Somewhere nearby Society there is a quirky backstreet hardware store owned by an old punk whose name is Sen Maa Kloud. In his fourties Sen Maa Kloud usually wears ununsual steampunk clothing considered by most people as a weird folk : his main business relates to time travelling.
It was rare for him to welcome customers so when the doorbell rang he jumped off his chair, put away in a drawer another recipe he created the last night and cleaned up a bit his messy store.
- Welcome, you can come in, he said while filling a jar with sea weeds.
- Do you sell fuel ? I need some, my submarine is out of order.
« What should I do ? If he or she is an Official I’m a dead man », he thought but it stirred up his curiosity. He turned around to face his interlocutor. A red haired young woman in her early fourties was smiling at him. He felt relieved that she didn’t wear the regular uniform of the Official class. Citizens weren’t allowed to possess their own submarines. Sempai and the others have never came to visit him.
- Sorry for asking but… are you an outsider ?
- Oh… yes in fact. I’m Ashley the representative of the few refugees that have been living on earth after the Traumatism.
- How does it feel ?
- What ? I don’t get exactly the sense of your question.
- I mean… living on earth after the Events… how does it feel?
- It is what it is. We are compelled to live in nuclear shelters if we want to survive. Most of the time the weather is very intangible: during the day the heat of the sun is too high to go out and when the night comes it suddenly drops so anything can grow whether it is vegetables or trees. Most importantly we are haunted by the past and the memory of the ones we’ve lost. I hope that history won’t repeat.
- What if you could travel through time to reverse everything ?
- It might be a way to run back periods in order to repair our mistakes but it should remain a foolish scientist’s dream like in futuristic movies.
- I’m not joking, I’ve created a recipe that should work to make it possible. If you wish to give it a try...
- What rightfully worries me is to realize that it looks like a pretty serious and credible alternative according to you.
By the way you didn’t answer my question: do you sell fuel? I have to be back before nightfall.
- Maybe I have two or three quart pots left since it has been discontinued but it won’t be enough to manage a whole ride. Let me give you an advice : you should stay here for a while until everything will be back to normal. « They » don’t like outsiders to interfere in their affairs.
- Who are « They ?
- Don’t talk so loud, it’s the government, muttered Sen Maa Kloud looking worriedly by the window. Be aware that you won’t come out unscathed if you get in trouble with them.
- You would be of good help if you could tell me where is located the presidential palace.
- Unless you recklessly intent to negociate with them you shouldn’t go there.
- Why ?
- Since the President has taken the full powers the system has been slowly transforming into a dictatorship where any kind of opposition is prohibited. That’s why intellectuals and protesters are persecuted.
It sent chills down Ashley’s spine. Unwillingly she had a movement of retreat.
- Don’t worry, I’m just warning you.
Behind them the door slid showing Moto Rorola. Sen Maa Kloud smiled :
- Long time no see my dear Moto Rorola, what do you want ?
- Have you read the newspaper this morning Sen ?
- It annoys me to read their insipid rag you know.
- My poor Sen when will you stop acting as an old teenager ? The case is that we are in great danger because Sempai has been wrongly accused for the stealing of a new prototype of the « Shovel of Death » !
- First of all take a breath and calm down. Then reconsider things reasonably : even if they arrest him, there is no proof that…
- They did and… oh Sen you know… if Sam Suung and Nokira weren’t there I don’t think he had been still alive.
-- So I guess you come here at last because time travelling is the only way to be able to defuse the « Shovel of Death ».
- You haven’t changed at all… Well here we go I’ve finally created a recipe that will work this time. By the way I miss with all my duties, let me introduce Ashley to you. She lives with a few other refugees on earth since the Traumatism, entitled as their representative.
- My name is Moto Rorola. Nice to meet you I’m a well known healer all over Society.
- Nice to meet you too, Ashley answered with a smile.
- I hope to meet you again someday, be careful with the ingredients if you don’t want to end up lost in the space time continuum.
- Thank you I’ll never forget you helped us to carry everything well.
- You’re welcome, see you soon. Good luck, take good care of you.
- I will, goodbye.
Moto Rorola offered to drive Ashley to the presidential palace aboard her aircraft but Ashley declined :
- If time travel is the only resort to save the world from premature destruction by defusing the « Shovel of Death », it is definitely proven that negotiation is no longer suitable to deal with the President, as such the United Countries Committee should appoint a statutory justice court to decide on Society’s destiny.
- What will you do? You can’t ride a submarine that is nearly out of order.
- May you grant me your hospitality for a few days?
- If only it didn’t put all of us in danger I would have accepted but I can’t because our lives might be brought into play.
- It is understandable.
- I can safely assume you’re our ally so I won’t leave you behind.
- Intellectuals don’t seem to be welcomed around here, are you really ready to take such a risk for me ?
- It’s one of the main reasons why the Lonesome movement was created.
- What ? Are you a revolutionary ?
- What an ambiguous question, why do you ask such sensitive information ?
- I came here as the refugee’s representative but also… as a mother who has lost her children.
Moto Rorola looked at her and sighed :
- Come aboard just in case a police patrol would hear us. Who are you ?
Ashley pulled up herself to sit on the passenger’s seat. Moto Rorola closed the aircraft’s air lock hastily.
- My full name is Ashley Wonderland, Ashley avowed. Where are we going ?
- Anywhere else but to my house, you’ll be safe there.
- What about my submarine ?
- You don’t need it anymore. You’ll travel with them.
- Who are you talking about ?
- We’ll arrive soon, get ready.
- Huh ?!
Moto Rorola made the aircraft to do the loop the loop to land on a landing pad at the main entrance of the Official district.
- Are you okay ?
- I think so but I’m lucky that you are a good aircraft driver.
Moto Rorola smiled and called a cab :
- Now we should hurry.
Ten minutes later they have reached their destination. Moto Rorola unlocked the main door :
- Does it bother you if you’ll sleep in the living room ? she asked.
- It’s up to you.
- Well… alright. In any case the guest room is already used so … Sempai ?!? What are you doing ? Go back to bed you have and you deserve to take some rest !
- Never mind I’m fine.
- Fortunately you seem to have recovered fast. You idiot you shouldn’t involve yourself in the governement’s affairs !
- The President is a tough case, he is using blackmail on Alys and Mickael to find who has stolen the « Shovel of Death »…
- Talking about Alys and Mickael, let me introduce their mother Ashley to you.
- What- what the ?! Sempai and Ashley exclaimed in sync.
- I’m Sempai the Lonesome movement’s leader, nice to meet you.
- My name is Ashley. I’m glad to know my daughter and my son alive.
Moved by meeting again with her children after so many years Ashley stood in front of the guest room’s door, hesitating. Her hand shaked when she grabbed the door handle to make the door to slide. Would they recognize her ? What were they going to talk about ?
She felt awkward to let such questions harass her so much.
The door slid smoothly.
At first they continued to talk not noticing her.
Ashley felt relieved to see them laughing and chatting with the carefreeness of their age like old friends.
A gentle breeze passing by the window freshened the air.
- At last my promise is fulfiiled Alys and myself are healthy and safe, Mickael said gently.
Ashley swept a tear and smiled, overwhelmed by emotion. With open arms she simply took them inside her arms to lighten them against her heart.
- I’m… I’m so glad that you’re alive…
- Trust me now that we are reunited, it’s over. All these years of suffering are behind us.
- If you wish to save the world, you(ll have to defuse the « Shovel of Death », Ashley explained.
- Currently it’s the last thing to do ; the lives of many people might be put in the line if we blatantly declare war to the governement like this, Mickael responded.
- I don’t mean to fight or to use terrorism. When you want to solve or to change something you should identify the causes and the consequences.
- What should we do then ? Alys asked.
- We can’t deny that we failed to prevent the explosion from happening in the past but there’s a way we can make sure such traumatism won’t happen again. We have to travel through time to the day before it explodes. From here we’ll have less than twelve hours to achieve the defusing like it should have been done.
- How to manage that if I may ask ? Mickael inquired, puzzled.
- We’ve got a recipe created by someone called Sen Maa Kloud that will work.
- I’ve heard rumors about him, he is not the type of man I would totally rely on.
- He offers his help to us although it may put his life in danger, can we refuse ?
- Guess we can’t.
- Moto Rorola should be done with the preparation by now.
Dressed with the proper clothes in organic cotton the recipe recommended, Alys and Mickael felt a bit awkward :
- Why don’t you come with us ?
- After all I shouldn’t come while earth’s political balance is still fragile. I don’t want it to turn into pure anarchy.
- It’s a justified point of view but we’ve just meet again…
- I know but practically earth’s balance should be put before our family matters. I’m sorry… but it’s not really a farewell we will meet again someday in a world worth called « new world ».
Moto Rorola entered in the living room with glasses filled with a weird-coloured blue mixture and vials full of radioactive sea water :
- Sen has really no sense in his mind to think he could make his business with this but anyway if you follow all of his advices described in the recipe it should work.
She held out a piece of papyrus and a watch and added :
- Just in case the papyrus would desintegrate during the travel I record all the information in this watch. Don’t lost it or you’ll never come back.
She gave a glass and a vial to each of them, the papyrus to Alys and the watch to Mickael.
- See you in the next world.
Mickael and Alys nodded and drank at the same time the so weird mixture.
Immediately after they fell asleep.
- Good night and good luck, Moto Rorola whispered.
But they were already disappearing.
Lost in translation,
Fingers tightly embraced,
Song for the change.