Like all good stories, mine began with a flash of light. I was sitting in my garage like usual, right? I was underneath a car, messing with it when it happened. The world disappeared, and all I could see was light. White took over my vision, flooding my eyes until I couldn’t see anything else. Wait, no, that’s not right. There were numbers, too. But I didn’t understand any of them. They ran through my vision like runners in a race, coming and going in an instant. 25, 42, 3.452212… As much as I tried to follow them, I couldn’t. My chest hurt, a squeezing sensation; I couldn’t breathe. Like maybe I knew that time and space were being ripped apart for that brief second. I remember blinking, closing my eyes for a second because my god – the combination of it all was too much.
And just like that, the car was above me once again.
“What the hell?” I whispered. I pushed myself out from under the vehicle and rose quickly to my feet. At first, nothing seemed out of place. I saw my cars, lined up like sentinels near the farthest wall. There were my tools, and snacks for when I worked too long.
Now that I think about it, I shouldn’t have taken so long to notice the girl.
When I did see her, I screamed a little. She knelt on one knee like a superhero, in the center of a circle of glowing symbols I couldn’t read. She wore a skintight maroon suit with lining as purple as her short, straight hair.
“Hello?” I called. “Um, are you okay?”
I should have known something was wrong when she shot to her feet, eyes wide, her bronze skin shining with sweat. The circle around her feet disappeared. Her gaze landed on me and she ran toward me.
“What year is it?” she asked, panting.
She let out a long breath. “Oh, thank all the stars.” She bowed her head, putting a hand on my shoulder. “You’re going to thank me later.”
“I’m sorry, am I allowed to ask any questions here?” I asked. “I feel like I just entered a sci-fi novel, and I’m not sure if—”
She stepped back. “Oh, sorry. Time Agent 1-Beta-Archive-17 at your service.” She stuck out her hand for me to shake it, like the babble she just spouted meant something.
“Brian,” I said dubiously, shaking her hand. “Um, where did you come from?”
She blinked, then said without hesitation, “That’s classified.”
I frowned. “By who?”
“The Sirius Agency. Wait, you don’t have them yet, do you?”
“How the hell did you get in the middle of my garage?” I asked louder and pointed to the spot on the floor where she appeared.
“Oh geez, that’s complicated.” She wiped a hand over her face and groaned, “Stars, I wasn’t supposed to get any witnesses.”
“Witnesses to what?”
“Never mind.” She walked toward the door. “What month is it?”
She turned and smiled at me. Even then, it sent a shiver down my spine. I was so caught up in it. I almost didn’t hear her when she said, “If I played my cards right, I might just be able to save the world.”
That was the first time I ever met Andromeda.