by Samuel Orona
A man from 5150 and two young adults from our era are shrunk and travel through time!
|Chapter One: 1692, Colonial Caribbean
On a college campus in the year 5150...
Professor Cassius Cannoli was a balding, slightly overweight man grading assignments in his office on a college campus, when a strange young man who wasn't one of his students entered the room. He dropped an electronic device onto Professor Cannoli's desk.
"I was paid to give you this," the man said, and turned to leave.
"What is this?" the professor asked, but the man was gone. A hologram appeared, generated by the device; it was of a face that was digitally modified to disguise the identity of the person speaking.
"I am a member of the Death Matrix, maybe you've heard of us?" the man said. "The man who delivered this device can't be traced back to my organization."
"Yes, but what do you want with me?" the professor asked.
"We've kidnapped your daughter Arwen, and if you contact the police, we will terminate her. You must do exactly as I tell you if you ever want to see her alive again!"
"You'll have my utmost cooperation!" said the professor.
"There is an unmarked vehicle parked in the alley near the back of the school. Get in, and you will be driven to a destination where more will be explained to you."
Professor Cannoli took the device, and went to the alley as the man had directed.
"This must be it," said the professor, and the rear door popped open. Once inside, the door closed, and the car ascended into the sky. Professor Cannoli couldn't see out of the darkened windows.
The same voice that spoke to the professor earlier came from the speakers of the vehicle as it flew.
"There is a time vessel that will be parked in a garage at your destination, there will be robots assisting us, any attempt to overpower them will result in your demise, is that understood?"
"Yes!" Professor Cannoli replied.
The voice continued: "The time vessel is equipped with everything you will need on your mission. You are allowed to acquire two helpers on your mission, from any time before the 25th century. You will not be able to alert the authorities of your own time, and you will not be able to return to the present until we allow it. You will have a time limit of 12 hours for each mission. If you succeed on a mission, you will journey to the next time and place on your itinerary, where you will receive instructions for your next mission. I am from far enough in your future that the authorities from your era will not be able to track me down."
"What is my mission?" Professor Cannoli asked.
"Once you've retrieved two helpers from the past, the time vessel and everyone aboard it will be miniaturized, and you will be forced to journey from time to time, and your mission will change with each time you travel to."
"What about food and water?" Professor Cannoli asked.
"You and your two companions will be given an immortality serum before your first mission, so you will not need food or water. The three serum flasks are located in a drawer beneath the main control console. Do you understand your mission?"
"Yes!" Professor Cannoli replied. "Anything to protect my daughter!"
"The onboard computer of the time vessel has a virtually limitless database, and can assist you with just about any problem you might have. When you acquire companions to help you on your mission, you must only acquire people who were listed as missing according to historical records."
"What do you get out of all of this?" the professor asked.
"I will be running a black market betting ring, and we will be placing bets on whether or not you'll survive each adventure. I stand to get very wealthy from your exploits!"
"I've heard of this kind of thing!" said the professor. "But I never thought I'd find myself in the middle of something like this! How many missions will I be forced to experience?"
There will be thirteen missions, after that, you and your companions will be released in a time of our choosing, some time in your future. But if you fail us in any way, by not following our rules, you will die. Any attempts to escape your situation or allowing someone to rescue will result in more missions being added to the list."
The car flew for a great distance, and landed; it pulled into a garage and the door popped open. A bay door slid shut behind him, and several robots assisted Professor Cannoli to enter the time vessel. It had six thrusters arranged in a circular pattern at the base of the vehicle, and a gangplank that led to a door hatch in the center of the vehicle. It was large enough for three people to fit comfortably inside. Professor Cannoli was ushered by a robot to enter the time cruiser.
The robot showed Professor Cannoli how to work the control console, and showed him how to disengage the control crystal, so his companions can't take off in the time vessel without him.
"Now, I will search the chronosphere for two companions to join me on my journey," said the professor, thinking out loud. "Computer, find a young man and a woman who are young and physically fit, on the day they ended up missing. I want two people who have the desire to leave their regular lives behind, and will accompany me willingly!"
Meanwhile, in the early 21st century, Tad Polaris was driving his sports car to a remote part of California's central coast. His girlfriend Tiffany Tisdale was with him, in the passenger seat. They pulled over in a spot high on a hill where they could see Morro Rock in the distance.
"Inspiration point, the best place to do our homework!" said Tad, as he placed his arm around Tiffany's shoulder. Tiffany smiled, and Tad continued:
"Do you ever want to leave your life behind and go on an adventure?" Tad asked.
"Sometimes," Tiffany replied.
Tad continued: "I was a football player in high school, but when I started going to junior college, I was too afraid to join the football team. My older brother went straight to Matheson University right out of high school, and joined the football team; he warned me that college football was nothing like high school, so I was afraid."
"You were a good football player in high school," said Tiffany. "You shouldn't have listened to your brother!"
"I've always been afraid to do big things, I just wish I could be given a chance to prove myself, to make a difference in other people’s lives. I wish I could leave this life behind and make a life somewhere else, and make bolder decisions."
"Maybe you'll get your chance," said Tiffany.
"Don't you sometimes wish there was more to life?" Tad asked.
"Like what?" Tiffany asked.
"I mean, wouldn't life be better if we could go on some kind of adventure? If I could travel to other planets in our galaxy, or travel to other times, I wouldn't care if we never returned!"
"I would only want to go on an adventure like that if we were together," said Tiffany.
Just then, The time cruiser piloted by Professor Cannoli appeared, but the cloaking device was engaged. The door hatch and the gangplank were visible, however, and the two college students could see Professor Cannoli emerging from the time vehicle.
"Tad, look!" Tiffany pointed.
Professor Cannoli approached Tad's car, on the driver's side.
"My name is Professor Cassius Cannoli, I'm from the year 5150. I've disabled your vehicle," said the professor. "History documented that after today, the two of you were listed as missing, and never seen or heard from again. I need your help, I need you to come with me."
"If you're from the future," said Tiffany, "then why are you going bald? Don't they have a cure for that in the year 5150?"
"My ex-wife has contested whether or not my 11-year-old daughter is biologically related to me," said Professor Cannoli. "There are genetic cures for baldness, but if I got a procedure like that done, my wife could claim that my genetics don't match my daughter's genetics, because my dna pattern would be altered in favor of the new matrix."
"Do you have proof that you're really a time traveler?" Tad asked. "You know we can't just take your word for it."
The professor used a remote control device to make his time vehicle visible.
"I've de-activated the cloaking device, now you can see the time cruiser in all it's glory. After today, the two of you will never be seen or heard from again during the course of your normal lifetimes. I need your help!"
“What other proof do you have?” Tiffany asked.
“I see Morro Rock in the distance,” said the professor. “How would you like to see it erupt? It’s an extinct volcano.”
“Morro Rock hasn’t eruped in millions of years,” said Tad.
“I can take you back to the Oligocene epoch, when Morro Rock was an active volcano!” said the professor.
“Okay,” said Tad, “Lead the way!”
Tad and Tiffany followed the professor into the time cruiser and strapped themselves in. Professor Cannoli keyed in the time coordinates, and they made the jump twenty five million years into the past. When the professor opened the door, they could see an erupting volcano.
“We’re on almost the exact spot where we took off in your time,” said the professor.
Tad and Tiffany both had astonished looks on their faces. They unstrapped themselves and stood on the gangplank of the time cruiser, surveying the eruption.
“It’s beautiful!” said Tiffany. “But that volcano is much bigger than Morro Rock is in our time!”
“That’s because most of the volcano eroded between this past time and your century.” the professor replied.
"It looks like we have no choice, Tiff!" said Tad.
When they returned to the inside of the time cruiser, the professor closed the door and the gangplank, and explained the dire situation to the two college students.
"So you see, none of us will be permitted to live normal lives until we succeed on the thirteen missions the Death Matrix has established for us. If the three of us succeed, we will all be able to retire in the distant future."
"I'm okay with it, we would've ended up missing any way, why not live a life of time travel?" said Tad.
"But we only ended up missing because Professor Cannoli extracted us from our time," said Tiffany.
"If I hadn't extracted you, history listed you as missing, so you would have met some other untimely fate," said the professor.
"Your name is Cassius Cannoli?" Tad asked.
"Yes, said the professor.
"Can I call you Cash?" Tad asked.
"Yes, you may," said the professor.
"Why is the Death Matrix so unstoppable?" Tad asked. "Can't the police in your era do something to stop them?"
Professor Cannoli explained, "There is a regulator on all time cruisers that prevent them from traveling into the future. This benefits the Death Matrix, because they are from further in the future than I am, giving them a technological advantage. The police in my era can do nothing to stop them."
"What's our first mission?" Tad asked.
"Our first mission is to travel to Port Royal, Jamaica, on June 6, 1692, the day before the town was destroyed by a tsunami and Earthquake. The three of us and our time vessel will be miniaturized down by onboard neutrino dissimilators so we will stand about an inch tall, and that will be our size on each of our adventures. Our mission is to convince someone to escape the city. If we succeed on our mission, we will journey through time to our next mission."
"Well, let's do it!" said Tad. "Port Royal, Jamaica, 1692, here we come!"
"First we need to drink immortality elixir before we shrink," said the professor. He took out the three flasks, and gave one to Tad and one to Tiffany. After the three of them drank the serum, the professor gave each of them a ring to wear.
"Put these on! These rings will allow us to communicate with each other. They will also allow the time cruiser's central computer to track your location, in case you ever get separated from us." Tad and Tiffany put their rings on.
Professor Cannoli activated the neutrino dissimilators, and they all began to decrease in size, but were unaware of it because the time cruiser shrank along with them, and they had nothing to compare their change in size to. "Neutrinos are being subtracted from the quarks, gluons and electrons of our bodies, causing us to decrease in size, weight, volume and mass. Dimensional membranes will surround the miniaturized atoms of our bodies to protect us from the normal-sized environment."
"I'm pretty good with science," said Tad, "I wanted to be an electrical engineer, so I'm with you so far."
"I've set the navigation computer for our target time," said the professor, "if I explained the complexities of time travel to you, it would take longer than our journey, because this is a really advanced time cruiser."
A few seconds later, the professor said, "We're here!"
The large monitor in the center of the room showed the town of Port Royal, somewhere below them.
"We have the cloaking device engaged, so none of the locals will be able to perceive the time cruiser. Another thing I forgot to explain, if we ever land in a time where they don't speak English, the on-board computer in the time cruiser will use mind control over a 20 mile radius to allow the locals to understand English during the time we are there."
The time vessel landed in an alley between two structures, and the door hatch opened, and the gang plank lowered.
"Tiffany, I'm leaving you here, so we can communicate with you if we need assistance." said the professor. "I'm taking the control crystal, so neither of you can take off in the time vessel without me, but Tiffany will still be able to assist us if needed."
Tad exited the time vessel, followed by Professor Cannoli. Professor Cannoli carried the control crystal in his hand.
"We have 12 hours from the moment we landed here," said the professor, "if we don't succeed, we will be stuck here when the Earthquake hits at 11:43 a.m. tomorrow morning!"
The three of them were trying to be careful, there weren't a lot of normal sized people wandering around at that exact moment. The crystal in the professor's hand caught a glint of sunlight, and a thirteen year old girl saw the glint of light.
"What's that?" she asked, and walked over toward the two shrunken chrononauts.
"Cash, look out!" said Tad. "It's a giant girl!"
Just then, the girl scooped Professor Cannoli up in her hand, and took the crystal from him with her other hand.
"What kind of a man are you?" the girl asked.
"I've been miniaturized!" said the professor. "I was once normal sized, like you!"
The girl clenched the professor gently in her left fist, and while holding the crystal in her right hand, she opened a locket she wore attached to a necklace on her neck, and opened it; she put the crystal inside, and closed the locket, and let it fall back to her chest. She unclenched her fist.
"I'm going to keep that crystal!" said the young girl.
"You can't keep it!" said the professor. "I need that to return to where I came from!"
The girl stood in one spot as she surveyed her captive. Tad was at her feet, jumping up and down, trying to get her attention.
"Hey! Down here!" Tad shouted.
The girl drew her attention to Tad, and knelt down and scooped him up, also.
"There's two of you!" the girl said. "I bet I can sell you at a tavern!"
The girl walked with Professor Cannoli in one hand, and Tad in the other, toward one of the many taverns in Port Royal in the year 1692.
The girl entered a tavern, and went to one of the tables where two men were gambling. She dropped Professor Cannoli and Tad onto a table, and hid them beneath the palms of her hands so the two men at the table couldn't see Tad and the professor.
The girl whispered to her captives so the others at the table couldn't hear her. "I'm Abigail, and now you're my captives. Maybe someone will be interested in buying you from me!"
"Abigail!" Tad shouted, "You're in great danger! We're here to warn you!"
"Warn me?" Abigail asked. "Warn me about what?"
"There's going to be a great Earthquake tomorrow morning, and the entire city of Port Royal will be destroyed by tidal waves! You've got to get on a boat and get to the mainland!"
"If there's going to be an earthquake tomorrow, how would you know about it?" Abigail asked.
"You're talking to a man who stands one inch tall, and you're questioning how I know the future?" Tad asked.
"We're from the future," said the professor. "We came back to warn you!"
"What should I do?" Abigail asked.
"You need to book passage on a ship heading to Jamestown, there you'll be safe!" said the professor.
"I don't know of anyone who is heading that way," said Abigail.
"There won't be any survivors," said the professor, everyone in Port Royal will be killed!"
"I'm staying here in the tavern, to show you to some of the adults there." said Abigail. "I bet I can fetch a high price for you!"
"She won't listen, professor!" said Tad.
A woman who resembled Abigail arrived at the tavern, and sat down at the same table as Abigail. Abigail opened her hands, revealing Tad and the professor to the others at the table.
"Look what I found, mom!" Abigail told the others at the table. "These are my captives. Is anyone interested in buying them from me?"
Abigail's mother had cards in her hands, and put her cards face down on the table. "Are they clock work?" she asked. "They can move around on their own, Abigail, where did you get such expensive toys?"
"We're not toys!" Tad shouted up to the young woman.
"Then prove it, by stepping onto my hand," said the young woman. She placed her open palm down on the table in front of Tad. He stepped onto her palm as she commanded.
"We've come to warn you," said Tad, "this whole town will get destroyed by a tidal wave tomorrow morning, and you'll be killed along with everyone else unless you evacuate!"
"And how would you know such a thing?" the woman asked. "Are you some kind of a wizard?"
"We're from the future," Tad replied, "and history documents that this whole area was wiped out by tidal waves tomorrow morning!"
"I think you're lying!" said Abigail. "You're just a tiny toy man and you don't want us to keep you, so you're making up lies! If you mention anything about our town getting destroyed by a flood, I'll swallow you!"
"Abigail, you have to believe us! We're here to warn you about an impending disaster!" Tad shouted.
Abigail reached over and grabbed Tad from the young woman's palm, and shoved him into her mouth. With a tilt of her head backwards, she easily swallowed Tad. Abigail started laughing uncontrollably.
"If I can make you vomit him back up," said professor Cannoli, "will you believe us?"
"How would you make a girl vomit?" the young woman asked.
Professor Cannoli pulled out a device on a keychain. "This is a neural stimulator, it induces vomiting. If I aim it at Abigail's head, she will vomit Tad back up again."
"If you can make her vomit, I'll believe anything!" said the young woman.
Professor Cannoli aimed the device at Abigail's head, and a few moments later she vomited into a brass cuspidor close to their table. Abigail reached into the cuspidor and retrieved Tad, and brought him back to the table.
"Tad, are you all right?" the professor asked.
"None the worse for wear," Tad replied.
"Do you believe us now?" the professor asked the young woman.
"Yes," said the young woman, "I know of a vessel we can hire to take us to Jamestown."
"We need to tell Abigail where the time cruiser is located, so she can bring us with her to escape from this place," said the professor.
"Are you sure that's wise?" Tad asked.
"It's part of the mission," said the professor, "we can't go on our next mission until Abigail is safe on a sailing vessel heading away from this harbor."
"Where is it?" Abigail asked. "I overheard your conversation."
"Back where you first found us, there is a vessel that brought us here through time," said the professor. Take us with you and retrieve it!"
Abigail scooped up Tad and the professor, and headed back to the spot where she first found them. She carried the time cruiser, which was uncloaked by the professor, and brought it back to the tavern. The young woman had booked passage for herself and Abigail on a clipper ship heading to Jamestown.
Once on board and after leaving the harbor, the professor told Tad: "The Death Matrix deactivated the lock on our navigation computer that prevented us from traveling through time, and we can leave at any time."
Tad, Professor Cannoli, and Tiffany stood on the door hatch gang plank and waved goodbye to Abigail and her mother.
"I'm sorry I swallowed you, Tad! I hope you can forgive me! I wish you luck on your mission!"
The diminutive trio waved goodbye to Abigail, and headed inside. The gangplank closed, and Tiffany said, "Tad, you made a difference in someone else's life, and you showed bravery when she swallowed you!"
The professor said: "Tad will have many more chances to prove himself, Tiffany. We have the coordinates for our next mission!"
"Where to next?" Tad asked, as he and Tiffany strapped themselves into their seats.
"Pompeii, 79 A.D.," the professor replied, "the day before Mount Vesuvius erupted!"
"They don't cut us any slack, do they?" Tad asked, and the professor keyed in the coordinates to ancient Pompeii, and they took off through time once again.
To Be Continued!