Author: David K Scholes

Canberra Airport
Australia 2045

“The Qantas flight QF 2134 that left Perth for Canberra 10 years ago and never arrived,” Bathr hesitated. “It is held, ageless, in a time vortex – held for eternity or until the vortex collapses.”

My heart leapt at this announcement. The thought that my husband and two children might still be alive – somewhere. After 10 years it was almost too much to hope for.

“You can’t trust it,” pleaded my sister. “You can’t trust this Alien. By its own admission, it is a convicted criminal. Before the destruction of its prison starship approaching Earth, there was a telepathic burst warning us of it. Even listing some of its crimes before being cut short.

I wasn’t listening to my sister.

Whatever it might have done on the other side of the Universe Bathr had done no wrong here upon Earth.

When its escape pod ejected we tried to shoot it down. When it landed we attacked it. To no avail. Bathr rendered the military – soldiers and armoured vehicles alike – immobile. In defending itself Bathr did not kill any of its attackers.

We knew Bathr had power – which had also been demonstrated in other ways. When it had saved the burned and dying survivor of an oil tanker crash by giving the man a part of its own life force. Not for the first time I wondered how such a being could possibly have been considered a criminal on any world.

We also knew Bathr was preparing to leave us.

I spoke knowing that Bathr had already divined my thoughts. “Is it possible to save them? To collapse the time vortex and bring them back to us? ” I dared to hope.

“It is possible,” Bathr replied. “It would require a considerable expenditure of energy.”

“You can do this?’ I was pleading now.
It nodded – slowly but definitely and I had no reason to doubt it.
“For these humans,” Bathr added “the occupants of QF 2134, no time at all will have passed. They will not be a day older than when their flight first began. They will have no idea that so much time has passed.”

* * *

My sister and I looked up. The skies had been emptied of air traffic and now a storm like no other gathered.

Bathr seemed unaware of us now and appeared to be focussing all of its energies on the task at hand.

The storm that I later came to realise was a time storm began to abate and in the clearing skies above a lone aircraft came into view. “It’s QF 2134, it’s QF 2134___” came the announcement directly from the control tower. “The pilot says everyone on board is okay and what’s all the excitement about!”

My heart soared higher than I would ever have thought possible. A joy I never thought to know again.

As the flight touched down I realised I had forgotten about Bathr.

The beautiful alien was now a mere shadow of itself. The effort had been too great and it was dying. The collapsing of a time vortex requiring more power than we of Earth could ever know.

“What made you a criminal?” I asked hoping it would have time to reply.

“I was convicted of giving too much of my life force to save enemy children.” Bathr hesitated, “and I, I closed off a local area timeline to _____.’

Bathr didn’t finish but I couldn’t imagine what he did as being anything less than noble. Much less a crime.