After being abducted at the Temporal portal, Erish awakens in ancient Scandinavia
She kept her eyes closed. Maybe, if she pretended to sleep, she could delay knowing what they had done to her. She lay still, hoping no one would notice. The bed was comfortable. She heard birds singing, the rustling of leaves, she smelled fresh air. Had she died? Was she in paradise? Moving her fingers, she felt coarse fabric covering her body. Still not wanting to stir, she remembered a Potacas ship, a hideous vessel rammed the shuttle bay. She remembered seeing, in displays around the bridge, creatures in environmental suits, climbing around the vessel. Suddenly they stood, circling her with weapons drawn.
She pressed the disk in her hand. Their shields activated. She aimed the blaster at the one nearest her. He almost seemed to laugh. Looking around, she saw ten more entering the bridge. She considered hand-to-hand combat. But, there were at least 50 enemy ships around the Portal.
Her two crew members lay down weapons. There was no agreement between the three of them. They separately came to the same conclusion. They knew it was the only thing they could do. She had never surrendered in battle.
They took her by the hand, and carefully, almost respectfully put a helmet on her, guiding her down to their ship. At almost the same time, she received telepathic messages from her two crew members, telling her it was an honor to serve with her.
Once in the tight, cramped vessel, she was given a liquid to drink. Touching the liquid to her lips, feeling the syrupy sweetness on her tongue, was the last thing she remembered.
Now, lying in this bed, she felt a dull pain. As she became more fully conscious, her abdomen throbbed. The pain came and went, sometimes sharp, sometimes dull. She could feel her heart beating in her belly, as if blood vessels there had multiplied and enlarged. She felt a swelling at her crotch between her legs and a low cramping, a feeling she read about but had never experienced.
She was menstruating.
She was afraid. Perhaps it was foolish to surrender. It may have been better to turn the blaster on herself. She knew they wanted her as a specimen. She was certain they activated her reproductive cycle. They were using her body to harvest eggs.
She heard male voices outside in an unfamiliar language, rough and guttural. The men were walking up a hill, breathing heavily. She opened her eyes, looking at the ceiling for minutes, making sure she wasn’t hallucinating. She turned her head. She was in a rustic cabin, the walls made of roughhewn logs and dried mud, ceiling, beams and rafters. She sat up slowly, turning towards the sound of voices. There was no covering on the window, only shutters attached with leather straps. They were open, allowing fresh air inside. She saw cabinets of white metal producing an electronic hum, the only technology in the room. Looking down, she wore a floor-length, roughly made dress with a jacket cover. She stood, and immediately brought both hands to her abdomen. She wanted to call out in pain, but was unsure of who would come. She bent over. Then, the throbbing lessened. She sat down.
She saw a metal cup and bread on a small table, left for her, no doubt. There was also an oil lamp. She thought it ironic that with technology in the cabinet against the wall, they would use clay oil lamps. Lying on the bed, she pulled herself closer to the table, but the pain grew worse. She lay back on the bed again, holding her abdomen. The door opened. She did not look immediately. The men stopped talking.
One of the men walked to the bed and stood near her. He was tall and thick, human, tanned from working in the sun. He had dark eyes and closely cropped hair. He wore a tunic gathered at the waist by a belt, over the tunic, a vest. His trousers ripped and repaired repeatedly. He looked down and saw her eyes were open. He pointed to her and turned around to his friend, saying something in the unknown language. He seemed innocent, pointing to her with childlike delight. The language, the cadence, the pronunciation conveyed wonder and hopefulness, like a child.
His friend turned and left while the young man remained, standing near her. For a moment, she was afraid. She was planning how she would defend herself against such a big man, when he gently sat down beside her. She could sense what he was feeling, excitement, hopefulness. He cautioned himself to be careful. He wanted her to like him.
He said something she didn’t understand. She didn’t want to peer into his mind too deeply. If he noticed, he might react violently. The words he pronounced were gentle, soothing. He raised his eyebrows and pointed to himself, “Sigfus,” he said. Then he pointed to her, raising his eyebrows.
“Erish,” she responded.
He seemed disturbed and looked towards the door. Following his gaze, she saw they were on a ridge. Dark hills lay in the distance. A pathway led away from the structure. He pointed to himself again and said, “Sigfus.” Then he pointed at her and said, “Halfrid.” He then nodded happily. He pointed to himself again, repeating, “Sigfus;” again at her, “Halfrid.” He smiled again and nodded. Now, as if to test her, he pointed at himself a third time, “Sigfus.”
Then, he pointed at her and raised his brows. She knew he was giving her a name. So, she repeated, “Halfrid.” Apparently, he wanted her to be, “Halfrid.” He smiled again and took her hand in his large, rough ones. He brought her hand to his lips and kissed it softly.
She felt he was pleased by their interaction. He stood, walked to the doorway and turned, lifting a leather pack from the dirt floor. He returned, placing it on the bed between them. He looked at her and smiled, as he untied it. From inside, he withdrew a canvas bag. Opening the bag carefully, as if its contents were fragile and precious, he brought out pieces of dried meat and berries. He placed them in the palm of his hand and held it out to her. She looked at him suspiciously. But then, feeling hunger and thirst, took them. He took the metal cup of water and held it for her.
She began to wonder, who is this man? What is this place? How long had she been here? They both sat there while she ate from his hand. When she had enough she looked at him. He was staring at her with a goofy grin.
The nourishment helped her feel stronger, she could think more clearly. She wondered how she had been kept alive while they activated ovary production. She looked at her hands. She saw puncture wounds. There were several recent ones and marks from older ones. How long had she been unconscious? She had been kept alive by intravenous liquids.
Raising her sleeves, she looked at her arms. She felt of her neck to see if she felt any wounds or scars. She felt a scrape at the back of her throat. They had been using a feeding tube.
She looked at him seriously. His smile disappeared.
“Do you understand me?” she asked.
He simply looked at her. Then, he took her hand in his. He pointed at her, and then pointed at himself. He said something like “meen.”
She thought his language sounded Germanic. If so, he had just told her she belonged to him. She would try modern German. She would ask him if he understands her, “Verstehst du mich?”
He pulled away, then looked at her suspiciously from the corner of his eye. He cleared his throat and swallowed, nervously shifting his position on the bed. He leaned in towards her, nodding his head slowly. He responded, “giese.” He moved closer again and uttered, “forschtandon.” A slow smile spread across her face. It was close enough. He understood. Now, they had something to work with. There were similarities between this language and Old English. She looked towards the window. Her abdomen growled loudly. She put her hands over her belly.
He looked at her abdomen and smiled sweetly. Childlike, he reached his hand forward, gently placing it over her swollen abdomen and asked, “eknian?”
She thought he was asking if she was pregnant. She wondered if she could be. If she were, it would most certainly be a Potacas hybrid. What did they plan to do? She sighed thinking of the numbers of children she undoubtedly had mothered by now. She had probably been a useful tool to them. Suicide would have been better, if only to prevent becoming a weapon for them. Where was she? What is this place?
“Nese,” she responded, telling him she is not pregnant. “Hwere?” she asked. She needed to know where this is. She didn’t know enough Old English to string together a sentence, and she wasn’t certain she was using the exact words. But, hopefully, he could understand. She looked towards the open window, realizing she was probably at ancient Earth. The Tayamni, her own people, may be nearby.
He raised his eyebrows and pointed down. “Heer?” he asked.
She smiled, knowing that word, more than anything confirmed her hypothesis.
“Skånelandene,” he responded. “Heer, Skånelandene.”
“Na Denemerk?” she asked.
“Giese,” he nodded. He might have just as plainly said it in modern English. They were at an area where the Germanic tribes mingled. It must be around the time Christianity was introduced to Northern Europe; around 800 AD. Why did they bring her here? What do they hope to accomplish? What did the local people think about the technology in those cabinets? They were made of a white, composite material, with panels of blinking blue lights. Why would the Potacas risk exposing their ancient victims to this technology?
Did they capture the Solar-Portal? Were they spreading throughout human time?
Sigfus reached over with large, farm workers’ hands and touched her so sweetly, so gently, she was moved. She looked into his innocent face, the face of humanity, trusting, unguarded, virtuous, and she saw her own people. Tayamni DNA permeated humanity, making humans more like Tayamni than their more primitive forbears.
Now, with time travelling technology in the hands of their enemies, this beautiful human face would change. Selfishness, the desire to dominate, to control, to dispense with those found to be objectionable, these characteristics would become more dominant.