was funny, really; Pete the Auzzie and I had been picked for this
task because we both had been reading an ancient tome called "Measuring
America" by Andro Linklater at the same time.
had walked into the library while Pete at the desk and I at the
fireplace were both scrubbing through the same book without knowing
reading modules didn't tell you the book was in play by another
module, since the function was "read only", but the
check out screen above the search desk displayed the title and
reader stats of books in use.
both had a penchant for Earth history.
sat down beside me and called Pete over.
watched as Pete launched that overstuffed, gladiator frame from
the desk. He rose and moved with a simple grace that always amazed.
that book tells me you are dying to get out and play."
hours later we were triangulating the plot on the surface below
to begin pre build operations. It had been decided Earth would
be our next operations base and this spot in Pete's old Island-Continent
would be the center.
pointed at the pink sunrise sweeping the eastern horizon. Clouds
strung like popcorn strings above the silhouetted treeline superimposed
themselves over windblown wisps. This created a soothing effect
that almost made you want to lift your helmet and breathe the
breeze. The atmosphere was coming back
course that would be nice for a few seconds, until your lungs
discovered all the carbon dioxide and the decidedly low percentage
think I'm going to like this planet, little buddy"
grinned back at Pete, thinking the same.
weird, Pete; this does feel like home for some reason. I have
spent all my life (and so have my parents) on steel worlds traveling
the Milky Way, but there is something about Earth that has always
and more vegetation was apparent on this planet as seen in the
horizon, but the vegetation had a lot of work ahead before the
O2 level would be high enough to sustain human lungs.
thought of the history in the dirt under my feet.
course you could hardly call it Pete's; the term Auzzie was used
pretty loosely here, as no one had lived on Earth now for three
simply had ancestry that suggested his line had come from here
and our mission had his grin on.
my focus back to the site, I could see Pete kicking at something
light colored sticking out of a dune.
left my transit and went to see what he had found and to our amazement,
the plastic likeness of a small horse was sticking out of the
dune. I hadn't even seen a picture of one since my sophomore year
when the class made a trip to the Arc base.
freed some of it from its time trap and noted gaudy splendor preserved
by the sand, as the faded colors above Earth contrasted with a
brilliant life before this era.
the rest of the scene, we found many more garish trinkets and
thought the historians were going to have a bot-trot playing with
this site as we planted anchors for our new home away from home,
right on top of an ancient carnival of some kind.
was more fitting than Earthies coming home to a fairground?
the plastic animal the rest of the way out of the dune caused
a mini sand slide that now enveloped my gravitational compensation
boots. Looking down, I noticed the sand had covered them clear
to the environment locks.
looked at me with mild concern.
my feet free, it was quickly obvious the dials were still at neutral,
so no harm done, but a black object with a tiny window tumbled
to the ground with the sand.
worries, partner. Look what I've found."
gently to my knees, I turned it over with the finger of my glove
to find a clear window to a dial of some sort. At first I thought
it was a rudimentary compass, but the four poles painted florescent
green on the face, under the window, were numbered with 12, 3,
6 and 9 and two small luminescent dots were spaced evenly between
each numbered point.
the hell is that you've got, mate?"
Was hoping you knew."
first this dial made no sense, but upon reflection, I glanced
at the hologram produced with a touch to my time indicator and
worked the control to a long forgotten option to change it to
analog display. There in my hologram was a similar image to the
one I viewed in the window of the small machine.
was interested now.
that a machine of some kind?"
seem to remember reading something about ancient time pieces called
clocks on Earth, and I think I have found a personal clock of
some kind. The plastic strap attached to this device would indicate
it would attach to something and by attaching these ends somehow,
I surmise the only place this would fit most humans would be on
the wrist or ankle section of a bare arm or leg."
looked at me in his goofy puzzled way.
wrist clock? Why would anyone need a clock on their person? Time
indicators are imbedded in anything we wear, and in all areas
of our environment. What would be the advantage of carrying one
on your skin?"
if I know, but it's kind of brain warming to think about who made
this and who used it. I'm going to do some research when we get
back to quarters tonight."
slipped the machine into my sleeve pocket, snapped the magnet
clasp shut and continued with my survey set up. I didn't think
of it again until I was going through decom. Unloading all my
pockets, I found the device and ran it through the scrub.
showered, and pulled on my civies as Pete did, and on the other
side we grabbed the scrubbed objects from the machine and headed
for quarters. Pete had a hot date, but I had a hot imagination.
first stop was the library craft lab, where I ran the machine
through the identifier, which pulled up records and obtained a
schematic for this watch.
was a huge history on "Casio." It is called a "Wrist
Watch" of all things. That gives me the mental picture of
someone sitting for hours watching to see if time changes.
found access is to be had through the clip on cover snapped over
the back. It was pristine inside.
small pry tool found my access and I was looking into a rudimentary
gear and drive system with a small battery.
pulled it out onto the table and dug the specifications page out
of the data bank. This data called for a NiCad battery, whatever
the hell NiCad was.
quick call to Tech and I had a facsimile identified and replicated.
Within 10 minutes, I had a battery for this antique and a grin
that spread all the way around my head.
of the battery, replacement of the back, and rotating to view
the slightly worn window, proved impressive. The long thin needle
was moving gently around the larger dial.
and Henny walked in giggling like school children and noticed
me grinning at the lab table.
up with that little machine, mate?"
Henny. I have a working antique here. This is 'Cosmo
laughed at my teen lingo and came over to see my revelations.
was deep into the instruction manual and was setting the time
to sync with the time indicator on the wall. It amazed me some
when I realized, with no apparent need, Earthies had stuck to
the time metrics based on the revolution of the Earth. Some things
just never change.
my friends, I have set the time. Next is the day of week and month,
but I became aware while reading the documents, the old thing
doesn't even have a setting for year, so that little flaw made
it work in 2614 just fine. I suppose leap year would mean a manual
leaned in to get a better look; her amused smile told me what
she thought of my task. "What in Milky Way are you going
to do with that thing?"
it." I winked.
for the alarm. I will set it for one minute from now so we know
how it caught attention back when."
one button, I pressed another several times and watched a small,
imbedded dial move to the hour, then a twin to this dial was adjusted
to one minute from now.
started count down.
you two, ready for an experience? 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,
* * *
Jim, you threw me off my aim."
missed the wooden milk bottles completely and had to fork out
five bucks for another three balls.
stood pouting at the side of the carnival booth pointing at the
huge Winnie the Pooh bear in the corner.
on, Pete, just one more blast and you win my bear."
with my watch, I apologized.
Pete, I had no idea my alarm was set. Go ahead and win Henny her
chuckled; Pete had already spent over 50 bucks on this game.
turned and walked over to the merry go round. The kids were having
a ball on the painted horses.
why in hell did my alarm go off? I have never set the damn thing."
my left, a wizard of some sort in a fortune telling booth teased
you really like to know, lad?"