“Brian, let me get this straight, what you’re saying is – we can stop JFK’s murder?,” my friend Kevin said.
“It’s Q, not Brian anymore, and that’s a tricky one. Yes, you can stop JFK’s killing, but there are implications to your actions. SO myself, I prefer to observe history, including my own, and only make modifications to it IF I can guarantee myself that I can retain linear consistency to my own memories of the events – not just of world history, but the history of my own life,” I responded.
He looked at me with a blank stare.
“Ok, It’s like this. I remember an English class being taught in High School where my teacher – Mr Davis – showed us the Zabruder films, a private video taken by a bystander when JFK was shot. He was passionate about the subject – as it introduced the concept to me to challenge official conclusions of the things I was told.” I responded.
I walked outside. It was 11:59 pm, as we waked into the daylight.
“So what you’re saying is – you are concerned about not having these memories?,” Kevin said.
I whirled around, “Come, come,” I said, “No, quite the contrary. I just don’t like the idea of challenging and testing my timeline yet. There’s things I want to see and experience in this life, and my own personal history let alone the history of my own planet, past present and future, and I’m just not interested in jeopardizing those possibilities or the potential conflicts they may present to my mind.”
“But JFK,” Pam said, “Don’t you think you’re being selfish by not saving that man’s life?”
We walked towards the grassy knoll, a hidden perspective I had always wanted to investigate on the Zabruder films.
“Ok. About here. Let’s just relax for the time being,” I said to the group.
“Pam, let’s say in one possible future where JFK lives, Nixon doesn’t become President. The city I was born and raised in may not have appeared on the map. Now while I’m here, now, and I am fully aware of my history, let’s say we go back forward in time and my mom and dad are no longer around as well as my entire family. There’s a completely divergent history that’s been created – one that quickly becomes unsettling to me mentally.”
“But you have the chance to save a President’s life!,” she exclaimed.
“A president who may not have even existed had it not been for my presence on this planet. I don’t claim to fully understand the funky nature of time, just yet, but what I do understand is there are infinite possibilities with every decisions and choice I make. Now why would I intentionally make decisions – NOW – that could potentially destabilize my planet, my life, and my home, when I’m a freakin time traveler, and there’s NO LONGER A SENSE OF URGENCY to making those changes until I am ready and prepared for any results?”
She wasn’t understanding.
“But you have the chance to save a President’s life!,” she exclaimed again.
“Pam. I could do that now. Or I could do it at the end of my life. What’s the difference?,” I said.
“The difference,” said Spencer, “Is you’re being a selfish bastard as usual and not thinking about the good of everyone else”
I shot Spencer a glare. I knew better than to have invited him. But I bit.
“Or then again, Spencer, as a time traveler I may know things about the future you wouldn’t understand, and maybe I’m making this decision for the good of both of us,” I responded haughtily.
“Then explain yourself,” Spencer said smugly.
I thought hard.
It was 12:15. We had 13 minutes.
“Remember when you thought I was hallucinating?” I said.
“We all do,” Ron responded.
“It wasn’t a hallucination to me. To you it was. Your will was stronger than mine. So you collectively vetoed my free will which wrote the story that invalidated my experiences. So what you call selfishness, saved this universe, because I refused to die when I made wrong for seeing something you weren’t prepared to see.”
Jeff chimed in, finally.
“Ok. Bri, what were you able to handle that we couldn’t?”
I looked at my watch.
It was 12:43.
About then a shimmering glow appeared next about 10 feet in front of us, where a circular bubble formed, as the air crackled a little and smelled like ozone.
I looked at Jeff and smiled and pointed at what looked like a water bubble growing larger and larger as a wisp of smoke drifted up.
I smiled. It was what I saw in the Zabruder film.
The bubble disappeared, as my friends gasped.
A Terminator had appeared.
It held something up a the President, As Gina and Pam cried out and Spencer and Jeff tried running at it, it was too late.
The Terminator had just clearly taken a picture of the President getting his head blown off.
His timing could not have been more immaculate.
And that quickly, the Terminator pressed a button on his belt and in a small flash of light, the cyborg disappeared.
Pam was crying.
Gina shouted at me “Who did it then? It’s gotta be Oswald. Let’s go to the repository!”
I looked at her with a straight face and stood there motionless as Pam ran to the street and pointed at the repository, where the authorities soon followed.
Bill and Ron walked over to me and stood next to me.
It was the first time I felt genuine interest in the two about trying to understand anything I had to say.
“What did you see that we couldn’t handle?,” Bill said as the Presidential cavalcade rushed away.
Pam was leading the witch hunt away. Becki was standing there in disbelief as Kevin consoled her.
I looked straight ahead and answered honestly.
“Infinity,” I said.
“Which means?,” Ron said.
“Anything is possible.”
“We already knew that,” Bill said.
“I didn’t,” I responded, “And when I learned that, I made an immediate decision to limit myself to only things I can imagine to keep my world somewhat predictable. “
“You don’t think we could have handled that?,” Spencer said, as he bent over with his hands on his knees trying to catch his breath from running.
How do you answer a question like that?
Knowing, you’d warred with your best friends for numerous eternities to preserve your vision of the world?
Knowing you’d died and they’d died countless times resisting my seemingly selfish command decision?
Knowing it was through your selfishness that you and your world even existed, let alone gave them the opportunity to see an event penciled in as a story into history as entertainment.
Would they understand what entertainment was?
What fiction really was?
Some day. I was sure of it.
Rachel looked at me expectantly. “We need to go pick up Jackie.”
“It can wait. When they’re good and ready and have seen what they need to see we can go,” I said.