The Time Traveller's Mission Logs: [Date Unknown, Prehistoric]
A Time Travel Short Story
IT Note: Mashing the number board on the Time Machine because you are impatient results in adding far too many zeroes to the desired date.
Reason for Aborted Mission: Aiming for Ancient Egypt and winding up in the Tethys Sea. Narrowly escaped being eaten by a Basilosaurus and seriously confusing present-day paleontologists.
Tethys Sea, Australopithecus haven't evolved yet, so humans don't exist and calendars definitely don’t, Eocene Era
Had any of the vast array of prehestoric marine life - or even the more limited number of land-dwelling creatures - been capable of comprehending human speech, they would have been very confused.
The brief screaming, quickly cut off by falling into a pre-historic ocean, was clear enough. The swearing that followed when two heads broke the surface, was too angry and breathless to bother with little things like coherency, and even less with whether or not the local wildlife understood what was being said. It continued as the two figures swam to a nearby sandbar, movements slow and smooth to avoid attracting predators.
They were dressed in simple linen tunics, now rather soggy and transparent after their encounter with the ocean, but suitable for the humid heat. One rubbed the water out of their eyes. "Good thing we're peasants for this mission. The jewellry is only clay, and we're not wearing anything complex enough to make Costuming try to murder us."
The other shrugged. "They'll still complain about having to launder salt water out of Authentic Egyptian linen, you watch. Any idea where we are? Because I'm seeing a distinct lack of pyramids or tomb-thieves."
The first, Agent 23, known as Bob to his friends, produced a small device. "Well the good news is, we're in the right location. The bad news is, we're several million years too early, and IT is absolutely going to use us as the poster boys for their next safety announcement."
Agent 32, who only admitted to being named Ezekiel under torture, groaned. "I can see it now: 'Why We Don't Keep Pressing Buttons When The Screen Has A Lag'. In my defense, the buttons do stick sometimes, and I thought I just hadn't pressed hard enough."
Bob raised an eyebrow, shaking water out of his shaggy hair. "You didn't hear the shouting match Da Vinci was having with Timelord, not two rooms away, about needing time to fix the glitching portal?"
Agent 32 had, but it was a rare day when one or another of the Support Department heads wasn't arguing with Timelord about something, and he'd been... a little distracted by IT's Receptionist, at the time. "Well, yes, but also no. What do we need to be on the lookout for, while we wait for the Portal generator to recharge?"
Bob shrugged, "Thank the fates for whoever thought to make them capable of running on solar power. Tropical Islands, so the usual sharks and crocodiles, though it's low tide, so most of them will be lurking around the actual islands. We shouldn't see any of the larger marine life, they tend to stick to deeper waters, but it isn't out of the question."
Agent 32 sighed in relief, and set about making himself as comfortable as possible. Five minutes later, he sat up abruptly. "What is that?"
'That' was the kind of localized wave that meant something big and probably unfriendly was coming toward them at high speed. Bob squinted, and swore loudly, just as the portal generator gave a loud 'beep' that meant it was charged and ready for use. "Get ready to dodge, and hope that it beaches itself!"
Agent 32 would forever deny the high-pitched scream that emerged from his mouth as a huge head with far too many teeth broke the surface and lunged toward them.
They dodged, and continued backing away as the whale-like head continued to thrash around, stuck but trying to get a mouthful anyway. Bob got the portal open with shaking hands, and they dove through just as the Basilasaurus managed to angle itself in their direction.
Landing hard on the tiled floor of the Portal Room and skidding some distance further, the two Agents groaned as they came to a halt in front of Da Vinci, the head of IT.
Annoyingly, she looked less concerned about them than he was about the time machine. "I'm fairly sure there was an Agency-wide email informing Agents not to use Portal 7 until we had time to fix it."
There probably had been, but the Agents had come in early for Mission Prep, and aside from a quick glance at their inbox when clocking on, hadn't checked in depth.
They also knew better to admit to that in front of anyone. "There's a lag between pressing the buttons to input the desired date, and it showing up on-screen, leading to us being sent to the wrong time period."
Irena, IT's pretty receptionist, glanced over their clothing. "You would have been aiming for about 3000 BCE, judging by your somewhat bedraggled attire. Did you end up in the Caveman era, or earlier?"
Bob winced, and decided to get it over with. "Tethys sea. Basilosaurus are terrifying."
In the background, someone giggled. Da Vinci raised an eyebrow. "Right, that portal is definitely off limits until we run diagnostics and repairs. Irena, can you print out a sign?"
She nodded, heading back toward the IT department. "Give me ten minutes. Anyone goes near the portal before then, and I'll make sure you're resetting your passwords from now until Doomsday!"
I'm due for another Time Travel novette soon, and Vocal came out with the Time Travel challenge, so I figured, why not?
I doubt the judges will like it any better than any of my other challenge entries over the past two-and-something years, but maybe this entry will be the exception.
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About the Creator
I've been writing since I learned how, but those have been lost and will never see daylight (I hope).
I'm an Indie Author, with 30+ books published.
I live in Sydney, Australia
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