THE MILLISECOND MEN
by D.R. MacMaster
"What did you just say?" asked Bob.
"I said that whatever those people on that ship are doing will destroy a really, really big chunk of the universe," declared Quo Vida, "this planet included."
"Is this one of those rewrite the timeline kind of things to save the world?"
"More or less," replied Quo Vida.
"Makes about as much sense as everything else this morning," said Bob. "What do we do?"
"We find a way to get on that ship."
"Would them opening a door help?" asked Bob. "Because that's what they're doing."
"Then let's go," declared Quo Vida.
"Shouldn't we try to get some back-up?"
"I had to use a very complicated quatro-dimensional field matrix to even come to this time from two hours in the future," said Quo Vida. "I had to do that alone because all of my colleagues, my 'back up' were all vapourized when most of the universe was destroyed."
"Okay," said Bob, "so we're on our own."
"Bring the shotgun," said Quo Vida.
"Why?" asked Bob. "I thought you said it was useless."
"When I first met you," said Quo Vida, "you were adamant that I remind you to bring the shotgun. You wouldn't tell me why, talked about preserving the timeline or something..."
"They're coming out," said Bob.
Three figures, bipedal in shape in tight silvery suits over their slender forms, stepped out of the strange vessel. They were carrying a variety of strange apparatus. Bob couldn't see their faces, since they were wearing bullet shaped metallic helmets.
"Aren't the jump suits a bit of a cliche?" asked Bob.
Quo Vida didn't answer, but pointed the device she called a Does-All and muttered to her self.
"Where the hell did they get that?" asked Quo Vida.
"Get what?" asked Bob.
"Their equipment," said Quo Vida, "is standard issue for Quantum Agents."
"That's a twist," said Bob, "is it a twist?"
"It's a twist," said Quo Vida.
"They're heading for the community centre," said Bob.
"Do you keep anything there?" asked Quo Vida.
"It's got a gym and a swimming pool in the summer," said Bob. "There are no alien death rays or time machines that I know of."
Bob got up and followed Quo Vida across the field. The aliens in the distance didn't seem to notice them, and kept walking towards the community centre.
It was at that moment that Bob realized that he was going to be the first Earthman, not from a backroad in Alabama, to board an alien spaceship, and that he was in a housecoat, a ratty old t-shirt he wore to bed, slippers, and his blue plaid pyjama pants.
Not exactly a heroic ensemble.
Quo Vida scanned the entrance with her Does-All. Declared that the coast was clear and they went in.
Bob was unimpressed.
The inside of this 'advanced alien time-space-dimension ship' looked like it had been cobbled together out of junk. Mismatched computer terminals were crudely bolted to walls, strange lights blinked and some flickered, and the air smelled dusty and stale.
"I was expecting something a lot slicker," said Bob. "This looks like the set off a B-movie that had its budget slashed."
"None of this technology is really theirs," said Quo Vida.
"No," said a voice from behind them, "it's really mine."
TO BE CONTINUED....
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