Monday, November 24, 2014

Time Bums #40

“So why would Nostradamus be so interested in where humankind started,” Jackie wondered.

“Scientific curiosity?” Steve suggested.

One of the Lumbras spoke. “No, he wishes to prevent humankind from populating the planet. I believe he intends to kill the earliest humans.”

“Oh, my god!” cried Jackie. “Didn’t you try to stop him? Can he do that?”

Another Lumbra joined. “It might be possible, but obviously he did not succeed.”

“Not in this universe,” added a third.

“This universe … ?” Jackie was bewildered.

“I’ll explain it later,” said Steve. “Maybe we have to go stop him. Maybe that’s why he will not have succeeded.”

“Yes,” Jackie agreed. “We must definitely stop him from killing the first humans.”

“AMNOZ, are you ready? Can we load those coordinates?”

“I will set your coordinates.” AMNOZ spoke matter-of-factly. “But I will remain here. I have little to contribute to your encounter with Nostradamus, and there’s so much to learn here.”

“Really?” Jackie said. “We’ll miss you!”

Another Lumbra filled in. “You can return one yoctosecond from now.”

“That’s true!” Steve realized. “In fact, we can leave tomorrow. Or next week. Or in 10 years.”

Jackie was impatient. “Let’s get this over with.”

But Steve’s finger was already on the button. The next moment was two million years earlier.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Time Bums #39

Jackie started. “So what makes this particular site interesting?”

The second Lumbra from the left was quick to respond. “As we explained to Nostradamus, this is the first place where cave painting and certain other evidence has been found. It’s roughly a million and a half years before anything remotely like it.”

“What other evidence?”

“Footwear.” This time it was another Lumbra, who had not previously spoken.

This got Steve’s attention. “Huh?”

“There are the usual indications of foot shuffling and movement at this site, but no sign of toes. It’s as if these … I think we must call them people … these people had fashioned some kind of footwear. Sandals, perhaps.”

“I like them already,” Jackie said.

“So what does this mean?” Steve was either asking about the site or the cave painting.

“This site has the oldest signs of what could unmistakably be called human. This is where it started.”

Monday, November 10, 2014

Time Bums #38

“So, this Frenchman …” Steve began.

“Nostradamus?” replied the nearest Lumbra.

“Yes, Nostradamus. Did he say where or when he was going next?”

“Not explicitly, but we inferred it from his great interest in the archaeological finds at Kenya and Tanzania.”

Another Lumbra spoke. “He did say he was coming from a big house where he landed on some furniture, fell over, and woke a man, who then died of fright on seeing him. He was pretty vague about the whole thing.”

“And you think he was going where?”

“Here,” replied the first Lumbra. “The site of the first humanoids … a woman and an overweight man. Look at the holoview. You can see the earliest cave painting.”

Steve gawked at the image. There, plainly on the wall, was simply a stack of horizontal lines, alternately long and short.

“The first abstract,” Jackie remarked.

“This reminds me of something,” muttered Steve.