Conversations With Myself

A Novel by Altimexis

The Whispers of Time
 
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Book Two • Chapter 11 — Supernova

August 1979 • Chris-13

Detention is a bitch. For more than a month I put up with homophobic slurs, shoves, punches and more. At least when Jeff was here we were in it together. Thank God Jeff’s parents talked Pastor Jenkins into letting him stay, although he did split us up into separate cabins. The good pastor also made sure to assign us different schedules, but organized activities never were the problem. Sure, I got shoved a lot, but so long as I was in a crowd, I was relatively safe.

Outside of the organized activities, we both made it a point never to be alone. Wherever he was, I was, and vice versa. We spent all of our free time together, which only served to heighten everyone’s suspicions that we were a couple. We didn’t care. We made the best of a bad situation and defended each other against the bullies. Unfortunately Jeff’s eight weeks started earlier than mine, leaving me two weeks at the end without my support system — two weeks to fend for myself. I didn’t even make it through one week.

Scarcely two hours after Jeff left for home, a bunch of the guys cornered me in one of the restrooms and tried to force me to suck them off. Needless to say, I told them to fuck off, which didn’t go over too well. They stripped me of my clothes, peed in one of the toilets and then soaked all my clothes in their pee. Then for good measure they dunked my head in the toilet bowl, too, and left me with nothing to wear but my pee soaked clothes.

Because it was the washroom attached to the cafeteria, there were no showers or anything, so my choice was to either head outside in my birthday suit, or put my wet, urine stained clothes back on. Well I sure wasn’t going to go streaking in daylight, so I did the best I could to wash my clothes and hair out in one of the sinks and then I put my soaking wet clothes back on.

I had hoped to quickly make my way back to my cabin, where I could strip, take a shower and put on clean clothes but, unfortunately, Larry Simpson spotted me, stopped me and asked me why I was all wet. And then he said, “Phew, you stink! You smell like piss!” Well, I’d done the best I could in trying to wash out my clothes.

He ended up taking me to the good pastor, who gave me detention on the spot. I wasn’t even allowed to change my clothes or wash up or anything. For two hours I had to sit in my wet, pee-soaked clothes in an unused classroom and write an essay on the evils of homosexuality.

Instead, I thought I’d be smart and use the time to refute the notion that homosexuality is a sin. It was a good essay, too. I quoted the bible extensively, challenging the conventional wisdom very effectively, or so I thought. Needless to say, the pastor wasn’t pleased and made me sit through another two hours of detention, spent writing a counter essay to my first essay. Well, I still wasn’t having any of that and so I wrote an even stronger essay, literally attacking all of the traditional arguments used against homosexuals by the church.

For that stunt I was told I’d have to clean the restroom in our cabin every evening for a week. I guess Pastor Jenkins just didn’t trust any arguments that ran counter to his own viewpoints. He simply wouldn’t or couldn’t listen to reason.

The week had barely begun before I found myself cornered once again, this time in the locker room. Again they stripped me and for nearly a half-hour, a group of five boys used me as their personal punching bag while two others held me still so I couldn’t even defend myself. I ended up with two black eyes and bruises all over my face and torso. When they left, they took my clothes with them and I never did find what they did with them.

Needless to say, the walk back to my cabin was not fun. It seemed the whole camp was outside at the time and so a few hundred boys gawked at me and laughed as I tried to make it to safety. Unfortunately the good pastor, drawn by all the commotion, intercepted me and took me to his office. He accused me of perversion for walking around in the nude while he virtually ignored all my bruises.

Again, I got detention and had to spend another two hours sitting in the nude in a cold classroom while my body screamed out in pain. This time there were two other boys in the classroom who kept looking at me and snickering as I wrote yet another essay on the evils of homosexuality. There was no way I was gonna take the assignment literally, and so I wrote about the hypocrisy of the church in singling out homosexuality at the same time that it tolerated gambling, alcohol abuse and a host of other sins.

My punishment that time was a thorough cleaning of the boys’ locker room — a task that took me two full days to complete — and I still was responsible for cleaning the restroom in our cabin. Not only that, but my parents were forced to bring me a new pair of sneakers and were not pleased to say the least. When they saw my physical condition, however, their anger turned from me to Pastor Jenkins.

The pastor tried to pass it off as if I had started the fight, but my parents knew better than that. I’d been the victim of bullying before, but never had I ever instigated a fight. Unfortunately he managed to talk them into making me stay, but they insisted that he do more to prevent any bullying or physical abuse. I guess they still loved me after all.

It was on Thursday that Larry Simpson found me alone. I was still sore from my recent beating and had let my guard down, not really paying attention to my surroundings. I was standing at a urinal in one of the more remote restrooms, taking a leak, when I was grabbed from behind.

“I’ve been waiting to get you alone since the moment you arrived, Michaels,” came Simpson’s distinct, raspy voice. Needless to say, I was scared shitless.

Simpson reached down and fondled me aggressively, quickly bringing me to erection. “You like that, don’t you, queer boy?” he asked rhetorically, and then he forced me to my knees, opened his fly and forced me to suck him off. His spunk tasted vile and I nearly threw up when he was done.

Unfortunately, however, he wasn’t finished with me. He made me strip and then he sucked me and got angry when he couldn’t get me off. He forced me to the floor and the next thing I know, there was a searing pain in my behind. He didn’t prepare me or use any lubrication — he just forced himself on me. Each thrust was more painful than the last and, because he’d already forced me to suck him off, it took him forever.

When he left, he just left me there lying on the floor… and he took my clothes with him.

After sobbing for perhaps fifteen minutes, I finally pulled myself up off the floor, but then became terrified when I saw a pool of blood under where I lay. I used toilet paper to try to clean myself up, but there was extensive bleeding and it wouldn’t stop.

With no other choice, I went to the office to see the nurse, once again enduring the giggles of the other kids as I made my way there in the nude. The nurse was horrified when I told her Simpson had raped me, but she tried to get me to confess to having had sex with one of the other campers. Pastor Jenkins even came in while she was packing my rectum with gauze and he insisted I tell him which camper I’d seduced.

But then he made his mistake. He called my parents. When I told them what had really happened, they insisted in taking me to a nearby hospital and, once the doc in Emergency got done examining me, the police were called.

The story made the front page of the Post-Dispatch and Jenkins trial was in all the news media. Thank God I was a minor, and so my name was kept private. It was sure great seeing Pastor Jenkins get what he deserved — it almost made it worth having been raped.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

November 2004 • Chris-38

“My God, what have we done?” I asked aloud as I looked into the face of my former lover, who was sharing my bed. It hadn’t even been a week since Paul arrived at our doorstep, and already we were sleeping together, and making love.

“It’s not like either of us forced ourselves on the other,” Paul pointed out, and I had to agree.

“Yes, but I just buried my wife scarcely a month ago,” I practically cried.

“And I just broke up with my long-term boyfriend a few weeks ago myself,” Paul added. “Neither one of us intended for this to happen, but it happened nonetheless.”

“And that’s what’s so scary,” I replied. “We’re both rebounding from long-term relationships that ended suddenly, tragically, and yet it took us less than a week to fall back into bed with each other.”

“I think it’s obvious that something’s still there,” Paul said — he was stating the obvious.

“Yes, we still care for each other, and perhaps more,” I agreed, “but this is still wrong. We’re both vulnerable, and it would be so easy for us to hurt each other.”

“Would you really hurt me, Chris,” Paul asked, “Could you?”

“No, of course I wouldn’t hurt you, Paul… at least not deliberately.”

“And I’d rather drown myself in the Bay than hurt you,” Paul replied.

“But even if we don’t intend to, one or both of us could get hurt,” I countered. “It could happen so easily and unintentionally.”

“That’s something that could happen to anyone, Chris,” Paul challenged. “It’s not just because we’re recovering from terrible losses. Love always entails risks.”

“Your life is in Massachusetts, and my life is here,” I pointed out.

“My grants are portable.” Paul countered. “I can take them anywhere, and you know Stanford or UC would be delighted to have me.”

“Who wouldn’t,” I agreed, “and I wouldn’t doubt that MIT might even be interested in hiring me.

“Damn right, they would,” Paul agreed. “With your track record, any physics department would be delighted to have you, and they’d offer full professorship with tenure.”

“Somehow I doubt that,” I complained, but Paul wasn’t having any of it.

“You would be a feather in anyone’s cap, Professor Michaels,” he claimed. “With your reputation, all you’d have to do is practically sign your name to get a National Science Foundation grant, and the Department of Defense would undoubtedly continue to fund your work, wherever you are.”

“That’s probably true,” I admitted.

“So the bottom line is that one way or another, if we want to be together, we can be.”

Just then, there was a loud scream from Andy’s room, and I was up in a flash.

“Hey Tiger, are you OK?” I asked my son when I found him sitting bolt upright in bed.

“Yeah, I’m OK, Dad,” he replied as he wiped the sleep from his eyes. “I just had another nightmare. Sometimes the horror of it all just comes rushing back to me, you know?”

“Yeah, I do know, sport,” I said as I hugged him tightly. I could feel his tears running down my shoulder, and at that moment I realized that I couldn’t be with Paul. Andy came first, and I couldn’t let him down.

After a few minutes, his sobs subsided, and he pulled away and looked me in the eyes, and said, “Thanks, Dad. You’re the greatest.”

“It’s easy to be a great dad when you have such a wonderful son,” I replied with a huge smile on my face.

As I turned to leave, Andy called out, “Oh, and Dad?”

Returning to his bedside and sitting down next to him, I asked, “Yeah?”

“It’s OK with me if you want to move Paul’s stuff into your room,” he said.

“Huh?” I asked, not really getting what my son was trying to say.

“Well, if Paul’s gonna be sleeping in your room anyway, you might as well move his things in, too,” Andy explained.

I think my jaw must have dropped open, because Andy just started laughing and went on to say, “Well, the walls aren’t exactly soundproof, and these beds aren’t exactly quiet…”

Finally, it dawned on me that Andy knew what Paul and I had done, and I became extremely self-conscious, sitting in the nude on Andy’s bed as I was. I simply said, “Oh shit!”

“More like ‘Oh fuck’,” he countered, and then he giggled again.

“Don’t you know that boys aren’t supposed to talk with their fathers about their father’s sex lives?” I challenged.

“I’m not like most boys,” he replied.

“No,” I agreed, “you never have been. But this thing with Paul… it isn’t right. Not so soon after Mom died.”

“Dad, I think you need each other right now,” Andy countered. “There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be physically close to someone when you’re in pain. It’s not like you’re making a lifelong commitment or anything. Maybe it will turn into a long-term relationship, but maybe not, so why worry about it? Besides, there’s nothing like good sex to take your mind off your troubles.”

As realization dawned on me, the words ‘fifteen going on fifty’ took on a whole new meaning. “And you know about good sex how?” I asked.

Coloring up, he replied, “Oops, I guess I let the cat out of the bag. I could claim it’s from jerking off, but something tells me you wouldn’t buy it.”

“Not a chance,” I teased my son. “Not that I’m suggesting it’s OK for you to have sex at your age…”

“Didn’t you tell me you had a boyfriend when you were even younger?” Andy interrupted. “Something tells me you did more than hold hands.”

This time I was the one coloring up and, being naked, I couldn’t have hidden my reaction if I’d tried. “We didn’t need to worry about one of us getting pregnant, however, and that was before there was AIDS.”

“Don’t worry, Dad,” Andy tried to reassure me, “I always use a condom.” Somehow the idea of my son going into a drugstore and buying a box of condoms was even more frightening than the thought of him having sex at his young age — not that I hadn’t been having sex for some time when I was his age as well.

“We’ll talk more about this in the morning,” I replied.

“If it’ll make you feel better, Dad, but once someone’s sexually active… well, you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Aren’t you at least glad I’m being responsible and always using a condom? Did you use condoms when you were a kid?”

“It was a different era,” I related as I virtually hid my face. It was so embarrassing to be sporting an erection in front of my teenage son. “We were much more na├»ve back in the seventies.” Then regaining my composure and ruffling his hair, I said, “And I think you need to remember who’s the father and who’s the son, here.” Laughing, I added, “We’ll talk later… I’m not saying you can’t go out anymore… I just need to know for my peace of mind that you know what is and isn’t safe, and I think we need to get back to that conversation we never got to finish about love. I don’t want to see you get hurt.”

“Thanks, Dad… and again, if being with Paul makes you happy, then I think you should go for it.”

I turned red and my erection came back in full force, which only made Andy laugh even harder.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

November 2011 • Chris-45

Other than for an occasional scientific meeting held in the nation’s capital, I hadn’t been to Washington since I was a kid. The circumstances were vastly different today as I looked out the window of the military transport that was ferrying Jack Craegan, his boss, Reginald Canton, the overall director of the lab, and myself. From my window, I could see the Washington Monument, the White House and the U.S. Capitol. We were flying in along the Potomac. Eisenhower National Airport was on our right. Our destination, Bolling Air Force Base, was on our left. More and more of Washington’s famous landmarks came into view as we made our descent.

The ground loomed up as we made our approach and before I’d even realized it, the plane lurched as the wheels touched down on the runway. The plane taxied for a little bit, and then we were ushered down a set of stairs to a waiting helicopter, which ferried us to our ultimate destination, the White House.

The helicopter landed on the South Lawn, and from there we were led to the West Colonnade that borders the Rose Garden, and directly into the Oval Office. President Dole was waiting for us, just inside.

“Gentlemen,” she began after the introductions had been made, “I appreciate your coming here on such short notice. I know you left very early in the morning from California, and it’s a very long flight. The coffee will be here momentarily,” she laughed, helping to break the tension we all felt.

She invited us to sit down on a pair of sofas while she sat down on one of two armchairs that surrounded a coffee table. The Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor and the director of the CIA joined us.

Beginning the discussion, the President said, “I trust everyone knows why we called this meeting. In 1990, the eminent physicist, Marion Dawson, disappeared. Professor Dawson was working with Dr. Christopher Michaels on a project known as Operation Time Tunnel, a project originally intended for use in a grave emergency only, whereby critical information could be sent into the past to alter it.

“It is not clear who occupied this office at the time, for I was not the one to make the decision, but apparently the man who was originally the president in 2008 made a decision to utilize OTT to prevent the single most deadly terrorist attack on this country in its history. We all know about the attempted hijackings of 9/11, but in the original history of that day, those attacks succeeded. The twin towers in New York were destroyed, the Pentagon was mostly destroyed, and the White House was destroyed. The president, the vice-president and the entire cabinet, were all killed in the attack.”

I almost gasped when I heard this… and read it in the supplied briefing book. My report to the President had told of the heroic efforts of the passengers on Flight 93 and of how their attempt to retake the plane likely saved the White House or the Capitol. I couldn’t fathom why President Dole or someone in her administration had changed the contents of my report. I feared she might be laying the groundwork to justify a future war, much as Bush tried to do after the attempted terrorist attack. I shuddered at the thought of it, but could see no advantage to calling the President’s bluff — at least not yet.

“The speaker of the house, who ascended to the role of President, did an admirable job leading the country through a difficult time; however, the ensuing economic damage done by the attack caused the country to falter, and eventually to slip into an economic depression. This alone wouldn’t have been enough to justify rewriting history. However. there was an even graver threat to the nation, and the world.

“Dr. Michaels, could you please elaborate?”

“Certainly Madam President,” I began. “OTT involves a technology known as Time Tunnel Technology, or TTT as we call it. TTT does not enable time travel, which is not physically possible, but rather it allows the sending of information back in time. An individual, using TTT, can literally communicate with themselves up to seven years in the past. It facilitates the synchronization of thoughts between the past and the present, but only while the individual is asleep. It is thus a dream state that the individual shares with their past.

“Recognizing the danger inherent in altering the past, but the importance of knowing about the coming of a cataclysmic event in the future, we began a program of sending progress reports back seven years into the past. To prevent the danger of inadvertently changing history, those communications have been limited to one individual… myself… and they serve only to tell me that I’still alive and well. Although all of this was technically correct, what I failed to mention was that I undertook this completely on my own, making it seem as if this had been authorized by White House in the original timeline.

“I now have memories of communications from the future dating into 2012, at which point all communications stopped,” I continued, but this was a mere fabrication, intended to justify the extension of TTT into the past. There had been no communications after 2012 because I hadn’t even reached 2012 yet. As far as I new, TTT did not yet exist in the future and wouldn’t reach 2012 until I got there with it myself through the passage of time. I had used this explanation so many times that I almost believed it to be the truth.

“After reviewing the events that led up to the point of lost communication, we decided that the most likely scenario was a massive terrorist attack on the U.S. in retaliation for actions we took in response to the original 9/11 attack,” I continued. “The decision was therefore made to use TTT to modify the past and try to prevent the terrorist attacks of 9/11. As you know, we succeeded in doing so.”

“Just to clarify,” the President asked, “The use of TTT to modify the past was authorized by this office?”

“Yes, Madam President,” I answered. I just didn’t tell her that the authorization was not specifically for 9/11.

“But that did not restore the future?” she asked.

“No, Madam President,” I answered. “The loss of communications after 2012 remained the same. After again reviewing the events leading up to the loss of communication, we believed that terrorists were involved, and specifically the Iranians.  We therefore sought to establish a chain of communication all the way back to 1978, so that we could arrange for a peaceful transition of power in Iran among other things, avoiding the terrorist situation entirely.”

“And how was it that Dawson came to be involved?” the President asked.

“In order to establish a chain of communication back into the past,” I explained. “Because TTT is limited to providing a tunnel that extends at most seven years into the past, TTT equipment needs to be constructed in each time period in which it’s used. We need to teach those involved in the past how to build their own TTT equipment using components available at that time. However, we can only send information back in time during sleep using a shared dream state, so there’s no way to record the information as it’s received in the past.

“Not only weren’t there suitable computers back in the ’80s, let alone the ’70s, but some of the mathematics and most of the physics underlying TTT had not yet been developed. What we needed was someone with the background in physics that would allow them to learn about TTT quickly, and with what amounts to a photographic memory, so they could send back actual mathematical formulas, circuit diagrams and equipment designs to themselves in the past. Marion Dawson was the perfect individual for the task, and so he was recruited to our service.”

“But Dawson’s a pedophile!” the President protested.

“There were allegations,” I corrected her, “but there has never been any evidence of wrongdoing on his part. I think it’s almost inevitable that people will assume the worst when you have a single gay man, volunteering to work with teenage boys. The evidence of involvement in child pornography was evidence we manufactured to ensure his cooperation.”

“But he was gay,” she challenged.

“So am I, Madam President,” came my retort. I hadn’t planned to come out to the President and the others present, and Jack’s mouth was hanging open in surprise, but I wasn’t about to allow the President to get away with alleging Dawson was compromised just because he was gay. “Like many gay men, I’ve always lived my life in the closet and even had a wife and children. Since my wife was killed by Iranian terrorists, I have been involved with a man, but I’ve kept that relationship secret from all but my son.”

“We’re aware of your relationship with Paul Langley,” the CIA chief stated, which I guess shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

“The point I’m trying to make, Madam President,” I continued, “is that people like me… men living a secret, double life, are much more vulnerable than men like Marion Dawson. Being gay has nothing to do with it, either. How may politicians have been compromised because of their zipper problems, gay and straight?

“You’ve made your point, Dr. Michaels, and it’s a good one,” the president answered. “The question is, how did the Russians manage to get to Marion Dawson, what damage to the timeline has been done and what can we do about it?”

“We believe Dawson was compromised because the Soviets may have had his boyfriend,” the CIA chief noted.

“The Marion Dawson I knew would have never betrayed his country,” I added. “The one thing he did begrudge the government, however, was that they never pursued the matter of his missing boyfriend. His boyfriend was one of the earliest MIAs of the Vietnam War. He was an army physician and should not have disappeared as he did. For whatever reason, his case was never aggressively pursued, perhaps because the one pushing the matter was his gay lover.”

“It seems likely that the Russians have had him in the Gulag all this time,” the CIA director continued with my train of thought. “They probably offered to help Dawson recover his boyfriend in the past, either before he even disappeared, or otherwise just after. If that wasn’t enough, they probably threatened to torture and kill Dawson’s lover in the present if he didn’t cooperate.”

“So they picked up Dawson in 1990,” the President summarized, “and used his knowledge to build their own TTT machine.”

“That’s what we assume,” I agreed.

“What I don’t understand is why there wasn’t an instantaneous change in the timeline as soon as they captured Dawson,” the President asked. “They’ve had nearly twenty years now, which should have been more than adequate to effect all the changes they intended to make.”

“It’s not that simple,” Jack began. “Sometimes changes to the timeline are instantaneous, but not always. When the Russians removed Dawson from our midst, anything that he had contributed to, from that moment on, was erased from America’s history. They also started to write a new history from that time forward, but we can probably assume that Dawson’s direct contribution to Soviet history since then has been minimal.

“Where things get interesting is in how changes the Soviets make to their past show up in our present. For example, let’s say they decided not to invade Afghanistan back in 1979. Since they didn’t acquire Dawson until 1990, even if they were able to build a TTT machine right away, which wasn’t very likely, the farthest back in time they could reach would have been 1983. They would have then had to instruct their counterparts in 1983 in TTT, and it would have taken time to build a machine in that era, using components that we would have considered obsolete, even back then.

Perhaps of even greater significance, however, is that they would have had to convince the leaders in 1983 of the legitimacy of the future communication before they could even start. Keep in mind that Brezhnev had just died in late 1982 and that Yuri Andropov was in such ill health that he died after less than two years as Communist Party leader. Andropov was in no position to communicate with himself, as you have to be alive in the future to communicate with yourself in the past,” Jack quipped. “It’s doubtful that Gorbachev would have cooperated, so it would have probablly fallen to someone like Putin to establish a link to his past. But Andropov was desperately trying to consolidate his control over the Soviet empire, even as his health was failing. It’s doubtful he would have listened to crazy ideas for building a time machine from someone like Putin, let alone implemented the changes to the timeline we have already observered.

“So even if Putin were the one to make contact and even if he did manage to convince his past self that the very survival of the Soviet Union depended on changing history, he would have faced great peril in attempting to do so. If he tried to go around Andropov and establish an OTT program on his own, discovery would have meant being sent to the Gulag. Even trying to make the changes he ultimately made, but with Andropov still in power, would have been dangerous. No, assuming he was the man to make contact, Putin just bided his time waiting for Andropov to die, then used his knowledge of the future to set himself up for the eventual coup that led to his ascent to power. Only then was he in position to implement the changes we have witnessed to the timeline, and only then would he have been able to establish another link in the chain of OTT in the USSR. I doubt they could have had a functioning TTT apparatus before 1986 at the earliest, and it would have left scarce time to convince a very skeptical Brezhnev not to come to the aid of an important ally.”

“But they’ve had nearly twenty years to do all that,” the President pointed out.

“No, they haven’t,” I tried to explain. “True, Dawson’s disappearance occurred some twenty years in our past, but that doesn’t mean they’ve had twenty years to work on TTT since then. We didn’t become aware of Dawson’s disappearance until very recently. We all think we’ve known about Dawson’s disappearance for the past twenty years, but we have records of our working with Dawson in this time period up until last spring. That is why we’re just now starting to see the effects of the changes they’ve made to the time line, and we’ll continue to see changes as they continue their work, even though it’s occurring in the past.”

“You’ve lost me,” the President interrupted.

“Madam President,” the Secretary of State broke in, “What I think Dr. Michaels and Dr. Craegan are trying to say is that what’s been happening in the past, and what’s happening in the present, are occurring simultaneously.”

“Exactly,” I chimed in.

“It still doesn’t make much sense to me,” the President reiterated.

“Consider this analogy, Madam President,” Jack began. “When we look up into the nighttime sky, we are seeing things as they occurred in the past, depending on how long it took the light from distant stars to reach us. If we were to witness a supernova tonight and it involved a star twenty thousand light years away, that supernova actually occurred twenty thousand years ago, and the light from that explosion is just now reaching us. A lot may have happened in the area of that star system since then, but we are only now becoming aware of the explosion and we won’t know what else may have happened until well into the future.

“Dawson’s disappearance is a lot like that supernova. We have only recently become aware of Dawson’s disappearance in the past, and the effects of any changes made to the timeline won’t become apparent until time has had a chance to catch up to the events as they occurred in the past. Yes, from our vantage point, those changes may have already occurred in the past, but we won’t become aware of them until they’ve played themselves out. It’s not an identical situation, but it’s close enough.”

“I think I understand what you’re saying,” the president stated, and then she asked, “So we may just be beginning to see the effects of the changes the Russians are making to the timeline?”

“Unfortunately so,” I agreed.

Shaking her head, the President continued, “Let’s go over the known changes the Russians have made so far, and then we can consider the further changes they are likely to make.

“What do we know of the original version of history,” she asked.

The CIA director immediately pulled out copies of a briefing document and distributed them to all present. “This document lists all of the known events of world history as recovered from information passed back in time by Dr. Michaels to his predecessors in previous time periods and recorded in their notes. There is a summary of the most significant events on the first page.”

As the President scanned the document, she stated aloud, “So Gorbachev didn’t resign, and the Soviet crackdown of 1987 never happened. The Berlin wall fell in November, 1989 and a Soviet attempt to reassert sovereignty in Azerbaijan in early 1990 was declared an act of aggression by the Supreme Soviet. This is just amazing,” she asserted. “In February, the Communist Party voted to give up its monopoly on power and a number of Soviet republics elected anti-communist leaders in free elections. In March, the Soviets attempted to use force to prevent Lithuania from enforcing its declaration of independence, and as the other Baltic republics also voted to succeed, the use of force escalated, reaching a peak in January, 1991. In June of that year, Boris Yeltsin… who the hell is Boris Yeltsin… became the first democratically-elected president of the Russian Republic. In August, an attempted coup against Gorbachev failed, largely thanks to the defiance of Yeltsin, and in December, Yeltsin along with the leaders of Ukraine and Belarus declared the formation of the Commonwealth of Independent States to replace the Soviet Union. On Christmas Day, Gorbachev resigned as president of the USSR and the next day, the Supreme Soviet officially voted to dissolve the Soviet Union.

“This is all unbelievable,” the President stated. “It’s impossible to imagine any of these things happening. The resignation of Gorbachev and ascent of Putin overshadowed the whole era, and then the brutal crackdown and reversal of Glasnost and Perestroika sealed the fate of the Warsaw Pact. The introduction of market reforms modeled after those in China was the one bright spot, but it appears that never really happened, either. Market reforms occurred after the fall of the USSR and were fraught with blatant corruption and the heavy presence of organized crime. The Soviet crackdown prevented that, and ensured a more orderly transition to a market economy.

“What about the Chinese?” the President asked. “Can we assume that the Sino-Soviet free trade pact and the subsequent mutual defense treaty of 1992 never happened?”

“Not only that, Madam President,” I answered, “but it appears that there was a brutal crackdown by the Chinese against student dissidents in June of 1989 that was prevented by the Russians’ alteration of the timeline. The pro-democracy students, buoyed by the events happening in the Soviet Block, staged massive protests in Tiananmen Square that were crushed by the People’s Army. Thanks to the Soviets, those events didn’t happen, and the Chinese avoided the need for a nation-wide crackdown that resulted in strong anti-communist sentiment throughout the world.”

“And you don’t think this is the end of what the Soviets intend to do with their meddling in time?” the President asked her CIA chief.

“I can’t imagine that this is all they intend to do, Madam President,” he answered. “What we’ve seen is probably only the beginning. So far, they’ve acted to solidify their power base and ensure the long-term survival of the Soviet Union. They are very likely working to extend their reach back into the past even further, making changes that will make the recent ones unnecessary. They’ll likely introduce market reforms much earlier, cut their military spending, undermine American influence in the world and perhaps even ultimately undermine the Chinese economic ascent.

“You’ll find in your briefing packet a variety of scenarios that we think are likely, given that the Soviet’s long-term goal likely will remain one of world dominance.”

“It’s also likely they will attempt to undermine our development of TTT,” I added. “They already tried it once and failed, but they will no doubt try again.

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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