By Robert Lynch
They came with bows and arrows. The barbarians – for there is no better word – streamed out of the capsule and began slaughtering the technicians. We never stood a chance, Genghis Khan’s Mongol hoard against a couple of dozen time machine engineers.
The floor was thick with blood by the time the screaming stopped. Genghis paced back and forth by the temporal controls trying to understand the console before him. He got off his horse – he had ridden the horse out of the capsule – and stalked the technicians that were still alive. They were corralled in the corner. Genghis said something to them in his native language; mostly, the reply he received was crying. This wasn’t the first time that prisoners of Genghis Khan had been this uncooperative.
“You.” Genghis said. “Tell. Me. How. Work.” Impressive for a man who had only heard English in screams as he sliced people literally in half.
“We can’t.” Lead Temporal Engineer Leslie Wallace said. “You need to go back to where you came from.”
“Many. Have. Told. Temujin. This.” Genghis said, his accent improving after only 10 words.
“This is not like the others,” Leslie said. “Composite bows and leather armour belong in your time. This does not.”
Genghis looked at Leslie, then at the console and at the capsule. “Time. Is. Not. Temujin’s. Master.” The Great Khan said. “But. A. Tree. That. Does. Not. Bow. To. The. Wind. Is. Soon. Broken.”
“I can return you home,” Leslie said. “Where you belong.”
“The ancestors would not have guided me here just to return,” Genghis said.
“Learning knowledge before it is time could damage history,” Leslie said.
“Yes.” The Great Khan nodded. “But a witch wife could be very useful.”
Leslie shifted uneasily.
“A woman who controls such powers is bound to give powerful children,” Genghis said.
“I’m not interested in becoming your wife,” Leslie said. “You have plenty of wives.”
“Nonsense,” Genghis said. “I have only 3 or 4 witch wives. You will make a fine addition.”
“Great Khan, the knowledge I possess cannot go with you to the past,” Leslie said.
“Of course it can,” Genghis said. “So long as you use your knowledge and do not teach, it will not hurt history. And I will not need to hurt these men.” Genghis’s sword flicked toward the other technicians.
“I see,” Leslie said. “Then I have no choice; I am at your command, Great Khan.”
“Leslie!” Leslie’s second in command, Michael Rencroft yelled, “You don’t need to do this.”
“Of course I do,” Leslie said. “Someone needs to make sure that the capsule is properly shut down when we reach 1220. There are high voltage cables that could be quite a hazard.”
Michael dropped his head.
The Khan, his retinue, and his new bride all entered the capsule, and Michael sent them back to 1220 CE. “Send a crew to Mongolia,” Michael said. “The capsule will be cycling in a temporal flux. Send a Medical Examiner. Leslie will still be shorting the actuators. And I think it’s time that we put some defences in the capsules so that no one but authorised personnel can enter them.”