What I have discovered from writing this story about Quincy is that I am really only dipping a toe into the science fiction writing game. I am avoiding space ships and aliens. I am keeping things simple and keeping them Earthbound. But that’s okay, right? Because nanos are complicated enough. Click here to start at the beginning.
“Quincy and the Nano, Pt. 3″
We cannot really hold it against Quincy that he passed out, all things considered. A quick dose of a concoction created by the Nano-Breather had him awake again in moments with that same face, now worried, hovering over him.
“What’s wrong with you? I tested your blood and you didn’t get into the Breather after all,” he said. “What’s your name? How many fingers am I holding up?”
“Quincy James. Four. And I seem to have sent myself exactly three hundred years into the future,” Quincy pronounced with great and sudden clarity.
The man was openly skeptical. “Into the future? Don’t be ridiculous. Time travel isn’t possible now and it certainly wasn’t possible… whenever you are from. When do you think you are from, Dr. James?”
“Not a doctor… yet,” said Quincy, and then sort of wished he’d let that mistake go. Dr. James had a nice ring to it. “I’m from 2013. I was on a tour and I pushed some knobs and… turned some buttons… no, no, wait…”
“Yes, okay. Well, my name is Dr. Harry Mildred and you are going to need a nanoscan, I think.”
“Nanoscan?” asked Quincy. He always perked up when he heard “nano” and it began to dawn on him that he had been hearing it a lot.
“Well, yes. To see if you are quite right in the head. And everywhere else, for that matter. Don’t worry. We have one right here on site. I’ll get you set up and then we’ll see about having you taken to a mental facility for some more detailed nano-readings.”
“Nano-readings!” exclaimed Quincy, feeling his strength returning to him. “You are using nanos. Nanos for body and brain scans and…”
Dr. Mildred looked at him quizzically. “Well, yes, of course. Nanos do everything for us. Everyone knows… oh, but of course, you say you’re from three hundred years ago. They could barely do anything with nanos back then.”
Suddenly, Dr. Mildred was very curious. “So tell me, Mr. James, how did you – supposedly – teleport into the future.”
“Well, that’s just it. I don’t know. I found this machine and it looked so fascinating and there were these buttons and knobs and… well, you know how it is, don’t you?”
Finally, there was a look of sympathy and fellow-scientist camaraderie on Dr. Mildred’s face. He smiled. “Yes, I know. I love adjusting dials. And buttons are just… fabulous. Come on, then. To the scanner.”
The nanoscan proved two things to Dr. Mildred. One, that Quincy James was perfectly healthy and had not experimented with the Nano-Breather in any unhealthy way. And two, that Quincy James’s genetic makeup was exactly right for someone who had lived three hundred years ago. In effect, Quincy was telling the truth.
Very well, thought Harry Mildred. He’s from the past. It’s not really all that hard to believe. I mean, what is time but a bunch of wobbly-
“What do I do now?” asked Quincy as he came out of the nanoscan chamber.
“Well… er. I guess we’ll have to figure out what machine you used and try to recreate it and send you back to where you came from,” said Harry, experiencing a sudden, deep sensation of scientific adventurousness coming on him. He hadn’t had a project this exciting since… well… not ever.
“But I don’t have the least idea what it was,” complained Quincy. “Also, I’m hungry.”
“Oh, no trouble there. Come on and I’ll get you something to eat. What would you like? A sandwich? Here.”
Harry led him back into the round room with the pod chairs and walked over to a small countertop with a smooth, sleek blue metallic machine that looked, Quincy thought, like a futuristic coffee-maker. There were buttons galore and Quincy scurried over to watch. Harry pushed several buttons from a series of columns. The machine made a gentle whirring sound, and a hot roast beef sandwich on whole wheat bread with cool, crisp lettuce and tomatoes and spicy mustard emerged on a little plate.
Quincy picked it up and examined it all over, awed beyond words. He took a bite. Delicious! Harry was watching him smugly.
“What is this machine?” Quincy asked Harry, inspecting the veritable bounty of buttons on the device.
“It’s a Nano-Nutriobot, of course,” said Harry, although he was well aware Quincy had no way of knowing that. “We’ve had them for fifty years or more, now. This is one of the latest models. It does foods and drinks and even handles alcoholic beverages pretty well. All with nanos.”
“I love nanos,” Quincy said raptly, consuming his nano-made sandwich with gusto.
He was given a full tour of the facilities by Harry Mildred, with whom he formed a fast friendship through Quincy’s willingness to hang on Harry’s every word and Harry’s enjoyment of being the one who knows everything. That, of course, and their love of nanos.
Quincy fell immediately in love with the infamous Nano-Breather, which was capable of producing everything from perfumes to anesthetics to an injection used to cure asthma. Quincy adored the Nano-cise room where the staff would start the morning by getting a full-body workout with their own personal nano-trainer. Quincy couldn’t get enough of the nano-reality screen that created soothing, living landscapes on office walls or displayed videos of cute kittens playing in baskets of yarn or penguins in the Arctic Pockets. Whatever you wanted to see. It was magical.
“So how is Earth doing?” Quincy asked Harry .
“What do you mean?” asked Harry. Then he understood and laughed. “Oh, you mean about the Earth being destroyed by humanity’s misuse of the environment? Yes, I remember now. Oh, the earth is fine. Quite nice, actually.”
“How so? What happened? Did anything happen?” asked Quincy. He felt that his professor Dr. Adamson would want to know when he got back. She had always been terrified of melting ice caps.
“Oh, over the last two hundred years the earth got warmer, as expected. But it adapted surprisingly well and eventually the entire world turned into one great tropical paradise. It’s nice and warm everywhere. Food grows better. Everyone’s happy – except the environmentalists, I guess, but they’re never happy. I mean, there’s a few cold places left – we call them Arctic Pockets – where the polar bears and penguins live. But everywhere else is pretty much the same. Scientists spent a few decades determined to find something wrong with the planet, but they finally had to give up.”
“Whoa,” was all Quincy could say.
“Yeah, for a while everyone wanted to vacation in the Arctic Pockets because they were the only place that wasn’t warm and pleasant and it was supposed to be some sort of ‘experience,’” Harry chuckled. “But the environmentalists had to go crazy about something, so they went crazy about that and now the Arctic Pockets are protected. You can only see them on the nano-reality screens.”
“Whoa,” said Quincy again.
Harry had more work to do on something nano-related, so he left Quincy in the break room with the pod chairs and the Nano-Nutriobot. Quincy set to work. He tried several combinations of buttons and produced a cherry limeade slushy, a corndog, a shrimp cocktail, a fruit salad, and a huge muffin that was every color of the rainbow, but tasted like chocolate.
Quincy was absently pushing another combination to try to create some sort of jelly donut when he suddenly heard a voice above his head.
Quincy James: I See You.
Part Four, next week!