"Captain Branch, they've breached the shields. I don't know how much longer we can last."
"God damn it, Michaels! We got to hold on for another few minuets. We have to get within transmitting distance. If we don't, all hope for humanity is lost."
The USE battle cruiser Clementon barreled its way out of the enemy held territory towards the Allied Zone. The crew of the Clementon knew that they weren't going to make it, but if they could just last long enough to transmit what they knew, then the world as they knew it would have a fighting chance.
"Sir, we've lost contact with decks four through seven, the engines are dying, and life support systems are failing. A couple more of these direct hits and we're done for."
"Switch all remaining power to the engines including remaining life support."
"But sir, that'll kill us."
"You know as well as I do that we're not going to make it anyway. At least this way our deaths won't be in vain."
"Right sir. Switching all available power to the engines."
The lights in the cabin suddenly went dark and it got very cold. The crew braced themselves for one last burst of speed to get to the transmit point.
"Almost there. NOW, TRANSMI-!" And then the Clementon was silenced forever.
Three days later:
A young messenger walked into General Edmond Grant's office carrying a small disc. "General, sir. We have just received a transmission from the Clementon."
"Well what are you waiting for? Put it on screen."
The messenger did as he was told and inserted the disc into the computer terminal. As soon as he did, the image of the late Captain Branch appeared on screen.
He said, "General Grant sir, if you are watching this, it means that myself along with my crew did not survive the information gathering mission to enemy territory. That being the case, I ask that you please tell my wife and kids that I love them very much. Thank you." He paused a moment to regain his composure, "Personal matters aside, we have been successful in discovering what we sent to find out. A full report has been encoded within this transmission for your review. The password is my first son's birthday, you should know what that is. I dearly hope that you will be able to use this information to its full potential. It was an honor serving you sir. Branch out."
The screen went blank for a few moments then another appeared requesting a password. General Grant wiped a tear from his eye then typed in 08-25-2230. Information poured across the screen. Most was just useless gibberish to confuse anyone who didn't know what they were looking for. But General Grant knew exactly what he was looking for. Then he found it, he found what 127 men had given they're lives to discover. At first he didn't think that he had read it right, but after going over it three more times he realized that it wasn't a mistake. He then knew that he was faced with a decision of colossal proportions.
Later that day:
General Grant strode into the President's office with a file under his arm. He didn't have an appointment, but his status said that he didn't need one. He rapped on the door once then let himself in. Inside, President Gene Kelly was going over some documents with a few of his aides. One look that the General and the President quickly dismissed the aides.
"What news do you bring me, Ed?"
"Mr. President, earlier today we received the last transmission from the Clementon. They found it, sir."
"Are you serious? They found it? They actually found it? Oh thank God almighty. This means we've got a chance. We've actually got a fighting chance against those bastards. So go on, tell me what you know."
"Very well sir, but you might not like it." General Grant told the President everything he had learned from the transmission.
When he was through, the President had to sit down. "Please tell me that is some kind of sick joke."
"I'm afraid it isn't, sir."
"Are you sure that you read everything right?"
"Myself, along with many of my staff have all reviewed the information and we have all come to the same conclusion, that the information is one hundred percent accurate."
"And there is nobody else that can do this. It has to be him?"
"Yes, sir. There is nobody else, now or ever, that has the special brain wave pattern that can withstand the enemies Chaos Ray."
"Do you realize the repercussions if something were to happen to him?"
"Yes, sir, I do. Life as we know it would change. Everything would be different. But that is a risk we have got to take in order to ensure our survival."
"You're right about that. How are we going to get him? The Dalroch have the only working time machine in the galaxy and they don't just let anybody use it."
"I have already spoken to the Dalrochian ambassador. He says that this is a war between the Traks and us, and that they shouldn't get involved. However, he also realizes that if we are defeated, it won't be long before war reaches their planets. So they are letting us use it just this once."
"Ok, great. Then I want you and a small team to go to the Dalrochian home world, use they're time machine, and go back and get him. And get him when he's younger and in his physical prime."
"Very well, sir. I shall leave immediately. Good day." And with that General Grant left the room.
A few hours later, Grant and a team of five people were flying towards Dalroch 1. He had hand picked the team himself. They were all young, but he had worked with them or their parents before and he knew they were good kids. He looked at each one of them, the first was a Black man named Jerry Jones, but everybody just called him JJ. Another was a White man with a large scar on his face named Marty Smith. There were two women, one White, the other Asian. The White girl was named Mary Johnson and the Asian girl was named Lucy Lin. The last was a kid named John Branch Jr. His father was the late Captain Branch of the Clementon. Grant didn't know why he had asked the boy to come along. What surprised him more was that he had agreed to take the mission. He guessed it had something to do with honoring his father by finishing what he had started, but he couldn't be sure.
They arrived at the planet and made their way to the capital city where the time machine was kept under the highest of security. They were met at the vault by the Dalrochian Emperor. After brief pleasantries, General Grant said through a translator, "I am glad that you have agreed to let us use your time machine."
"Know this, Mr. General Grant,' the Emperor said, 'the only reason I am allowing you to use the machine is that I believe that it is in the best interest of my people. I believe that if the Human race should fall, then we shall be next on the chopping block, to use one of your turns of phrase. And know this as well, you are to go back, retrieve your man, and return here post haste. You are not to do anything else in the past that can lead to dire repercussions in this time. You will have thirty-six of your hours to get the target and get back to this time. If you go over the allotted time, we will have no choice but to leave you in the past. And that is all I shall say on the subject."
"I thank you for your generosity and assure you that we shall be back in the time given."
The Emperor just nodded and typed in a code into a wall panel. The doors of the vault opened to reveal the time machine. The team stepped through and approached the machine.
"The coordinates have been set for the place and year that you have requested.' Said some kind of technician, 'Remember, if you are not back to the pick up point in thirty-six hours, you shan't be coming back."
"I'll keep that in mind," Grant said. The team stepped into the machine. Inside was a change of cloths for everybody to fit the time period. They quickly changed and gave the signal that they were ready. With bright flash of light and nothing else, the team suddenly found themselves in a densely forested area.
Grant had never traveled time before and wasn't sure how it would feel. He was surprised as how normal he felt. His stomach was a little tight, but other than that he felt fine. He looked around for a moment then asked, "So which way is he?"
Lucy looked at a small device then said, "He's about a hundred yards north of our current position."
"Great, then let's get a move on. We'll get him and get back here in no time."
They made their way through the woods until they came to a clearing. In the middle of the clearing stood a log cabin. Out front was a young man chopping wood.
General Grant slowly approached the young man who had looked up to see the strangers. He said, "Excuse me, young man. We're looking for somebody. Can you tell me what your name is please?"
"Why my name's Abraham Lincoln. But people just call me Abe."
Grant looked back at the rest of the team and said, "We found him."