Conversations With Myself

A Novel by Altimexis

The Whispers of Time
 
Chris
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Chris
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Book One • Chapter 11 — A Bridge Complete

March 2011 • Chris-44

With each thrust, my heart rate quickened. Each kiss, each lick and each moan was pure ecstasy. Every time he hit my prostate, a shower of sparks exploded in my head, sending wave after wave of shivers up and down my spine.

I’d been with many women before, and I’d spent many happy years with Jen. I’d even been with Paul that one time, but nothing came close to this. I wasn’t even touching myself, nor was he, but I knew I was getting close. A few more thrusts and I’d be gone.

Again, we kissed with passion, our tongues intermingling, dancing a slow, rhythmic dance together in each others’ mouths. Slowly, I felt the pressure build within me. My toes started to curl as an electric surge that began as a tingling on the soles of my feet, worked its way up my calves and up my thighs. It exploded in the center of my chest and spread out to my torso, my shoulders and my arms. Grabbing me in the nuts, my ball sack drew up impossibly tight as my nuts practically disappeared inside my pelvis, while his thrusts blissfully continued.

My sphincter clamped down impossibly hard against Frank’s intruding member as my white hot spunk reached the boiling point, churning deep within my balls until it could be withheld no more. Streaming forth like lava from an erupting volcano, it shot forth with untamed fury as torrents of pleasure I’d never known before trembled over me. In the meantime, I could tell by the way Frank was arching his back that he, too, was in the throes of his own intense orgasm.

Slowly, the tremors became ripples, and then nothing more than gentle aftershocks as Frank collapsed on top of me.

We resumed our kissing, and then laughing and giggling. I couldn’t even remember how we’d ended up in his bedroom, let alone in his bed together, but what we’d just done was by far the most earth-shattering sexual experience of my entire life.

“You know this was a mistake,” Frank said as our heart rates began to return to normal.

“Yes, and I don’t care,” I replied.

“We’re not even supposed to know each other,” he said.

“Not in this timeline. Not in this reality, or so you’ve said,” I agreed.

“If it weren’t for my ability to sense things outside of normal time, we wouldn’t even be here,” he stated, again pushing the point home.

“And if I hadn’t had that one dream, I would have never bothered to look you up,” I reasoned, “but we both became aware of each other, and here we are. Why not enjoy it?” I asked.

“Because it means time is unraveling, Chris. Time is unraveling, and I think you may be the cause. Time is unraveling, and you have to do something,” he implored me.

“I’m already working on it, Frank,” I assured him.

“No!” he practically shouted at me. “My premonitions are getting worse if anything. What ever you’re doing, you’re only making it worse.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

March 1990 • Chris-23

“He’s getting so big,” I said as I stared at our son as he wove his destructive path around the living room, knocking things over as he went. Today our son, Andrew David Michaels Wilson, was one year old.

“Just a year ago you couldn't stop talking about how small he was,” Jen countered.

“Yeah I remember that,” I said. “I’d never realized newborns were so small,” I repeated. “His hand was scarcely the size of my thumb.”

“Well, they do grow, you know,” Jen teased me.

“Yeah, I realize that,” I said.

“And being painful enough as it was, delivering him, I don’t even want to think what it would have been like to deliver him if he’d been any larger,” she went on to say.

“Yeah, I see your point,” I agreed. “I can’t even imagine what you went through, carrying him inside of you for nine months, and then being stretched open wide enough to deliver him.”

“Well, you should have thought of that when you knocked me up,” she said with a smile.

“It wasn’t the first thing on my mind at the time,” I said as I smiled back, and then I leaned down and kissed her.

“We do make a good team,” she agreed. Getting a more serious look on her face, she said, “I could have never finished my thesis without your help. I just hope the committee likes what we did.”

“How could they not like it?” I asked. “The writing was positively brilliant, if I do say so myself.”

“I’ll remind you that I still did most of the writing,” she pointed out, “but I could have never done it without your help tracking down and setting up all the references in RefNote, and I’d have been a basket case had it not been for your help formatting all the equations with MathType. If it were me, I’d still be reading the manual, trying to figure it out.”

“And I’m the undisputed GraphicsShop wizard,” I added.

“Beyond a doubt,” she agreed. “I owe you everything, and as soon as I’m past my defense and have made any revisions the committee requests for the thesis, I’ll do all the child rearing so that you can finish your dissertation and then get to your post-doc.”

“At least the hard part’s behind us,” I said. “The defense is a couple weeks away, during which time I’ll do most of the work until your dissertation is complete. It’ll be a piece of cake,” I concluded.

“The famous last words of mice and men…” Jen said with a look of apprehension on her face.

“Let’s not even go there,” I replied.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

March 1997 • Chris-30

“A disco ball?” Jack echoed my suggestion.

“Actually, it’s not just for discos.” I explained. “It’s just a mirror ball. One of those multifaceted mirror balls they hang in dance halls. They were very popular in the twenties, and again in the forties, and they became all the rage again in the disco era, as popularized in the film Saturday Night Fever.

“Chris-16 thought of it, and suggested we use a quantum-mirrored equivalent with a single, stationary quartz emitter/detector instead of the sixteen emitter/detectors we now have mounted inside of a rotating cylinder. That way, we wouldn’t need to have a complex interconnect system, and we could use a much cruder, larger emitter/detector,” I concluded.

“Sequencing that single emitter/detector would be a lot more complex, however,” Jack pointed out.

“True, no doubt about that, but the switching circuitry would be a hell of a lot easier to build than the physical device we currently use.”

Sighing, Jack said, “Undoubtedly, you’re right… but what is it with you, Chris. First you propose one design, based on watching your daughter’s spinning top, and then you propose another, based on watching a spinning mirror ball in a movie. What is this obsession of yours with spinning objects?”

Laughing, I said, “Inspiration comes from all directions.”

Shifting gears, I asked, “What should we tell Dawson?”

“Sorenson,” Jack reminded me. “In this time period, everyone’s to know him as Sorenson. In any case, be sure he reminds his counterpart in the past that we have far more resources in the here and now, than he could possibly have access to in the past. We’ll take it from here. With any luck, we can have a prototype of the new design up and running in a matter of weeks. If our tests go well, we can then send the blueprints back to him, along with all the computer code necessary for him to make it work using the instrumentation available to him in his time period. We can cut his design cycle to a fraction of what it might otherwise have been.”

“He’s already started work on his own design, you know, both in the present and in the past. You don’t think he might feel a bit resentful it we take it out of his hands, do you?” I asked.

“Knowing him, I certainly expect he will,” Jack answered, “but stroking his ego isn’t a luxury we can afford. Besides, he’ll be thrilled when he gets a working prototype in his hands, and ecstatic when his counterpart in the past is able to build one so readily, compared to the current design.

“I have a feeling the new design will cut the process of extending the chain of communication to a fraction of what it might have been, and that’s what really matters. If it was in fact the formation of an Islamic republic in Iran that resulted in the destruction of the world in the future, then we’re running out of time. The Shah of Iran was deposed in February, 1979. We’re already passed that. The American Embassy staff were taken hostage the following November… perhaps we at least can prevent that from happening.”

“Jack, you’re forgetting that with TTT, we can always go back further in time by adding another link. As long as Chris-12 is alive and well in 1978, there’s no reason we can’t reach him. It just may fall to Chris-13 or maybe Chris-14 to finish the job.”

Turning to me, Jack concluded by saying, “Chris, I think we may actually have 1978 in sight, now.”

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

April 1990 • Chris-24

My life was — hectic — no doubt about it. I had a funny feeling this wasn’t the way things were supposed to be, but I had little choice in the matter, under the circumstances. I was a new father, and that was great. It was better than I’d expected it to be, actually. Oh, little Andy could really make quite a fuss when he wanted to, but he was an amazing little man. He did result in a lot of lost sleep, but since Jen had finished up her dissertation, she was doing most of the work of raising him and wasn’t planning on looking for a post-doc until I’d finished mine, so I was off the hook in the parental role for a while.

As far as my PhD was concerned, all the data and data processing was done and I’d finished up most of the writing. I probably should have finished by now, but OTT kept getting in the way. Rankin had been understanding in allowing me to postpone the start date of my fellowship a couple of times now. My job at Lawrence Livermore after that was pretty much a lock, but if I didn’t get to it soon, there wouldn’t be an OTT in the first place. Somehow I knew things weren’t going as originally planned.

I could only hope that something really important, such as a major publication in a major journal, wouldn’t slip away from me and cause a cascade effect that would alter all of time. One little thing like that and things could accumulate. Action upon action might build until there was a paradox, and then God alone knew what might happen. The fabric of time itself was unraveling.

Sometimes it felt like I was carrying the entire weight of the world on my shoulders, but what could I do? I’d just turned 24, for cripe sake. I was just one man — a brand new daddy — with a baby and his mama to feed.

Sighing, I realized it really was time to get back to work on my dissertation — OTT be damned. If I didn’t, there might never be an OTT. Starting up the brand new Macintosh IIsi computer I’d just purchased through the university, I prepared to get back to working on my thesis. The computer was so new, in fact, that the model wasn’t even yet available to the general public.

Page after page of my thesis flashed across the thirteen-inch color display as I looked at what I’d written, paying particular attention to the numerous equations embedded within the text, the figures, many of which were mere placeholders for artwork I’d yet to complete, and of course the references.

Keeping track of hundreds upon hundreds of references was one of the most difficult tasks in putting together any major manuscript, but for a thesis, the task was particularly daunting. As with Jen’s dissertation, I was making use of a brand new piece of software called RefNote that had just come out in the last year. It was outrageously expensive, and unlike the other software I used, there was no academic discount available. As with most of the software on our computer, however, I’d pirated a copy from one of the labs, so it hadn’t cost us a cent.

I was amazed at how much time RefNote had managed to save me already. Rather than having to meticulously keep track of references and potentially renumber all the references each time I made a change, RefNote did all that for me. Indeed, most dissertations made use of the ‘author-date’ annotation style, just because of the futility of renumbering each time a reference was added or changed. For me, that wasn’t a worry at all. Renumbering, reordering, changing reference styles and even catching inconsistencies were now a breeze. The only thing RefNote didn’t do was to look up the references for me, but something told me that some day even that might be a possibility. After all, database searches were now done by computer on-line. All that was necessary was to combine the output of the search with the input of RefNote, or better still, to use RefNote as the front-end for the database search, and I’d be all set.

A cry from the baby’s room interrupted my train of thought. Well, that was certainly something that hadn’t changed, OTT or no OTT. Might as well take a break and spend a little time with my son before getting back to work on my dissertation.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

April 1983 • Chris-17

“So how does this all work?” I asked.

The professor smiled at me, and then he went about explaining it all to me. The physical apparatus was pretty simple once he explained how it worked, although the whole quantum pair thing seemed strange. The idea that quantum particles could exist in the same point in space but at different points in time was really weird. That it was I who would discover this one day was hard for my young mind to imagine.

“There’s still one major potential issue with using time tunnel technology in 1983, Chris,” Professor Dawson brought up, “and it will be an even bigger issue if we ever need to extend TTT before then. In every other time period in which it’s been used, all of the control of the apparatus, all of the switching, multiplexing and manipulation have been done by sophisticated computer programs. Apparently that was very easy to do in 2008, and pretty easy to do in 2001, and still not too difficult in 1995. It was considerably more difficult in 1988, when personal computers were just beginning to come into their own, but with significant simplifications to make the code function on equipment considerably more primitive than that for which it was originally intended.

“In 1983 we face a much bigger challenge. The personal computers we’ll use in the future are little more than toys today, lacking anything close to the processing power we need. The alternative is to make use of the minicomputers that are ubiquitous in university laboratories at present. We have access to a pair of fairly powerful PDP/VAX minicomputers, right here in the Physics department, although only one of them has an image processing sub-unit. There are two major hurdles to this approach as I see it, however. For one thing, there’s no way I can justify a dedicated computer, just for this project. It would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. That means having to jockey with other professors and other students for the use of the existing VAX with the image co-processor, often at a moment’s notice, and because it’s usually time-shared, people will start to wonder what we’re up to that requires the full computational power of an entire VAX, not to mention an image processor. How in Hell will we be able to justify bumping someone off the computer during their critical experiment so we can run ours? That kind of scrutiny is something we cannot afford.

“An even more important issues is, what if we need to go back even further in time? You wouldn’t "be able to, but in an emergency, I can. The computers we need are large, multimillion dollar mainframes in 1978, and they don’t even exist in 1971. Not here at the university. We have to consider using a different approach.”

“So what do we do?” I asked.

“Before there were digital computers,” the professor lamented, “there were analog computers. They were never so precise, and were always treated more as laboratory curiosities and as teaching platforms, but they served a useful purpose.

“Now the typical analog computer would never work here… there’s just too much data involved, but I think we can make use of the same basic principles involved toward the same ends.”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Instead of using traditional algorithms to calculate, differentiate, matrix invert and reintegrate digitally, we could simply use the physical properties of vacuum tubes to do much the same thing.” Professor Dawson suggested. “You can’t do this with transistors, by the way. Solid-state electronics are inherently nonlinear, but in the perfect vacuum inside a vacuum tube, you can simulate conditions in outer space. In a vacuum tube, Maxwell’s equations apply. You should be able to achieve perfect quantum effects and perfect matrix inversions, so long as your electrode geometries are correct.”

“So you’re suggesting we could do all the calculations, matrix inversions, advanced calculus and so on using custom-designed vacuum tubes?” I asked.

“That’s exactly what I’m saying, young Christopher, and you’ll learn a Hell of a lot of physics in the process,” he confirmed.

“Cool,” was my response, “but won’t developing custom vacuum tubes take time?” I asked.

“It could take months… maybe more than a year, so you’re right, Chris, we don’t have the time to put OTT on hold while we develop our own custom vacuum tubes,” Professor Dawson replied. “But we have all the computer algorithms we need to implement TTT using our VAX computers. Once we fabricate the quartz emitter-detector and the disco mirror apparatus you so cleverly suggested, we’ll be all set to make first contact with Chris-12… or rather Chris-13 now. And by making contact at night, we shouldn’t face too much competition for the use of the VAX computers.

“That’s great Professor Dawson,” I responded. “So maybe we can wait on the vacuum tubes?”

Chuckling, the professor replied, “Chris, you just turned seventeen and you’ll probably depart for Stanford next fall. Consider this a great learning experience you’ll never have a chance to get again, and besides which, I’d like to take advantage of your expertise before you leave.”

“But you’ll still have access to my expertise in the future, through my future counterparts,” I pointed out, “and who knows, perhaps by making use of the advanced digital computers available in the future, I’ll be able to design more advanced vacuum tube designs and in less time.”

NO!” Professor Dawson practically shouted. “This is something we need to do in the here and now. You’re going to have enough on your plate in the future without taking on a whole new project. The invention of TTT must not be compromised under any circumstances. You, on the other hand, can do this and learn a lot without compromising the future of OTT.”

Throughout this conversation, Dawson had been maintaining physical contact with me in some way, be it a hand on my shoulder, an arm around my waist or his chin on top of my head. When I finished my last ‘cool’, his arm was completely around my torso and he didn’t remove it. Although this was a little weird, Dawson always was a ‘touchy-feely’ sort of guy, so I didn’t really think anything of it, but his rubbing my side was causing me to get hard, which was kind of freakin’ me out.

Sensing my unease, Dawson backed off, leaving me feeling much more comfortable.

Soon, other boys started showing up, and the professor had to put each of them to work on their own lessons, so he set me to work on learning all about Maxwell’s equations and how they could be used in basic vacuum tube design. He showed me how the university had a whole facility for building its own vacuum tubes, and started me working on designing vacuum tubes that could be used for OTT. Although I was only supposed to be there for the morning, I didn’t end up goin’ home ’til around seven in the evening, and I agreed to come back the next morning, too. I never even stopped for lunch.

It wasn’t until later that I began to worry about the implications of keeping the work on vacuum tubes to ourselves. I certainly understood what he meant about not interfering with the development of TTT in the future, but it almost seemed like the professor didn’t want my future counterparts to know about our work on vacuum tube technology at all. I had the distinct impression that Professor Dawson wanted to extend TTT back even further than 1978, and for his own purposes, and that was certainly something Chris-24 and all my future selves should know about.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

May 1990 • Chris-24

I was finally ready to defend my thesis. All the figures were done. The references were checked and crosschecked, thanks to RefNote. The equations were formatted to perfection, courtesy of MathType. I was psyched. I was ready. Of course there was no telling what the members of the committee would ask when I went into the exam tomorrow. I’d attended enough of these before and already had a good idea of what to expect.

Chances were there would be no surprises. Oh, there would be one or two unexpected questions — there always were — it seemed to be some kind of law — but I felt those questions probably would be about things I could handle. There would almost certainly be some expectation of required revisions. I’d yet to see a dissertation that didn’t come through with required revisions. I think it was so committees could prove their utility. I also figured that committee members thought they had to have some way of proving they’d read the dang thing, and so nearly everyone picked parts of the thesis to read in detail, scrutinizing it until they found something — hell — anything, and then require that it be revised.

So I knew going in that there would be some questions from out in left field, but I’d be ready for that, and there would be an expectation for some revisions, but nothing excessive. With modern word processors, the revisions should be relatively painless, and then I’d be done and able to move on to my post-doc in Rankin’s lab.

Talking to some of my fellow students from other universities that I’d met at scientific conferences, on the other hand, I’d heard some real horror stories. It seems that different institutions did things differently, following different sets of rules. Although nearly everyone required a qualifying exam of some sort and a thesis proposal, the emphasis on each varied widely. In some universities, the qualifying exam was waived entirely if one maintained a 3.5 GPA. No such luck at Stanford. At others, the qualifying exam was extremely rigorous, lasting several days and being even more involved than an entrance exam.

Thesis proposal requirements were also highly variable. Here, we merely had to submit a few pages explaining what we wanted to do, with a few references to back it up. Our committee members needed to initial it, to verify they’d read it, and our major professor had to sign off on it. Of course, if someone on our committee had serious reservations, we might need to gather more information or make changes, but that rarely happened.

Another student told me that at her institution, the proposal essentially was the defense. Before the student could even set foot in the lab, they were required to prepare a rigorous, detailed analysis of the proposed research, with a comprehensive bibliography, and to defend the whole thing in front of their committee. The proposal was often hundreds of pages long — nearly as long as the finished thesis itself. Indeed, the only difference between the proposal and the dissertation often was the inclusion of actual data and the final conclusions. The process sounded wasteful to me, but I guess they wanted to avoid the potential waste of laboratory resources.

Even the thesis defense itself differed significantly from place-to-place. In some, it was a very casual affair, discussed over coffee with the student at the head of the table and the committee members seated all around. At others, anyone who wanted could attend and ask questions, creating an inquisition-like atmosphere. The student had little advanced warning of who might attend, and it was not uncommon for famous scholars whose work they were challenging to show up and lambast their dissertation.

My defense would be held in an auditorium. Members of my committee had been provided with a printed copy of the thesis earlier in the week, and anyone who wished to attend could obtain one by contacting the Department secretary, as listed in the public announcement.

I would begin by making a thirty-minute uninterrupted podium presentation, followed by a general question and answer session from the audience that could last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. After a brief intermission, my committee would then assemble as a panel to discuss my dissertation in front of the audience, each member critiquing it for up to fifteen minutes individually, displaying their own slides if they wished. During this time, I was expected to remain completely silent, no matter how wrong or unfair I thought the critiques might have been.

After all of the members of my committee had completed presenting their critiques, I was then permitted a half-hour to address all of the critiques leveled at my dissertation and to address any of the shortcomings identified, and to rebut any criticisms that I felt were unjustified — something that was generally done only if a PhD candidate had solid evidence to back them up. In stark contrast to the way I’d heard it was done at other institutions, at no point did the student or the committee members ever directly address each other — committee members expressed ‘concerns’ they had with the dissertation and the candidate explained ways those concerns might be addressed with revisions to the thesis.

At the end of the defense, the major professor would summarize the revisions that would be required to make the thesis acceptable to the members of the committee. The candidate would then generally have a maximum of thirty days to complete the revisions and return the manuscript to the major professor for his signature. In rare instances, the candidate and the committee would be unable to agree on a set of revisions that would make the thesis acceptable to all involved, and the candidate would be required to withdraw the thesis and start over with the preparation of a new thesis after no less than six months. I’d attended several PhD thesis defense sessions, and I couldn’t recall that ever happening even once.

The night before my PhD defense, I entered the lecture hall and checked to make sure that everything was in order. Even though I’d done this before, I was still quite nervous. I had two Kodak Carousel slide projectors set up in the back of the room, sitting in a projection booth, and into each one I dropped a slide tray containing one hundred forty color slides — the maximum number that could fit in one tray. I wanted to have enough slides to convey everything I wanted to say, plus enough slides to cover every possible question I might be asked, without having to switch slide trays during my presentation. I ran through all slides twice, making sure they all dropped properly without jamming. I’d paid extra to have them mounted in plastic rather than cardboard mounts, and I wanted to be sure I’d gotten my money’s worth.

Once I was satisfied, I made sure I knew the locations of all the controls for the lighting in the room, the projector controls, the microphone and something that was relatively new, a rather hefty laser pointer. I didn’t leave the room until I was confident and sure everything was in order.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

June 1979 • Chris-13

Today had been so humiliating. Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse, I boned up in the shower in gym class. Everyone laughed at me and called me a faggot. God, I hate the way they all treat me in school! I’m just an ordinary thirteen-year-old kid. I don’t know why I get a boner when I see other naked boys in the shower in gym class. I mean, I think maybe everyone does. I notice other boys kind of get a little stiff, but they seem to be able to control it better, but not me. I get a humongous, rip-roaring, straight-up raging boner, big enough to use as a baseball bat, and pretty soon, everyone’s gawking at it and laughing at me, and I just wanna crawl under some rock and disappear.

But even before the boner incident, it had been a shitty day. Someone tripped me in the hall on the way to Science class and all my books went flying all over the place, and then when I was late to class, Mrs. Salinger made me go to the principal’s office to get a late pass… talk about me being really late after that. Then there was a pop-quiz in Social Studies. I usually do well on those, but I found out after I turned mine in that the answers were numbered from left-to-right and I’d answered mine from top-to-bottom, so I know I totally fucked that one up. Yeah, it was a totally crap day. The only good thing about it was that it was finally over.

Lying in bed felt peaceful. I was away from school, away from the bullies, away from all the crap and that had made my life hell since I’d left the comfortable world of elementary school behind. Why didn’t my parents warn me it would be like this?

As I drifted off to sleep, the faces of my tormentor kept dancing in my head, endlessly haunting me in my dreams. For me there was never any escape…

Whoa… this dream… something strange was happening. I felt as if I was floating above my body. I felt as if I was naked… no, that wasn’t quite right. It was more like I was suspended in space, not just without clothes, but without form. I was just kind of there, mind, body and soul, floating in the vastness of the universe. This was weird. I mean I knew I was in my bedroom, but yet I wasn’t really in my bedroom at all. It was kinda like a portal had opened within my brain and I had stepped — no, stepped wasn’t the right word — I had floated out into this other existence I hadn’t known about, but that had been there all along.

All around me, a dense fog started to form. The fog grew thicker, but it was colorless and odorless, and it didn’t feel damp or have a temperature, neither warm nor cold. In front of me, the fog started to condense, or rather coalesce into a form — a shape — a person! Slowly, the person took on features that looked sort of familiar. A face took shape. The face was that of a teenager.

Most teenagers I’d encountered in the past had either bullied me or ignored me, but this one seemed kind for some reason. He smiled at me. For some reason, this teenage boy looked a lot like me, but I knew all of my cousins, and this boy didn’t look anything like any of them. Who was this boy?

The one thing I think I knew was that this wasn’t a dream… there was no way I would dream this. Was someone trying to make contact with me, but why and how?

“Hello, Chris,” the teenager spoke to me. “I know this is going to seem strange to you, but I’m from your future,” he said. “Do you remember the television series, Time Tunnel?” he asked me? This — this was real.

“The Day the Sky Fell In,” I replied.

“Huh?” he asked in return.

“The Day the Sky Fell In,” I repeated. “It was the title of episode four, when Tony returned to Pearl Harbor the day of the Japanese invasion, and finds his father, but more importantly, he finds himself as a boy.”

His whole face lit up as he said, “You remember. Yes, that’s the perfect analogy, although real time travel doesn’t work like that… at least not any kind of time travel that we’ve been able to discover. What we have been able to do is learn how to communicate back in time within a person’s brain while they sleep. Actually, you’ll invent the technology in 2008, but there are limitations, the worst one being that the communication link is limited to about seven years.”

“So you’re me in about seven years?” I asked.

“In my case, only about four years,” he replied. “You can call me Chris-17, ’cause I’m seventeen years old, as of last month. That makes you Chris-13, at least until you turn fourteen next year.”

“Why did I start all this,” I asked Chris-17. “As every science fiction fan knows, it’s dangerous as Hell to mess with time.”

“When Chris-42 first developed ‘Time Tunnel Technology’, or TTT for short, he started sending back regular weekly briefings from the future to himself, I guess just to make sure that all was well in the world. Those briefings ended sometime in 2012. No briefings have ever been received from anyone in the future beyond 2012.

“An extensive analysis has been done and all indicators trace back to events in 1978 and 1979 as the beginning of whatever happened that led to some sort of cataclysmic event. We believe that if we fail to intervene, life as we know it on earth will end sometime in or after 2012. By establishing a chain of communication back to 1979, or maybe 1978, we hope to be able to alter events in an orderly fashion to salvage the future.

“I know you’re only thirteen and you probably think there’s little you can do at your age to help, but you’re wrong. Chris-45 knows what’s happening in your life, and I know what happened in your life, and there are some surprisingly simple changes we can have you make that will have a profound impact, not only on your future, but on the future of the world.”

“Wow, I don’t know what to say,” I asked more than said.

“You can start by holding your head up high and realizing that every kid in school is going through the exact same thing that you are. They may all act cool and like they’ve got their shit together, but underneath it all, they’re no more sure of themselves than you are. When they pick on you in school, don’t let them get to you. Be strong, don’t show emotion and when they fail to get a reaction, they’ll stop bullying you. Trust me on this… it took us a long time for us to learn our lesson. That alone will go along way toward improving our own future.

“But listen, we’ve made first contact. We’ve set up a chain of communication with nodes in 2011, 2004, 1997, 1990, 1983 and now, 1979. We’ve engaged Chris-45, Chris-38, Chris-31, Chris-24, Chris-17 and now you, Chris-13. Our bridge between the future and the past is now complete. There is one other person you should know about who can help, by the way. His name is H. Marion Dawson, and he’s a physics professor at the University. He is not aware of TTT or of Operation Time Tunnel, or OTT as we call it… at least not in this time period… yet. We’ll contact him if we need his help.

“Goodnight my friend… my past self… from your future self-to-be. Sweet dreams.”

And then the teenage boy, who I would become, faded from my vision and I was once again alone in bed in my own room.

The author gratefully acknowledges the assistance of David of Hope and Anthony Camacho in editing this story, as well as the support of Awesome Dude for hosting it.
This story is purely fictional and any resemblance of characters to real individuals other than named historical figures is purely coincidental and unintentional. Some characters may be gay and at times engage in homosexual acts. Because the story explores characters at various stages of their lives, they may be underage during early sexual explorations. Obviously, anyone uncomfortable with this should not be reading the story, and the reader assumes responsibility for the legality of reading this type of story where they live. The author retains full copyright, and permission must be obtained prior to duplication of the story in any form.

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