Mona Lisa Overdriveway
It never hurts to get your kids interested in technology. Because you never know what they're gonna have to do one day in the future.
Olivia lay on the driveway in front of her Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine, furious at herself. It was a crisp afternoon, but not cold yet. The manual was open and she was connecting the battery, which she'd convinced her father to buy, as it was sold separately. If only she'd thought to bring the rubbing alcohol. Maybe it just wasn't meant to be...
Olivia knelt down next to her companion, the Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine. "Looks like they got you bad, Sterling." she said, glancing down his metal frame.
Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine laughed. "I been hit worse. Don't you waste your time here, girl. Get back to the past and make your delivery."
Olivia looked behind her. The Interdictors were gathering with their sharp metal claws. She'd always heard the stories, but never seen them. Ever since the Tech Tyrant had seized control of the planet's energy sources, his Interdictors had been desperate to stop every Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine on the planet… and, as far as she knew, the last one was her partner.
"You gotta go, girl," said the Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine. "My built-in meter says I don't have much electricity left. Just enough to hold 'em off while you escape into the past."
"I can't leave you! I can't face a day without your parabolic mirror reflecting what's left of the sun's light!" Olivia pressed her hand against the Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine.
"You gotta, kid. Get going. Take this-" The Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine handed Olivia a bottle of rubbing alcohol "-and get back there. Through the time portal. Help your descendant build a Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine of her own… power that little electric car… shift the balance… shift the balance…"
The Interdictors were closing in. Olivia held the bottle of rubbing alcohol close, gritted her teeth, said a fast prayer, and ran for the portal… just as the sonic beams began to fire. Not fast enough! said the voice inside her head. Olivia felt her heart drop to her knees. The Tech Tyrant had taken over her implant! Already her arms and legs were beginning to freeze. In just seconds, she would be another cyber-zombie, and humanity would be nothing more than… than… than…
With the last bit of her strength, Olivia threw the bottle at the time portal. The last thing she saw was a flash as the bottle disappeared into the past. Olivia figured maybe, just maybe, whatever past it found might still have a chance…
Olivia heard the gentle thump behind her. She never would figure out where the bottle came from. But it was just enough to fire up her Thames & Kosmos Stirling Engine, and just enough to start her dreaming about what sort of engines she could build when she was older.
And, somewhere, a world began to change.