On August 31, 2012 a long filament of solar material that had been hovering in the sun’s atmosphere, the corona, erupted out into space at 4:36 p.m. EDT. The coronal mass ejection, or CME, traveled at over 900 miles per second – This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.
The sun simmered red as it slunk towards the jagged horizon. Herman Pope and Krista Hubbard stood watching it from the parking lot at the Houston Space Center anticipating their last day on Earth.
“When will the Object reach perihelion?” The twenty-eight year old systems engineer grasped the older gentleman’s hand without taking her gaze off of the sunset.
The fifty-five year old senior operations manager looked at his watch, which had been his father’s before his. “Less than thirty minutes.”
“That’s how long we have?”
“Maybe. Are you sure you don’t want to go back inside? The Argonaut is transmitting continual status updates.”
“Round trip communications between here and Mercury’s orbit is something like 13 minutes.”
“If it happens, we won’t feel the effects for a while.”
“Yeah, but my brother in Hawaii won’t be having a good day. He’s supposed to graduate from college there next month.”
“Come on, Krista.” He gently tugged on her arm.
“No.” She pulled back harder than she had to. “I want to stay out here.”
© Sue Vincent
Elio Hudson let out a deep breath as he looked at the idylic scene on the small console monitor. It was a photo he had taken of a field of wildflowers last Spring in southeast Texas, a hundred miles from the Houston Space Center and his other life.
“Hey, you might want to save that for later. Where we’re going has a much broader canvas.” Eledoro Salazar tapped Elio on the shoulder while sitting in the co-pilot’s chair. Although the mission leader and Naval Commander had only met the Spanish computer scientist eleven months ago while they were training for this mission, they had become fast friends.
Hudson removed his restraints and lifted his muscular frame from the pilot’s seat. “Routine systems check complete, Eledoro. Let’s go join the others. Our mission update from Houston is scheduled to come in about five minutes from now.”
“Right you are. Let’s go.”
flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo
I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people flying out or flying in. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, I can see the reflection of the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.
I caught “CBS Sunday Morning” on the tube and saw the front page of “USA Today.” It’s Wednesday, 11 July 2018. If I can keep from losing my mind another ten years or so, I’ll be back, at least that’s my theory. I’m glad I’m the inventor and not a test pilot. One of them wouldn’t have a clue as to what happened.
Oh, my name is Ernie Pratt. Actually, Dr. Ernest Irving Pratt (no relation to the actor), Ph.D in Temporal Mechanics, though I never thought I’d be the one to invent a time machine, even by accident. I was working on the core of an experimental time-space drive that would manipulate a tertiary quantum realm, ultimately propelling a vessel faster than light.
flight-airport-airplane-plane-34631 pixel photo
I can barely see them inside because of the glare on the window, but they all look like ordinary people. Ordinary people getting on with their lives, unlike me. In the window, the reflection reveals the plane behind me, the luggage carts, the main terminal, everything out here except my own rather ordinary face. You see, I don’t have one yet.
I’m an inventor, Dr. Ernest Pratt (no relation to the actor). I had (or will have) a research lab on the grounds of the Albany International Air and Spaceport. My company “Superluminal” is trying to develop a faster-than-light drive. I was the only one in the lab sometime past 2 a.m. when it happened; the accident. One minute, I was trying a new lattice configuration, and the next I was looking at an airplane that Charles Lindbergh should have been flying.
A newspaper told me it was June 15, 1928. It was still the Albany Airport, but a hundred years ago.
EARLY BIRD…This Fairchild FC-2 Cabin Monoplane, with strut-supported wing, was probably similar to the plane E.B. White rode in his flight over New York City. (Quora)
I’m invisible and immaterial. My theory is that if I stay sane and catch up with present time, I’ll have a body again. I’ve made it ninety years so far. Another ten and I’ll have it made…I hope.
I wrote this for Week #28 of the Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner writing challenge hosted by Roger Shipp. The idea is to use the image at the top as the inspiration for crafting a piece of flash fiction no more than 200 words long. My word count is 198.
I forgot about the word count limit as I was writing, so I was most of the way through a longer story when I realized it wasn’t going to fit the challenge. I’ll publish it later and put a link to it here if you’re interested in more of the details of Ernest’s woes.
Anyway, I looked up the The world’s 10 oldest airports and found that Albany International Airport best suited my needs. According to that site:
The first airmail operations at the airport began in June 1928, while passenger services began in October of the same year. The airport witnessed the movement of 180 passengers in 1929 and now handles over 2.5 million passengers per annum.
Above, I’ve included the photo of an old mail plane from that era for reference.
To read other stories based on the prompt, visit InLinkz.com.
I’m seeing more participation this week, but it’s not to late to write and contribute a story for Roger’s Linkup.
For a longer version of this tale, read Waiting for Time to Pass (Expanded Version).
Found at vogue-element.cn
Bobbie Jo wouldn’t know class if it crawled into her knockoff Prada and went home with her. Of course, along with adopting ersatz haute couture, she made everyone call her Roberta after graduating from Einstein University in Sagan City. But a deal was a deal, and since her home colony world Drake had paid for her free ride tuition to Einstein, including passage to and from Epsilon Eridani, she was obligated to return to what she now called “a provincial backwater wasteland.”
“Welcome back, Bobbie Jo.” Omer Thorpe was the President and CEO of Biosynth, the world’s one and only bioengineering company, and they desperately needed skilled medical engineers. “I’ve been waiting for this day for a long time.”
“I can’t say it’s good to be back Omer, but for the next ten years, I’m yours. Oh, and please call me Roberta.” They shook hands, and although the Grandfatherly man was impeccably clean, she still felt like she was touching something that came out of the rear end of a rat.
“Oh, you’re just spoiled by all that high life on Campbell. I hear Sagan City is quite a gem compared to any of our local communities.” He continued smiling and winked at her. He’d been teasing with Bobbie Jo ever since she was in pre-school. Everyone in Tysonville knew each other and always had since it was founded three generations ago.
“You have no idea.” She looked around the lobby, which was as bright and modern as the lobbies of any corporation she’d visited on Campbell, but after six years on the premier colony planet, coming back home was a major let down, coloring her every perception of life on the fourth planet orbiting Tau Ceti.
Image credit: iStock – Found at numerous sources including thepromiserevealed.com
Chi Crain was temporarily marooned on Niophus halfway into his wanderjahr through the outer rim systems. Middle-aged and an apparent wastrel, he mused to himself that the Anonymous Saloon on the outskirts of Wastacarro City wasn’t such a bad place to hang out. He still hoped the repairs on his ship would be done soon. Chi was boozing it up too much, even for him.
He had just ordered another pint of ale to chase down his shot of Aldebaran whiskey when she walked in. She was human, like him, but the redhead’s beauty left him breathless, something he thought only happened in pulp fiction novels. She wore a common one-piece jumpsuit, but it hugged her well placed and amply proportioned curves like a second skin.
Sitting on the stool to his right at the bar, she parted full, luscious lips and said to the barkeep, “Random Revolver, please.” She produced her payment disc, and once “just call me Al” produced her drink, she transferred the cost. “Keep ’em coming.”
Artist’s conception of a Bussard Ramjet – Found at Initiative for Interstellar Studies (i4is)
It had taken months for Arturo Patel to arrive at and get through the Heliosphere, the official barrier between the solar system and interstellar space, in the stolen prototype Jammsright-powered craft. He’d invented the Jammsright drive so he thought he should be the first to use it to leave the solar system and voyage to another star system.
The government hadn’t seen it that way since not only wasn’t he a qualified astronaut, he was fifty-nine years old. The bleeding edge space explorers have (with rare exception) always been young men and women who were thought best fit to endure the rigors of space flight.
Once he had managed to bypass the security interlocks between the space station and the ship’s docking arm, it was child’s play to hack the sensor systems causing the monitors to show everything was in standby mode when in actuality, the ship was being fueled and prepared for departure.
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.”
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.”
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.