A group of soldiers come across a crashed space ship and rummage through the objects strewn across the landscape. A cube filled with unusual food, dead, mangled bodies, scrap metal and a completely intact engine. The soldiers fashioned a stretcher to carry the engine back the two hundred miles they walked. They were on a routine patrol of the empires border lands. They didn’t see any action, most of the land was a great desert. The only possibly inhabitable land was the forest that they spent the last two days traversing until they came across the crashed ship. Their time was up and it was now the moment to come back home, hopefully their emperor will be pleased with the engine.
The trek back was hard work. The men stopped several times in the forest to rest and hunt. Carrying a three hundred pound engine was hard work for even four men. The extra seventy five pounds apiece was tough especially with all the other gear, tents, maps, water, food and everything else necessary for survival.
They averaged twenty miles a day. The woods were a tough place to navigate considering how dense the foliage was, although food was plentiful. The better of the hunters would go out for small, easy to catch game like rabbits and squirrels. The other two would sit back and build a fire. They tinkered with the engine but just for a bit, they didn’t want to break it. The two soon found they could use it to create a fire. The friction from the moving parts soon sent tinder ablaze. They could conserve their flint and fuel.
The engine sparked something in one of the men. He recalled from his school days about the age of electricity, before the world fell into the second Iron Age. Engines similar to this one were built to power farm equipment, factories and space ships. However, this engine was quite different, there didn’t seem to be an intake of fuel. Maybe it drew energy from the air, or from the earth that it sat on top of. The man couldn’t figure it out, maybe their emperor could.
The hunters came back from their journey with two rabbits and some wild roots. They cooked the food, ate and talked. They each took swigs of their mead, surprising it has been un-drunk for this long.
The next day the men made it to the desert. They caught lizards and snakes along the route for sustenance. They camped together in one tent at night to conserve heat. Night in the desert reached as much as ten below zero. The sand retained some heat from the day which created a nice bed for the men. The engine also provided heat.
A week later the soldiers made it back to the kingdom. They were greeted by the towns people and other soldiers; everyone was curious about the unusual looking engine in which the men returned with. Quickly they went to see the emperor who said to them: “what took you so long, and what is that thing?”
“We’re not too sure, some sort of an energy creating device. I believe they have been used extensively during the Electricity Age to power wagons and the planet exploring ships.” Said one of the soldiers.
“Interesting let me have a look at it.” Said the surely emperor. He spent the next few hours studying the engine and brought several specialists to his quarters to inspect it. They concluded that the machine is a perpetual energy machine that does not need fuel.
The men enlisted the help of the best engineers to harness the engine. Soon the electricity was back on, the first time in six hundred years. The empire created more engines and sophisticated weapons to conquer the planet. There was much warfare and conquest. The engine brought with it much death and ruin along with glory and triumph.
The emperor found a way to harness the engine for his own immortality. He passed on the gift to a select few men and women. He wanted to conquer another planet, so a spaceship was built, powered from the engine which his soldiers found thirty years ago.
The crew set off in search of a habitable planet. They were one hundred million miles from the closest atmospheric planet; the trip would take a year. The time was used for combat training, food generation, and astronomical study among other things.
Eventually the ship made it to the surface of the planet, however the breaking device malfunctioned, crashing the ship and killing everyone on board, including the emperor.
A roaming band of soldiers noticed smoke in the distance. They reached the crashed ship and set down their weapons, swords and shields. There were bodies strewn over the landscape, equipment, supplies and machinery, everything destroyed except one engine. The soldiers didn’t know quite what to do with it, so they fashioned a device to carry it back for their king.
The men camped in the wilderness and eventually reached the castle walls. They presented the engine to their king. He was pleased. They all were unknowingly pleased.