“sic,” says Beth as she rematerializes.
She is in a huge forest bustling with noise. Expecting to hear primitive screeches and squawks, what Beth actually hears first is rather a yell of surprise. Just near her, a woman and a man are staring at her with amazement, or might it be disgust?
The woman: Is the security bubble active?
The man: Yes.
The woman: What is he doing here then?
Beth: Em, hello!
The man: I don’t know.
Beth: Hello, you two…
The woman: This space can only be entered by…
The man: … people having certain abilities.
Beth: Er, am I bothering you?
The man: Maybe, we should talk to him.
Beth: That seems a great idea to me.
The man clears his throat, turns to Beth and says: “My name is Reymo, and this is Mira.”
Beth: Good! You’re travellers like me, aren’t you?
Mira: Obviously, time travellers like you.
Beth: My name is Beth. Although I’m using a Dalygaran travel body, I come from Earth. And despite what I look like in this body, I am a girl.
The woman whistles in an admiring way: “This is the very first prototype of a Dalygaran travel-body. What is an Earthling doing inside?”
Beth: That is a long story. But in a few words, I know how to use it, and I’m the only one now who does. I was assigned the mission of saving that planet.
Mira: Really? Which era are you from?
Beth: 2426 on Earth.
Mira: You’re a liar then. In 2426, Earth is still an alpha planet, as far as I know. And nobody over there even suspects the existence of a planet like Dalygaran. How could you save a planet you’re not supposed to know?
Beth: Hold on, you recognize the Dalygaran body.
Reymo: We have no doubt of that.
Beth: But you can’t believe that I am an Earthling.
Mira: That is just impossible.
Beth bursts out laughing.
Beth: I am always told so.
Beth: That I’m impossible. Believe what you want, anyway. I don’t mind. I arrived here by mistake. I was being taught how to activate time travel in this body…
Mira: What? You never travelled in time before? It’s your first time?
Beth: Yes, and I couldn’t prevent myself from thinking about the Jurassic period. I always dreamt of seeing it. This is where we are, isn’t it?
Reymo: According to Earthling terminology, yes. We’re in the Jurassic period, indeed.
Beth: This is beautiful
Mira and Reymo: This is dangerous.
Beth looks intensely at Reymo.
Beth: I remember now. I know you. You’re the one who took my blood sample at the lottery’s Space Travel Center, the day of the training. So, you’re human?
Mira: Don’t talk nonsense. Of course we aren’t. Humans don’t travel in time. They send…
Reymo: Mira, honey, this person says she comes from Earth. We should avoid any superfluous remarks…
Mira nods to Reymo, to show him she understands. Time travel has its own rules, one of which, and not the least, is that you must never speak with someone of his future, or even simply, the future.
Mira: So you’re from Earth and you’ve already met my husband? You’re someone very surprising, Beth.
Beth: That too people keep saying to me… But tell me something… I arrived here by mistake; what about you? What have you come here for?
Mira and Reymo consult each other through a glance. Both nod, one after the other.
Mira: I think we can tell you. We were looking for our d…
Reymo: … son.
Mira: Yes, our son. There was a war on our planet.
Beth: Your planet?
Reymo: Its name probably won’t mean anything to you, but I think you can be told. We come from Frigellya, in a pocket of the universe very far from Earth. And paradoxically, we are physically and physiologically very similar to human beings. We can even breathe normally on your planet.
Beth: So can Dalygarans apparently.
Reymo: I don’t think so. If you weren’t in a travel-body, you would have to wear a space suite. You’re in a machine: it adapts to the environment.
Beth: I didn’t know that.
Mira: The war on Frigellya was dreadful and we wanted to protect our son by hiding him in in a safe space and time. We sent him here with a nanny. We were in a hurry. I copied out the coordinates, to consult them when the war ended. But I must have made a mistake in my haste. So here we are, on Earth, looking for them through time.
Beth: But why didn’t you simply go with him?
Reymo: Beth, understand that we can’t tell you everything. It could impact the future…
Beth: I see. It would be like a spoiler.
Mira: But if we’re telling you that, it’s because you can probably do something for us.
Beth: You see!
Mira: You’re travelling a primitive way…
Beth: I’m an Earthling in a Dalygaran travel-body. I am doing something that no Earthling of my era can do, and you find it primitive?
Mira: It’s your propulsion means. The mind. It allows you to go only where minds live. If we weren’t here, you wouldn’t have been able to materialize in the Jurassic period.
Beth: Minds attract minds.
Reymo: That’s right.
Beth: And what is an advanced propulsion means?
Mira: Our transporters are equipped with a spatiotemporal compass. We enter the coordinates that allow us to travel in time and space. It is ages ago that Frigellyans lost their ability to travel by mind. Our distant ancestors could do it.
Beth: How can my primitive propulsion be helpful to you?
Reymo: We have to ask you a few questions first. Has it ever happened that you… how should I say it… you go through an entire planet at a very high speed in the aim of choosing where you want to go?
Beth: Oh, that? Yes. It happened to me on a planet called Midnight.
Mira and Reymo remain silent a few moments. They look at each other one more time, and nod alternately.
Reymo: If you can do that, you can do it by moving the time cursor too.
Beth: Sorry, I’m not following you…
Mira: When the places appear in your mind, you have to think of its times as well. That way each place can be seen under several times.
Beth: I see. I could try anyway…
Mira: You have the abilities for it. If you know how to do it with space, you should know how to do it with time. Perhaps you’ll need a little training. But according to where you were able to go on your first time travel, I am not worried. The first leaps in time are usually of some hundreds of Earthling years. But you need to be able to locate him.
Beth: Your son?
Reymo: Yes. We’ll have to… er, to implant a clone of his print in you…
Mira: We had a component implanted in our son that enables him to acquire languages, wherever he is; it also works as a location signal . We have a corresponding print that allows us to lock on to his position, but we have to be in the right time to be able to have a match. As we don’t know where to look for him, we can’t find him anymore. We only know he’s not here. There’s no signal of his implant.
Beth: Have you considered that something bad could have happened to him?
Mira: We don’t want to think about that. If that’s the case, the implant is still locatable. It has a very long shelf-life.
Reymo: We’re going to give you a revelator. You can’t go around like that on Earth, in this outfit.
Beth: A revelator?
Mira: It’s a sort of wrist strap. When activated, it will show you as you really are, an Earthling. Very appropriate in your situation: an Earthling coming back to Earth in an alien travel-body. However, remember, time travels are special.
Beth: Yes, I was told; we are anomalies and people forget us as soon as we quit their space-time.
Reymo: Except if they are anomalies themselves. Anomalies remember other anomalies.
Beth: I wasn’t an anomaly yet when I first met you, and I remembered you.
Reymo: The memory comes back if you meet again. But in this case, if I reflect on what you told me, and I was doing blood analysis in a travel center, I might have used a persistence filter. The “blanks” that we can leave in the memories of people may be very embarrassing sometimes, when it makes them ask too many questions… A doctor who can’t be remembered by anyone could appear suspicious…
As Reymo explains this to Beth, Mira goes away. She comes back with an injector and the famous strap.
Mira: It’s harmless, I promise.
Beth: Are they nanites like travel pills?
Mira: Yes, but the target will be your brain. They will deliver you the print, which will stay in your memory. Don’t worry. Only the locatation signal can activate this print. It’s totally mute otherwise.
Beth hesitates. She doesn’t feel any malevolence from them, but rather a great expectation. A new experience before she gives this body back would not be disagreeable to her. The scan of Midnight provided her with a breathtaking memory. What would she feel if she unwound time too? She ends up going close to Mira. The injection is made at the back of her neck.
Mira: For the strap, I advise you not to take it off. It will allow us to keep in touch. The round button is the revelator. The triangular button reverts you back to your alien shape. The square button is the call button. It’s to call us to come to you. It’s a direct connection. Be sure to be alone and in a safe place when you use it.
Beth puts the strap around her wrist, presses the round button and says smiling: “Here I am.”
Reymo: You’re… so young.
Beth: You two aren’t much older than me. I would give you about thirty.
Mira: The life spans are somewhat different between Earth and Frigellya. In Earthling years we would be 50. But it’s young by us.
Beth: Listen, I will help you, I promised. But my mission for the Dalygaran people is a priority. This body is theirs. When I’m finished with them, I will take your case.
Reymo: She’s travelling in space and time Mira. It doesn’t matter when she begins to seek for us. We have a few things to do in the meantime, don’t you think?
Mira: You’re right.
Beth: Well, I was pleased to meet you. I’ll see you soon. I’ll try to contact two friends to help me in my mission. The first one. I haven’t mastered time travel yet. And something tells me they’ll be able to help me. I’ll visit the Jurassic another day.
Mira: We can help…
Mira: …you too.