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Me, Myself and That Guy
Timejacker #3Z.
© 2023 James LaFond
Prescript: Sped Zeppelin, Advent Horizon, 2022
Jamie came to, not his, but someone else’ senses, as if he were levitating, floating on air. He had a headache, which presumably meant he had a head. A strangely attired doctor, perhaps out of gaslit Britain, but in a military style uniform he could not identify, was examining him. This man retrieved his stethyscope and turned to two figures standing in the small room, that might have been a stateroom on the steamer bound for King Kong’s island.
There was the blond man with the strange blue eyes. Next to him, about the same muscular size, was that improbably juiced up version of himself who had just cracked him into next week in the Amtrak changing room. The doctor spoke in what sounded like German to the two men, who shook their head in the negative. He then stood, saluted, and stood at attention by the small door.
‘Is this another strange dream, another hijacking of my mind by some cruel dreamer?’
The superior, younger version of himself seemed to know what doubts coursed behind Jamie’s swollen eyes, the one that had been hit and the one that had been, ‘Wow, Super-me cracked me twice,’ he thought as he touched his left eye and right eye.
Super-me grinned, “You were out on your feet and still trying to shank me. Hope I didn’t expunge the historical record in your brain, Book-me.”
Jamie always hated hearing his voice recorded, and this was even worse, as if he had been juiced on roids and had reached his full developmental potential as a pure asshole of unimpeachable arrogance!
Super-me seemed to know his thoughts and went on, “You are not in a dream. I am the you that listened to Colonel Alaric here. You are the cowardly me that remained a slave, a slave that required no whips or chains, only your grovelling for a currency that devalued quicker than you could earn it.”
‘Wow, Super-me is smarter than I am.’
The asshole version of himself continued, “We are Time Soldiers, in service to Humanity, in service to The Dreamer, whose cracked little side view mirror you somehow became. I am Major Bracken—no way could I stomach that frog slave name, LaFranc. We are aboard the Kaiser’s chronologically salvaged airship Hindenburg. Do you play ball or do I chuck you out the stateroom window into your yawning fear of heights and falling?”
Jamie looked out the window behind him indicated by The Major’s nod and saw clouds wisp bye, looked fore and aft, and saw a great blimp body above and… the ringing in his ears, always there waxing and waning, became deafening and the floating world spun, ‘No, no, don’t swoon in front of this prick!’
The German doctor was once again seated at the bedside, attending to him as he came to, speaking in German, to the blond man, who spoke to him, “Jamie, the stress of interacting with who you might have been is causing psychotic episodes, seizures if you will. Major Bracken is at the bar smoothing his rough edges with liquor and beer. We are Chronological Operatives in service to a Higher Power, who permits us very limited, specific mobility outside of Time to access convergence points within Time. Your potential as a Timejumper was never realized in your person, in your strand of Time. Indeed, your declination caused a split in Time, a sin as unfavorable as the Fall in the Garden, you refusing to cooperate with agents of the very Dreamer who had bestowed visions upon you.
‘Groan and double groan—guilt never stops, even outside of time.’
The man smiled with a tolerant kindness and continued, “Happily for him, and unfortunately for posterity, Major Bracken failed to read the last 4,000 books you read. He has been busy. Like wise, he ceased reading at about the Age of Enlightenment according to Dante, who, indeed, was contacted by Virgil. Perhaps, your reticence those years ago, was informed by The Dreamer, who, knowing all, knew that two of you would be required. You do possess a recollection of historic dates that may facilitate this mission.”
‘Go with it, dreams are better that way,’ he thought as he looked into the clear blue eyes and nodded that he understood. In accordance, he sat up on the cot and the Doctor stood back to observe him, and Jamie, struck with an intuition uncommon to him, reminded himself to think out loud in this dream, “Yes, Alaric—the same chief of the fair-haired races that felled Rome, I presume?”
The strong blond man smiled, “We were invited, we served, and when we were not paid, we paid ourselves. Rome was already fallen in its soul.”
Jamie nodded, “What can I provide?”
Alaric outlined, “We head to a negro future, an African, Ice Age America, something you have variously predicted, to try and reverse the annihilation of our human strand. We salvaged this airship right before it was destroyed, its disappearance causing no more of a ripple in Time than its pending destruction, if a bit more grist for various crackpot mills.”
Alaric smiled, as if he were a teacher talking to a slow and easily addled special education student. Seeing Jamie still engaged, he continued:
“In a like fashion, we require from you a recommended pool of 40 remarkable fighting men, from North American battles where they might be snatched from the jaws of death. We must avoid American Civil War battles due to minieball technology and massed fire power. You are something of an authority on such low tech disasters. We need to go back to a date and then come forward in stages, traveling geographically while in the lower tech past, not in the mid 20th century and especially not in your timeframe, which we barely escaped when we were triangulated by defenses out of Cheyenne Mountain. We may not exceed the year 1936, as 1937 is the year of our Advent Horizon in that Time strand.”
Jamie sat up, cheered by the task, looked over his shoulder at the wisps of cloud and submitted to the notion that he was likely still dreaming and rattled off some possibilities:
“Earliest date for reliable time of day and some of the highest casualties would be Braddock’s Defeat at what became Pittsburgh, in late morning of July 9, 1755.
“Coming forward to October 5 1813, I would favor Tecumseh or even some of his enemy Americans at the Battle of the Thames. I would leave open the option of grabbing some of the victors in these engagements in case the vanquished have already perished, after Evola’s theory of metaphysical battle convergence with the Overworld.”
Alaric nodded and Jamie continued, “The Alamo, March 1836 is an obvious choice, grabbing defenders before they are swept into history.
“Custer’s Last Stand at The Little Big Horn in June 25 and 26 1876 is a good choice because you could always grab some Crow scouts or some of Reno or Benteen’s men if we fail to rescue Custer and his men. That is likely, because I am unsure of time of day—I’m guessing noon of the 25th. I like Miles Keough and the men who rallied around him after he and his horse were shot. Custer himself is likely to be a pain in the neck and seemed to die last. And, three months later, in case that does not work, the James Younger Gang get cut to pieces in Northfield Minnesota. The time of day is solid at 2 P.M. and you get a high functioning firearms unit.”
Alaric asked him, “Any recommendations for technology shock?”
Jamie went on a torrent, “For native tribesmen, this is easy, Hiawatha’s White-sky-canoe in the Eastern Woodlands and a thunderbird in the West. For the Americans, we will be able to explain this as a secret balloon weapon sent out to help the Indian fighters—for the bank robbers, maybe even a secret Confederate weapon that did not get deployed in time for to use against the Yankee aggressors. The battle of the Thames is iffy and will require various contingency plans not to waste the trip. I’d love to meet Tecumseh, but honestly, grabbing some of the Kentuckians that helped defeat him, might be better for your purposes.
“I also am inclined to Favor Benedict Arnold and Simon Girty on those days they retired from public life, one on the Hudson and one on a great lake—can’t recall which one he rode his horse off a pier—but I do not have the dates in my head. Hope that helps.”
“Thank you, Jamie,” said Alaric, as he nodded to the German doctor, who produced a syringe and came over to him as Alaric stepped forward and held Jamie by the biceps with an undeniable strength in those pale hands.
“I am in the hands of Morpheus then,” mumbled Jamie, to which Alaric answered as the needle sank, “Kinder hands than those which hold Major Bracken and myself, Mister LaFranc.”
Off he floated, inward, away from Time and its cruel minions.
‘Man in the Mirror’
fiction anthology one
the fighting edge
the lesser angels of our nature
orphan nation
logic of steel
when you're food
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