Saturday, July 2, 2016

Second Stage of Something Started: 370-239-2005 (Part XII)

Click here for the first series (Seeing is Becoming).
Click here for the entire story.

“One thing about time travel is that it’s very easy to encounter someone at one point and have knowledge of their future. Or worse, they could have knowledge of yours. In some cases, both could happen simultaneously. Some salmon operate across a single timeline. The Shapers, for instance, often have an effect on their past selves without realizing it. Whatever happened, happened. Nothing can be changed. No one can be saved. No one can be stopped. If this were the only form of time travel, then things would be fine. Everything would remain as it was. If you tried to go back and stop a car crash, well, you would probably end up being the cause of the crash. To make things even more complicated, however, some salmon—and just about all choosers—are moving across realities. They can go back and make changes to the timeline. In fact, they can potentially make changes to their own timeline. Unlike in Back to the Future, this will not result in the end of the universe. Things might just get—for lack of a better word—fucked up.
“With all these salmon and choosers hopping through and altering timelines, then salmon who can’t do that are in weird positions, aren’t they? From their perspective, nothing about the timeline has changed. If anything does end up getting changed, single-timeline salmon are going to undergo the process of being overwritten. Their memories of the first variation of events will be erased from their minds, as if they had never happened...because they hadn’t. To them, and all the lowly humans, whatever happened, happened. They don’t know that anything changed, so they just move on with their lives, doing the best they can to make the future as good as it gets.
“There have been many terrible events in the history of mankind. The holocaust, 9/11, Aurora, and Pulse are but a few of the most recent. Have you guys gotten to Pulse yet? But you’re just a human, so you can see only one timeline. You don’t know all the other terrible things that happened before being retconned by time travelers. That may be a nice thought, but keep in mind that not every time traveler has good intentions, and people with the power to reign these bad eggs in are rarely interested in doing so. This means that many days have gone by without a hitch, but then someone goes back and makes things bad. I’m not going to go over these events with you, because I think you would be offended if I attributed heinous acts carried out by hateful people to magicks. You’ll just have to take my word for it that some of the worst moments in time were put there on purpose, while others were created incidentally from the butterfly effect of some earlier time traveling event.
“I’m telling you this so you’ll understand what I have to do. This may seem like a bad moment. The world will remember this day as the greatest mystery in commercial airliner history. But believe you me...this is the lesser of two evils. I guarantee that, my friend. Two-hundred-and-thirty-nine people are going to have to sacrifice their lives for the greater good. Now before you freak out, you’re not going to die. We’ll put you somewhere safe. I’ve already put in a call to The Chauffeur. But you can’t stay here, because then you really will die. The Triple Triple Seven catastrophe was the deadliest aircraft disaster of all times. I’m here to force us into a timeline where that does not happen. I went over a number of scenarios, and this is our only choice. Trying to divert the planes won’t work. All I can do is take one away.”
“Are you telling me that you’re a terrorist?” the passenger asked.
The stowaway sported a charming smile. “No. I’m an unsung hero.”
The passenger’s husband returned from the lavatory. “Hey, what are you doing in my seat, buddy?”
“The name’s not Buddy, Mister Burrows,” the stowaway said as he stood up and slipped into the aisle. “It’s Prince.” He started walking backwards to the cockpit, and spoke more loudly than decorum dictated, “Prince Darko!”
They were still looking at him with concern as Prince Darko spun around and stole someone’s drink from first class.
“Can I help you sir?” the flight attendant asked, then stopped short. “I don’t recognize you.”
“Oh, I’m not on the list. I’m a walk-in.” He nodded towards the cockpit door. “But it’s okay, I’m with them.”
“The pilots?”
“No.”
Saga and Vearden accidentally opened the cockpit door from the inside.
“Them.”
“Oh my God!” the flight attendant cried, unable to keep his composure.
“Where are we?” Saga asked, surprised to be on a plane, but also not.
Prince Darko took a sip of the drink he had stolen, but then put it down on the counter with disgust. “Exactly where you need to be.”
“What is going on here?” The Pilot in Command had gotten up and assumed authority.
Prince Darko pointed his phone through the doorway like a remote control and tapped something on the screen without looking.
“We have lost ACARS now, sir,” reported the co-pilot.
“Well...” Darko said in an uncertain voice. “Not all of it. We still have to shake a few more hands.”
“Who are you?”
“Why, I am now your commanding officer,” Prince Darko responded as-a-matter-of-factly.
“I don’t know how you people opened the cockpit door, but I will not recognize your authority.” He tried reclosing the door, but failed. Each time he tried to swing it inwards, it would keep going past the brink and open outwards. In was out and out was in. No matter how he moved the door, spacetime would shift around it so that he was always opening it. “What is this? What did you do?”
“I’m afraid I can’t take credit for that. I’m just an object threader.”
Vearden cleared his throat to get Prince Darko’s attention. “You are Mateo’s brother.”
“Indeed.”
“We were told that you were a good person,” Vearden said.
“I met you in my past, do you remember that?” Saga asked, referring to a time when she accompanied Baxter to a house call.
“I do not,” Prince Darko admitted as he continued to work on his phone. “It must take place in my future.” The plane started banking left, not enough to cause fear in the hearts of the passengers, but enough to wake up any sleepers.
The pilots and flight attendant were speechless, as any regular human would be by the turn of events, and the current conversation.
“You have control of the plane?” Saga asked.
“Indeed again,” Prince Darko replied.
“Then please give control back to the pilots so they can land these passengers safely at their destination,” she requested calmly and politely.
“I’m afraid I can’t do that.”
“Please,” Vearden pleaded, more urgently.
“Look, I appreciate you opening the door for me. I needed line of sight for the program to activate, but now that it has, your services are no longer required. You are now free to move about time and space.” He pointed to the nearest lavatory. “This is just one of many doors. Pick one.”
Kolby, the security guard from the Vietnam camp appeared through the curtain from a cheaper section of the plane. He lifted his apportation gun towards Prince Darko, but did not fire. The passengers who were in the right places to see the gun started screaming and freaking out. He ignored them. “Darko Matic, you are under arrest for colluding with a rogue element, and for reshaping an Essential Temporal Juncture. You are hereby sentenced to an indefinite stint at Beaver Haven Penitentiary. I am prepared to shoot if you do not comply.”
“Are you going to revert the juncture?” Darko asked, with no obvious intentions to run from his fate.
“That is not my department.”
“Very well.” Prince Darko held out his wrists and allowed Kolby to place a special set of handcuffs on him.
Kolby looked over to Saga and Vearden. “Is this before or after Vietnam?”
“After,” Saga confirmed.
“Then I suppose it’s not urgent for us, but I recommend finding a door off this plane. I don’t know what the others are going to do with it.”
“That’s not up to us,” Vearden said with a deep breath.
“No, I suppose it’s not.” Kolby tapped a sequence onto some high-tech bracelet he was wearing while his hand had a firm grip on the bar between Darko’s bound wrists. They both disappeared in a flash.”
Passengers continued to whoop and holler.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa!” The Cleanser called out right after teleporting onto the plane. “No need to get upset!” he assured them. “The worst is yet to come, I assure you.”
The crowd grew quiet out of fear for what that meant.
“Now who’s ready to go back in time and crash this plane into The Pentagon?” Click here for the next installment...

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