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Evaluation of Time
Iím probably not the worldís greatest journal writer, but this really does call for writing. It is a historical bag of facts, but should hopefully warn others about the kind of people I met. If found in time, it could also warn you of the future - the future being the year 2173. In 2173, you should find a group of, of neanderthals! Youíll find them at base 3229.
I was working on the project of rigging up my computer to show me the future, only it didnít turn out that way. Well it did, but the future was meant to turn up on the computerís monitor. But seeing into the future was not the easiest of my tasks in elecronical wizardry. I have made robots, special Tvs, computers, telepones, watches, hi-fis etc. But making a machine to something so - so unusual was bit... hard.
It needed patience. Over 5 years of patience. I had to use one of the most pathetically ancient computers, as changing now would mean starting all over again. I kept the secret to my friend, and he has always kept it to himself. Pity my old dad didnít. He overheard and told a few other people. Just a few. I think that after iíd finished my project, about half of the town had got word of my discoveries. Well, Jacks bunch of morons did, anyway. So did someone else, but iíll come to that later.
It was early on a bright morning of September. Outside, the wind blew, rattling dry leaves around the front door. The sun shone through the blanked of cloud above, like a strained torch-light feebly piercing a blanket. I sat just where I am sitting today, working on my project.
I knew I had nearly finished, so I phoned up Julian. I was excited and as you must know, excitement in its peak form is very contagious. I told Julian that iíd be starting in the afternoon, at 5.30 sharp. It never occured to me that a project like this would attract everybodyís attention. But somehow, the government kept it quiet, while I thought how clever I was, keeping it to myself.
I laught at myself now. How pathetic! My mind was so bunged up with the project, that the possibility of a leak did not enter my brain. Common sense had been pushed out of it to make way for the Einstein stuff. Nothing turned out right. If iíd just let time be, iíd be AOK. Dabbling with time itself is not a very sensible thing to do. Dabble with the past, and you could change history, and maybe even make yourself non-existent. This works out strangely, like the question: Why came first, the chicken or the egg?
If I go back in time and kill my parents parents, then I wonít be here today. But if iím not here today, how did I kill my parents?
Confusing? Mind-boggling? Mind canít take it? Mine canít, so donít worry. Dabbling with the future is just as bad. You can damage someoneís future, make their funeral, or witness your own. Itís frightening, but I was curious. Curiosity killed the cat; I survived.
Julian never did come at half past five. Pity, really. So I started on my own. Cat was taking a stroll over the computer keyboard. So I picked it up, and delicately locked it in the living room. After a quarter of an hour fiddling about, I managed to get the mechanism working.
Connecting electronics to computer, LOADing program from disk, and finally selecting a date. I chose 2173. I typed it in, waithing to see a moving picture emerge from the VDU. A picture did. I smiled. The smile faded to an astounded dismal gasp. The picture was far too life-like. The room, the room. Where the hell was the room? I looked around me. Where the... I sat down on my chair. I noticed it was different... Ah - a comfy stool! Well, as comfy as a stool can be. I knew the program had gone a bit far. I muttered a word meaning what comes out of the derriere. After working out what had happened, I looked up catiously. Everything was different. On the wall to the left of me was a gigantic screen. It was like a TV screen, but flat, with no little red, blue, and green rectangles to make the picture.
On it at the moment was a list of all the regulations. People never actually did anything against these regulations. I regarded every single on in my brain. To my surprise, I found that doing anything wrong resulted in a quick death. Alcoholic drink, messing the carept up, staying up after ten oíclock, being violent to any sort of degree et cetera. I presumed theyíd never heard of swearing. I took my change: I tapped some-one on the shoulder. A man turned around, and looked at me curiously. "Yes 385b?" I wondered what he was talking about, but I went on. I said, "Youíre a cretin, mate." He looked at me curiously.
"Whatís the time?" I smiled.
He looked at me even more curiously and got something from his belt.
The room fell silent. I could feel everybodyís eyes piercing my back.
I felt uncomfortable and shivered. I saw an object in the manís hand. It was a simple rectangular shape, smoothed at the corners, with one slide control. He moved the control towards himself.
"Who are you?" he asked.
I was silent. He repeated his question, and gripped the object more tightly. I was sweating. My hands felt uncomfortably wet, and I think I must have gone pale.
I asked shakily pointing to the rectangular object in his hand. "Whatís that?"
His face became uncomfortable. "You donít know what it is?"
I didnít. It was obvious. The man went on...
"Iíll show you."
He looked at me, smiled shakily, and tensed his hand.
I screamed in agony as I felt something hit me with terrific force. It felt like the light-buld holder that I had reached for when I was seven. It had jolted me into non-reality, I remember, and iíd cried until everyone in the house was with me.
This pain did not feel quite like the light-bulb holder. It was stronger, and the pain was concentrated on one spot of my body.
I was still screaming when everything dimmed, and went black...
≠ ≠ ≠
As my brain switched on the rest of my body with a sudden spark of energy, I continued my pain.
I shouted in agony, paused, then realised there was no more. I felt embarassed. For the first time, I noticed a little card pinned to my top right pocket. I had noticed just before my blackout the green clothes. They looked like canvas, but they were far too comfortable for that. I couldnít work out why iíd been nearly blasted out of existence.
Anyway, I thought with satisfaction, at least that man will be disposed of for being violent. I looked at my new surroundings. I was in a room full of bustling canvas-clad figures.
I was positioned on another of those comfy stools. Someone came up to me and looked straight into my eyes.
I hurriedly looked at my knees, which were shaking up and down like a couple of pneumatic hammers.
I looked up again, opened my mouth to ask the time, and changed my mind as I saw a rectangular object swing aimlessly from his belt. I braved for the second time.
"Er. Excuse me. Whyíd I get shot?"
The man looked at me worriedly, and strode off quickly. I suddenly lost my temper. "Oh heck. Why the hell donít anyone answer me?"
I looked aroound. Oh God, I thought, whatíve I done? Everyone was looking at me now. Someone burst into the room, drew (I say drew, as he looked like a western man drawing his gun after 10 paces) his rectangular thing, and pointed it at me.
I threw myself away, and the blast simply knocked the stool flying. I scrambled towards what looked like a door, only to find it to be an old antique. I turned round, faced with the rectagun (thatís what I call that rectangular thing that knocked me out) and the marksman. "Oh God, help me."
I looked pleadingly at the nearest man. He looked away, pretending I wasnít there. I nearly broked down into a fit. I sank down to my knees, and burrowed my face into my hands, sweating.
After a few minutes, I looked up. The man had replaced his rectagun, and was walking towards me. He stopped short of me, sneered down, and said, "Get up."
These words hit me at least as much as the rectaray (work it out) had.
I stood up. The man flexed his hand so that his leather gloves fit snugly.
They looked out of place with the canvas uniform. 38AA, the card on the top right hand side of his canvas uniform said. He smiled, or rather smirked grimly at me, and grabbed the top of my arms. This surprised me. "No violence" I gasped as he lifted me off the ground. The rest of the room was compelled by this grossly unfair fight.
I retaliated in the only way that seemed possible at the time: I aimed a well target kick between his legs. The man instantly crumpled like a puppet with the strings cut. I went down with him, quickly struggled free, and took the rectagun from him. I slipped it under my vest, kicking him once again to give me time. Everybody looked horrified. They werenít used to seeing their top smashers being kicked in by a feeble boy who couldnít even tell the time by the timepiece mounted in his brain. I quickly made for the nearest exit, and ran for the best-looking hiding place. The air vent. I hoped it was an air vent. I opened the door and stepped inside. The door automatically closed behind me. Silence. I looked into the darkness, hoping to see something. Something brushed by me. I threw myself to the farthest part of the large tubular ventilator. A grille stopped my flight. Something breathed heavily near me. "Who the hell are you?" I asked, my stomach turning over like an automatic washing machine.
Something grabbed me. "Hell, get off, you cret." I struggled violently, but the thing pinned me down. "Youíre getting weak," said a familiar voice. "And you didnít wait for me. Typical!" It was Julian. He released me. "Howíd you get here?" I asked, puzzled. He told me that iíd left the piece of equiptment on. He went into his story of what had happened.
Heíd made his way to my house as fast as possible, but along the way, heíd met up with Jack and his moronic gang. Theyíd stopped him half way to my house, forming a queer formation that blocked the roadway. Julian had simply got off his bicycle, turned it round, and got back on it again. After a quick two finger comment, heíd pumped at the pedals quickly, escaping the loud comments, and his probable funeral. He tried a different route about an hour later.
The route blocked by Jack and co. lead directly to my house, and was about a half mile from his.
The long route spanned about 3 miles. Julian had got to my house too late; the gang had got there first, and were busy climbing up a drainpipe to get to my workroom. Julian rode straight past them. The gang wasnít concentrating on anything but the ascent to my workroom, so they did not notice. It didnít register in their feeble brains.
Julian had ridden up to our drive, and had dismounted. The door opened almost immediately when he rang the doorbell.
This household is always prompt to answer the door, whoever it may be. Julian was shown to my work-room. He went straight in, finding the computer happily buzzing away to itself. He told me how heíd found a paperweight, and carefully aimed for the ascending figures leg.
It had hit bang on target, and the climber, Jack, had tumbled onto the rest of the gang.
Despite the constant throbbing of my arms, I found this quite amusing, and chuckled at the thought.
Julian then told me how heíd concentrated on the computerís monitor. It had shown the room in which I was being zapped. Julian sympathised for a moment, then settled back down to his story.
After watching me being zapped, and taken away, Julian had found himself not in my workroom, but in the futuristic surroundings. He had been sensible enough to examine himself in privacy. Heíd found the little card pinned to his green uniform. Very handy. It told him his bed number, his personal code, his base, and where he was from. He had found that he got food from a dispenser set in a wall. You just told it what yu wanted, and out came the request within a few seconds. Even good old fish and chips were there.
Julian had made his way through the long dimly illuminated passage ways to his bunk at halp past nine, and had settled down for a long think. Heíd awoken next morning (he presumed it was next morning, even though the base lacked windows) with a problem on his mind: Where was he? A speaker by his bed had given him his instructions, and had printed them out (convenient.)
Julian had been impressed, but slightly worried by the job.
He had to clean out the ventilating tunnels with just normal cleaning fluid and a sponge. He had infact started work nearly straight away. He had noticed that everybody in the long room of bunks had a printout of their instructions when they woke up. He had chosen to follow a particular man to see what he did. The man had set to work straight away.
Hesitantly, Julian had also set to work on the long tedious job of clearing the vents. Finding them was a bit of a job, but he decided to check the printout for the answer. It told him to start in block ACN5. Heíd found ACN5 after half an hours search, and had started work. Only a quarter of an hour later, somebody came into the vent. Had someone found him? After a long pause, he had attacked, and pinned the intruder down. Seeing as the intruder had thrown himself against a grille for some stupid reason, Julian had seen the face of him by the light from behind the grille.
Boy, had he been surprised when he saw who it was.
Still, with all this sorted out, I decided to help out with the job.
About three boring tedious hours later, we met somebody. That somebody looked startled.
"Who are you?" said the somebody.
We both recognised the voice. It was Jack.
Julian had turned out his electric lantern (we presumed it was electric, but you couldnít really tell in a time like 2173) so that Jack couldnít see us. It was too late though. Jack had caught a glimpse of Julian through the lantern. As soon as heíd got a chance, Jack had snatched the lantern away. Heíd switched it on again, and the powerful beam showed up everything brilliantly. I could see the rest of the gang mumbling away in the background, now.
Jack made a comment about the two-finger expression that Julian had given him earlier. Julian blushed, Jack attacked. Before the blink of an eyelid, Jack had savagely rammed Julian, and was busily kicking the heap on the floor. Julian was vomiting madly at each kick.
I heard the crack of his nose as Jack rammed his foot into Julianís face. I didnít know what to do at first. Then I remembered. Quickly, out of under my vest, I produced the rectagun.
Nobody noticed, least of all Jack, foot covered in Julianís blood now.
I shouted, "Jack, you cret." and he stopped his torturing to look at me.
"Why you great hairy..." He didnít get to finish his sentence as I tensed my hand as iíd seen the man who shot me do. Jack went flying backwards into the gang, shouting for help, and screaming in pain at the same time. I kept my hand tensed as I helped Julian up. He was still writhing, and it took a few minutes to pick him up off the floor.
"Authorities be Ďere in a sec," gasped Julian. I knew, so I helped him stumble to the nearest exit, ignoring the constant flow of vomit on my canvas-green uniform.
I stoped shooting for a minute, while trying to find a way to get the door open. Jack had dropped the lantern when heíd been blasted, and itíd gone out, so I was searching in pitch blackness.
Eventually, my finger found a little recess, which meant that iíd got the control to open the exit. I pushed, and the door lid open, and not before time. Great beams of red had started pouring through the vent, and I could hear the agony of the gang were picked off one by one by whatever was producing those beams of light.
The light from outside the vent was piercingly bright, and it took me a minute or two to adjust to it.
After a while, I realised oen thing: Eight men were standing positioned in the room with their rectaguns pointed at me. I ignored the ooze of vomit and blood running dowm my shoulder, and rushed for the other side of the room, practically dragging Julian with me. As I got to the centre of the room, I saw the muscles in all the marksmenís arms tense.
"Get down," I screamed, and ducked.
But Julian did not hear - he was choking on his own vomit, and was oblivious to anything else. The rectarays picked their target with deadly accuracy. Julian was hit by all eight rectarays simultaneously. I could hear his ribs crack and splinter as the rays pounded into him. He was screaming in agony, his eyes squeezed shut, his mouth moulded into a horrific shape. He was still moulded like this when he fell. I was crying as I reached out for him, but I found myself caressing the computer monitor...
≠ ≠ ≠
I sat down in my chair, and sobbed. The work-room was undamaged by the gang, but I didnít care.
I took a last look at the elastic body of my best friend stuck in the future, and then turned off my Five-year piece of project. I opened the window for some fresh air, and relished the cool breeze on my sweat-beaded face.
After a while, I sat down again.
"Youíve done well," a voice said from behind me.
I didnít bother to wipe the tears from my eyes, so I only saw a blurred vision.
"Iím from the government, and you are going to show me how to work that pece of equiptment."
I was in a rage. "You think youíre gonna see this piece of junk," I said, wiping the tears from eyes, "Then take a look."
I tore the mechanism from the computer, and threw it straight thre the window-frame.
I watched as five-years of hard work shattered into a million pieces, bright silvery bits blowing away in the wind like glitter.
I smiled. The man from the government didnít. He approached with a nasty look on his face. I quickly took hold of my rectagun from underneath my vest (I had replaced it there when I was working at the vent door).
The man backed away. "No - you wouldnít. Now come on, please," or something like that.
I had the power, I was almighty, I had control of this pathetic being. I smiled, and tensed the muscles in my hand. The man screamed as he was thrown back against the far wall. I looked at the slumped figure. Then I realised that he wanít breathing.
Looking at the rectagun suspiciously, I smiled. The slide control was away from me instead of towards me.
I chuckled. That must kill, I thought, and chuckled again.
Curious of his identity, I searched him for a wallet of some sort.
I found one, and opened it up.
Inside was an identification card - the kind you wear with a pin if you work at a superstore or something like that.
I took it out of the wallet, and investigated. I gasped in surprise, not noticing footsteps from downstairs. The card said:
Pers. No: 38AA
I was hit hard on the back of my head, and here I am now in the old work-room, due to be taken away to help the government with a time project.
I write this for the benefit of the future. I know that the government, the country, even the world is not ready for time exploration yet, so I must dispose of myself.
What puzzles me is that the people of 2173 seemed to have been expecting me. I wonder why? One of those mysteries of time, I suppose, one of those mysteries of time...
- Simon Huggins, 29th March 1985 - 14th April 1985 (Aged 12)