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Read: Adventures in Grey Bruce, By: Norma Grafe...
Captain’s Log, Stardate…unknown. Due to a computer malfunction caused by our slingshot around the sun, we find ourselves thrown out of our own time, and at the mercy of said malfunctioning computer.
Yeoman’s Quarters, where Yeoman Stevens has just finished doing her hair: She peers into the mirror and comments, “I wonder what they used to do about grey roots way back when?”
“Working…” The disembodied voice of the computer filled the air. With a shimmer, Yeoman Stevens and several of the starship’s officers vanish.
“Where are we?” murmurs the Captain.
“Your location is 102599 Grey County Road 18, in the City of Owen Sound, Ontario, Canada”, responded the computer voice through the communicator. “Your request was to learn more about grey roots.”
The group stared at the building before them. It was called Grey Roots Museum. They entered and encountered a space devoted to apples and the tools necessary to harvest them. They learned about apple seeds and a thing called a market area.
They entered another area with images of…what?
“It appears that this civilization has already experienced first contact with extra-terrestrials,” supplied the science officer, while studying his hand-held scanner. Upon studying the signage of the area, My Story, My Tattoo, he consulted again with his scanner.
“Ah,” he corrected. “Apparently the humanoids of this time engaged in applying colourful art images to their skin. Fascinating…”
As they continued, the Captain concluded that they were about to learn about the religious practices of the time when he read “Saints and Sinners: A Spirited History of Grey County”. As they browsed the area, they found no mention of any deities. Odd; there were only portrayals of the early days of first settlers, of the wild days of Prohibition (whatever that was); from highly successful breweries and distilleries to secretive bootlegging operations and many things in-between.
“At last,” breathed the Captain. “A computer. See how we can get out of here,” ordered the Captain when they ventured into the next area. The science officer stepped up to the computer.
“Computer,” he intoned and waited for a response. He tried again.
“Captain, I believe that this device must be operated manually. I shall endeavour to do so.” As his fingers flew across the keys, a puzzled frown crossed his face. “Captain, this device gives me no information other than the area’s natural features – Grey County’s forests, farmlands, waters, rocks and falls.”
“Falls?” echoed the Captain. “What does falling have to do with natural features, unless there are demonstrations of the variety of falls one can take OFF them?”
“Falls,” declared the computer. “Working…”
In another shimmer, they vanished from the museum and found themselves in front of a cascading flow of water 18 meters high, set among a stunning vista of forest and rocks.
“Now what?” questioned the Captain.
“Working,” replied the computer. “You are 1.1 kilometers from your previous location, via Grey Road 18 and Inglis Falls Road and Falls Road. You are at the falls created where the Sydenham River meets the edge of the Niagara Escarpment.”
Upon reconnoitering the area, the group found that Inglis Falls was surrounded by extensive trails, a very large number of fern species and geological potholes. The science officer was kept busy cataloging everything they found.
“I’ve got a real axe to grind with that computer,” muttered the Captain.
“Working,” replied the computer.
With a shimmer and a hum, the Falls faded away before them. In its place was a boarded area, enclosed on 3 sides, with target circles painted on the board wall at the end.
“Computer!” shouted the Captain. “Explain!”
“Working. You requested data about axes. You are in The Bowling Alley, approximately 6.8 kilometers and 11 minutes from Inglis Falls. You could have arrived here in any conveyance by turning right at Inglis Falls Road, then right on 2nd Avenue SE, then left on 1st Street SW, right onto 4th Avenue West, left onto 8th Street West, right onto 6th Avenue West, and left onto 10th Street West.”
“Fascinating,” murmured the science officer, after surveying the area. “This appears to be a recreational facility, where one can hurl a primitive weapon called an axe toward those circles painted on the far wall, the object being to land as close to or within the circles as often as possible. Obviously, the inhabitants of this world have extremely well-developed eye-hand coordination.”
“I wonder how much further back in time we went,” mused the Captain.
“Working…” intoned the computer. “Time travel not possible without a further slingshot around the sun, but a simulation can be provided.”
More shimmer, more humming. Around them materialized a room with a black-and-white checkerboard floor, several tables and a couple of counters, along one wall and at the end of the room. The signage assured them that they were at a place called Elsie’s Diner…a Taste of the 50’s.
“Well, this is obviously where the inhabitants come to eat, similar to our crewmen’s lounge,” observed the Captain. “Computer, confirm.”
“Working… this location simulates a time approximately 50 years prior to the current place in time. This is a very popular location, where Guys are able to bring their Dolls, to partake of the popular home-style cuisine of the times, including malt shakes and root beer floats.”
The Captain envisioned with puzzlement a group of burly native men, carrying primitive axes gripped in one hand, and tiny dolls, with long hair and dressed in frilly clothing, in the other. If his memory served him correctly, malts and beer were something he had read about in the museum’s Saints and Sinners exhibit, and roots certainly abounded in plenty at Inglis Falls, but what did shaking them and floating them have to do with anything?
The computer continued. “You are approximately 3.3 kilometers and 4 minutes from The Bowling Alley. If you had turned right on leaving The Bowling Alley, you would have taken 10th Street West to the traffic lights at Springmount and then turned right. At Shane Street you would have turned right and then immediately left into Elsie’s Diner parking lot.”
“My head is swimming…” sighed the Captain.
At once, they found themselves standing on a sandy beach.
“Kelso Beach,” instructed the computer, “is 5.1 kilometers and 8 minutes from Elsie’s Diner. In a land conveyance, you would have turned right onto Highway 6 and then turned right at the next traffic light. You would have continued on 14th Street West and then turned left on Grey Road 1. You are now standing on the shores of Georgian Bay at the mouth of the Pottawatami River. Your current view is that of the eastern shore of the harbour in Owen Sound. You are adjacent to the Georgian Shores Marina. At this location, you will find a sandy playground, beach, picnic shelters, soccer fields and baseball diamonds, plus a children’s splash pad.”
The Captain had heard about fields of grass or wheat or flowers, but had no idea what was grown in a field of soccer. He remembered from his history studies that gemstones used to be quite valuable at one point in time, but surely one didn’t play baseball with one! Were they used in any other sports of the time? Clearly some research would have to be done when they returned to their ship.
The Captain addressed his science officer. “Clearly these people enjoyed their leisure time, and spent a great deal of time enjoying it outdoors. Everything around here is either water or sand, or it’s green with vegetation!”
When the shimmer died away, they were left standing in a vast green environment, comprised of areas of short-cropped grass surrounded by scruffier vegetation and small water and sand-filled hollows.
“You are approximately 11.4 kilometers or 14 minutes further north on Grey Road 1 from Kelso Beach Park. This is a recreational centre known as Cobble Beach Golf Resort, where the people of this time played a game called ‘golf’”.
The science officer consulted his hand-held device. “Golf,” he elaborated, “was a game of skill involving striking small round balls from one area called a ‘green’ to the next, using a variety of specialized clubs adapted to that purpose. At some point on the green was a small hole large enough to hold the small round balls, one at a time. The object of the game was to strike the ball in a fashion so that it fell into the hole on each green, with as few strokes as possible. The players encountered obstacles in the form or water-filled hollows or sand-filled hollows, which had to be overcome. One could play a game consisting of completing a course of 9 greens with holes, or 18 greens with holes.”
“Enough,” sighed the Captain. With all the cultural information, water falls, axe throwing, beaches, and this thing called golf, I’m done in. I just want to find home.”
When their surroundings solidified around them once again, they found themselves in front of a building bearing the sign “Century 21 In-Studio Realty Inc., Real Estate Brokerage”.