Ch. 6 — Paw Paw’s Big Secret

“Kids, we’ve got to make some changes.

“What James discovered has already caused to us make huge adjustments in our lives, but we cannot just ignore this phenomenon, nor can we abandon our normal way of life.

“This strange effect we are seeing on the HDTV is going to make us go about our lives in a different way.

“You two haven’t missed much school yet, which is good. We have to avoid doing anything that could cause you to lose any advantage you have in your schoolwork.

“Your mom’s family probably thinks she has fallen off the edge of the earth; it’s very abnormal for them not to hear from her just about every day.

“I haven’t touched anything in my office since the System turned up. Too, there are things that we have to care for around the house.

“Although there is a need for all of us to get back to our regular routine, we must acknowledge the incredible gift we’ve been given, and try to build our lives around this portal, at least for as long as we have it available to us.”

“What are you thinking of, Dad? What will we do with the System?”

“Listen. One extremely crucial thing to remember is that it’s important that we not tell a soul about what’s happened to the TV. Do you understand that?

“You were right in what you said the other day, DJ. We have to make every effort to keep this inside the family circle, just for our own ‘peace and security.’”

“We have to plan carefully for the time that we will need to let someone know about it, but when, though, is another story.

“Remember those old World War II posters we saw? ‘Even walls have ears,’ and, ‘Loose lips sink ships.’ No one finds out until we’re good and ready. Do you understand that, Lyndsey?”

“Yes, I guess that does make a lot of sense.”


“OK, Dad; you can count on both of us, for sure.”

“Then, we can experiment with it in the evenings.”


“When will we get our SUV back from the police, Dad?”

“I called the desk sergeant today and he said that when the thief saw the video evidence against him, he agreed to plead guilty.

“The sarge says that means they won’t have to hold our car while they search it for evidence, and, hopefully, it should be back to us no later than this time tomorrow.”

Dianne, “So I’ll be able to get to the market then. That’s good. I’ve got food enough for all of us for a pot-luck dinner tonight.”


Next day, the siblings are back in high school, and Dianne is again at the routine of the household.

Russell is once more trying to be a transportation specialist, although, left to his own devices, just like the others, he is giving extraordinary thought to things to do with the System.

He is not concerned so much for financial advantage. Rather, he’s considering different things to experiment with so that the family will be able to get the very best use out of it.

Especially he thinks that, if there is some way in which all of humankind could benefit from this phenomenon, and then this should govern the avenue of experimentation that is pursued.

“I suppose the commercial possibilities are endless.

“Think about it … This is mind-boggling! … Who would ever need to fly with a commercial airline again?

“Who would need to drive anywhere? … Anyone with a television hooked up to the System who wants to visit his or her granny in Poughkeepsie, NY, only has to climb into his or her TV.

“If gasoline gets too expensive I suppose one could always nuke oneself back to Chicago, in Al Capone’s days … get a few gas cans filled at 1920s prices.

“Wouldn’t that be just peachy-keen! … Hee, Hee, Hee! … “’Eat your heart out, Mr. Oil Company Executive!’”

“Forget it! It would never work. I’d run into someone I know, and the cat would be out of the bag!”


Doing the laundry of the past few days, Dianne is musing to herself about the possibility of doing her grocery marketing.

Not by chauffeuring the gas-guzzling SUV, but by using the System to get to the market.

“It would be simple … Push the grocery cart out to the System ‘parked’ just outside the store, and unload the groceries directly into the family room.

“The kids can take them upstairs to the kitchen and laundry room … Beautiful!

“If groceries get too expensive, I can ‘fly’ myself back to 1910 … 105 years ago … five years before World War I, and buy food at big bucks less than everyone else pays today … I can have the best of both worlds,” she daydreams.

“Forget it! It would never work. I’d run into someone I know, and the cat would be out of the bag!”


DJ has a history class and sits spellbound. Mr. Bonofiglio is an excellent teacher, but today, even he cannot weave his spell over James.

“… just as some of those who shared in conquering the western frontier were genuinely great heroes.

“A few, because of the good they did; others simply caught the fancy of prominent writers, like E.Z.C. Judson, whom you might know by his pen name, Ned Buntline.

“Buntline was a very prolific dime-novel writer, who latched onto the likes of Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, Bill Tilghman, and a couple of other deputy marshals in Dodge City of the 1870s.

“He filled his novels with stories about these men, but mostly they were tales based on mythical information with which those men had reportedly supplied him.

“He praised their alleged exploits so highly, which caused these ones to rise to such repute that it made their names become legends in their own time.

“Even German and Japanese combatants from World War II cited Wild West stories and movies as a reason to be in fear of the resourcefulness and skill of American GI’s during that war.

“In fact, Buntline reportedly felt extremely indebted to the Kansas lawmen.

“He is heavily rumored to have rewarded the subjects of those fantastic pursuits by commissioning the Colt’s firearms factory in Hartford, Connecticut, to produce six very special 1876 Colt .45-caliber Peacemaker revolvers.

“These pistols themselves became legendary in later years, as the Buntline Special, through their association with these now famous …,” he mused on … and on … and on.


“One place I must go with the System is Tombstone, Arizona, to see the live action as it was at the O.K. Corral,” DJ dreams in color.

“Better still, let me go back to Whitechapel in London in 1888, and find out who Jack the Ripper really was. The British authorities are still asking questions about that today.

“Or, maybe, I could slip over to Pearl Harbor back in 1941, to watch the Japanese raid that sank the U.S. fleet there.

“Why not go to Los Angeles a couple of decades ago, and help O.J. to find out who really did kill Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman?

“Forget it! It would never work. I’d run into someone I know, and the cat would be out of the bag!”


It is Geog. class for Lyndsey this morning. Mrs. Gomez is a riveting speaker and Lynz is generally a great listener, but somehow, today, Mrs. G. just isn’t cutting the mustard.

“… hidden geographic features, like the Challenger Deep. This is a part of an undersea area covered with valleys, called the Marianas Trench, located close to Saipan, in the Pacific Ocean.

“That trench has been sounded to a depth of 35,838 feet. Now, that’s a deep hole in anybody’s language.

“Take note, too, of the tallest mountain in the world, Mount Everest. Everest was measured recently at 29,028 feet.

“Think about this, You flip Mount Everest upside-down and drop it, point down, into the Marianas Trench.

“Not only is the mountain completely covered with water, but you have almost seven thousand feet of water between the base of Mount Everest and the surface of the ocean.

“That’s …,” she drones on.

Well, the truth is that the body is there, but the spirit certainly is not.

“Hey,” Lyndsey daydreams, “wouldn’t it be neat to ‘fly’ over to Nepal to see Mount Everest; or maybe we could ‘run’ over to Kuala Lumpur and check out its skyscrapers.”

“Forget it! It would never work. I’d run into someone I know, and the cat would be out of the bag!”


At long last! School is over; dinner on a tray, looking at the System, at last!

“Where shall we go?” the first addict asks.


Next day, Russell is out to pick up the truck. Dianne has gone with him. The catch-up marketing can be done on the way home.

Pedagogical day at school … Kids have the day to themselves; footloose and fancy-free.

“Lynz, since you’re up, could you pull the new TV over a couple of feet?” Not a major assignment, since the new HDTV is on a roller table.

“Done! Why?”

“Just want to keep an eye on NNN; to see what’s going on in the world. Thanks, Sis.”

“OK. Here we go; daybreak in Kuala Lumpur! You can see on the skyline what you wanted to check out. The Petronas Towers, once the world’s tallest buildings.”

“What’s with the ‘once’?”

“Sorry, LP. I just checked on a couple of Web sites. Petronas Towers, in K.L., did hold the title of world’s tallest buildings, but not for long.

“Then the title briefly went to Taipei 101, in, believe it or not, Taipei, Taiwan. Whaddya say we go there?”

“OK, I guess so … There are so many ‘world’s highest buildings’ going up these days, it’s hard to keep track.”

“Oh, Deej, these things are fascinating … If only I could bring Mrs. Gomez.”

“Ah, ah! Remember what Dad and Mom told us.

“There we are: The Taipei 101 skyscraper at sunrise. Your every wish is my command, O master,” parroting the hyper-cooperative genie from Aladdin’s famous lamp.

“I know, it’s just that it’s frustrating, having this capability at our fingertips and not being able … Oh, no, DJ! Not again?

“What have I done now?”

“Not you, you twit! Look at the new TV!”

“Call Dad on his mobile and tell him what’s happened! Get him to come home right away!”

“This is incredible! Why on earth is this happening?”

Staring them in the face through the small flat screen of the new HDTV is the Taipei 101 tower. It shows a miniaturized version of exactly what is currently visible on the large-screen TV.

“Move the little TV away from the System!”

“No difference.”

“Lynz, is someone doing this to us? This has to be a gift from heaven. Perhaps we’re supposed to do something with it, some good works, to show our support for God and his ways.”

“It’s frightening, James. You might be right, otherwise why is everything falling into place the way it is?

“First, it’s one TV; then everything we try on the remote control, (once we finally figure out what it does,) starts to work in a very logical sequence.

“Then, as if that’s not enough, we get a second TV which apparently works normally, but when we move it to within a couple of feet of the System, it starts to act in the same way.

“This has to be a gift from some superhuman power. Other people have no access to any of the things we’ve been seeing or doing.”

“We’ll just have to let Dad and Mom take a crack at answering that.”

“Listen, I’ll call them right away.”


“Lyndsey! Did I hear you right on the cell phone?”

“I’m afraid so. This scares me, Dad. Why is this happening to us?

“Nobody else is able to travel in time, or go around the world in just seconds. James thinks it might be a gift from the Creator because He wants us to use it to do good works for Him.”

“Wow, son, that might be stretching things a bit too far.”

“Dad, it’s not just me. Granddad made a rather interesting comment just before you got home from Atlanta on Saturday.

“He said everything seems to be falling into place. Every button we have pushed on the remote control has shown some desirable effect. Things like that just don’t happen out of the blue.

“You won’t know about him mentioning this, because you hadn’t arrived home yet, but he spoke about Bartlett James trying to shoot an enemy soldier, and had eight dud cartridges out of eight.

“Remember that quote from Newton’s Third Law of Motion, Dad, ‘For every action, there is an equal and opposite re-action’? How does that all fit in here?

“I can’t help but wonder why, suddenly, we received this fantastic capability of world and time travel, despite the fact that an operation of this kind is absolute science-fiction to everyone else on this planet.”

“James, perhaps we should think about a little experiment; perhaps the way Sir Isaac Newton might have approached our problem if he had to face this situation.

“Let’s unplug the small TV and let it run on its own battery. Then, take it upstairs to the living room, and see what happens.”

“OK, Dad.” Lyndsey volunteers, “I can do that. Call out to me and tell me what to do when I get there, though.”


“Dad! I’m in the living room!”

“What’s on the screen, Lyndsey?”

“Taipei, still!”

“Now plug it into the wall receptacle beside the dining table.”

Lynz, “I’ve done that, Dad. It still shows Taipei.”

“Unplug the set, and disconnect its battery!”

A few seconds later, “Screen’s gone off!”

“Reconnect just the battery, turn it back on and tell me what comes onto the screen.”

Just moments later, “NNN is back!”

“Thanks, Lyndsey! Can you please leave the set switched on, but on battery power only, and bring it back down here?

“Now, don’t plug it into the house power; just set it back down on the wheelie cart.

“Bingo! That’s what I thought might happen … Taipei! … Back to the System!”

Dianne, “This is scary!”

Russell, “This is taking on a rather new perspective … and it’s also becoming a ‘cost-is-no-object’ situation.

“I’ll have to get another TV, identical to the second set so that we can check out what happens when we power down our original set.

“We must make sure that we don’t lose anything. Until then, we have to keep the big-screen set running full time, just in case.

“If it works the way I think, or hope it works, maybe we can splash the idea of having the UPS wired to the big TV.

“James, ‘drive’ us over to Taipei 101, and set us down on the roof, if you would; I’d like to try something.”

Seconds later, “Hold it there, son.”

“Di! It’s time you went out and took a picture or two.”

“Are you joking? No cotton-pickin’ way!”

“Well, I can’t waste an opportunity like this!” Her husband eases his body through the large-screen TV and out into the early-morning ambience of a gorgeous Taipei day.

The flat area of the roof is very limited, but Russell found it plenty big enough for his purposes.

He takes a couple of deep breaths of fresh air, looks around for just a moment, reaches back into the small-screen TV, and calmly says, “Lynz, could I please borrow your camera again?”

The teen hands her dad the digital camera right through the screen of the second TV, which he took, and, from Taipei 101, pans around to make 10 seconds of video and two photographs, just for the sake of posterity.


Now, everyone is beginning to get squeamish about the crumbling of the cookie, seemingly into the most incredible order.

Yet, there are still things that need to be checked out.

Russell and Dianne head off out in the truck to try once again to pick up the now badly needed groceries, before the stores close.


“Groceries, kids!”


“Everything up to the kitchen, if you would.”

“Except for that TV box. That’s for the rec room again.”

“It’s your turn, Lyndsey; would you please set up the new TV for us?”


“TV’s ready, Dad, Mom.” Without exception, everyone is interested in this little operation.

Four pairs of eyes glue themselves to the second of the small-screen HDTVs that Russell Richardson has purchased while Dianne was shopping for the household and mealtime necessities.

“Go, James!”

“Good grief, another one!”

“It’s hooked up to the System just like the other two sets.”

“We’re really onto something here, guys.”

“This is unbelievable, Russell.”

“Dianne,” Russ asks, “would you please bring down the regular little TV from our bedroom?”


“Just so that we can keep an eye on NNN and see what’s in the news, so that we can perhaps go see something live that’s happening right now.”

“It’s almost ten o’clock; NNN might have a news report on for the start of the Ethan Thomas 180° show.”

“Probably a couple of wars, a few murders, and lots of political intrigue, I guess.”

Ethan Thomas, “We begin our program tonight with news of yet another apparent mining disaster in West Virginia.

“A report has reached NNN, which we are trying to confirm, that states that there has been an explosion in a coalmine.

“No word has yet been received about casualties, but it is feared that upwards of twenty miners may be trapped deep underground.

“The mine is located in the township of Paw Paw, West Virginia, about 10 miles south west of Morgantown, and the Interstate 79.

“Additional reports are expected in momentarily, and we will get these to you as soon as they become available to us.

“A reporter from our affiliate WKPP is en-route to the scene, and we’ll get him to update us as soon as he is on-site.

“Meantime in other news …”


“Dad, let’s ‘drive’ the System over to that mine, and see if there’s anything we can do to help.”

“OK, maybe Mom would like a crack at steering us up the I-79 to Morgantown and well play it by ear after that. It’s dark there, too.”

“I’d be willing to bet that it’s darker where those miners are right now,” the boy ventures.

Dianne, again, “Actually, there’s something we can do about the darkness since we visited the Shoalhaven, if you remember.”

She deftly handles the touch-pad remote so that the group is transported backward in time until it is once more in broad daylight. It becomes quite clear that the homemaker is quite adept at maneuvering the System with precision.

“It’s a trip of almost 1,000 miles. Tricky bit will be finding Morgantown, and then Paw Paw. We’ve never driven in that area before.”

“You’ll have to get out your map and give me a hand.”

“ … Up the 275, until we hit the Interstate-75, then north till we hit the I-10. Take that to Jacksonville, then onto the I-26 …”

Well, Morgantown eventually shows up thanks to it being a junction of the I-79 and the I-68, two well-marked-out highways. Good old President Eisenhower!

Morgantown is only the start; now there is a need to do the ten miles in a southwesterly direction out of Morgantown.

Dianne is a driver’s ‘driver.’ She first elevates the System so that it is possible to look down on the terrain as it flows underneath.

Then, in a very neat move on her part, she stops.

Moving forward in time until it is once again completely dark, and the family is back on real-time, it becomes a simple matter to pick out dozens of flashing red strobe lights and beacons, even at a range of several kilometers.

They are all on display; police cars, ambulances, hazmat trailers, fire trucks, and EMT vehicles, as well as mine company equipment. The night sky is well lit by the pulsing of flashing lights.

Dianne eases the System down to ground level.

From the pock-holed sofa, it is easy to keep an eye on both the System and the TV reports from New York.

NNN’s Ethan Thomas continues to deliver the details of efforts required to rescue what now turns out to be a total of twenty-three miners.

“It has been reported by our correspondent in Paw Paw, West Virginia, that twenty miners are trapped in an unused tunnel that takes a dog-leg off to the left.

“This work area is well away from the main coalface, and it is hoped that efforts to reach them with food and water will continue throughout the night, and on until all the men are returned safely to the surface.

“The fate of the remaining three workers has not yet been determined and we are waiting for fresh word from the team of rescue workers that is now underground trying to reach the twenty trapped miners.”

“Our coverage will continue live until we are able to give you some final results as to the fate of these men …”

Lyndsey suggests, “Mom, when we did our tests with the System at the Sunshine-Herald, we were able to penetrate that huge solid sign without a single scratch.”

“Are you saying what I think you’re saying?” Dianne queries. “Do you mean you want me to ‘drive’ the System downward until it goes underground?”

James adds, “That may not be so hard, Mom. Look! Ethan Thomas is showing a map of the Paw Paw area and the exact location of the mineshafts.

“That info includes the tunnel these guys are supposed to be trapped in. So, we’ll know which way to steer.”

“Hold on, guys! What are we going to do with these miners even if we can find them? We can’t take them in here.”

“Why not?”

“What would we say to them, ‘Welcome to Florida’”?

“That’s not funny, Dad.”

“We can’t take them in because, if we do, the whole world will find out about the System, and we’re really not ready for that news to get out yet.”

“You mean that you could watch twenty, perhaps twenty-three men die just to preserve a secret?”

“Ouch … Holy cow!” Russell cringes as he calls to mind the quandary faced by Britain’s Winston Churchill back during the Luftwaffe’s blitz of large British cities during World War II.

[Churchill; Winston Spencer, born 1874, died 1964, served as Britain’s prime minister during the terrible years of the Second World War, taking office on May 10, 1940.]

He, on one occasion, had to decide whether to alert the people of Coventry that, on that same night, their city was going to be bombed in November, 1940.

If he warns Coventry’s citizenry of the impending raid, and they evacuate the area, the German Luftwaffe might figure out that the Brits had broken Hitler’s secret codes.

[Hitler and the Nazis called their encoding equipment “Enigma” machines. The British, who used primitive computers to break the coding system, called it “Ultra.” Googling either of these expressions will provide much useful information for the interested reader.]

“We could bring fresh air to the men, and give them food and drink if they need it,” Lyndsey adds.

“Yes, I suppose we could do that.”

“If any of them are dead,” James volunteers, “we could backpedal to a moment in time before they die, and get them into the house, through the System.

“It may be that nobody knows that they have actually died. That way even if we did change history, so to speak, no-one would know anything about it.”

No one gave an answer to this statement, since some were not sure what principle would apply in such an instance.

“OK, here goes,” said Dianne, easing the System down below grade, following ET’s maps, as James had suggested.

The view went totally black on all three sets. “Why have the lights gone out?” Dianne asks.

“It’s alright, that’s because we’ve gone underground. It’s always this dark down here.” Fortunately, the pun goes unnoticed.

The System moves smoothly and easily through the hard rock and coalfaces, until the boy asks, “Dad, where’s your big flashlight?”

“In the truck, James, in the toolbox in the cargo area.”

“Back in a minute … ”

“Got it!”

He puts his hand through the small-screen TV as far as he can, and shines the light, but it only helps when they come to a cavity in the rock where there is a space where the light can shine.

Suddenly, dim lights, but lights of any kind! “ A tunnel; try going along it!”

With lights outside it is easier to navigate. Now they can try finding the tunnel where the explosion might have occurred.

It is helpful that they are able to cut corners by simply moving right through the bedrock walls of the tunnels. A few seconds of darkness at such times really are not that disconcerting.

It does take some time, but eventually they stumble over a place where the roof has collapsed, and rocks, timbers and coal would have blocked the path for a human rescue team.

Dianne continues to press ahead, simply ‘intruding’ the System into the fallen debris.

Back in darkness, James again shines the light through the small TV for everyone to be able to see Dianne’s progress … “Great Scott! … Men! … Oh, no! Three men, but they’re unconscious!”

In the mine it is still pitch black; the flashlight is very useful in being able to check out the injuries.

Lynz jumps to her feet and quickly climbs into the cavernous hole, while James continues to light her way with their dad’s big flashlight.

“Dad, these men; they’re dead! None of them have any vital signs.

“Mom, I’m coming back into the house.

“Can you back up in time until these men come to life again?

“There has been no rock-fall just here, so they must have been killed either by the blast or maybe a release of gas, perhaps methane. I have no way to know.”

“Would it be OK,” Dianne asks, “if I back up into the rock just to protect us from whatever it was, roll back in time until it happens and then come back into the tunnel about five minutes prior to the incident?”

“Deej, it’s your call.”

DJ ventures, “I’m not sure I like this! What do you think, Dad?”

Russell, “Perhaps Mom has the answer. But, as was mentioned before, no one knows these men have died yet, so perhaps no harm is done.

“But we need to think this over very carefully, in case there are situations in the future that require this same sort of decision.

“We don’t want to stray away from following that base principle.”

“Thanks, Dad.”

“OK, Mom. Do what you suggested. Make sure we’re in the rock deeply enough to prevent us from getting hit with whatever has caused this.”

“OK, then,” Dianne responds. “First I’ll position the System just to the left of where the men are lying.

“Then I’ll back off until we’ve penetrated the rock face and it closes in behind us, plus a couple of yards or thereabouts.”

Dianne does as she has indicated and blackness again closes in on the scene.

“Could you turn James’ timepiece this way so that I can read it? Is the old banger on Florida time, and with today’s date?”

With the old timepiece in situ and properly adjusted, the young mother is able to back up in time for two and a half hours.

“That’s about half an hour before the time NNN says the incident started.

“Now we can move back out of the rock face and, what do you see, Deej?”

David James, “LP, is this the three guys you saw that were dead in the tunnel?”

Lynz, “That’s them, Mom; they’re standing talking to each other now.”

“OK, tell them that they are required in another section of the mine, immediately, and to get in here.”

“Good morning, gentlemen. Management has asked us to pick you up and take you to another part of the mine, immediately. You can climb into this window, if you would, and we’ll get you over there.”

Good gracious! It actually works. The three miners clamber into the rec room through the System.

“Holy crow! What on earth happened to your loveseat?”

“It’s a long story. Welcome to St. Pete’s, men. We have to find the other location in the mine, so have a seat and perhaps Lyndsey can get you a drink.”

“DJ, can you shine the light again, so that we can move on to the others.”

As Dianne speaks, she is using the remote to re-adjust the actual time to match that shown on the clock on the wall, thus resetting the time to normal U.S. Eastern Standard.

The search for the other twenty men continues apace.

Dianne knows from the National News reports that the 23 men had been located in two adjacent areas, so she works her way from where she had picked up the three resuscitated men.

Unknown to the group and its three guests, while Dianne is driving in circles, the incident occurred which has brought them the Paw Paw in the first place.

The sound and vibration of the explosion and subsequent rock falls go unnoticed by them due to their own motion.

Driving in increasingly greater circles was taking a long time, until Russell says, “Is one of you gentlemen able to tell Mrs. Richardson where the other twenty men on your team are located?”

Before any one of the newly resurrected men can respond, Lyndsey calls out, “There they are, at the far end of that tunnel, lots of them!”

Mrs. Richardson eases up to the crowd of men and asks, “How many of you gentlemen are there?”

“Twenty-three altogether. Twenty of us here, and three others in a side tunnel.”

Dianne, “OK, thanks. We already have the other three.

“We need you to climb into this elevator, so that we can get you off to the surface. So, if you men can step into this window, and come into our facility, we’ll take you back to the surface.”

“Two of our guys have broken arms, ma’am,” the group leader advises.

Then, with a puzzled look on his face, “Who are you? How did you get in here?”

“We’re a new underground rescue unit that … uh … specializes in helping miners that are trapped. We have a piece of equipment that functions well in this kind of environment.”

Russell thinks, “Hey, ‘keep ‘em in the dark and feed ‘em lots of fertilizer.’ Boy, it works in the military, why not in a coalmine?”

The twenty climb into the System, injured ones first, and find themselves in the rec room of the Richardson’s home.

They are clueless as to where they are or that they are now almost 1,000 miles away from Paw Paw, WV and so trusting.

“Holee … What happened to your sofa?”

DJ, “Drink anyone?”

Twenty-three strong, including two damaged, Dianne ‘flies’ the System vertically, but, after the portal breaks the surface, Dianne creates some extra time for Lynz to do some temporary repairs on the damaged individuals.

She takes the System for a spin around the area of the mine.

At one point, she stops and moves in time so that it is broad daylight through the screen.

The miners are extremely impressed by this new piece of ‘rescue equipment.’

During the brief extra-curricular flight, the two injured men have their broken arms bandaged and put in a makeshift sling.

Lyndsey creates the first-aid supplies from a bathroom towel. For splints, she uses long-handled kitchen spoons.

The girl is familiar with the nature of the injury thanks to an unusually intense first-aid course.

The training had been followed by several weeks of co-op work at a walk-in clinic in an industrial area of town. Broken arms are nothing compared to the action she had seen on that co-op.

Once Dianne comes into sight of the vehicles of the first responders, she again uses a time shift and returns the view to the darkness that prevails at the coalmine.

Despite their time traveling, Dianne has returned the whole group to real-time as shown by the antique corporate timepiece, matched to the rec room wall clock.

The emergency vehicles are still congregating at the mine head.

She works her way over to a poorly lit area, where the portal can disgorge its passengers in an obscure spot where no one is likely to be poking around.

Hence, their operation goes unobserved and the twenty-three miners can climb back through the System onto the soil of Paw Paw, West Virginia, their hometown.

Only the two bandaged individuals need any help, and that is only relatively minimal.

When the crowd of released captives walks around the corner of the building to the lighted area, where all the police, ambulance and fire vehicles are idling, with their beacons still lighting up the night sky, the screams of delight from their family members can easily be heard all the way to Florida.


“This is Ethan Thomas of ET 180°. As you know, tonight we devoted our entire show to coverage of that mining disaster.

“Personally, I was afraid that we were going to have some bad news for you, but we have just received an urgent call from our correspondent on the scene of that mine explosion earlier this evening.

“Folks, this has to be some kind of miracle! All twenty-three miners trapped below ground in that mine explosion are safe.

“They were returned to the surface by what the group has described as a ‘newly-formed rescue team using specialized equipment and techniques.’

“Our reporter, along with other journalists at the site, has been told that ‘the workers were taken into a large room … several noting that it contained a badly damaged daybed … and then, once back on the surface, they were asked to climb through a picture window to safety.’”

Ethan Thomas continues his report, advising that a mining company official had denied any knowledge of the new rescue unit or its specialized equipment.

“Sandra Hua, a spokesperson for the mine, reports that the company is looking forward with great interest to hearing from the men themselves, ‘especially,’ she notes ‘about the nature of their speedy passage to the surface following a reportedly deadly explosion.’

“UMW officials have told ET 180 that, ‘Representatives of the United Mine Workers Union are hoping to clarify the situation once the miners have been taken to hospital for a routine check-up and debriefing.’

“Mrs. Hua has confirmed our earlier report that two miners each suffered a broken arm but the men are expected to be hospitalized only briefly for medical care for those injuries.

“The two will likely be released within a couple of hours as no additional problems have been reported. In fact, the two men who had a broken arm had apparently arrived at the surface aid stations having already been bandaged.

“The two arrived back on the surface, having already received extensive first-aid from the rescue unit’s on-board personnel before reaching the surface.

“On behalf of all of us at ET 180 and NNN, this is Ethan Thomas saying that we too look forward to hearing how this tragedy-in-the-making has been turned into a time of happy shouting and partying …

… and now, in other news …”



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