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The Smell

Time Machine Hangar

Time-Keeper Colony


Tuesday, June 12th, 2018, 10:35 am



      When Carmen and Keith finished kissing, Samuel walked over to them and asked Carmen, “We should close the door, right?”

      Carmen composed herself and replayed his words through her head before saying, “Yes.”

      “We never really discussed it; I guess it was always assumed though.”

      “We should, for several reasons.  First, we need to do it for defense.  If they go back and get captured, their captors might find out about the machine and use them to get to our time.  We need to make sure nobody gets through this door without our permission.  In fact, let’s go right now.”

      He stammered, “Now?”

      “Yes, now.”  Then more urgently, she said, “The longer we’re out here the longer we are at risk.  Let’s go.”

      They quickly got everybody back in the colony and closed the door.  With the door closed, she went on to say, “Finally, Switzerland could still be attacked.  Even with the outer door closed we could be exposed to a nuclear blast.”

      Here, Samuel shook his head in disagreement, “No, the outer walls are thick enough to withstand a nuclear attack.”

      Keith noted, “With the outer door closed.”

      “Right, but the door is closed,” said Samuel.

      Carmen and Keith both gave him doubtful looks.

      “Isn’t it?”

      Carmen explained, “Just because the door was closed when we went out there doesn’t mean it remained that way.  First, there is always the potential of somebody finding it and finding a way to open it.  Beyond that potential, time has been changed.  What if there was an accident when they went back in time, and they left the door open?  What if they get captured only to be released recently enough to have just gotten back and opened the door?”

      The other colonists who were there for the launch had all left by this point to tend to their work and children.  Even Zoe left to check on Jada and Marvin.  Only Keith, Carmen and Samuel remained, just inside the door, to discuss safety and time travel. 

      Samuel asked, “How do you know time has changed?”

      Keith asked, “It’s the note, remember?  We had this discussion with Jared when we first got the note.  We got the note that told us to go back in time and prevent the invasion.”

      Samuel blushed, “Yeah, I didn’t really pay much attention.  I didn’t really understand.”

      Keith said, “This is probably the first time.  If it wasn’t, the invasion wouldn’t have occurred.”

      Carmen raised her forefinger to argue, “Unless they fail.  If they failed we could be looping endlessly, never stopping the invasion.”

      “How do we know if they failed?” asked Samuel. 

      “We have to wait until they come back.  If they don’t come back or if we find some clue in the news or Chinese databases, we’ll know they failed.”

      “Oh boy, I love to wait,” Keith exclaimed.  Then he teased Carmen by saying, “I guess I’d better take care of you till Jared gets back!”

      “Me, ha, what about you?  You lost both of your parents!  Plus, you’re a guy, so you need extra help,” she said adding a wink.

      Samuel said, “I can see I’m of no use here.  I’d better go check on the lung.  All this door movement may have affected it.”

      She frowned and asked him, “Why would you think you can’t?”

      “Well, I’m a bit lost with all this time traveling business.  Plus you two are .  .  .”

      Keith offered to fill in Samuel’s blank, “Being young lovers?”

      Samuel nodded, “Yes.  So I should be off and be my old slow self!”

      “Stop,” Carmen said.  “You’re not slow.  Everybody understands things differently.  There are a lot of things I don’t understand about your work, even beyond the manual part of what you do.  I have no competency in what you do!”

      Samuel said, “Maybe, but you could if you wanted to.  All this stuff you do, I couldn’t if I tried.”

      Carmen adamantly disbelieved what Samuel was saying.  Samuel firmly stood by his belief he had no technical aptitude and that her work, Jared’s work, Yuri’s work, Oliver’s work and even his eldest son’s work was beyond him.  Carmen, on the other hand, firmly believed her knowledge in the subjects she had expertise came only because she applied herself.  While she would agree that interest plays a part in a person’s aptitude, she firmly believed in what she called ‘equality of the mind.’  She felt that anybody who applied himself could easily learn anything anybody else had learned.

      “No,” she said firmly.  “You could do it, all you need to do is believe in yourself.  You can’t let self doubt stop you from doing things in life.”

      While he did not seem convinced, Samuel appeared impressed by her ardor.  “You should’ve been a motivational speaker.”

      Keith said, “But then we wouldn’t need her, and she wouldn’t be here.”

      She hugged him casually, “Then I guess you wouldn’t be here either?”

      “Why, I’m not a motivational speaker.”

      “No, but aren’t I the reason you decided to go?”

      He blushed, “Did Kara tell you that?”

      “Ha, I don’t need your sister to tell me about you!”

      “Oh boy, you’re in trouble,” said Samuel.  “I should really get going.  Bye.”

      As Samuel left, they waved goodbye to him.

      Keith said, “So . . . we scared him off!”

      She made a big smile, almost to the point of laughter, “Love is scary you know?”

      “Be afraid, be very afraid!”

      She asked hesitantly wagging her left foot behind her, “Do you need to get back to work?”  By work, she meant at the clinic. 

      “No, Zoe is too busy with her kids because Michelle isn’t holding school today.  What about you?” he asked with equal excitement.

      “Nope, we felt it was best if I put off work until they got back.”

      “This sounds so silly.  We call it work.  It doesn’t seem like work, though; it’s too much fun to be work!  We should call it fun from now on.  Hi, Honey, how was your day at fun? Oh, fun you say.  That’s great!”

      She put her left hand on his chest and said, “So what do you want to do with our free time?”

      “Tourney ’15?”

      “Fine, but none of that cooperative stuff.  Let’s battle!  I’m taking you down!”

      He held up his hand as if he was trying to stop traffic.  “Ha, that’s what you think, Missy!”

      They walked to the arcade. As they went, they both started to smell something foul.

      With her nose scrunched she asked, “What is that smell?”

      He sniffed a little to see if he could recognize it, “I don’t know.  It’s awful.  It smells like a septic system.”

      “We’d better get Samuel.”

      “D’oh!  I guess I’ll have to beat you in Tourney ’15 later!”

Copyright (C) 1998-2001 East Coast Games, Inc. and 2001 - 2006 Forest J. Handford

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