The idea of history being altered in any way always has fascinated me. It just seems to open up so many possibilities. This story came to me while I was in the shower this week. The end result wasn’t quite what I was thinking about but these things seem to go in whatever direction they want to. Here is this week’s tale. I hope you enjoy it.
Artwork by Adobe Firefly
The Purple Hue
“They are extremely rare.” Harvey Newcastle said as he fiddled with the ample pile of paperwork of his office desk. Mark Winfield sat across from Harvey and tried desperately to look him in the eye as polite society demanded while posing his question. “But sir, according to the last survey Earth contains the most concentrated events on this side of the galaxy.” “Earth,” Harvey said. “Is that what they’re calling it these days?”
“I’m sorry Mark. I can’t sanction a trip right now. The Antares Cluster is falling apart at the seams and I need all of the able bodied people I can spare.” Harvey pushed the stack of papers aside as he let out a sigh. “Look, I can’t sanction a trip through the bureau but I also can’t tell you what you can and can’t do on your own time. Can I?” Mark’s face began to light up. “I suppose not, sir.” Like most agents that had the opportunity to talk to Harvey Newcastle personally, Mark had a difficult time keeping his gaze on the man himself.
Harvey’s big corner office was full of relics and books from all around the known galaxy. It was a treasure trove of knowledge. The smells were a bit overwhelming to Mark but the room seemed more like a library than the office of the controller. “I’m happy that you stopped by Agent.” Harvey said as he stood up extending a hand for Mark to shake. Mark took his hand and shook it enthusiastically. “That you for taking time out of your busy day, sir.” “No trouble at all, Mark.”
Mark left the office of the controller and pondered his next move. Harvey was certainly right about the Antares Cluster. That place was a nightmare. However, no one could argue that he wasn’t doing his fair share if he paid a visit. He decided to go to the nearest transport pod station and see what he could do in the cluster. As soon as that unseemly business was concluded though, he would be heading straight for Earth. On his off time, of course.
Three days were all Mark could stand before returning back to the home system. If he were being completely honest, the Antares Cluster should be removed from the universe. The smell. He smelled now. It was in every thread of cloth he was wearing. He was happy he didn’t have a partner to go home to so he wouldn’t have to try and explain any of this. He felt dirty and violated. No one at the bureau could say that Mark Winfield wasn’t pulling his weight. At the end of the day, whatever it took to give him time to work on his side project was worth it.
A hot shower and a warm meal began to work their magic on Mark’s tired body. He sat down at his quaint little breakfast nook and grabbed his tablet. Why Harvey fussed with paper always puzzled him. Tablets were so much more efficient for this line of work. Besides, paper wasn’t going to blink red and give you the numbers you needed to see. Mark looked at the map of Earth and plotted a few locations for probability monitoring. He wasn’t going to the cities on this trip. He wanted to start small and work his way up. The chances that he would find what he was looking for were slim but most times, the outliers were where the target usually was.
He studied the clothing and language bases. Earth people were close to his species, albeit a bit more colorful, so playing the part wouldn’t be too much of a stretch for him. He programmed the fabricator and sat back down while the machine did it’s work. In a few moments he would have the clothing he needed to blend in. He folded down the tablet and downloaded the human characteristics into the storage unit next to it. The unit would help create a mask around his body that would mimic human appearance. It was almost impossible to detect.
The fabricator beeped as Mark grabbed the garments contained inside and began changing clothes. He was excited. It might be more accurate to say giddy. Human society fascinated Mark in a way that he could never seem to explain to his closest of friends. He concluded that they simply lack his appreciation for the complete and utter chaos that Earth was capable of. Without it, Mark and the rest of the officers at the bureau would be out of a job.
Standing in front of the portal, Mark quickly set the coordinates for the trip and climbed onto the pad. In a few short moments, he vanished and reappeared on a dirt road outside of what he hoped was the small town he was looking for on a planet the locals called Earth. As he pulled the tablet from his coat pocket he slowly began looking around and scanning the area. A few minutes after Mark’s arrival, the scanner application on the tablet began to display a purple hue. Mark nearly fell to his knees. It couldn’t be possible, could it?
He supposed the tablet could be malfunctioning but that wasn’t very likely. He tapped a couple of onscreen controls and brought up the location markers. The device confirmed a purple contact and Mark couldn’t believe the next part. It was coming right toward him in some kind of vehicle. Mark did the only thing he could think of and walked to the middle of the road. He wasn’t sure that the vehicle would stop but this was a purple contact after all. He had to try.
The white SUV slowed to a stop as Brian Presley looked through the windshield at an oddly dressed man waving his arms around frantically. People walking around these parts was something you didn’t see very often and this fella didn’t seem like a weirdo so, he stopped. “Excuse me sir, I was wondering if you could answer a question for me?” Mark asked as he walked to the driver side door. His arms were out and visible so as not to scare the creature. The pulsating light from his pocket was so bright he was hoping the young man wouldn’t notice. “Sure mister.” Brian said. “I don’t see many people walking out this way. Are you ok? Do you need a ride?”
Mark smiled or at least he thought that is what the gesture meant and brought up the disintegrator from his pocket in a slow graceful fashion. He leveled it at Brian’s head and pressed the trigger. In a few nanoseconds, Brian Presley was a pile of ash on the seat of his mother’s new SUV. Mark’s smile grew bigger. This was too good to be true. A purple contact? He couldn’t believe the good fortune.
He opened up the tablet to its full length and rotated the screen to landscape mode. A picture of Brian’s head spun around the screen with data all around it. Everything in a bright purple hue. The projected number below the spinning head was frighteningly large.
“Wait until Harvey Newcastle hears about this!” Mark said out loud to no one. With a small motion, his thumb or what passed as a thumb for his species moved down the screen exposing two very important words after the enormous number on the screen.