4010 AD, Planet Lalande 21185 a (Voznesenye)
Rrrrrrrrrrrr. That’s all I can say for now. Seriously, what were they thinking? They didn’t bother taking their own food (frankly, that’s a relief – I can’t stand the smell of kerosene), but what about me? I am a living, breathing creature, after all. I need to eat to survive, in the words of antique cynics or whatever. I’m telling you, I won’t tolerate such anticanism! What? There’s no such word? Then I just made it up, fellow sentient beings, to remind you that I’ve retained my brain functions and linguistic capabilities. Unlike certain other individuals who shall remain unnamed.
Alright. As they would say in the local lingo Martyn is so fond of using – “Einstein, rant out”. To parody that style further, I imagine I would have written something like that: dear diary, I’m so excited today, I’m the first dog ever to board a time-space machine, invented only a few months ago by the genius scientist Doctor Yemelyan Ivanovich Brhwxzgn on the planet Voznesenye, may the Anointed One bless it, blah-blah-blah, blah-blah.
And no, don’t ask me where Doc got his weird name from. All the Vozs have those comically long circus freak names. Doc explained to Martyn once that the first two parts of those names always honor the Ancient Ones, those who first colonized Voznesenye two thousand years ago or something. I don’t know and I don’t care, especially when I got no bone to gnaw now and nothing guarantees its presence in the foreseeable future. Which, actually, is going to be the past! Confused? Me too!
Merciful Gods! Truly, I am the first dog to travel back in time and space! If this is not the sign of forgiveness for the sins of our family’s infamous progenitor, I don’t know what is. I’m just too overwhelmed to bark! Of course, Doc and Martyn will take all the glory, because I’m undercover – wink, wink! – but inner satisfaction trumps petty ambitions, is that not so? Vanity, I despise thee! May an honest prayer make me forget the unpleasant emptiness of my stomach and the involuntary secretion of the salivating glands of my mouth. After all, we are going to the past! History is about to be made! Or ... unmade?
Man, I can’t sleep ... Mom would say: overexcitement. Oh yeah? Read all my seven lips, suckers: I ... am ... going ... to ... the ... past. In time and space. Eat that, Principal Strzxzxqd! I guess my parents won’t be grounding me anymore because of that little accident during our band rehearsal. Dad and Gug actually took it pretty well, but Mom freaked out. I thought maybe they’ll get really worried if I just leave like that, but Doc told me time flows differently in different spaces and dimensions and all. So maybe they won’t even notice I was gone.
Yup. I’m traveling with Doc and Einstein to the homeland of the Ancient Ones! Me, Martyn Georgievich Mcflxghy! Can you imagine? That’s, like, 4000 years into the past! Just think of it! Four frickin thousand years! For comparison, I’ve just turned 171 yesterday. Doc was angry at first and said I was too young, he doesn’t want to take stupid hundredagers with him, I’ll endanger his mission and all that crap. But then he admitted he was old and needed an assistant. Ha!
Anyways. The hardest part is going to be not seeing Sveto. In case you don’t know – Sveto is my birlfriend. Our girlfriend Zina is going to Mensk anyway, she needs to buy some new shoes, her last pentad got ruined by the acid rain yesterday. Girls. Can’t live with them, can’t just stick to the birls, right? Haha. I gotta tell you, Sveto took it hard. It cried all night yesterday. Zina is in the big city, I’m going through time and space and all, so who is going to take care of me, it said. We even had a fight. I said, Svetochko, in order to be a good triad we gotta respect each other’s feelings and give each other space, right? In the end it calmed down. Everyone knows birls have those mood swings, even my own Gug does sometimes. Never mind, it knows we both love it, the little rascal.
So that’s it. We are going back in time and space to save one very important Ancient One and change history! I told Doc, what if we change our present too? He said nah, don’t worry, youngster, everything is going to be okay! I really hope so, but sometimes I just start thinking – what if?
October 52, 1880 – a date that shall enter history! I have made the necessary calculations – according to the calendar of the Ancient Ones, this is the year 4010 since the birth of that wonderful person they call Jesus Christ. Yes, the Ancient Ones have disappeared without a trace, and their ancestral planet Earth does not exist anymore. But I, Doctor Yemelyan Ivanovich Brhwxzgn from the planet Voznesenye, which was colonized almost two thousand years ago by the great Alexei Vitalyevich Men and his people, have done the impossible – invented a time-space machine. With my assistant Martyn and Einstein, a non-sentient, speechless alien creature we have discovered at the outskirts of our capital city Mensk a few months ago, I shall travel in time and space to that fateful year when the foolish Ancient Ones executed their best specimen. And, by the grave of my three parents, we will save him!
Every single document I could find and research clearly indicated the superiority of Jesus Christ to any other Ancient One who has ever lived. Naturally, all those stories about him being divine and rising from the dead are just myths. Sadly, even Alexei Men himself, the father of our civilization, who has taught the once savage Vozs everything we know, was apparently not free from sharing those superstitions. He claimed in one of his books that it is precisely the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that changed everything. Nonsense! Imagine how much more that outstanding person could have done if he lived longer! No, do not imagine – follow us on our journey, and you will see the results with your own nine eyes!
First things first: I was certainly not prepared for that. Our ancestors, may their tongues be pink and wet for all eternity, might have been standing low on the ladder of civilization, yet their barking was articulate, and their essence illuminated by the light of the mind. But here, on the ancient planet Earth, four thousand years into the past, I have discovered an ignoble, tail-numbing fact: dogs who could not speak. In vain have I attempted to attract their interest by reading aloud the greatest poems of my homeland and communicating, as a pious dog should, by reverently quoting the Holy Scripture. The mindless heathens savagely attacked me, and only thanks to my valiant spirit and innate dexterity I managed to escape.
Oh the times! Oh the customs! Well, to be honest, I’m not exactly a saint myself. As they say, I’m a dog, and nothing canine is alien to me. I have to admit, the bitches here are hot. Saw a white one yesterday near Jerusalem – beautiful hips, short tail barely covering what they call the “cavern of angelic pleasure”; cute little snout just begging for a long, tongue-twisting kiss. I introduced myself and engaged in playful, flirtatious sniffing. And what do you know – a veritable horde of nightmarish hounds assaulted me before I could bark a word in my defense. The brutes!
But I digress. My apologies. I am not writing this diary only to depict my foiled amorous escapades. In fact, my intention was primarily to document my triumph as an undercover agent. In case you, kind hypothetical reader, haven’t yet figured it out, I was sent to prevent Doc from succeeding in his mad endeavor – save the Anointed One of the planet Earth! Such folly! Everyone in the civilized part of the Galaxy knows that the Anointed One, in that shape or another, is always sent to suffer, die, and spring back to eternal life in order to cleanse us mortal creatures from our sins. Tampering with the delicate fabric of mysterious divine plans will surely lead to a terrible disaster!
And now comes my full confession ... Alas, from the very onset I have fallen prey to curiosity, that tool the demons use frequently to beguile our weak souls! I was supposed to crush the time-space machine, but decided against it, too tempted to embark on this incredible journey. I have therefore duly prepared intoxicating materials for the two Vozs, intending to pilot the machine back to their planet and destroy it there before any change to reality has been made. But then ... Ah, my heart aches and the fur on my snout rises in deep shame! I missed the moment when Doc and Martyn, scaring away almost the entire population of Jerusalem with their understandably alien appearance (I’ll never get used to those succulent pores on their faces, just below the finger-teeth holding the liver), removed the Anointed One from his cross and carried him over to one of his disciples, knowing well that the damage done to his body was not yet irreversible, thus saving his life. Meanwhile, I was too busy running away like a coward from those mean wild dogs, because I could not contain the urges of the flesh...
Such an unspeakable humiliation, such a disgrace! Were I not a sincere believer in our Anointed One, I would have killed myself according to the old pagan tradition of our family. There is no excuse to what I did! How on Earth – or elsewhere – will I ever be able to undo it?
So, after we saved that Jesus fellow, Doc got all proud and said he’d like to see how that affected the history of Earth before we return back to Voznesenye. Alrighty, I thought, why not. Doc is such a big baby sometimes. Anyways, we went back to the time-space machine and Doc started typing in years and all that. He said he wanted to “explore history in its continuity while evaluating the temporal curve” or whatever other gibberish. Everywhere we stopped he sent out a tiny droid camera to make videos, collect info, and so on. That took a while, and with each new result he got darker in both faces.
“Martyn,” he said eventually, half of his eyes wide open. “I’m beginning to think that we might have committed a grave error!”
Einstein started barking like crazy when he heard that (he was generally acting nuts ever since we left). Doc didn’t pay attention and continued:
“Take a look at the information we have gathered in the year 452. In the unaltered version of the Earth’s history, Pope Leo convinced Attila the Hun to retreat from Rome. But since we saved Jesus Christ, Christianity was never founded; Jesus was venerated among most Jews as a highly respected rabbi, but for some reason nobody has ever claimed he was divine in this timeline – and without that claim, this religion loses its very foundation. No Christianity means no bishops, no bishops means no Pope, no Pope means Attila the Hun eradicating the Empire rather than trying to integrate his people into its system, as the later Germanic, halfway Christianized conquerors did. The European continent lies in ruins – and since, without Christianity, the city of Constantinople was also never built, nobody was left to preserve the great antique civilization of Greece and Rome. Their achievements in philosophy, science, and arts have as much as evaporated!”
I listened to this abracadabra patiently and said:
“Doc, what have you been smoking? History, shmistory – we saved a good guy’s life, how can that be bad? People are always people, no? They are the ones who make history. They’ll figure out something is wrong, and fix it. Right?”
“I’m now doubting that, Martyn!” Doc said in that comically tragic voice of his. “I’m doubting that! What if Alexei Men was right? What if history is a combination of our choices with ... that unknown divine will he wrote so much about?”
He looked so miserable that I patted him on the lower shoulder and offered him a sulfur cookie – he likes those a lot. So Doc ate a few bites, but couldn’t calm down and went on:
“Now look at the year 610. In the original timeline, a man named Muhammad founded Islam, a religion based on simplified Judaism with some concepts taken from Christianity. This gave birth to a new civilization that inherited the scientific knowledge of the Byzantine Empire and later provoked the Crusades, inadvertently breathing new life into the decaying Europe. But in our reality, Muhammad had no model to imitate, Arabia remained polytheistic, and descendants of Huns and Germanic tribes have expanded to the Middle East.”