A Soldier of Time- The Alamo
STANDARD DISCLAIMER: THIS THREAD IS RATED R FOR SOME VIOLENCE, A BIT OF FOUL LANGUAGE, and SEXUAL INNUENDO. None of it is gratuitous, it's all appropriate for context, but, you have been warned. Also, this is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to people living or dead, or historical situations, is purely a coincidence.
Pursuant to the Berne Convention and any or other applicable laws, all characters or situations original to this story are copyrighted to this author.
Ok, this is a sort of Writer's Challenge Story – based on this challenge posted by Jim Smitty, over at Counter-factual dot net
counter-factual net/ upload/ showthread. php?p=189094 # post189094 ?p=189094#post189094
(you know how that works – if your browser has eaten the web address, take all the spaces out of the line that sort-of looks like a web address.)
So - synopsis – Gidney and Cloyd, the Alien Space Bats, have decided to make things interesting by testing the "One Important Man" theory of History. To that end, they will take one human warrior of our world, and let him roam the timelines, to change the time line as he sees fit…and then, see how much of a difference his changes make.
Buffalo, NY July 4, 2012
Forest Lawn Cemetery
The crack of the rifles burst the morning air as the American Legion Rifle Squad held their ceremony.
Lieutenant Colonel Brent Williams held his salute through the volleys, through the sounding of "Taps" and dropped it at the command of "ORDER, Arms!"
As the group broke up, he talked to his friends and comrades – every year, fewer and fewer that he remembered. Some because they had moved away – others – others were under the stones in this cemetery – or in other cemeteries.
He paused to stop at a few stones, to chat with old friends…some who had been here for decades – a few that had arrived here recently.
There were other veterans, he saw, doing much the same thing, walking through the stones and talking – talking with those no longer on this plane of existence.
It was a fine evening, down by Lake Erie, and the fireworks display had been excellent. The crowd was breaking up and heading to their cars, but he stayed on the rocks by the pier… "Hey, soldier," said a man headed to his car, "need a ride to somewhere?...Sir?" he corrected himself as he came closer and saw Brent's rank.
Brent chuckled. "No, son. I'm just enjoying the fireworks, enjoying the evening." He jerked his thumb over his shoulder at the cars in the parking lot and the stream of cars moving slowly, glacially, out onto the highway.
"Spent too many years in the Army, standing in line, to want to sit in line some more." He chuckled. "Think I'll just sit here and enjoy this evening, the cool night breeze, and when the traffic's clear, roll on home."
The man chuckled. "I suppose you have Colonel." He looked at the ribbons and badges on Brent's Class A uniform. "Damn, Sir, excuse my French…" his hand snapped into an automatic salute "I'm sure you have, SIR."
Brent chuckled and returned the salute, "You ain't in Uniform, son, and I'm just an old retired soldier. But thanks for the consideration."
"Honey?..." came from the path to parking lot, where a woman stood with a stroller and two children standing next to her.
Brent smiled. "You got things to do, son, get to it." He said, waving to the family group.
"Yes, Sir." Said the man, as he headed back to his family.
"I'm in no hurry." Murmured Brent.
In his chest pocket, was the letter from his radiologist - "inoperable metastasis" and "three to six months" – were the phrases that jumped out at him.
He chuckled wryly. With the life he had led, who would have expected him to die of - cancer? – at the age of 68? – it boggled the mind.
But…he had sat through the process…he had seen two many friends and acquaintances go down with the Crab eating them alive. Not for nothing had the Ancient Romans named this disease, "Cancer" – the "Crab" – for intestinal cancer felt as though a live crab were trapped in your belly and trying to eat its way out.
Morphine and Brompton's Cocktail could dull the pain – but it was an ugly, inevitable death.
He had seen the No-nosed one so many times, had smiled at him, walked away, so many times…but there would be no walking away, not this time.
No, but it would be on HIS terms. His choice. Not screaming in pain, his mind gone, eaten away by the drugs, and the pain, and the treacherous cancer cells themselves creating tumors everywhere.
No…he had eaten nothing today, drank nothing, taken a laxative and a diuretic to purge his system, to leave as little mess as possible. He referred not to have others clean up his mess. In the small bag with him, he had a bottle of Vicodin, and a bottle of Jack Daniels. He quickly swallowed the pills, and down the liquor.
He sat quietly in the darkness, watching the stars. As they began to get dim, he lay back on the grass, looking northward…he looked to his favorite constellation, the Big Dipper, or as it had once been called, "the Drinking Gourd"
He sang softly to himself… "Follow, the drinking gourd, follow the drinking gourd…for the old man's a-comin', you can follow him to Freedom, follow the drinking Gourd."
Orion – the "old man" - stood tall in the sky, club held high, Sirius at his heels, and the Pointer stars of the dipper pointed at Polaris – the North Star…the star of Freedom.
His sight dimmed, and his eyes closed.
In the early morning dimness, a crew of workers picked up the litter along Woodlawn Beach, to prepare it for another day of picnickers and swimmers. Ben Ryan looked up as he heard an inarticulate shout – more of a scream.
He ran over to where two of the summer hires – high school kids – were staring at something on the ground – one – a blonde girl – was holding her hands over her mouth and screaming incoherently. The other boy dropped to his knees and was frantically doing – something? – and then Ben was close enough to see the body.
It was an old man – Ben estimated late sixties – in an Army uniform – Lieutenant Colonel's Leaves, Ben noted absently, and a Medal of Honor at his throat, CIB, Jump wings, and Special Forces on his Corps Badge, with a bunch of ribbons…
From the waxy pallor, Ben guessed he was several hours dead. He touched the skin – cold – and rigor had already set in.
The boy – Jimmy – was trying to take off the man's tie and open his shirt, presumably to start CPR. He touched his shoulder.
"Don't Jimmy," he advised. "He's gone. If you start now, we have to continue, by law, until a doctor declares him dead – and he's way past saving, Jimmy."
"But – " complained the boy.
"Trust me, boy." Said Ben. "I've seen enough of these." He pulled out his cellphone and dialed 911.
"Time" has a different meaning to a four-dimensional being, as does "boredom" but, in terms of concepts that humans would understand, well, Cloyd and Gilmore, the Alien Space Bats, were bored.
"Cloyd" said Gilmore. "I have an idea."
"What now?" said Cloyd in a languid tone. "I do hope it is better than your last idea."
"Oh, quite right, old chap," said Gilmore, "I think you will find this one simply smashing."
"Cloyd, old boy," drawled Gilmore, "I do get worried when you get that perky tone in your voice…that does tend to get us BOTH in trouble, you do realize that."
"Oh, no," simpered Cloyd, "This will be so much fun." He said, "Just watch."
Brent opened his eyes to – whiteness?
He groaned. "Damnation." Somebody must have found him and got him to an emergency room, pumped his stomach…Christ…now they would put him on suicide watch…he migh never get another chance before he was unable to kill himself…and the cancer would kill him by inches…
"Oh no." said a perky voice with a slightly British accent. "Not damnation, not at all."
"What?" said Brent. He tried to turn his head and realized he didn't hurt.
He sat up – and he did not hurt.
He did not HURT.
He did not hurt anywhere.
The simple miracle of THAT occupied his mind for a few seconds, before he could process where he was.
He was sitting on a slab of white marble, in a white room, with two – creatures – not humans, definitely, with grey-green skin and oversized heads and eyes – looking at him.
He looked down at himself – he was in a white gown.
"Whoa." He said. "This is a bit much to process here." He looked at the creatures. "So…what happened?- I didn't die? You beamed me up to your mother ship?"
One creature looked at another and – giggled. They both put their hand over their mouths and giggled.
Brent looked at both if them. "Uh, look guys, not that I'm not appreciative, and this is pretty cool – but – hey – what did I say that was so funny?"
"Oh, nothing." Said the one on the left. He stuck out a hand…Brent took it, noticing it had six fingers as well as a thumb. "We've seen some of your – what do you call it – "UFO abduction stories" – many are considered high comedy back home." He smiled at Brent. "I'm Cloyd"
The other one stuck out his hand. "I'm Gilmore."
"Pleased to meet you" said Brent. "I'm Brent Williams, US Army retired – "
"Oh yes, Colonel Williams," said Cloyd, "we've studied your history quite extensively before you died."
"So…" said Brent "uh…I actually DID die?" he scratched his head. "How long ago?"
Gilmore looked at him. "I forget sometimes about you creatures of three-dimensional worlds, and linear time. It must be so wearing to be shackled by such concepts."
"Huh?" said Brent. "I think you were speaking English, but I did not understand a word you said, sir."
"I'm not sure that your language has the words for the concepts we are trying to express, my dear fellow," said Gilmore.
"So…let me get this straight…you will equip me in any fashion I ask, but it has to be in any equipment from any human period of my world, available up until the time I died?" said Brent.
"Yes," said Cloyd, "but it is only what you can carry, and it stops working when it is no longer in contact with your live body."
"You can take medicines and such, but they only work on you." Said Gilmore.
"And I get a magic rifle, eh?" said Brent.
"Yes," said Cloyd, "as well as a Magic pistol" – neither one will run out of ammunition, or break - so long as you are the one carrying it."
"They will not fire, however" said Gilmore, "if picked up by anyone else."
"Fair enough" said Brent – "what about multiple types of ammo?"
"Eh?" queried Cloyd.
"Well," said Brent, "I'm thinking of an M-60E4…nice heavy round, but there are times when I might want to load different types of ammo in it."
"Eh." Said Gilmore, tapping his cheek. "I see. You may take different belts of ammunition – but what ever you load in is what you will have until you load a different belt. Lose the belt somewhere – and you have lost it until you return here at the end of the mission."
"OK," said Brent. "And what is my time limit?"
"As long as you want." Said Cloyd. "You could, if you want, spend a lifetime in each mission – it matters little to us – but at the end of each trip, you will return, whenever you pull the back off you wristwatch and press the button inside…and we will look at the timeline at the 100 and 200 year marks, and see what your changes have wrought, as compared to your own timeline."
"If of course," said Gilmore, "you sustain wounds severe enough to die, your mission will be terminated, and you and your equipment will be returned here – and WE will chose your next mission."
"So…" said Brent – "I live to complete my mission, I get to choose my next mission?"
"Yes." Said Gilmore.
"Will I age in the mission?"
"Of course." Said Gilmore, "We have given your body the health of a twenty year old, and accelerated healing powers, as well as increased speed and stamina…think of it as something akin to the "Super-soldier Serum" of – uh – " he snapped his fingers – "what is that tale from your world – oh, "Captain America" – yes, that is close to what you are now."
"You are by no means invulnerable, Colonel," said Cloyd, "but you will have many advantages."
"And –" said Cloyd – "No books or references." He chuckled. "The information in your own brain is fine – we did do some work to clean THAT up – so you can access any memory of knowledge you have ever been exposed to – but no books."
"Fair enough." Said Brent. "The fact that I have a Universal Translator, and can talk to any human I run into – that is pretty damn good."
"So, Colonel." Said Cloyd, leaning forwarding his chair and resting his chin in his hands. "Where do you want to go first?"
"Let me try something easy, something I've wanted to try – let's go to the Battle of the Alamo."
Gilmore looked at Brent's coffee au lait skin and smiled. "Hmm…Colonel, I realize you were an American – but I wonder if you realize the historical factors that lead to the Texan War of Independence?"
"I've studied it a bit, yes." Said Brent.
"I have to ask." Said Gilmore "Which side will you plan to assist?"
Comments, questions, should I keep going? – or cease and desist?