Note: So this story is inspired directly by TG’s excellent take on the stereotypical American high school story (Slime Travelers). Fair warning, this initial part is all groundwork, no mess yet. Enjoy.
10 April, 2016, 11.25 GMT
“Are you lost?”
The man jumped. He turned and, spotting her, ducked into the room.
“Lost? What makes you say that?”
“Nothing in particular. You just seem a bit lost… doctor.”
The man wore a white lab coat and a stethoscope around his neck, even had a clipboard. But he wasn’t wearing any ID that she could see, and she’d just watched him walk back and forth past her door seven times before she said something.
“Well, I’m not lost. Temporarily misplaced maybe, but certainly not lost.” The man grinned at her wryly.
Molly Baker smiled back. The man was tall and slender and handsome. Maybe today just got interesting.
“Hey,” he said, as if seeing Molly for the first time. “You’re a nurse?”
Molly brushed her pale blue scrubs.
“Well it’s not a fashion choice.”
“Splendid! Would you consider lending me a hand? You see I left something in one of these rooms, but I can’t remember which one. Seems they all look alike.”
“Mmm. This wing is supposed to be closed for renovations. What were you doing over here in the first place?”
The man lifted an eyebrow.
“I could ask you the same thing.”
Molly shrugged. She was short and pale, with a heart-shaped face and big hazel eyes. Her hair was bleach-blonde, and only just showing dark at the roots, done up in a plait that reached her collar. Her scrubs were worn over a tight tank top that showed off her rather perky bust, which at the moment, she wished was a little more evident. Molly had only been a nurse for a few months now, and so far she found it to be a total bore. Currently, she was seated on the reclining bed in an empty hospital room, her feet dangling over the edge.
“Fair enough. I was just looking to get away for a few minutes,” she brandished her phone with a half-pout, “Busted, I guess.”
“How about a bargain? You help me out, and I won’t report you to the authorities. Deal?”
She hopped off the bed and stuck out her hand, it was small in his grip.
“You’ve got a deal, Doc. Molly Baker. How may I be of assistance?”
10 April, 2016, 11.35 GMT
Ten minutes later, Molly stopped in front of a room, presenting it to the doctor with a flourish.
“Here we are. The room where they stuck all the wheelchairs. You were looking on the wrong side of the wing.”
“Of course. Thank you very much. You’ve been an extraordinary help.”
He opened the door, then paused, looking over his shoulder.
“Say, Molly Baker, how do you feel about adventure?”
Molly smiled, batting her eyes a little.
“I suppose I’m a fan. Can’t say I get much of it around here though. But I like the idea.”
He ushered her into the room, then closed the door, checking the hall furtively.
“Molly, I have a confession to make…”
“Go on then.”
“I don’t work at this hospital…”
She feigned a gasp of shock, covering her mouth with both hands.
“In fact… I’m not even human.” He said it with a completely straight face.
Molly just stared at him, searchingly.
“I mean, I guess effectively I am. I can take human form when it’s convenient. But technically I am alien to this world. I’m a sort of nomad you see. We call ourselves Time Barons, and we travel the galaxy, galaxies really, exploring through space and time…”
“Aw, shoot. And I had such high hopes for you… Please, at least tell me you escaped from somewhere in THIS hospital. Because if you wandered in off the street to have your nervous breakdown I’m going to have to do a ton of extra paperwork and…”
The man interrupted her by pulling a small silver remote from the lab coat. He pressed a button, there were two quick beeps, and suddenly this… thing appeared in the room.
It was big and silver and shaped like an elongated egg, but flat on the bottom where it sat on the floor. The mysterious man pressed another button. There was a hiss, and with a small wisp of steam, a round hatch on the object slowly swung up and out. Inside it was dark, but Molly could see dozens of glowing dials and colorful flashing buttons.
“Still think I’m mad?”
“As a hatter. But now I also think you might be telling the truth.”
“Cross my hearts and hope to die.” He held up his right hand solemnly.
She fixed him with a brow-knit stare.
“Just kidding. Only one heart. That’d be weird. So what do you think of my ship?”
Molly stepped over to the space-egg. The top of it came up to her shoulder and she was all of 5’6”. Tentatively, she stroked the shiny silver surface.
“Does it have a name? These things always have names, right?”
“I call her the KANG.”
“What’s that stand for?”
He scratched the back of his head.
“Eh, nothing… Just thought it sounded cool…”
“Oh yeah, yeah, no, it does. I like it. Is she fast?”
“Heh. Who needs fast, when you’re traveling through time?” He gave her a rakishly dashing smile. Suddenly, he pulled out an incongruous gold pocket watch and glanced at the face.
“Alright Moll, I’m due to leave. You up for a spot of adventuring? Time to make up your mind.”
“How come? Why me?”
“Gets lonesome. All the most fantastic sights, the most amazing places; everything gets dull after a while. Bringing somebody along livens things up. And you seem like fun.”
Molly bit her lower lip.
“Oh, I’m not sure. You can like, go to the past and all that?”
“Headed there now, matter of fact.”
“Hmm… The hospital will have my arse, cutting out mid-shift, not to mention the NMC…”
“It’s up to you, of course. But they don’t have to know you were gone at all. Time machine, remember? I can bring you back, to this very spot, fifteen minutes ago. Nobody’s the wiser. You’re choice, but I really have to get going….”
A wide smile spread across Molly’s face. Yeah, she thought, why not?
“Ok then, I’m in. Let’s go!”
28 March, 1570, 09.16 GMT
Molly stepped awkwardly out of the oblong ship. Once outside, she set about cracking her back and popping her shoulders. It had been a cramped ride.
“Gee, Doc, I’m amazed we both fit inside that thing. It’s tiny!”
The doctor unfolded himself from within the pod. Standing beside it, he patted the rounded metal lovingly.
“Aw come on, what do you expect? She’s basically a big egg…”
“A window might have been nice. Don’t your eyes get sore, all those flashing lights all the time?”
“You get used to it…” The doctor was standing at the rear of the pod. He had a small panel open, and was trading out the white lab coat for a long brown jacket. Molly jabbed a finger at him.
“Hey, yeah! What about me? Am I supposed to walk around all day in these… Wait, hold on. Where are we?”
Wherever it was, it smelled like horses and moldy feet. They were standing on hard-pack dirt, and there were old-looking stone buildings on three sides. She could hear a cacophony of noise from nearby, but none of it sounded like traffic.
“Actually,” the doctor grinned at her, “we’re only about four blocks from your hospital…”
He walked over to the end of the alley and motioned Molly over. She followed him blithely, trying to picture a map in her head.
“Or, to be precise, four blocks from where your hospital WILL be, in about 450 years.”
Molly took one look, and fainted on the spot.