Sentience Of Time – Chapter III
The following story is a work of fiction and is 100 percent original work. I will be publishing a chapter per week on Saturdays, which can be viewed right here on redOrbit Blogs / Sci-Fi Saturday. I have always been interested in writing science fiction and this is a step toward realizing my dreams. I hope you enjoy this serial novel a chapter at a time!
Sentience of Time – Chapter III: About Time
(December 6, 2069)
Austrian physicist Alfred von Weitz walked along a well-lit corridor. The hall was lined with rows of solid white doors, each oddly numbered. As he turned a corner at the end of the hall, he was met with an equally as long corridor, continuing almost into infinity. Several steps farther down the hall and he stopped at a door to his right. Von Weitz waved the palm of his hand over a small digital display that appeared on the face of the door near the spot where a door knob would be on most other doors.
As the door opened, von Weitz was greeted by a large metallic elliptic cylinder sitting in the middle of an otherwise all-white room. To either side a wall of computerized displays worked through algorithms and data streams. Von Weitz, a tall, thin man of his early 50s walked to the cylinder. He set down a tablet-like computer on a desk nearby and ran his hands over the outer edges of the cylinder.
“Soon the world will know what you can do, my friend,” von Weitz said softly in a German accent. “Soon!”
Von Weitz walked to a small counter near the ellipsoidal machine and lifted up a small white rat from a cage on the desk. The rat was marked with a painted blue number 3 on its back. He turned back to the machine and opened a glass-like hatch that appeared over the surface of the metallic cylinder. He placed the rat inside on the floor of the machine and moved back; the hatch closed automatically as if it could sense the presence of the animal as well as von Weitz’ hand departing from within the confines of the machine.
He walked a few feet over to a control panel near a wall. After pushing a few buttons and moving a few levers, the machine started to produce a low humming sound and light began emanating from around it. Within a few seconds, a beam of light blasted outward from the center of the cylinder and all went quiet.
Von Weitz slowly walked back to the chambered cylinder. He contemplated what he was to see. His previous two attempts ended in failure, with both study subjects becoming genetic soup. After weeks of tinkering with the system, von Weitz believed he had the right configuration this time.
With semi-shielded eyes, von Weitz peered on as the hatch door slowly opened. To his amazement, the cylindrical compartment was empty and completely devoid of any genetic evidence, as was confirmed by a digital scan of the chamber by remote sensors.
“Yes!” von Weitz exclaimed with jubilation. “It is ready!”
(June 8, 2020)
Jazz had walked for what she believed to be about 40 minutes through the dense woods before coming upon a clearing. A small cabin was within view across the field. Dawn was fast approaching and Jazz wanted to be under cover as much as possible without drawing much attention. She pulled the communicator out from her pocket. She pressed a button and waited for confirmation of any life forms within the vicinity.
A few beeps alerted Jazz that there were two human life forms within a half mile of her position, but did not detect a single one coming from the vicinity of the cabin across the clearing. Jazz wiped a few beads of sweat that was building up across her forehead. She knelt to the ground and looked around, up and down the edge of the woods. As the morning sky slowly brightened, she knew she had to work fast to escape detection.
Jazz popped to her feet and made a mad dash toward the cabin, which was still another several hundred from her location. As she raced across the tall grass the morning light easily made her detectable to any likely onlookers. However, Jazz knew she could make it without incident. And in fact, she was able to cross the field in moments and find herself standing just feet from the cabin entrance.
Upon closer inspection of the property in the light, it appeared as if the building was abandoned, making it more likely she could keep hidden until the Council could reset the flashpoint. However, it was likely the building was also bereft of food, meaning she would have to wait the remainder of the time without sustenance. She couldn’t risk going any farther in the daylight in the open.
Jazz pulled out her communicator and peered at the edge display. She placed it back into her pocket. “Okay, if I can just stay out of sight for the next five hours everything will be fine.”
Jazz walked up to the cabin door and grabbed the handle. As she slowly turned the knob it became evident that the building was empty as the door creaked and came crashing back onto Jazz. She threw her arms up and grabbed the top of the door as it came down onto her. She pushed it to one side and watched as it fell onto the ground and crumbled due to years of rot.
She wondered if it would even be safe to enter the cabin at this point. Jazz peered into the darkened front room of the cabin and looked for signs of danger. She placed one foot inside on the floor and pushed down to see if it was secure. As she slowly stepped into the building, she studied the walls and ceiling to be sure that she wasn’t walking into a death trap.
A few extra steps in and Jazz halted. “What the hell am I thinking?” she asked herself rhetorically.
She pulled out her communicator and pressed the indented button on the reverse side of the box. She pressed a few button on the display and held up the box in the air above her head. Several beeps sounded and a small flash of light signaled that whatever the box was doing was now all done.
Jazz pulled the box back down and looked at the reading. According to the data pulled from the surroundings, the communicator determined that, taking the structural integrity of the building and her weight into consideration, she would be fine. With that information in hand, she pressed another button and scanned for life once again. The display showed one life form within 2,200 feet of her position.
Jazz tossed the box back in her pocket and began to look around. After an exhaustive search for food, all that was found was an old can of something that she deemed too risky to even open. She found an old couch at the back end of one of the rooms and brushed off some debris and dirt and sat down carefully.
After realizing it was safe, she sat back and tried to get comfortable. Jazz decided she needed a moment to reflect on the previous day’s goings-on, in particular, the older man who unknowingly sealed his fate with an ill-placed touch.
While Jazz knew the dangers of being touched within the first few minutes of time jumping, she had no idea what happened to these people once they made their irreversible contact. Neither the Sanctuary’s parliament nor the council ever offered information on the subject. The only mention ever given was that it was of dire importance that no time jumper let anyone touch them within minutes after jumping.
Jazz didn’t really understand the concept of time travel, apart from the knowledge that your genes become separated as they speed through the time-space continuum only to be re-formatted as the correct coordinates are met. What was more interesting was that while Jazz didn’t believe in the Glimmer, she knew and understood its role in time jumping. In fact, without the Glimmer, time travel would not be possible.
What’s more, time travel had never been safely tested beyond 12 years and only a few people had ever jumped back 30 years successfully. So it made even less sense that she was dropped nearly double that time backward than anyone before her, and all the while without incident, apart from vaporization of that older man.
Jazz was beginning to think there was more to this puzzle than what she had known. She decided it may be a good time to make a second contact with the council.
Stay tuned next week for Chapter IV
Image Credit: Mopic / Shutterstock