A “Bridge” to Starstruck
The following story is something I suppose can be called “authorized fan fiction,” written by my husband, Keith. It’s his imagining of how Bridge Over Time, my one time-travel novel, might possibly be linked to my Starstruck series. When I read it, I thought fans of both my Starstruck books and my historical romance novels might get a kick out of reading it, too.
Keep in mind that my hubby is not a professional writer, just a very supportive fan of my books. Though I did do a light edit to clean up little things like punctuation, this is his writing, not mine. I’ll be interested to hear your thoughts, either in comments here or replies to my July 2022 newsletter. Enjoy!
Bridge to the Stars
Columbia, South Carolina, 1808 (17 years prior to Bridge Over Time)
Mark David Prescott admired his handiwork. On the outside, the grandfather clock before him merely reflected good ole South Carolinian workmanship, with beautiful and intricate woodwork. It was on the inside that its true differences were found—differences no other person in the Palmetto State would ever guess.
Nor would they guess that Mark David Prescott himself was different. Very different. Even his name was assumed, for he was nearly 200 years old now. In the eyes of native Earthers, or “Duchas” as his kind called them, he looked perhaps 60, but he felt more his true age. “Too long on Earth,” he thought now, feeling the twinges of the Earth disease that had claimed him. Not that he would have traded his 56 years on this planet for anything. The birth of this new promising nation. The Duchas woman he loved. Their daughter, born in 1783 as the great Revolution ended, and his granddaughter, now only four years old.
“What are you doing, Pop-Pop,” asked that very granddaughter, bouncing into his study, using her pet name for him. He smiled at her, still sensing the faint but discernible brath of her now-attenuated origins . . . his origins. “Well Catherine I was just admiring my latest project,” he replied. “What do you think?” He pointed to the clock.
She stared at it a moment. “What is it?”
“It’s a grandfather’s clock,” he answered.
“Of course it is.” She smiled. “You made it and you are my grandfather…but I call you Pop-Pop, so shouldn’t it be a Pop-Pop clock?”
“You are the ever logical little girl,” he replied. “You may call it your Pop-Pop clock, if you like.”
“Thank you Pop-Pop.” She looked at him, she looked at the clock. It ticked, it tocked (sounds he had added to the mechanism). She clearly expected more. Finally she simply asked, “What does it do?”
“It tells time,” he said.
“So?” she replied, quite clearly unimpressed.
She was only four. What could it hurt? She would never understand anyway, and would likely never remember. “Well,” he said, “this clock tells time very specially. Most clocks like this lose, or gain, a little time, minutes or so a year. This clock will not. This clock will always tell the true time to within…well, smaller measures of time than you will ever understand.”
“So?” she came again. He had forgotten how hard four-year-olds were to impress.
He sighed. “You like to go very fast, don’t you?”
“Oh yes!” she replied, beaming “The faster the better. I only wish horses ran faster!”
“Well, with this clock, because of its peculiar precision, you can calculate how fast you are going when you go very fast.” He was trying to impress her.
“Even on the fastest horse?” She now did seem amazed.
“Yes,” he said, “no matter how fast that horse.”
“Wow!” she replied. She looked at him, she looked at that clock, she looked back at him. “Well Pop-Pop, I think I will go play with the new pony.” And with that she was gone, running out to find the fastest thing she knew.
He looked back at the clock. Inside was a device she could never comprehend. At least, he had never been able to comprehend it. For a century and a half he had studied it. Built by aliens and left on Mars when they abandoned the colony of Nuath. The Nuathans had deciphered only a fraction of the technology left behind by those aliens. Enough, though, to engineer the ships by which he and other early adopters had traveled to Earth.
But the device at the heart of that clock remained a mystery. He had tried for most of his life but now, with age taking him, he had to hide it. The device functioned by a precise quantum pattern which he knew he could use to create a timepiece that would keep absolutely perfect time, so it was in a timepiece he chose to hide it. He suspected the device had sophisticated and mysterious quantum properties capable of finding and reversing the temporal dimensions of quantum particles with which the particles in the device might spontaneously become entangled. But to the extent that might be its purpose, he could find no way to control or predict such properties.
Perhaps that precocious grandchild of his could puzzle it out. He would tell her someday, when she was old enough to understand such concepts, and her own out-of-this-world origins. How ironic that he would tell her, when he had never felt comfortable telling either her now-deceased grandmother or his daughter… Suddenly he felt his nearly 200-year-old heart seize, and realized he had just had his last conversation with that grandchild. As he collapsed, he wondered if anyone would ever learn what the device at the center of his clock could do.