I sit in my secure underground office, seven stories below the desert sands at Shamballa and. Suddenly, without warning, I feel the now-familiar sensation of time displacement. This is not Yal-hune's doing or my own - this is some sort of other external force and it is non-participatory, meaning I am being transported without my consent. This concerns me greatly and I wonder if it is the action of some hostile world that has breached the Earth's defenses.
I arrive in what appears to be a futuristic cafe. Around me, are circular booths, silver metallic walls lined with something that resembles or imitates mother-of-pearl and an embedded visual screen in the center of the table before me that uses some sort of holographic projection unit. A female voice, monotone and probably electronically generated is reading news,
"The United Latin Republic has been completely devastated by a surprise nuclear attack from the Chinese Empire. Major cities lay in ruins tonight from Los Angeles, Mexico City to New York and all the major population centers in-between. Castro City lays in ruins and the capitol of the ULR has been completely blown off the face of the Earth in a multiple warhead strike that breached the ULR missile shield. Billions are assumed dead.
The United European Union strongly protested the action and the Indian National Alliance has not responded, as yet, to the action but is expected to counter strike Chinese targets due to the violation of the now ancient, but never disbandoned nuclear pollution treaty of 2130, to which the Chinese Empire was a signatory. The Indian National Alliance has been delivered a serious economic blow by the attacks, as most of their labor force emerges from the ULR. The Chinese Empire issued a six word statement following the attack that has been broadcast around the world, "Retaliation will be met with annihilation."
I sit stunned in fascinated, yet horrified, awe as the holographic projector displays satellite generated imagery of the destroyed ULR cities. Like Hiroshima, only a thousand times worse, the blackened and scoured surfaces are desolate of even the slightest standing structures and the ground has been torn up into cavernous pits. This was not a nuclear attack - this was something designed to obliterate all life and render the North American continent completely irradiated for centuries.
Where am I? What year is this? The booths around me are empty. I get up and look around for a human - any human - and see none.
"Hello? Is anyone here?"
A holographic waiter appears and displaces the news display.
"Salutations. How may I serve you today sir?"
"Where are the people?"
"I do not understand sir?"
"People? Humans? Are there any living people here?"
"At this time, yours is the only biometric anatomy present."
"What year is this? Where am I?"
"The date is November 22, 2284. You are at the Cafe' Ambiance."
"What nation is this?"
"You are in the ULR, English Speaking Sub-Sector, Alaskan Territory"
I look at my wrist to see if my radiation detecting watch is still on. It is. The built in Geiger counter reads .5 millirems per hour. Either the background radiation has increased over the past centuries or this area is experiencing fallout.
"Are you capable of contacting others?"
"Do you have a phone?"
"You desire to see a tele-phone? May we suggest a visit to the Museum of Technological History in Juno."
"That's fine. I need nothing further."
The holographic waiter disappears.
I get up and look around. The place is clean and well lit by some sort of electroluminescent paneling built into the floors, ceilings and walls. A door in the distance catches my eye and I make my way towards it. A thick pane of glass permits me to see out. I am in some sort of small city in Alaska, I am presuming. Snow covers the ground outside and yet inside there are no indications of the cold weather whatsoever. Perfect climate control at 73 degrees.
I look for a door handle. The door is closed and does not open.
The holographic waiter reappears.
"How may I be of assistance, sir?"
"How do I open this door?"
"The door is not able to be opened at this time. This facility is in secure lock down. The outside radiation levels are not safe and our filtration system is attempting to compensate. May we recommend a nice side order or a drink while you wait?"
The image would be comical, were it not so serious. I look at my watch and see the dosage is increasing.
"Is there a basement in this facility?"
"Have your food and water supplies been contaminated with radiation?"
"Not at this time?"
I look around for another door. A likely prospect catches my eye and I head towards it. I suddenly remember to reach out mentally for Yal-hune, perhaps she can reach me and retrieve me from this time and place before the radiation gets worse.
Her mind is hard to reach. I try others. Skuuinja, Shay-la or some of the others who might be in a position to assist through time and space and put me back where I belong.
"Who is this?"
"I am disappointed. Have you forgotten me this quickly?"
The voice in my head is externally generated by some sort of personal frequency tapping device and is almost painful.
"Who are you?"
"You mean to tell me you can forget your betters that quickly? Typical human."
It's Lal-atha. Somehow he was able to force-teleport me through time.
"Aren't you interested in your world's dismal future? Do you see now that all you have done here is condemn Earth and its future inhabitants to lives of serfdom and misery. I'm not done with you yet, I'm going to throw you ahead another 100 years so you can see the mutants spawned by an Earth bathed in nuclear radiation. And it's all your fault. YOUR FAULT!"
He laughs his psychotic laugh and I realize I'm in big trouble. I'm going to have to try and recall all the principles I can and use them all - total equilibrium. Total equanimity to all that I confront and now experience. If I am to return to my own time I need to be in complete mastery of my consciousness and see if I can't catch Lal-atha and his machines off-guard.
Before I finish, I feel the force teleport grab hold of me and thrust me through time once again. As my eyes regain their ability to focus, I can smell a stench that is incredibly bad and air that is horribly impure. I am in some sort of village with thatched hut type structures and nothing industrial or technocratic in sight. Grotesque caricatures of humanity are everywhere I look. Multiple heads, limbs, missing limbs, deformed limbs and torsos. They stare at me like I am some sort of anomaly - a freak. Apparently standard human DNA code is now completely lost.
I struggle not to bias as I see a small girl with a small deformed head on an oversized chest torso which is connected to a very small lower torso, approach me using her one leg and one arm as a pair of legs.
"Yumere daferant hombran"
It sounds sort of like broken English but so garbled it's hard to make out what she says. I breach my personal rule and read her mind using telepathy. I read her thoughts - and pick up quickly the remnants of English and Spanish merged which she speaks.
She had pointed out that I looked so different from everyone else.
"Haias minoras gonlandover frahnd"
I tell her that I am just a new friend from a faraway place. She looks at me and her mind is working overtime. Her thoughts are fast and I try to keep up with her cortex activity. She has some sort of brain mutation and she is actually quite intellectual. She is empathic as well and is aware of my presence in her mind.
"Inlosan yoremahn toremaraychin sinrehjib purinderaymo"
She's is now in my mind. She used my own thoughts as a bridge and she is reading my thoughts. I set up an area to converse in and I will not underestimate these people despite their apparent deformities. This girl, all of 12 years of age, is already more intellectually developed than most thirty-somethings in my time and in these years she has developed her mind to be a far greater tool to use in her day-to-day existence in this future world.
"You are from the past. That is very interesting. I had dreams that I would meet you though and as soon as I saw you materialize I knew who you were."
"Yes, I am from the past - the year 2010 to be precise. The world was far different then and the wars and radiation which changed things had not yet taken place."
"You put too much value on mind powers. Now that I am in your mind it reminds me of all too many others who prize some one thing and spend their lives obsessing about it. My mind is the way it is and it is not better or worse - just different. Just as my body is different. Someday you will learn that there is no better or worse - only different."
I look around and I see this is the message and wisdom of this era - everyone is different, no better and no worse than anyone else. I know it's true from one point of view yet I see how the unintelligent created this future of pain and suffering and try as I might, I can't see all futures as equally good/evil.
I bend down to my knees so I can look into this girl's eyes at her own level. I wish there was some way I could assist her here, but I don't know that I would know how or in which way would assist her. She is genuinely happy, perhaps much happier than most 12 year olds from my time and I find this unnerving and nonplussing.
Lal-atha wanted me to become depressed, but I see that even through these events which most would consider the worst of all possible futures - equal goodness and virtue have emerged in direct opposition to it. This girl could not exist were it not for those evils that shaped her and this future Earth.
"Yes. You are learning. Just like in my dream."
"In your dream what happens next?"
"You ask me that question and i give you this answer. You will disappear soon. A very tall woman will take you away and she will smile at me, before she does. You start to cry after I tell you this and you give me a hug."
As if on cue, I start crying and I reach out to embrace her.
"You are very special, as everyone is - but you are particularly special to ME. Thank you for your insights. I will not soon forget you and I will make sure the world of the past is exposed to some of your wisdom as well."
"Yes, you will write about me in your blog. My dream ends when I see you back in your time. You try to think about me and you reach my mind. You wonder how this is possible and then I wake up. Your tall friend is about to arrive."
I turn intuitively and I can already feel Yal-hune's presence in my mind before she appears.
"We don't have time. We must leave now." she turns and smiles at the girl and I truly wonder just what sort of being I have encountered here this day. She's not quite human yet more than human at the same time.
I wave good bye just as I feel Yal-hune teleport us back to 2010.
"Is Lal-atha contained again?"
"Yes. His machines have been disintegrated."
"Who was that girl? I've never met such a mind in such a deformed body."
"She had you pegged, even now you still just value her for her mind."
"Yes, I know. I disappoint myself. But again, who was she?"
"It's best I not tell you. You should figure these things out yourself."
I get to my computer and start keying in this entry. I reach out to her mind and I know I will reach her because she told me I would.
"Hello yourself. Have you figured it out yet?"
"Figured what out?"
"Who I am?"
"No, I haven't."
All of a sudden it hits me.