Entry for Daily Flash Fiction Contest for 7/20.
|The voice in John’s ear said, “Activating time machine…now!” There was a vibration and then there was a banging on the hatch. John unbuckled and slid the hatch open to reveal a new world. The pod sat inside an empty hangar. On the ground a wheeled device rolled around under its own power. Then he heard a disembodied voice, quite near. “Stay where you are.”
“Shut up!” In a flash, the device on the ground unfolded itself, raised up on metallic legs, and shot a piece of itself onto John’s chest. The piece unfolded and wrapped around him, immobilizing him.
“Who—where are you?”
“I’m right beside you. I’m cloaked because we can’t be seen together. Listen carefully and you live. My probe is going to inject an awareness into that blubber you call a brain. You got it?”
Suddenly, John had a distinct image that screamed GENSEAL INDUSTRIES in his consciousness. “Wow!”
“I said shut up. You’re gonna go back and you’re gonna put 800 shares of Genseal in this account.” John had another awareness, a string of numbers. “If you don’t, the explosive that my probe is putting into your body will go off and you’re through. You understand?”
“Can you tell me—”
“Shut up!” The probe released him and refolded. “Now strap in.”
John strapped in, activated the circuits, and then the controller’s voice was in his ear again. “What happened?”
“Nothing happened, it didn’t work,” John said, unbuckling. “Reset for another shot tomorrow.”
“Reset for tomorrow, roger that.”
John slid the hatch open, climbed out, stepped into the control room, and sat down at a computer terminal. “I can get out on this thing, right?”
“Yeah,” the controller said.
“Good.” John moved the mouse around. “I need to make a stock purchase.”