Author : Rayne Adams
I stole a lightspeed cruiser today. Went flying.
Found Ancient Egypt.
You learn in school that time and space are the same interchangeable abstract, but no one really believes it. You walk three steps, you move forward in space and in time, but if you walk backward, you don’t go back in time. Do you? I didn’t think so.
I had to get as far away as possible—I’d stolen a very expensive, very advanced piece of machinery. I set the lightspeed engine to 2400, more than five hundred lightyears higher than is considered safe. I followed protocol—closed the airlock, strapped myself in, and inhaled the gas that would keep me in a stasis state during my trip. No one has ever traveled lightspeed while they were conscious.
I don’t know if the gas in that particular cruiser was bad, or if I just hadn’t taken it the right way, but I woke up long before I should have, nowhere near the end of my journey.
I wasn’t in space. At least, not any space I’d ever seen before. Space is black, so black it’s sickening to look at after awhile. But this was color, swirling lights and blinding color. Sounds too, which don’t belong in space. The cruiser was gone, and I seemed to be as well. I couldn’t move my arms or turn my head, I was just consciousness floating somewhere in this vast, fluctuating whirlpool.
I became aware that whatever was around me was growing very warm. This didn’t concern me—after they entered the academy, all Spacers had their epidermis upgraded to be able to withstand great heat and pressure. It was still very uncomfortable, but at least that meant my body was back.
When I swam into consciousness, I was lying on my back in something soft and pleasantly warm, not scalding. There were people standing over me, staring down and talking, arguing. Their words jumbled together as the translator in my brain wavered between several different languages. They weren’t speaking a tongue it recognized, so it had to spend a few moments cross-referencing.
It didn’t take too long.
“—Fell from the sky! How could she not be of the gods?”
“She doesn’t look like one of us.”
“Is she even alive? Gods do not die.”
“I’m not dead,” I said, sitting up, my mouth flawlessly forming the words of this strange new language.
The three people standing over me jumped back, frightened, until one of the men offered me a hand up. I was completely naked (my clothes hadn’t survived the heat) but one of my rescuers was a woman, and her loose white robe only covered one breast, so I decided not to worry too much.
“Where am I?” I asked, though I didn’t really need the answer. The white sand, wide, blue river, and clean, breathable air was enough evidence in itself.
“Welcome to the land of Kemat, great Isis.” One of the men said it, and they all bowed their heads.
“Thanks, I—.” I cleared my throat. “What did you just call me?”
“Isis,” the woman said, eyes still cast to the sand. “Goddess of the Nile. Every year you shed tears for your dead husband and the river floods.”
“I’m not a goddess,” I said, but they weren’t listening.