Time Waltz

Oriana walked down the hallway, her mind back in a time about a millennium
ago. Her people had learned much about the past from historic documents and
paleontologists’ findings, and now, through technology, she was going to
witness it live. Her people had built a time slider. Now she could go back in
time and learn the truth about the North American Indians.

She mentally went through her list...”Let’s see...I’ve taken my hair
and skin pigmentation pills, and had my eyes colored...I have my clothes
waiting, my pouch with my time remote, my taser, and my communicator. All I need
now is the languagechip.”

Oriana walked into the equipment room, and Erel jumped. “I am not used to
seeing you in Native American pigmentation!”

He debriefed her once more about her mission, as he set her down and slipped
the languagechip in the facilitator and then used it to put the chip in her
brain. Then she changed into an authentic buffalo hide dress and boots. She
fastened a bone knife to her boot, and added some rope to her pouch.

“There. Now you are all set.”

“Thanks, chief.”

They walked to the time slider’s warping chamber, silent, both a little
nervous. Erel reminded her to be careful, and what not to do, and what to do.
They shut the door behind them and then Oriana walked into the portal. Everyone
else, already stationed, began to get ready.

“Ready, Riana?”

“Yes, Erel. Fire it up.”

The time keeper began the count down. “10...9....8”

Oriana swallowed. Erel wiped the sweat from his brow.

“5..4...3”

The lights around the portal began to glow. The base began to vibrate.

“2....1! GO!”

The lights flickered, the room shook, and the air seemed to erupt with the
sound of roaring engines. Oriana screamed, Erel yelled, the other operators
struggled to stay calm. Suddenly the lights got bright, then totally dark. The
room seemed to rumble and shake. Then it was over. Oriana was gone. Erel
switched the communicator on and called to her frantically.

“Oriana! Come in! Did you make it all right?”

“Erel? Yes...I’m fine. I am not sure where I am, though. I am going to
explore a little. I will be back in a little.” She switched off her
communicator excitedly and started to look around.

After about an hour, she came to a stream. It was almost dark, so she caught
some fish and made a fire. Then she spread out some grasses as the fish cooked.
She ate the fish, then drank from the stream and washed, and settled down to
sleep for the night, but not before reporting in to Erel....

“Erel...Come in...Erel?”

“Oriana? What’s going on? Where are you?”

“I’m by a river. I just settled down for the night.”

Erel breathed a sigh of relief that she was unharmed. “Is everything going
ok?”

She laughed to herself over her chief’s protectiveness. “Yes, I am
fine....” She gave him the rest of her report and then went to sleep to the
sounds of owls and crickets.



Oriana awoke in the morning to a group of painted men staring at her. She
jumped up and shouted something in English, then remembered her whereabouts and
engaged the language chip. She waited for one of them to say something so the
chip could identify the language. That done, she spoke, for the first time, in
tribal language.

“Hello...I am lost. My family was all killed by a group of white men. I was
away at the river, and was not found. Now I am all alone, and hungry, and tired.”

The tallest one spoke. “I am Cloud Stalker. We will take you in if you can
do your share of the work. Perhaps one of the warriors will make you his wife.
What is your name?”

Oriana thought quickly. She looked around for inspiration. “River...River...River
Dancer!” She looked up sheepishly.

“Well, River Dancer, follow us and we will take you back to the grounds.”
Cloud Stalker helped her up and the group began to walk to the camp.

It had been five years since that had happened. River Dancer looked at her
husband, Cloud Stalker, as he carved and finished an arrowhead. She held her
child to her bosom, and continued cleaning a buffalo hide, remembering....she
had lived with the Indians, first as a slave, then as a full fledged member,
after Cloud Stalker took her as his first wife. She fell in love with him, and
bore him a son. She had become a very respected member of the tribe, due to her
extensive knowledge. Then one day, she informed