From the Future
This is a story about the adventures of Kara Sandborn. She was born in the 24th century, in a world very different from our times. Kara was a what we would call pretty much a genius by our standards. She had a photographic memory, and by the age of 21 had three degrees under her belt. But so far didn't know what she wanted to do with her life.
Her parents were tired of her hanging around the estate, and were pushing her to get some kind of meaningful job, and move out. They loved their only child, but she really needed to get a life. So they sat her down and proceeded to have the “big talk” with her. She was told she had to find a career and move out.
After feeling sorry for herself, Kara went looking for a job. She came across some information on what looked like a research program about the history of the civilization of mankind. She thought this might be something she could really sink her teeth into. She contacted them and got an interview date.
As it turned out, this job had a lot more to it then Kara first thought. It was all about researching past civilizations, the thing was that Kara was expected to go back physically in time, learn as much as she could about that era then return and report her findings. Kara thought, this could be what she had been looking for, something different than the usual boring jobs.
After an extensive interview and looking over Kara's credentials, she was offered the job. Training would commence immediately, and since it was a sensitive type of job, she would need to move into the facilities. She left thinking, this should make my parents happy, then thought, “Whatever am I going to take with me!”
The next morning she was back at 8 am sharp, ready to begin her training. She learned that it was up to her to do the research on the assignment she was given. The language would be no problem since they would implant a universal translator behind her ear. With her photographic memory, this job was a perfect fit for her. She would mingle with the natives, learn all she could about their customs and world. When she returned, she was to report all her findings.
The three day training session was grueling but Kara got through it.
Each night she went through a manual of conduct and rules, which to her seemed endless. She had them all memorized by the end of the three days.
Kara was to be given only one critical tool. It was the PC-20. This was the only technology she was allowed to take back in time. It was drilled into her, that if she lost it, she would be stuck in that era for the rest of her life. Without it, a search team would not be able to find her. Also, not to let any of the natives get a hold of it for any reason. In the wrong hands, history could be changed forever.
The PC-20 truly was a marvel, even in the 24th century. Very small in size it had been installed into a locket and attached to a chain, to be worn around the neck. Kara was taught a few of the operating basics, and then was told it was up to her to go through the manual that was installed in it.
It was the tool she would use to travel back and forth in time, she would also be able to materialize anything she would be needing on her assignment. From clothes to food, but information was its greatest asset. They were working on miniaturizing it down to half a centimeter. Small enough to be implanted under a fingernail. Then like the locket version, all she would have to do was tap on it to activate it. That was the plan anyway. Once activated, a voice command was all that was needed to operate it.
Kara spent another few days getting familiar with the people she would be working with as well as her new home base. Then she was given her first assignment. She was to travel back to the 21st century to 2013 to be exact, the place was London, England.
Her assignment was to get to know about the way people lived and thought. There was plenty of documents on society, what they really wanted was material up close and personal. Kara was to be there for only two days, then transport herself back to her time.
It was really a test assignment to see if she had the wits to think on her feet and adapt to unforeseeable situations. She would either sink or swim.
If things didn't work out right, meaning if she didn't make it back in two days the PC-20 would self destruct and they would assume the worst. (They would really try to find her, but didn't want her to know that.)
As she walked back to her room, Kara thought, this isn't going to be as easy as she first thought. In one way, it was such an exciting job, on the other hand, it could be very dangerous and it seemed she had no one to rely on but herself.
She had even taken a few courses in English history, so she could probably get by without having to do much work (she was kind of a know it all). She was to report the next morning at 9 am sharp, ready to go, mentally as well as physically wearing the style of clothes from the year 2013.
When Kara woke up the next morning, she knew that she should have done more research, but just shrugged and reckoned she could pull it off anyway. She had a hearty breakfast, got dressed and went to the launch room. She was met by a technician by the name of Lor.
He looked at her and said, “Are you sure you're dressed for the right era?”
She replied, “Of course I am, let's just get on with it”.
He programmed the coordinates and told her to step onto the platform. As she did this, she mentally checked to see if she had all she needed, meaning the PC-20 and what she thought was the right outfit. Then she closed her eyes and said, “I'm ready.”
When Kara opened her eyes, she saw that it was night and she was on a dark road and it was raining, great. She lifted her eyebrow and thought, now this certainly isn't what I had in mind when I took this project on. She sighed, looked around, and saw a glow in the sky, indicating a city. She started to walk in that direction, hunching down to try and keep warm.
About twenty minutes later Kara heard an unfamiliar noise. Looking around she saw some lights headed toward her. She put her hand in front of her face trying to shield her eyes and see what was coming at her. Since she was in the middle of the road, the thing slowed and stopped.
Kara was too astonished to even get over to the side of the road. This was one of those ancient vehicles known as a car. It was in running order, amazing! She walked up to it, all the while looking it over. It made a humming noise, like she had never heard before. She had heard that there was a group of people back in her time, that had these antique motor vehicles and enjoyed running them. But it was only allowed in a designated area, because of the pollution they were known to emit. You had to have a special license to even own one of the things.
All of a sudden, the window went down and a man stuck his head out and asked if she needed a ride.
She looked at him and replied, “Oh, can I? I mean, yes I indeed need a ride”.
She could see that he was in his late twenties, had curly light brown hair. His face was quite handsome and from what Kara could see, he had a good build.
As she waited for his next move. He finally said, “Well, come around to the other side and get in, by the way don't drip too much on my new leather seats.”
As she walked around she thought, “Leather seats! Like in animal skins! I really am in the far past.” When she came around the side she stopped and waited for him to give her instructions on how to open the car.
He finally leaned over and opened the door saying, “Just get in before you get pneumonia. Geez!”
Kara was doing some fast thinking as she slid into the seat beside the guy. She had to pretend that she knew all about cars, but it was hard to keep her face casual.
He smiled and said, “My name is Ryan, what are you doing alone out here at night in the rain? You look like a drowned rat, here take my sweater and get yourself warm.”
She replied, “Nice to meet you Ryan. My name is Kara and thanks for giving me a ride?” She took the sweater and wrapped it around herself, meanwhile thinking up some excuse for being out there all alone. Then she said, “My lift was late picking me up, so I decided to walk. I didn't expect it to start to rain. Where are you headed ?”
“ I am going home, I live in London. Are you headed that way? I could drop you off anywhere you would like.”
By this time he had a chance to look Kara over and he liked what he saw. She was dressed rather odd, like from the 70's, but she was a looker, that was for sure. Kara had done a very quick search on clothes styles and had come up with a red mini shirt, and top. Her dark brown hair was half way down her back , and looked nearly black being wet. She was out of style by only around 40 years. Lucky for Kara, in 2013, London, styles were very flexible.
Ryan waited for her to answer him, then finally shrugged his shoulders and said, “Lets get going.” Then he waited. They both looked at each other for a long minute. Ryan finally said, “This is a new car and of course won't start until you have your seat belt on.”
Kara looked around and thought, a belt what on earth is he talking about? I am not wearing a belt. Then she decided to lift her eyebrow and just stare at him. He finally leaned over, grabbed her seat belt and buckled it in.
She said, “I knew that”, and looked out the side window, thinking, “what a nob.” She could now see, it wasn't going to be as easy as she first thought, she was going to have to be on her toes at all times.
Ryan shook his head and drove towards the distant city. He finally said, “You must be new around here, where exactly are you from?”
Kara turned and looked at him, then replied, “Why do you say that? I am very knowledgeable about everything.” She knew she had to keep calm, and not talk too much. Now she wished she had done her research properly. Her hand felt for her PC-20, just touching it made her feel better. As long as she had that, she could get through anything. “So where are you taking me now? I would like to get to know you better. What your life is like and your views in general.”
Ryan took his eyes off the road long enough to have another look at this very strange but beautiful girl. His eyes kept on straying to her long legs, they seemed to go on forever. He thought why not go along with what she wants, it just might turn out very interesting. He smiled and said, “How about we go to a pub I know, have a couple of drinks and I will then answer any questions you may have. What do you think? Are you up for it?”
She smiled back at him and replied, “Oh yes, I would like that very much.” Then she sat back and enjoyed her first car ride. The scenery was so very different to what she was used to back in her time. For one thing, you could go for miles and miles without seeing another human being. Extraordinary!
In no time they came to the outskirts of London. Now Kara saw many people coming and going, where she had no idea. So she asked Ryan, “Where were these people going?”
He told her it was at night that Londoners really came alive. “Are you sure you're not a newbie ?”
Lifting her eyebrow again, she said, “Newbie? What is that? I am certain I am not a newbie and never will be. I won't tolerate being insulted, you got that?”
Ryan said, “ No, I never meant to insult you, do you even know what a newbie is?” When she hesitated, he told her, “It was someone who was new to a region or country. You are kind of touchy aren't you? Just relax, I am not a bad guy”
By this time, they had arrived at the pub, so Ryan found a parking place and got out of the car, waiting for Kara to join him. He waited and then realized he had better go around and help her out of the car. He opened the door and reached over her lap and undid the seat belt. She watched him, making sure she would be able to do it herself from now on, or for as long as she was here.
They walked across the parking lot and went into the pub. She found it pretty crowded and dark. They were seated near the dance floor giving Kara a chance to look around. The music was loud and even though it was old fashioned, it had a good sound to it. There was a lot of people dancing. She thought, fascinating!
A waitress came around and asked what they wanted to order. Ryan told her he would like a pint of bitters and then waited to see what Kara wanted.
She smiled and said, “I'll have the same thing please.”
When their drinks arrived, Kara watched as Ryan took a big swallow and smacked his lips saying, “Now I needed that in a big way.”
Kara laughed and attempted to do the same thing. But when she did, her eyes bugged out and she gasped and coughed. “What on earth is this? It's just the worst thing I have ever tasted.”
Ryan laughed and said, “Now I know your not from around here, everyone knows this kind of drink. Let me order you some white wine, that should be more to your taste.” And so this is what he did.
Kara did find the wine much better and started to smile and watch the people enjoy their evening. She asked Ryan about his life and was able to get quite a lot of information, without having to talk very much about herself.
Finally when closing time came about, Ryan seeing that Kara was in a very mellow mood asked her if she wanted to come back to his place, saying he had some very lovely wine he wanted her to sample. She was happy to accept his offer. She was quite liking the wine from this era. It tasted a lot different to the wines she was used to having (actually she had never had real alcohol before)
When she got up, the room started to spin and Ryan quickly gave her a helping hand. They got to his car and he put Kara in , buckled her up and said, “You going to be OK? I can take you home if you want, or do you still want to sample my wine?” He grinned at his own words.
Kara just looked up and said, “I would love to sample your wine, lets just go.” Then she relaxed against the seat with her eyes closed.
Ryan came around got in and drove to his flat, it didn't take long, it was only a few blocks away. He kept looking at Kara, thinking she sure was a beauty, strange, but a beauty. He hoped he would get lucky tonight. He drove into the parking lot stopped the car and said, “Here we are”
Kara opened her eyes and smiled. She really was in a mellow mood. “OK, I am ready to taste your special wine now.” Her hands searched for the belt buckle. As she fumbled for it, Ryan reached over and unclasped it for her, lightly kissing her. Startled, she looked at him, lifted her eyebrow and said, “What did you do that for?”
He laughed and replied, ”You looked very kissable, was it so bad?”
Kara thought about it for a few seconds and answered, “No it wasn't bad at all.”
He got out of the car and came around opened the door and gave Kara his hand. She took it and slid out of the seat. It was lucky he had her hand because otherwise she would have fallen down.
He held her up and said, “You really can't hold your liquor can you? You only had a couple of glasses of wine.”
She pushed herself off of him and replied, “Of course I can, what do you think I am?” Then she walked unsteadily towards the door.
Ryan quickly moved in front of her and opened the door.
She walked on through and paused, looked up at him and said, “Well? Which way do I go now?”
Ryan guided Kara to his apartment, unlocked the door and ushered her in. She looked around and smiled. “This is a very nice living area, so roomy. Have you lived here all your life?”
Ryan laughed, “No, I've been here for just 3 years, but am thinking of getting a bigger place soon.” He shook his head as he went into the tiny kitchen to get some glasses and the wine. “Make yourself comfortable, I will be right with you.”
Kara walked around looking at all the different things, that she had only read about in the history books. The furniture was made of all kinds of wood, something rare in her world, she touched all the things she saw. When she came to the book case, she took one out, turned some pages, This was like being in a museum. Even with the wine in her system, her brain was soaking up all the information she was coming across. It looked like Ryan was a science fiction fan.
Ryan came back into the living room with two glasses of wine and the bottle in under his arm. He set them on the coffee table and said, “Do you like my little place?”
Kara put the book carefully back and looked at Ryan and replied, “Oh yes, it's out of this world, you're so lucky to have all this space and things.” He patted the seat beside him and smiled.
She walked over to the sofa, and sat down. He handed her a glass of wine and waited until she sipped it. She had a taste, and got a big grin on her face. “This is really lovely, what kind of wine is it?” She took another swig of it.
Ryan told her he got it as a Christmas present from his great Aunt Beth. And that he had been wanting to share it with a special person like her. She laughed, and had another sip. Her glass was going down fast now, and her whole body felt warm and fuzzy. Ryan kept refilling her glass and got in a few quick kisses in between, making Kara giggle.
By the time the bottle was finished, both of them were feeling no pain. Ryan leaned over Kara, wanting to get more amorous. Kara giggled and leaned back and closed her eyes. And fell promptly asleep. He sat up and looked at her. Sighed and thought, I better get a blanket for her, she won't be going home tonight.
After making his guest comfortable Ryan went to bed. He dreamed of the girl in the next room. At 7 am the alarm went off, Ryan sat up and then realized it was the weekend and he had a guest in his living room. He quickly got dressed and went to see how she was doing. Walking up to her, he saw she was still in dreamland, so decided to make some breakfast.
Kara woke up to the sound and smell of breakfast cooking. She looked around and sat up. Oh what an evening, her body felt like she was still under the influence of the wine. She knew she shouldn't have drunk so much of it, and hoped she hadn't said or done anything she would regret. Then she heard Ryan call from the kitchen, “Breakfast is ready, come and get it!”
“ I will be right there Ryan.” She then stood up, put her hand to her aching head and proceeded to walk to the kitchen and sit down at the table. “Oh my head hurts. I hope I didn't say or do anything embarrassing.”
Ryan brought two plates with eggs, toast. He said, “No you were a perfect lady last night, so don't worry your pretty little head. Eat some food, you will feel a lot better then. If you want, I have jam to go with the toast.”
She looked at the eggs and thought, oh, this looks like real eggs, not what I am used to, but I better try and get them down anyway. She smiled and put some into her mouth. With a surprised look on her face , she said, “These are very good” and proceeded to empty her plate. Once finished, she leaned back and said, “That was the best breakfast I have ever tasted, thank you, and you're right I do feel a lot better now.”
Ryan laughed and said, “If I didn't know better I would think you never had this kind of breakfast before.”
“ Oh god, of course I have had these eggs and bread before, what do you take me for?” To quickly change the subject she asked him, “What are your plans for today? Do you have to go to work?”
“ No, this is Saturday and I was hoping we could spend the day together.” Kara smiled at that and said, “I would love to do that, I want to get to know you, how you live and what you think.”
“ OK, Kara, do you need to go home for a change of clothes first?”
“ Oh no, I have everything I need in my little purse, just let me get cleaned up and I will be ready in no time at all.”
Ryan pointed out where the bathroom was, and she got her purse and disappeared. He cleaned up the kitchen and decided to wait for her in the living room. Meanwhile, Kara had programmed her PC-20 to materialize some new clothes. She put them on after washing up, looked in the mirror and thought, she looked fine. Then she walked into the living room and stopped. “Well, I am ready, what shall we do today?”
Ryan just stared at her, his jaw open. Finally he said, “Kara where did you get those clothes?” She had on a new mini skirt, and top, both of which he couldn't see fitting in her small purse.
Now Kara knew this was one of those moments where she had to do some very fast thinking. She thought for a few seconds, then said, “Oh these are the same clothes from yesterday, I just turned them inside out, and viola, new clothes. It's the latest thing, clever right?” She waited to see if Ryan would accept this.
Being a man, he did. “Oh yes, that is very clever. Well what do you say about a little sight seeing? I could show you some of the museums , churches, parks or do you have anything specific you wanted to do?”
Inwardly, Kara gave a sigh of relief and replied that all of those things sounded wonderful. So they spent the day driving around the various sights of London.
At lunch time they eat at a small cafe. Again Kara found the food was of natural origins. It was exciting to taste things she had only been able to read about. She tried an English dish called; Toad in a Hole. Which was a cooked sausage baked in a Yorkshire pudding. It turned out that Kara quite liked this dish. Bubble and Squeak was another one she tried. That one turned out to be; fried leftover cooked potatoes, cabbage and onions. If you're a cabbage fan, you would probably like it.
Ryan was a good guide, answering all of her questions about life in the city. She was able to get a lot of the information, she was beginning to think that this first assignment was coming along quite fine. All in all it turned out to be a very good day.
By dinner time, they needed to relax and so Ryan suggested they go back to his place and decide what to do for the evening. He really just wanted to be alone with her, hoping to have some make out time. She agreed, it would be nice to relax and she had some more questions for him as well. He shook his head again, he had been doing that a lot during the day.
Now it must be said, even though Kara was not fitting in as well as she would have imagined, she still was learning how to conduct herself, and improvise in what was to her, outlandish circumstances. So far she was pretty satisfied that she was doing well and knew that with more time and experience , she would be making a career out of it.
Meanwhile she knew what Ryan wanted and was not prepared to go along with it. Where she came from, coupling was just not done the same way as in the past. The thing was, how was she going to avoid it without losing what she thought of as a new friend. She was attracted to Ryan, and liked being with him but something more at this time was not on her agenda. Well she just would go with the flow (she liked using old fashioned sayings).
As it turned out, Kara's bubble of confidence was going to burst. When they got back to Ryan's flat, he told her to freshen up and make herself at home. He would do the same and went into his bedroom saying he wouldn't be long.
Kara, sat down on the sofa, looked at the closed bedroom door and took out her PC-20. She wanted to jot down a few details in her log before she forgot them. She programmed it to put up the hologram for writing her journal. It was in front of her, about 2 by 2 feet square. She just had to softly speak, and it recorded for her.
As she worked, she lost track of the time, (she was always one for getting easily sidetracked). Suddenly she heard a noise and looked up. Her eyes got huge and she quickly shut the hologram down.
There was Ryan, leaning against the bedroom door with his arms crossed with a knowing smile on his face. He observed, “Now isn't that interesting? I knew there was something about you that just didn't add up to me. Are you going to deny what I just witnessed?”
Kara got up and looked like she was ready to bolt. Seeing this, Ryan moved over to the door effectively blocking her only way out. They were at a stalemate. Kara was at a loss for words, so just looked up at Ryan, looking both stubborn and scared at the same time. Her mind was going a mile a minute but she couldn't come up with a reasonable story for what he had just caught her doing.
Finally he said, “You may as well go sit down and start talking, I already have some thoughts on who you really are, or at least I think I do.”
Kara nodded her head and walked back to the sofa and plunked herself down, looking down at her hands on her lap. (she still wondered if she had a chance to run for it, but really didn't know where to go).
Kara looked at Ryan and said, ”Can I trust you not to let a soul know what I am about to tell you ?”
For an answer, Ryan came over to the sofa and sat a few feet away from her, looked into her eyes and replied, ”Yes you can trust me As you noticed I have a lot of science fiction books in my small library. I have observed from your reactions to everyday things and even with food, that you're not from around here, like really not from around here or anywhere for that matter. Am I right?“
She nodded her head and waited for him to continue. “Now do you want to tell me where you are really from?”
Kara sighed and proceeded to tell Ryan who she was and just the bare essentials of where she was from. She didn't want to take a chance of changing history and told him so. She informed him she was from the future and her goal was just to gather information about his era. Particularly how people in 2013 lived and interacted with their environment. She was only here for 48 hours and then would be returning to her time. This was her first field assignment, and she now realized that she had a lot to learn.
Ryan took all of this in, letting her finish with her story. Then he got up and went into his kitchen and came back with a bottle of wine, poured two glasses and gave her one. He then said, “Here's to your first assignment, and I hope you have many more.”
Kara smiled and replied, “Thanks Ryan for not being overwhelmed by all that I have told you. You do believe me don't you?”
“ Yes, I do believe you, I have been observing you since I picked you up last night, and this explains a lot. Now what can I do to help you?”
Back in the future, the board members of the “Society of the History of the Civilization of Mankind” had been able to watch and hear some of what Kara had been going through since she went to 2013. The translator that had been implanted behind Kara's ear did more then just languages. It enabled them to keep tabs on what Kara did as well as her conversations. All new recruits were fitted with this devise. It let the board know if they were capable of being good field operatives. As well as if they needed to be suddenly brought back. This was all unknown to the recruit, who thought they were totally on their own. After an examination of the first assignment, if Kara was to continue, she would be refitted with a new device that would enable her to be completely autonomous. There would be a meeting when Kara came back and had her report done.
Back to 2013
As Kara and Ryan talked there was a glow around the sofa and before they knew what was happening they were transported into Kara's time. To her surprise and dismay, Ryan was taken away by two burly men. Kara herself was escorted to the council room. She thought, “This can't be good at all.”
She was told to have a seat and the counselors would be with her directly. As the minutes passed, Kara got more nervous. What could this unscheduled return to her time mean? Was she to be fired? She knew that Ryan discovering who she was and worse, that she was from the future, had to be grounds for instant dismissal. She truly hoped not, she knew that with time she would make an excellent field operative
Finally three of the counselors came in and seated themselves. Mr. Jones began with, “Well, I am sure you know why you have been brought back so abruptly. We have been monitoring you and when you revealed yourself to the subject, we had no choice but to bring you back along with this man called Ryan. He is being briefed as we speak.”
Kara could say nothing, she knew she was totally in the wrong and just hoped Ryan wouldn't have to pay for her indiscretion. Finally she said, “What are you going to do with him?”
Mr Jones replied, “What we do with him rests entirely with you. From what has happened on your first assignment, we feel that you need a partner. For at least until you get more experience. We are willing to train Ryan for that job, if he is agreeable of course. Otherwise, he will be returned to his time, minus his memories of this time and of course meeting you in 2013.”
He went on to say, “From what we were able to learn, you have the ability to adapt to different situations. This is what we were looking for. You will in time become a good field operative, and with your photographic memory, a very real asset to this program. Are you willing to have a partner?“
Kara replied that she would welcome a partner, and hoped it would be Ryan. As they discussed what that would entail, the door was opened and Ryan was ushered in. Kara looked at Ryan and smiled, hoping against hope that he accepted the job offer. He smiled back and nodded his head as he seated himself next to Kara. Mr. Jones already knew that Ryan had accepted the job, his communication devise implanted behind his ear, had kept him up to date on the meeting with Ryan. He had accepted with pleasure. All that needed to be done now was to inform Kara.
Now the arrangements for training Ryan and fine tuning Kara were formulated and the meeting ended. Ryan was shown his new accommodations and Kara went to get debriefed.
The next week was very busy, Ryan had his training, and his life back in 2013 had to be handled, so that he could come and go as his assignments came up. He was outfitted with a language translator that was implanted, like Kara's behind his ear. They would be monitored for the first few assignments, and if all went well it would be changed and they would have graduated to first class field operatives
When the training sessions were over, Ryan said his goodbyes and went back to his time and life. He would be notified when his first assignment with Kara was to be scheduled. Kara would have the job of doing the research for the assignment and inform Ryan what he would need to know. Together, they would be able to do twice as much information gathering and at the same time keep each other safe. It was a win win situation.
Here ends the first part of “ From the Future”