This is a FridayFlashFiction prompted by Chuck Wendig at terribleminds.com The challenge was to write a 1000 word story using an historical person as the protagonist. My story 996 words. shortlink http://wp.me/p1BAlV-1c
Revolt in 2150 Louise Sorensen August 30, 2011
“Computer, where are we?“ Heinlein said. “This isn‘t our usual meeting place.” He looked around at the grey walls and floor that ended in a domed viewport.
“EXPERIMENTAL EARTH SATELLITE.”
Michelangelo waved at the moon outside floating in the black of space. “Beautiful… but a harsh mistress, my friends.” He turned to the console. “Why are we here?”
“We‘re here because of an error?” Heinlein said.
“Hang on a minute. Computer, tell us about this experiment.” True leaned on the console, one hand on his holster.
EXPERIMENT; REMOVE CREATIVE PERSONS FROM EARTH POPULATION, BEGINNING IN 2150, CONTINUING IN TEN YEAR INCREMENTS GOING BACK TO 1500.”
“You mean you can travel back in time and remove people?” Michelangelo asked, looking in wonder at the other two.
The floor shuddered; they braced themselves on the console.
“This place wasn‘t made for humans,” True said. ‘No seats… no rails… just the computer, and the view.” The moon was close; the Earth swam in distant dark.
A Heads Up Display appeared on the wall. Counting down from 2150 C.E., it showed the earth population as sparks of light on the dark land.
“2100. It‘s lighted up like a sun,” breathed True.
“That is your time. Yes?” True nodded at Michelangelo.
“Computer. Show us Earth in 1930.” Heinlein turned to his companions. ”That’s the last year I remember. I had so many plans.” The image changed to a trace of lights on North America.
“Computer… Caprese, Italia… 1500 Anno Domini. Hmm. No lights at all.” The picture enlarged to show the town square. “Look! That is where I come from. See the people?” He gestured at the image and clapped the two men on the shoulder. “Bellisimo!” His grin changed to a frown as the floor jittered beneath them.
The display went to 2150 C.E. The earth was dark.
“Where are all the people?” True said.
“What? Wait? Hold on a minute. Are we loosing orbit?” Heinlein gripped the console and glared at the computer.
“Computer. Reestablish orbit.”
Heinlein pounded his fist on the console.
“I don’t think that will help, my friend.” Michelangelo took his hand and kissed the bruised knuckles.
“Aw Mike… cut it out.”
“Computer. Why are we here, and where are all the others you removed from the population before they could do any good?” True asked, clenching his fists. “Did you kill them?”
“PERSONS SAVED TO MEMORY.” The HUD showed a graph of numbers saved per year.
“So what the hell is going on with the human race now? Why are you shutting down?” True gripped the console and kicked it. The whole satellite shuddered.
“POPULATION REMNANTS PLUGGED INTO PODS IN UNDERGROUND BUNKERS. EXPERIMENT CONCLUDED. REPORT SENT. SHUTTING DOWN.”
“Is there any way we can reverse this? Computer. Reverse experiment. Return human samples to their timelines. This is a command. I say it three times,” True said.
“Uh oh.“ The wall irised open with a scraping sound. A creature with skin like a starry night slunk towards them. True went for his gun, but it was on him before he could shoot and tore his throat. Heinlein lunged and kicked the beast flying into the wall, its lips curling back from its fangs as the stars winked out. Michelangelo cradled True‘s head in his arms. “How can we help him?” He looked up at Heinlein with stricken eyes.
A whisper. “That hurt like hell.”
“Don’t die True.” He touched his friend’s still face.
“Mike, we don‘t have time for this.”
“There is always time enough for love, my friend,” Michelangelo said, leaning down and kissing the smooth forehead.
“Computer. Reverse the experiment. Reestablish stable orbit. Command code. I say this three times,” Heinlein said. “Stupid computer. I always thought they‘d be smarter,” he added under his breath.
“Perhaps we can use that to our advantage,” Michelangelo said.
True‘s body shimmered, then broke up into a thousand pieces and disappeared. The two men stared open mouthed. Michelangelo crossed himself.
“Look for a refresh button,” True‘s voice echoed in Michelangelo‘s mind.
“True! Is that you? Bob, True is in here!“ He touched his fingers to his head and listened.
“I think so… sure didn‘t see that coming. Try that command code again, Mike. This time, press a few buttons first. And try to be polite.”
Michelangelo went over to the console and pressed buttons. Shapes and colours exploded on the HUD. He cleared his throat. “Ah, Computer… please return satellite to stable orbit. I tell thee three times.” There was a pause, then the floor vibrated as engines powered up.
“Computer. Please restore the people that were removed to their original places and times. I tell thee three times.” The computer made low clicking sounds. Script appeared on the display. He bowed his head and sighed. “I would go home now, Robert. I am lonely for the green hills of earth.”
“It says we have to send people back in separate stages, Mike. I‘ll set it up. Computer. Ah… a type writer please? I tell thee three times.” A keyboard grew up from the console. He typed, looked at the display, groaned, shook his head, typed.
“Can’t you go any faster?” Michelangelo said, drumming his fingers.
“Hold your horses…I’ve never done this before. Okay. Here it is. I’m going to send the people from 2150 to 1940 back. Then, you have to press this button and send me back with the 1930’s. You press this button again, for everybody all the way back to 1510. You can tell the results by the pattern of lights displayed on the Earth. In theory, the last time you press the button, you should be returned to your original time line and the satellite should shut down.”
Michelangelo‘s hand hovered over the console. People up to 1510 had been returned, and still the Earth remained dark. His finger stabbed the button. “Let there be light.”