Tuesday, 16 February 1926
And exactly one year after Jax returned to New York, Freddie Blakely drags himself up two flights of stairs to the offices of the Golden Sentinel. He pushes on the door, but it is locked. Cursing, he tries to fit a key into the door, but it doesn’t fit.
He looks up. The sign on the door has changed. Now it reads:
THE RED SENTINEL
A Journal of the Worker’s Party
The door flies open and he finds himself staring at Marion Goodhue. “Oh, Freddie! Hi! I bought the paper from your aunt. She says she’s going to stick to the ladies’ magazines.”
“You must have me mistaken for someone else,” he says. “Freddie Blakely is a horrible terrorist.”
“Well, I don’t believe in nobility. Anyway, your friend Jackson said that she wants to meet you in front of the Hotel New Yorker. I think your friends are down there already.”
“Yeah, something about where it all started.”
“I see. Well, good luck.”
“Great! By 1950, we’ll be burying the West!”
Freddie finds Jimmy, Francis, and Jax standing in front of the Hotel. Jax is standing very straight. “I have one more thing to do,” she says in an odd tone of voice.
They ride up the elevator. Freddie notices that she doesn’t even flinch as they pass the seventeenth floor. They ride a few floors higher, get off, and walk down the hall to a room. Jax knocks, then opens the door with a key she must have lifted from an attendant.
“Mr. Tesla,” she says, “I think we need to have a few words.”
A decrepit, filthy old man is sitting in the bed. Pigeons are flying in and out through an open window, fluttering around the room.
“It would have worked!” says the man. “It still could! If we can just open the gate!”
He stares at Freddie. His face takes on an odd look. “Blakely, it’s me, Aubrey! I don’t know how I got in here—No! My name is Nicola, I was born in…in…there was…another. He is gone, gone, and now I am empty…”
Jackson opens a bag and takes out some extremely unusual looking electronics. Jimmy looks at them, and then at her for a long moment. “Katakatak?” he says.
Jax/Katakatak nods. “Too late. The Renegade must have transferred to Penhew before he went through the Gate. He was always the best of us at transfer, and time travel. Who knows what he will do now that he has gone through a Gate like that. He could have become…well, a powerful extradimensional entity.”
“With a bad sense of humor?” says Freddie.
“Probably. Jimmy, Francis, why don’t you do the honors? Strap these electrodes on either side of his head. It will kill the Penhew part and leave the Tesla.”
While the two private eyes shock the old man, Jax/Katakatak shakes her head. “Poor child. The Renegade came to him when he was only six. All those long years, sharing the same mind, seeing all those things the Renegade knew…no wonder he’s mad.”
Jimmy hands back the equipment to her. Everyone stares for a second.
“Right, you probably want Jax back,” says Katakatak. “Don’t worry, we worked this all out on the Island. Come with me.”
They drive in Jimmy’s car for several hours, until they reach Providence, Rhode Island. “Pull in here,” says Katakatak as they reach a gloomy old Colonial house.
“That name on the mailbox,” says Jimmy, as they get out of the car. “Wasn’t that the same one Vanessa—”
Katakatak bounds up the stairs and pulls the bell. A rather dour, long-faced man opens the door. His face breaks into a rather ghoulish grin when he sees Katakatak.
“Thank God you got here,” he says. “This guy Howie has some very weird ideas about women.”
“The thing is,” says Howard/Katakaktak after the transfer is finished, “Some people are senstitives, like Tesla or our friend here. I just used his mind to stash Jax for a while, so I could confront Tesla after she located him for me. She wanted it to be her face that saw him, but I wouldn’t let her risk her mind.”
“And you’re going to stay there?” says Freddie.
“Oh, no. I’m headed back to the past, to be with my people. As soon as one of our agents brings the device, I’m leaving.”
“Will there be any long-term damage to Howard?”
“No. Maybe nightmares, the odd vision. Jax tells me he likes to write. Maybe he’ll get some story ideas.”
“Well, Freddie, what about us two?” says Jax.
“It seems I have a lot of money, provided I never go back to England, a title, and the responsibility to help raise a godling.”
“You can come with me,” says Jimmy.
“Hollywood, eh? You know, the movie business might be fun for a lark.”
“Why don’t I tag along?” says Jax. “I’ve been working on some new aliases. What do you think is better—Brenda Starr, or Lois Lane?”
“Little comic,” says Freddie.
“Ah, well, quelle dommage,” says Jax.
“Attendez une moment! Je peut parler en francais!” she shrieks.
“And I can understand you!” says Freddie. He embraces her. They look at each other for a long moment.
“Right, so it’s over,” says Jax. “I’ll see you in Hollywood.”
“See you there. No hard feelings?”
“I’m just glad to have feelings, you know.”