by T.A. Saunders
My companion and I had no idea what to expect when the Temporal Rift Generator came to life in a yawning bloom of crackling azure and white. The light had danced off my skin in such a way that it reminded me of how water looks from below, when sunlight shines upon it. I only knew the sight from holopedias, but it was enough for me to appreciate what I was seeing. My companion, Hadley likewise was held in silent awe of the spectacle the scientific wonder before us had made. She and I were about to make history among cheering comrades, scientists and other officials that had interest in the mission to breach temporal space, in order to garner knowledge of our lost, distant past.
Hadley crossed the threshold first. It was like watching somebody walk into a blue sun and be consumed by its flames. I was struck with a sense of apprehension as the tendrils of energy abruptly drew her from sight, but left the long shadow she had cast for a moment or two longer than her actual disappearance. The thought she might have been torn asunder through 4th dimensional space and there was no way to know for certain was in its own way, completely horrifying. I looked back at the smiling faces and clapping hands and allowed myself the brief luxury of wondering if they had any such fear for me? Probably not. I stepped through and prepared to meet our past or my destruction.
Crossing into temporal space was like being cast onto an ocean of softly glowing white water. I could see my past, present and future simultaneously, reflected in the waves and ripples that flared outward from me. There was no pain but there was incredible disorientation; I had no sense of up or down or if I was falling or sailing upward. The hazy images collided and mingled together in such a way that it was impossible to focus on any one thing and glean a significant truth. It was knowledge of all existence, but no way to comprehend it in a manageable way. The blurred sea of light and jumbled tangents was short-lived however as the temporal displacement actuator strapped to my wrist beeped three times, signaling that where I was about to disengage from 4th dimensional space.
I hit a hard surface with an abrupt jarring. The light was much brighter than I was used to so there was a few moments that along with my continued disorientation, I was stuck blind by the glare in my eyes. Dillon. I heard the name Dillon being called out quietly in my haze and I realized that it was Hadley talking to me and we had been deposited in an alley way. I didn’t recognize her at first, thanks to her appearance re-imager. Her hair had been turned long and dark, with eyes to match and her skin was a soft brown color. She had also imaged a charcoal colored dress suit with a white blouse and black shoes.
She nudged my shoulder with her foot and told me to re-image myself before somebody mistook me for a killer alien robot. I remember seeing some of the old pop culture references to robots from archives of the 20th century and I cast my companion a disgruntled look, before finding my footing. After muttering about liking my shiny, golden skin I activated my own appearance re-imager. There was a flash of green light, as the re-imager cast a grid across my metal body and calculated the parameters required to render a three dimensional hologram over the surface. I don’t think my outfit was quite as nice as Hadley’s. While I enjoyed the darker skin and the long, dread-locked hair it gave me, I’m not sure what I thought of the little olive green hat and the brightly colored shirt that followed. The pants and the sandals at least matched and I offered my smiling cohort a shrug, before setting forth to figure out exactly where we had ended up. We would be here for only two hours, before our actuators recalled us, so we had to work quickly.
The first thing I noticed was how immense and noisy this city was. I never expected that the world of our creators would be so loud and for that matter, filthy. I nearly stepped on a discarded cylinder crafted from aluminum as we walk down a cement pathway crowded by people. None of them were smiling. Nobody looked at one another; they either stared through one another or down at some sort of device, Hadley and I could only assume was for communication.
These were our creators? These people would eventually build our progenitor and imbue us with life? I felt as though I was walking amongst ghosts rather than the brilliant minds that created the first Synthi-Sapians. As we walked down this path of apathy Hadley commented that perhaps our creation was originally meant to augment those of humans, to give them the joy they were missing. As I looked up at a flashing red sign that said WOMEN FOR YOUR PLEASURE I began to wonder if the truth of Hadley’s statement was something less uplifting. This city felt like a dirty little maze, meant to slowly kill off the uncaring souls that wandered it.
These were our gods. These people, who lived only for their own self-fulfillment would eventually create us in their image. Yet I know of no Synth that behaves like our gods. As we watched two of them fight on a street corner we passed over something one of them referred to as crack, Hadley and I came to a realization. In all likelihood, we had been created for their fulfillment, their lusts and not out of some noble purpose, as we have believed for thousands of years. It became quite clear why our gods died out. Our actuators couldn’t send us back fast enough.