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Quantum Jalopy [TFWC]

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posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 06:00 PM
An all encompassing heat blasts away at the salt flats, a mind boggling emptiness of salt, sky, sun, and absolutely nothing else. Not a breath of wind, not even the tiniest of complex lifeforms present. Which is just as well, because those critters of a nervous disposition would be dismayed at best, if they were to bare witness to the events which will shortly unfold here.

A faint, rising hum begins to issue forth from a point about three feet above the surface of the flats, accompanied by an infinitesimally thin, white line of what appears to be the purest light, which makes the salt crystals beneath sparkle in a most unusual fashion. The hum becomes a whine, moves right up the scale from totally bearable, right through ear hole buggering, and out the other side, as the white line expands upwards, downwards, and outwards, the glare impossible to see through, or at least would be, were there anyone or anything to see it. All of a sudden there is a mighty clap of displaced air, as if thunder had struck, and a cloud of salt and dust is kicked up, shrouding the area in a milky cloud for a time.

"So..." coughing and spluttering interrupt for a moment, before the speaker continues,"Are we there yet?".

"Christ help me Barry, if I hear you ask that once more, I swear I will strand you at the heart of the big bang, watch you explode outward at improbable speeds,and go around for the next few billion years, tracking every quark in your body to the edge of the universe!"

Barry eyed Alan apologetically from the rear passenger seat of what can only be described as a clunker, a junker, a jalopy. A car. A car, that is, which could be called such only in the most casual of ways. Absent every endearing quality of a motor vehicle, including the basics like working tail lights, or for that matter wheels, the ancient creaking carcass of the crap mobile which had so recently and miraculously appeared, was scarred by at least three decades of a total lack of love. Rusting body panels with missing trim, the rivet holes for which were still present and unfilled, seats that appeared to have received the attention of several axe murderers, and a filthy, cracked windscreen, gave the car the look of something utterly worthless. Which it was. Until some enterprising fellow had made a few.... modifications.

"Look Alan, I'm sorry mate, I really am. I know that question annoys you, but I really REALLY need to take a dump, and the last five stops have been completely lacking in anything approaching a porcelain rich environment, know what I mean?"

" I know, I know... I am doing my very best, but navigating this... this... ABORTION of a vehicle through anything other than a scrap merchants is damned near impossible at the best of times, let alone when half the equipment that did work, has been on the fritz."

Alan, the owner of this particular collection of loosely related mechanical detritus, pulled the handle of the drivers side door, and pushed against its rotting interior upholstery covering. An unholy din, somewhat akin to the sort of noise you would expect from a robotic elephant with its trunk shut in a door, issued from the aged hinges. Making his way to the rear of the junk heap, Alan was able immediately to see the problem that had been causing all the navigation trouble. Amongst the tangle of after market adaptations protruding from the trunk of the vehicle (including, but not limited to reams and reams of wire of different manufacture, purpose, and indeed age) he could see the smoking remains of a transformer.

"Anyway Baz , you saying we haven't been near any porcelain in a while is somewhat inaccurate, don't you think?" Asked Alan, as he rummaged in the spares compartment under the miniaturized linear particle accelerator. " I seem to remember having tea with the king of Siam less than half an hour ago after all. Its not as if he serves his guests tea in styro-foam is it?"

At this, Barry looked at Alan askance. "Alan... listen mate, while your statement about our Royal appointment earlier on might be all fair and fine enough, I hardly think me taking a dump in His Highnesses favorite tea service would have engendered the right level of rapport, do you?".

An affirmative grunt issued from the rear of the vehicle, as Alan pulled forth a complicated looking steel tool, with knobs and buttons on one end, and a strange glowing aura around its opposite end. "Try the ignition would you?" He asked. After Barry failed to start the motor, Alan adjusted the settings on his tool, and begun to probe the bizarre innards of the machinery which had taken over the boot space of the vehicle. "Have another go would you Barry? There's a good chap!".

The vehicle failed to start with slightly less coughing and wheezing second time around, at which Alan gave a small whoop of delight, and scrambled back around to the drivers side of the car, closed the door (to a loud protest from the hinges, which had not enjoyed the first journey to the fullest extent of their range of motion, and were no less reluctant about the return leg) and begun to fiddle with controls on the dashboard.

"Right matey" He said," I've bypassed the cooked transformer, which ought to give us enough stability at the continuum tunneling modifier end of things, to allow for one good hop forward. Hopefully we can find somewhere for you to do your business, and for me to purchase some spares. If I don't fix this thing up a bit we could fly apart and be scattered to the winds of time, mid journey."

Alan turned the ignition key, put the machine in synch with the tick and tock of the universe, and just as the white light began to consume them, Barry laughed, saying "Again?"

There was a clap as the air filled the space which had been so recently filled with scrap and chatter, and then things were very much as they had always been...

There was a clap. Much to the dismay of the unfortunate owner of the jalopy, there was also quite an awful lot of smoke, and there were deeply unpleasant grinding noises, blattering forth from the bowels of the ancient vehicle. "Oh, that's sodding wonderful that is. Bloody marvelous. Bloody cheap tachyon impeller!!" Alan raged, leaping the door of the vehicle (not wanting to hear its complaint at being shifted again). His brown work boots connected with solid asphalt as he pounded back to the rear of the vehicle, before becoming embroiled once again in the workings of the tin can time machine. "When are we Barry? Can you check the dash mate?" Alan asked.

"2845 A.D. Alan, and if you look behind you? That looks rather like a city to me." Barry announced. Alan's head bounced off the trunk lid, as he stood up to look, drawing a "OH BLOODY HELL!" from his lips. As he rubbed his freshly impacted skull, and turned around, he squinted into the distance, before realising his proximity to the outer edges of the city, which were less than ten feet away. Refocusing his eyeballs, he realised that the city was not quite what one would expect.

"Well ,would you look at that? Its closed in!". And it was. A staggered, zigguratesque thing it was, sat on what appeared to be a thorougly well disguised hill. Many hundreds of feet tall, obsidian sided, and lit by soft blue and green lighting, which reflected tastefully off the sheer surfaces of the buildings. There appeared to be nothing by way of an entrance though.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 06:02 PM
"Alan, did you say that your tachyon impeller was broken? I mean, if so, seems that we are going to have to go inside that city, and that is going to mean finding the door." Barry pointed out.

"Yes Barry, thanks for pointing that out. I needed parts before we did that last hop, but now I need... bulk. I need a scrap yard at the very least." Alan replied, peering at the stubbornly solid city walls. "Now, normally speaking, if there WAS a scrap yard, you would be able to see it from outside the city, but this place is all locked down, hidden away. They could have an indoor forest in there and we wouldnt know from out here."

Alan shut the trunk, and reached into the rear passenger space." Come on old stick, lets go and see if we can't find a way in!" He pulled out a backpack, handed it to Barry, and reached behind his own seat, fetching out a record bag. Slinging it across his shoulder, he adjusted the strap, and began to walk toward the furthest visible extent of the city. Barry scrambled into his backpack, and followed behind.

Hours passed, and with no break in the wall to be seen,the pair stopped for a meal and a drink, in amongst the verdant feilds surrounding the walls of the city. The sun was a pleasant heat on thier backs, which when mixed with the light breeze and fresh smell in the air, leant the whole area a deeply relaxing vibe. Sitting down, the pair of travelers opened up thier day sacks, and pulled out tupperware containing sandwhiches, coleslaw, from Barry's sack, a dusty bottle of wine and two plastic goblets.

"Ahhh.... this is the life, out on the open time stream, sun on our backs, food in our bellies, and the sweet flavour of incredibly rare wine on our tongues." Opined Barry. " I couldnt agree more old chap. Nothing quite like sharing a meal with a mate when lost in time, or at least temporarily stranded!" Alan replied. "You know, this place tastes cleaner than any time I have ever visited before. I wonder if they are using atmosphere scrubbers to clear the atmosphere? Thats the only reason I can think of for this shiny clean air".

Barry looked around, sniffed the air thoughtfully. " You know, we must have walked around a significant portion of this side of the city by now right? And we haven't seen any access points yet, and I am begining to think we might have to get a little creative, in terms of our entry technique. How about we go and actually have a look at the wall? If we could get on top of it, maybe if there are scrubbers up there we could use their pipes as an access point?". Alan, peered at his companion quizzically." Well I don't see why not. We have nothing to lose by it. Lets finish that bottle off, get the rest of these sandwhiches down our necks, and have a gander at it then eh?".

Five minutes later, with full bellies, and the odd hiccup, the pair strode over to the wall to examine its construction more closely. Upon reaching the wall, they halted, and had a strategy meeting.

"So Barry, now that we are here," began Alan, " what precisely are we going to do?" Barry looked at him in the way that only a long suffering friend can." Alan, we are two resourceful chaps, and you particularly built yourself a time machine out of a car which cannot even be used for its intended purpose, and is worth precisely twenty five pence,circa 2013. What we will do, is poke it with a stick, hit it with a rock, see if we can make a hole in it. We will touch it, think at it, and perhaps see if there is any vegetation from which we can make a rope, and a branch for a grapnel. We are pioneers and travelers for goodness sake."

Alan considered this, puffed out his chest and pronounced "You know what Barry? You are absolutely right! Lets get about it!" And with that, he cast about for a rock to hit the wall with." Barry meanwhile walked right up next to the wall, and placed his hand against it. No sooner had his fingertips touched the surface, did he pull his hand back in surprise. The wall was warm, and not as if it had been heated by the sun, but as if heated from within!

"Alan! ALAN! Quit messing about in the dirt, and come here a sec! Check this out!" Upon being hailed, Alan strode up to the wall next to his friend, and asked "Whats the commotion?". Barry, rather than answering, grasped Alans hand, and placed it against the wall. "WHOA!" exclaimed Alan, "its radiating thermal energy!". He swept his hand across the surface, and felt variations in the thermal output of the walls surface. Then he had an idea. He stopped moving his hand, and concentrated, eyes closed, ears primed, senses straining. Barry saw this and enquired "Alan, what are you doing mate?". Alan shushed him, and concentrated again for thirty seconds, and then his eyes snapped open, and flickered between Barry and the wall.

"Barry? The wall Barry. Its got a pulse!" Alan announced breathlessly. "A beat every six point seven three seconds, or there abouts." Barry looked agog at his traveling companion." You have got to be kidding me!" He said incredulously, placing his hands in one place. After fifteen seconds he locked eyes with Alan, his own sense of wonderment relfected in his friends eyes. "This is bloody incredible!" He blurted. "Do you suppose that this city know... alive?". Alan stepped back from the wall, staggered a bit, and sat down heavily on the grassy surface.

"You know, that sounds insane don't you? And yet... I wonder... Barry, I am going to attempt something." Announced Alan, gaining his feet. "HELLO? MAY WE COME IN? ".

An echo of his voice traveled across the expanse of wall before him, and Barry monitored the pulses in the wall for the tell tales of a reaction to the sound. Before any noticeable change in the frequency of the pulses could be discerned, the surface of the wall whispered apart, sending Barry stumbling backwards, which resulted in him ending up on his arse in the grass, and Alan laughing so hard that his sides ached.

" Im sorry mate, but that was classic. I haven't laughed that hard since that time you accidentally let off a firework in the middle of that Jurassic stampede! You remember right? The damned thing terrified the dinosaurs so much they turned and ran right down the throat of that crazy big predator! Ahh Gaawd! Heh! Alright" said Alan as he reached out a hand toward the fallen Barry, and pulled him to his feet. "Looks like an invitation to me, wouldn't you say?" Alan pointed out. "Aye, I reckon so! Lets have a look-see shall we?" Agreed Barry.

Fishing a maglite from his record bag, Alan played light around the entrance which had been made for them. No sooner had the beam begun to caress the curious material of which the walls of the passage beyond was made, than suffuse blue light began to issue from the walls themselves, bathing the entire length of the corridor in its glow. "Ah, well... so much for being prepared" Alan grumbled good naturedly."Ha. Alan, you know that thing was just an over compensation anyway!" Barry snickered, until a friendly slap upside the head found him. Both men laughed, and continued onward.

They passed through a smoothly winding course, which appeared to rise ever so slightly as they traveled. At somepoint, both Barry and Alan became aware that they must have gone in an upward spiral. Although neither would admit it to the other, they were becoming a little anxious.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 06:03 PM
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 on us.

posted on Sep, 16 2013 @ 06:03 PM
"In that case gentlemen, let me return you to your vehicle. Wait for me there. I may be able to be of some help to you." Alpha pronounced, and no sooner had she spoken, than her eyes shone brighter, and a mighty rent in space and time opened, and she gestured for them to step through. As they did they passed through the place where one part of space time had been coupled temporarily to another, through the roiling foam of the subatomic, through the very bands which make up every level of existence, to be deposited right in their seats!

"Whoa! Did she just cross connect two locations in space time, JUST so that we wouldnt have to walk back to the car? Good God almighty!" Alan's amazement and dumbfoundedness was in danger of taking on an altogether unhelpful scale and power."Alan, mate, you need to calm yourself down a slice. That was bloody amazing, I will grant you, and if I am honest, wholely unecessary, but bearing in mind what she is about to be responsible for, I really woudnt sweat something tiny like a little co-location." Admonished Barry. "Besides," he continued "She will be along in a bit, and it wouldnt do to start flapping now!".

"Barry... are you worried that I am going to show you up in front of the lazer eyed replenisher of life on Earth?" Alan grinned,"Are you BLUSHING!?".

"Alan... quiet time now eh?" And as the last syllable left his lips, Alpha appeared in a mad shower of loud green sparks.

"Gentlemen, Barry, Alan... I have completed my duties here, and I have roads yet to travel." Alpha announced ," You were good enough to come and begin the process which freed me to perform them, and I cannot thank you enough. I have given some thought to what to do next. Watching proto-humans evolve is a tedious and lengthy process, and not part of my duties, and I was wondering if you would mind if I accompany you?"

Barry and Alan looked at one another, then back at Alpha, then back at each other. " Well, I don't believe that either of us would have a problem with that, but the machine is busted." Alan replied.

And with that Alpha reached one hand out toward the rapidly deconstructing womb tower she had been created in, and one toward the rusted hulk in which the travelers were sitting. The entire fabric of the vehicle began to pulse, to hum, to shift very slightly. Foam and seat springs which had rotted and collapsed, expanded to thier correct consistency, coverings which had been ripped and spitting foam sealed themselves shut, scuffs on thier surfaces became polished and smooth once more, metal work that had been dented and scarred by rust, became flat and shone with fresh paint and wax, trim which had been missing for decades renewed itself, and the tangle of wire and insanity that was the meat and potatoes of the time machine, became orderly, the chaotic construction becoming sleek, functional.

"Bloody hell!" Exclaimed Alan." This is incredible! Alpha, you are a marvel a million times and more!!"

"Well gentlemen? Shall we?" She replied. "Yes, I think we shall." said Barry. "Alan, would you do the honours?"
"With pleasure my friend".

There was a clap....

posted on Sep, 17 2013 @ 08:26 PM
Well done, Mate! Excellent story. SnF.

Such a light-hearted approach to the contest had me reading every line with a smile, and twas quite dismayed when it was over.

posted on Sep, 18 2013 @ 07:58 AM
reply to post by Druid42

Thanks for that Druid. Thats pretty much what I was going for. Time travel fiction is often obsessed with paradoxes, nightmare futures, the dark possibilities presented by the action of entropy on the human condition. I thought it would be fun to liven things up a bit, drop a silver lining here and there

Thanks for the comment, and for reading!

posted on Sep, 23 2013 @ 03:30 PM
What a fun bit of time-motoring! Star & Flag!!
Glad I stopped by to read it finally!!


posted on Sep, 23 2013 @ 03:35 PM
reply to post by AboveBoard

Glad you enjoyed it AboveBoard!

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