It wasn't so much that they were feeling threatened, far from it. They had been welcomed, and thier need for light had been provided for by the
building. All the signs were positive. But after a certain number of years bombing about the time streams, like a pair of continuum joyriders, they
had learned that one of the most important things to ensure, is that one knows precisely where one is. Not wishing to get turned around on themselves
however, was not going to alter the course they had to tread.
"You know, this is the first time in... well , a bloody long time, that I haven't had the first idea where we are in relation to the car!" Alan
pronounced. "I know what you mean. But you know whats weirder than that? We always call it "The Car", or "The Rustbucket", or "that heap of
unmentionable crap". When was the last time we called it The 49? I mean, it is a 49 Ford convertible after all!" Barry asked. "Well, two points,
just while we are at it. First of all, we call it names because since many years before I bought it, its been a beat up hunk of crap. Second, this is
hardly the time to be having a discussion about the way we identify our temporal chariot!" Alan explained. As soon as that sentence had ceased its
echo through the spiralling walkway, he spied the end of the winding pathway through the building. A grand portal irised open before them and they
approached with awe.
The space beyond was truely cavernous, and they soon realised that despite the fairly long stroll up the spiral ramp, that they had barely touched
the elevation available in the building. The central space must have been at least four fifths the height of the building as a whole, and in the
centre of it, a massive spire reached from its splayed base, all the way to a tapered point near the ceiling. About twenty feet before its glimmering
point, a massive catwalk, at least a hundred feet in diameter was held in suspension, connected to the spire by a single walkway.
"Well.." began Barry, after the awe had taken its course through his mind," This is all very well, but where the hell do we go next?" It was a
valid point, for no matter how they cast about themselves for a staircase, or an elevator, nothing of the sort made itself apparant. "Well, I
haven't got a..." Alan was saying, just as a thrumming vibration passed through the room. Thier eyes were drawn upward, toward the spire, and the
platform surrounding it.
"Alan, am I seeing what I think I am seeing?" Asked Barry.
"Barry, I think you just might be. This is meta-material science at its most giant and ridiculous!" Alan replied. They had both realised at almost
the same moment that not only was the massive circular platform descending, while remaining attached to the central spire, but as it descended, it was
growing outward, expanding, stretching to fit itself around the central column, as it grew wider toward the ground. There was no evidence of
mechanism, no grinding gears, or sound of plates crashing into place, therefore the platform was not telescopic, or merely an iris like the entryway
to the central core had been. This was something else entirely.
The platform reached their level, and overcome with awe, but still as intrepid as thier time traveling habits would attest, they made thier way to
the platform, and awaited the upward journey on the incredible conveyance. When it began, there was no stomach lurching jolt of acceleration, in fact
the movement was barely noticed by either of them physically. They did however see the ground beneath shoot away, as they ascended hundreds of feet in
a few seconds.
"Theres... there just are no words for this. I mean... my flabber..." stammered Barry. "Yeah I know mate. Its ghasted." Finished Alan."Mine too
if I'm honest! I mean, sure, we travel between links in the chain of time, skipping the pond of continuity at will, and we have seen galaxies born,
and stars die. But this is certainly the most fantastical bit of large scale engineering I have seen. I wonder where its all going?".
"Alan, I believe that an answer will be forthcoming, and not in too long from now either. On your six, as they say". Barry had seen, over Alans
shoulder, that the spire seemed to be segmented near its sharp peak, and was unfolding like the petals of some great, impossible flower, and as they
opened, they revealed a figure, dressed in a shimmering gown of what looked like pearl scales. She, for the being was clearly female, had long dark
flowing hair, and eyes that shone with the colour and brightness of lazers.
"YOU HAVE BOTH DONE ME A GREAT SERVICE." Said a voice the size of a planet. " My apologies gentlemen, that was a little louder than I remember
being before." Said a quieter, less mind crushingly loud voice, as the two travelers cowered with their hands over their ears. "Cor...BLIMEY... my
ears just popped!" exclaimed Barry, putting his hands down from his ears, as Alan composed himself. "Pleased to be of service madam, and
exceptionally happy to make your acquaintance." Alan continued, after a moment. "May we know just what the purpose of this building is? We were
looking for some scrap to fix various broken components on our temporal relocator, and thought that this place was a city!"
"Ah, I see. Well gentlemen, it so happens that this is not a city, but a... well I believe you would call it a womb, or an egg perhaps. I have been
waiting here for evidence of life on this planet at this time. My purpose here once awakened, is to replenish the life to this place, after the
cataclysm which robbed the world of sentient life."
Barry and Alan reacted in perfect unison, double taking in time with one another, in a fashion which would surely have been comical, if the moment
had not been one of such gravitas. Despite the weighty announcement she had just made, the shimmering figure let out a laugh like the burbling of a
mountain stream, and spoke once more.
" Do not be too dismayed. This happened well after your original time, and many hundreds of years before this one. You two are the only intelligent
life on this planet other than myself. My name is Alpha. I am a begining, after an end. When you walked into my domain, the structure mapped your
genomes, and extrapolated every possible permutation of your species genetic code. Any moment now, the second genisis of this planet will begin, all
the junk codes will be trashed, and new humanity will be born onto this world. In fits and starts at first, but it will take root once again, and then
my work will be done."
Barry held up a hand " Excuse me, Alpha, are you telling me that having been hatched, you are only going to have a purpose for as long as it takes
to put all this in motion? That sounds like a bit of a rip if you ask me", he said with concern written on his face. "What are you going to do once
your work is done?"
"I am my own boss, as you might put it, as soon as my duty is despatched. I have had little time to consider that as of yet. Being born takes a toll
after all!" Alpha mused."You say you have a time machine of sorts?"
"Ahem, ah yes. It is however, somewhat on the malfunctional side just at present, and as I said, we have been searching for some particular
components and raw materials with which to fix it." Alan reminded her. We were stranded here when a particularly aggravating, but vital part failed