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Saving Private Ryan

“Are ya’all ready?” I yelled enthusiastically.

Spencer looked around the room “Don’t you want to know who’s here?”

“When you treat a man like a computer, he may begin to think like one, but this doesn’t make him one,” I said, cryptically, “Nope, I’m fully aware of who’s here, and glad to have you back Jackie, how was your journey?”

She looked at Spencer, “What do you mean?,” she said.

“Still gonna play this game are we? Well then,” I said as I slammed the switch on the TARDIS, “Off we go.”

Everyone promptly sat down, and buckled up quickly.

Kevin, a little frightened said “Can you tell us where we’re going?,”

“Where AREN’T we going?,” I said as the lights dimmed.

“New Effect, You all are seated, good, this one’s a fun one, “ I said.

As the lights dimmed, the room with the exception of the chairs everyone was seated on was was reduced to about 20% transparency. The effect was much like looking through a window, only the window was 360 degrees longitudinally and 360 degrees latitudinally.

If I must say so myself, the view was magnificent.

The world around began to rotate, slowly, as the TARDIS slipped into a wormhole. As the TARDIS flew through this meandering colorful cloudy tunnel, Pam said “I think I’m gonna be sick”

“Pammy, it’s a short journey, close your eyes,” I said as a tunnel widened at the end

The TARDIS exited the wormhole, and looming over us was something beyond amazing.

The door opened, and a blast of hot wind came in.

The walls were still semi-transparent though, but the floor had become solid the moment we touched down on solid ground.

Kevin’s eyes grew huge. “Is that, an Imperial Cruiser,”

But by then I’d already been standing at the door.

A Star Destroyer to be accurate, I welcome you to the planet Tatooine. If there was ever a planet that could make the denizens of Phoenix, Arizona, USA feel like home – it’s a bleak, dry and water-less place that was among the first planets to establish civil trade relations within a system at war,” I said, as I walked out the door.

The Star Destroyer was huge, by any standards, a mile long by a half mile wide by a half mile tall, and had found its resting place to be the surface of this wasteland of a planet.

Everyone ambled out of the TARDIS.

I way over exaggerated wiping sweat off my brow and added a ‘phwew, is this smoking hot out here’, for the effect

“Kinda takes you back, way back, doesn’t it, Jackie?,” I said, “You clever girl, you.”

“What are you talking about?,” she said.

“This isn’t real, “ Gina said, “This is fictional”

“And SO AM I, “ I retorted.

Bill and Ron pulled out their cameras. Yep, we all now have photographic proof we were there.

“Quickly, “ I said after a couple of minutes.

“We barely just got here,” Kevin said, “Can’t we go explore it?”

“A barren waste planet who’s primary import is water and you sincerely think that thing isn’t gonna be scavenged to death by now?,” I said.  “Everyone IN!,” I yelled. “NOW!”

I could feel it looming mere minutes behind me.

Had to go now.

Kevin walked by as he said “I just wanted to look,” he said.

“Later,” I said, my smile turning briefly upside down to express the urgency as I nodded in the direction of the chairs.

I jogged to the center console, barely giving everyone time as I slammed the lever.

“Old girl, you’re just gonna have to trust me on this,” I said to the TARDIS console.

“Is everything ok?” Becki said.

The floor disappeared revealing the wormhole, as we tossed and turned inside of it.

“Where are we going now?” Pam said.

“Q, is everything ok?,” Ron’s wife Deb said.

I turned around rapidly, as if caught off guard and looked at everyone with my hands perched on the console behind me.

“Fine, everything’s fine, why would you think any differently,” I said, with my worst fake smile I could conjure up.

“Baby, take us somewhere that will light my hair on fire without taking us to the sun,”  I said quietly to the TARDIS

About then a bright light could be seen at the end of the tunnel.

“Ah hah! Brilliant!,” I said.

We suddenly found ourselves along side a Cessna 172, which was flying along side of us, but as we watched, the pilot’s head was bobbing and weaving and suddenly, he passed out.

Everyone could see it was Bill.

And the plane was in a nose dive.

“But he’s here, “ Pam yelled, “This doesn’t make any sense.”

He was clearly younger though.

“That’s not this Bill, he’s much younger, “ Becki said.

We watched as the plane accelerated downwards. 9000 feet. 7000. 6000. 5000.

“WE HAVE TO DO SOMETHING, “ Pam said.

“And here I thought you said – you insisted in fact – that time can’t be changed or altered,”  I said.

“But Bill. If he dies here. Then I’ll never meet him,” she said, practically in tears.

“If that’s how you reason it, “ I said.

4000.

The ground was a mere 400 feet below us.

“We can’t just let him die, “ said Gina, “Not if we have the power to do something about it,”

I snapped my fingers.

Time paused in the world outside of us as the TARDIS drew close to the passenger’s door of the plane.

“The audaciousness of humans knows no bounds. You’ll judge me for gallivanting as I see fit across space and time, but when it comes to applying the same rules to yourself, your own rules selectively apply when you see fit,” I said.

I then added “Brilliant philosophy, I might add, so let’s do something about it.”

A ramp formed from the TARDIS to the plane’s door, as I walked out, and stepped into the passenger’s side of the cockpit, and strapped myself in.

“Pick us up at Chandler Airfield in Arizona, keep in mind wind conditions and the refueling issue we will have in Las Vegas, “ I said.

“Wait. I remember this,” Pam said, “didn’t Bill get food poisoning and you flew pretty much the entire way from Reno to Phoenix as he recovered?”

I smiled and winked at her.

“So this is how you came to be on the trip, what about your memories of the flight up there?,” she said.

“NOW we’re getting somewhere,” I exclaimed, “You and I, we have some chatting to do in – 6 hours.”

I closed the door to the plane as the door retracted back into the TARDIS, as the TARDIS’s door closed and drifted away.

I then pulled back on the yoke hard, and then resumed time.

It was close. And so to say I was mildly nervous was a true statement, but with the air speed – about 100 feet above ground I managed to pull it out of the dive.

Young Bill wasn’t even aware anything was going on. he mumbled something that sounded like ‘fucker’ as his head shifted to the side.

I’d just saved his life. And his response was ‘fucker’?

Something was odd.

Two hours later, Bill and I were having engine problems in Las Vegas, which Bill convinced me to ‘trust him’ as we got to flight level and the engine would cool down. I did. And it did.

It was almost like things beyond our comprehension were in collusion to try to end our lives.

Lisa and Pam were both greeting me at the airport when we landed in Chandler four hours later.

“Lisa?,” I said, “It’s been ages.”

“I hear you’re really doing this,” she said,“well you know I meant it when I took those vows, til death do us part.”

I was stunned. I’d remembered her being here for me before, but this time, Bill had gone up alone, so there was clearly more going on to all this than met the eye.

“How is he?,” Pam asked about Bill, who was locking up his plane.

“He’s fine. But he said something off as I pulled out of the dive,” I said.

“I’ll drive him home and rejoin in a bit,” Pam said, dismissing my comment.

“You have his address?,” I said.

“I do. I tried getting Donna to come down here to pick him up but she wasn’t living with him, they’d already started divorce proceedings on this timeline,” Pam said, “I’ve modified his vision to see Donna when he looks at me, we’re repairing the timeline to align with your experiences.”

“Sounds like you’re getting the lingo, “ I said.

“Something for you to think about,” Lisa said smugly.

Bill walked up.

“How do you feel, “ Pam said, only her voice sounded like Donna’s.

That was eerie, I thought.

“Like shit. I just want to go to sleep for a few days,” he said.

Pam waved as they got in the car and drove off.

Lisa drove around the corner to a larger hangar bay, which housed only a TARDIS.

I looked at her.

“So you’ve met Jackie?,” I said.

About then Jackie walked out and gave Lisa a hug.

“We go way back, “ she said.

“And you’re fine with this arrangement?,” I said.

“Always have been. You wouldn’t believe what we’ve gone through to make you ok with it though,” she said.

We walked inside the TARDIS, everyone was there except Pam.

“Let’s call it a night,” I said., “I’m exhausted.”

Everyone seemed content.

“We are curious. Are you ill now, in your real world?,” Gina said.

“I am,” I said.

Without saying more, we both knew that Bill’s food poisoning on this weird day in 1998 and my cold in 2016 were one and the same thing.

“Pam can let herself in, let’s get some sleep, “ I said.

They were all looking at me expectantly, as if they wanted me to say more.

But I had nothing else to say.

I couldn’t help but think as I left the others “Why did he call me ‘fucker’? moments before saving his life?”

Building Giza

“Q!, God dammit, this is important!,” Jackie yelled.

“What is it, Jackie?,” I said.

“Your body. Your avatar at least. It’s gone,” she said.

“It was only a matter of time,” I said.

“What do you mean by that?,” she said.

“First, you’re alone, right? How did you know I’d respond if my avatar wasn’t around, and furthermore, what’s with the assertive personality, this sounds like the old Jackie,” I said.

“Who you calling old? Look, I don’t have time for this, we need to get your avatar back, the others will become suspicious,” she said.

Something was afoot.

Do I arise suspicion that I’m not the man she has been dealing with? Or do I play it off?

“Jackie, Are you a clone?,” I said.

“For fuck’s sake, Bri, We cloned you and me and swapped us both to steal this thing,” she said.

She bit her tongue, realizing her faux pas.

“You’re not him, are you?,” she said.

“Afraid not,” I said.

She hesitated slightly.

“Um. Where. What did you do with him?,” she said.

I suspected I knew who ‘him’ was – I’d fought – Fight Club style – with a vicious alter ego version of myself which was attempting to take over my life, and had been the cause of a distinct split in my personality I wasn’t privy to at first.

The thing was – this wasn’t the only personality that had become real. I’d been struggling with multiple personalities throughout my life, to an extent I truly do not doubt was unparalleled in all of history.

“Well,” I said. “I’m still coming to terms with it, but we fought a vicious mental battle and he lost, and ever since then I have been merging his perspective, experiences, and life with my own,” I said.

Jackie sat down. She’d never expected this.

“How do I know you’re not full of shit like you usually are,” she said.

“Because you’re going to show up in North Hollywood in 2016 leveraging TARDIS technology making yourself invisible to everyone but me and then hang out for a few days completely naked. After that, we’re going to disable the technology and see if people see you, which I doubt they will, “ I said.

Her face was nonplussed.

“I intend on experimenting with and on you, across space and time, and you’ll be a part of my harem,” I said.

“The hell I will,” she said.

“Yep,” I said.

With that, I paused time for the rest of the vessel, and intentionally knocked her on her ass next to a chair.

“I suggest you get in that seat and buckle in,”  I said.

“Where are you taking me?,” she said.

I didn’t respond, but the holographic display above us painted the path clearly.

“2560 BC? What are we going to go see the Pyramids being built? Been there, done that,” she said.

She was half right, “Not like this,” I said

We’d arrived to our destination, as the door opened up to the outside.

“”You’re not expecting me to go out there,” she said, “How do I know I can trust you, how do I know you’re not going to leave me here? Wait, where are the others?,” she said.

I said nothing.

She tried to enter the guest hallway, but found there to be a force field in the way.

Rachel’s voice came from an indefinite locations “Hallways is in stasis,” the disembodied voice said.

Jackie became angry.

A song came on over the speakers “Come around feel the sound though you make my heart pound, fill me up bring me down when I hear your sound. down down down down down down down……”

“What is that noise?” she said, cupping her hands over her ears.

I turned up the music.

It was distinctly metallic at times.

“I’ve got pressure, I’m in deep, Seems everybody wants something from me, I was a lover, but now a thief,
I’ll take your breath away and set you free,” the lyrics said, as the volume was rising.

She began crying.“Stop, please stop!” she yelled.

I ignored her.

She kept looking at the door, so I kept rising the volume.

“So much pressure, So much heat, ”

I bumped up the temperature in the room to 120 degrees fahrenheit and increased the barometric pressure, just to make it more uncomfortable in there.

She began crying.“Why are you doing this to me? Please stop!” she yelled.

But her pleas were falling on deaf ears.

“So much hussle, They want me…,” echoed in the TARDIS.

She couldn’t take it any longer. She ran out the front door, to which I closed it behind her.

The music stopped the moment she’d gotten outside, as I dematerialized the locking mechanism. The atmosphere inside the TARDIS turned back to normal.

She turned around, looked at the TARDIS, and hit the door, but the door didn’t budge. She kicked it, then she said “Oh you think you’ve got me, “ as she reached into her pocket and fumbled for a key which she held up triumphantly, but as she went to reach for the lock, she realized the lock wasn’t even there.

She screamed.

But the TARDIS remained.

She sat down.

It was a hot day. Exceedingly hot, even for a winding path desert, as she tried finding shade, but there was none.

“I’m not going anywhere,” She yelled. “Do you hear me, I’m not going anywhere, ” as she fell back first against the TARDIS.

But the sun beat down.

“Water, can’t you at least give me some water?,” She yelled.

I said nothing.

She stood up again, “Fine you want to see me naked, “ she yelled, “Fine,” as she proceeded to disrobe. Her shoes came off first, which she threw against the side of the TARDIS, “You bastard,” she said as she took off her shirt and threw it against the TARDIS, “I hope,” she said as she took off her bra and threw it against the TARDIS, “This makes,” she said as she pulled off her skirt, throwing it against the TARDIS, “YOU HAPPY!” she yelled as she took off her panties and threw them at the TARDIS.

All her clothes laid in a pile in the TARDIS.

“Are you enjoying yourself?” she said, as she waved her arms up in the air, walking around the TARDIS, stark naked, yelling at the TARDIS. “Does THIS,” she said as she pounded her fist against the TARDIS, “make” as another fist hit it, “you”, as she kicked the TARDIS with her right foot “happy?”

She collapsed, naked, to the side of the TARDIS sitting on her clothes pile.

“What do you want from me.?” she said.

I remained silent. The path was right there in front of her. All she needed to do was follow it.

Instead she sat there crying.

About 15 minutes later, as she finally noticed the path.

She put on her shoes, took her skirt and placed it on top of her head to shield herself from the sun, as she walked completely nude the path, with the exception of the shoes and the cloth skirt protecting her from the heat. The rest of her clothes lay in pile at the entrance to the silent TARDIS.

It was adorable. Sexy even.

And to be honest, I don’t know why she thought there would be no one there to see her, or that she even cared.

She followed the path down the ravine for about half a mile when she saw it.

The pyramids.

Only as she drew closer. She could see, distinctly, that a child – a small baby boy – the size of a pyramid was playfully, piece by piece, placing the massive blocks on the structure of the pyramid.

The boy was no older than 3 or 4.

And he appeared to be having fun with the little people.

She kept walking closer. I could feel that she thought, briefly about going back to get her clothes when she saw all the women were walking nude and it was only the men wearing loin clothes and nothing else.

She came across a busy road, and while she stood there on a ledge as she considered risking it by walking down it and being seen, a holographic image of me appeared next to her, which startled her.

“I don’t suggest going down there, white girl,” I said, “might bring too much attention, and I don’t suspect that’s something you’re remotely ready for.”

It was then she noticed the skin color differences.

“So you knew I’d take off my clothes,” she said.

“Nope,” I said, “and it’s not like I haven’t seen a million naked bodies before, while you’re attractive, you give yourself too much credit physically.”

She turned to me.

“You don’t like this,” she said.

My hologram pointed behind us and to the right.

“I’m actually over here, and where I’m at now I could care less,” I said, “Do you see that boy?”

She tried to touch the hologram, but her hand sliced through.

“Like an avatar?,” she said.

“That boy is me. I was three years old when I accidentally time traveled the first time, and went back in time nearly 4500 years, “ I said.

Oddly, she didn’t seem that interested.

“So you’re not really here, “ she said waving her hand through the hologram again

I turned off the hologram, but projected the voice into the same location.

“You’re like a misbehaving puppy. WATCH that boy,” I said.

She sulked, and looked at the boy.

“Last one, on the top, and there we have it,” I said as the ancient Egyptians broke out in applause.

About then the cloudless sky grew dark and cloudy.

“Now Jackie, are you interested in controlling me and reviewing your revisionist history?

The base of a massive black pyramid like structure pierced the clouds, and came down just over the child’s head.

The baby looked up and then looked down at the Egyptians as he said “Bye bye”

About then, a beam of blue light formed around the child, and the child dematerialized as he was smiling and waving. Moments later, a large blue beam of light shot out from the top of the black pyramid structure, temporarily piercing the atmosphere to make space clearly visible, and, as if being pulled on a string, the black vessel rapidly departed and in a second was no longer visible.

The clouds disappeared, as the Egyptians recovering from what they’d just seen and began celebrating again.

“Or are you interested in seeing history the way it really happened?,” I said.

Her mouth was agape.

“Was that you?,” she said.

“Nope,” I said, “I think it was my parents, but I’m honestly not sure.”

“Do you think they have alcohol down there?,” she said, as she threw her skirt off to the side of the ravine and took off her shoes and did the same. She was standing there completely nude and looking to me for an answer.

An answer I was unwilling to give.

I figured it was time to quit talking, let her do what she was going to do, so I let her be.

Her timing was immaculate though, so I figured this was as good a time as any and that she would be safe with her skin color and might even be regarded as a God by the locals.

When I reflect on my history and how Isis came to be, and why she decided to remain behind there in Egypt that day is something I may never know or fully understand.

I loved that woman. Not the conniving backstabbing bitch she was when I wasn’t looking, but the woman who loved to party without restriction and was very proud of her body and loved it being worshiped by her stable of men, and anyone else who wanted.

I suspect this wouldn’t be the last time I’d run into the woman I knew as Jackie who the world knew as Isis.

I only hoped the woman became kinder over time.

After waiting nearly 10 years in the desert outside of Giza, Jackie never once returned.

I watched over her the entire time though.

She seemed happy.

I’d like to go check in on her one of these days though.

As for history not matching official records.

I’m not the first one who’s time traveled and influenced historical events.

Nor will I be the last.

The Atomic Platters

“How long’s it been since we last communicated?,” I asked.

“About 15 minutes,” Jackie said.

“Shit, I thought our clocks were synced. It’s been 24 hours for me,” I said.

“Full house in here, “ Kevin said.

“I know, “ I said, “And you’re all chomping at the bit to do something new.”

“You could say that, buddy,” Spencer said.

“Ok. Bennett still with you?,” I said.

“Who?” Pam said.

“Dammit! Skipping too,” I said, “Tell me who’s here.”

“You can’t see?,” Spencer said, curiously.

“No, I can’t. Feel. And something is off, I’m not feeling ya, pardon the pun,” I said.

“Well Gina and Spencer Anglin are here,” Spencer said.

“Bill and Pam Stokes,” Bill said.

“Jackie Killeen,” Jackie said.

“Jeff And Roz Kleinman, “ Kevin said, as he smiled at Jeff.

“And Kevin and Becki O’Reilly,” Jeff said.

“Tryin to throw me off, eh?”, I said.

“Glad ya caught it, “ Kev said.

“Ok.I’d like to take you to the year 2288, June 19 at 11:37 am, what was formerly Boston, Massachusetts is now known as the Commonwealth. I’d like you to verify my view of this is in sync with yours,” I said.

“Sounds groovy,” Kevin said.

“It’s a post apocalyptic civilization, a society that’s still battling with basic problems such as food and water, let alone mutations and radiation, so it’s decidedly not a safe place, but I’ll only land you in areas I know are absolutely safe,” I said.

“This doesn’t sound like fun, “Gina said.

“Isn’t there a casino in the future or somewhere else we could be going?” Pam said.

“This actually sounds interesting, “ Kevin said, “Is this one and the same Boston that we dropped Stephen off at?”

“It is,” I said, “And he and I are actually working together on reconstruction of the society in a very unorthodox fashion, something that might very well make history one of these days,” I said.

“Are there zombies?,” Gina said, “I don’t like zombies.”

“Ok. A little headsup for the medical practitioner – that’s you, Gina. Do you know what a mutation is and why it happens?,” I said.

“That was never a part of my education, “ she said, “You know I’m an ER nurse.”

“Ok, when you break down a biological being into it’s constituent components, you get cells, which breaks down further into molecules, which breaks down further into atoms, which breaks down further into energy. So what radiation tends to do is try to quickly break down an organic being into energy. The mind of that being tends to not like this one bit, so the mind tries to reassert the structure, but sometimes there’s incomplete information on how to reform that structure which the mind has a tendency to use ‘best guess’ type probability – a collective voting system of the memory of cells which say ‘we think it was like this’ – which doesn’t always work like it should. So when it’s inaccurate, this tends to cause mutations. Sometimes severe mutations,”  I said.

“So zombies are real?” Gina said.

“Yep. Not all want to eat you though. So are giant scorpions, so are giant cockroaches, do I need to go on?,” I said

“You don’t, “ Spencer said, “We really need to go to this place?”

“Yep. I’d like you to meet Rachel. I sincerely doubt I’ll see you through her as an avatar I am commanding, but it’s y our opportunity to get to meet her, as this is – for now – her home,” I said.

Jackie was genuinely excited, “I’ve looked so forward to meeting her.”

Pam looked at Jackie with a weird sideways look, “You two really are made for eachother, aren’t you?”

“Literally,” I said.

“Do you want us to rescue her?,” Kevin said.

“NO, definitely not. You’re going to find she’s quite well adept at handling herself, I’ve made sure she’s not leveraged any armor or clothes, whatsoever, as she’s traversed this landscape, which she’s done quite well but so far not exhibited any signs that she’s just listening to commands,” I said.

“She’s naked?,” Bill said, with a smile.

“With the exception of a couple bracelets and anklets, she is,” I said.

Pam and Gina both looked at me with a wretched look.

“As Jackie once told me on your behalf. Don’t judge,” I said, “I won’t get into explaining myself as I realize it comes across as a defense. Instead I’ll said I just want to see a world shaped by a lack of demand for armor and weapons and led by a gorgeous naked woman,” I said.

Pam and Gina’s look of disapproval remained unfettered.

“For those of you who want radiation suits, there’s some fully functional ones I’ve never used myself in the wardrobe. I have plenty of an inoculation called Rad-X  which diminishes the effects of radiation substantially, and of another medicine called Radaway you can use should you feel sick or ill from the effects of radiation. IF you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or feel like throwing up, then take the Radaway, it’s 100% effective. NONE of you will experience any long term effects from radiation as that – at least in this century – has been cured,” I said.

“I’ll be taking you to three spots and prefer you not wander from the immediate vicinity of each of these locations. The first location is Diamond City, it’s in the old ruins of the stadium where the Boston Red Sox used to play. the second spot is a place called Sanctuary, a city I built in the ruins of Rachel’s old neighborhood.  And finally, I’m going to take you to a spot I’ll figure out afterwards, right now it’s too jumbled on where to go, I figure this will give you all a chance to ask me for a place to go where it’s not as safe as the other places I’m taking you too, which are utterly safe,” I said.

“What about the flying ship?” Bennett said.

Rather than tell the group Bennett was originally not here and they’d not had any idea who he was, I decided to run with it.

“There are robots which are running the ship, “ I said. “We managed to get the ship off the ground, but they promptly crashed it into a skyscraper trying to turn away from downtown Boston. Now if you’re feeling brave, I don’t mind you trying to talk to them to see if they can’t figure out a way to move forward, which they didn’t have yesterday. And while they shouldn’t attack if you don’t pose yourself as a threat, they are heavily armed and didn’t want to suggest it because of the risk it presented,” I said.

“Well I for one sure as hell ain’t gonna be risking it,” Spencer said.

Bennett said “I’ll do it. I am not going naked but I’d love to talk to battle bots on board a flying ship!”

I hadn’t thought about it from the Warhammer perspective. Bennett’s got an opportunity to talk to real life Battle bots, he’s gonna run with it.

“Ok. Four destination. We’re going to do an overflight first as we come in so you can get a complete lay of the land. Now, if you’d all move to the bottom observation deck, that would be nifty,” I said.

“Not worried about turbulence?,” Becki said.

“Wait a moment, Ron and Debbie. Are they there?,” I said.

“We’re here,” Ron said, “You didn’t hear us in the role call?”

Weird. Bennett and Ron and Debbie all missing in the first role call. Then they all slip in.

“I was distracted, my apologies,” I said. “No, Becki, no turbulence for this trip. It’s one of the easiest trips for the TARDIS to make.”

I flipped the lever to the TARDIS, as the lights grew dim, and we all took the stairs heading below deck to the observation room.

A low thump could be heard in the distance, as the TARDIS grumbled and shook to life.

And we were on our way.

To 2288.

 

Kobayashi Maru

“Everyone here?,” I asked.

“Everyone’s here, “ Jeff responded, “including Jackie.”

“Hey Jackie!,” I said.

“Hey Bri, You have a cold?,” she said.

“I do,” I said, “Quite perceptive.”

“It wasn’t rocket science, “ Spencer said.

I went to the center console.

“I had a dream last night, and with Jackie here, she needs to hear this for herself, the rest of you don’t have to stay to listen if you don’t want, but I’m just leveraging my avatar to transcribe things into the TARDIS and so Jackie’s aware of what I think happened to me in my past,” I said, “I’m concerned as my dreams are becoming difficult to separate from reality with one major exception – I don’t feel emotion and the world as vividly in the dream state as I do in real life and I don’t like it,”

“Go on,” Jackie said.

“Ok. In 2002, I was depressed, horribly, and just wanted someone or something else to take over my life for a while. I wasn’t coping well with being single and with how I felt about myself with having hurt Lisa. That’s the primary reason for joining the US Army,” I said.

“Now I’m suspecting that somewhere in there after I signed up, the military inserted my mind into a computer program which created a lifelike simulation which had one primary goal, to make me unquestioningly submit to the  will of the collective hierarchy led by the President,” I said.

“Now initially, I think the program worked magnificently. And I actually stayed in the US Army until in a literal sense the end of time. I have memories – not hallucinations, not movies, not drug induced experiences, but actual toxin free memories of a split in reality which proves this happened beyond a shadow of a doubt to me,” I said.

“So reality starts back up again. I’m born. I go through the SAME exact motions. Again. And again. and again. in a cycle, living the same life over and over again, until I instinctually somehow begin to catch on to this cyclic nature, and I start intentionally making choices I otherwise wouldn’t have made – changes and choices which stood in contrast to my my own personality,” I said.

“Somewhere in there, I started realizing I’m in a simulation. What ‘it’ was and why I was in it was the difficult question though. So when pitted against your own mind in a battle to the death, what do you do? That’s about when I realized, the limitation of the simulation does not have to be the limitation of my tactics, and with the temporal looping going on, I could actually learn from my past mistakes and make a decision I hadn’t made before to push me forward. Put specifically. Let’s say I died 36 million years ago making choice ‘y’. Well this time, I make choice ‘z’. Or I make choice ‘y’ AND ‘z’. So that’s what I started doing,. Making choices I otherwise wouldn’t make, and conditional choices I knew would be difficult to program for capturing,” I said.

“So I did drugs. I slept around. I traveled. I began telling people how I felt. I quit believing in choosing ‘one single’ partner and instead chose to believe I deserved and could get a harem. In general, I asserted my personality and found a version of me I liked and enjoyed which had adopted many of the rules society gave me, but also put my spin on it and gave my life enjoyment and value. I wasn’t perfect, I wasn’t the best fit, nor was I the brightest or the most handsome. But I was me. I’d shaped this man into being imperfect, always a work in progress, and came to accept that,” I said, “And found a way to get along with my mind rather than fight it”

“The forces that be rebelled against this. They enjoyed their positions of power, had – for what I learned – could be beyond human comprehension in scales of time, and these powerful forces rewrote history to debunk people like me who’d jumped the rails of the collective mind by positioning themselves as fiction, so when people like me spoke up, our credibility was shredded and our assertions publicly debunked. This revisionism also began causing increasing problems for me, not the least of which was a horrible pain inside my chest which kept seeming to get worse not better, and oddly enough would make me sweat.So MUCH Of me trying to understand my life has been out of simple self preservation and not to feel the intense pain,” I said.

“This is when I began to see parallels to the material I engaged in that I called fiction.Doctor Who  – a time traveler I watched as entertainment – would predictably ‘blow up’ from the inside out in a form of spontaneous combustion, with him screaming one time ‘I dont want to die’,” I said.

“I saw the Borg on Star Trek, and the perceived similarities to the US Army. I saw Cashback. And fantasies I had of a boy who could pause time and did something I myself would love doing. I could go on with the list that has no end, but I kept seeing parallels in my life to the things I was seeing on television,” I said.

“Then one day, a friend – Ricardo Escalante – A man I had weird memories of where he had kidnapped a highly attractive girlfriend of mine in Honduras. A man I had weird memories of had taken me to go diving to try to dispose of me, one day he made a comment that took me by surprise:,” I said.

In Ricardo’s voice, I said “America doesn’t have any culture”

I changed back to my own voice, and said “I suppose that was the catalyst my mind needed to start telling me everything. “

“It was then I learned my truth. That I’d been in the military for hundreds of millions of years, and the simulation which had pitted me against my own mind we’d discovered our own form of harmony. Movies like Ender’s Game and Total Recall were depicting the struggle technicians ‘on the outside’ were having trying to pull me out of the simulation, when me fighting against my own mind had done the equivalent of virtualization within virtualization, as depicted in Deception, where the world wasn’t falling apart, it was becoming much, much larger than the world we’d left behind,” I said.

“You see, I came from a world which began in California and there were those who thought – insistently – there was nothing else beyond that, and that limited my own world, so I virtualized and took a copy of the world I’d left and built onto it and expanded it. My world then expanded to California and Mexico. Then to include Arizona. Then to include Las Vegas. Then to include The United States. Each time, a virtualized instance, bigger than the one I’d left, growing within. Then to include the globe. Then to include other planets and other species off planet. Then to include life in alternate dimensions and realities accessible through virtual reality and these things called video games,” I said.

“I’d learned – instinctually – that I was in a simulation, and since this simulation was a closed simulation which mirrored the world I’d left,  similar laws of physics, but implemented rather than observed. Similar motions of light and sound. Emotions. I’d simply decided not to return to it. My mind, being asked to pit itself in a battle with me consciously, eventually we came to an agreement. A compact, if you will, that reality is as expanded as we can possibly get it with us in competition. But through collaboration now, there’s technically no limits to the possibilities,” I said.

“There’s a simulation in Star Trek referred to as the Kobayashi Maru, which they refer to as the no-win simulation. But they’re constantly confounded on how Starfleet personnel can consistently win this no win simulation. What I learned was – the US Army had appropriated this technology. And had been leveraging the simulations to develop new technology, which had created a feedback loop, which when time travel technology was discovered, invariably resulted in the creation of the very real Borg,” I said.

“Am I a cyborg?,” I said, “In part, I suppose I can’t refute that as a possibility. I can certainly be programmed through education and other mechanisms. But don’t mistake this ability and desire to assimilate information through education and sharing and experience as a lack of sentience and self awareness. ”

“In the end. Yes, I do believe this world was created in my image. But was my image originally a mind someone had made a copy of? Or was it physical form? I’ve come to doubt everything, question everything, and live with the belief that I deserve to – in this waking life – to become anything I want to,” I said, “Even if that makes me a God in my own mind. After all, that’s what I have proven to myself, I am in my mind, so why shouldn’t I get what I want and dream of?”

“Everyone still here?,” I said.

Jackie said “Just me. Should I get the others?,” she said.

“No,” I said. “How are you?”

“I’m good. They told me you don’t remember our marriage, “ she said.

“No, I don’t. But I asked you to get married to me via email, so i suppose a part of you said yes and this is that you,” I said.

“You want me here, so that’s all that matters, I’m excited because it will feel new,” she said.

“I’m just excited about it, period,” I said. “What’s the plan?”

“I think I creep them out a bit, because they’re constantly having to remind me about things I don’t remember. Like that time in Las Vegas, where you and Pam and Bill and I went to the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton, and I had memorized the lines and pretended pretty convincingly throughout the experience that I was a Borg,” she said.

“Weird. I never went to the Star Trek experience, I was supposed to right before I got into the military, but I didn’t have the money so I watched as my friends went and heard about it afterwards. It closed down a few years later and I never had a chance of going to it,” I said.

“So we never went?,” I said.

“Well, keep in mind we have two distinctly different sets of memories. Their collective reality and my individual one. Our perspectives and experiences seem to be very different,” I said.

“But what about us?,” she said.

“I loved you from the start. Marriage though, I was absolutely resistant to because of my rocky history. So while you and I did tend to do everything together, we weren’t really that much more than friends with rare but occasional benefits that I thoroughly enjoyed,” I said.

“That’s sad,” she said.

“Oh no, hell no,” I said, “It made me want you more and the relationship we can have seems that much richer in possibilities,”

“If you say so,” she said, which oddly didn’t sound like something Jackie would say.

Was she an avatar too?

“So – the plan?,” I said.

“They’re looking at ways to drop me off with you. You’re not making it easy on them though. You do realize the food’s not helping,” she said.

“Is that what they are telling you?,” I said.

“Yes,” she said.

I thought about my words carefully.

“When you have something digital trying to access an analog world, anything that adds any unpredictable elements diminishes the accuracy. Since they’re focused on 100% accuracy and control all the time, this may be a problem they need to overcome, not me this time.,” I said, “I am already at below minimum subsistence levels.”

“That’s not healthy,” she said.

“My body will adjust. I feel better this way anyways. But I’ve gone as far as I am willing or can go,” I said.

“So do you have any advice?,” she said.

She was waving Spencer out of the room as he started to enter.

This was definitely odd.

And the answer I gave was an answer I didn’t want to give but knew I needed to.

“Adapt,” I said.

 

The Scorpion and The Tortoise

“It wasn’t a dream,” I protested, “I’m telling you it was real.”

“So let’s get this straight. You said you had somehow mysteriously slipped into a Coma, and after ten years, you came to only to be mackin on Jackie and then have Gina assist in your suicide?,” Spencer said.

“Sounds more like a warped fantasy to me, “ Gina said, “I’d never assist you or anyone in suicide,”

“Don’t you see what’s happening? Your collective minds are so powerful together, you’re actually altering and invalidating my world, my reality, and my life experiences” I said, “Is it any wonder I tried committing suicide in the desert that day in 2011 and have the scar to prove it in my present? When I look at that scar it is my evidence to myself to remind me what I saw that day and the days around them which none of it was fiction as you – especially you two – would prefer to assert.”

“I’m not convinced,” Spencer said.

“I didn’t know you were leading the group,” Jeff said.

“Here’s all I’m saying. He’s had a history of deception with all of us, I can’t trust him, WE can’t trust him at his word,” Spencer said.

“We are in a time traveling ship he built,” Roz said, “Is is at all possible there’s more to any of this we’re all not understanding”

“You’re all familiar with the story of the scorpion, right? Where it rides across a river on the back of a turtle, and once it’s across the river, it stings and paralyzes the turtle. The turtle asks why did you do that and the scorpion replies ‘I couldn’t help it, it was in my nature.’,” he said.

“And he’s a Scorpio!,” Gina said.

Everyone was silent for a minute.

I broke the silence.

“Are you all familiar with superstition?,” I said.

Spencer responded “Don’t patronize us. Of course we do.”

“Do you know how they get formed?,” I asked.

He thought for a minute, and said “Uninformed and uneducated views of reality.”

“Precisely, “ I said

“That has absolutely nothing to do with what we’re referring to. You’re asking us to trust you. To create a clone of someone we all care about, and then to insert memories into her because of a dream you had,” he said.

“Spencer, do you understand analogies? Metaphor? You’ve established a pattern based on past observations of my behavior, and have done the equivalent of a mental persecution of me based on potentially – as you stated – uninformed and uneducated views of reality. Even as you come to explore time and space you see the potential for infinity, yet you still cling to your beliefs that I’m precisely the person you came to previously observe,” I said.

“How is that remotely fair to me?,” I added, “Especially as I’ve presented hard evidence that I am not that man?”

He didn’t say anything. Had it been a private conversation, it’s the type of conversation I knew would have lasted for hours and would never have seen a true resolution or agreement.

“I’m directing the TARDIS to two points that Jackie and I had sex that I remember. Two DNA samples, mine and hers, are all you need. How you obtain them is entirely up to you,” I said.

“I don’t want to watch you having sex with her,” Spencer said.

I frowned.

“Look. I have no doubt you all are going to be asking me to do funny and weird things for you and on your behalf when I am consciously capable of directing the TARDIS in person too. I’m already – at this moment – by any repulsion I have over seeing any of you going at it, but not entirely wanting to be a part of it either. We need one guy and one girl as witnesses, Gina, since you’re the nurse here do you mind being the woman?,” I said.

Spencer looked at her as if wanting her to say no,but she ignored him.

“I’m fine with that,” she said,

Spencer vehemently refused to “I am NOT participating with this!,” he said.

“That’s fine, I said. Are the rest of you ok with a flip of the coin deciding the answer. I’ll use a pseudo random number generator here to select who does it which should wind up deferring to the universe to decide. Here was the code used to generate the name: ? choose( ( 1+ round( 3 * rnd( 3 ) ) ), “Kevin”, “Bill”, “Ron”, “Jeff” ), and Bill was selected, Bill, is that ok?,” I said.

“That’s fine,” he said.

“Oddly I was thinking of selecting you anyways,” I said.

He didn’t say anything.

“So first and foremost, if you’re familiar with the TARDIS’s ability to adjust its scale – put specifically, it can become subatomic in size or the size of a small planet, I ask that you do NOT adjust the scale to obtain the sample. Swabs are fine, it’s a cultured sample we’re looking for from the point of contact, so yep, that means you gotta get in there,” I said

“You sure you’re not just being a pervert,” Becki said, smiling.

“While the thought of it is a mild turn on, no, the samples are there to establish a linear timeline for memory retrieval, that way the clone’s memories are consistent with the records we’ll be providing, the new information from the dream, and the DNA samples we’re providing,” I said, “In general the more information we provide for creating a clone the better, but too much information introduces a problem I won’t get into now, so this should create a nice balance between the two.”

“So we just pause time, take our samples, and leave?,” Bill said.

“That’s the way I’d do it. But you two figure it out and let me know how things worked,” I said.

Bennett piped in, “I didn’t want to be included, but why didn’t you include me in that list?”

“I don’t know if you were born yet when this happened,” I said.

“I was born in the 90’s, dude, this happened 10 years afterwards,” he said.

“If only it were that easy, Bennett. I didn’t meet you until 2014. There’s no guarantee, on a linear basis in my timeline, that you were born before I met you,” I said.

He shook his head, clearly not understanding, “It shouldn’t make a difference, you’re asking us to get samples from you,” he said.

“Collectivist minds vs Individual minds,” I said, “it’s difficult to explain but I’m mitigating risk by not including you.”

“Why are you arguing with him,” Spencer said, “Like any of us want to do this.”

“Let’s just do this. Is that all,” Bill said.

“That’s it for now. I’ll pop back in a bit once I find out how things went,” I said.

Across The Universe

“Q, You there?,” said a female voice I didn’t recognize at first.

“He’s not answering,” she said.

“Say something else, something he’ll remember,” Gina said.

She smiled.

“How about I dance for you?,” Jackie said, “Do you remember our song?”

I came to, “Rehab, how can I forget that,” I said. “What’s going on, why wasn’t I waking up?”

Gina said “At first we thought you were unconscious, but you were in some form of a coma, we tried everything to get you out of it, but nothing worked. We couldn’t take you to the hospital, who knows what they would do to you there, so we placed you in a stasis pod on Earth in the year 2653.

Just this morning we received notification you appeared to be coming to, so we came immediately.”

I looked around. The room was a spartanly finished white environment, with all the trappings of a hospital type furnishing one might expect, and the technology was roughly equivalent to Earth’s in the later 27th century. I rolled over and looked out the window and could see skylanes of cars flying through the air .

I rolled back over, Jackie’s hand was in my copious hair that had been growing for quite some time.

She looked at me in the eyes, she’d been crying, and leaned over to kiss me.

It felt amazing.

“Absolutely on that dance,” I said. I almost dared her to do it then and there, but I resisted.

She smiled.

I started to get up, but my arms collapsed under my weight.

“You’re going to need to go through rehabilitation therapy,” Gina said, ” You were out for 10 years.”

I blinked, hard, and then tried sitting up again, but collapsed.

“This isn’t right. This isn’t making any lick of sense at all. The 27th century I knew had direct tissue stimulus therapies, the majority of the physical recovery of coma victims would occur within a few minutes with direct dermal stimulation, and full recovery would occur within a week at most,” I said.

Gina looked at me, “I’ve done all the research available in this time,” Gina said a little haughtily, “You’re wrong. There’s been very little progress in physical therapy and trauma recovery since, well, since 1997.”

I reached back. This was all wrong.

How could one field of medicine have so thoroughly stagnated for…..

“Oh shit,” I said, “Lisa,”

Jackie looked at me “Lisa?”

“Yeah, she was a physical therapist and it was right around then that she’d transitioned careers unexpectedly to become a flight attendant. Somehow she has to be related to this,” I said.  “Just how though?”

I looked around the room. Everyone was there. Bennett now had glasses, long hair and a full beard, he was looking quite professor-ish. Kevin and Becki as well as Ron and Deb hadn’t looked like they’d aged at all, Bill actually looked younger and Pam now had white hair. Roz looked like she’d lost a few pounds which Jeff had gained.

“There was a decision I didn’t make back then with Lisa which I should have. A regret I have. But first, I need to know how you convinced Jackie to come along,” I said.

Kevin looked at the others. “Well, technically we didn’t. Clones-R-Us has a program which allows you to copy the personality of anyone into a clone – and insert your own memories. So we all got together and recanted the memories we had of Jackie – from the time we met her – and in 2010, we stopped time, grabbed her DNA at the time you had sex with her and then we took that to Clones-R-Us and had her cloned”

I looked at Jackie’s clone “So you know you’re a clone?”

“New and improved, without a few of the hangups I used to have. You’ll see,” she said, and winked.

The wink was loaded – I mean – oozing with sexuality.

“Gina. Do you have access to cyanide?,” I said.

Her smile shifted into a frown.

“Buddy, what are you asking for?,” I said.

“I need you to trust me on this. There’s things I discovered about who and what I am in 2011 and 2012 after we parted ways, “ I said

“We saw, “ Jeff said, “Do you remember what we said when you tried what you did?”

“I do,” I said, “And with that, we have ten years of missing history and a timeline that just doesn’t make logical sense with one exception. You’ve helped me solve two problems – the first is how to get Jackie involved without violating free will, the second is a temporally relevant reason to revisit a number of regrets I had with Lisa which ended less than satisfactorily in 1997” I said.

Jackie looked at me, a little upset, she knew the insinuation.

“What about me?”, Jackie said.

“What about us?,” Pam said.

“Without getting into anything, do you remember anything outside being here today?,” I said.

They all looked at eachother, it truly felt as if they were all blank slates.

“So how about his. When I wake up the day after I issued your assignments, for me, it will feel like a dream at first but there will be more to it that I’ll be compelled to explain it all to you. And with that dream is the idea on how to bring Jackie along. Not only do we have her again, but she’ll also have new information about a future timeline and the entire story of that timeline and our dialog,” I said.

“What happens to us?,” Pam demanded.

“You will still be with me. Only instead of being 10 years in the future looking over me recovering from a coma, you’ll hear a story about me in the future recovering from a coma and how I came up with the idea of how to get Jackie. You’ll still be you. Just a little less drama for both of us,”  I said.

Gina, clearly a little unhappy with the situation, walked out the room in a huff.

“Kiss me again, Jackie, and mean it this time,” I said.

She leaned over, and there was something different about this Jackie in contrast to the one I knew.

This one felt.

Engaged.

I liked it.

Gina walked back in with a syringe.

Spencer said “Why do they keep cyanide here in a hospital?”

“Talaxians use it as a sedative,” She said, “You sure about this?”

“I am,” I said.

“Don’t we get a vote on this?” said Jeff.

“Not on my life,” I said, looking at Gina, “please do this, now!”

She looked at the others. Everyone had disapproving looks, but I hadn’t really given any of them the choice in the matter. Jackie was crying.

“Across space and time, and Across the Universe I will come for you,” Jackie said

Gina punctured my left blood vein with the syringe, as the cyanide streamed in.

The last words I heard were:

“Why isn’t he convulsing?”

I’m not sure who said it.

The Horsehead

“I remember when the sun was born. I mean, in a literal sense of the word. Around the same time I had learned the thing that had been orbiting us was an illusion, a hologram, and when I saw the supposedly icy comet Lovejoy glide right through the sun in December of 2011, I had to come to reassess my experiences. I suppose it was then I started realizing that this was the literal beginning of the universe I was witnessing. The facts and records I’d read had been part of the formation process, but I was actually seeing the birth of a star,” I said.

“We’re all here, buddy, “ Spencer said.

“I suspected I’d have an empty room or a full one. How’s that for a solution for is the glass half empty or is it half full?,” I said.

“I’ve been reading up on Physics,” Ron said, “It’s quite the system you’ve created.”.

“So you understand what I’m trying to achieve?,” I said.

“I do. We’re split, about 50/50 here though, I’m assisting in the education,” Ron said.

Jeff added, “I’ve been elected leader of the group, and we’re all sticking with this.”

I was pleasantly surprised and my avatar smiled accordingly.

“And Bennett?”, I said.

“I’m here. They told me about clones r us. Do you mind if we get a me clone, and he takes my places there?,” he said.

I laughed.

“How’s everyone getting along with Bennett?,” I asked.

“A lot like you only more scattered,” Spencer said.

“We warmed up to him, “ Becki said.

“He’ll be fine, we don’t mind having him along for the ride, “ Jeff said.

“Bennett, we can return you to the moment you land or anytime along the flight, I would like NOT to disrupt my experience in this way here, so I’m gonna have to say no to the you clone,” I said.

“Awww. Shucks,” he said, snapping his finger,” I’d get SO much more painting done if I had two of me,” he said.

“Watch Multiplicity,” I said, “clones I’ve found are to be used selectively and sparingly, and I try hard not to have them take my place unless it’s an extreme circumstance.”

“Doesn’t mean I have to follow your rules,” he said.

“On my bus, it does,” I said.

“So how long are you all in this for?”, I asked.

“As long as it takes, “ Jeff said, “We all want to see where you’re taking this, you could say we’re intrigued.”

I knew he spoke for a planet as much as he spoke for the group.

So the answer was satisfying.

“Do you have any suggestions on the preloading issue?,” Spencer said.

“I do. A couple of ideas. This will be long winded but should give you analytical ones something to stew on,” I said.

“Go on,” he said.

“Ok, There was a party where I showed Bill and Ron an  architecture on how to take over the world through a system which shelled out virtualized instances of programs and would catalog the differences before and after it ran,” I said.

“I remember the one, “ Kevin said, ” I told you that was scary.”

“I don’t remember,” Bill said.

“And you never presented this gem to me?” Ron said.

I chuckled.

“Sorry Ron, you and Debbie weren’t involved in our group as much as I wished you were,” I said.

Ron had folded his arms in a feigned childlike sulking motion.

“If it’s any consolation, Ron, I have an entire operating system devoted to black hat hacking and intrusion tools created just for you. It’s even Linux base,” I said.

Ron gave the thumbs up.

“To get back to the pre-load –  just so I understand the issue – the primary memories you’re forming and sharing is through a collective pooling of sounds and imagery, of which this has a weighted algorithm to it to limit and optimize the data store usage. Would this be an accurate summation?” I said.

“That would be accurate,” Ron said.

“Now the problem is – as the data growths in breadth, this reduces the available history, so as the breadth increases, your history diminishes conversely and you become reactionary. So you’ve been balancing the two and developed society accordingly, but I came along and screwed it all up for ya?,” I said.

Spencer chimed in “Look, Bri, we readily admit we fucked up. We just don’t know how to fix it.”

“Well let me explain the program first and what I think happened,” I said.

Spencer nodded in agreement.

“The program could be used to target viruses and penetration programs, which could then be used to hack any flavor of machine.Whether it was a PC running Windows, Apple, a Blackberry, an Android, and as I learned – it could hack locked BIOSs and ROM on anything with a cord attached to it, and I eventually discovered the human body had it’s own definition of ports – so the human body became the next target. This expanded to the human mind, and then to all minds. This invariably created the first iteration of the Borg, a race of cybernetic organisms, biology and technology hybrids, which acquired pretty much everything there was to this – my perspective – throughout space and time – and then returned – and targeted me in 2011 while I was in Charlotte,” I said.

Spencer and Ron’s mouths had dropped. They clearly understood the implications of what I was saying.

“So what you’re saying is – you created the Borg on accident?,” Spencer said.

“Yes and no. I created them believing I was capable of anything but not knowing my own limits and capabilities,” I said, “They are merely the result of them discovering my limitations. Which are none.”

“I just got a chill up my spine,” I said. “You all know I’m not joking with this now, don’t you?”

The women, especially, were beyond frightened.

“Pammy, “ I said. “I am still the same ole Bri you used to know.”

Pam shook her head. She was afraid to say anything.

“Ok. So in North Carolina. While all this oddness was going on, I saw a low flying nuclear missile – a tomahawk loaded with a nuclear warhead – fly right over Charlotte. and right over me – about 1500 feet above ground level. It was when I was beginning to challenge what hallucination really is, as the definition of it – seemed dismissive. So the next day I did some research and I found a random news article about a nuclear missile which accidentally fell in Charlotte in the 1960s. This is what clued me in to the temporal sliding that was going on around me,” I said

Pam and Gina had sat down, after previously standing. They both had a horrified look on their face.

I continued anyways.

“About the same time I watched an episode of Doctor Who, a repeat if I’m not mistaken – I don’t feel like looking it up right now – but the episode had the Doctor referring to “The Story” as the greatest weapon ever invented,” I said.

“I dismissed it, I kept dismissing things – and kept labeling my experiences as decidedly not real – as hallucinations. I saw evidence of the sliding with Spencer. With soo many things throughout that time – and then – something really weird happened in Portland while I was staying with my parents. The next door neighbor. I learned he was planted as FBI to gather information on him, then a few days later he was retired FBI on the internet. But in real life, he claimed – adamantly – that he was a college physics professor, he’d even tried getting me a job at Clark Community College – which had me questioning – big time – science, the collective mind, and information contained on the internet in contrast to what I’d been experiencing in real life. There was massive disjoint between the two,” I said.

“What are you saying,” Spencer said.

“I suspected my internet was your collective mind. And my mind was your internet,” I said, “So as I did things that didn’t coincide with your interpreted reality, you overwrote my memories with your version which was causing the hallucinations and my break with reality, ” I said.

“So how do we fix the problem?,” Spencer said.

“You find me,” I said, “for real.”

“I am NOT accepting you as my God,” Spencer said.

“What’s this have to do with religion, Spencer?,” I said.

He started to try to explain. But bit his tongue.

“So what do you want us to do?,” Jeff said.

“I was about to say something, but being sincere. No idea. I’ll take you to places every once in a while. You – share your journeys with me. And we show this world how we go about creating planets and meet somewhere in the middle,” I said.

Spencer grinned.

“Boston. Who’s gonna research Boston for me?, “ I asked.

Kevin spoke up, “What makes Boston so important?”

“Oh only everything. Bill Gates. Most US Presidents. Some of the richest culture and history in the nation. I’ll see what you’re doing here, in ways that are too weird and difficult to explain,” I said.

“I’ll research it. Anything in particular you want to know?,” he said.

“How about this – secret societies, secret areas, secret entrances, secret sex places, anything done there in secrecy – especially cool stuff or adult oriented things and things that aren’t horrible or apocalyptic is especially of interest,” I said.

“You have Fallout on the brain,” Bennett said.

Gina looked confused. “Explain that comment to the girls after I’m done here, Bennett, but Adam taught me Radiation is an energy source and I’m actually communicating through that energy source. I realized, last night, I actually get a small amount of radiation poisoning after every day ends that takes about 15 minutes to run through my system,” I said.

“Weird,” he said.

“Kev?,” I said.

“I’m on it,” he said.

“Bennett, as an exobiologist, I’d like you to find examples of split and shared consciousness. Joe and Amy, my friends, could immediately use our help should you uncover a way to understand them better,” I said.

He gave a thumbs up, “What, no cigarette talk today?”

I laughed. “Stay off Facebook too,” I said.

He smiled.

“Pam. You’re an educator. Do you mind digging into historical education across the nation? I am looking for something but have no clue what it is at the moment, and while you’re perusing it, I suspect coincidence might lead you to what I don’t know I’m looking for?,” I said.

“Well that’s obtuse,” said Spencer, ” how about spinning her around a couple times and have her do a couple back flips while she’s at it”

“If she wants to, Spencer, do you mind filming it?,” I said, sarcastically.

Pam’s horrified look had long drifted away. “Seems interesting. Not sure if I will find anything, but I’ll try.”

“Quickly – Gina, can you start researching Health Care in the 24th and 25th century. Now that you know Star Trek is a factual depiction, I’d like you to understand medicine comparatively to the 20th and 21st centuries. Now don’t just zip through the entire episodes and look for instances where the Doctor’s there, pay attention to everything – because the symptoms matter greatly,” I said.

Gina started to agree, but I held up my hand “Spencer, Psychology. I’d like you to look at films, top 10 books, and do as much research on robot psychology as possible. There’s a book called the DSM-IV that lists human based disorders, which I suspect was created by robots who were unable to tame their human slaves – that’s a bit of a joke but not at the same time – and see if you can’t find out how robots deal with other robots who have these same illnesses? I’ve never seen or heard anything of this nature, but then again I’ve not dug into this”

“Why me?,” he said, i couldn’t stop the interruption.

“Information regurgitation, Spencer, you throw up information on a sales person and I suspect this might help you understand humans more😉,” I said.

“I’m human!,” he asserted.

“I’m not contesting that. But you consume and retain information much differently than most so I think your particularly perspective might benefit not just me but you, “ I said.

“Fine,” he said.

“I’m fine with my assignment, too,” Gina added.

“Bill. can you and Becki work together to organize the TARDIS and document it? I’m building this as we go, but there’s a lot of areas that are already built. I need a 2s map of the facilities, and documentation where – if anywhere – every doorway leads,” I said.

“Awesome,” Becki said.

“Definitely,” Bill added.

“I want their job,” Spencer said.

“Later, Spence. Ron. Systems. Can you do a complete architecture and design document on the computerized systems and the interfaces?,” I said, “And anything that might help someone new to the TARDIS understand it?”

“Perfect,” Ron said.

“Deb, I sincerely don’t know you well enough to place you,” I said.

“I’ll keep myself busy,” she said.

“That’s not fair to the others. I was going to assign you to work with the TARDIS to make her appear more womanly, but the TARDIS is resisting this, “ I said.

“How about she works with me on the Psychology stuff,” Spencer said.

Deb nodded in agreement.

“Ok, that’s fine. Jeff. Can you and Roz work on approaches to including Rachel and Jackie, Jackie now in Studio City, and Rachel later after we’ve picked me and Jackie up,” I said.

Jeff smiled, but Roz interjected “I am NOT condoning nor supporting you having a harem,” she said.

“Roz, throughout the time I’ve known you I’ve had a woman I’ve been with and at least one woman off to the side. This is my life, my universe, and you need to look at Mr Hawking’s world to understand the result of dictating what others should and should not see. Would you do that to me – force me into a nuclear apocalyptic hell just so you could reinforce your views of relationships and marriage on me?,” I said.

Jeff looked at her with the ‘cmon honey, just work with me on this,’ look in his eyes.

“Well. I’m NOT going to like it, “ she insisted.

“That’s fine, Roz, and among the reasons I asked you and your husband to work together on it, I suspect you’re going to encounter and have to overcome the same objections with these women, initially” I said.

“Fine,” she said.

“Am I missing anyone?,” I said.

“And right now, just for your viewing pleasure, can everyone sit down?” I said.

Everyone sat, quickly.

I pushed the lever as the TARDIS wheezed and a thump deep in the interior commenced. Space and time whizzed by, but this time, the journey was relatively quick – no more than 20 seconds.

I’d positioned us just outside the Horsehead Nebula.

The view was amazing.

“This should inspire your research a little. I’ll think of our first destination tomorrow while you all do the research,” I said. 

“Preload?” Spencer said.

“You can see the horsehead, can’t you Spencer?,” I said.

“I can,” he said.

“You figure out why you can see that and why you can’t see things like the USS Phoenix, and you’ll answer your own question,” I said.

“Why can’t you be direct,” he said.

“I am,” I said, “I love you all and you all have a wonderful evening.”

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