Centuries from now, the Earth has become a lifeless husk due to a combination of too much pollution and gravitational disturbances caused by a runaway comet, hurtling between Earth and the moon. (I got that from "Thundarr the Barbarian". ) Fortunately, we had sent spaceships to colonize other worlds. This is the story of one of those worlds. The planet Ultima (so-named for being the planet reached by the last spaceship) was a world with an electromagnetic field so powerful, it had shorted out the ship's navigational systems, causing them to crash. Fortunately, there were no casualties, and it was learned that human brainwaves could interact with the field, enabling feats like telepathy, telekinesis, and even manipulation of matter. This was discovered to be the result of "psi-stones," crystals capable of synchronizing with human brains. This resulted in the rise of a technology similar to magic. A flare of white light flashed on the planet's surface. Standing in the middle of this flareup was a man. As the light dimmed, the man blinked his eyes. These "eyes" were in fact red cybernetic lenses, affording him enhanced visual acuity. He was clad in a fashion similar to a cowboy, the clothes covering his cybernetic arms and legs. A red sky was overhead, but the sun's position told him it was high noon, not sunrise or sunset. He was on a plain of blue grass. Appearing before him was a walled city. "This ain't Fort Worth," he grunted in his Texan accent as he surveyed the landscape. "Where the hell am I?" He decided to walk toward the city. Standing at the gate were two guards. Deadeye didn't recognize the historical period of the armor. It looked to be carved out of stone, with small chips of some kind of crystal embedded in it. Each guard was armed, not with a sword, firearm or even club, but with a thin, wand-like stick of crystal. "Halt!" shouted one of the guards. "State your name and business!" "At least you fellers speak English," muttered the cowboy. Aloud, he stated, "The handle's Abernathy Carmichael III...though I think that name sounds a little fruity, if you don't mind my usin' that kinda lingo. My friends call me Deadeye." He pointed at the red lenses that were his eyes. "Three guesses why." The guards turned to each other and muttered excitedly. Deadeye heard something about a "time before". He then said, "As for my business, well...right now I'm a-gonna enter yer fancy town afore it rains, or somethin'." "You'll turn your weapons over to us immediately," said the second guard. "Ain't nobody touches Ol' Betsy but me," growled Deadeye, reaching for what looked like an old-style derringer. In reality it was a modified quantum disintegrator, a weapon that fired a burst of energy capable of severing atomic bonds and transmuting whatever it touched to dust. "Refusal to comply will not be accepted," warned the first guard, wielding his gleaming wand. "Your pointy stick don't impress me none," growled Deadeye defiantly. Seeing a nearby boulder, he asked, "What say I point this here quantum disintegrator at that there rock and pull this here trigger?" He did so. The disintegrator's "chamber" crackled with electricity -- and energy flowed out. Deadeye dropped the weapon like a hot potato as it crumbled into powder! The guards began to chuckle. "Oh, it disintegrated, all right!" shouted one as the chuckling swelled to uproarious laughter. Damn lousy time to have a malfunction, thought a disgruntled Deadeye. As the guards regained their composure, one of them pointed his wand at the rock and said, "Watch this." He shouted a few unintelligible syllables, and a bolt of lightning leaped from the wand to the boulder. The boulder exploded, shattering into pieces! "Was something like that supposed to happen?" asked the guard nonchalantly. "Show off," muttered his partner. Deadeye gaped in disbelief. "No way..." After Deadeye entered the city, he looked around. Everything seemed to indicate a medieval level of technology: clothing, architecture, and so forth. The only difference was that the same kind of stone that made the guards' armor was everywhere, in much the same places where iron and steel should be. "I'm definitely in the wrong era," he muttered. He looked in a window. "When will you get a job?" a woman was complaining to her husband. "Ah, shut it and make me a sandwich," snapped the man. Deadeye gritted his teeth. It was a common scene back in his time. Any second now, they'd start hitting each other. But instead, the woman smiled. "You know," she said, "I'm hungry, too." So she concentrated on the spot next to her. A glowing shape appeared out of thin air! "Go make me a mushroom sandwich," she commanded it. "We got any mooncow left?" the man asked. "And a mooncow sandwich," the woman ordered. The ethereal shape nodded, and flowed into the kitchen. Deadeye could hardly believe his eyes (but then again, most people had trouble believing eyes like those). "Holy hannah, she's conjured a demon!" he screamed in horror. He raced down the street. "It's black magic -- voodoo! Get me outta here!" If he hadn't been scared silly, he'd have realized the irony of a more technically sophisticated man acting like a superstitious fool in a medieval-seeming society that seemed to take the supernatural for granted.