An Excerpt from The Tomorrow Paradox (Book Two in The Adventures of Mackenzie Mortimer):
On the trail of the chronal radiation residue, Drake had arrived at the park. He was following the path when he looked up and saw Brandy with Gemma and Mackenzie. He blinked, as if to clear the image from his eyes, thinking he was seeing double. The girl beside his sister was her identical twin. He knew that wasn’t possible, since he was Brandy’s lone sibling, but then the epiphany hit him: Brandy’s twin could only be her clone.
Drake jogged toward them. “Brandy!”
“Drake! What are you doing here?”
“This is the spot I told you about, where there was a large burst of chronal radiation yesterday. But that’s not important now. What’s your clone doing here?”
“Her name is Gemma. We’re spending the afternoon together here at the park and then I’m going home to get ready for my date with Zack.”
“Have you gone nuts? You’re either hanging out with that dodgy character or strolling through the park with a clone. And not just any clone… Your clone. Who let it out? Suppose it runs away?”
“Drake, Gemma’s not an it… She’s a person. She’s family.”
“Brandy, you’ve been out in the sun too long. That’s your clone… your only clone. She’s the insurance policy your grandmother took out for you when you were born. If you have another attack, she’s the only thing that will save your life. That clone must be returned to the institute immediately to ensure your continued well-being.”
“I told you, Gemma is not a thing, and there’s no way I’m letting her be taken back to that horrible place.”
Drake grimaced. “You’re my sister, and I’m determined to protect you in spite of yourself.” He pulled out his phone. “I’m calling Dad to have the clone picked up.”
Hearing Drake’s intentions, Gemma became visibly frightened, and turned to Mackenzie.
Mackenzie felt as protective of Gemma as Drake did of Brandy. “I won’t let you do that.” He lunged at Drake, knocking the phone from his hand. The two boys clashed, each defending the girl he cared about. Gemma and Brandy watched helplessly, concerned, as the two boys wrestled on the ground.
“We’ve got to do something,” Gemma said, seeing Drake climb atop Mackenzie. “Drake is older and bigger than Kenzie.”
“I’ll pull my brother off him to give you two time to run away. We’ll meet again after you upload what I gave you.”
Gemma’s eyes reflected her appreciation. “Promise we’ll meet again.”
“We will,” Brandy promised, before rushing to pull Drake off Mackenzie.
With Brandy’s help, Mackenzie was able to kick Drake away from him and he scrambled back to Gemma. “This is ridiculous,” Mackenzie said. “We’re leaving now.”
Drake stood and peeled his sister’s arms from him. “You’re not going anywhere with that clone.”
With his left arm wrapped around Gemma’s waist, Mackenzie reached for the controls on his wristwatch. “Sorry to disappoint you.” He pressed the watch stem and twisted it clockwise. Mackenzie and Gemma slipped into Q-Time, but to Drake and Brandy, they appeared to have vanished.
“They disappeared!” Brandy exclaimed.
Drake’s app pinged wildly on his discarded phone, as it lay in the bushes where it had landed. “I thought he looked familiar; he’s the kid from the jewelry store!” Drake exclaimed, realizing Mackenzie was the time traveler he’d been seeking. “Brandy, who is he? What’s his name?”
“I don’t know,” she lied.
“Why are you protecting him? Don’t you realize the danger you’re in every minute your clone is missing from the institute?” Drake crawled through the bushes and recovered his phone.
“You’re not going to call Dad, are you? There’s no point, now… There’s no one here for him to capture.”
“I don’t need to call Dad yet. I’ll wait until I have the clone within sight, and as a bonus, I’ll deliver Dad his time traveler, and maybe even the Fox, within the hour. Whoever he is, that kid made a big mistake using his time travel device this close to my app. It’s already processing the data and giving me the real-time longitude and latitude coordinates. It’ll take a second to cross-reference the geo-coordinates with a city map of Serenity Valley and… Presto! Now to zoom in on the map. They’re downtown. I recognize that building: Mortimer Enterprises.”
“Drake, please don’t…”
“You’d better head back home or you’ll miss your big date. And don’t try to warn them I’m coming; I know where they’re based. They won’t be able to hide once Dad finds out. I’m going there first to try to get them to turn the clone over to me before Dad has the cops storm the place. I don’t want your clone damaged by some trigger-happy rookie cop, otherwise I would call Dad right now. But if you warn them and they run, your clone could get killed.”
Brandy shivered. “Drake, please don’t let anything happen to Gemma. I won’t contact them if you promise not to let Gemma get hurt.”
“Neither of us wants that. Once I confront them and reveal I know who they are, they’re bound to give me the clone. I’ll keep her safe and get her back where she belongs, even if it means losing my chance to snare the time traveler for Dad. You’re the one who matters most to me, Brandy. Now go home. I’ll bring back the clone, and with any luck, in a few hours, I’ll be able to tell Dad who the time traveler is and where to find him.”
Time is running out… fortunately, Mackenzie Mortimer has a few more minutes than anyone else!