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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Write in the SCIENCE FICTION genre (05/10/07)

By mick dawson



On exercise in Scotland, were the 9th British tank brigade. The crew of a single challenger tank sat in silence in the dense fog. Their objective was to avoid detection by the rest of their unit and slip by them. The lone vehicle sat in the midst of the low lying cloud like a huge boulder which belonged to the landscape. The crew listened and glanced from their stations, not daring to speak.
Heat signatures registered on the scanner. Scores of them, coming their way. They had to be infantry.
The commander cursed under his breath and whined that they had been detected already.
The crew listened to the footfalls of men on foot in the damp earth both approach and pass them and stared after naked tattooed men of the ancient tribes. Swords were drawn as they ran, shouting at the top of their lungs in an elder forgotten tongue.
Before any of the crew could voice their enquiries as to the turn of events, their radar-man whispered of a much larger signature, three hundred meters ahead of them.
Their tank shuddered, reverberating with the impact of a huge boulder. It lazily rolled off the top of the chassis to the ground.
The commander adjusted his binoculars to see…legions of Roman soldiers assembled in a strict and organized manner. He dropped his binoculars and ordered his driver to move the vehicle as he saw more catapults jettison their loads.
Huge rocks thudded to earth where they had previously been and more of what resembled Pictish warriors ran past them in retreat.
Questions entered the tank commander’s mind. Many of them all at once. Yet within a moment, he had digested them and made his decision. Where these people all came from and how they came to be here was of no consequence. For now, all he knew was that they were a threat and he would retaliate.
He commanded his gunner to fire on the Roman hordes…

…Professor McDermott never readjusted to the bitter cold of the Scottish moors after the last two years in the sweltering heat of Australia, but still he felt most at peace in the dark solitude of his own dig site. In the early hours of the morning was a stillness that soothed him. A mere two hours from now and the archaeological dig would be alive with the chatter of his workers as they scraped in the soil for any traces of the Pictish tribes that he knew had to have dwelt here.
He stared along the edge of ‘Hadrian’s Wall’. A simple waist high structure, built as a boundary and a warning to go no further. The Romans had erected it themselves. God had obviously favored these savage Scots. The might of the Roman Empire had conquered the known world but were unable to subdue the tiny nation. He wondered why? He had hoped that this latest dig might unearth a few answers.

Descending the stairs into the pit, he shone his torch over the earthen walls and noticed a slight discoloration in the soil. Taking up a fossicker’s pick, he chipped lightly into the soil. It began to break away into an opening. Picking up momentum, he dug his pick axe into the soil until a narrow cleft in the earth broke away before him. Pointing his torch through the gap failed to reveal anything and so he twisted sideways and sidled into the passage. In the gloom ahead, he detected a huge white object.
Abruptly, the passage opened up into a huge cavern and he was now free to approach what first appeared to be an enormous stone, but as he neared it, he gasped, almost dropping his torch.
“Professor McDermott!?” called the familiar voice of his assistant from outside.
“In here, Karen!” he answered. “Come and see this!”
Momentarily, he heard a hurried shuffling from behind to be joined by the young woman.
“That can’t be what I think it is.” She said in an awed whisper, but there it stood before her… a hand carved sculpture of a Challenger tank.

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This article has been read 704 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jason Sanders05/18/07
nice piece!
Janeil Harricharan05/21/07
This is an extremely awesome piece! I like time travel a lot, and this took the cake! I've faved it, and hope to see more in the future! Contact me through the message boards sometime, I'll be more than happy to co-op with you! :)