A Time to Reflect
Diego de la Vega Doug Phillips & Tony Newman
A Zorro/ Time Tunnel Crossover
Setting: Spanish California, 1820, near the pueblo Los
The complex below the Arizona desert, code-named Red Lion, the home of the Time Tunnel.
The Characters: Diego de la Vega, a rich young colonial aristocrat, whose secret identity could cost him his life.
Drs. Doug Phillips and Tony Newman, scientists involved in one of the most secret projects ever developed-- The Time Tunnel. They are trapped in the capricious whims of a device that has not been fully perfected, jostled in time from one era to another, at times, one step from death. Their only hope is their wits and the dedication of those in the complex who are desperately trying to bring them home.
Diego de la Vega/Zorro, Bernardo, Sgt. Garcia, Tornado, Dr. Avila and Fr. Felipe belong to Zorro Productions/Walt Disney and are used with great gratitude and no expectations of monetary gain. Tony and Doug, Ann, Ray, Gen. Kirk, Jerry and the Time Tunnel itself belong to Irwin Allen Productions/20th Century Fox and are also gratefully used. All other characters are my creation.
"TWO AMERICAN SCIENTISTS ARE LOST IN THE SWIRLING MAZE OF PAST AND FUTURE AGES DURING THE FIRST EXPERIMENTS ON AMERICA'S GREATEST AND MOST SECRET PROJECT ‘THE TIME TUNNEL’. TONY NEWMAN AND DOUG PHILLIPS NOW TUMBLE HELPLESSLY TOWARD A NEW FANTASTIC ADVENTURE SOMEWHERE ALONG THE INFINITE CORRIDORS OF TIME...."
The acrid air seemed more electric, more
intense, if that was possible, than it had been during the entirety of
their way too long day in what they had guessed was an early Jurassic
period of time. Time! the
traveler smirked mentally. The
thoughts grew slightly bitter, then he reigned in his emotions.
He had chosen to enter the tunnel; it had been his decision.
Looking over at his friend, still on his feet, but panting
heavily next to the stream they had just crossed, the traveler felt a
slight stab of guilt that it had not been his partner’s choice.
Doug had followed trying to save his sorry hide from the icy
waters of the north Atlantic when the unsinkable Titanic had
struck an iceberg. Now
Tony laughed out loud, wiping the sweat that slicked his face and ran
into his eyes. What
he wouldn’t give for a dip in those cold waters now.
Then he sighed, feeling a tingle that seemed to
intensify, not in the air, but around and then in his body. A change was coming. He
could feel it. Dr. Anthony
Newman looked at his partner, Dr. Douglas Philips again, but Doug
didn’t seem to notice anything different.
Although he had shed his early twentieth-century tweed jacket and
tie and had unbuttoned his shirt, Doug still looked like he had just
spent the past two days in a sauna.
If not for the insects, Tony would have shed his dark green
turtleneck a long time ago. He
was sure that he looked exactly as miserable as his friend did.
Tony jerked his head up, listening.
He heard something. This
time it was not just a feeling of impending transfer, but something in
the jungle nearby. Was it
those damned carnosaurs?
They had eluded them before when the beasts had come across an
injured herbivore, but now it seemed that they were finished with their
appetizer and were ready for the main course….
he said softly. Doug
didn’t answer, only stayed slumped over on the boulder he had sat on
after they had forded the stream.
His friend was still panting.
reached over and grabbed Doug’s shoulder.
“I think our friends are on the prowl again.”
Doug looked up wearily, his eyes showing the
intensity of his fatigue and something else.
Was he sick? Doug
muttered something unrepeatable and then slowly getting to his feet. He wavered and Tony held on to his arm to steady him.
Worry gripped his insides. Their
last transfer had been from a place that had been equally heinous.
Rome at the time of the Visigoth invasion hadn’t been
particularly safe either. Doug
had been slightly injured during a fight against a group of invaders, a
cut along his arm. It was
nothing that would have been very worrisome except for the fact that the
conditions in Rome as well as here were far from clean.
“Let me look at your arm.”
“No, not now.
I’m okay, just a bit of dizziness,” Doug responded
looked at him dubiously, but Doug just shrugged him off with a comment
about needing a full night’s sleep and then he looked in the direction
from which they had come. He gazed at the stream, turned and looked into the
forest ahead of them.
“Do you think we could lose them if we continued down the stream?” Tony asked, figuring out his friend’s thoughts.
“I doubt it, Tony,” Doug drawled, as though
even talking was a drain. He
took a deep breath and then muttered.
“The air is so thick that they could probably pick up our scent
“I think the tunnel is trying for a transfer,
but we can’t just wait around, hoping for Ray and Ann to pick us up
before these beasts get here,” Tony said.
“I know,” Doug replied, then he peered into
Tony’s dark eyes. “How
do you know that they’re trying to pull us out of here?”
He stepped back into the warm, turgid water and began sloshing
“Uh, I’ve been kind of feeling vibes before the last few
“Well, don’t know what to call it, really,
but it’s like the tingle you feel during an electric storm,” Tony
tried to explain as they slogged along.
His boots quickly filled with water, even though they were still
in excellent condition, not much the worse for wear as when he had
entered the gaping maw of the Time Tunnel.
Despite their attempts to change and fit into the local times and
places, the tunnel always retrieved them in their original clothing,
just as it was at the time of the first transfer.
He smiled softly. At times that was just as well.
He didn’t think that showing up in Victorian England in a Greek
toga would make a good impression on the locals.
To be or not to be…. That
is the question, Tony thought wryly.
Um, wrong time frame. It
was Shakespeare, but it was set in Denmark.
No togas. Et tu,
Brutus? Er, sorry, madame, just rehearsing.
Could you tell me where the Globe Theater is? He remembered how unimpressed Joshua, the son of Nun had been
with their outlandish clothing.
Tony shook his head, feeling stupid.
Such inattentiveness could be deadly.
He had to bring himself back to the present.
The present? Again that mental, derisive irony.
It seemed harder and harder of late to know just what the present
was. And lately, the
transfers had become harder and harder physically as well as mentally,
as though the rejuvenation effects on both their apparel and their
bodies was harder and harder for the tunnel to maintain.
What the tunnel gave them with each transfer-- exhaustion,
exertion, stress and sometimes malnourishment took away.
“Well, I wish Kirk would hurry up,” Doug
muttered and they continued along the stream.
The noise of the vicious carnosaurs was getting closer, they must
be getting hungry enough to chase them all out.
“I know what I want for Christmas,” Tony
snapped as his foot slipped on a loose rock, threatening to spill him in
the deepening waterway.
What the hell brought that on?”
Doug staggered and Tony put up his hand to keep his friend from
stumbling back into him.
“I don’t know.
Just remember when I thought getting socks for Christmas was a
fate almost as bad as getting coal,” Tony replied with a short laugh. “But now I would kill for a new set of clothes.”
He paused. “And
some hiking boots,” he added.
“Why limit yourself, Tony?” Doug chuckled.
“Why not wish for a transfer home?”
“Too much to ask for.”
They continued to trudge along.
“You remember when I first went into the tunnel?”
“Yeah,” Doug panted from ahead.
“I wonder how long we’ve actually been away?
What date is it back home? Seems
like we’ve been gone at least eighteen months.
It would be getting close to Christmas again, wouldn’t it?”
“That’s a good one, considering we’ve been
going forward, backwards and probably sideways for what seems like
eternity,” Doug said, jerking out of the mud that seemed to have taken
place of the slippery rocks. “I
couldn’t begin to figure how much real time we’ve spent away from
the complex.” He looked
ahead. “For that matter,
which time is real, anyway? At
least from our standpoint.” He
climbed out of the stream and began to walk along it.
The sounds of screaming predators came closer. “We have to travel along the stream. I think some of that is quicksand, or something close to
Tony only nodded, wondering why he even thought
of Christmas at all. Christmas
was just a time when he thought of the absence of his father.
It had been that way since he had lost his father in Pearl all
those years ago. He had
been quite young, seven, but it had been right before Christmas and
despite the kindness of his aunt and uncle, the holiday had lost its
appeal since that time. At
least now, he knew what had really happened to his father.
He had died a hero. Tony
had been there when he died. His
father had recognized him, even though he was all grown up.
But for all those years before he and Doug had been
time-transferred to Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941….
“If they are going to transfer us, I wish
they’d do it soon,” Doug puffed, breaking into as much of a run as
he could with all the vegetation in their way.
Tony listened as they ran.
The carnosaurs were getting closer.
He could hear their high-pitched squeals of triumph.
Soon he and Doug would be pulled down and stripped just as that
dead herbivore had been. He
reached up and jerked a dead branch from a nearby tree.
The beasts might have their first taste of homo sapiens in a few
minutes, but they would have to work for it, he thought grimly.
A crashing of brush told him that they were
about to have company. Then
the ravenous reptiles burst upon them, the foremost creature, brown and
amber striped about the size of a young steer, already leaping for his
throat. Tony swung his branch and felt it connect.
“Ray, you have to get them out of there!”
Ann McGregor, her green eyes showing terror at the scene before them,
“For some reason, I can’t separate the
carnosaurs from them!” Ray Swain, an older, balding man blurted, then
he muttered under his breath. “I
would have to separate all of the entities from each another.”
“Then do it!” the military man standing next
to the command console ordered. Kirk’s
face was lined with the exhaustion of too many days of futile efforts to
bring back the two scientists that were presently millions of years in
“General, if I did that those beasts might end
up in the middle of nineteenth century New York City!”
“If you don’t, Tony and Doug will be
dead!” General Kirk retorted. “Can’t
you split them all up? At
least if you do that those vicious beasts won’t kill them before they
complete the transfer.”
“I’ll try to and then do a reverse retrieval
on the creatures,” Swain said.
He made adjustments into the computer and then gave the
coordinates to Ann, who was watching closely.
“Do it, Ann.” She
nodded and then flipped a couple of switches.
The tunnel flashed its blue and yellow pyrotechnics and the two
scientists, millions of years in the past were temporarily lost from
view. A high-pitched
whistling and loud series of popping noises indicated that some kind of
transfer had taken place. But
to where . . . and when?
Zorro rode through the dark night, smiling at
his latest victory over the hapless sergeant of the guards of the pueblo
of Los Angeles. Not that he
enjoyed tricking poor Sergeant Garcia, but the newest comandante, Capitán
Juan Luvisto had jailed young Manuel Villegro for disorderly conduct
after giving him a severe lashing at the whipping post.
Now the half-conscious man was slumped forward in front of him,
but he was free. Sergeant
Garcia had been left holding his pants up with one hand while shouting
to the lancers to saddle up and chase after the escaped prisoner.
Zorro had already taken care of that issue, however, having
hidden the horses’ bridles where the lancers couldn’t immediately
find them. They might be able to follow bareback, but without bridles
for control, the less than stellar mounts would most likely run in any
direction they wished.
Under normal circumstances, a night or two in
jail would have probably been just what young Villegro needed. The peon had definitely been disorderly, having thrown rocks
through the open gate of the cuartel and shouting bawdy songs about the
new comandante, but Zorro took exception to the added punishment, the
dozen lashes that had not been light in their administration. Added to that was the fact that this was the Christmas
season, one in which the caballero firmly believed that mercy was more
in order than harshly strict penalties of the law.
Not only that, but Manuel’s father had promised to pay the fine
with labor and kind, and there was no finer leather worker in the pueblo
than Manuel’s father. When
he was sober, the young man was a hard worker, too, but of late he had
been extremely disdainful of the capitán.
It was no wonder, thought Zorro, since
Comandante Luvisto was critical of everything around him.
Only the cruel emissary, Basilio had been more scornful of the
California province. It
seemed that there was nothing here in Los Angeles that suited Luvisto,
even the fine California wines, the comandante said, couldn’t come
close to those from Spain. Even
the vintage from Mexico was to be preferred to that of Los Angeles.
Zorro wondered why the capitán had even come
here. But he was here and
if Luvisto’s disposition couldn’t be tempered, he would ruin the
holiday spirit of more than one person in the pueblo.
It was the near the time of the Christmas celebrations.
The first of the posadas would be in four days and Zorro hoped
that what had happened today would not dampen the festivities.
The masked man held the ex-prisoner closer to
his body as they rode through a rocky arroyo and Zorro shook his head at
the sticky wetness that soaked through his shirt.
He only hoped that Bernardo could treat these wounds before
infection set in. Villegro
had lay in his cell all day before Zorro was able to affect a rescue.
As the path became rougher, Zorro ordered
Tornado to a walk. Even
though there was no moonlight, and Tornado strode easily along paths
that had become familiar with use, the masked man wanted to take no
chances with the injured man in front of him.
Manuel moaned softly and raised his hands weakly.
“You are safe, Manuel,” Zorro reassured him.
“Zorro?” the young man asked weakly.
“I seem to remember you at the cuartel.”
Zorro felt something that caused the hair on the back of his neck
to rise. Something was out
there. A high-pitched
squall, unlike anything he had ever heard before pierced the dark night
and Tornado stopped short, snorting in fear.
“Easy, my friend,” Zorro murmured, but he, too, felt that
slight nudging of fear that sent the adrenalin pumping through his body.
The squalling was closer, and was punctuated by a hissing and
scrabbling sound as something came over the rocks at the top of the
arroyo toward him.
Run!” If it was a
mountain cat, he would be able to outrun it, but if he stopped to face
it here in the near pitch darkness of the small canyon, there would be
little he could do to save any of them.
The black stallion shot forward, his hooves
digging into the hard packed soil of the trail.
He didn’t stop as something that smelled dank and musky flew
past his shoulder. Zorro
felt a claw tear through his cape and he urged Tornado to even greater
speed. Soon the path led to
the other end of the small canyon and they were in the open.
The creature behind them made a hissing cry and Tornado didn’t
need any further urging. He
continued his ground-eating gallop and finally left the beast behind
Zorro couldn’t help but wonder what this
creature was; its odor reminded him of a den of snakes, but its speed
was more like that of a mountain cat.
Faster, actually, he corrected himself.
Right now, though, he had to take care of the semi-conscious man
in front of him. He sped
toward the secret hiding place near his home and was soon standing in
the safety of the cave that served as a stable for Tornado and safe
haven for himself. Tornado
stood shivering, his hide slick with sweat.
Whatever the creature had been, it wasn’t like anything he had
ever encountered before. Carefully,
Zorro dismounted and then slowly lowered Manuel from the horse.
Soft footfalls told him that his mute servant, Bernardo, was
He turned and saw Bernardo motioning for him to
lay Manuel in a bed of clean straw near the tiny spring next to
Tornado’s stall. With the
servant’s help, Zorro did so and Bernardo checked over the young
man’s wounds. “I am
going back out. Something
attacked us on the way in and I don’t want to take the chance that it
followed us here.” Bernardo motioned his concern.
“I will be careful,” Zorro reassured him, “but this is an
animal that seems to be at least as powerful and cunning as a mountain
lion. And much less shy.”
He turned and walked toward the entrance, unsheathing his sword.
Bernardo followed him and tapped on his
shoulder. He pointed toward
Tornado, and then he made a slight sign for Zorro to wait, while he
rummaged through a small trunk that held a variety of weapons and other
equipment. He stood up,
holding a pistol in one hand and a knife in the other.
Walking back to Zorro, he thrust both weapons in the masked
“It’s too dark, Bernardo.
I wouldn’t be able to see to shoot anyway.”
Bernardo pointed toward his ears and then made
“You make a valid point,” Zorro murmured.
“A shot directed toward a sound would definitely be more
effective than a small sword thrust in the dark.”
He transferred the sword to his left hand and put the pistol and
knife in his sash. Then he
pulled the branches and vines away from the entrance of the cave.
Once he was outside, Zorro stood still, listening intently.
At first he could only hear the sound of a few insects, and then
he realized that there was too little of the normal night sounds.
There should be more rustling of small wild creature like the
mice and rabbits, frogs and night birds, but there was almost total
silence. He continued
listening, waiting; straining his ears.
Finally, when he thought that he might have been imagining
danger, Zorro heard the same high-pitched squall that he had heard
before and he pulled the pistol from his sash.
He heard the scrabbling of claws on rocks and gravel and turned
to the sound, dropping the sword and pulling out the razor sharp knife
with his left hand. A
hissing sounded close, then a short noise that was like a crossing of a
pig’s squeal and a dog’s bark.
His eyes had adjusted to the darkness and he saw the vague
outline of something that stood upright on two powerful hind legs.
Zorro cocked the hammer and pointed the pistol toward the sound. The indistinct, shadowy creature dropped to all four and started toward him. Then the beast was lost among the darkness cast by the boulders and brush. As the noise of claws got closer and closer, Zorro squeezed the trigger. The ball exploded from the weapon just as a large body slammed him to the ground. The creature screamed in agony and Zorro stabbed it with the knife, feeling the blade slide into a body covered with rough, scaly hide. Fetid breath almost made him gag, but he pushed the animal away even as it continued trying to kill him with claws that he didn’t doubt could disembowel him. Again he stabbed it, but it seemed possessed of an almost demonic fury and didn’t seem to be effected by the weapon. He scrambled back and jerked loose the cord holding his cape around his shoulders, throwing it over the vicious beast’s head. With another sharp hiss of anger, it clawed his cape and tore it to shreds. If he could only see it better! But he couldn’t. Zorro could only stab at the noise of its presence and pray that he finally hit a vital spot.
Gen. Kirk, Ann McGregor and Ray Swain
(Whit Bissell, Lee Merriwether and John Zaremba)