The Encounter

time tunnel

Photo used under Creative Commons from light_arted

The temporal field in the alien time gate sparked and cracked for several seconds before anything came through.  Then it appeared, a single Forerunner, an Orange.

“Watch out!” Murdock sounded almost panicked. “It’s a Forerunner weapon.”

It looked like the same race as the Blues. Skin color was a little darker, but everything else was identical. No hair on the exposed head and hands, human enough eyes, flattened nose, more or less a slit for a mouth, lumpy skin texture that looked like an orange peel. It was holding an object Ross recognized as the telepathic weapon the Blue used on him back at the Soviet base in the Ice Age.

Murdock, Ashe, and Zheutlin all reflexively reached for weapons they didn’t possess. Lynn Huỳnh never took agent training, so her response was to freeze.

The tip of the alien object glowed yellow which Murdock knew meant it was activated. He rushed forward to stop the Forerunner before it could paralyze them all.

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The Pay Phone Puzzle

pay phone

© J Hardy Carroll

“What kind of phone is it, Grandpa?”

“An old pay phone. You used to put a quarter in to make a call.”

“Why not use a cell?”

“Well, little one, because they hadn’t been invented when people used these. This one is so low so that people in wheelchairs could reach it.”

“Who uses it now?”

“I don’t know. We’re in the Refugee Center so…”

“Ahem.”

Denise and Grandpa turned to see a refugee from the planet Gorlick behind them. He was green and only about a meter tall.

“Spare some change? Got to make a call.”

I wrote this for the Rochelle Wisoff-Fields photo prompt writing challenge. The idea is to use the image above as an inspiration for a piece of flash fiction no more than 100 words long. My word count is 97.

To read more stories based on the prompt, go to InLinkz.com.

Ceres

ceres

Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov

The Forerunner sphere was off course and out of control. It was going to miss the portal into the dwarf planet Ceres and crash on the surface!

The lighting changed in the control cabin and a loud, intermittent buzzing sounded, probably an alarm.

The configuration of the panels as well as shapes and colors of the controls shifted as if made of melting plastic. One panel in front of Ross stabilized and the panel sections glowed with a bright white.

Murdock stared at the panel. It was so familiar but he wasn’t sure what to do or if he should do anything at all. Finally, he pressed the panel to the far left twice. It started glowing yellow and he could feel an electric shock that made him jerk his hand back.

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Space Flight

ceres

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/UCLA/MPS/DLR/IDA

Travis Fox stood with a security team as he witnessed the wonderful and horrible miracle of the Forerunner spaceship launching from the surface of the Earth.

While Ashe and Murdock were in the past supervising the preparations for the ship’s time jump, Travis reluctantly agreed to remain in the present. He couldn’t stay away from home too long without his wife Cassie, his uncle Wendell, and even his three small children wondering what he was really up to.

The project managed to find an alternate source of water to keep Wendell from having the ranch hands at the Double A drive the herd to the Canyon of the Moon and discovering Folsom Base. Travis had even gone home for a week to show everyone he was fine and to reinforce his cover story that he was helping an old teacher of his with an archaeological dig.

Fox managed to convince his family that he needed to return to the dig, but in fact, for the past two days, he was at this end of the large time gate waiting for the culmination of the mission; bringing an alien spacecraft forward in time 10,000 years.

When the ship materialized in the field, he almost expected Major Kelgarries and his troops to break out champagne but they were all business. There were cheers when the ship appeared and the temporal field was extinguished, but they were short-lived.

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The Second Ship

nebula

Credit: Detlev van Ravenswaay/Science Photo

The quintet descended slowly into the small valley containing the second alien spacecraft. There was more vegetation here than in the previous depression and it partially obscured the vessel.

“Only two stories tall. Maybe a scout craft. Similar construction to the two others but there seems to be some coloring and maybe ornamental differences.”

“Ornamental, Ross?”

“Hard to say, Gordon. I don’t know if the shapes and colors on the hull are functional or not. After all, we put markings on the outside of our aircraft and spaceships to indicate the type of vessel and its nationality.”

“Are you saying there are different alien nations or even extraterrestrials from different planets visiting Earth?”

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Derelict

ship

From one version of the cover of Andre Norton’s novel “Galactic Derelict”

The Canyon of the Moon was selected as the location for the construction of the time gate not only because it yielded the unusual ancient artifacts Ashe had shown Fox, but because it was very remote. It was not thought, however, to be the main site where the spaceship could be found. In fact, the area Murdock saw in this mind, the map that was communicated to him telepathically by Romanovich, yielded nothing useful in the present. On the other hand, the dating of those artifacts gave them an era to which to time jump, approximately 8,900 BCE.

Ashe hadn’t shown the Apache, at least at first, everything he had discovered, particularly the fragments of Forerunner technology that were found in the same area as the U.S. Army issued Beretta M9 handgun. The archeologist assumed that a soldier providing security for their team had, or rather will lose his sidearm during a jump back. Exactly how that happened or will happen was unknown.

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The Folsom Mystery

folsom site

Lindenmeier Arroyo and Folsom Man Hill. Photo courtesy of the Fort Collins Museum of Discovery.

Fox and Ashe were talking, staring into the pool of water supplied abundantly from an underground source, the lifeblood of beasts and men. The soldiers had been keeping their distance but Travis was aware of their presence and the potential threat they represented.

“I can’t believe you remember me after fifteen years. It was just one class.”

“I was an impressionable eighteen year old, Dr. Ashe, and in you I thought I’d found a kindred spirit, a man who valued the traditions of his ancestors as much as I did. Most of my family thought I was crazy. Still do.”

“Mine too, Travis. And call me Gordon.”

Fox was still embarrassed at having been taken by surprise earlier, so this time he was paying better attention, and his keen hearing detected the man approaching them both from behind. Almost anyone else would have been taken unawares. Whoever the newcomer was, he was very good at being quiet.

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Canyon of the Moon

desert

Found at the Orogold Store Locator website

Travis Fox rode his horse down the arroyo at the edge of his Father’s land, except he was dead so it was his land now. Try convincing his Uncle Wendell of that, though. He thought he was running the ranch. Travis tried not to fight with Wendell. He wanted peace in the household for the sake of Cassie and the children.

He’d never thought of himself as a rancher. Always fought his father’s ways until it was too late. Cancer took him, his father, strong, brave, Apache. In the end, he was just a wasted, tired old man. Not like his grandfather Chano. Chano remembered the old ways. Yes, he was born in the 20th century, but Chano’s grandfather told him the stories of the blue coats, of the treaties that were always broken, of being herded like animals into reservations.

Fox’s two sons and one daughter were children of the 21st century, but Travis longed to preserve the heritage of Chano and his ancestors. Chano died strong, fearless, still seeing past what had been done to him and his people, still disdaining those among them who had surrendered to alcohol and despair.

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Epilogue: The Time Traders

desert planet

Wallpaper found at wallpapersafari.com.

The Epilogue to the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

Ross Murdock and Major Vasnev Danya Romanovich were facing each other standing on snow and ice. The ghosts of trees surrounded them, barely visible through the fog. The sky was overcast and it was threatening to once again snow. Romanovich was pointing his Soviet Army issued Makarov pistol at Murdock’s chest.

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Invasion

ice age

J. Raloff/Science News for Students

The Tenth Story in the Time Travel Adventures of Ross Murdock

“Welcome to the Ice Age. What shall I call you?”

Murdock was startled out of his shock and awe by the voice coming from around the enclosure he had just exited. He had assumed the room was inside a main wall of the cavern, but as he turned around, he saw it was a stand alone structure.

“Come, come. I know you are not actually a Beakerman named ‘Rossa’.”

Ross didn’t recognize the man in the Soviet Major’s uniform but the voice was familiar.

“That’s right. I was the one speaking to your group on that beach in Britain, the one where you were hiding before your Marines came to retrieve you. I lost two good men in that little skirmish but then, those are the fortunes of war.”

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