It started off like just some sort of adult space camp, if you will – a group of about nine of us got to go up for two launches, we’d fly around in space for a bit, and then come back down … no biggie.
I was surprisingly comfortable with the whole excursion, presumably because a lot of the adventure simply consisted of sleep – we’d takeoff from Earth, fly around a bit once we settled in orbit, and then the next bit was somewhat of a blur as we’d fall asleep for a while and then wake up ready to come back home. One time before this part happened, I recall being slightly concerned about not waking up and how dangerous what we were doing really was, but soon I was out and that was that…
It wasn’t until our group got called back for another run that I learned that something was up.
It turned out that the world was in peril of … something … and we had been tasked to do … something … in order to save the world. There were still nine of us total, each with a particular reason why we had been chosen that wasn’t shared with the others.
When it was finally time for us to go, I accidentally stalled the rest of the group because I wanted a glass of orange juice – which the rest had been enjoying before boarding – but there weren’t anymore clean glasses, which was apparently really important because we had all been sterilized to go out into space, so there was a good bit of scrambling trying to find me a clean glass so that we could go. At one point the captain stood at the door to the spacecraft and shouted, “I’ll go buy him one my goddamn self!” and shortly thereafter, I had my glass and was good to go… 😕
The “sleeping” that we had endured in our previous trials was actually a test to make sure that we could survive the hypersleep required to get us to the alien world which we were traveling to – they didn’t tell us how far away it was, which I figured is never a good sign if they won’t even tell you.
By the time we awoke much, much later, we were quickly being deployed to a planet that looked remarkably like ours … because it was ours, only several hundred years in the past.
Strangely there was nobody to be found as we toured abandoned structures that looked a lot like modern shopping malls that we know today. They were a bizarre mix of modern and thick jungle, and eventually we stumbled upon this puzzle that we identified as what we had traveled all that way to solve. Nothing seemed to make much sense as we moved pieces around and placed different objects on the small altar made of stone, until one of our group was able to playback this weird, 3D rendering from the past that depicted another group like ours trying to solve the same puzzle.
What was different was that this group was very much alien, and each time that they failed, a giant ship would appear in the sky and scoop them all back up just before the world went dark, almost as if these visitors were also trying to save the world and were being evacuated just prior to the destruction setting in…
We hadn’t really thought about how we were all getting back home up until that point.
It was in watching these aliens work that we realized somehow we were off a year in when we had landed to solve the puzzle, and somehow we were able to hop back in time to find that now our offerings on the altar were at least getting a response out of the puzzle whereas before it had just remained silent.
We tried placing a couple of random things we found lying around like rocks and sticks, treating it as if it was some sort of attenuator that just needed a certain weight to trigger what it was looking for. Inexplicably, I had been carrying with me this strange, black anamorphic goo that seemed to react badly to anyone but myself – I tried placing it on the altar, but whenever I tried to back away, it turned into this really nasty bug/scorpion-thing and tried to attack anything near it, so we eventually gave up on that idea.
As everyone split up to scour the mall for items to try in the altar, I found myself in this Disney store that featured all sorts of statuettes from the movies, which didn’t really fit with the times but I wasn’t questioning in this bizarre world at that point. We all came back with armloads of things to try, all of which failed as the clock ticked closer and we kept trying to watch the 3D alien playback for more clues.
It wasn’t until I noticed something that no one else had in the video that I had a sinking feeling of how the puzzle was to be solved.
It was an altar, and altars require a sacrifice.
Somehow it wanted the strange, black goo that I carried with me, but with it only favoring me, I was going to have to stay behind to keep in under control in order for the puzzle to complete.
The dream faded out on this unexpected notion that whether the rest of the group with me could make it back themselves or not, I was going to have to stay behind to save whatever was left of my friends and family back home on modern day Earth.