Journey (excerpt)

Journey is a short story that leads the reader to the serialized novel SecretAgentMan™

Journey, a ShortStory
by Mykl Walsh

In the year of Our Lord, 10,001

The United States of Earth has been in power for over sixthousand years. The Federal government, working in close association with theprivate sector has long since found cures for nearly all of the world’sproblems. People coexist peacefully in near Utopian societies. They thrive forthree to four hundred years on average. Most diseases were eradicated by thethirty-second century, the last war was fought in the forty-eighth, the agingprocess arrested in the seventy-fourth and the rest as they used to say, isHistory.

Meanwhile, on a seemingly Godforsaken planet, within aparallel universe . . .

They landed at night.

The third planet from the Sun had waited a very long timefor this moment. Shuttle commander Simon Blackmon anxiously anticipated thetouchdown. He has spent an eternity in suspended animation so that he could bethe first. Simon has dreamed about this day since he was a child and now, in amatter of minutes, would realize his destiny.

To make first contact with intelligent beings from another world is an event of incomprehensible magnitude. Simon’s emotional level was so high he could hardly contain himself.The doctor on the mother ship had given him a med designed to suppress emotion and promote rational response, but Simon had no intention of taking it.


[The story continues for several pages (not included here). This excerpt then picks up the action much later in the story: below]


Immediately, he knew that what he had was some type of timecapsule. He was familiar with the primary languages of this planet, having"learned" through a brain dump of information gathered from theintercepted probe. Simon determined that he was in possession of a number ofitems that once belonged to someone named Richard Saunders, who had lived onthis planet during a period bridging the second and third millennium, A. D.

The artifacts, at first glance, seemed to represent samples of everyday items common to people who lived at the time and place of the internment. Oneinner container was found to possess a complete table setting for one along with a wine chalice. Theseitems appeared to be substantially older than everything else in that container and were obviously considered to be highly valuable by the owner, considering the way that they were separated and packed.

Also among the eclectic set of contents were several scientificpapers nestled between other artifacts apparently representative of the era.The papers were mostly standard physics stuff, detailing quantum gravitationalmechanics, common field super-string constructs, Higgs boson breakdowns, grand universal theory,etc.; things that any high school student back home would know. They were wellpreserved, on specially treated acid-free paper. Every page had beenultrasonically encapsulated between vacuum-sealed sheets of Mylar.

Simon picked up a heavy book that had been prominently placed on top of everything else in the third container. He cutaway the translucent protective covering, exposing the book’s cover. It was a novel, a fiction detailing the "Life and Times of Lawrence R. Howard". The story was written by Mr.Saunders and the setting paralleled his own time and space.

Simon took thenovel back to his crib and began to read.

(Journey, a Short Story is now temporarily placed in suspended animation while Simon reads SecretAgentMan)