EARTH; THE UNITED PROVINCES OF KHAN. JANUARY 18, 7893020
It was ten years after the Endless War had ended, and Akira was too busy figuring out how to put on her blue jumpsuit properly to realize that she was late. Patiaris was placing baby Chartenia on the child’s transport before moving on to preparing his own.
"Akira?" he called. "It's time to go!"
Akira froze. "O - okay!" she stuttered. No, it was too soon. She wasn't ready to go yet. Glancing around, she realized how weird her room looked without her belongings. Kind of eerie. She gave a long, drawn out sigh, swept her eyes around once more and walked out.
Taking a hesitant step out of the house, she stared across the barren landscape: the gorgeous yellow-and-brown sand she had grown up playing in, the few beautifully plain white houses that survived the war, the empty, bright grey sky that relaxed her as she stared into the long-empty disaster zone.
"What took you so long?" Patiaris asked his wife.
"Just . . . not ready to leave everything behind, I guess,” she replied.
"Everything? Isn't that a little over-dramatic?" he snorted.
"Pat, you're acting like we're doing something as simple as moving down the block."
"You're acting as if you're moving to Jupiter!”
"I may as well be!"
"Fine!" Patiaris pressed the violet button on the panel, and they both felt the now-familiar sensation of teleporting to the headquarter of WAVE.
"Welcome," Ashiki said in her usual monotone voice. "They are waiting for you on the third floor."
"Okay, thanks," Patiaris grunted. He grabbed Chartenia from the platform next to him, and the couple walked toward the elevator, still slightly flustered with one another.
Akira hated the silence. All it did was give her more time to worry about the task she was about to start, and what she had to do to complete it. Thankfully, the door opened quickly, and Carmoran was right at the entrance, waiting for them.
"Akira, thank you so much for being willing to do this," he said gratefully.
"If it meant Chartenia could live, I'd do anything,” she replied with a similar thankful tone.
"Okay, let me explain. You have one million dollars -"
"Money of the time. Anyway, that's all we can give you, so don't spend it all at once. You'll need to get a job, so we have fake school records for you, and anything else you could possibly need. The machine will be ready in a couple more seconds, so I suggest you say your good-byes."
Akira already could feel tears spilling down her cheeks. "Oh, Patiaris," she said.
"Akira, I love you," he told her. "Give our baby a good chance."
"I'll miss you so much."
"It's ready," Carmoran interrupted.
"Maybe we shouldn't -"
"No," Patiaris said firmly. "You need to go. I love you."
Crying, Akira grabbed her husband’s hand. “Please, you have to come!”
“I already told you.” Akira saw a small tear run down his face. “It’s not safe yet for multiple passengers! It’s okay for Chartenia, she’s small, but two full-grown adults?”
“Then I won’t go!”
“You’re not backing out, I won’t let you. You have to go! Chartenia must be saved. You know what would happen if -”
“Hurry up!” Carmoran yelled. “It won’t stay stable for much longer!”
“NO!” Akira yelled. Chartenia started to cry.
That was when Patiaris broke and did the unthinkable. He pushed Akira and their child into the machine.
Akira watched as time seemed to go backward. Members of WAVE building the machine, discussing problems, and eventually the whole headquarters being built. Nobody noticed her.
Then came the war. She watched as historic battles were fought; she watched houses being destroyed and people being killed. Chartenia was still crying. Finally, time moved forward at a normal pace once more, and Akira saw a small brown-and-green thing. She took out her guide and found a picture of the thing. Oak tree. (A young one, obviously.) That's how she knew she’d made it. She’d made it to year 2001.