You sit at the round table in the officer's quarters of the cruise ship with a brand new silver laptop. After the cruise ship had arrived back from their last destination in the future the ship had dry docked in the West Texas desert. Everyone had been told to gather in the dining hall where they would receive their going away presents. You had been escorted to this room with a new soldier to replace the one you had killed. Dalton had gone back in time and plucked a Civil War officer who you know went MIA because before the tour had started you had been reading about his story. He sits before with guards all around him. The poor man must be terrified. All around you are computers and other things you take for granted he has no idea what they are.
You lean back in your chair, sipping on your coffee, and watch the large screen before you. One by one the passenger enter a portal has opened in the dining hall. Tasha had explained once the person goes through the portal they will arrive where they were before they came to the cruise. Their doppelganger will disappear just as they appear so no one will suspect they had been away. The passenger will remember nothing, only to feel a sudden inspiration to create something. That something you know will be based on their experiences but they will think they had been gifted with a some unique creative ability.
You lower your empty cup, wipe your mouth with a napkin then peer at the scared Union soldier. You smiled trying to calm him down then look to your laptop. A new window pops up on your screen. You began to read.
|Shiny New Laptop by Ben Babcock|
Journal entry PC1322 124th day.
This is a recounting of my meeting with displaced passengers aboard an Ancient cruise ship docked at Unity Port. Master Kai sent me to greet them, and I brought Wade along because of his fascination with Outsiders and ability to put people at ease.
The captain invited me aboard, and everyone gathered around us.
"Greetings and welcome to Unity,” I said. “I know your journey was a long...and strange one. Unfortunately, with the scourge infecting all Outsiders, you won't be permitted to disembark.”
An elderly man stepped forward. "As a writer of science fiction, I refuse to let you stop me from fully experiencing this fortuitous event! To travel forward in time was once thought to be impossible."
The passengers jabbered, and Wade whistled to get their attention. “Our leader, The Overseer, is willing to give you all some supplies for your journey back,.”
“I’m not sure that’s possible,” Tasha replied. “The anomaly that brought us here disappeared.”
Everyone began talking excitedly.
"Please, settle down!” I yelled. “This port is one of the few places where we can venture outside. We don't travel beyond the beacons you passed on the way to this dock. Our brain implants wouldn’t be able to receive the curative signal that keeps us immune to the poison left over from the Great Cataclysm. You must return to your time, or you’ll be at risk as well."
“Can we stay with you?” Tasha asked. “I’m not sure if I can get us back.”
“I would, but we have limited resources. The world has changed a lot since your time.”
The frightened passengers talked in a frenzy, and Wade whistled again. "Trust me when I tell you, you're not missing much. Unity is uninspiring. We spend most of our time working within our protective dome. Our positions are programmed into us by genetic engineers when we’re still in our birthing tanks."
"You can't choose your own jobs?" A fetching woman asked.
I smiled at her, forgetting her question.
Wade slapped my arm. "We must accept our assignment...unless we're like Damon, who went beyond his genetic profile."
"How did you manage that?" the writer asked.
"In my ninth year, I fell from a climbing wall and went into a coma. I awoke a genius seven days later and was placed in the most prestigious school in Unity. However, my biggest accomplishment happened recently; I detected an extra brainwave in my head. It allows me to peek into my parallel incarnations, showing me our original concept of time is wrong. It doesn’t move forward; it’s a constant in all possible directions."
"Why didn’t you tell me any of this?" Wade asked.
Admittedly, I relished Wade’s shocked expression. He’s always accusing me of being a blind loyalist to the Corporate Hierarchy.
"I didn’t tell the Overseer either.” I peered at the writer, who was captivated by my story. “If he finds out I’m keeping this from him, he'd place me in reintegration, a VR program used to keep us obedient. I don't fear telling you any of this as I've already progressed through this timeline and know the outcome of your visit. My secret is safe with you."
The writer widened his eyes, and an irate passenger pushed himself to the front. “I’m getting off this crazy ship!"
"The only place where you’ll be going is reintegration. After your memories of our meeting are erased, your boat will be escorted to the beacons where the time portal will reopen. Your captain will enter and the rift will close shortly after, never to be seen again...until my next incarnation.”
“Do we make it home? The fetching woman asked.
“I’m not sure, but I’d like to think you did.” I smiled at her.
"Why are you lying to them?” Wade asked. “Reintegration doesn’t erase memories. It helps correct the thinking of all those who dare question the Overseers’ Prime Wisdom."
"My friend challenges my opinions because he likes to argue,” I said. “If you want to leave this port unharmed, heed my words."
"Arguing is the only entertaining thing to do in Unity besides getting drunk on berry ale and playing a few rounds of mystery date. That's why I’m joining Master Tyrus’s expedition. We’re going to travel beyond the old tunnel and see for ourselves if the scourge is—slock!"
Wade pointed to the deck below where Unity Guards were boarding the ship.
"I hope you enjoyed your visit,” I said. “Since you won’t remember any of it, I left my story encrypted in your ship’s computer and programmed it to open after you enter the time portal. Handle the information contained within wisely. Bon voyage, and may you find your way back to your time."
Who Is Eleni Papanou?
Eleni Papanou is an author of visionary fiction. She wrote her first poem when she was an outcast at school. Honored with the name “Greek Freak.” She started to feel like life was plagued with misery, torment and endless suffering. A spontaneous kundalini awakening thrust Eleni on a spiritual path that constantly tested her to the breaking point by challenging her world-view and everything else she held sacred. Through visions and personal insights, Eleni eventually discovered the Universe had a sense of humor. She started laughing more—mostly at herself—whenever she caught herself taking things too seriously. After many years on the path of self-rediscovery—along with the addition of a husband, two daughters and a bout with cancer, Eleni had a lot to say. Having already written several screenplays, she decided to describe her experiences in novel form.
In addition to writing, Eleni likes to spend her free time with her husband and two daughters that she home schools. Her hobbies include audio recording, photography, collage art, singing, songwriting, photography, graphic arts, bodybuilding and hiking. For more information and updates, visit her website to find out more about her debut novel, Unison, an epic that will take four books to tell, as well as two other books scheduled for release before the year’s end.