Humans were discovered along with a Brachytrachelopan fossil!!!
Jessica turned the lever of the hatch and waited till the hissing sound stopped releasing the door from its compartment. Once free of its encasement, Jessica pushed it aside and stepped back. A big leaf swung in as though invited. Jessica moved the leaf aside and peeped outside. They seemed to the have landed in the middle of a forest. The trees were huge and green. She took out her bio-scanner and probed the device out the door.
>Temperature: 13 degree C
>Pressure: 34.436 psi
>O2: 26 vol %
>CO2: 1950 ppm
Jessica glanced at the scanner and looked up. It must have taken a shot during the hit. Deciding to check out where they had landed, Jessica carefully stepped out of the door. The ship'd skimmed along the edge of a forest. The trees're tall and wide. The air seemed dense, almost fluid. She remembered to have entered the Earth's atmosphere. Did that vortex send them to another planet? Well, it must be on the other side of the universe for there was no planet in or around the Solar System to have such vegetation.
Jessica went around the spaceship looking for any damage. They'd need to take off soon. The team was waiting for their return. They were carrying samples from LR-909 and the whole world was waiting to examine it. But they'd need to wait. Their fuel tank was perforated and empty. Other than that the ship didn't seem to suffer any other damage. The ship'd gone into autopilot after they'd been sucked into that vortex. That had kept them and the ship in one piece.
After a short stroll, Jessica started to feel dizzy like one feels while breathing in less oxygen.
When she returned to the ship she found Tyler studying their ship's console.
"Hey Ty," she said, joining him. "How do'ya feel?"
Tyler shook his head.
"Different," he said. "Look at that."
That 'that' Tyler was pointing at was the log.
"See that," he said. "It says today is 3rd of August, 2755 15:19:21."
"Right," Jessica nodded, puzzled over Tyler's perplexity. "That's when we were supposed to land."
"Ha, but look at the co-ordinates. 5 degrees 9 min 2 sec West and 21 degrees 33 min 55 sec South. Does that mean something to you, Jess?"
Jessica thought over for a moment. "We should be under the Atlantic!" Her voice rose with every bit of realization. "Good Heavens, where on the Earth are we?"
"I don't know," Tyler said and looked out a porthole. "The vegetation seems so different. I've never seen such kind of plants."
"I took a stroll outside," Jessica said. "The air is thick and..." she took out the bio-scanner and showed him the report.
"Look at that CO2 count!" Tyler's brows reached his hairline. "It's five times over the limit."
"Could be because of that volcano," Jessica pointed.
Five hours later they were strolling across an open field under a bright blue sky. They had strapped on the artificial breathing apparatus that they used in space. It felt funny but it was necessary. They couldn't expect to survive in an atmosphere so highly concentrated with CO2.
Jessica had gathered specimens of plants and leaves and hoped to deposit them in the lab. Wouldn't Johnathan be excited to see those? Tyler, equipped with radar, compass and a long pole, walked ahead. Time and again he consulted his radar and shook his head. It was dead. The compass pointed right showing the north. Most of their apparatus were useless. Their communication had come to a halt.
So far the only living object that they had encountered were a few insects. They looked like butterflies but bigger.
"Ty," Jessica called from behind. "Come and look at this."
Tyler found his partner knelt down beside a small clear patch. As Tyler bent over her shoulder she pointed towards the ground.
"Does that remind you of something?"
The 'that' that she pointed at was a footprint, apparently, belonging to a giant lizard for when she measured it, it was a foot long, had four toes and had made two inches deep impression in the soil.
"Well," she looked up. "What do'ya think?"
Tyler didn't advertise what he thought but look up.
"Have you noticed anything?" He asked. "There aren't any birds."
"And it's awfully quiet around," Jessica answered.
"Do you think we will find any civilization around here?" Tyler asked.
She gave a good look around. On the north and south, the field stretched till it met the horizon. Straight ahead the field went till it started to rise and disappeared in a small hill. Beyond that, she could see the cluster of hills and amidst them a live volcano. Faint blackish smoke floated from its gaping mouth. Her rangefinder said it was just seven and a half miles away. Behind them, the forest stretched all over the west. Above the thick green tree tops, the sky was red with the setting sun.
It was late that night when Jessica suddenly woke up with a start. Her bunk shook time and again. She grabbed Tyler on the next bunk. He looked up grumbling and wiping his drool from the corner of his lips.
"What is it Jess?" He asked, feeling groggy.
The ship shook again.
"That," Jessica said. "It's an intermittent earthquake."
"What?" He got off the bunk and pulled off the shield from the porthole. It was raining heavily along with thunder and lightning. The rain slashed against the glass. "Look, its nothing. There's..."
A lightning flashed illuminating the area like day and in that light, they caught a glimpse of a monster. A couple seconds showed them its caved eyes and wide toothy jaws.
Jessica grabbed Tyler's hand when the ground shook again and again and again. Through the rain strained glass, they saw the monster move. The running rain water and the occasional lightning gave them a fair idea of its massive size as it drew closer to the ship. Its clawed foot, as it stepped over the ship, was clearly visible in the lightning. After its second foot went across, its thick tail came swinging. The two astronauts watched in horror as it swung left to right, right to left. They breathed out in relief when it disappeared over the window but clutched each other when the ship almost stood on one end, taken by a sudden whim. It landed with a loud thud, rolled once and stopped. The ground shook a couple of times and then stopped.
"Ty," Jessica called and turned on a light. "Ty, where... TY..."
She grabbed the first-aid box and dropped beside him. His forehead was bruised and bleeding. He lay quietly beside his bunk. He opened his eyes halfway and mumbled.
"I think I know where we're," he said and fell unconscious.
Next morning Jessica was making breakfast in the gallery when she heard Tyler gasp and laugh out loud.
"Have'ya gone mad, Ty?" She asked from where she was.
Carrying two plates of cooked canned food she went to the cockpit where Tyler was.
"You're going to lose your head if you hear what I've to say," Tyler said wiping tears from his eyes and trying to breathe through his laughter.
"Try me," Jessica said taking her cup of coffee.
"We are in the Jurassic Era," Tyler said. Jessica stared at him and then thumped the cup. "Yes," he said. "That monster we saw last night, it's a dinosaur. Don't know what kind. I ain't a paleontologist. I'm a Space Pilot."
"But why are we on land?" Jessica asked. "Where's the Atlantic?"
"It's not yet borned," he answered showing her the world map. "We are here," he said pointing at a point on the ocean. "During the Jurassic, the continents were still together. We are, if I'm not wrong, on Gondwana."
Jessica sat still taking in the information. The facts fit perfectly, a little too perfectly for her comfort.
"Remember that strange bird sighted in Moscow, then that strange craft in Brazil?"
"Well they were either from past or future sucked up like us in that vortex."
"It's a time vortex?"
"Apparently so." He nodded. "We should've listened to Zora and analyzed her strange anomalies of the Ionosphere."
"So we would need to go up there, find it and ..." She stopped realizing the impossibility of the situation. "We don't have fuel, do we?"
Tyler smiled shaking his head. "And the nearest gas station is, what, only 150 million years away."
Jessica, disheartened, sat outside the craft and sobbed in silence. Tyler, helpless, watched and sighed. They'd been partners for five years and friends since. She'd always been strong and potent that influenced him. He'd never seen her cry, not even when they're stranded on that distant planet without food or drink. This time it's different.
Outside on the field, he spotted a herd of grass-eating dinosaurs. They'd huge abdomens and pentagonal scales erected on their backs. He grabbed his camera and came out.
"Come with me," he said taking Jessica by her hand and pulling her after him. He made her stand at a place and then took a snap. When he showed her the picture she fell out laughing. There she stood with a herd of Stegosaurus behind her.
A few hours later the memory card was almost full with their pictures. The animals didn't seem to mind.
"Look," Jessica said pointing at a Stegosaurus mouth full of grass. "He's smiling."
Tyler was about to comment when the ground shook heavily. He clasped her hand and ran for the shelter of the forest. No sooner did they reach the forest when a herd of small long-tailed dinosaurs came rushing across the field. Right behind them were two monsters from the night before. A pair of Zupaysaurus and they were hunting.
Jessica and Tyler lay hidden in the shadows of the forest and watched the battle as the huge animals picked up the smaller ones and tore them apart with their razor-like teeth.
Once a Zupaysaurus caught a smaller one and tossed it in the air. It landed near the duo. The Zupaysaurus stomped towards it and dug its teeth brutally into the smaller one's neck. Blood spilled like a mini fountain.
Jessica, filled with horror, was about to scream but Tyler turned her towards him and protected her from the splashes of the meat and blood that flew in every direction.
After the savage feast was over and all the animals returned to their nests, the two humans slowly retraced their steps to the spaceship.
"What are we going to do?" Jessica asked.
"Live," Tyler answered in short.
"How? We are alone."
"You've me. I've you."
Jessica stopped and looked up.
"Well Jess," he said looking at her hand in his. "I've ... Well..."
She smiled and took his hands around her. She could feel him relax by her. "Human was not supposed to be on Earth in this era. How will we survive?"
"Let's not worry about that. She brought us here, she'll take care of us."
"Nature," he said. "The strongest and the most powerful of all."
4th November 1987
"Good evening, ladies and gentlemen," said the host. "Welcome to the The Mysteries from the Past. Nature has many mysteries veiled from us but sometimes it presents us with some unique opportunities to study them.
"Today, we have unearthed a pair of fossilized skeletons of two human beings."
The live audience awed.
"Yes, you have heard me right. Two HUMAN BEINGS. Buried along with them was a spacecraft. All of these were excavated along with the new Brachytrachelopan bones. Its surely a mystery. Their technology is far more advanced and we would need time to study them and learn what had actually happened and how they ended up along with a Brachytrachelopan that is feared to have died in a volcanic eruption."
Written for: "Science Fiction Short Story Contest"
Prompt: Time Travel