Morris Connelly, fragile, old and bewildered, sitting in a hand-hewn log chair, watched with astonishment the air shimmer inside the log cabin that he had built as a younger man. The last time he had seen air shimmering like sun rays dancing over glistening sea water, Connelly was waving good-bye to the team members who had helped him in 1855 establish the township of Augustus, Oregon. The suddenness of air cracking open in the middle of the living room compelled Connelly to grip the arms of the chair, then they came through.
They appeared human enough, nothing about them to suggest otherwise, until one of the two, an attractive female with long auburn hair wearing a white jumpsuit, tapped a device on her left wrist, sealing the crack. The air continued to shimmer while the male in a claret jumpsuit walked over to Connelly—paralyzed in his chair from both disbelief and anticipation—to attach a semi-transparent metallic strip across his forehead. Connelly’s eyes darted up to see the baldheaded male with turquoise almond-shaped eyes retreat back next to the female, who began tapping and gesturing with her nimble fingers the holographic display projected up from Connelly’s forehead.
The female backhanded the air in front of her with her right hand, dismissing the holographic display. “Nate, please remove the sensor strip from Mr. Connelly’s forehead,” she said. She smiled at Connelly as Nate slid the sensor back into his left arm pocket. “Mr. Connelly, do you recognize who we are?”
Connelly, frail from old age, nodded to the female, confirming his acknowledgment. “You’re Terrans.”
“Yes, we’re Terrans like you. My name is Ashley and this distinguished fellow is Nate.”
“You performed a medical scan of me, I assume,” Connelly said, feeling a bit more relaxed.
“Indeed, Mr. Connelly, your health signs are stable, but you’ll require a few medical procedures en route back to Earth Prime,” Ashley informed Connelly, adding, “You’ve completed a very long mission, and we’re here to take you home.”
Ashley motioned Nate to help stand Connelly up on his feet, then she tapped her wrist band and the crack in the air reappeared. The three stepped through the opening, sealing the crack behind them. Morris Connelly, mission commander, was on his way back home as the shimmering air inside his former cabin faded back to normal.
If you’re new to this Universe and haven’t read the story that spawned something much larger than I had anticipated, read my short story, “Bryce’s Mission.” Stay tuned.