Saturday, October 11, 2014

Part Three--When Johnny Comes Marching Home

  (Author's Note: This is fan fiction, crappy and full of typos but my effort to find closure in a nightmare scenario created by the supremely talented S.M. Stirling. I truly meant to end my take on his creation with this segment but just couldn't find a way. You can find part one here and part two here.)   

From the recovered journal of Captain Richard Douglas
United States Aerospace Force
Original timeline

Two weeks had slipped by since that awful day when my fighter had a massive and fatal engine malfunction forcing me to eject only to hit the ground and immediately have to kill a genetically engineered ghoul so I would not become its lunch. Adding insult to injury, before the damn hybrid abomination of baboon and dog was even cold, its post-human Homo drakensis owner appears and beats the living shit out of me. It was only the arrival of the pararescue troopers who blew a huge hole in the chest of the drakensis that saved me from death, or something far worse.

The days that slipped by once I was dropped off at the base infirmary in a semiconscious state were jumbled nightmares from hearing half understood conversations between the hospital staff of how bad things were going. The information gaps were inadvertently filled in by my wife who would stop by for visits when her duties allowed. I would often wake up just enough to see her sitting by my bed in an uncomfortable chair starring off into space. Her haggard facial expressions were silent testaments of the fear and despair she was battling.

Despite my extensive injuries the blessing of stolen Drakan medical technology allowed me to recover enough during those two weeks that I was almost completely healed when two Aerospace Force security police wheeled me into an unused office. The base commander. General Thomas Howard, was standing at the window looking out towards the flight line. It was a crowded nightmare of various aircraft, some damaged and being stripped for parts while others were in obvious preparation for a mission. Further off in the distance I caught sight of one of the air defense lasers firing up into the sky telling me that the Draka were edging ever closer. The most unsettling thing though was General Howard, a prim and dapper man who loved the more formal class-A uniform, wearing Aerospace camouflage fatigues.

Sitting at the desk through was a four-star army general I didn't recognize. He was African-American and displayed a cool and detached demeanor that I instantly found completely alien given our present dire global and national circumstances.

Hello Captain Douglas,” the army general said, “I hope you don't mind being brought to this office but with our continuing deteriorating situation I'm afraid certain unusual security measures are required.”

What General Powell is saying Douglas,” General Howard interrupted, “is that we're losing the war and might have traitors in our midst, willing to trade information for more lenient treatment from the Draka.”

Powell briefly turned and glanced over at Howard showing more than a little irritation. “I'm afraid General Howard is correct, there have been several incidents in the last couple of months that have hurt us badly. Truth be told captain, we have already lost the war, when the Draka hit us with their biological weapon killing or incapacitating the vast majority of the Alliance and American leadership they gained enough time to spring back from both the computer plague we hit them with and the nuclear attacks.”

Sitting there in the wheelchair I was frankly puzzled, why were these two generals talking with me, especially if the war was already a lost cause. “Excuse me sirs,” I said, “with all due respect what does this have to do with me. I'm just an average fighter jock.”

What it has to do with you Douglas,” Howard said turning towards me, “is that Powell here is part off Black Project Command and he has an insane plan that could save all our sorry asses.”

Black Project Command was the one agency of the American government that everyone knew about but never mentioned. Since the beginning of what the Draka liked to call the “Protracted Conflict” with the Alliance for Democracy billions of dollars and numerous scientists had disappeared into the shadows attempting to develop some radical type of technology that would change the balance of power. Occasionally, a bit of news about some crazy project would somehow leak out to the public resulting in politicians whining about taxpayer money going to waste. But in truth, only those in the organization itself knew which of those stories were real and what just disinformation meant to confuse the Draka.

What my friend General Howard has said is true,” Powell said looking quite forlorn. “We have lost the war and there is nothing conventional we can do to change that fact. Our best calculations say all organized resistance to the Draka invasion of the United States will be defeated in a little over two months.” Powell reached across the desk and grabbed a computer keyboard and brought up a tactical map of the entire United States on the wall mounted screen. From Alaska in the northwest to the state of Panama in the south the areas occupied by the Draka had grown considerably since the day I crashed. I stared at the map for several minutes lost in a world of despair.

The situation in the other Alliance member states are even worse,” Powell said watching my reaction. “We haven't heard shit from Great Britain, Grand Colombia, or the Indochina Federation in weeks. The Empire of Brazil is still in the game but the Draka captured the imperial Crown Prince while you were recovering and reports from Australia have become undependable.”

This is bullshit Carter,” Thomas Howard said disdainfully to other general, “we haven't lost yet.”

General Powell closed his eyes and took a deep breath. “Thomas, I outrank you in this circumstance, if you cannot keep your mouth shut please leave now.” General Howard turned back around to stare out the window, I didn't have to read minds to know his silence meant that he knew the war was indeed lost.

What do you have in mind sir?” I say to General Powell.

Good, I'll call for you in a couple a days, we're still ironing out the details,” he says.


Two days later I am outside and walking around on my own feet after receiving several more doses of bootleg Draka stem cell treatments. I wonder what all the anti-genetic engineering Luddites in the occupied areas of the Alliance are thinking now that their passionate desire to keep the moral and religious high ground has earned them nothing but the Draka lash and slavery for their children. From the moment the Eurasian War ended Alliance and American scientists screamed as loud as possible saying that if the Draka had one ace up their sleeve it was the biological sciences. Even after the Draka proudly presented both their dog-baboon hybrids and later, the post-human Homo drakensis abominations the Luddites refused to read the handwriting on the wall. The result was the biological attack that devastated our leadership. It's all I can do to stifle my rage at basic human stupidity.

Everyone on the base is in overdrive getting ready for the big bug out. General Howard has given the order to abandon the facility and fall back to the redoubts in the Rocky Mountains. This is in part to cover General Powell's plan but it's also a realization by Howard that war is truly lost. Still though, the whole idea of the redoubts bug the hell out of me but who am I to second guess decades old decisions.

Sometime in the 1970's some bright boy or girl in the Alliance command structure came up with the idea that if the world went to total shit with the Draka winning it all, the freedom loving peoples could carry on the fight guerrilla style. Secret bases inside mountains and down in deep caverns were built all over the Alliance, big enough to house significant populations for a struggle that would last generations. General Howard was taking everyone on the base, including all the civilian refuges that would leave to these scattered outposts. A good number of civilians wanted to stay behind and fight with those military personnel that would cover our retreat. I didn't know which of the groups were the smarter, those that wished to die quickly or the ones who wanted hide in some rat hole and prolong the ordeal.

I reach the annex where Powell and his team are essentially hiding. An Army trooper carefully examines my face and even finds time to pull out a portable retina scanner. Paranoia was always a job requirement even in the best of times for those working with Black Projects.

Inside, I am escorted to a large window-less room where I see General Powell and another man dressed in an absurdly bright Hawaiian shirt, old-style army pants, and sandals. As I come closer, I see this strange man is also wearing yellow tinted sunglasses and smoking a cigarette affixed to a thin extension. Powell is listening intently as he gestures at several old fashioned blackboards filled with complex mathematical equations.

Carter,” the strange mans says after noticing me, “this must be our savior, or pointless human sacrifice depending on how you look at this project.”

Ah yes,” General Powell said, “Captain Douglas come down here and meet Doctor Bernard Randal Lewis.”

A few moments later I am seated and listening to Powell introduce Doctor Lewis to me. I didn't say anything but even with Western Civilization on the verge of falling I didn't interrupt to tell Powell that I had heard about Lewis several years before. He was a theoretical physicist working at one of the universities in the Canadian states when one of his students, the daughter of an United States Senator, accused him of rape. I was stationed at an aerospace force fighter base in Alberta when the television news began reporting that the good professor had assaulted the deputy sheriff taking him to jail, stole a car, and then disappeared. News reports went on forever with people saying the guy was a certified flake and that they were surprised he hadn't done something similar far sooner. A massive snowstorm slams the search area a few nights later forcing the police to call off the hunt. A week later Lewis is declared dead and is soon forgotten.

I stifle a laugh realizing that Black Projects Command must have thought a lot of his research to go to such lengths to make the Draka think he was both a nut and dead. After hearing about their plan, I had to reconsider the possibility that not only was Lewis insane after all, but that General Powell was himself unbalanced.

What we're going to do,” Doctor Lewis explained in his supremely quirky manner often referring to his equations on the blackboards, “is create a point of extreme dislocation in both time and space.” He paused for several seconds hoping to see my eyes brighten with both understanding and appreciation of his genius.

A point of extreme dislocation?” I respond wondering more and more if I should just walk out.

Doctor Lewis throws up his hands and walks away disgusted with what he considers my incompetence. It is General Powell who takes over to explain.

What we're going to do Douglas is create what in theoretical physics is called a molehole at our research station. A shortcut through both time and space with the other end located at a different place and time.”

Where will the other end of this tunnel be located?” I asked totally out of my league to the point I was wondering if this was all just a bad dream.

Let me put it to you this way Douglas,” Powell said, “what was your major in college before you joined the aerospace force?”

Early American history from the founding of the colonies to the enactment of the United States Constitution.” I say starting to get some idea what was going on.

That includes the decision by American loyalists at the end of the Revolution to leave North America and settle in southern Africa?”

Yeah,” I say not really believing what Powell was implying.

So captain,” Powell said, “you understand that what we intend to do is send you back to the year 1783 to kill the leaders of the American loyalists faction that talked their people into going to southern Africa and establish what came o be called the Draka Crown Colony which evolved to become the Domination.”

Doctor Lewis then comes to back to continue explain that the original idea was to send teams back in time to hamper the development of the Draka in such a way to make them less powerful without completely destroying our own timeline. But, according to Lewis, the Alliance leadership got scared and decided to pursue the computer plague as a way to eventually destroy the Draka. With the start of the war, and the clear defeat of the Alliance, there was only one option, wipe the Draka from existence and just hope something of what we call the United States of America survives.


Pixel Peeper said...

Captain Douglas better be ready for an interesting ride...

Marja said...

so draken or drakensis is a new kind of human. Were do you get it all from so much imagination. I love time travel
so hopefully he is succesful in making the new humans a bit more peaceful