A story written in HS lit class in 1991. A time travel story, with a twist.
The Assassination Factor:
By Nathaniel Miller
“Major Christopher, this is Warrant Officer Anne Johnson, Liaison officer at Presidio Station Headquarters, I have news for you. The General has approved your request and needs to see you at Headquarters. Please report at fourteen hundred hours today. Please note, the Ambassador of Earth, and the Ambassador of Andromeda will be on hand during this briefing, so the dress is working uniform. Headquarters Out… BEEP~!”
Major John Christopher stood in the alcove staring at a mirror in silence, the message playing in his head over and over as he stood staring at the image in the mirror. He had just arrived here at Headquarters an hour ago and he now waits for his meeting with the General and his staff. John glanced and grimaced at the image in the mirror, at the sandy haired, blue eyed, grizzled face of a thirty year old who stared back at him. It is a face that had seen a lot in the last few years since he had enlisted in the Earth Defense Alliance back in twenty three thirty. There would be nightmares that he would never get over and the images of many around him being chopped to pieces during the many campaigns he had served off shore and even off planet. But now that was about to change into something drastically different.
It had been two months since his last mission and it had been a tough one where then Captain Christopher and his team barely got out. He and his team had completed the assignment, but not without seven dead and four wounded. It was a nightmare of a mission in which he had to assassinate a dictator on Rigel Colony, (almost single handedly when most of his crew was chopped to pieces) which proved to be the most difficult of his entire career. And the trouble of it all they had put him on a rest leave after his return, even though they completed the mission. He hated the entire affair being off duty as the higher ups reviewed the mission. They had indirectly blamed him for the team’s deaths but he had already proven the shoddy intelligence, and brief was responsible for the foul up for that mission that had slaughtered the team of young men and women.
Now he was going crazy.
The Major had made many requests, been praying for a mission, anything to break the monotony of being idle, wanting to get back to work, and reactive to duty to take his mind off the incident of last mission. And for his penance, Command finally gave him one. A mission that he did not know would deeply put the hook in him and be intriguing and test the very principles he stood for and his military career stood for.
Now he stood in the waiting room, a few minutes away from the meeting that would once again put him back into active status. The Major tugged at the neckline of the working uniform he wore at this moment, starting at the mirror at the image of a veteran soldier before him, a grizzled face, blue-gray eyes, the familiar green and black uniform and the gold clusters glistening in the fluorescent light. Major Christopher hated the working uniform of the Space Marines, and the mandarin cut neckline and trim Spartan cut of the uniform itself. But for this meeting, he would be meeting with Ambassadors of Earth, and a couple of Ambassadors from the Federation planets, who had taken an interest in Earth’s discovery, so first impressions were important.
John Christopher’s eyes trailed casually away from the mirror, and to the waiting room. The room that he occupies is open and airy, colored sterile white trimmed in a light brown with a familiar logo emblazoned on a partition that separated the outer passage and this waiting room. It has thick, blue carpets, and many plush furnishings. A tiled walkway runs through the center of it and an onyx desk sits in the very center of the room, manned by three people. Around him, standing against the walls, guards are posted and they are clad in nasty looking battle-armor, holding automatic weapons. The room itself reminds him of the office in which he reported to be checked out medically for his enlist in the alliance. He shuddered at the thought and sighed realizing that it had been a long time from that point. The waiting room made him feel uncomfortable, not welcomed as it was so designed to see Command personnel. He did not like the waiting or the room’s feeling and he did not know the reason why. In addition to its size and Spartan furnishings, the room also has two or more Bay windows overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, and the inlet of the San Francisco Bay’s power center. Others overlooked the city itself, and another set overlooked the campus of the Academy that was built here at this location.
“Interesting that this place seems so similar to when I enlisted.” He thought, and managed to shake his head in silence. It would be his fifth year in the Earth Federation, enlisting when he was twenty-five and working hard to complete school, earning him his commission into the service.
Stepping back, Major Christopher turned his head to the large bay window overlooking the city and the Bay. The officer took two steps toward the massive glass panels and his gaze panned out across the San Francisco Bay and his home. His reaction had been a grim look at the view before him, having returned from across the sea from the Tokyo Base where he had been living and working thus far in his military life. It is here that he now works on the peninsula of California, in the city at the United States Sector of the EDA, under Brigadier General Franklin Aruba and Colonel Theodore Spade who was in charge of his group and this part of the Federation base located here. His unit is assigned to protect this city, providing a strike team local to the inner planet colonies and stations of the local Solar System against intruders. They would keep the peace on these said stations.
The Major grimaced as he stared at the sight before him and at the city shimmered in the daylight, built up more on the peninsula than out as many skyscrapers make up the San Francisco Skyline than before in old photos of the city he had in his collection. It had changed a lot since those times, still subject to Earthquakes, but even that was controlled, given ample warning to the populace before one would happen. The skyline reminded him of a movie of the twentieth century, and TV show that he had enjoyed when he was young. It was like it, but far the same from the portrayal of the future.
"Something straight out of Star Trek," thought the officer with a smirk. A bit of ironic humor in the least as it was just that, the sight taken from the very TV show and movies that he had grown up loving as a kid (one of many) that had been made in the past two hundred years ago, ironically about the future. Although now days, Star Trek and other Science Fiction programs of the twentieth/twenty-first century were mostly for kids now, today's technology had far surpassed anything those old Science Fiction TV shows portrayed of today’s time. It could hardly compare to the twenty-third century of the now than what he watched on T.V.
Turning his head, he glanced at the room, the desk in the center and then to the chronometer on his wrist when he realized the time. He realized they were late, his appointment was now and no one had come to get him. Major Christopher wondered if something had happened and there had been a change of plan.
“Just like Command if it did happen that way.” He thought, grimacing but he also managed a shrug. He had no trust thus far in the staff in which lead his team or the Base. The Commander was always too busy out fishing or on a boat rather than in the office.
“I wonder what is taking them so long, it is fourteen hundred hours.” Christopher thought, grimacing as he lowered his hand and returned his gaze to the Bay windows in silence. He did not sense a young woman sidle up beside him, a youthful twenty-two year old woman named Mariko Wakanabi, a Second Lieutenant assigned as a messenger for the Headquarter Staff out of Tokyo. When he finally sensed her, he did not turn his head, his gaze fixed at the spectacular view before him.
“Excuse me sir.” A voice said, and shaking his head he turned his head, to a young trim body, with formidable curves. His eyes fell upon a beautiful young woman and the proper salute of a young Second Lieutenant. He stared at her lovely Asian features, long black hair, brown eyes, and her formidable curves. She smiled as she saluted. He noted the familiar green and dark green uniform of the Space Marines.
He returned the salute casually.
“This is from you from the main Headquarters.” She said, and handing him the paper he quickly scanned it.
Thursday - November 12, 2356 A.D.
Christopher, J Major, SN 1125763 – EDA Command Order 15132
Order of Assassination
You are hereby instructed to report at sixteen hundred hours for project Gunship. Security: Classified – Transportation, Priority 1 is approved. Meet and brief Lieutenant Catherine Sparks, spotter for your assignment for immediate departure no later than 72 hours at Dry Wells Base, staging point for Departure.
Brigadier General Thomas Hayden -- Tokyo Headquarters
Quickly, the Major flipped the page, scanning the blank backside before flipping it back to the front. He stared at the EDA logo hologram on the corner of the dispatch that seemed to shimmer in the light. She also handed him two envelopes which he turned them over in his hands and stared at them in silence, noting the emblem on the flap sealing them. He noted the words on both, especially for his spotter’s envelope, his accomplice for this mission.
“…For eyes of Lieutenant Catherine Sparks, Earth Space Alliance Marine Corps, opening penalty of Treason.”
“Jesus, that’s a fine how-do-you-do.” John muttered with a grumble and he turned his head after becoming aware that he was complicating the life of the young Lieutenant who was bringing him the dispatch and the envelopes.
“Is that all, Lieutenant?” He asked, “No other details that that or pages. It is just these two envelopes and the dispatch?”
“I don’t understand sir.” She asked, suddenly trying to decipher what he was asking. Finally realizing what he was asking, she managed a grin to nod formally after realizing his question.
“It is just the dispatch and the envelopes, Major.” She prompted.
“Very well, and thank you Lieutenant, that will be all.” He told her and she paused for a moment, staring at him with a questioning look.
“Thank you that’s all.” Major Christopher repeated, and the young woman saluted smartly, and properly. He nodded as she turned and walked away from him. Turning he glanced at the half-empty lounge, at the sprawling cavernous room, with sections of carpet and tile floor running through the middle of it before walking toward the tiled section leading to the desk. He grimaced and glanced at a nearby couch, and turning he walked toward it instead of the desk.
“I guess I’d better check out what this is all about.” Christopher thought, pulling the envelope, his envelope, from under his arm to turn it over in his hand several times.
Quickly, Major Christopher found a seat on one of the couches and he broke the seal on the envelope, sliding the paperwork from inside it. He began reading the data report and it contained a few maps and one photograph. As the Major read, it told him his mission, and it linked it to an anti-terrorism assignment against a known terrorist group of this century who had been keeping the Earth Defense Alliance on their toes. They had been hitting installations clear across the Federation, causing disarray and corruption, also chaos among planets. They had taken control of planets too, turning them against the Federation. John glanced at the faded picture provided of a kid and read on. His target would be this person, the picture the only available one possible after the holocaust on Earth to be preserved. His mission was to remove target from DOOM influence by any means necessary, including elimination.
“Jesus, I have to kill a kid??” He asked himself, and he shook his head negatively. He was s sniper, and a very good one, but something inside told him that this would be a violation of his principals and military honor. He wondered how command expected him to eliminate a child if that was his target and if they knew.
Looking up he saw an older officer walking toward him, surrounded by two guards and a younger woman. He slid the paper work back in the envelope and stood when realizing that it must Colonel Spade walking toward him. He saluted formally and held it. The Colonel only nodded.
“T-this w-way, Major.” He told him and motioned him to follow, which John Christopher did so quickly, staying close on his heels. As they walked along the corridor, passing the guards the Major glanced at the Colonel in silence.
“I apologize for being late, but we will start your briefing immediately.” He told him, nodding two times in silence. The Colonel, to the Major, is an older man in his fifties, clad in the familiar green and black uniform like Major Christopher. The Colonel has dark eyes and white hair, and a sparse goatee on his chin. On his uniform are many ribbons of the campaigns he had been in and a gold braid that is attached to his uniform. It made the Major very uneasy, walking with the Colonel.
A moment later, Spade motioned to a set of doors to a conference room that opened, in which he stepped through and they closed quickly behind him. The briefing room is large with a huge table in the center of the room with fixed chairs around it, and on one end a computer station is located on one side. A screen in the center of the table made of gray metal dominates the table. John grimaced, and he walked the room silently, pacing and fuming as he reread the dispatch order given to him by the Second Lieutenant. The doors opened with a whoosh, and a young Yeoman named Josephina Banks entered first, followed by the Colonel, and a couple of scientists whom Major Christopher had recognized from the unique experiment they were conducting here on Earth.
"Thanks for coming Major Christopher." The aide told him politely, "We will dispense with any formalities, and have need of your unique services immediately. I will also explain your assignment. By now you received the envelopes?”
"Yes sir." Christopher replied simply, remaining silent afterward and not elaborating or chit chatting. He just waited.
"The assignment is that of a rescue mission, slash an assassination mission. Your skills here are very well known and it will really take the very best we have to complete this assignment."
"You will be working with Doctor Connors on this assignment and he and his team will be your transportation, utilizing the archway we found in the Pyramids based on ancient Babylonian legends we relocated from Cairo, Egypt to Area -51 of the Nevada desert.. Your mission will be tr…"
"I am to travel through time." He said with mock enthusiasm, cutting off the Colonel and he let out a silent exhaled breath.
"Yes, exactly right Major."
The expression of Major Christopher’s face was a grimace, making it known than he certainly did not like where this was going or what this meant. He would be going through time would put him at risk of the mission of failing due to technical circumstances in which he and whoever was assigned with him could be killed without even meeting the enemy or the target.
“You will be traveling through time for your mission, and it is a removal of a high level target from the influences of DOOM.” He said. The Major nodded, just as he had read in the paperwork in the envelope.
“I am just curious of this target, sir.” John replied, pulling the papers, and a tattered, old photograph of what appeared to be a kid, perhaps ten years old. He motioned to the picture. “I will be eliminating a kid?”
“Oh, that is your target.” He intoned, “That is the only photo we have of the target. He is the high level target we must keep from DOOM...”
"With all due respect sir," The Major said frankly, "I am an assassin yes, with over four hundred confirmed kills, but one thing I won’t do is to kill kids."
"I doubt you will be eliminating a child, but this is a person is going to be brought to the other side and our enemy, DOOM has targeted him for recruiting. He is a powerful player within the Federation and if it is changed, the Federation will be weakened and will fall as we know it."
"Your mission is to protect him from just that, remove him from being recruited to the other side, but also to eliminate him if no other recourse applies and are not able."
"Meaning, with extreme prejudice?"
"Yes, you could say that Major Christopher." The Colonel intoned, "Study what data we have on the target, and brief your spotter to ship out no later than three days. Failure is not an option here. You must either remove the threat to the target, or eliminate him yourself. It is of vital importance for the Earth Federation. This is not a mission that you can back out, Major. It must be completed as soon as possible and you leave as soon as you brief your spotter, and deliver her that envelope.” The Major gripped Lieutenant Spark’s and his envelope tightly. He stood fast as the people filed out and he grimaced at the lack of presence of the Ambassadors that were supposed to be on hand. He only noted only science personnel and the Yeoman had been present during this brief with the Colonel.
“Carry out your assignment. Hand carry the envelope to Lieutenant Sparks, she is currently working at a Recruiting Depot in Oakland. Dismissed…"
"Aye sir." The young Major replied, flipping him a stolid, crisp salute before turning to the doorway, already looking at the information from his envelope again. It was very spotty intelligence, all based on patchy records that had survived the ancient Holocaust on Earth. Bits of Intel and places he had never heard of.
But something seemed familiar to him, something old, that he tried to remember. He did not know what it could be that was so familiar that he was trying to remember.
"Jesus... What an assignment." He said glumly and walked out of the room, down the corridor, totally engrossed in the records they had gathered in his brief as he walked toward a turbo-lift that would take him to the first floor.
"Even though it is spotty at best, it is very well put together." He thought, and he glanced at the sealed envelope for Lieutenant Catherine Sparks, the young officer assigned with him to this project as spotter. It was a standard large envelope and turning it over it was sealed with the blazoned seal of the Earth Federation over the flap, the same as his. Here the officer pushed the papers back into his envelope, stepping through the hatchway and headed to the turbo-lift that would take him to the tram platform, heading for the East side of the Bay, on the Oakland side.
The Major realized that he would be pulling his spotter from her assignment and passing on her orders. Hand carrying the orders would keep them from the wrong hands. The many DOOM Organization spies were probably unaware of the orders to eliminate their contacts in the past, utilizing their own machinery that would take them through time and space. Quickly, he wondered what the target had to do with time, and why he and his spotter were risking such a bold maneuver against the terrorist organization. The officer also wondered how and what orders were given to the young Lieutenant that was going to be with him on this assignment. He wondered why she was getting orders too for the project, if she was just a spotter, and he was the shooter, ordered to eliminate anyone out of place around closest to the target. The target would be in public when he would be contacted, and it would make it even harder to isolate him if he had to eliminate. He wondered how he was going to pull this off. There were a lot of factors he had read and realized by this assignment, if successful would save the Federation through time and space. If he failed, there could be a factor that the persons involved could disappear into oblivion because of that very thing and time could in essence be changed and his existence could be drastically changed.
"This mission is going to be a little unorthodox." He thought, shaking his head as he waited for the tram.
As he did so, however, he glanced around the near semi-occupied station at the many people in uniform, others not as the tram arrived and he stepped onto the vehicle through the hatch that opened before him. He took up a seat and he began to reread the data before him. He felt the tram hum as the engines started, feeling the vibration of the craft as it readied for takeoff. The officer also felt the inertia dampeners hum into life as it rose from the platform and banked at a slow speed heading toward Oakland Station.
A few minutes later the tram arrived on the other side of the San Francisco Bay, at the Oakland Station. Looking up the Major pushed the papers into his envelope and he stood up as the doors opened. A low murmur of the crowd echoed through the craft as it unloaded and loaded. He moved to the door that opened, allowing several others beside the Major to exit the tram. Stepping onto the platform, the youthful Major gathered himself and his bearings and cast a look at the station. It is constructed somewhat like the old BART station still being used. It is a simple platform with a building on it, a waiting room, and the track that the tram rests upon sitting between two slabs of concrete making up the platform itself.
“Still like Trek.” He said with a chuckle, and turning his head he moved to the stairs leading him to the street. Electric cars make up the streets, and busing traffic. He moved quickly down the sidewalk, a couple of blocks, to the building where he knew Lieutenant Sparks currently is assigned.
“No doubt the detachment dispatch is also in her envelope.” The Major muttered, opening the door he stepped into the office. He stood in the doorway for a few moments before he was noticed and everyone in the office came to their feet.
“As you were.” Major Christopher said quickly, “Please carry on.”
He walked toward a youthful looking Captain who was in charge of the office, and he returned the salute. Work in the office resumed around him as other teenagers and people were here in the office for business a usual.
“Captain Jonathan Frakes.” The Captain stammered, “Welcome to Recruiting Depot Seventy Three, Major.”
“Good Morning… good morning… It looks like I am here to steal a young Lieutenant from you Captain.” The Major said with a silent grim expression, pointing at the young Lieutenant, Catherine Sparks who worked with a young woman who was about eighteen years of age, an older couple and a Staff Sergeant who was signing up the younger adult at a nearby desk. The Lieutenant was explaining the process of the Space Marines to her and the older couple. Here, the Major managed a smile at the Jargon, suddenly reminded of when he joined into the alliance. The only difference between this young eighteen year old and him was he waited and worked through school and finished his degree where she is fresh out of what appears to be High School. As she spoke about the regiment, basic training, and so forth, she glanced at the trio in front of the desk. The parents next to her were smiling.
“Very well… Major...” Captain Frakes replied formally, and he turned his head. “Can I keep here till the end of the day until my replacement is requisitioned?”
“Your replacement is in route and already in place Captain.” Major Christopher replied absently, “You will be getting a Second Lieutenant Jennifer Parker Adams to replace her tomorrow, or by the next day.” He hand carried the dispatch for her replacement, and quietly he handed the form to him.
“I have to brief Lieutenant Sparks here for a mission of great importance, by order of Earth Defense Alliance order 15132. She is detached immediately from this post.”
“Excuse me, Lieutenant Sparks, you have a visitor.” Captain Frakes said with a friendly nod, and motioned to the Major. As she looked up, he stared at her youthful face, her blond hair and blue eyes. She stepped forward after excusing herself from the Sergeant, the recruit, and the parents who were sitting at the desk. The parents watched the exchange between the Major and the First Lieutenant with placid interest.
“Lieutenant, I am Major Christopher.” He intoned and she nodded, “I am here to detach you for an assignment by order 15132, is there a place we can talk?”
“Nice to meet you… sir… I guess… my office?” She replied timidly and he nodded. She motioned to him to follow, leading him to the office and he closed the door after they both stepped inside. He silently handed her the sealed envelope.
“This is from the General himself, it is Project ‘Gunship’ and our mission is an assassination order, you are my spotter.” He told her, and she accepted the envelope.
Catherine was confused, taking the envelope and staring at it as she turned it over in her hands. She too immediately noted the seal on the flap and the message in red with a raised eyebrow. Breaking the seal she pulled the papers from within the envelope. The young woman read them quickly and eyed the detachment dispatch. A look of displeasure appeared on her face, as-if it were something that she was not expecting to be coming to her today or her reassignment to an MMO that she had thought dropped from her career when she picked out a new job in recruiting. A task she was very good at.
Sparks, Catherine, Lieutenant, 0105763
Thursday - November, 12 2356.
Detatchment of Assignment – Attachment to Gunship Project.
You are hereby detached from current assignment, and currently assigned as spotter support for Major John Christopher, as spotter for Assassination order 15132. Both are effective immediately. Good luck in your assignment, to both of you.
Brigadier General F. Eruba Commanding.
Sparks scanned the other sheets and the picture in which she gasped, frowning at the ragtag picture copy and she stood. She began reading the data at hand on the Star gate and its use to complete the assignment given to them. The young woman let out a gasp, lowering the papers. A look of displeasure was on her face, if not anger showing there.
“You have experience as a spotter before in Regiment 403, Company Bravo.” He told her, “And according to Command, over six hundred spots for sierra cover-watch. You are the best the Federation has, and for this mission they are pulling in the best we have available.”
“That is one area and MMO that I wanted out of Major.” She replied perturbed, “I changed my MMO and have been out over three years from that sort of hazard duty. You really should let Command know that.”
“That’s not up to me, Lieutenant, they pulled me into this assignment too, and I am a sniper. It seems to be a hot and vital mission for the Federation in which there could be trouble and chaos if it is not solved.” He said solemnly, “It is a job that many have already turned down, because of the Star gate business and no one wants to be fried tamale if the damn thing doesn’t work, so they assigned people to the mission. It is already in motion.”
She read on in the brief, and her face showed the same drop as he had, and she let out a heavy sigh. “I just got comfortable after arriving here, and they just uprooted me again and sent me into the meat grinder... Just fricking great, just what I did not need.”
Her mumbles had been truth, as she had been here only five months after requesting the assignment for recruiting and administration, in which would go along with the schooling she had completed for the new MMO she had taken on for her career change. She didn’t want to go back to a hazard duty assignment in which she would be killing people, most of all kids. She had had enough of that during a revolt on an outpost on one of the moons of Orion’s main mining colony. It is an assignment where she was to eliminate five kids as a terrorist group who had started revolution on the colony. She had systematically executed them one by one. Sparks felt like shit and responsible for the deaths as unnecessary and thought the Federation should have negotiated longer to resolve the situation.
“We are assigned to Dry Wells Base in the Nevada Desert, but our mission lies with the Science Project Gunship, it’s just you and I on the assassination order. Our target is being recruited for the DOOM organization, and our mission is to stop him or eliminate him from joining, and prevent others from allowing it to happen.”
“Oh… it’s just a kid.” She mused, “And a cute one at that.” With that she smiled quietly.
“Yes, a kid, with a high profile.” Major Christopher commented, “I’m not sure on the details or the reconnaissance, but they have given us the only known picture of him available. We have to train for the mission, and we will be transported to the base housing, then to the portal area to the time and mission. As you already read, we have to stop his enlistment into DOOM by force that would include kidnapping/abduction and brainwashing.”
“Yes sir.” She replied, “But if he is our objective, how on earth can we take out a kid? I mean after all, I don’t think I can have that on my conscious if that be the case.”
“Join the club, Lieutenant. You think I want to do that too? If this does not work and we have to eliminate this target, our orders are with extreme prejudice, Lieutenant.” He replied quietly, grimacing at her as she read on with data at hand, “You think you can be capable of handling that and not putting emotion first?”
”It’s not an easy assignment, and if you are not able to do it, I will get a different spotter.” He told her and Catherine looked up from the papers, showing a genuine puzzled frown.
“I never said I could not sir.” She replied annoyed, “You can count on me not to put my emotions in front of our assignment. I do have a thick skin after six hundred kills on spots for sniper duty. I can be cold if you want me too sir, although that is not my personality.”
“We leave as soon as soon as you are ready, and we attend a couple briefings for the Star gate in Point Alpha in the middle of Nevada and will be transported there from a secure location.” He told her, and she took a seat reading the packet of paper included with the envelope. She did not answer him and continued to read, the data was intriguing to her, about the find of the gate and machine found in a base bunkers of Area 51 of the Nevada Desert and their mission.
A few hours later, they were bound on the tram back to a secure location at Headquarters in San Francisco, in which they would be billeted under guard. They had become the most important people in the Federation, second to the scientists who worked the project in a chamber deep below the sands of Nevada which would be their starting place.
But just as the duo start the process to get to their destination. Doctor Charles T. Connors stood at the console of the computer as it scanned the archway, a huge stone arch in the shape of a horseshoe was against the wall, and many machines, large capacitors line the walls to provide power to and amplify the opening that looked like solid sheet of mirrored glass as it opened, almost like liquid mercury. It resembles another science fiction program of centuries past called Star gate, but the only difference is this machine wasn’t alien. It is a man-made machine by Doctor Connors and his team that had broken the theoretical physics for the time stream and by applying energy could connect to other dimensions and if not time itself. It used Egyptian writing and the symbols, translated from the walls of the many Pyramids that still stand in this century and the theory of the many gates from the ancient writings into time itself.
As the good doctor hit the button, the machine and capacitors hummed into life as a whirring sound revved up. A moment later an opening appeared as a sheet of pure energy, colored silver. Here he turned his head, nodding to his assistant who prepared a mobile robot floater device. As it floated toward the gate there was a buzzing noise that seemed to hum into life as the probe closed on the portal.
“Set coordinates and time, and open up portal.” He sternly instructed, looking at the monitor as the computer images flashed on the screen.
“Year 2674 A.D.” came the reply from the nearby technician, “May fifteenth.”
“Hold on a moment please.” The doctor said into the microphone and the assistant let up on the level of the remote control driving the floater forward. Connors hit another button and there was a crackle as the metal image rippled and seemed to stabilize. There is a louder hum as the portal remained open and as the robot floater resumed moving toward the portal it seemed to disappear through the almost liquid Mercury surface. The doctor and his team watched on the monitor as a wormhole affect appeared there after it disappeared through the sheen surface. After a half minute it appeared into blackness, revealing a face then static on the monitor.
“Sweet Jesus did you see that?” A voice asked, and Doc Connors nodded to the technician who hit the switch and the tape rewound. He replayed and the monitor showed the portal ahead and it closing slowly toward it, and as it made contact the floater seemed to shimmy before a spiral, multi-colored wormhole appeared on the monitor. A moment later the image froze as a lizard looking creature stared into the screen at them. It was a big, ugly, fierce looking reptilian with large muscles and green colored skin. It has two forward set reddish eyes and very sharp teeth. A hand whipped out and there was static.
“What time did you set it for Doc?”
“2674 A.D.” He replied, “I didn’t think it would be noticed if it was the future, if it’s a common sight to see technology like we have there.” The doctor said with a snide tone, “Apparently someone noticed.”
“May fifteenth, twenty-six, seventy five is off limits then.” A voice said and the scientists turned as a military party appeared with a grizzled looking, white haired Colonel giving orders. Beside him was a man in a blue uniform and on his shoulders was one star. Guards fanned out around the chamber.
“General Murphy.” The Doctor greeted him, “As you can see we successfully had another good test. I think it’s possible for life forms to pass through it, but we are not sure if equipment will pass through it yet.”
“I saw.” He replied, and Colonel West, standing next to him whistled sharply at the image he saw there.
“That’s some creature there.” Colonel West mused, “I think we pissed it off.”
“We must have materialized our floater in front of it.” The Doctor said, with a chuckle, “We can manipulate where the portal opens by looking through that scanner.” He pointed to a box with a view port on it that looked like binoculars.
“Next experiment, we will see about that.”
“Sorry Doctor, we are out of time.” The General said sharply, “All units are on high alert. We have our personnel coming in three days to use your little gizmo here, and see to an important Federation mission.”
“It is far from ready General.” The Doctor said tersely, giving him a frown as he took off his glasses to clean them, “We are still unsure on many factors of this machinery, how long the portal stays open and if we can reopen it at the same coordinates… Li…”
“I know all that, Doc but we’re just going to have to field test it.” The General said, “We have a team ready to move on an important mission and it is of a vital importance.”
“”This is a civilian project, and is not subject to…”
“…Military law.” The General finished, “It is now, under Federal Law since it resides on this post, Doctor. It is just a minor change in the past, perhaps two hundred years, to protect the Federation from a dark betrayal. A known terrorist organization from this century has opened up time and has sent a member back to recruit one of the founders of the Federation, if that happens, the Fed will fall and many worlds with it, including Earth into war, and destruction. We have to stop them. If we don’t it could destroy the world and innocent blood will be shed for nothing.”
“You have three days doctor to perfect your gizmo here, until our team arrives. I’m sorry Doc, its going to have to be used for just that, and there is a chance that in the process that the time and space we know may not exist after we send our team through.” The General said abruptly, and he turned with his entourage and filed out of the chamber leaving a very disturbed Doctor Connors with his team of scientists who watched the exchange. All wondered how it would be possible when the machine was hardly ready and what use the military would get out of it in such a short time. Little did they know of the orders or the team assigned who was on their way.
Back in San Francisco, Major Christopher and Lieutenant Sparks walked into the tram terminal that was built under the headquarters building and walked across a mezzanine deck to another door leading to the base hospital. As they stepped in through the doors, they returned salutes as they passed others ranks in the hall by lower and upper ranks. They return from two high level briefings about the Star gate, man-made and based on the texts and Hieroglyphs of Egyptian writing. They would be leaving in a matter of hours now, heading to the Nevada desert in which this gate was carefully hidden.
Major Christopher saw the intensity in his spotter’s eyes when they left the meeting about the Star Gate and he nodded his head to the look of wonder she gave him. He knew what she was thinking and deep down he was having the same lack of confidence.
“We’ll know in a few hours what we are up against, Sparks. Just relax. Everything is going to be fine.” He told her, “After this project is over, hopefully, the assignments we get will not be, and shouldn’t be so bad. Hopefully there should be a perk for saving the Federation.”
“I just keep wondering what we’re going to find with this man-made gizmo and as we traverse time.” She said, “I hope it’s not what I think it is.”
“We won’t know till we get there Sparks.” He replied and motioned to her toward the stairs that connected the Headquarters Tram Deck to the Mezzanine Deck that connected Federation Headquarters, Hospital, and the Academy located at this base.
He eyed two cadets who stood nearby, both watching the trams entering and exiting the terminal. The Major frowned as a feeling of dread washed over him. He reached for his pistol at his side, and drew it rapidly from the holster. He motioned to Sparks as shots rang out and they were suddenly pinned down in a cover fire.
“Holy shit… It’s an ambush! It’s DOOM!” The Major called out to Sparks who nodded and from her place across from him, returning the terrorist’s fire. A few more shots rang out from another position and Christopher aimed his weapon and squeezed the trigger as he hit one of them in the chest, ducking just as shots ricochet near his head against the stone wall.
“Major Christopher to Base… Security Alert! Red alert!” He said, “Pinned down by fire in the tram deck! Send Security squad, platoon strength!”
He grimaced at the lack of response on the radio. It was a trap, both knew it, and yet they kept firing. Security forces arrived on the scene, after about twenty minutes of machine gun fire riddled the tram platform and through many people, trying to get to the two that would be the ones to stop the move by the Terrorist organization. Security spread out as they too returned fire. Civilians and uniformed personnel continued to dodge and scatter in all directions to avoid the fire that lanced out across the bay. Major Christopher aimed his weapon as a DOOM agent grabbed a young woman and he took a shot, hitting the kid in the head, felling him as the woman gasped who was promptly splattered with his blood. Together they moved out and fought back, the fire lasting well over fifteen minutes before it suddenly ceased and a terrorist ran toward a loaded tram full of people, intending to blow it up. Security cut him off and shots rang out and the uniformed terrorist fell with a smoking hole in his back. Security had the other two in custody, until an explosion rang out to kill everyone in a twenty-five foot blast as an explosive device was detonated.
When it was all over, Major Christopher stood up and holstered his pistol at his side and walked down the stairs toward the open Trams, and toward the smoking bodies of the terrorists.
“You alright Sparks?” He asked and she glanced down at herself.
“I-I think so.” She stammered, “I didn’t think DOOM would try so soon, sir. Jesus, the platform is a mess.” Around the platform there were smoking holes from the gunfire and splatters of blood covering the wall and ground. A smoking blast radius from a fragment grenade detonated by a terrorist was all that remained of him and the two security men who had them in custody, along with twelve civilians that were partially blown to bits or into pieces, also smoldering as they lay on the granite flight deck.
“Me neither, but we had better get on the ball and on route to Vegas, and from their take an airlift to the Base.” He told her, “Before they regroup and try again.”
“I’m for that Major.” She stammered, holding back the tears of fear that welled in her eyes. The Major would have forgiven her if she didn’t cry out, the ambush a close call to death as she wanted to come, and he would have understood her fear. He was just as afraid, and yet he tried not to show it, closing his eyes to still his rapidly beating heart that pumped in his chest.
“Don’t worry about our gear. I had it already sent ahead.” He said, and a moment later an explosion shook the building as smoke filled the hallway and corridor. The briefing room where they had been working had been bombed, trying to get at them, but luckily they were out of the area on duty when it happened. Screams of pain and smoke and fire cracked through the passage as they were knocked to the deck, and they glanced up at the group of soldiers, the guards from Headquarters to protect them grimaced as they pointed to a waiting passenger ship nearby. Laser fire rang out and bolts lanced out across the bay again. Another explosion hit near them about twenty feet away from them.
“Get out of hell out here.” He shouted, as laser fire cut him down through the smoke filled corridor. Christopher and Sparks both ran to the tram whose door closed behind them. A hum and vibration rippled through the ship as it began to move. A couple of soldiers stood in the ship with them and both saluted. Christopher had his pistol aimed at both of them.
“You better be loyal to the Federation or you are both dead.” He said, grabbing one and keeping the pistol at his throat. Sparks covered the other one.
“Don’t shoot Major. We’re on your side.” The soldier croaked, and the Major nodded to Sparks.
“Cover them. They move, kill them.” He motioned to the door after a moment and both soldiers had a look of terror on their faces. He glanced at the door. He pushed the emergency release button and the door decompressed to open.
“Get out.” Christopher declared abruptly, and he moved to push the one uniformed soldier from the tram, the other he literally threw out of the door as the tram launched from the station. He slammed his hand on the switch to close the door behind them. There was a whoosh sound as an RPG just barely missed it as the ship banked and the Major ran to the controls, shooting the door and entering the empty cockpit. He sat in them and he touched the control making the vehicle spin sharply, as another RPG just missed and he hit the throttle, a sonic boom echoing across the San Francisco Bay.
“Hang on!” He said and the youthful Lieutenant gripped the seat as the tram rose upward into the sky. Around Sparks she glanced at the interior of the deserted passenger tram.
The tram is what he had been on before many times, long and open, with several seats on either end with an open section in the center where they gull-wing doors open and allow entry of passengers and cargo. He walked back to the controls and his hands danced over the controls as it banked and sped on to its destination. Sparks sat on a seat on one end as Major Christopher piloted the tram, utilizing the electro-paths that provide it with power, he hit another switch and their transport opened up with wings as it broke from the power grid and manually launched into independent flight. The wings were there if the power grid failed and the transport could fly on its own power to land them safely where they were going. It banked clear and climbed rapidly into the sky into the Clouds overhead. The only thing heard over the city was that of another sonic boom thundering across the sky as it rocked away from San Francisco.
“Jesus that was close.” Sparks said, “Apparently they know a lot of what has happened recently, the assignment and the orders.” She said, and he nodded.
“ETA to Vegas is one hour.” He said, “I have the course programmed to the base coordinates though after we reach Vegas.”
The ship that carried them sped along through the sky, keeping in the clouds as the Major piloted it. He glanced at the console. There was a small radar screen, but it was black, apparently the anti-collision control had been destroyed in the laser fire.
“Damn.” He muttered, and he grimaced at his passenger who sat in a seat nearby, holding onto the seat against the G-forces the ship produced as it made abrupt moves through the sky. The hum of the inertia dampener hummed into life briefly with each move. An hour passed quickly as they Vegas without interruption and they both let out a breath of relief, relieved there was no pursuit force. The tram was hard to track, designed the same and many tracking on all four corners of the Earth bringing transportation to each nation of the world. They were surprised and wondered if they were just being observed to see where their tram was going to infiltrate the base in the middle of the Nevada Desert. They had no idea they were being observed from afar as sensors probed the desert and their craft.
“Good we made Vegas. I’m setting secondary coordinates.” Sparks said, breaking the silence and he managed to turn and nod. She moved to the console and her hands danced across the controls as she sat in the co-pilot’s seat next to him. The console beeped after a moment and a green light appeared on the console.
“Flying time is twenty-minutes.” He responded, reaching up to push a couple of buttons and tune the radio that was provided. There was a crackle and quickly the Major spoke. Sparks observed the frequency as one she was not familiar, it was a coded frequency to boot. She did not understand what was happening, other than they had barely avoided a trap at the Tram Station of San Francisco, thanks to the DOOM Organization.
“Major John Christopher to base three-one-six, on coded frequency one twenty three, point six.” He said, “Please come in.”
“I repeat, Base, three-one-six, please come in. Alpha Code… one, six, three, five eight… request immediate landing at destination.”
“Who are you trying to call Major?” She asked and he glanced at her silently.
“The base we’re supposed to go to.” He said, “Apparently they don’t want to risk detection, so we maintain course and reduce speed.”
“How’s our fuel?” Sparks asked and he grimaced.
“Not good, we are almost down to a third of a tank of reserve energy. We’d better land soon, or it’s a crash landing.”
“I hope so too sir.”
The tram flew slowly along the ground, the sand, sage, cactus and rock darting by as the ship moved toward the coordinates. There seemed to the duo still no response to their messages and their presence as they flew further into the desert.
Major Christopher touched the controls again and outside the tram dipped sharply as it seemed to plummet to the ground, and it sped low along the ground at a reduced speed.
“Prepare for crash landing in about fifteen to thirty minutes.” Major Christopher said, “We don’t have enough fuel to return to Vegas. I’ll try to do a controlled crash and from there we’ll head toward the base on foot.”
Sparks nodded, taking her seat to hold on. As the ship descended toward the ground, she heard the retro engines fire. They both did not feel a thud as the ship was gripped by a tractor beam, making it hover in the air for a moment and a panel below opened in the ground, bringing it safely to the ground. The ship as it came to rest on the rail designed for Tram Travel throughout the United States and Federation hit its mark with a gentle thud. Hitting the button the engines faded, and the hum died away leaving only silence as he nodded to his companion.
“That was some landing.” Sparks said with a smile and he shook his head.
“I didn’t do that… at the last moment we were caught in a tractor and set down after a panel opened for us.” He said with a smile and stood up from the chair, but not without turning to hit a switch allowing the gull wing doors to open allowing them to exit. It allowed, however, five guards and a burly, grizzled Colonel named Randall Travis to enter with a younger man beside him. All were clad in the green and gray or green and black uniforms. Major Christopher nodded as Catherine stood abruptly and both saluted formally. The Colonel returned the salute and managed a grim smile at the duo. Around them in the bay, ground personnel worked on the various planes and other vehicles parked here, including the tram.
“Welcome to Shangri-la.” He told them with a chuckle and both nervously smiled, “We’ve been expecting you, after we received reports what happened at San Francisco, we feared the worst.” The Major nodded formally, “I apologize for not allowing you to land sooner. We wanted to be sure you were alone too.”
“Yes sir, we had our difficulties.”
“Your gear is here and in your quarters.” The aide said, “If you require freshening up or require to rest, I can lead you to it.”
“Thanks.” The Major said and he saw the Colonel motion for them to follow, after shooting an annoyed look at his aide. Around them as personnel worked, the overhead hatch closed with a thud, and the lights blinked on around them, lighting the chamber. Together the Aide, Colonel, his entourage, all walked toward another doorway into a nearby chamber. He was leading them to the turbo-lift that would take them to below levels.
On the surface smoke as an explosion shook the surface as a simulated crash was placed several miles from the base, including two bodies that would be burned in the fire to simulate their death. Just in case DOOM came to investigate and try to infiltrate the base.
“You have your assignment, this base is constructed and the portal you will be using is located on level four below us out of fifteen levels. The assignment will begin as soon as possible, if you so wish. I will have the corporeal notify the next shift if you want to use the portal today. We’ll be heading to a briefing in room 2-6, for a refresher on the Star gate technology invented by Doctor Connors first. So stay alert and take notes.”
“It is not necessary to leave right away Colonel, the briefing is good and maybe some chow as we listen in or afterward.” Christopher said, waving his hand, “I’d like to start the mission tomorrow though at zero-six hundred tomorrow. We also need to gather and prepare our equipment for our mission after the briefing and see to personal matters.”
“Fine, Gunnery Sergeant Wells in the Armory will take care of that.” He replied, “My aide will see to the rest. Please carry on.”
“Please follow me, this way.” Corporeal Ladd said, motioning to the officers and pointing to the hatchway where huge cargo-bay doors opened for them revealing the armory. Together Catherine and John walked toward the hatchway and passed through it. Around them is a large room with smaller rooms attached where rack of every type of weapon, racks of grenades of every type, claymore mines, bazookas, rocket launchers, plasma rifles, and other piece of equipment is stored. Both glanced at each other, as a Gunnery Sergeant walked toward him, and they returned the salute.
“Welcome to Base, three one six’s Armory.” The sergeant said formally with a smile, noting the expressions on the officer’s faces. Usually it was always like this for visitors when they came to this base, expecting a small room of weapons, but this base was also a stockpile cache of weapons, so a dedicated room was used for the armory.
“What can I do for you two?” The gunny said.
Major Christopher handed him a list as did Catherine Sparks. The enlisted soldier took the list and scanned it.
“Hmmm PSC-2 Silenced Sniper Rifle, four dozen fragment grenades, timed claymores, grenade launcher…” He mused and the enlisted soldier scanned her list, almost the same thing, except she asked for a MP-6 Silenced sub machine gun, both asked for a silenced pistol, extra silencers and over one hundred rounds of ammunition. She asked for a laser guided spotter scope and two sets of micro binoculars.
“Jesus, what the hell are you guys going after, and starting, world war three?”
“Negative, it is a classified project.” The Major said, “How long will it take to gather up the equipment?”
“With help… It will take a couple of hours.” He replied, turning his head to whistle and wave his hand. Three other enlisted personnel approached and all saluted.
“We have a setup, Charlie.” Gunnery Sergeant Wells instructed and both enlisted nodded as they scanned the lists.
“We’ll be in the briefing room 2-6, waiting for your call.” Major Christopher said, “My thanks, Gunnery Sergeant Wells.” Together Catherine and John walked through the bay doors, and into a hallway nearby. They soon were taken to the briefing room and there they sat with the papers and notebooks preparing notes for the mission at hand. Both prepared a small strategy of their movements, deployment and ranging. Exchanging the list they discussed it, exchanging ideas with each other. They also ate a quick meal, which consisted of a fantastic menu of steak, lobster, vegetables, potato and to drink, against regulations, an ice cold beer in a large pitcher with two glasses.
A couple of hours elapsed quickly and there was a whistle on the communicator before them as both the Lieutenant and Major sat drinking coffee.
“Armory to Lounge.” A voice said and Major Christopher hit the button.
“Major Christopher here,” He replied. “Are you all finished Sergeant Wells?”
“Aye sir,” A voice replied and nodding to his spotter they both left the lounge. They gathered up the equipment and headed to a turbo-lift, heading to level four where the portal was located, preparing to leave at once for their mission.
“And GOD help, us both.” Lieutenant Sparks murmured as she carried the bag, following Major Christopher who hefted the large weapon over his shoulder and bag as well. Both had a side arm and in the bag they carried as much equipment as they could hold. They knew this mission would not be an easy one, and they suspected that minions of DOOM followers would be on hand to get at their target, in which they would have to stop.
Stepping into the chamber where the portal lie, The Major and Lieutenant nodded to Doctor Connors and his staff who sat behind the console. Both walked toward another hatch, quickly making their way along, as pointed by the good scientist toward the hatch where the portal lie. The Major noted the General, Colonel and his staff on hand from the observation booth. As the portal was activated, it hummed and whirred into life. An energy charge from the capacitors to make the system and unit work could be heard over the background computer noise. A moment later, there was a flash.
“Stand by.” A voice said, the voice of Doctor Connors echoing on the speaker as in the control room his personnel worked, hitting switches. A technician peered through the binocular type apparatus.
“We have the target Doctor.” He said, “Setting October twelfth, nineteen eighty three.” The portal flashed and a silver mirrored glass surface appeared in the arch.
“Okay, here we go.” Major Christopher murmured, drawing his pistol, and walked with his spotter toward the archway. A moment later, the Major put out his arm and touched the surface with the tip of his finger. It was cold and wet as he touched it, and stepping more that he disappeared through the portal. Catherine Sparks followed suit and she too disappeared through the arch.
“Good luck Major.” The Colonel murmured with a worried tone, as a ripple of gasps of surprise and comments echoed the chamber. There was the sound of crackling energy as the portal seemed to ripple and the silver surface vanished.
In the year nineteen eighty three, at the same moment in time, the duo stepped through the portal that had opened on the other end. As they appeared in the darkness, their vision and disorientation cleared and they stood silently near a tree, low overhanging branches concealed a large field ahead of them on one side and there was what appeared to be three chin-up bars located here part of an exercise course. A building on the left of their position with windows could be seen, dark of course being night and no one here. Both crouched beside the tree as they dropped the bag, and quickly they setup a cloaking array in which to conceal their presence and the tent in which they would spend the night.
“Alright, according to the data, we are at the destination.” Sparks said, “So long as no one steps on us, we should be in the clear. We should go high for a better shot, or move location over to the back end of this field for a clear view of everything.”
“Affirmative.” He replied, “Set spotter range at three hundred meters.”
“Right.” She set the device and peered through it. Scanning the area she peered at the building on the left, a playground adjacent to the building, another series of buildings with what appeared to be an open area between them behind it, and a cement wall to the right. A backstop was to their immediate right and a baseball field. Major Christopher set the scope on the silenced rifle.
The next morning, he and his spotter waited beside the series of trees, a breeze whipping along the field as they stared at kids appearing on the grounds. The Major made a motion with his finger that signaled for her to be quiet. Kids played on the grounds and in the field, unaware that they were being shadowed and examined. Sparks grinned as peered through the scope. Teachers stood out on the grounds, all unaware of the trap that was now being set for their target and anyone who would try to contact him.
“I have the target in sight.” Christopher whispered, “I have the solution.”
A kid about eleven years of age sat on the playground alone, he is about four foot eight, with auburn brown hair, blue eyes and he wore sneakers, a colored t-shirt and jeans. The spotter remembered the picture and gasped.
“It is a kid.” She gasped, “Are you sure we have the right time?”
“Yes.” The Major replied, “That definitely is our target. Remember with extreme prejudice, Sparks if we cannot eliminate the threat and contact him safely.”
“My god.” Sparks whispered, shaking her head, fighting back the emotion in which she said that she could control to do her task on this mission. Her orders had been to take over if John Christopher could not carry out the mission, for reasons of personal nature. She prayed that it would not come to that.
They both watched in silence as the student sat alone during what appeared to be a morning recess, periodically walking from a room where he apparently was in class, moving what appeared to be a cart with a movie projector on the top of it. An older man appeared nearby, with graying hair and a goatee with dark eyes. Major Christopher recognized it from the brief as one of the operatives from DOOM, disguised as a school teacher in which he was a perfect plant to contact their target. The student followed him after he motioned to him and they disappeared into the room on the second building to the right behind the playground. The student reappeared on the hallway under the covering, talking with what appeared to be the teacher for five minutes as other students walked, ran and played on the grounds around them.
“It looks like we’re too late.” Christopher said sharply, “Spot me the teacher, let’s get that bastard, but no doubt there might be more operatives than just him.”
“Two hundred and fifteen… no seventeen meters.” Sparks said as she peered through the scope and Christopher set the scope on the futuristic rifle. The teacher and student kept moving. The officer’s finger brushed the trigger gently, as he inhaled.
“I’ve got the shot.” He mused.
“Get that son of a bitch.” Sparks replied, and he squeezed the trigger. A single shot rang out as a bullet hit the gray haired man in the head. Blood splattered the wall nearby and there was a scream as student and teachers ran toward him and scattered as Christopher targeted others and two more shots rang out. One hit the wall.
“Target the student.” He ordered, “We’ve gotta eliminate him. We got three more operatives closing on him.”
“He keeps moving.” Sparks complained, “Three hundred meters, maybe a little more by about two.” She replied, “I can’t get a good reading.”
Teachers and students ran everywhere in chaos. “We’re going to lose him if we don’t get him now.” Christopher complained and he inhaled as he squeezed the trigger. A shot rang out nearest to him, hitting one of the supports to the covering causing a spark and ricochet. Two more shots as Christopher continued to pull the trigger.
Blood covered the shoulder of their target as another operative moved in with a knife. Teachers were on him and trying to stop him. The Major held his breath as he took aim and this time he had the target in dead sight. He scored a hit in the shoulder of an operative who fell, nicking their target, the second shot hitting him in chest.
“Damn.” The officer said, as pain hit his shoulder, he glanced at it as blood appeared on the cuff of his uniform. He eliminated the DOOM agents quickly felling them with shots to the head and chest. When one of his shots struck his target, there was a gasp of surprise by the Major and the Lieutenant.
“What the hell?” He gasped, and he took aim again, and he pulled the trigger, and scored a hit to the mid chest of their target.
He looked down at his chest, a blood stain appearing on the tunic of the uniform, a splotch as it bled outward like the tentacles of an octopus as it spread through the fabric.
He felt something pulling at him and the Major realized he had dropped the weapon, the winds of time pulling at him. Christopher lifted his hands and he saw them becoming translucent, clear as if his entire existence was fading away. It was happening as the student lay on the black top, lying in a pool of his own blood.
“What the hell is happening?” Catherine asked and she saw the look of astonishment on his face. She didn’t understand what was happening either. Taking up the scope she peered through it, spotting the student who remained down, a crowd near and around him, as teachers not involved with DOOM knelt beside him.
As the student continued to fade out, the Major continued to fade from view and he suddenly realized they had targeted his Great Grandfather. They had eliminated him, but in doing so had also eliminated his grandfather the traitor who would join DOOM to bring down the Federation. But with his Great Grandfather’s death, his grandfather’s death, his death would also follow like a daisy chain. He realized that he had removed the entire time line of his existence, and the time that he had known before would drastically change into non-existence. He would never exist if his grandfather died, never to grow up and have children and his children’s children to live in the future. The future would be altered and all influences and kills that the major had done in his lifetime would change, never to happen, allowing them all to live. He vanished from view in front of the Lieutenant. There was another pause, as another shift in time happened, as minutes seem to elapse and time did not move. Closing her eyes, Sparks let out a long gasp of silent exasperation, as she felt herself being drawn by the same winds of time as she too faded with her equipment into the winds of history.
It was several minutes before Sparks opened her eyes, realizing where she was, standing once more in the recruiting post where the Major had detached her. With the Major’s non existence, the assignment and issue never happened and the mission never was taken on. She was never detached. She once again stood in the station working as a Recruiter in Oakland Recruiting Depot Seventy Three. The only trouble the Lieutenant remembered everything that had happened in the last three days, the hell and hot water they had gone through to get to the desert. Shivering the Lieutenant turned her head to stare at the desk at the trio who watched her, and after a moment she returned their curious gazes.
“Holy shit, how did I get here? Did it really happen?” The young woman asked herself, what the hell happened?” She is unsure of her surroundings. Sparks peered at the office in silence at the other recruiters and at the large window that overlooked the Bay in which her station was located.
“But, what about the project, and the portal?” She asked, afraid to ask and wondered if they had succeeded in their mission. Sparks dreaded to make inquiries at the end of duty today to find out what was happening, and if she really wanted to know that answer if what had happened, really did. Something obviously had happened and had changed time and space around her. Walking toward the door, she stepped through it and outside, peering at the Bay as a tram moved across the sky, blazoned with the symbol of the Federation on its hull.
“We must have succeeded at our task.” Sparks thought, and shaking her head she turned to head back toward the door of the Recruiting Depot.
“If it never happened, then why am I remembering it?” Sparks asked herself, and grimacing as she let a cool breeze hit her in the face, staring out to sea for a long time before walking back inside the building to get back to work.
At the same time she is thinking this, however, Sparks is unaware at this very moment that a child has been born to a proud family of four, in a nearby hospital and bearing the name John Christopher.
As he lay in his cradle in the Medical Center, under the bright lights and scrutiny of the nurses around him, time now strangely was going to unfold around him. This boy, this son, born into a military family is already a hero of Earth, thirty five years before he was born, but for now would only know of his future as he would live it that was changed for the better by his hand long before he was born. The only difference with this birth, however, that is had been with a different set of parents, grandparents, and great grandparents. But he still was a hero of the Federation.