Epilogue: Key Out of Time

key out of time

Cover to one of the paperback editions of Norton’s 1963 novel “Key Out of Time”.

Circa 1333 BCE – Egypt

“So you’re the legendary Sennedjem, called the Overseer of Tutors, Father of the God, Beloved of the God, and Fan-bearer of the Right Hand of the King. Such illustrious titles for a glorified teacher.”

“And you Ross Murdock, can only see and hear me because who I was, the legend and the man, was recorded in an alien artifact over 3300 years before you were born. Thanks to an extensive telepathic session with similar but dissimilar aliens, you are able to interpret that recording through means even a man of your experiences would find astounding.”

The 21st century time traveler and former professional thief didn’t seem to find it strange that he was standing on a balcony in a palace overlooking an ancient Egyptian city, and yet the city was not a ruin, but a living, breathing community of men and women, from the very young to the very old. He was dressed as he expected to dress when not on assignment, yet the man called Sennedjem was attired as an 18th Dynasty Egyptian.

“You brought me here to tell me something, Sennedjem. What? You’re an alien?”

“Hardly. I am as human as you are and we have something else in common. We both know about aliens and time travel.”

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Time is the Longest Distance

timelines

Krenim timelines from the two part Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Year of Hell”.

The Present: Project Retrograde

“So, what’s going to happen when you throw the switch, Barnes?”

Colonel John Kellaries was facing Project Retrograde’s senior temporal physicist Antoine Barnes on the floor of the main personnel time gate chamber. Next to him was his Russian counterpart and recent defector Mineyev Duskin.

“Actually, it will be Mr. Lucius and Ms. Huỳnh who will be doing the switch throwing, Colonel. Dr. Duskin and I have devised a specialized start up and operating routine for the gate that will allow us to retrieve our agents, but it will be a dangerous thing.”

“Yes, I’m getting that impression. Just how dangerous?”

“Because of certain…well, quirks in the current nature of how the gates are working, we can only contact our agents by deliberately and simultaneously linking all gates operating in our present and perhaps even gates operating in other time periods.”

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Walking on Fragile Ribbons of Time

time travel

Found at omni.media

Peridot, Arizona – Date Unknown

Travis woke up with a tremendous headache. The light was dim. He was laying on his back in what felt like a conventional bed.

Was he back home at the Project? He tried to get his eyes to focus. Dim light coming from his right. Shades pulled down over a window. He was in a bedroom but it wasn’t one at the base or for that matter, at his ranch.

He tried to sit up, but it didn’t work the first time. The headache suddenly increased behind his eyes. He lay back down a moment and then tried again. This time he managed to sit up. He could hear a dog barking outside.

Yes, it was a bed. Pillows, quilt, looked hand-made. Pictures on the wall of people he didn’t recognize. A cheap painting of some foothills. Wallpaper. Beat up wooden floor with throw rugs. He hadn’t seen one of those pull down shades since he was a kid (he liked to pull them down all the way, let go and watch them shoot up to the top). It gave the light coming through it a golden cast, as if the world were a sepia tone photograph.

He wasn’t far wrong.

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Scattered Thou Across the Ages

anubis

Burial sled of Anubis from King Tut’s tomb, on display at the Egyptian Museum – Cairo, Egypt.

The Egyptian Museum – Cairo – December 22, 2016

“Here’s what we’re preparing for our 2018 exhibit, Gordon.”

Archeologist Gordon Ashe was being given a private tour of the new wing of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo by his friend Dr. Tarek Sayed Tawfik, the general director.

“This is truly astounding, Tarek. I have to admit to being more than a little envious. All five thousand of the artifacts that had been discovered in King Tutankhamun’s tomb will be displayed together for the first time.”

“You shouldn’t be envious, Gordon. After all, you’re here almost two years ahead of schedule, and you didn’t even have to pay the price of admission.”

“I guess being a personal friend of the director helps.”

Both men laughed. Gordon and Tarek had become friends at Oxford as undergraduates some decades ago. Both had a passion for antiquities but their lives traveled along highly divergent trajectories. Tarek had eventually gone into administration and Gordon gave up life as a field archeologist to work for the U.S. Government, though of course Tarek wasn’t sure exactly what services the esteemed Dr. Ashe performed for them.

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Eye of the Storm

ancient jerusalem

Jerusalem in the time of King Solomon – found at keyway.ca

Somewhere in that vast throng of revelers was Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, a woman out of time. Gordon Ashe, Ross Murdock, and Travis Fox stood looking down at Jerusalem. King Solomon had dedicated the Temple of Hashem, God of the Hebrews, and the entire region was now celebrating the festival of Sukkot. From what Ashe recalled, during the dedication, blood ran exceedingly freely as 22,000 oxen and 120,000 sheep were presented as peace offerings.

Now was the great festival. In order to keep their cover, the time travelers erected their own temporary shelter. True, they were conspicuous. By rights, they should be in the city, but then again, as foreign travelers, presumably non-Jews, they did not have to fulfill the commandment to observe the festival.

Yet even if somehow they could get into the city already packed with hundreds of thousands, then finding Aiyana would be a miracle. Gordon chuckled to himself as he regarded the newly built Temple, clearly visible from their vantage point, and imagined it to be a house of miracles as well as prayer for all nations.

“So what now, Gordon?”

“We can’t hope to find her by going in, Ross. We’ll have to wait. I told Kelgarries as much over the radio link.”

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Diverting Armageddon

ceres

Found at: solarsystem.nasa.gov

“Papa, why do I have to go to Hebrew school? You didn’t.”

“My dear little Miss, that’s because I’m not Jewish. You and your Mama are.”

“But it’s so boring. I already know all of the Hebrew, the cantillation is so easy, and Rabbi Endelman drones on and on and…”

“Now stop it. Rachel Aiyana Zheutlin, you will not mock your elders. This is important. There are so many Jewish children behind the Iron Curtin who would love the opportunity to have a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, but…”

“I know, Papa. The Communists made it illegal.” Almost twelve-year-old Rachel Aiyana hugged her Papa. “I’m sorry. I love you and Mama. I just sometimes get…well, frustrated.”

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Falling Down the Rabbit Hole

comet impact

Found at The Verge

Twenty year old Fred Valentich was reaching the end of his rope or at least his dreams. With only 150 hours of flying time, he had been twice rejected by the Royal Australian Air Force and failed all five of his commercial pilot’s licensing subjects, not once but twice. He’d also been cited for deliberately flying blind into a cloud and received a warning for straying into restricted air space.

He wanted to be a professional pilot more than anything, but everyone who knew anything about flying said he was no good at it.

At 1819 hours on October 21, 1978, he took off in a rented single-engine Cessna 182L from Victoria’s Moorabbin airport near Melbourne, Australia with the intension of heading across Bass Strait to King Island near Tasmania. He’d told flight officials that the purpose of his trip was to pick up some friends from the island, but he’d also told his friends that he was going to pick up some crayfish.

Neither was true. He just needed to get away and clear his head. His life was mundane, boring really. He was enthralled with UFOs and thought it would be great to encounter one in the air as other pilots claimed to have done. If nothing else, he could log a few more hours flight time.

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The Lost and the Found

man of the hole

The only known images of The Man in the Hole were captured in the film Corumbiara – Photo credit: Vincent Carelli

“Now we wait.”

Historian and linguist Aiyana Zheutlin sat down on the ground in front of the rough-hewn hut in the Amazon rain forest.

“Wait for what?” Her companion, engineer Lynn Huỳnh quickly sat down beside her, putting her tablet in her lap.

“Him. I told you. We brought the food and water as a gift. This is his land. We are intruders but we hope he’ll accept us as guests. So we wait for him to respond.”

“How long, Aiyana?”

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Restoration

mosasaurus

A mosasaurus as seen in the 2015 film “Jurassic World”.

“So you’re saying that as a direct result of our time incursion preventing the experimental Forerunner time-spaceship from causing the Tunguska blast and subsequent runaway global warming, we caused this massive change in history. A history where Leif Erikson and Christopher Columbus never visited the New World. A world where Europe never colonized the Americas and the native population was free to develop their own culture into the 21st century. Now, I’ve got a base in Southern Nevada surrounded by a foreign and potentially hostile military force and I can’t find any way to defend them.”

Colonel John Kelgarries, responding to Dr. Antoine Barnes, Project Retrograde’s Chief Temporal Scientist, had been listening to a briefing about his latest analysis of the changes in the timeline. Kelgarries and the rest of the Project were racing against the clock. Their facility at Basecamp was under siege by the military forces of the Southern Palutes State, part of the Hokan-Penutian nation which encompassed all of what used to be California and parts of Oregon, Nevada, and the Baja Peninsula.

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Incursion

ice station zebra

From the 1968 film “Ice Station Zebra”.

Kelgarries wanted the job done in a month, but he was a soldier, not an engineer. The construction and precision placement of twin temporal gates, one at the highest point on Vila do Porto, one of the smaller islands of the Azores, and the other at the epicenter of the Tunguska Event, some 65 kilometers north-northwest of the town of Vanavara, could not be rushed, particularly at the stage of configuring the fusion generator for each and then applying power to the gates.

Both gates had to be absolutely synchronized in power output and frequency for their plan to work.

The plan? To intercept an experimental alien space and time craft that launched nearly 4,000 years ago from what used to be the main island in the Atlantis chain, where now remains only the tiny islands of the Azores, and due to explode in the atmosphere above a remote portion of Siberia on June 30, 1908. The field the gates would generate between the launch and crash points would create a nexus in the time stream intersecting with the ship and sending it off source to another place in the far distant past.

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