In the 1970s a vicious typhoon closes an airport and grounds all flights. On her way to join her Navy husband in Japan, Ellen Ryan is caught overnight in the local USO. There is a power blackout, a lockdown against a potential terrorist attack, and the murder of a hated man. When the lights come back on Colonel Arlen, late of the US Army and now head of a company of mercenaries in the guise of security forces, is found dead with a knife in his heart... and everyone who had been stranded in the USO had a reason to kill him. In order to be able to leave to join her husband Ellen realizes she must solve the murder.
Ellen lay listening to the others snore and thinking of how wonderful it would be to be with Ryan again, making a home with him again. Once someone almost cried out as if with a bad dream, but it got cut off and was not repeated. Twice someone got up to go to the bathroom, the rushing flush sounding almost like a flood inside the building. Once someone rummaged in the refrigerator, an action made clumsy in trying to be quiet and was followed by the crack and whoosh of a soft drink can being opened. Outside almost imperceptibly the rain slowed, finally dying to a thin pattering and at last Ellen dozed even if it were light and restless.
At approximately five-thirty the power blinked a time or two, then leapt to full life. Lights flooded the area with stabbing brilliance while heater, computers, refrigerator and Heaven only knew what else leapt to life and filled the air with a cacophony of electric background noise. They were all back in the twentieth century and everything was as it was before.
Except it wasn’t. Colonel Arlen lay unmoving in his big recliner, the handle of a large knife protruding from his chest.