Challenge #01990-E166: Mystery Analysis Department

in fiction •  last year 


Step back in Time. It smells different, the food is odd. But you are here to record History. Pick an Era.
the Past is a different country -- Anon Guest

The oddest thing about the early twentieth century had to be the colours. Followed closely by what people willingly put in their mouths. It was just... odd... to see any era before the nineteen fifties in any other tones but black and white.

The past is another country, indeed. The food is peculiar, the air smells funny, everyone talks a completely different language and you can't trust the water. And in this era, the tail end of the Roaring Twenties, all those rules applied. Included therein was the corollary, everyone dresses funny.

Curves were forbidden in this era. But that didn't much matter because the one costume that was rarely changing and accepted anywhen was that of Religious Orders. All one had to do was be certain of the local flavour. Certainly, people stared at nuns or priests in their cassocks, but they certainly didn't want to interact with them, and that was the important part.

Temporal investigations could insert bugs into the sensory receptors of pigeons, cats, and dogs, but it took a person to get to an important event and pay attention to the significant details. This was one of the more obscure ones on the books. A gentleman left his house in his new car, and supposedly went to work. Somewhere within the five blocks he drove, that day, he vanished without a trace.

She found the house just as he was leaving and seemed to cross the road without looking. Directly in his path. He sounded the horn, and she pretended to have a nervous conniption then and there. As he helped her to the curb, she palmed some tracker microbes onto his skin, and another colony onto the car. And then, like his wife and small child, watched him leave until he turned the first corner.

And after that, it was her job to vanish. Into a crowded public transit arena where people wouldn't question the presence or absence of a nun.

Once returned to the modern era, it was a month in quarantine to be certain that she didn't pick up anything that was a danger to the present population. One single pathogen or virus from the era predating most vaccinations could decimate the future. Or worse.

A temporal discovery agent could be vaccinated against everything, and be cleared of everything they could transmit, but the clothing could pick up any amount of nasties from the miasma surrounding them. Dust, dirt, microscopic flecks of spittle from anyone talking in the vicinity, the list went on.

Time travellers - or at least, time travellers without a magic box that protected them from everything - had to be really, really careful.

She divested herself of her clothes and let the autoscrubber cleanse her entire naked form with blue fire. From there, it was into the sterile cotton onesie and equally sterile breather mask so she could protect the other volunteers in quarantine. Two were currently registered as present.

"Waiting for the ripple effect," said the Director.

Five thousand years of history re-ordered itself. Now Mr Stevenson's wife remembered a nun that her husband had nearly hit. Beyond that, history remained unchanged.

"Our probe units followed him to fifth and main, and note a flash of light. We can insert work crews to install non-obtrusive monitoring equipment the day before the event, but it's looking like a temporary dimensional rift is associated with the disappearance."

Another one. They were random and unpredictable, and the technology behind them was -currently- uncrackable.

Who knew? One day, they would catch up with it and discover that these historically vanished people were sampled for their exclusive information.

In the meantime, she was late for her meal - calorically and nutritionally balanced phys-excellence paste. She hoped this dose would be mango flavour.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / dani3315]

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Why are there paste meals in the future, I don't think I want to go there XD


I was trying to think of something that would be the opposite of things-in-gelatin or things-in-aspic that were the hot deal from the 20's to the 50's. And to demonstrate that food is weird whenever you go.