The chronometer started to crackle and whirr, the antenna was starting to rotate clockwise then counter-clockwise as it tried to lock on to the year Tobias had programmed in using the dials at the side.
He waited, keeping hold of While who seemed to have frozen in place, his eyes wide as if he was about to be attacked. The antenna was still spinning. This was not right. Frowning Tobias checked the dial. He had set it correctly, it should have locked on by now, it wasn’t that far a shift.
Sparks started to crackle across the forks of the antennae. Miniature, blue lightning danced between them.
“Uh-oh? What do you mean uh-oh?!” While started to pull again but it didn’t matter now anyway. The sparks suddenly attempted to generate a cage but, not finding a destination, the signal was in a feedback loop and the beginnings of the field dispersed. Unfortunately, a dispersing Kilby field still generated quite a lot of force. The noise probably made it sound worse than it was as the sonic boom shook the entire structure. Glass rattled for long seconds afterwards, until Tobias realised the sound was actually his ears ringing. Dazed, he had to blink a few times before his eyes refocused. Remnants of sparks scuttled across the walls and in circles on the carpet before finally dying to nothing. He was on the floor, his back propped up against the fake door. While was opposite him, staring daggers across the room.
“Well, you buggered that up didn’t you!”
Tobias’ brow creased with worry. He had chosen the start of 2018 for While to go back to, figuring that his department would be able to move him back to the correct date from there. He shifted on the floor, becoming more comfortable and took a deep breath. Studying the other man only made him more agitated as he climbed to his feet. He was sure While was trying to come over and intimidate him but the sight of him wobbling hopelessly before clinging to the curtain ruined that impact.
The door from the bar area burst open. Cantarell filled the doorway, his eyes flicking from one man to the other, his brow knitted in worry, but not, as Tobias noted, surprise.
“Are you alright Sirs?”
“Am I alright? This muppet can’t work his chronometer properly,” While let go of the curtain only briefly to wave a judgemental finger at Tobias.
“I’m afraid that’s not quite right,” Tobias began. “We experienced a feedback loop.”
While stopped completely still. The colour seemed to drain from his face and he lowered himself back to the floor, “That just isn’t possible. You must be wrong.”
“I’m not,” Tobias spoke softly. “I have no idea how it is possible Mr While, but 2018 does not exist.”