The Exploits of Becky Warnerby Ace Corona
(pardon our dust--story is being formatted to this page)
13,943 years ago, in prehistoric California...
The chrono-transceiver at the top of the hill sprang to life. Green lights were flashing, and Dak, the radioman, downloaded the transmission.
"The supply ship was supposed to arrive three weeks ago!" Rex told Dak. "They'd better have a damn good excuse!"
The two men watched the monitor. A woman, Theresa Rand, the only one back in the 223rd century who knew they were here, had a panicked look in her eyes.
"This will be the last transmission!" she said, "The rebels have taken control of Mars, and they've overtaken Alpha colony, and right now, they're breaking into this building! There will be no more supply ships! I repeat, there will be no more supply ships! They hacked into the mainframe, and all records of your mission have been erased! I'm the only one left who knows you guys are back in the Stone Age!"
Rex and Dak watched as the double doors behind her exploded, and a group of rebels ran in carrying particle beam rifles. One of the rebels aimed at her and fired, and she disintegrated. He then pointed his rifle into the camera, and the screen faded to static.
"You know what this means!" Dak told Rex. "We have to go into cryo-freeze! That's the only way to return to the 223rd century!
"I know thats the obvious answer, Dak! But we don't have enough power to freeze all three dozen of us for that long! We were waiting for another power crystal that was supposed to arrive with the next supply shuttle!"
"That's right, Rex! We only have one crystal left...but we do have a neutrino dissimilator! We could shrink ourselves, then freeze ourselves!"
"There's just one problem with that," Rex replied, "we don't have a neutrino transfer device to re-enlarge ourselves!"
"That's not a problem!" Dak said, "As long as we make it to the 22nd century, we'll be able to find someone to re-enlarge us!"
"Then it's settled!" Rex said, "as leader of this expedition, I say we shrink ourselves down to ant-size to conserve power, then freeze ourselves cryogenically! The plan couldn't be simpler!"
"But do you think the others will go for that?" Dak asked.
"They're going to have to! We have no other choice! We're trapped in the Stone Age!"
* * *
13,943 years later, in a small coastal California town...
Becky Warner dragged a shovel out of the garage and went to the backyard to dig a hole. The Summer sun shown down on her tanned legs and arms, and her shoulder length blonde hair blew in the mild breeze. The 10-year-old wanted to build a clubhouse, because she had just watched a cartoon about bears who lived in an underground fortress, and she wanted to construct one just like it.
When she stopped to look at the blue wristwatch that matched the color of her eyes, she saw that she had been digging for almost an hour. She went inside to get a cherry Coke, took a few drinks, then set it down on the picnic table in the yard to continue digging. When the hole was three feet wide and over four feet deep, she struck something hard.
She put down the shovel, and knelt down and brushed off the dirt from a flat metallic surface. When she saw she couldn't move it, she grabbed the shovel and started to dig around it. She heard something break, and the sound came from the object in the hole. She put the shovel down again and got on her stomach and tried to dig it out with her hands.
It started to budge, then, after a few seconds, it broke free. She held in her hands a metallic box about the size of a VCR. She went into the garage again, and got out a rag and wiped it off. When it was cleaned off, she could see a red light on the side of the metal box. Becky shook it.
A seam in the side near the top of the box that ran around the perimeter seemed to widen. Then, the top began to rise, as if hydraulic pushrods were pushing it up and back. Becky could now see inside the box. Three dozen capsules, each about the size of a Tylenol capsule, were opening up. Inside, there were tiny people, men and women, who were waking up.
"Little tiny people!" Becky exclaimed.
She took the metal box into her bedroom, and set it on her desk. It took a few minutes for the little people to wake up and get their bearings. When they were all revived, they looked up at Becky.
"We need to use our voice amplifiers to make our voices loud enough for her to hear us!" Rex told everyone. They grabbed the amplifiers from their hibernation cylinders, and connected them to their jumpsuits. Rex was the first to speak to Becky.
"I'm Rex! We are all time travelers from the 223rd century! We were on a mission to study mammoths and ancient humans in the Stone Age, when we became trapped in the past. What year is this, young lady?"
"It's 2006!" Becky replied.
Just then, Dak ran up to Rex. "Rex!" Dak told him, "the power crystal has been damaged! When the girl dug us up, she must have broke a chunk of it off! Now we can't go back into cryo-freeze!"
"Why are you guys shrunk?" Becky asked.
Rex answered her: "Our power source was insufficient to sustain us in cryo-freeze at normal size. We had to shrink ourselves to conserve energy!"
"Can you guys un-shrink yourselves?" Becky asked.
"No!" Rex replied, "We were hoping we would be unfrozen in a time when neutrino transfer devices had been invented! We're trapped at ant-size!"
Becky clapped her hands together and said, "Yes! That's awesome!"
"Rex?" Dak asked, "I don't think that's a good sign!"
Becky looked down at Dak and Rex and said, "I'm hungry..."
Dak looked at Rex. "I don't like the sound of that!"
"Are you guys hungry?" Becky asked. "I could make myself something to eat, and give you guys some, too!"
"I was worried for a minute!" Dak said.
"Why?" Becky asked.
"When you said you were hungry, I was kind of worried."
"Why were you worried?" Becky asked. "Did you think I was going to eat you?"
"The thought did cross my mind," Dak answered.
"You wouldn't eat any of us, would you, young lady?" Rex asked.
"No," Becky replied, "I would've never even thought of that, unless you guys mentioned it. The way I see it, having all of you as pets is better than all of the money in the world! If I ate some of you, then there wouldn't be as many of you left!"
Dak and Rex were relieved. At ant-size, it would be very easy for the giantess to swallow them; in fact, she could easily swallow a dozen of them at once, if she wanted to!
"What's your name, young lady?" Rex asked.
"I'm Becky," she answered, "Becky Warner."
"How old are you?" Rex asked.
"Ten. In September, I'll be in fifth grade. I'll go fix you guys some sandwiches."
Becky left the room. "Well, Rex," Dak said, "you're our fearless leader. What can we do?"
"We can't freeze ourselves, at least not right away. Maybe after a few years, we can repair everything and re-freeze ourselves."
"Even if that's even possible," Dak replied, "the girl knows about us. You can't expect her to bury us in her yard again."
"I know that," Rex answered, "but maybe she can hold onto us, and pass us on to her grandchildren when she's old...then her grandchildren can pass us on to the next generation--"
"Until the 223rd century?" Dak interrupted, "Come on, Rex, you know that's insane! If there were chrononauts in cryo-freeze in somebody's basement for over 200 centuries, don't you think there would be some record of it?"
"I know how ridiculous it sounds," Rex answered, "but it's our only option! Maybe the offspring of this Becky girl are just very good at keeping us a secret...it's not impossible!"
"But it's highly improbable!" Dak countered.
"I agree," Rex conceded. "But it's our only choice...either that, or grow old and die as Becky's captives!"
* * *
Becky returned a few minutes later, with a plate of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches cut into quarter-sections. There were enough sandwiches to feed a troop of ten-year-olds.
"Becky," Rex said, "I appreciate the food, and our bodies have been physiologically altered to assimilate normal-sized food molecules, but don't you think you might've made just a little too much? We're the size of ants!"
"Oops!" Becky uttered. "I just thought you guys would be extra hungry since you've been frozen since the Stone Age!"
Becky picked up the chrononauts one by one, and set them on the sandwiches so they could eat.
"So what are mammoths like?" I've studied about them. It's too bad they're extinct!" Becky continued setting the miniaturized people on the food, until they were all situated, then took a bite of one of the sandwich quarters.
"They're very intelligent!" Rex replied, "They have much in common with modern day elephants. We took some cell samples, so we could make clones back in our own century."
"So, what century are you guys from again?" Becky asked between bites.
"We're from the 223rd century," Rex replied. "We're chrononauts. We got trapped in the past."
"How did that happen?" Becky asked.
"We're Martian colonists," Rex continued. "There are several different colonies on Mars in the 223rd century. Ours is Alpha colony. Rebels took over, and all records of our mission were wiped clean from the computers."
"Nobody knew we were back in the Stone Age!" Dak added. "So we had to look out for ourselves!"
"Well," Becky said, "It's a good thing you guys ended up with me. I'll take good care of you. The thing about it is, you're going to have to do as I say. I'll try not to boss you guys around too much, though!"
Dak and Rex looked at each other much as two men in a casino who had just broken even would look at each other, knowing it could've been much worse. "That's to be expected, Becky," Rex replied, "after all, we're the size of ants, so naturally, that puts you in charge! Do you think you can take good care of us?"
"I guess so," Becky replied. "Just tell me what you guys need, and I'll try to get it for you. Oh, and by the way, should I tell my parents about you, or should I keep you guys a secret?"
Dak looked at Rex and said, "If her parents get wind of us, they might turn us over to the government! That could be a good or a bad thing."
"I think I'd rather take my chances with this Becky girl," Rex replied, "there were times during the third millennium when the government was corrupt...I can't recall specific dates, but we might be in one of those times!" Rex turned to Becky and turned on his voice amplifier so she could hear him. "Becky, I want you to listen to me. I want you to keep us a secret from your parents. Do you understand?"
"Yes," Becky said, "I figured you might want me to."
"There's a reason for this, Becky!" Rex continued, "Your parents would probably turn us over to the government if they found out about us. We want to avoid this at all costs! Do your parents search your bedroom?"
"No, not that I know of." Becky replied.
"All parents check their kids rooms!" Dak informed Rex. "We have to assume that they do, just to be on the safe side!"
"Becky," Rex began, "I know this is probably hard for you to accept, but your parents probably check your room when you're not here. Most parents do this. You have to hide us in a location where your parents won't find us!"
"That's up to you guys," Becky replied, "I'm only ten years old! How do you expect me to figure out where to hide you?"
"She's right," Rex told Dak. "Any ideas?"
"We could initiate a quantum flux field in her bedroom wall...she could carry a remote control device that would activate it, and we could communicate with her with it!"
"Won't that drain our power crystal?" Rex asked.
"Not if we keep the flux field open...every time you open a new quantum flux field, it takes an incredible amount of power, but once it's open, the power drain is close to zero for an insane amount of time. We could stay hidden in Becky's wall for as long as any of us are likely to be alive!"
Rex snapped his finger and said, "And we could keep a holographic image of the wall projected to conceal us! Dak, that's brilliant!" Rex turned to Becky and turned up his amplifier. "Becky, how would you like it if our box was in another dimension, hidden in your wall...and you could access it with a remote control device you'd keep on a keychain?"
"That would be cool!" Becky replied.
So it was settled. Rex put Dak in charge of modifying the metal box they resided in and converting it so they could activate a quantum flux field and a holographic projection to conceal it when the dimensional portal was completely open.
Everyone got to work. Within a couple of hours, everything was in place. Rex told Becky to pick up the box and slide it into the wall...Becky did, and the quantum flux field allowed the box to seemingly merge with the wall. What was really happening was 99 percent of the box occupied the space of another dimension. The remote control device was on Becky's desk. Rex instructed her to pick it up and experiment with it. Becky pushed a button, and the box that was flush with the wall disappeared.
She pushed the button again, and it reappeared. "Cool!" Becky exclaimed, pushing the button again to make it disappear a second time. When it was invisible again, she walked up to the wall and stroked it with her hand, and she could feel it!
"It's still there!" Becky said.
"Of course it is," Rex responded through a communication device built into the remote control. "That's because you're activating the holographic projector. Push the other button, Becky!"
Becky pushed it, and the box disappeared. She put her hand up to the wall, and could only feel the wall. "Rex?" Beckay said into the remote control keychain device, "Now the box is gone!"
"That's because the quantum flux field has closed up 99 percent!" Rex answered from the speaker in the keychain. "When you push the button again, you'll be able to see us again! Becky, I want you to keep us like this whenever you leave your bedroom! It's important that your parents never find us!"
"Okay!" Becky replied, then re-activated the keychain so she could see the miniaturized scientists. "I want to carry you around with me, Rex! Step onto my hand!"
Becky extended her hand palm-side up and Rex jumped out of a window in the box and landed on Becky's hand. She closed her fist around him gently, and keyed the remote control to hide the box from view within the quantum flux field.
Becky walked outside into the Summer sun. It was mid-July, and the weather was warm. Every now and again, Becky would open her fist to make sure Rex was still safely contained in her hand, then re-close her fist around him again. She walked down the street to her friend Ariane's house, and rang the doorbell.
The door opened, and Ariane's mom directed Bewcky to Ariane's room. Becky ran to the door, opened it, and closed it behind her.
"Look what I have!" Becky proudly told her best friend. Becky opned her fist and deposited Rex onto Ariane's dresser. "You have to promise not to tell anyone about him!"
"Wow!" Ariane excalimed, marveling at the tiny stature of the miniaturized chrononaut. "Where'd he come from?"
"He's from the future," Becky explained, "There's a whole grip of 'em back in my bedroom. They were in the Stone Age, and they got stuck back there, so they shrunk themselves and got frozen for ten-thousand years. Now they're stuck at ant-size, and can't re-enlarge themselves!"
"Can I have one?" Ariane asked. "Oh, please, Becky? Please?"
"No." Becky replied, "I don't want to give any of them up. They arrived in a group, and they might need to stick together."
"If you don't, I'll kick you out of my clique!" Ariane threatened. Ariane Astor was the richest and most popular girl at Becky's elementary school. There were even junior high school girls who thought she was cool. Becky's family was somewhat wealthy, and Becky, while not as popular as Ariane, was still pretty popular in her own right. If Ariane tried to make good on her threat, it would probably have no effect on Becky.
Becky looked down at Rex, who was still standing on Ariane's dresser. "What do you think, Rex?"
Rex was thinking about it. "I think if she kept a couple of us temporarily, it would be all right,"
"Cool!" Ariane shouted.
"But," Rex continued, "Ariane needs to understand that we need to be kept a secret from her parents, and from any other adults. There are several members of my group whose skills are not needed at this time, and I'm sure they would volunteer to spend a few days with your friend."
"Let me get something to put them in!" Ariane replied to Rex. She got up and began looking through her drawers and in her closet for knick-knacks that could conceal and contain ant-sized guests. She found an old pickle jar, with a lid that already had air-holes punctured into it. "This is a jar I kept my old pet lizard in. He died. Is this okay?"
"His name is Rex." Becky said.
"Rex," Ariane said, "is this jar okay?"
"Yes, but you need to put it in something to conceal us from view."
"How about this backpack?" Ariane answered, holding up a pink and purple backpack.
"Perfect!" Rex replied.
Becky set her hand down on the dresser, palm-side up. "Okay, little man, it's time to go!"
Rex took this as a friendly command, and obliged by jumping up onto Becky's index finger, and walked over to the center of her palm. Becky closed her hand into a fist gently, and the two ten year olds sauntered out of the room and headed toward Becky's house.
"I just have a question," Ariane asked.
"Yeah?" Becky asked.
"The way you treat him...Rex? Isn't that his name?"
"Yeah, he's the leader of these little people."
"Well," Ariane continued, "why are you so nice to him?"
"I'm nice to everyone!" Becky replied.
"Yeah, but he's only a little bit bigger than an ant! Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying you should be mean to him,"
"Then what are you trying to say?" Becky asked. "I'm not so sure it's a good idea for me to trust you with some of them, if you have that attitude!"
"No," Ariane replied, "You're getting me all wrong! All I'm saying is, don't you think it would be a little more fun to, you know, boss him around a little bit? I'll show you what I mean when we get to your house."
When the two girls were safely alone together in Becky's bedroom, Becky deposited Rex on her desk, and used the remote control device on her new keychain to open the quantum flux field and turn off the holographic image of the wall. Ariane got her jar out of her backpack, and Becky assembled all the little people on her desk with Rex.
"This is Becky's friend," Rex told the other miniaturized chrononauts, "what's your name again honey?"
"Ariane will be taking some of you to her house for a few days. Now I know not all of you are involved in anything of vital importance to the success of our mission, so I need some volunteers!"
Six people stepped forward, four men and two women. Ariane unscrewed the lid of her jar. "This is what I wanted to show you," Ariane told Becky.
"Tiny people! The ones who are going with me...while you are under my care, you shall do as I command! When I say jump, you will jump! When I say bow, you will bow down to me! Now kneel!"
The six people got down and bowed to Ariane, while the other 30 men and women laughed in unison.
"I don't know what you guys are laughing at!" Becky told the other 30 captives. "Ariane is trying to show me something, and I just might start doing it! I just haven't made up my mind yet!"
Ariane put her hand palm -side up on the dresser. "I command you to surrender to my hand, tiny ones!"
One by one, the six captives climbed up onto Ariane's palm. When they were all there, she walked over to Becky's bed and sat down, spreading her legs out on the bed. She deposited the captives onto her bare leg. "Now you can do anything you want," Ariane commanded, "just stay on my leg and don't climb down!"
The four men and two women split up, exploring different areas of Ariane's calve and thigh. One of them stayed on her thigh, and noticed an area where several blonde hairs had escaped whatever razor Ariane had used to shave her legs. He found a hair that was taller than he was, and pulled on it.
"Oww!" Ariane shouted, "Watch it! That hurt!"
"Be quiet, Ariane!" Becky said. "The little people don't want my parents to find out about them!"
"Little people?" Ariane asked. "Don't you think there's a better word for them? Like slaves? Or captives? Or toys? Or how about this one, slave-toys! That's perfect! What do you think, Becky?"
"Slave-toys is kind of cool," Becky admitted.
"Then let's call them that, from now on!"
"Okay!" Becky replied.
"Imagine fighting an army of thousands of these little slave-toys! And what if the only thing they had to defend themselves with were toy weapons!"
"That would be funny!" said Becky.
Rex listened to the girls, then had a revelation. "Becky!" he said into the voice amplifier he was holding in front of his mouth. "I have an idea!"
Becky turned her head around and downward in his direction. "What's up, Rex?"
"We could establish a base at Ariane's house, in her bedroom...we could have a station connected to her bedroom wall, and we could teleport from here to there, and back, whenever we wanted to!"
Becky turned to look at Ariane. "Whaddaya think about that, Ariane?"
"That's cool with me!" she replied.
And so it was settled. Ariane took the tiny people with her who had the equipment they needed to establish a teleporter link from Ariane's house to Becky's. Ariane was also furnished with a keychain that could open the portal so she could see her little people, and the two preteens could even communicate with each other by using their keychains! From that day forward, Ariane Astor was to share in the exploits of Becky Warner, and it would be their secret!