gladiator onto the edge of the window. He pushed Gladiator out but with time still stopped, Gladiator just hung there. Time Man then restarted time and Gladiator fell into the throngs of citizens down on the street below the arena.

The population freaked out as their leader and captor landed among them. Time Man turned, not wanting to witness what could happen to Gladiator or the citizens. He grabbed someone who looked important by the throat. “Send. Me. Back,” Time Man demanded.

And just like he appeared on Colossus, Time Man was back on Earth.