Clock Company Episode 1 by C.R. Drakeloch

August 5, 1864
The light of early morn bare was beginning to break. A sleepy town still cast in twilight’s gray light lay dead ahead, of four sleek giants who crept ever closer through dark silent waters. Each, literally in a class of their own, these behemoths clad in iron armor pushed cautiously towards the front. Leading the way for their smaller comrades as the crew who operated these behemoths, who ran the steam engines which were the metal hearts and maintained the inner workings which were their arteries and guts.

All four of these giants had mighty names which would be remembered throughout history. Chickasaw. Winnebago. Manhattan. All remembered. None though, more famous than the leader.

“Commander!” came a call to commander Tunis Augustus Mcdonough Craven of the U.S.S. Tecumseh. A distinguished officer with full beard and stern eyes, he had served on both the Boston and the St. Louis before being assigned this post. And had served in Mexican American War, prior to his current service in the union army.

“A notice for you sir,” the officer delivering the message stated his cap lowered over his face so as to hide any distinct features. “I think you will find it most interesting.

Commander Craven in response, found he could only slightly raise one brow in a most inquisitive manner, as he dismissed the officer and opened the notice.

“Commander Craven.” The notice read. “By order of I, Commander Farragut, stop. You are to hereby reposition the Tecumseh 30 degrees to port.”

“30 degrees?”

Commander Craven had to wonder why the sudden shift. His orders had been to lead the line straight into Mobile Bay. Even a slight shift would create a domino effect that would throw the rest of the convoy off. It was a curious order; however, he was a military man and had been given orders. So, he followed through ordering the Tecumseh move over 30 degrees port. 

As the Tecumseh slowly sailed her way into the bay. Her iron hull protecting her mighty body, a sudden click was heard to the side, where she should have sailed through. The commander in crew observed in shock as a blast of foam and water skyward, could been their ship getting torpedoed had they not received orders for the ship to change position.

Captain Farragut meanwhile, above the U.S.S. Hartford, gave his famous speech as he saw the torpedo explode. “Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead!” He yelled as the remaining ships and ironclads sailed through the confederate minefield. The torpedoes then clicked as each ship went through and exploded, sinking one ship after another. Commander Craven watching in horror as the Tecumseh remained the only ship to survive the minefield. The entire union convoy, going down in smoke and flames one by one.

This scene was not only observed by the jubilant confederate navy. It was observed by an onlooker in the city of Mobile Bay, who shook his head and checked a silver pocket watch he carried. “Not good.” He murmured to himself. Toying with his handlebar mustache as he looked down at the watch and up at the chaotic scene again. “Not good at all. This…is not how it was supposed to play out.”

Present Day
A gray, rainy, Saturday Afternoon. It was about 3:00. A long day of lectures had just finished for Professor Erika Wolfe as she sat behind her desk, irritably grading college history papers, that had been half researched and which barely had any effort put into them.

The professor sighed and put a pencil behind her left ear. She adjusted blue framed glasses and ran fingers through her sea of fire red hair as she wondered if it was even worth teaching history anymore. If anyone cared or if people were too busy thinking that everything could be looked up on their phones, to even give a damn.

As the professor mentally expressed her frustrations, she heard a knock on the door.

“Professor?” A man’s voice stated. “Do you have a minute?”

“Do I look like I have a minute?” The professor stated a little more tersely than intended. She then looked up to see a young man in a business suit, with sharp green eyes, peering over black sunglasses. He had gelled black hair and was quite sharp looking.

She blinked and looked over her glasses. “I’m sorry,” She replied. “I thought you were a student, trying to get me to fix their grade. You clearly aren’t and you aren’t faculty either. Who exactly are you?”

The young man smiled and flipped out a badge. “My name is Templeton James,” he replied. “As for details…I can explain if you’ll agree to come with me. This may sound cliche, but this really is a matter of not just national but international security. And we need you to help.”

The professor scoffed. “Me?” She replied. “Why me?”

“You are Professor Erika Wolfe? You’re an expert in ancient and modern history, and wrote a paper on history and the theoretical temporal effects of historical alteration?”

The professor smirked. “I published that as a lark to keep my tenure going. You’re talking about speculative history. The idea that while we know the timeline of historical events, what if we change one event in that line? We could speculate that it would create an all-new timeline and reality of history.”

Templeton nodded. “Only what I’m talking about isn’t speculation.” He replied cryptically. “We are dealing with a real threat. And the people I work for have decided you are the only one knowledgeable enough to help. Now are you going to sit here grading papers of students who don’t even care about what a treasure history is…or are you going to do something with your life, and actually be active in history, like you always wanted?”

Erika paused for a minute to consider this. “I suppose, you may have a point.” She replied. “It doesn’t hurt to hear you out. Where are you parked?”

“This way.”

The agent led Erika to the limo he had arrived in and opened the door for her before joining her inside.

“What I am about to tell you, is top secret.” He stated, handing her a folder after he closed the door and after the car started rolling. The department I work for is a government department you have never heard of. We are called CHRONOS. And we were founded in 1965, by President Lyndon B. Johnson after the Kecksburg Woods incident occurred. I’m sure you as a history teacher are familiar with that?”

Professor Wolfe nodded. “In 1965 a bell-shaped object with runic writing crashed into the woods and was discovered by a local citizen of the Kecksburg community. It was described as having indecipherable runes on it and was burnt and bronze in material. What does that have to do with me?”

Templeton smiled and poured some wine from out of the limo bar. “That device recovered by individuals who would become the founding members of CHRONOS, was Die Glocke. Translated in English as, ‘The Bell.’ It was…”

“Hitler’s countermeasure protocol.” Professor Wolfe interjected. In the case that the Nazis should lose World War II, it was stated that he his scientists and the Thule society devise a project called the Bell. Some say it was reverse engineered from alien technology, some say the Nazis were just that advanced. But it supposedly hovered off the ground unassisted and was a device he planned to use to go back in time and start his regime over again, should the third Reich fail. You mean it worked?”

Templeton nodded. Most people don’t know that part of the story. He replied. They just heard that the test pilot tested it and disappeared. They don’t realize it rematerialized almost 20 years later and crashed in Kecksberg Woods.”

“And the government has had it in their possession all these years?”

“We…did.” Templeton replied, with an ashamed look on his face. “This is where it gets embarrassing. “A man named Belloque Phineas Gorshwin. File name: Belphagor, broke into the facility a few weeks ago and stole Die Glocke. The man is a notorious criminal mastermind known only to the files of CHRONOS. He is obsessed with any kind of forbidden knowledge, arcane, temporal or otherwise that is locked away, which could give him power akin to that of a god. It’s why his file name is that of the demon of forbidden knowledge. We received a report from one of our temporal agents that he used Die Glocke to travel to the city of Mobile Bay Alabama, on the date of August 5th, 1864, at 6:30 A.M.”

“The Battle of Mobile Bay.”

“Exactly. We have reason to believe he inserted himself in two different locations. We believe he may have been there the day before and may have inserted himself as a worker in the Confederate munitions lines, ensuring all torpedoes worked properly. He then inserted himself on the day of battle as Union officer aboard the Tecumseh, changing the path the Tecumseh would take so that only it would survive the torpedo field.”

“He changed the battle you’re saying, so the Union never got the massive upper hand they needed to achieve total victory.”

Templeton nodded. “That’s right,” he said as the limo pulled in front of a set of wrought iron gates that swung open. The address they drove by, reading 1111 Horologium Ave.
“It’s why I’ve brought you here.” He explained. “As an expert in history and speculative history, you are one of the few who would know how to fix things. It usually takes 72 hours for time to change irreparably. You will have 72 hours for you and your team to fix this mess and recover Gorshwin if possible.”

“I understand. Wait…what team?”

Templeton motioned Professor Wolfe to follow, checking his silver pocket watch as he led her inside a vast manor. “We’re sending you back in time.” He spoke. “Sending you to a foreign location that will be different from what it should be. It will be dangerous, even with the knowledge of the period. We would be stupid to send you alone.”

He snapped his fingers as they walked down the hall. The lights in series of glass paned cells, immediately turned on. “Hans Kruger,” The agent stated with a smirk as he sipped his wine. “Test pilot for Die Glocke. A bit of a supremacist and arrogant as hell, but he’s a nazi so what do you expect?”


“You expect me to take one of those with me?” Professor wolf retorted. “Are you crazy? Why would you even suggest such a thing?”

“Because Fraulein,” Hans said from behind the glass. “I am unique…shall ve say, in my properties und existence, due to my reason for being here.”

Templeton’s smirk widened.

“You see,” he explained to Professor Wolfe, “The result of Hans travelling outside of space time is his body absorbed vast amounts of that Tesseractic energy. The man is quite literally, living wormhole energy. It’s why he has to wear that X-shaped restraining dampener. To keep him from blasting energy out all over the place.

Hans chuckled. “Not to mention mein freund, the temporal bomb you have installed, that allows you to make me go kablooey, should I ever step out of line.”

“Exactly,” Templeton replied as he motioned Erika onward while agents stepped into the cell and got Hans ready for the mission.

“This next one is interesting.” He spoke. “All we know her as, is Raniel. A bit of a spitfire, she was found near a circle of stones in Iceland. We don’t know what happened if she got exiled from the magical community or what.”


Professor Wolf widened her eyes as she looked in the cell to see toned young woman with long silver hair that flowed down to her back. Her eyes were a vibrant purple and she had such fair skin it almost shimmered. “Is that…an elf?” She replied, scarcely able to believe she was seeing this for real. “You’re telling me elves are real?”

Templeton nodded. “Lots of magical creatures are,” he said. “We just choose to keep it secret from mainstream society. Modern tech is making it a lot harder though.

“Oh, I can certainly see how.”

Templeton chuckled. “Finally, he said finishing introductions. “You’ll be taking Cara.”


“Me, lunchmeat.” A husky, sandpaper-ish voice spoke from behind the professor. A looming figure that looked like an anthropomorphic orca in Amazonian battle armor, came looming up behind. “It’s short for Cacharodont’mara.” She growled. “But you can call me Cara. I’m going to be your muscle, if things go south. I usually stay here, since I look so…different. But since this is a seaside mission, I convinced Templeton here to let me out of this doghouse for once.”

Templeton chuckled. “Cara is from Atlantis,” he explained. “Believe me, she’s quite useful, when needed.”

“I-I see.”

Professor Wolfe tried to take all this in. That she was traveling in the company of a bipedal warrior shark, an elf, and a genocidal monster who was now more universal energy than man and had a bomb strapped to his chest. Wonderful.

Erika sighed. “How do we get to 1864 anyway?”

“I’m glad you asked!” Templeton smiled widely and led Erika, followed by Cara, into a large hub where Hans and Raniel were waiting. “Behold, CHRONOS central!” He said as he motioned to the various stations where agents were always tracking multiple timelines. Here is where we ensure the timeline remains as it should be. And here, is your ticket to any time we designate. Behold, The Nox. A sleek black ship that looked as if it was made of a sort of futuristic liquid metal which shifted every second or so. It truly looked like it could complement a full crew, and even had a neatly furnished captain’s cabin right on the bridge. Everything streamlined and organized quite to Erika’s liking actually, as everyone including her settled in.

“Everyone good to go?” Templeton stated, appearing on a holoscreen in front of now Captain Wolfe, as she had just settled into the Captain’s seat.
“I-I suppose so,” she replied a bit nervously, looking about as everyone seemed to have settled at their stations. “Yes. Yes we are.”

“Good. Then I am going to send you to 1864 in 5…4…3…”

The ship rattled as their was a rush of color, light, and energy around them. Enveloped by transpace, it was quite a rush for a few minutes before the ship blasted out of a rift on the other side, arriving at August 4th 1864. A day before the incident with Gorshwin would occur, and a day before he would arrive in town, giving them plenty of time of time to stop him and plenty of time to ensure that only the Tecumseh went down and not the entire union convoy.

For Erika, there was only one thought that ran through her mind as she landed the ship just outside of town and as she turned on the cloak.

Would they be able to stop Belphagor in time? Or would the incident happen all over again, and would they find time…was not truly on their side?               

Continue to Episode 2 in July 2024.  

About the Author

C.R. Drakeloch was born in Linn Creek, Missouri in the region of Lake of the Ozarks. He was born under the given name of Christopher Riddle, to his mother Jane Riddle who worked in the local School district as a teacher and as an administrative worker. And to his father, Ron, who worked every job from assistant manager in food service, to boat manufacturer, to helping C.R.’s aunt in her upholstery business. C.R. takes inspiration for his stories, from a life-long passion for history, the supernatural and the unexplained. The fact that he grew up with a forest literally in his backyard, also drives him to incorporate nature into many of his stories as well.

Instagram-@wordweavercr, Facebook- Christopher Riddle


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