Wednesday, October 10, 2012

MZAT - Traveling back to right what shouldn't go wrong

[Trying to work the piece I wrote due to a misread fiction prompt into the larger MZAT scheme of things.]
[This would be the set up.]

Bella looked at a readout on a console and said, "Damn it, they're making another incursion."

"How can they be making another incursion if they haven't made the first one yet?"

"You know exactly what I mean, they're fucking with the timeline and we haven't solved the first screw up yet."

"So what do we do?"

"There's only one thing we can do, we follow them back and fix it."

"How can that be the only-"

"Look, right now we're being protected by the residual effects of the incursion on this end, which is stopping history from being rewritten just yet, but as soon as those fade the protection goes away, everything changes, and we don't even know if we'll even be here."

"Can't we just go wherever they are and stop them on this end?"

"By the time we got there it would be too late, we need to act before this end of the anomaly fades."

"Can I at least get JC and Tsu-"

"No time, get to the controls and get ready."

"I thought you couldn't go back in time."

She fired up the temporal engines and said, "I can't, but what I can do is follow them through the hole they punched in spacetime."  The truck started to vibrate.  "There's just one problem."

"That being?"

"We can't go the usual way, we've got to go straight, no time tunnel, no time vortex, no wormhole or wormsign, just smash this thing in reverse.  The good news is that the shields should protect us from colliding with anything smaller than a ball bearing."

"What about something the same size as a ball bearing?"

"Don't ask, just doge."

I had never felt the truck move through time before, and yet, somehow, I knew that this was not how it was meant to do it.  It felt wrong, and potentially deadly, and shaky, and generally off kilter.

Bella shouted out commands, "Ten feet left... NOW" and I flicked switches and hit buttons.

"Fourty, Thirty, Two hundred twenty feet."  I did my best to obey and then shouted back:

"Use radians."

"Pi over three point six, negative pi over four, ten feet!"  More buttons, more switches.

And on it went, she shouted commands, I tried my best to follow them, the truck rocketed backward through time.  At one point she didn't see a good way forward and sent us to space.  I asked, "Why don't we camp out somewhere where there's nothing there and stay?"

She said, "We can't stay away from the trail too long, we'd lose it and get stuck."

And so we went back down to earth and back to frantically dodging everything that wanted to go forward through time, that being everything.

The everything changed.  The timbre of the shaking of the truck, the tone of Bella's voice, the feeling in my stomach.

"Something's wrong," she said.  I already knew.

More rushed commands to dodge, but distracted as she divided her attention between that and diagnostics, trying to figure out what was wrong.

Then she said, "We have to stop.  2000 miles, three football fields, one eighteen wheeler and three cans of Pringles to the left on my mark," I input the distance and asked, "What altitude?"

"Local ground."  There was a pause then, "NOW!"

The feeling of moving through time stopped.  And the room dropped two feet.

It hurt.

As I picked myself up off the ground I said, "I guess I messed up the local ground level."

"It's fine.  We lost some wiring, it knocked out the shield."

"Where are we?"

"A service station," she said.  "I hope."


  1. One hopes that the shield can deal with the small stuff, and the large stuff can be dodged... it's much like trying to stay alive in low earth orbit, really...

    1. I was actually considering having Bella explain that low earth orbit is the opposite of reliably empty space, which would lead to the question of why not parking the truck further away, and then the answer of "We can't stay away from the trail too long, we'd lose it and get stuck," but I decided it'd take too long.