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Confessions of a Captain in the 30th Century

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Captain’s Log: Supplemental
Vessel/Registry: USS Timeship Enterprise/NC-17A
Date: Wednesday, December 04. 2943
Stardate: 620925.5792110603

Our computer systems recorded that it is currently the year 2943.

Our vessel, the USS Timeship Enterprise, the first of its type in Federation history, a flagship of science and technology….

And the genetic arc to save the human race…

Has been resting in a sea of blackness mere moments after engaging the quantum temporal warp drive for the first time nearly seventeen months ago.

How we can rely on the accuracy of our digital timepieces without having any external stellar reference my crew has yet to explain.

I, Rachel B. Gooch, am the Captain of this vessel and this is my confession.

I was born in the year 1974.

And after waiting nearly 1000 years for this opportunity, for the chance to set things right with time, here I am, stuck with nowhere to go.

You see, I created the conditions which initially put me here.

And I have waited a very long time to set things right.

The US Military had actively been engaged in regional conflict after regional conflict since World War 2.

It started with small skirmishes in Korea, then Vietnam, then Cambodia.

Those happened before I was born. But as I grew up, as a military brat, I saw my father, being pulled in a thousand different directions as the conflicts escalated globally. First it was Nicaragua. Then it was the Venezuela and a war for territory and oil.

In 1990, the Gulf war started, in 1992, the Baltic nations flared up which trickled down Czechoslovakia and even further south.

It was about then that I lost my childhood friend and boyfriend – John – thanks to war.

My father, Robert Brown, was the Secretary of Defense of the United States of America at the time, and had been for nearly 12 years by this point, the longest tenure of any Secretary of Defense.

Me, his loving daughter, he had tried hard to keep me away from his profession, but when I lost John, I was devastated. Heartbroken.

There’s a part of me that blamed my father for killing John.

It was, after all, his war.

It was for that reason I quit talking to my father, and to put some distance between me and him, when I left home and moved to Arizona where I legally change my last name to Gooch. I didn’t want my father and family finding me.

Why Gooch? I was a rebellious teenager, and fancied British literature, and the word gooch was somewhat of a profanity referring to the the area between the anus and the vagina and/or penis. I suppose it was my own subtle reminder to my own mind that my father did this to me, my father made me who I am whenever I wrote my last name.

In any case, Dr Brown (my father had a Law Degree and Doctorate in Theoretical Physics) had discussed on numerous occasions that the future of warfare would be in robotics, so on my boyfriend’s death, I took up programming – with one goal – to create a system to preemptively stop this and any future war from ever happening again.

In 1996, I graduated egregia cum laude – that is top honors for dual major in two difficult majors from Arizona State University, where I majored in Temporal Mechanics, a branch of Theoretical Physics, and Computer Science, and was offered a full ride to pursue a Master’s Degree and Doctorate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, or MIT to which I refused.

The week after I refused, as I prepared for my shift to graduate studies in the new research laboratories at Arizona State University, when I opened the door to discover my father standing there, in his uniform.

Apparently unhappy with the manipulation he had had in my life that far, he admitted to me that he was responsible for the MIT offer.

But there was more to it than that.

He closed the door, and provided evidence that the Ottoman Empire had long been experimenting with time travel technology, and the series of wars that were occurring now were being orchestrated from ‘the distant future’.

I could not help but feel manipulated. Was my father responsible for my choice of interests? What was I doing on my own accord.

I cried for two solid days afterwards, and was admittedly pathetic, and then called my father back up after he had departed.

I was done being angry at him. I had grown up, somewhat, and while I can not say I was mature by then, I had found my way – so how much my father contributed to who I had become and the choices I was making was irrelevant.

“Dad,” I remember asking him as if it was yesterday, “My research studies are in developing computer virus countermeasures which span time itself and can detect and eliminate enemies before they are even born.”

From there, he flew me to Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, where I learned of something called the “Temporal Accords”

The Temporal Accords had been introduced to the United States in 1947 through the recovery of a black box that was retrieved from the wreckage of a space craft that had been spread across 2 miles of desert terrain just outside of Roswell, New Mexico.

In 1988, 41 years after the crash, the United States developed an interface to the black box, and a year later, the engineers and scientists worked together to reverse engineer the data store and discovered a proverbial treasure trove of information from across the universe.

“Dad, why are you showing me all this? I’m not even cleared..,” I said, before he cut in.

I knew how protective he was about his secrets.

Even to his family.

That’s when he said something that left me in horror. “Rachel, your name is all over the database. Your work, according to what we have found, actually starts World War 3, and the near extinction of the human race.”

It was as if you could hear a pin drop in the room at that moment.

But as I saw image after image and story after story documenting the most horrific war of all time, I actually found myself mesmerized

When you receive a signal that your hand is about to touch a hot stove, you do your best to move it away to avert damage to your skin, right?

According to the documentation my father had shown me, on August 29, 1997, the viral system I was responsible for creating in the future had determined that humanity itself was a threat. Seeking to put an end to that threat, it began a concerted effort to eliminate that threat.

This process included measures from across space and time, and in the future we were shown, nearly 3 billion human lives had been lost in a nuclear holocaust as my virus came to life.

I protested. I refused to believe. I cried. I wanted to run.

My chosen last name Gooch had in this world had become an insult.

What would you do if you had just been told you were mere years away from annihilating the world’s population, and were about to become one of history’s biggest villains of all time?

But herein lies the problem. I grew up in a household of secrecy. I knew things about computer science and simulation that I don’t think my father knew I knew. A father who incidentally had his marital infidelities where everyone – including his kids and his wife who chose ignorance knew. A household where his career regularly took precedence over his family.

I couldn’t help but ask:

What if he’s lying and this is a ruse?

For a week I stayed in Cheyenne Mountain, my father had given me free and unfettered access to the place. Everyone there knew me as ‘The General’s Daughter’, as he’d been a General before he’d taken his post as Secretary of Defense, which made it easier to talk to the separate teams.

While at Cheyenne, I learned of a separate project called ‘Project Stargate’, where physicists had developed a stable wormhole which opened up to other planets within a limited range of the Milky Way galaxy.

I questioned the physics, as my theories had shown a wormhole should bridge time and space, not just space. The results I was being demonstrated of their science just did not align with what I would have expected to see. It did not make sense.

And as I watched group after group of escorted civilians – and many felons – depart through this wormhole and never return, I could not help but question what was happening, and I never came to a reasonable answer on why I was seeing what I was seeing.

I had made the assumption at first that my father wanted me to align my research with the military’s to avoid the future I had been shown.

But learning what I did about the facility, and about my father’s role, I could not help but dive into the implications of temporal mechanics and the nonlinearity of time.

It was about then – when I began questioning what I was being shown – that a spark of insight had hit me.

What if.

When I left Cheyenne to return to Arizona, my father asked me what my future direction would be.

I was young, and was still marginally convinced my father was manipulating me to his own ends.

So I responded with “I’m dating a man. He’s studying to become a lawyer. I might just become a housewife and do what housewives do.”

It was a half truth, and I knew it. Chris was a means to my end who had supported me through my undergraduate studies, but I had no real interest in the man long term. This changed things though.

“I’d like to meet the man someday,” my father said.

“You will,” I said.

That wasn’t a lie.

Chris and I were married within a year of me returning to Arizona, in 1993.

I asked him never to tell my father or family about my education and schooling. I wanted – needed my father to believe I was a stay at home housewife and nothing more. I didn’t want the tours. I didn’t want his life. And I didn’t want to be privy to the secret world he had successfully hidden from his family for all those years. I wanted out.

In September of 1997, days after the proverbial Judgment Day that had been shown to me by my father was to occur, I filed my research plan for my Doctoral Thesis at Arizona State University. My thesis topic was intentionally obtuse, in the hopes to allay military interest “Applied Neurodegenerative methods to Artificial Intelligence for Systemically Reinforced Entropy”.

My husband, a rather good lawyer, helped me establish a legal pseudonym to pursue my studies – so I applied under the name “Kate Brewster”. So if my father was still keeping tabs on me, hopefully the name would throw him off.

I admit it – I rather enjoyed Punky Brewster when I was 14, I am after all a nerd at heart, so I leveraged her last name and Kate was the first name of a girlfriend I had died in the first Gulf War, the first war they let women enter combat for the first time.

While I was working on my thesis at the Arizona State University Research park, I met and fell in love with a brilliant man who was studying something called telerobotics. Telerobotics is the combination of Robotics and Virtual Reality to do things such as allow remote workers to work in dangerous and hostile environments as if they were ‘right there’ through a robot – remotely – and immersive virtual reality.

I once asked him “What would happen if someone’s body died while they were immersed in the form of the robot?”

I had a dark side to me.

In 2002, I received an urgent call from my father.

“You are needed immediately in DC,” he said.

I was at home at the time, relaxing by the pool, nude as usual, I had always been an exhibitionist and with two neighbors overlooking the pool and a low back fence, I enjoyed giving everyone who wanted to see a show.

Someone knocked, loudly, on the front door of our house.

Apparently so loud my father could hear it.

“They are there already? Rachel, I am sorry, but I need you here now,” he said, I could hear concern in his voice, but I was pissed.

I stood up, and walked to the front door, opening it fully without covering myself, to see two soldiers and a man in a suit.

The soldiers blushed as I stood there in front of all of them without any clothes on, but the man with the suit on did not blink an eye.

“Yes, dad, they are here,” I said, looking at them as they looked at me.

“Rachel? Rachel Gooch please put some clothes on and pack a bag, we are here to escort you to DC,” the man in the suit said.

“Dad?,” I said.

“Just do as they ask”

I looked at them and said “What if I don’t put any clothes on?

“Take her,” the man in the suit said to the soldiers.

The two soldiers reached out and grabbed me by my arms and began pulling me outside my house to their waiting black suburbans.

I screamed at first as I dropped my phone, but I quickly realized I had no real options.

“Fine. Let me go and get me stuff,” I said.

“Stay with her,” the suited man said to the soldiers.

For the next 20 minutes, I got dressed, packed my bags and called Chris to tell him I was being forced to leave by my father. He had some understanding of what I was up against with my father, but did not know the full extent. But he did have a few Senators who might help.

I was taken by a Presidential Citation jet out of Scottsdale, something I had been accustomed to with my father, which made it clear the President was involved directly with my kidnapping. so I knew something serious was going on.

We flew directly into Tipton airport, just outside of Fort George G Meade, Maryland, and across the street from the NSA, where we were led straight through the gates where the military accompaniment was told to stay behind. I was ushered through security, given a badge, and then led through a series of rooms into an underground complex and eventually brought into an area to see something that nearly frightened me out of my mind but mostly left me in awe.

Everywhere I could see, Robots, Cyborgs, and humans were working together as equals on a massive multilevel computer system. A yellow light was blinking on and off in the corner of the room and an alert level of ‘DEFCON 5’ with 5 being the highest had been marked.

Not really getting enough time to look around, my father grabbed me and said “I want you to know I had no idea” as pulled me into a side conference room.

“About?,” I asked, frantically.

President Bush sat grimly at the other side of the long conference table and made no effort to stand up as I entered the room.

The table was surrounded by obvious heads of the military, a proverbial who’s who of the establishment.

The President spoke.

“Miss Gooch. Or Brown. or Brewster. Which is it you prefer to be called by?,” as he stood up and threw a thick folder on the table in front of him.

“Rachel. What’s going on here?”

“What’s going on here is you’re going to sit down and do as you are told,” he said.

I’d never met the man face to face, and this was already making him seem like a dick.

“You were warned not to pursue a career in computer science or temporal physics and yet you did anyways. The only reason you are alive today is because of who your father is. Have you continued your research against your father’s wishes?”

I sat down. “Yes, sir.”

I felt like a misbehaving child.

“As I have come to understand, you are working on something new though, the reinforced entropic degradation of artificially intelligent systems?”

The President walked over to me and stood alongside of me.

“That is correct,” I said, not sure how to respond to this man.

“Have you ever considered,” the President continued.

“That for just one minute..,” the President said as he reached to his face.

“That your leaders,” his hand now wrapped around his face.

“May consider this an act of war?,” and to this, he pulled the mask off his face and revealed his clearly robotic face.

I should have been mortified.

But I wasn’t.

I’m a beautiful woman by any measure, so when the suit didn’t respond at all when I appeared at the door nude where even a gay man would, was a clue.

But the clues had come in long before then.

Including the seemingly serendipitous meeting of a robotics expert who worked alongside of me demonstrating telerobotics.

“For all I know you could be Chinese or –  even from Iraq or Russia and speaking through a real time translational device, and the real President is sitting in some basement in a remote corner of your country,” I said.

It was not quite the response he was looking for.

I think it was the first time I have ever seen my father truly proud of me.

The tone of the room sombered a bit from there, as the President then politely asked me to discontinue my Doctorate Research.

By then, I had already spent 4 years in the field, and was already bored with it, so he didn’t have to ask me twice.

I had spent time trying to find an alternative thesis studies, and began poring over research trying to figure out why the Stargate was constrained to creating wormholes through space and not time. Unfortunately, either this technology was suppressed, or it was light years from our grasp.

This seemed an opportune excuse as any to bow out of academia.

I returned to Arizona, and was ordered to never discuss with anyone what I saw at Fort Meade.

Later that year. I graduated with a Master’s in Computer Science, but chose to bow out of the profession and become ‘just a housewife’. It was beneath me, but my options to pursue what I wanted were hampered by my

On July 18th, 2004 my father  – days away from retirement – stopped by unexpectedly.

He seemed paranoid.

“Rachel. This was never the life I wanted for you. I need you to get away. Wait a week. Take Chris with you and run. As far as you can. Go south. To Mexico. And don’t look back.” he said.

He refused to explain himself and left in a hurry saying “I can’t let them know I was here”.

The news over the next week made it clear. Reports of secular and regional wars were escalating. Becoming contagious. At first it started spreading in Europe. Paris. Then Beijing. Abu Dhabi. Rio De Janeiro. Rioting by the local populations in each of the locations. Overthrowing governments. America went untouched at first. Then it hit Boston. Then Miami. Los Angeles.

And then, it started happening in Phoenix.

The robots. They were coming through Phoenix.

That’s when Bush came on the air and declared a state of national emergency as images of robots scurried across the front lawn of the white house shooting and killing the military personnel and civilians, anything non robotic in nature was being systematically hunted down and killed.

I tried calling Chris. but the phone lines were dead.

As I drove to his office, the road ahead of me was barricaded by robots and his small office building was burning.

These robots looked like Terminator robots – the ones I had seen in the movies as I exclaimed “They’re fucking real?”

I had an idea.

I sincerely had no idea what i was doing.

I drove to the research facility, hoping my old partner and flame was there.

Luckily, the road there was clear, but like a storm following me, I knew it would not be long until they arrived.

“Brian,” I said, he was watching the television reports on three sets of TVs and on the internets with the rest of his small research team.

He looked at me, eyes wide and crying, as he pointed at the television.

“Did you see Portland? That’s where my mom and dad are. The entire city is on fire.”

I ignored him. We didn’t have enough time.

“Put me in the robot,” I said.

“What,” he said, “Why now, just look!”

“God dammit, just do it!” I said, as I pulled a gun I had purchased the week before and pointed it at him.

He looked at me with a look I will never forget, it was as if all the passion we had ever shared left his body at that moment.

I did, after all, love this man more than life itself, let alone my passionless marriage to my husband.

He got up, and walked to the robot wired to the Virtual Reality System.

I put the gun down.

“Why now? Why like this?,” he said.

“If I am a robot, they wont harm us,” I said. “Just look on television”

He knew what I intended on doing.

“Rachel, you can’t, that’s suicide,” he said.

“And you consider that alternative more appealing?,” I yelled as I pointed at the screens.

About then the building rocked as a mortar blew in the distance.

“Get in,” he said.

I got in to the virtual reality apparatus, and soon found myself looking through the robot’s eyes.

Now walking around as a robot, I walked over to my body in the machine, and picked up the gun still in my hand.

Everyone was now staring at me. An undergraduate student considering graduate studies in robotics by the name of Jaclyn Killeen. A graduate student in Theoretical Physics and fellow from Intel named William Stokes. Tiffany, Kena, Natalie, Scarlett, and a few others I didnt recognize. Mostly women, as was typical in the computer science and analytical fields.

I didn’t want to make this a production, and as Brian started to protest, I turned and shot my human body in the head as it lay there wired in to the Virtual Reality system.

It was surreal, watching my human form die.

And I didn’t feel a thing.

That’s the benefit of being a robot. You learn not to feel. Quickly in my case.

“I am fine, I feel fine” I said in my best robotic voice as I pulled my dead body out of the Virtual Reality device.

“Jesus,” Brian said.

One by one the others followed. Doing the same thing.

As the last person entered their robot form, I looked at Brian, and said “what about you?”

“There’s only 11 prototypes, Rachel. That was number 11,” he said, with a straight face, and without emotion.

I remember trying to cry.

But the tears didn’t come.

They couldn’t come.

A mortar struck our building struck as an eerie horn blew. The building rocked and the lights flickered.

“I need you to shoot me,” he said.

“You need me to what?,” I said.

“I need you to shoot me when this light turns red,” he said.

I looked, and next to the computer was a light I had never really noticed before.

“What are you going to do, we can keep you safe,” I said.

“It was I who am keeping you safe. You’ll come to understand in time. I love you, Rachel. I always have. And always will,” he said, and to that he slipped into the Virtual Reality Simulation.

The building rocked again, this time crumbling the wall facing Phoenix, exposing air.

The lights, amazing, persisted. Redundant generators, surely, after all this was a research facility.

I picked up the firearm.

The light next to the Virtual Reality computer system blinked turned red.

I couldn’t pull the trigger. But off in the distance, I saw several streaks of rockets flying into the air.

The televisions, started blaring an emergency alert. to which Jackie, in her robot form, turned up the volume.

“This is an emergency. This is not a drill. A nuclear attack has been detected and will strike the United States in the next 30 minutes. This is not a drill. IF you are within any major city, it is important you leave the city now. If you are outside the blast radius of 50 miles of any city, then it is highly advised you seek a fallout shelter immediately” the television said.

Abut then, the first of the Terminator style robots entered our facility.

Followed by another. Then another.

It walked right by me.

But seeing the warm pile of dead bodies on the floor, it proceeded to fire into the pile to ensure our bodies were dead.

And then it turned to Brian in the chair, and shot him.

The swarm of robots left the room, and proceeded East from there.

For years, I beat myself up over my complete inability to do anything about their presence.

There were originally 11 of us.

We banded together and headed south, as fast as we could in three cars taking the back roads.

On July 25, 2004 6:18 pm Eastern Time, the first of the nuclear bombs struck Phoenix.

We could see it detonate in the rear view mirror.

This was followed, seconds later by the second, third, and fourth bombs, which unfortunately we were within the blast radius of.

Our vehicles were thrown, like matchsticks, but the fire didn’t cause us harm.

Brian knew.

He had built the robots for this.

For us.

And never told us why.

For years, we accused him of launching the attacks. Of starting the wars.

In 2409 we experimented with time travel and learned some cold hard truths about the toxicity and danger of these accusations.

And in the 500 years after then, we worked together to perfect time travel and related simulation technology.

I, Rachel Gooch, Captain and Chief Architect of the USS Timeship Enterprise.  No longer know how to feel about the man I once knew named Brian Gregory who I had long assumed to be a mere mortal. I can’t even say I know who he is any longer.

I have since learned that man most of the known universe refers to as Q.

And have learned there’s more to existence than I ever imagined before – a multiverse who’s quite aware of him as well.

He created a mystery for all us to solve.

For me to solve.

The ultimate mystery.

Why?

I’d like to ask him that in person.

And my final confession.

It wasn’t a Terminator which killed Brian.

It was me.

I jumped the gun.

And pulled the trigger before the red light came on.

And I reprogrammed the rest of my crew to remember it as being the Terminators.

It took me 500 years to forgive myself for that act.

And 500 more to believe it would not have mattered either way.

Kena, Jackie. Lisa. Tiffany. Scarlett, Natalie. I know you have all been engaging in intimate simulations with this man I created. It took me years to understand how such an average looking man could be so physically appealing, so I can’t blame you.

So when this log becomes available to you and when you read this after tomorrow’s simulation.

I forgive you. And hope you forgive me for what I have done.

And am about to do with the simulation I have scheduled for tomorrow.

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