Conversations With Myself

A Novel by Altimexis

The Whispers of Time
 
Chris
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Book Three • Chapter 5 — Beijing by the Bay

December 2004 • Chris-38

“Dad,” I heard the voice of my son in my head, “I just want you to know that I’m all right. I can’t tell you more than that now, ’cause it could really fuck things up and cause a disaster if you try to do more than you’re already doing right now. Just know that I’m safe, and that I will get home… eventually. The people who took me have no idea what they’re up against. In the long run, it’ll be really, really good for us and bad for them.

“By the way, I’ve figured some things out that you need to know about. Don’t tell anyone else what I’m gonna tell you, ’cause what I’ve discovered can be used for tremendous good, but it can also be used for unthinkable evil. Those who have me could do irreparable harm if they were to know about it, which is why I cannot even think about it after today. They still don’t know that I know anything about TTT. If they did, they would waste no time in doing everything they could to get it out of me, so I won’t let them. As far as anyone is concerned from this point on, I’m nothing more than your son… a pawn to be used to try and get you to reveal your secrets. Don’t let them get to you. We’re stronger than they are.

“What you need to know is that TTT isn’t the only way to send information back in time. It's not only possible to communicate between any points in time, but between any points in space too. The seven-year limit only applies to the specific method you’re using. There are some alternate methods that can completely remove the seven-year limitation. Also, the technology isn’t limited to communicating only with yourself. You can communicate with anyone you want, whether they’re asleep or awake. You can even transfer memories between space and time. This is what’s gonna allow you to fix things.

“But Dad, sending memories from one person to another in another place and time is far more dangerous than anything you’ve ever done, which is why TTT can never be allowed to come to pass in the first place. It needs to be used to fix things, and then it must disappear entirely. I’m telling you this, just in case something happens to me and I never make it back home. If that happens, just pick up where you left off and take my advice to heart. You already know everything you need to know to restore space and time to what it should be.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

I sat bolt upright as I awoke in a cold sweat, at first completely disoriented. It was still dark but instead of seeing a sky full of stars, I saw only darkness, and light filtering in through a window in a strange room. It was then that I realized I was not in a sleeping bag, but in a strange bed. I felt some movement in the bed next to me and instinctively I knew it was Frank. Then I remembered and I knew further sleep would be a lost cause.

It had only been a few days since Andy was taken from me in Joshua Tree National Park. Already there was talk of abandoning the search, as it was clear Andy had been removed from the area.  Frank drove down right away on Christmas Day and made it here in record time. He was my rock and my support, but he could do little else besides comfort me. But even then, the words, “Trust me, Everything will work out in the end,” offered little solace.
Getting out of bed, taking care not to wake my lover, I threw on a hoodie, jeans and sandals, I stepped out into the brisk desert air of the motel parking lot. Even with the warm clothes I’d put on, the winter night temperature caused me to wrap my arms around my torso as I shivered involuntarily, wondering if I’d ever see Andy again.

<<<<<<<<·>>>>>>>>

December 31, 1990 • Chris-24

“Are you ready to start a new decade,” my boyfriend Wang asked as he snuck behind me and kissed me on the neck. Before I could respond, however, he added, “Yes, the 1990’s may have begun last year, but tonight we close out the ninth decade of the twentieth century and start the tenth and final decade of the final century of the second millennium. The next time we close out a decade, it will be to start a new millennium, which makes tonight kinda special, doncha think?”

“That will be sooo fuckin’ cool,” I agreed, “but not half as cool as nine years from now, when all those nines turn to zeros. Think we’ll still be together then?”

Using his finger to turn my head in his direction, he kissed me briefly but passionately on the lips, then answered, “Of course we’ll still be together. Why would you even ask?”

Shrugging my shoulders, I replied, “No reason. It’s just that no one can know for sure what the future holds and I was just engaging my mouth before my brain is all. You’re the one for me, Wang Lee. Don’t ever doubt that I believe that.”

Truthfully, I did know something about the future, and Wang Lee wasn’t in it, at least not from what Chris-31 had told me. The strange thing was that neither he nor our older counterparts had any recollection of an affair with Wang Lee. That could mean only one thing — that the direction of my future with Wang was highly uncertain. If there had been a definitive end to it, Chris-31 would remember the affair and how it ended, more than likely, vividly. That he didn’t have those memories was more than concerning.

The longer the affair lasted, the more fuzzy the future became. If the affair didn’t end, chances were that the future direction of my life would be altered and TTT might never come to exist. But without TTT, my affair with Wang probably would have never happened in the first place. It certainly hadn’t in the life I lived before I invented TTT and started altering the time line. So if I stayed with Wang Lee and never invented TTT, that would create a fundamental paradox. Perhaps the Chinese would try to get me to invent TTT in a future, revised timeline under their control, but that would be a na├»ve approach to resolving the paradox. Creating an alternate reality didn’t mean that the original one ceased to exist. More than likely, the two would continue, side-by-side, building paradox after paradox until the fabric of time itself unraveled. My counterparts from the future seemed to think that the future would be resolved by the formation of a black hole that consumed everything, leaving a unified future of nothingness.

The safest thing for me to do would be to simply break up with Wang. By ending the affair myself under my terms, I could ensure the integrity of the future. I wasn’t sure if I could do that if I tried, for the simple fact that I loved Wang. Perhaps it was selfish, but I didn’t want to give him up. More importantly, my future counterparts felt that breaking it off would be a bad idea as well. Wang’s former lover and mentor, Charles Hudson, would one day be discovered to be a Chinese spy. That he was currently a spy was a given. Through Wang, the Chinese had a means of keeping an eye on me that, ironically, gave me control over their access to TTT. By taking precautions I might not have otherwise done, I’d put TTT safely out of their reach. On the other hand, if I broke things off with Wang, then they would know that I knew they were on to me. That would make it more likely for them to use a more direct approach to forcing me to reveal my secrets.

“We are invited to a party tonight,” said my boyfriend as he smiled at me, tilting his head in rhythm with his words.

“A party?” I asked. “Why didn’t you tell me about it before?”

“Because I didn’t know about it until a few minutes ago. I got a call from Charles to tell me he was in town. Originally he’d planned to ring in the new year in Hong Kong… after all, it practically starts over there… but he found he’s gonna have to be in New York on the second to close a business deal, so he decided to spend the holiday here instead. We’re invited to a party on his houseboat in Sausalito.”

“Charles has a house boat?” I exclaimed more than asked in alarm.

“You afraid of getting seasick?” my boyfriend asked. “You needn’t be. Calling his house a boat is a bit like calling the Hearst Castle a cottage. Yes, it floats on the bay, but it’s mother-fuckin’ huge and it’s not seaworthy at all. It’s really just a mansion… a mansion that’s anchored at a slip in Sausalito. There are hundreds of similar house boats in Sausalito. Those slips are even more valuable than a plot of land.”

Even still, I was a bit skeptical. I’d been avoiding any kind of boat excursion with Wang for fear that the Chinese could use it to abduct me. Suggestions for taking fishing trips and sightseeing cruises thus were postponed — indefinitely.

“If it’s any consolation, Charles’ house boat doesn’t even have a motor or anything. It’s permanently connected to the mainland by electrical wires, telephone lines and plumbing. Not only would you have to disconnect all of that, but you’d need to attach it to a tug boat and tow it to take it out to sea, and even then, it wouldn’t go very fast at all.

“So you see, you have nothing to worry about,” Wang admonished me. “It’s too big and heavy for it to move enough for you to get seasick, and you’re never more than a hop, a skip and a jump from being on dry land.

“Trust me, Charles throws great parties. We’ll have fun!”

Much as I still had concerns, I couldn’t resist my boyfriend’s adorable, smiling face and so what was to have been a quiet night ringing in the new year would now be a raucous night of drinking and dancing among a crowd of dozens of Charles Hudson’s friends and associates.

Wang insisted we get ready and leave right away, and he was right. Traffic into and though the city would horrendous. It took hours for us to reach the Golden Gate Bridge for the short trip across to Marin County. I’d never been to Sausalito and I had to admit that the views of San Francisco from there were incredible. Sausalito was a different world entirely, however — a world of quaint shops, fancy restaurants and elegant homes and mansions. The downside of living in Sausalito was the commute. Getting into San Francisco meant driving across the Golden Gate Bridge, every day. There was no viable public transportation. The BART didn’t go there, there were no trams and buses into the city were few and far between. There was a ferry, but with only one boat making the round trip, using it meant being tied to a limited schedule, and transportation to and from the ferry terminals was a hassle.

I had to admit that Charles’ houseboat wasn’t at all what I’d expected. Walking along the pier, you almost got the feeling you were walking along a traditional suburban street as you passed house after house, mansion after mansion. Only by looking more carefully would you notice that the walkways to the houses were gang planks, as they had to be to accommodate the rise and fall of the houses with the tides. Charles Hudson’s houseboat wasn’t the largest one, but it was far from being the smallest. It was grand by any scale, rising three stories above the water line and, I surmised, at least one below.

We arrived at 8:30, which was a half-hour after the party was to have begun. That meant we were a bit on the early side for California. The door was answered by a boy who looked like he couldn”t be more than fourteen, but was more than likely seventeen or eighteen, given that Asians tend to look young in comparison to Westerners for a given age. Or as Wang likes to say, Westerners look ‘mature’ for their age. The other thing I couldn’t help but notice is that he wasn’t wearing anything. Being greeted by a naked teenage boy was enough to put anyone on edge, but I was already on edge, so the effect was doubly unsettling.

Instead of loud music and dozens of gyrating men and women filling every space, as I’d been expecting, there was soft classical music playing in the background, and what guests there were were all young teenage boys and young men. None of them appeared to be any older than Wang and I, and all of them were as naked as the boy who’d greeted us at the door.

“Wang, Chris, Come in!” Charles shouted from somewhere inside. Coming into view, I could see that he was also naked, and in surprisingly good shape for one of his age. I was surprised when he grabbed Wang in a bear hug and kissed him on the lips, and shocked when he did the same with me.

“As you can imagine,” Charles began, “most people I called already had plans, so there will only be a handful of guests tonight. Since the only guests will be men and some boys, I decided to spice things up a bit by making this a ‘clothing optional’ New Year’s Eve party. There wasn’t time to call you, as you’d already left by the time I thought of it.

“Of course, ‘clothing optional’ means that going nude is strictly up to you. If you prefer, you can remain fully dressed as you are now, or you can change into Speedos, or you can go naked like the rest of us, It’s strictly up to you.”

Without a moment’s hesitation, Wang asked, “Is there a place we can undress?”

“Of course you will stay the night,” Charles interjected. “I wouldn’t want either of you to have to worry abut how much you drink tonight, and I certainly wouldn’t want to think of the two of you being hit by a drunk driver on your way home.”

Then he called out, “Huang?” which brought a boy who looked to be twelve in every way, including the lack of pubic hair. “Could you show these gentleman their room for the night?”

“Of course,” the boy said in a high-pitched voice that hadn’t changed at all. Then turning to us, he said, “Follow me, guys,” and we headed deeper into the houseboat and started up the stairs. We climbed two flights of stairs and followed Huang to a spacious suite that contained a king-size bed, a sitting area with a sofa, a love seat and a huge 32-inch TV, built right into the wall. Huang showed us that the suite included a large, luxuriously-appointed bathroom, complete with a double Jacuzzi.

Showing us a button on either side of the bed as well as similar buttons in the bathroom and sitting area, he siad, “I’m one of Mr. Hudson’s house boys. If you need anything… anything at all, day or night, just press the button and I’ll come running.

“There’s hangers in the closet. If you’d like some assistance, I can hang up your clothes for you, or help you undress if you like.”

“I think we can handle that,” thankfully said my boyfriend.

With what could only be called a look of disappointment, Huang said, “That’ll be fine. Please come down when you’re ready. I’ll be waiting for you downstairs, ready to attend to your every need.”

As soon as the boy departed, Wang closed the door and said, “I’m sorry, Chris. I didn’t realize it would be like this. I never did tell you about Charles’ orgies, did I?”

“You brought me to an orgy?” I practically shouted.

“You shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” Wang said with a cute smile, “but not everyone is comfortable with this sort of thing. If you’d prefer, we can leave…”

“Perhaps that would be best,” I suggested.

“Keep in mind, however, what traffic was like getting here, and what it’ll be like heading home. If we stay, I can guarantee you you’ll have a good time. Charles always has incredible food and some of the best California vintages and imported beers you’ll ever taste. There’ll be food and drinking… and sex… and more food and drinking and sex. But you don’t have to be worried about being raped or anything. The sex is mostly just guys getting each other off or getting themselves off. You won’t have to do anything you don’t want to. You should feel free to leave during the sex, or you can just watch.

“Why don’t we stay, Chris? We can always come up here after eating, if you’re uncomfortable with the sex. Please?”

After weighing the risks involved with trying to drive home at such a late hour on New Year’s Eve, I responded, “OK, I’m willing to give this a try, but I have to tell you up front, I’m not interested in group sex.”

“You shouldn’t knock it until you’ve tried it,” Wang chided me once again as he swatted me gently on the behind. “C’mon, lets undress and get down there.”

“You really want to go down there in the nude?” I asked incredulously.

Turning me to face him directly and placing both of his hands on my shoulders, Wang said, “Chris, once you get past the initial nervousness, it’s really fun! The thing about being naked in a group like this is that it’s impossible to be pretentious. Everyone is equal without their clothes. After the initial shock of it, you’ll find it’s incredibly liberating. And trust me, you don’t want to be the only one down there who’se wearing clothes! Even a Speedo will leave you feeling over dressed. OK?”

Shrugging my shoulders and regretting it already, I agreed and we started undressing. Of course, my nervousness not withstanding, the thought of doing down naked into a party full of men and teenage boys was having a predictable effect on me. I was faithful to Wang and I wanted to keep it that way, but damn, this was more than a bit exciting.

Smiling and almost laughing, Wang noticed my predicament and said, “It’s gonna be pretty hard to feign disinterest in sex down there when you’re so big… down there. Wadayasay we take care of your problem before we go down, maybe take the pressure off both of us?”

Wang didn’t have to ask twice. We couldn’t take much time without it being obvious what we’d been up to, so we got into our favorite numerical position and sucked each other off, fast and furious. With the immediate need taken care of and taking care to milk out any incriminating evidence, we opened the door and headed downstairs.

The party had picked up considerably since we’d left it and there were now several men who were much closer to our own age, and even a few who were closer in age to Charles. Interestingly, I noticed that besides Charles and myself, all of the other men were Asian. Talk about feeling like a minority!

Although I didn’t pick up on it at first, I later realized that the effect of being in a room full of naked men was quite the opposite of what I’d thought it would be. In junior high and high school, being in a locker room full of horny naked teenagers had been shear torture. The fear that I’d suddenly spring a boner was always there, particularly in the shower room. Here, the effect was, if anything, desensitizing. Other than noticing that some men were better endowed than others, I didn’t really think about being naked in a room full of naked men. Surprisingly, it felt rather natural.

Of course the liquor might have had something to do with it too. Alcohol may loosen up people’s inhibitions, but it also reduces libido. Many a man has gone to a bar to pick up a sexual partner, only to pass out before they could perform. I wasn’t near passing out, but there was no doubt that I was a bit inebriated. It was a good thing I didn’t need to worry about driving home!

Although starvation was clearly not on the menu as boys kept circulating with tray after tray of finger foods, I was surprised when Charles announced that dinner was being served. I had assumed that the snacks we were all eating would be it for the night. I certainly wasn’t hungry enough for a full meal, but I guess I was going to have to make room.

Within moments, covered serving dishes were placed on a long buffet at one end of the living room. A serving line formed as boys behind the buffet heaped our plates with generous portions of prime rib, salmon, pasta, potatoes and fresh vegetables. It was an incredible feast with some of the best food I’d ever tasted, surprisingly none of it Asian. Although I’d planned to merely sample a little of everything, I ended up shamelessly eating every morsel, cleaning my plate. I even went back for a little bit more!

Whereas the appetizers had been served with beer and mixed drinks, dinner was served with an abundant supply of the finest wines California had to offer, some of them among the best in the world. By the end of the meal I noticed I was having trouble standing, and so I realized I would need to slack off on the drinking a while, at least until we all drank Champagne at midnight.

Thankfully, the serving boys did not bring dessert out right away, giving us all time to digest the main course. My stomach was disgustingly full, so I doubted I’d touch the dessert when it did appear, even if it wasn’t until next week. Dessert did make its appearance at 11:30, however, and I found myself unable to resist trying a slice of peanut butter cheesecake and bowl of Key lime mousse.

Finally, we were counting down the seconds until midnight and then we were all screaming at the top of our lungs, and then I kissed my lover long and hard. The decade of the 1980s was now history — at least until we changed it with TTT, that is. In homage to the decade just passed, Charles put on a selection of top hits from the 80s and we all started dancing and dancing, literally ’til we dropped. I didn’t know how we did it, as over-stuffed and inebriated as we were, but we danced long into the night, finally going to bed as the sun came up.

When Wang and I reached the top of the stairs, I turned to my lover as realization dawned on me as to what had happened, or rather hadn’t happened at the party. “That bit about the orgies, you were pulling my leg, weren’t you?”

Laughing, he replied, “You’re so gullible, Chris, but that’s one of the things I love about you.”

“You stinker!” I shouted at my boyfriend as I chased him into the bathroom. We were both having trouble standing, however, and we ended up taking a shower together, more so we could help keep each other from falling than to do anything sexual. After brushing our teeth, we exited the bathroom only to find Huang and another teenage boy fast asleep in the middle of our king-size bed.

“As weird as it may sound, it’s not uncommon in our culture for a host to lend their children to a guest to keep them warm in bed. There’s nothing sexual about it… it’s more a gesture of friendship and courtesy than anything else. As late as it is and with the wine and champagne they drank, they probably fell asleep while waiting for us.”

“Even as tired as I am, I don’t have the heart to kick them out,” I said.

“There’s plenty of room for all of us,” Wang commented, “so shall we?”

“Sure,” I replied as I got in bed on my regular side of the bed and Wang did the same on his. Because there were only two generous, but not huge pillows on the bed, and because the boys were already using them, Wang and I had no choice but to cuddle up with the boys in order to make use of the pillows. I was surprisingly comfortable and content, snuggling with this strange teenage boy, and it took me no time to fall asleep.

The next thing I knew, bright daylight was flooding the room and I had the worst headache of my life. Sitting up abruptly in bed, my stomach churned in protest and the entire contents of last night’s meal threatened to make a repeat appearance. On top of that, I had to pee like never before and I ran to the bathroom, letting loose my stream. Before I could even finish pissing, the pressure in my belly became to great and I was forced to bend over and vomit into the toilet, which only made my headache much worse. It was only after I’d stood back up that I realized that I was still pissing and had managed to pee on myself and all over the floor.

Wang was soon joining me in front of the toilet, and nearly went flying when his feet hit the puddle of piss I’d left there. Regaining his balance, he too vomited into the toilet as his bladder emptied all over the floor, and on me.

The boy I didn’t know, with whom I’d cuddled all night cautiously came up to us and said, “Don’t worry about the mess. We’ve cleaned up much worse. Huang went to get you guys some medicine to settle your stomachs and to help with the headache. Let’s get you showered and I’m sure you’ll both feel better.

“My name’s Angus, by the way. A lot of us who were born in Hong Kong have English names.”

I wasn’t sure how Angus managed the both of us at once, but he led us to the shower, adjusted the water temperature and washed both of us and himself without dropping us on the floor. When finished, he dried all three of us and even helped us apply deodorant and brush our teeth. Shaving ourselves would have been a disaster, so we let that go.

When we exited the bathroom, Huang was waiting for us with a glass of what looked like Alka Seltzer. “Here, drink this. It should make you feel a lot better.”

I felt myself become incredibly sleepy right away, and I lay down on the bed, not even bothering to get under the covers.

The next thing I knew, I was no longer in bed, but was in a luxurious airline seat. Startled, I sat bolt-upright and looked around at my surroundings. I was definitely in an airplane of some sort, perhaps a corporate jet from the appearance of it. There was a single seat on each side of the aisle and Wang was in the seat across from mine. We were both still naked.

Raising the window shade I found myself looking out at the red running lights on the wings of the plane. Beyond that was only darkness.

Finally, I noticed that there was another set of seats facing mine and Wang’s. It was Angus and Huang, both of them naked as well. From somewhere further toward the front of the plane, Charles Hudson came ambling down the aisle toward me. He wasn’t naked. He was wearing an elegant terry robe.

“Welcome to my corporate jet, Dr. Michaels,” he began. “I know you have a lot of questions and they will all be answered in time. In another five hours, give or take, we will be landing in Hong Kong, where you will be my guest.”

“You kidnapped us!” I practically shouted.

“No, Dr. Michaels, I kidnapped you. Everyone else here is here willingly. I knew you would never come with me of your own accord, however, so I had to use a little persuasion in the form of an additive to your hangover medication. I trust you feel much better now?”

“Except for being a captive,” I countered.

“You’re not a captive, Dr. Michaels. You will be free to leave as soon as you tell us what we need to know.”

“You’re a Chinese spy,” I stated flatly.

“I am a hero to the people of China,” he replied. “Before the end of this decade, Hong Kong will be returned to its rightful owners, the People’s Republic of China. There will be great celebrations as we are finally reunited. You do know that the British were not benign liberators, don’t you? They took Hong Kong by force and enslaved its people to the opium trade.”

“I do know,” I answered, “but that was nearly a hundred years ago. That was a different time! Since the end of World War II, the U.K. has extending the same rights to the citizens of Hong Kong that it gives it’s own citizens.”

“Except the right to vote, Dr. Michaels,” Charles countered. “Hong Kong has been ruled by a governor appointed by the king by an act of the British Parliament. Only now is there change, now that Hong Kong is about to rejoin it’s own people.”

“How do you plan to get me into Hong Kong without my passport?” I asked.

“Actually, your boyfriend brought us your passport, but that is irrelevant. We have a new passport for you. You are now Dr. Michael Christopher, a Canadian Citizen and a professor at the University of Calgary.”

“You know I’ll never give you time tunnel technology,” I stated flatly.

“I have faith that you will, Dr. Christopher,” Charles responded. “We can be very persuasive if we have to be, and we are prepared to be patient. Very, very patient. Cooperate and you will soon regain your freedom. Resist us and you will be with us until your dying day.”

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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