by AJ Marks
Buck followed Wilma as they entered one of the shopping areas I the building. They had gone up to the hundredth floor and Wilma seemed to know exactly where she was going. He noticed there were few people around as they entered one clothing shop.
“Ah, Colonel Deering, a pleasure to see you again,” a man said dressed in what appeared to be a suit. “How can I help you today?”
“I need a suit, or something to go to a press conference for him,” Wilma said pointing to Buck.
“Yes, I can see why, rags he’s wearing, what century did you get that, the twentieth?” the man replied.
“Twenty-first,” Buck replied back completely honest watching the man blink before moving back to the shelves of clothes.
“Let’s see, he appears to be a men’s size ten,” the man said.
Buck was about to say something but caught himself, he would wait. Ten seemed too small but numbers might have changed over the years, and actually he wore a large shirt. The man shoved a few articles of clothes in his hand and maneuvered him to an area he could change.
Clothing had not seemed to have changed much in four hundred years, things still looked pretty much the same, then again, there was little change it could do. The material was actually comfortable as he slipped the shirt and pants on before exiting out to a securitizing Wilma who looked the outfit over.
“Yes, it will do, thanks,” Wilma said.
Buck looked at the mirror, it was a bit plain to him, but he seemed to fit in a lot more now. He looked over to see Wilma talking with the guy before looking back over at Buck.
“Well, I promised you something to eat, come on,” Wilma said.
“Lead on,” Buck said, somehow feeling the roles were reversed when taking a beautiful woman out to eat.
“Come back anytime colonel, and you too captain,” the man said. “I daresay I will be seeing you again.”
“Um, yeah,” Buck said as they headed back to the elevators and down to the lowest level and they walked out of the building. Buck looked out seeing they were actually close to the ocean, or that’s what he assumed by the smells as they entered a building which he recognized as a seafood restaurant.
“The more things change the more they stay the same,” Buck said.
“What?” Wilma asked.
“Oh, the smells of the ocean, that is the Atlantic?” Buck asked.
“Yes, New DC sits close to the site of old Washington DC as you knew it,” Wilma said.
“So, how large is the NAA?” Buck asked.
“We take up most of what used to be the United States of America, Canaanda and Mexico,” Wilma said.
“Cananada, you mean Canada?” Buck asked.
“Yeah, something like that,” Wilma replied. “I looked it up for you.”
“Thanks, impressive, are all the towns like this?” Buck asked.
“Yes, a large building serves as housing and retail minimizing the footprint on the Earth allowing for nature to take back the land. Scientists deemed a major contribution to global warming was actually the paving of grasslands. Of course we’ve also decreased the levels of what you called greenhouse gases, and worked to fix the damage which had been done,” Wilma said.
Buck gave a slight whistle as the waiter came over to get their drinks. Buck ordered water unsure what was good, it would be an experiment, and something he wasn’t willing to do just yet.
“So cave man, what’s is like being so old?” Wilma asked with a smile.
“Very funny,” Buck said leaning back for several seconds. “It’s strange to know everything you knew is, in a way, gone. This morning I expected to make the future, not be in it.”
He watched the waiter return before Wilma ordered something for both of them as he wondered what the future would hold.
Buck looked out at thee people in front of him. They had arrived a bit early and the Chancellor spoke with him for a few minutes before they headed out to face the reporters. He hoped in the four hundred years they had gotten some manners, or at least improved with their questions.
So he listened as the Chancellor spoke about what happened earlier in the day with the Rizonian Empire and that there had been a test from the past which had come to the present. The problem had been resolved peacefully and nothing further would happen other than a joint investigation into what had happened with the experimental craft, the Enterprise, sent out by an old Earth organization called NASA.
Several reporters asked some questions about the matter which the Chancellor answered briefly.
“Now, I’m sure you’re all anxious to meet our latest hero from the past, I present to you Captain William ‘Buck’ Rogers,” the Chancellor said motioning for Buck to stand and take the podium.
“Um, hello, I’m Captain Rogers, or Buck if you like,” Buck said to the group, unsure what to say to them. “I guess I’ll just take some questions.”
Several raised their hands and he finally picked one sitting in the front row, a pretty blonde.
“How do you feel about being in the future?”
“Well, I’m not that sure yet, I’ve hardly been here for long. I mean to me this morning I was back in 2021 about to undertake an experiment, not some sort of time travel machine to the future,” Buck answered. “I guess there is a lot for me to figure out, like computers and robots, not used to those walking and talking to me.”
“What were things like before the internet?” someone else shouted out.
“I don’t know, you’d have to ask my parents or grandparents,” Buck answered. “I imagine it’s changed quite a bit though from what I’m used to.”
“Were you trying to start a war with the Rizonian Empire?”
“Of course not!” Buck replied to the question a bit angrily. “I never even heard of them before my flight and ended up in their territory. No one in the twentieth century had ever heard of them.”
“What are you planning to do next?”
“Ah, well I don’t know,” Buck replied honestly, a question he had given some thought to already but had come up blank. “I suppose I could help a bit with history of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.”
“What’s one of the biggest difference between now and then?” another reporter asked.
Buck gave that some thought as well, there were a lot of differences. “I guess space travel, and how your cities are laid out, they sprawl upwards instead of out on the ground, and they are all connected. And a big one, no cars in sight anywhere.”
Several reporters shouted out their questions at once which he couldn’t hear. He waited for a few seconds for the shouting to die down before pointing to another reporter to hear his question.
“What do you think of being a celebrity from the past now?”
Buck chuckled at that question and something he had actually been expecting. It was one of the few questions he actually could answer.
“I’m still getting used too many things here, your technology and such and getting around, but when it comes to being a celebrity, that was something I had been anticipating and preparing for since the first day I was selected to undertake the flight,” Buck said “I mean it’s not every day you are selected and trained to become the first person to travel the speed of light. To you its common technology, back then it was cutting edge tech and theories. So I had been prepared to everything including a list of places I would head to if I was able to return back to Earth.”
“What do you mean if you could return?”
“Well, there was no guarantee that the FTL drive would work perfectly twice and the target was the moon, not a close even in 2021, unlike today where you have a city on the moon,” Buck said, recalling that from the TV he had seen, a news report said something about it. “I’m glad they continued the technology after what they perceived as a failure.”
“What do you think of the city on the moon?”
“It’s fabulous,” Buck replied. “I hope to visit it someday.”
He took a few more question which were not that difficult to answer before finally ending the press conference. He felt a bit excited and wondered what his new status in society would be after everything as he walked into the room where Twiki, Doctor Theopolis and Wilma were all waiting for him.
“You did quite well captain,” Theopolis said first.
“Biggy biggy, good job Buck,” Twiki stated.
“Thanks,” Buck said amazed to get a compliment from a robot.
“So, what do you think of the reporters?” Wilma asked.
“Different,” Buck said grabbing some water. “Um, do you have coffee in the future?”
“Yes, do you want some?” Theopolis answered.
“No, but I will in the morning,” Buck answered glad somethings hadn’t changed at all. He would need that caffeine boost in the morning for sure after everything that happened.
“I’ve been assigned to help you get acclimated to the future,” Wilma said to him.
“That won’t interfere with your normal duties?” Buck asked not wanting to put a burden on her normal duties.
“No, with things peaceful it’s easy, though I still need to do some training,” Wilma said.
“I’d like to see that,” Buck said as a thought came to him for a second, perhaps he could use his old training in the air force to do something here. It was something he would look into later on.
“We might be able to arrange that,” Wilma said. “Tomorrow will be busy, you’ve got a morning show to do, and a lunch news cast after that.”
“Meet and greet the locals,” Buck said.
“Something like that, come on, we’ll get you back to your apartment,” Wilma said.
“Sounds good, I’m beat, if you pardon the pun, it’s been a long day,” Buck said with a yawn. To him this morning had been heading out to start an experiment never expecting to be somewhere in the future.
“Then I shall see you in the morning, good-night captain,” Theopolis said. “Come on Twiki, we have a meeting to attend.”
“Great!” Twiki said, and Buck wondered how a robot could sound any less than enthusiastic to doing something as he watched them leave.
“Let’s go,” Wilma said as they left the room and headed to the transportation floor.
Buck sipped on his coffee, a nice smooth blend and thought back to this morning when he had been awaken way too early by a way too cheerful Wilma. They had to get to the news program early in the morning to prepare for the segment he would be on. The only good part of the entire waking up process had been Wilma had coffee with her, along with some breakfast pastry which reminded him a lot of doughnuts.
He looked on at the set, which seemed very typical to something he would see back home when he was interviewed before heading out to undertake the mission. There were lights, cameras, though they were smaller, but the room changed little to bring about the best lighting and sounds. The set looked impressive on TV, but in real life, much less than impressive.
“Up next, a blast from the past, a man who comes to us from the year 2021, someone you’ve all heard of, Captain William Rogers,” one of the hosts said as buck heard, ‘and break’ before everyone relaxed.
He was led to an end of the table, given a chair, which was actually comfortable to sit on, before looking at the others around him. Two women and a man made up the news show.
“Anything we can’t ask captain?” one asked.
“Honestly I don’t know, probably family, still have to get used to that one,” Buck said, it was the one thing had yet to really come to terms with. So far it felt more like he had gone away somewhere and would return back home to them.
“All right,” she replied as the producer suddenly came to life telling them how many seconds they had left before they were back on air.
End part 4