“I, Bella Garcia, will be traveling back to Feb. 8th, 2121 by time machine No.88. To make the journey safe, I shall…I’m responsible for any accidents...and shall never have the idea to come back...confessed on Feb.8th, 2171.”
Bella put the paper down and exhaled. She had imagined a million times what this day would be like, and had always thought she was ready. But obviously she was not. The officer with a large mustache sitting in front of her said she could go for a ten-minute walk if she wanted to. Bella nodded, and put on her green gas mask. It was so heavy that her neck was severely bent from wearing it for fifty years.
She went outdoors, and could barely see through the thick gray “air”. Her mask beeped and automatically activated the infrared glasses. A view of red lights appeared. Unlike fifty years ago, there were no plants around at all. The only bit of grasses that survived until now was preserved in National museum. Millions of grey buildings stood tall and fierce towards the sky. Bella stared at those fake metal trees and flowers on the ground. Great artists used a lot of time to paint them, but did it change the reality? She looked up and saw a sign on a building that read: National Time Machine Launch Center. Thousands of people who wanted to avoid this world full of pollution came here for time travel to the past. But of course, Bella wouldn’t have taken this risk just for an escape.
“You ready?” The mustached-officer opened the door of launch room eighty-eight, and welcomed her in.
Bella looked around nervously. There was a huge ball-like machine in the center of the room. It was slowly spinning, and it was surrounded by blue lights. A long silver path connected it to a gargantuan beeping computer. The officer typed something on the computer, which made the machine immediately stop spinning.
“You may go in!” He excitedly turned on a switch and began dancing around Bella. She gave him a wide smile, and suddenly pulled out her old USB.
“Could I bring this with me?”
The officer checked the USB several times, looking at it curiously..
“Even my grandpa doesn’t use USB...no offense. But just wondering, what are you gonna do with dis?”
“Well, I am older than your grandpa was then. Plus, you will see,” Bella winked. She was already sixty-one, but there was light burning in her dimmed eyes.
The officer suddenly laughed aloud. But then he immediately became serious, and claimed, “I was told that people cannot bring anything to time travel. It is our rule. So sorry.” He began to put the USB into a drawer.
Bella was shocked. Millions of emotions past on her face, but nothing came out of her mouth. Finally, she murmured quietly:
“Please let me bring it with me, it’s as important as my life…”
“Sorry, I also want a life so just follow the rules. Why there is such a rule like this is that even little objects can hurt you during the time travel. You know that once the machine starts no one can stop it, even when you are in danger.”
“You cannot stop the machine?!” Bella suddenly screamed out loud. Just as the officer was still in shock of her screaming, she grabbed over the USB in his hand and ran to the computer. She pressed the green start button on the computer heavily and rushed into the spinning machine.
“Bye! I will miss ya!” Bella yelled excitedly while the officer was running towards the time machine and staring at her angrily.
After the door was completely closed, Bella heard a strange noise outside. She shrugged, and began observing the inside of the machine. She was in a white ball, sitting on a small chair. There was a desk with one green button in front of her. Suddenly, a transparent screen showed up over the desk. Bella touched it, leaving two blue dots. They faded away, and a sentence appeared on the screen.
“Press the green button when you are ready.”
Bella leaned forward and quickly pressed the green button. Grabbing the USB, she was ready.
Bella’s stomach twisted painfully, and she vomited right there. She felt thousands of pairs of eyes on her, and looked up carefully---she was in the middle of a road, with rows of cars and their drivers were beeping their horns at her. Her face burnt in embarrassment, but she didn’t forget to check her sweaty hand first---the USB was right in her palm! She cheered silently and ran away from the road. Slipping into a bookstore, she couldn’t help feeling excited---there were trees, bushes, clean air and water. She was 50 years back, and the environment was still amazing!
Bella looked at her reflection in the glass window. She had cute pigtails, green shiny eyes and arched eyebrows. Wow, she thought, I’m technically eleven-year-old Bella now!
It was winter and she was wearing a blue thick coat. It had a deep pocket with a zipper where she put the USB carefully. She also had an orange backpack with an iphone and some money in it---maybe she was supposed to buy some milk for her family, but she couldn’t remember. She opened her iphone, and was freaked out because it required a password. How could she still remember things that existed fifty years ago? She tried her birthday, her mom’s birthday, her dad’s birthday, and finally, she placed her pinkie on the home button---it worked! Bella quickly went on Yahoo news, and saw the head news: CNB ENERGY STATION DECIDES TO LAUNCH AT 8 P.M ON FEB. 8, 2171. IT WILL PROVIDE ALL THE ENERGY INCLUDING ELECTRICITY, GAS AND WATER, FOR THE WHOLE WORLD ONCE IT IS ACTIVATED SUCCESSFULLY.”
Shoot, Bella cursed. It was already eleven o’clock in the morning, which meant she only had nine hours to stop it from launching. The energy station began slowly leaking extremely poisonous chemicals into the air since it was launched, but somehow no one could stop it. Millions of people died because of breathing in too many bad chemicals or drinking polluted water. Eventually, the environment went all wrong and all the energy was used up. People needed to find other ways to provide energy, but they could only use more dangerous ways which impacted the environment more...They were like dominos, but the energy station was the first one.
For the first time in many years, Bella Googled the location of the CNB company. It was not far away from her, she remembered. Her “plan” would probably not work if it was a ten-thousand-mile journey, which took about six hours by Uber plane in 2121. She rushed to the street, and pushed a red button on the Uber Plane Station.
Right before she went on the plane, she saw someone rushing and shouting to her. But she was too busy to pay attention to it.
One and twenty-three, she looked at her watch. She gave all her money to the Uber driver, and ran down the plane runway. There were many visitors in the building. Bella pushed through them and sprang to the fourth floor, but she was stopped by the guards.
“Permission slip?” The tall guard asked.
“Well, I don’t have one. But I come all this way to show the Commander some really, really important thing!” Bella pulled out her USB in her blue coat, and handed it to the guards.
The two guards looked at Bella, and then at each other. The taller one checked her USB with a bomb detector, and then the shorter one called a trained dog who smelled the USB and quickly walked away. When they finally had made sure that it was totally safe, the two guards slowly began walking to the end of the passage.
In the Commander’s office:
“Erh, Commander Smith? There is this little girl, erh, she wanna show you this.” The short guard cautiously looked up at Ryan Smith, and gave him Bella’s USB.
Ryan didn’t say anything. His eyes were cold-ocean-blue, and his mouth was in a straight line. But he took the USB anyway. He was still worried about the energy station. Although they already had done thousands of experiments on it, an error still could happen at any time, and could cause huge damage to the whole world. But there was nothing he could do to help. And while he was double-checking the possibilities and the solutions, here came a strange girl who wanted to show him a newer USB.
Whatever, he thought. He looked carefully at the USB, and saw the year it was produced---2145. He nearly fell off his chair, and convinced himself that it was only a prank or an error. He inserted it into his old computer. There was a video clip and a word document, and he clicked.
After fifteen minutes of waiting, there were finally some noises in the Commander’s room. Bella heard a loud shouting, and the two guards ran outdoors in a such a rush that they nearly bumped into the wall. They both looked fearful and shocked, which gave Bella a really bad feeling.
“What happened? What did he say?”
The two guards were about to respond, but a flying USB from the Commander’s office scared them. It was thrown heavily to the ground and crashed into two pieces.
Bella’s face immediately became as pale as a white paper. She couldn’t help cursing and screaming silently, and her lips were shaking. The USB had all the evidences to prove that the energy station was actually leaking after launched. But the Commander didn’t believe it. He destroyed it.
“He said it was a bunch of fake bulls**t, so…” The taller guard carefully took a glance at the Commander’s office, and whispered to her.
“Can I talk to him for a minute though?”
“Hm… He doesn’t wanna see anyone…”
Bella nodded. She walked silently downstair. Ok, she thought, the tragedy was gonna repeat again. Great. Just give up, they won’t listen to you.
While she was zooming out and didn’t know what to do, someone poked her legs. She looked down, and saw a little boy around six glancing at her. She was not really in the mood to play with children, and began to walk away. However, the boy followed her and was murmuring something that sounds like “Bella.” She felt annoyed and confused.
“Hey, why are you following me?” Bella bent down and stared at the boy.
“Bella, I wath Bob,thy offither!” The boy couldn’t speak clearly with two front teeth missing. He looked anxious and worried.
“You were the officer?!” Bella gasped, “Why are you here? I never realized that you were years younger than me!”
The little officer rolled his eyes. “I wath fired becauth ofh you, and I chased you all the way here.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. But then you still should be chilling at home. Why did you take the time machine?”
The officer didn’t respond. He looked around, and said, “Just call me Bob. I ain’t the offither anymore.”
“Ok, Bob,” Bella stared at him sadly. Her eyes were suddenly filled with tears, and she hugged Bob tightly, “You know the USB I brought with me? I put a video and a document that prove the disaster of the energy station, and showed it to the Commander. I was just trying to prevent that tragedy. But he said it’s bullshit. Bob, he broke it into pieces.”
Bob frowned. He patted Bella’s back and was struggling to get rid of her hug. Bella released him quickly after she realized that.
“You came here just for preventing thy leaking ofh thy energy thitation? Silly, you should show him why thy energy thitation leaked and where wath wrong withy it.” Bob rolled his eyes again. He gave a paper with words to Bella, “Here.”
Bella looked at it. She gasped. The document listed all the problems that caused the energy station to leak after it’s launched. She now had millions of questions to ask Bob, whom pointed at the clock and stopped her attempt.
“I will go withy you, since you were already kicked out lathit time.”
“You are suspicious.” Bella stared at Bob as if he was from Mars.
When they were on the fourth floor again, the two guards quickly came forwards to Bob. They seemed already know him very well, and were really worried to see him with Bella. Obviously, Bella was not welcomed, and the guards didn’t allow her to go in.
“No! Don’t be rude! Thy is my friend.” Bob was yelling at the guards while pulling Bella to the Commander Office. Bella felt so confused about Bob’s identity, but at least he was very helpful so far.
They actually slipped into the office. Bella cleared her throat. What she saw was a young man with a perplexed expression on his face.
“Bob, why are you here with this girl?” Hesnapped.
The little boy ran into his arms, and tried to acted cute, “Daddy, she’s super nice! I was lost and she helped me the way in. And she seemed sad because you broke her USB.”
Bella glanced at Bob. He’s Ryan Smith’s son? What the heck is going on?
“It’s you who gave me the USB?” He asked angrily.
“Yes, Commander,” Bella looked right into his blue eyes.
“You were kidding, right? Since you helped Bob, I will give you a chance to explain all of these nonsense then.”
“Alright. I, Bella Garcia, am from 2171 in the future. Well, you might think it’s insane, but you know that people already got a bit of an idea about how to build a time machine in 2121. Then two twin brothers invented it in 2137, and I took it in 2171, at the age of 61. I know that’s pretty late, but I have to make money for this trip…”
Bella told him all about the energy station, and pointed at her USB, “I partly took this video, and it partly stolen from Youtube. And the article was from News. Just wanna let you know that the energy station didn’t work after all. You need to fix it, or stop launching it.”
Commander Smith was obviously in shock. The video with images of thick grey “air” and people with gas masks on their face floating over him. He began to believe that what this girl just said was true, but he then blamed himself for trusting a young chick bragging around who was still in elementary school.
“Well, how can I know that you are not just making up stories? This is a big and serious decision to not launch it just because of what you said. Thousands have worked on the energy station for years. We can’t just give up on it,” he frowned at Bella.
“I said you can fix it. Here are all the problems that caused the energy station to leak. Why don’t you at least read it and check with your crew?”
Commander Smith was about to say no, but Bob grabbed his arms and forced him to look at the paper. He thus nodded reluctantly, and scanned the lists.He quickly walked to the corner of the room, and made a phone call.
“David, listen. I just realized that the AF4 part was in the wrong place. It should be on the top of the energy station…”
“Ok, then be quick. And the pipes we designed will not work after all...might cause a gas leak…”
“Right. We will launch it later. Make sure to let the news know…”
Commander Smith turned to Bella, and smiled.
Bella smiled back, with all her heart.
“See? I was right to let her talk to you, daddy.” Bob sitting there, satisfied and accomplished.