They were trapped for seven days, but the time passed quickly with the help of their trusty time machine.
How could they be trapped for an entire week, while zipping along in the space-time continuum, you ask? Well, the answer is very simple. They had inadvertently set the time-lock on the spaceship’s door for one week, the time they had planned to spend in ancient Rome, before making the terribly unfortunate mistake of pissing off their ride.
“Please, let us out!” cried the couple, banging on the door, the delights of the ancient world so close and yet so far.
“I’m sorry she called you, ‘An Overpriced Toaster,'” moaned the tall, thin man. His hair was coiffed, his toga perfectly adjusted to fit his lanky frame. He looked despondently at his female companion. “Say sorry,” he whispered urgently, “or we’ll never get out of here!”
“I’m SORRY, ok?” said the blonde woman, rolling her eyes. “You are obviously the sleekest time machine in existence.”
“I was, am, and will be a top of the line model, I’ll have you know,” sulked the ship.
“I know! What a beauty!” enthused the man.
“Yeah, what he said,” replied the woman, less enthusiastically than her companion. Why did the damn thing have to have such a fragile temperament?
“I’m not the one that made you set the timer wrong,” continued the ship.
“Of course not,” soothed the man, stroking the door in a way that did not at all soothe his wife. She cleared her throat loudly, and he jumped back as though slapped. “Of course, it’s completely our fault! You know how humans are, always overlooking details-”
“Details! Don’t even get me started,” said the ship, starting anyway. “Dashing about the time-space continuum, plotting courses in multiple dimensions. If I wasn’t such a stable ship, it’d be enough to drive me batty.”
“If?” ventured the woman. Her husband looked at her in alarm.
“That’s IT,” said the ship. “Just for that, not only will I NOT let you out, I’ll travel to all the places on your itinerary so you can see what you’re missing.”
Time and space are always interchangeable terms when referring to what goes on outside a time-craft, merely a matter of the correct coordinates within the cosmic cube of existence. However, over the next week, time passed rather quickly as the ship whooshed through the continuum with alarming speed. The ship was a very speedy time-machine, after all. They could barely count the star-patterns cascading outside the spacecraft’s window, though time limped slowly forward during the week of its passengers imprisonment; the only entertainment the ship allowed them was an old and worn game of checkers.
As time passed them by within the confines of their small ship, the two humans contemplated how to get the ship back to the dealer for a full refund. One week later, in their personal timestreams and judging by the ship’s internal chronometer, they found themselves parked exactly where they had been on the outskirts of ancient Rome.
“Looking forward to finally seeing Rome?” asked the ship politely.
“Yes,” replied the couple in unison.
“Thank you for bringing us back here,” said the man.
“You’re welcome,” said the ship.
“In fact, we were thinking of getting you an upgrade,” ventured the woman. “When we get back, you know. To make up for our misunderstanding earlier.”
“Oh, really?” said the ship. Evidently pleased with the idea, the front door of the craft swung open, revealing a lovely sunny day.
As the two humans walked through the door, the woman added under her breath, “I just hope they’ll take the damn thing back.”
Striding in the open, confident in their sparkling togas and wearing smiles of relief as they breathed the fresh ancient air, they failed to see the laser-gun emerge from the ship’s side and silently turn toward them.
Payback was a bitch, and sometimes a ship could be one too.
*The above flash was inspired by a text prompt from the six minute story site. I did not post it at the actual site because I could see I needed more time and I wanted to edit more extensively. I hope you enjoyed the story!