by Samuel Orona
A man from 5150 and two young adults from our era are shrunk and travel through time!
Chapter Five: The Year 2112
The time cruiser appeared and hovered at a high altitude over a city surrounded by water on all sides, with monorails connecting one end with the mainland.
"We're in the year 2112," said the professor. "The entire city you see below you is located in the Atlantic Ocean, it floats and was created in the late 21st century. It was destroyed by an asteroid collision that was hurled toward Earth by the 22nd century equivalent of the Death Matrix. Hubris caused most of the people who lived here to fail to evacuate; they thought the defense grid was full proof, because it had stopped asteroids before."
“What’s hubris?” Tad asked.
“In Greco-Roman mythology, hubris was the sin of pride, usually punished by the gods,” said the professor.
“That’s the same mistake the builders of the Titanic made,” said Tiffany.
"What made this asteroid different?" Tad asked.
"It is almost pure gold and platinum," said the professor. The Death Matrix launched it from the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, and sent it toward Earth at a much faster velocity than the defense grid was prepared for. The pieces of the asteroid that didn't burn up caused problems for the world money system, because gold and platinum became so plentiful."
"What's our mission?" Tad asked.
"We must land at a high school in that city, and find a girl named Artemis Ashman. Coincidentally, she is a relative of Alma Ashman, the girl we just left in Chicago in the 1920's, though not a direct descendant. History documented her as surviving the asteroid collision, but we need to convince at least two of her friends to go with her when she leaves on the monorail for the mainland."
"This is the second time we'll meet someone who is related to someone we know," said Tad.
"I've noticed a pattern," said Tiffany. "All the girls we've encountered so far had names beginning with A."
"My daughter Arwen's name begins with an A," said the professor.
"Do you think if we survive these thirteen missions," Tiffany asked, "and your daughter survives, that your future self or your daughter's future self could be trying to send us a message? Maybe one of you infiltrated the Death Matrix in the same era as the version that made contact with you, professor."
"Anything is possible," the professor replied. "Only time will tell. Right now, I need to land the time cruiser in that school. It should be lunch time right now, so I need to find a secluded spot."
"How will we know when we find Artemis?" Tiffany asked.
The professor keyed in a combination of buttons on the main control console, and a photograph of a teenage girl popped up on the main monitor.
"This is her, she has medium length blonde hair and grey eyes. All the girls wear a school uniform, but today Artemis was wearing a pink ribbon in her hair. That should make it easier to spot her. One thing I should mention, in this era, neutrino dissimilators have been invented, so we might be mistaken for criminals who were miniaturized and sold at auction.”
The time cruiser landed on the concrete, and wind from the thrusters blew debris around as it landed. No onlookers could see the time cruiser, because the cloaking device was initiated. The professor keyed in the controls that opened the door and the gangplank, and they could see out. Multiple kids were milling about.
"I see her!" said Tad, pointing at a blonde girl with a pink ribbon in her hair.
"Excellent!" said the professor. "Tiffany, you stay behind, while Tad and I make first contact with Artemis." The professor grabbed the control crystal and put it in his pocket. “I’m taking the control crystal, so you won’t be able to fly the time cruiser, but you’ll be able to manipulate the cloaking device, and onboard neural stimulator or the space warp in case one of us gets swallowed, Tiffany.”
“Thanks, Professor,” Tiffany responded.
Tad exited the time cruiser, followed by Professor Cannoli. The girl they were meant to make contact with was nearby. She was standing around talking to two of her female friends. Tad knew they had to be quick, so they wouldn’t get spotted by other kids. They stayed close to the perimeter of the fence and beneath tables as they approached her, to avoid detection.
“Artemis!” Tad shouted. The girl looked down and saw Tad and the professor.
She knelt down and said, “Who are you? Did you escape from your owner?”
“We’re not criminals who were sold at auction,” said Tad. “We’re time travelers here to warn you about the asteroid collision! This whole city will get wiped out!”
Artemis and her friends started laughing. “You’re cute!” said Artemis. “The defense grid will protect us from the asteroid, it always has in the past!”
“This asteroid is too big for the defense grid to deal with!” said the professor. “It will devastate this entire city!”
“I’ll tell you what, you little imposters,” said Artemis, “you’re obviously using the asteroid as a tool to scare us, because it’s been in the news so much lately. If you don’t give up on this charade, I’m going to swallow one of you!”
“This isn’t a charade!” said the professor. “You need to get on the next monorail to the mainland!”
“That’s it!” said Artemis, “I don’t care who your owner is, they can sue me if they want to, but I’m swallowing you!”
“If I get killed,” the professor shouted at Tad, “get Artemis and her friends to the hills of West Virginia! It’s at a high enough altitude that they’ll be safe!”
“Sure thing, professor!” said Tad, and Artemis plunged the professor into her mouth. Because he was only an inch tall, Artemis had an easy time swallowing him. Professor Cannoli glided down the esophagus of the beautiful behemoth, and plunged down into her belly, where he treaded chyme.
Tiffany was in the time cruiser, and notified Tad. “Tad! The professor took the control crystal with him, we can’t leave this century without it!”
“You need to vomit up the professor,” Tad told Artemis. “He has a mechanism we need to power our time cruiser.”
“Can you show me the time cruiser?” Artemis asked.
“Tiffany,” Tad spoke into his communicator ring, “de-activate the cloaking device!”
Tiffany did as Tad instructed, and the time cruiser became visible.
“That’s impressive!” said Artemis. She dug through her purse and pulled out a small device. “This is a neural stimulator, it will make me vomit.” Artemis pointed it at her head and pulled the trigger, and she vomited on the ground. The professor dropped down onto the ground, emerging from her puddle of vomit.
“I believe you now!” said Artemis. “Where should we evacuate to?”
“West Virginia,” said the professor. “There will be a massive tidal wave, and you need to get to high ground. This entire city will be wiped out!”
“There’s a monorail leaving soon,” said Artemis, “when should we leave?”
“As soon as possible,” said Professor Cannoli. “Once people realize they’re in danger, there will be a bottleneck and most people will be trapped in the city, with no escape!”
“Do I have time to contact my family?” Artemis asked.
“There’s no time for that, you can call them when you’re in West Virginia. Your friends need to evacuate with you.”
The two teenage girls who were with Artemis looked at her. One of them, a brunette, said, “I’m not taking any chances, I’m going with you, Artemis!”
“Me too!” said the Latina friend. “Let’s get out of here!”
“Artemis,” said the professor, “be sure to grab the time cruiser!”
Artemis did as she was told, and grabbed the time cruiser and headed toward the monorail station, followed by her two friends. The brunette carried Tad, Artemis carried the time cruiser, and the Latina carried the professor.
Soon, they were onboard the monorail, heading for the mainland. Artemis had the time cruiser on her lap. The door was facing her, and the gangplank was down. Tad and the professor were in the hands of the other two girls.
“I could get into a lot of trouble for skipping school,” said Artemis. “You’d better be right about this asteroid!”
“In less than an hour, the asteroid will plunge into the Atlantic,” said the professor, “Anyone you knew at your school or in that floating city will be dead!”
“Trust us,” said Tad, “You’re doing the right thing by evacuating! The professor is from the year 5150, he knows the future!”
“A terrorist group is forcing us to go on missions in different times,” said the professor to Artemis. “Part of what makes this mission so difficult is trying to convince you three to evacuate when logic would make it seem otherwise.”
Just then, sirens began to sound from the area the monorail was passing through.
“Do you hear that?” Professor Cannoli said. “If you tried to evacuate your island city now, you never would’ve escaped from the cataclysm.”
“I appreciate all you’ve done for us, Professor!” said Artemis.
“Professor!” Tiffany popped her head out of the door of the time cruiser. “The lock has been lifted, we can leave now!”
The brunette and the Latina placed Tad and the professor on the gangplank.
“I wish I could keep you,” said Artemis, “but you need to continue on your mission and save other people.”
“A relative of yours wanted to keep us, back in Chicago during Prohibition.” said Tad.
“I can’t even trace my family back that far,” said Artemis. “What was her name?”
“Alma,” said Tad. “You’re not her direct descendant, but you’re related to her.”
“Try to help as many people as you can!” said Artemis.
Tad and the professor waved goodbye to Artemis and her friends, then entered the time cruiser snd shut the door.
“Our next mission is the Viking era!” said the professor. “Strap yourselves in!”
The time cruiser made the jump into temporal space, and disappeared from sight.
To Be Continued!