Though the darkness of deep space a lone spacecraft moved slowly towards a rippling tear of energy in space. The Atlas, the ship sent to rescue the Tycho and it’s crew moved towards its reported position.
“We’ve not been able to pick up the Tycho on sensors Captain and they should be here!”
Captain William Roberts sat back in his chair, thoughtful.
“When was the last time we had contact with the Tycho?”
“Only a few hours ago to inform them of our arrival sir!” The communications officer answered.
“Raise them again and get them to re-confirm their position please.”
Captain Roberts had read the report from the Tycho. It was quite a story, he wouldn’t ever say he didn’t believe it but he certainly had questions. But if they’re supposed to be here and are not, then perhaps the time leak from this Titan could explain it.
“They’ve confirmed their position sir.”
“Well you better tell McKinley that his problems aren’t over yet. I think he need to be thinking about passing though that time tear because it seems he’s in the right place at the wrong time!”
McKinley sat there, sunk in his seat. Dumbfounded as he looked across at Seanna.
“What do we do now?” She asked him. McKinley couldn’t answer, he had run out of all of his ideas now. He was looking forward to an end to all of this, so much had been lost to get the Tycho and what was left of its crew here. This was meant to be a routine survey and reconnaissance mission and it looked like now that the only chances they had were to either brave the rift or die on the Tycho when the supplies ran out.
After a pause McKinley hit the console on his chair, breaking the controls. In whT seemed like a rage he got out of his chair and headed off the control centre “you’re in command Seanna!” He shouted, everyone was silenced. No one dared speak until after he had gone.
“Hello sir, I’ve not seen you for three days. How can I be of assistance?” Dave asked McKinley as he arrived on the loading deck.
“It seems we’re stuck in the wrong time! Can you think of how we are going to back to where we should be?” McKinley asked Dave strongly. He had calmed a little since leaving the control centre, but his unhappiness was obvious.
Dave was thoughtful for a moment “I think the term wrong time is incorrect, we are in a different time than you want to be is more accurate!” McKinley rolled his eyes and was about to boil over again when Dave started again “there is a way to try and get back to your own time. The problem is that it’s going to be dangerous and there is no guarantee of any success.”
McKinley was listening as the mechanoids carried on with his explanation “the rift is a tear in the fabric of space time, we have to enter it in order to find your way back. The problem is that because it is a tear it is likely to be visible in the same point in space across a vast section of time. Where to exit the rift is the key and considering the current condition of your spacecraft, we will be at the mercy of the powers we find in there.”
“Ok, let me get some of my people down here. Between all of you I hope you can make a plan that could work!”
McKinley called down the chief engineer, Jearo and some other science officers were also called and while McKinley was involved he could no nothing much except listen to the ideas and plans a bouncing around. For hours it carried on until finally a plan was hatched. It was still risky, but the mechanoids were going to need a few days to carry out a partial overhaul of the drive coils. This would enable the Tycho limited but useful propulsion. Dave was going to modify the navigational sensor arrays to be able to lock in on a time signal from the Atlas, essentially making it a crude time locator and guidance system. The core needed to have the coolant and linings repaired and then re-calibrated to operate at a different phase of entertainment to allow better propulsion in the rift and also not damage the reworked coils after their repair. Is was a big job and in the meantime the crew were preparing for the worst. Messages were sent to the Atlas in case the worst happened.
McKinley had just walked into his quarters and flopped onto his bed when Seanna came in. She too looked exhausted and grimy from working on the core all day.
“We did it!” She exclaimed, the exhaustion in her voice was obvious. McKinley stuck a thumb up of approval.
“Well done! We’re good to go tomorrow then?”
“Yup!” Seanna walked over, flopping onto the bed next to McKinley. Wrapping their arms round each other they both settled in for some much needed sleep.
“Do you think we will make it?” Seanna asked. “I was starting to like life and find it interesting again!”
“I wish I knew Seanna.” McKinley answered, kissing her forehead.
“This has been the most messed up mission ever don’t you think? I mean look at what’s happened. We discover a ship, it’s stuck in time and we get trapp-” a snorw came from McKinley. Smiling Seanna rested he head on the pillow next to him, but wasn’t able ro sleep like McKinley.
Seanna woke late and alone, without pausing for anything she made it up to to control. McKinley raised his eyebrows as she made he way onto the deck looking a little ragged.
“Good afternoon! Glad you could make it Seanna!”
“Where are we at?” she asked.
“Tyson has just get the Atlas to send signals at times intervals, acting as a time beacon. All the checks have been completed and we’ll be ready to start in about an hour when the coils are charged. Can you take the guidance panel as we all need your keen eye to look for the right way to go!”
“Certainly” Deanna replied. Manning her station the crew prepared for this one last journey. Like n impending sentence it was the longest hour ever to pass. Eventually the call came through:
“Coils are charged commander!”
McKinley took a moment to look around at the assembled crew. Each of them looking back at him. He wondered over to Seanna she put he hand in his for a moment and looked up at him “let’s do this yeah?”
Neila called over “All stations have called in, all systems are go and all lights are green!”
“Let’s do then! Take us in!” McKinley called out. The Tycho’s engines vibrated briefly as they pushed the craft forward towards its destiny. The rift that had almost destroyed themselves to escape from was now their target. In a few moments the pull of the rift was pulling them ever faster towards its heart.
“Keep her steady!” McKinley called out.
“We’re accelerating fast commander!” Neila called out ” in less than a minute were going to moving faster than our engines can push us!”
“Can we still navigate?” McKinley replied.
“Yes, but it’s getting harder!”
“Do we have a lock yet Seanna?”
“No! I’m trying to find it!” Seanna yelled back
“Keep at it!” McKinley yelled back.
For what seemed like endless moments the rift was getting closer and larger in the forward view. Turbulences of untamed power rocked and buffeted the small craft. Neila shouting out the damage sustained and isolating each in turn. Suddenly the crew were thrown onto their panels as a huge metallic crash was sent through the Tycho.
“Hull breach at the forecastle!” Neila shouted out, the deafening roar drowning her out. “Were going to get shaken to pieces at this rate!”
“Have we got it yet Seanna?” McKinley shouted.
“I think so, it’s hard to tell but there’s lot of noise!” She shouted back. “I’m sending the heading to the guidance computer!”
“Give it all you can Neila!”
“Damn right!” At that the engines of the Tycho sprang into life, the ship shaking as it tried to fly straight and true. McKinley looked at the red lights all over the ship’s readout. His thoughts were resigned that this was it. There was nothing more he or anyone else could do. The swirling depths of the rift flashed and crackled with unimaginable power pushing and pulling the tiny craft around. A huge flash shot before McKinley’s eyes and then there was nothing, darkness. Silence.
“Am I dead?” McKinley thought, he wasn’t sure if he thought or spoke it. In those moments he realised he couldn’t be dead. Or… Maybe he could. Staring into the darkness he rose from his chair, swirling in the mists of balack shapes like monsters swirled and moved within it, then there were flashes of moments, the Titan mission,then previous missions, even further back to when he was a young man and had first started serving in the space core. Then he saw moments from his childhood, moments long forgotten, friends long missed. He felt sorrowful and happiness as the moments played before him back to when he was a mere baby.
Then darkness again.
McKinley stood or so he thought in what felt and seemed like nothing. Gazing ahead until light filled his vision like the curtains open in the morning. He blinked as he tried to see around him, closing his eyes again he tried to open them. Gradually he was getting used to the light, his vision clearing. He saw a figure standing in front of him.
“Who are you? Where is this?” McKinley asked.
“Welcome McKinley.” Came a voice, gentle yet powerful. McKinley had heard it before, but he couldn’t recall where from.
“It’s good to see you again, take your time, don’t fight it my friend. You took your time! I never thought you would come!” The figure said to him.
For a few moments McKinley struggled with his eyes, clearer and clearer they became. He became aware he was standing on on sand, the sea washing over his feet. He was suddenly aware of Seanna, she slipped her hand into his.
“Will he be ok?” She asked.
The voice laughed. “Patience, in good time. It’s taken him more time to awaken properly!”
McKinley felt Seanna’s soft lips on his cheek. “Come back to us old man!” She whispered, he could tell she was smiling. Seanna wouldn’t let his hand go, in a few moments his vision cleared. He looked around to see the crew on this desert beach in the middle of a vast ocean. He looked over to the vista of a ringed plated in a deep blue sky and moons easily visible in the sky.
“Where is this?” McKinley asked.
“Don’t you k ow where we are? Or who I am?”
“Endevin?” McKinley whispered. “How?”
“Welcome to reality my friend!”
Too stunned to answer, McKinley looked at Seanna and smiled. He had no idea how or why. But he felt more alive now than he had ever done in his life. Like the moment of being born and feeling, sensing for the first time. Life, had somehow just begun!
© Simon Farnell 2016