"Where are we?"
"Dern’d if I know. The dang indicator broke."
"Probably the spring. It can be easily fixed."
"Well, let’s take a look outside, shall we?"
The three men push open the door of cylinder and step out. They are stepping into what is for them, in one sense, unfamiliar territory, but in another sense, a page out of history.
They have landed just behind a small clump of trees on a bare looking plane. There are no houses in sight. All they can see in any direction are small hills, stream-filled gullies, and here and there a cactus.
"Well, where do you think we might be, Walt?"
"Well, let’s look around a bit." ventures Kerry.
"But," insists Daniel, "let’s inspect the cylinder first, shall we?"
A cursory check reveals that, as they expected, a few of the outer layer tiles have been destroyed by the trip.
"Well, these will have to be replaced." observes Walt.
"It’s a good thing,” adds Daniel “that we came prepared for this."
Meanwhile, Kerry has been looking around. He suddenly notices something. "Say, fellows, there are some people up ahead there." He points past the group of trees in front of them. "Maybe they can give us an idea of where we are."
Several men in tattered clothes, some wearing strange looking hats, are gathered at one end of a small stream. Most of them seem to have their hands in the water. Moving past the trees, our friends notice that this is only one of many small groups which are spread out all along the stream and at various pools in the ground as well. As the first group notices our threesome approaching, several of the men begin to talk excitedly:
"Howdy, strangers! Welcome to Drygultch."
"Would you be th’ ones what come in that thar strange contraption we seen come a-whizzin' through th' air an' plop down behind them trees over thar?"
"I knowed folks was a-usin' ever kinda means conceivable t’ git here, but I swear I ain't never seen nor imagined one o’ them things in all my born days."
"Whata y' call it?"
"How’s it work?"
Walt raises his hand and speaks for the group. "Perhaps we can answer your questions better if you answer a few for us first."
"Whata y' wanna know?"
"Well, for starters, what year is this? And, secondly, where are we?"
A posture of puzzlement comes over the group. Two of its members speak, one right after the other:
"Are you guys crazy or something'?"
"Wow! You must really be outa touch! But, if y' didn't come here ‘cause o’ th' rush, why'd y' come?"
Meanwhile, Kerry and Daniel have been looking around for clues. Upon hearing the word 'rush,' Kerry's ears perk up. "Did you say 'th' rush?' Look at those pans, Walt. They must be panning for gold. This wouldn’t be the great California gold rush of 1849 would it?"
One of the men jumps up and puts his hands on his hips. "So you do know where you are!"
"By conjecture only."
"This is making less and less sense all th' time. Who in th’ heck are y' and where d' y' come from?"
"Why should we tell you?" asks Walt. "You wouldn’t believe us anyway."
"Yeah! You’d better tell us" insets one man, raising his fist, "or we’ll flatten th’ lot o' you here an' now!"
Will scratches his head. "Well don’t say we didn’t warn you that you wouldn't believe us."
"Just tell us, an' let us decide."
"Well," replies Walt, "We are from precisely one hundred and forty seven years into your future."
"That 'contraption' as you call it," adds Kerry, pointing to the cylinder, now barely visible through the trees, "is a time tube."
"It has transported us," adds Daniel, "from what was your future and our present here into what is your present and our past."
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