Time-Pilot

Grand-pa chuckles, “Einstein’s fault, really. He didn’t want them to drop the bomb. Called it the Great Green Day. Humanities last chance, and I volunteered us.

I don’t know what to ask first, so many questions occur to me all at once. Us? What the—

But I am getting excited, and that helps no one, so I will my thoughts to calm.

To help, my mind cycles through what I know. I knew my grandfather had metals from the war- that he earned them doing things he never discusses. Top Secret, he’d say. But I knew his pedigree helped my father become a Senator, which allowed me to get into West Point and be a war-fighter in the Middle East. I came back escaping demons by seeking out science and cold hard facts. NASA came-a-knocking for my physics, and my projects took me to the moon and to the beginning stages of the humanities first space elevator. I was busy, and I loved my life. Until I got the call, G-pa’s in the ICU.

And now I am here, pushed from my next mission because of bad timing.

I don’t know who brought the pictures, so I ask.

“It’s complicated.”

I had never seen them before today, and his answer is a little annoying, “but why—”

“Why is the sky green?”

I nod, sure, willing for any information that’ll make sense of what I was looking at:

Me, under a green sky, standing on rocks so bright red it gave the photo a 3d effect.

“The sky is green, Javier, because of what Einstein called an electromagnetic-field at rest through a spatially-oscillating beam-of-light. It’s been active since we decided my grandchild would be the best candidate for humanity’s first time-pilot. There’s a lot of math involved here, but the gist is- Einstein picked you to make humanity better. Congratulations!”

He hits me on the shoulder with an open palm, and just as I think of my next question, “why me?” I notice the image begins to glow. The details becoming so crisp that I actually think I can feel the ancient cloth on my skin and the dry-hot New Mexican air in my lungs.

I blink, and when my eyes open, I am staring at a middle-aged man with crazy white hair, “Did it work? Are you Javier? Or not?” he yells his questions at me in a bavarian accent over the clatter of all the machinery behind him.

I feel dumped in an oven cranked to full blast. The sun is hot desert sun, and a small breeze stirs red desert dirt. I nod, because, for a small moment, I remember my name, then as if someone drenches my brain in freshly poured coke- I collapse into a blissful nothing.

Published by Bryan Aiello

Raised on Florida’s Gulf Coast, Bryan served in the Army, graduated from the University of South Florida and now calls Brooklyn home. For more of his fiction and updates on his podcasts, follow him on Twitter: @bryaiello and Reddit: /u/voyage_of_roadkill.

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