She recognises neither the place nor the time. The machine’s display, after emitting a blinding light, has gone black; she hopes this is where she meant to go.
There’s a knock. She unlatches the window and finds herself surrounded by crude petroleum-fuelled vehicles. Rightish time, it seems. But these people speak a language that doesn’t sound like any of the hundreds she’s learnt. She makes what she believes to be the universally understood sign for ‘I don’t understand’; they shrug.
Before she can stop them from destroying the planet, she’ll have to figure out a way to communicate with them.
I understand what weeks are now and I know I have only been here three. I understand months, too. Do not wait six months.
I miss home.
I have had an answer since day three. Since then, I have verified my findings.
I want to come home.
Few and far between, I have found evidence of the greatness suggested by the pre-infiltration scans. They are capable of it. But they have to set aside their petty squabbles, their mean streaks, their small-mindedness and that, it seems, they will only achieve when they have a common enemy.
I believe you have my findings and the accompanying notes. If this is a test, please forgive me for any discrepancies.
Let me start by telling you that I don’t think three sheets of paper will be enough. What about the diagrams? They alone would fill ten (conservative estimate). I’ll refer to them but won’t redraw them. You’ll have to look them up.
Actually, I’ll skip the assembly notes. I am assuming you confiscated the device. It looks simple. It isn’t. One wrong button and you’ll blow everything up.
Out of self-preservation, let me tell you how to use it.
‘Oh, look at them – sparkly purple mega mushrooms. What are they?’
They stand twenty stories tall. When we flew in, I thought they were decorated with millions of fairy lights. We’ve walked close enough to see that the light is travelling in subcutaneous, vein-like channels. The biosuit offers insulation from the outside temperature, yet I know it’s hot. Much too hot for humans to survive.
‘We think their attractive appearance is a disguise. They come in, dazzle people and before anyone knows what’s going on, they’ve turned the planet into a hostile environment. Then their deployers invade and settle.’
It doesn’t look shiny, it doesn’t look new. It resembles the past, but worse.
Let’s pause for a minute.
We take what we see today and extrapolate the future from there. You know, we ended up expecting hoverboards and flying cars in 2015 because when they imagined our present in the 1980s, they couldn’t imagine dwindling supplies of energy.
The 2015 of 2015 doesn’t resemble the 2015 of 1989.
If I’d predict the world in 2041, I’d fall into the same trap.
So forget what I said about having seen the future.
Frieda scrambles to hide the journals. She’s only gone through ten pages. The girl who kept them didn’t write Spanglish, but English.
She hasn’t told anyone – they’d turn them into kindling. She’d gone to dig for water in the desert. She didn’t find water, but a metal box which contained the journals, sealed in thick film protecting them from damage.
Frieda is fascinated by them. They had swimming pools in Beverly Hills then. She tries to imagine having so much disposable water.
‘ Llueve. Vienes?’
She can’t imagine. So she goes to help collect rain water.
If that reminds you of something, I watched Elysium last night. I suppose that’s where that came from. It also makes use of the final Writing 101 prompt: the things we treasure.
I’ve started another blog: More Than 100 Words. I’m going to try to expand some of my 100-word stories into longer pieces. This one might be a candidate.