Monday, October 27, 2014

Time Bums #37

As Steve and Jackie first stepped from the dark corridor into the light of what Lumbra called “the lab,” they had the sense of entering a cathedral. Tall columns rose from the floor and blurred together in the distance above. Rows and rows of workbenches were arrayed before them, each occupied by some collection of parts and assemblies. The din of many voices echoed and blended into the sound of a choir.

AMNOZ was already there, but scarcely looked up when they entered. He was with two humans, both very similar in appearance to Lumbra, bent over a particularly large pile of debris on one of the benches. It occurred to Steve that they were studying AMNOZ for ideas for building their own automated amigo. As Steve approached the bench, one of the Lumbra replicas looked up. “Steve, your robot is so quaint. We’re enjoying its retro design.”

“Uh, thanks,” muttered Steve. “Do I know you?”

“Of course, replied the replica. “I’m called Lumbra, as I’ve told you.”

Jackie interrupted. “I thought he was Lumbra.”

“Yes,” spoke the other Lumbra-like one. “We are Lumbra.”

“Oh, that’s … a family name?”

“You could think of it that way,” Lumbra 2 explained.

“So somebody can fix our time machine?” Jackie asked.

“We can,” the Lumbras answered.

Steve handed the control to the nearest Lumbra, who examined it while they all said “Hmmmm.”

“Was this device originally built for another purpose?” asked the nearest Lumbra.

“Yes,” said Steve. “It was a portable music player.”

“This is exactly like the Frenchman’s device. It appears to have a configuration called shuffle mode, and it is stuck in that mode.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Time Bums #36 T.B.S.

At some point, Time Bums #36 will have appeared in this space, on this date.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Time Bums #35

“The Frenchman said he kept skipping around in time with no control over where or when he’d land,” Lumbra continued. “It turned out the fool who built his device had hardwired it into shuffle mode. That was an easy fix.”

Jackie glared at Steve, who muttered “Yeah, what an idiot.”

“Ours has the same problem,” Jackie announced to Lumbra. “Can you fix it?”

“Of course. How strange that two such poorly made devices should arrive here? It seems a very unlikely coincidence.” Lumbra mused. “Come. We’ll take it to the lab.”

“What about AMNOZ?” Jackie asked. “We can’t leave him out there!”

“We will rejoin him at the lab,” Lumbra answered, somewhat impatiently.

“What is this place anyway?” asked Jackie as they headed for the doorway.

Lumbra replied, “This structure is but the shadow of what was once called GeoSphere. It was a foolish project centuries ago to build an artificial planet enclosing the original one.”

“It seemed so perfect!” Steve remarked. “What happened to it?”

“What always happens.” Lumbra sighed with an air of resignation. “Humans create and then neglect.”

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Time Bums #34

“Who are you?” Jackie and Steve blurted. “How did you know we were there?”

“Call me Lumbra,” the man replied. “There are not many humans left in this zone. You were easy to detect.”

“Um … thank you?” Steve said.

“So why are you here and why are you speaking early 21st century American English?” Lumbra challenged.

“Well, for one thing, we’re from early 21st century America,” Jackie explained.

“Ah. You are time travellers.” Lumbra’s curiosity perked up. “Interesting. Is the box outside your vehicle?”

“The box outside is AMNOZ,” Steve answered, somewhat indignantly. “He’s a member of our party.”

“I should have known from the way you stepped on it to climb up here. So what device creates your openings?”

Lumbra seemed stunned as Steve drew the remote control from his vest pocket. “Astounding! That’s the second one of these I’ve seen recently.”

Now it was Jackie’s turn to be stunned. “The second?”

“Yes. The other was in the hands of a 16th century Frenchman.”