Author : Mark Jacobsen
In the middle of a dark, lightly wooded area, three figures can be seen moving against the black background of night. An older man is talking with a younger man. The older man is trying to start a fire by friction. There is a third man there, who remains silent and in the shadows, intently watching the other two men work.
“Okay, once you have all the elements together, then it’s a simple process”, the older man said. He arranged the wooden sticks, shavings and bow string and proceeded to work the bow to create fire.
“You know, I’ve seen this in books, but never in real life” the younger man commented. “Since the low power laser emitter has become standard on personal communicators, there isn’t any need to do this”.
“Well, it is an old skill…some old skills are fun to learn”. The older man was sweating slightly because of the effort.
“Yeah, I agree”, the younger man replied. “Way back in 2245, when time travel was perfected, one of the first things they did was to go back and learn manual crafts”.
The silent figure in the shadows moved forward slightly, intently staring at the friction rig.
“Do you think he’s getting it?” asked the younger man.
“I really hope so…after all, this effort is for him”. The older man’s arms were aching now, and he was becoming slightly winded.
“Yeah…for him. For all of us, actually” the younger man said grimly.
The older man smiled and nodded in agreement. He then noticed a small ember. He laid the bow down and knelt down, blowing slightly on the ember, encouraging it to grow. He lifted the piece of wood, still blowing on it. The ember was glowing brightly now. He tipped the wood onto a pile of dry tinder. The tinder started to smoke and he fanned it slightly. The tinder caught and an orange flame wicked up and started to engulf the tinder. The older man quickly put some small dry sticks on the tinder and soon a modest fire was burning easily.
The silent man seemed very excited. He moved forward to see better, then stopped, too scared to get too close to the fire. The firelight danced in his eyes and he grunted his approval.
The older man handed the rig to the silent man. The silent man quickly assembled the rig and mimicked the motion that the older man had done to create the fire.
The younger man smiled and nodded. “Looks like he got it, this time” he remarked.
“Third time’s the charm” the older man smiled. “I knew he was the one!” He turned toward the silent man and pointed off into the darkness. “Okay, get going! Back home. Back home. Show. Show them fire!”
The silent man understood. He grunted and turned toward the darkness and started lumbering toward his clan.
The younger man pulled a small device from his pocket. He inspected the reading on the device and showed it to the older man. They both smiled. “All is well, eh? Back to normal?” The older man said.
“Timeline restored”, the younger man said. “What was his name?”
“I’m not even sure if they had names at this stage of development…why do you ask?”
“I dunno…just seems like we should know his name. After all, he is bringing fire to humanity. Funny how this is how it happened”.
“I agree”, said the older man as pulled a remote from his belt and starting punching in commands. “Let’s go check on the wheel”