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Chapter One

Power Surge

Inside the Ministry building, Sebastian exited the elevator on the main floor and headed down the corridor to the reception area. He quickly climbed the ornate staircase, with a brief nod to the armed guard stationed at the top of the steps before he hurried down the hallway to the intragate chamber. He’d been unnerved by what had happened during his recent conversation with the Chief Minister down in the Authoritarium. Burton hadn’t exactly said so, but he appeared to blame Sebastian for the Ministry personnel losing contact with Charlotte following the explosion at the train station. There was no way that he could have anticipated the course of events but Sebastian was still in a position of command. Higgins and his team might be punished for their failure but Sebastian also accepted that he had to take full responsibility for what had happened. Yet losing Charlotte at the station, and also not knowing Charlie’s exact whereabouts, were only two of many serious issues that now needed to be dealt with. Sebastian also knew that if the intragate remained non-operational for much longer he could be in deep trouble.

The intragate hadn’t been working since Ben had arrived without warning from the other Earth. He’d interrupted Charlotte during her mission and he’d been close enough to her to get caught up in the effect when the intragate’s portal suddenly reopened to link the two worlds. None of the other Earth’s inhabitants had ever traveled through the intragate before and Barclay suspected that Ben’s very presence might have caused the malfunction, although Barclay wasn’t exactly sure how that had occurred. The latest fierce electrical storm was also thought to be a possible factor in the failure of the intragate, but it was all pure speculation. Barclay and his team had been working feverishly to attempt to fix the problem but Sebastian hadn’t received any messages that they’d made any significant breakthroughs. As Sebastian approached the door to the intragate chamber, he took a deep breath, hoping that Barclay would have some good news for him.