Prose

Saving Time- Chapter 1


by: Daniel I. Saum

746 million miles from Earth, Orbiting Saturn…

His boots clicked on the metal floor plating. He slowly walked down the hall, glancing over at the small port like windows on the wall to his right. Slowing down, he came to a larger window and he stopped. Standing in front of it, he stared out into the wonders around him. Then he heard a whisk of air moving behind him, so he turned around.

When he did, he saw a group of light beams flashing from projectors in the ceiling and floor. After a few minutes, a figure appeared in the form of a human woman. She had a light tan, dark hair that fell to her shoulders, and was wearing a military uniform. She looked at him, and he felt like her cold stare was burning right through him and into his soul.

“Captain,” The projected woman said.

“Yes?” the man replied to the computer generated hologram.

“New recruits are now on board and being shown to their rooms.”

“How many came this time?”

“Six, bringing total crew compliment to forty-eight.” the hologram reported.

“Understood,” the Captain said and he continued walking down the hall. “Have them gather in the galley for an introductory meeting.” He told the hologram, which nodded in turn and then whisked away in a flash of light.

“Captain on deck!” a Crewman yelled as he walked into the galley, where all the new recruits were waiting for him.

“At ease,” he replied. Waving his hand for everyone to sit down.

Walking into the middle of the room, he found a familiar podium. This was the fourth time he was introducing new recruits to his Station. He was getting kind of tired of it, but the Director insisted that he needed more men. Even though the entire station was completely automated and only needed a crew of five or so to operate.

“Welcome everyone to the AS-01, Artificial Satellite 01, also referred to as P.I.S.S. by the local boys.” To that, some of the experienced crew started snickering. “Some of you may know that six months ago Earth was attacked by Hades, his Dark Army, aliens, and even the Devil himself.” The crew started nodding in agreement with his words.

“What you may not have known,” The captain continued. “Is that when the battle was over, the Director and teams of UEF agents found enemy survivors. Instead of killing them, the Director ordered the redesign of this Deep Space Station to house them. Originally, this Station was built for perimeter scanning and first defense. However, now we have to serve as both perimeter defense and prison. Worry not though, for they built this station with the inmates in mind. This is fully automated, with state of the art weapons and defense systems. You will each be given your assignments, and I expect you to complete them with the efficiency and skill that the UEF has come to demand. Any questions?”

“Yes,” A young lieutenant asked. “Are you saying that we signed up with the world’s most top secret organization and you guys want us to play prison guards in space?”

“You may have asked to be a part of the Earth Fleet, but you didn’t choose this. Instead, Earth Fleet chose each of us and can reprimand any of our commissions at any time. Remember that, all of you.” The Captain replied, looking around the room to the new recruits and then giving the young lieutenant a glare.

“Now all of you will receive individual assignments from Major Jones on B-Deck. Dismissed!” A veteran lieutenant said, and all the recruits stood up and moved towards the doors.

“Lieutenant!” The Captain called, and both the veteran lieutenant and new recruit turned to face him. “Greenie.” He said, and the veteran lieutenant nodded as he left the room with the recruits.

“Walk with me,” The captain said when the two were alone. Once they were in the hall, he continued. “What’s your name recruit?”

“Lt. Cordon, James Cordon sir.”

“Any relation to Lt. Commodore Jon Cordon?”

“He’s my father sir.”

“Of course he is.” The captain said, shaking his head and giving out a sigh.

“He said this would be the best posting for me.”

“Why’s that?” The captain asked, looking up.

“He said…well…he said that you were the best officer to train under. That you’d teach more about command than I could ever learn in a classroom.” Cordon said, avoiding his superior’s eye contact.

They continued walking down the metal hall in silence, only the sound of their boots clicking could be heard. The captain began to have a smile come over his face, he couldn’t contain the enjoyment of hearing that he was being praised by a superior and unlikely friend. Then, the station rocked back and forth a little bit making both men lose their footing.

“What was that?” Cordon asked.

“I’m not sure.” The captain replied.

Then there was a whisk of wind behind the two men, and they each turned to see what it was. Coming down the hall was flickering lights, as the computer tried to create the holographic female running down the hall towards the two men. However, the result was like a disco ball coming at them, with streams of light flickering all throughout the hall. When the hologram finally made it to the men, it was able to fully form into the dark haired woman from before.

“Sir?”, Cordon asked.

“It’s a first generation hologram Cordon.” The captain explained. “She was programmed to be human-like, but obviously there’s a few bugs to be worked out.”

“Captain,” The hologram said.

“Yes computer?”

“A ship just popped up on long range scans. It’s headed this way. Lt. Colonel Stevens has used the thrusters to maneuver the Station into a better position to detect them sir.” The hologram told him.

“Thank you,” The Captain replied, and he turned around and continued walking down the hall.

“You better go find out where you’re supposed to be Lieutenant. Dismissed.” He told Cordon and the young man stepped into an elevator to go to B-Deck, while the Captain kept moving towards the Bridge.

He stepped through the bulkhead door to find a small room. Once inside, he looked around. The room was about fifteen feet wide, and about twenty feet long. There were controls, computers, and interfaces all around. Seven people were sitting around the room, all diligently working at their individual stations.

“Captain on deck!” Lt. Colonel Stevens said, as he stood up from his chair.

“At ease,” The Captain said, motioning everyone in the room to sit with his hands. “What have we got?”

“Hard to say,” Stevens replied. “They’re ship is still on the edge of our long range scans.”

“Keep me posted,” The Captain said as he walked through the room and to a door on the other side.

As he approached the doors they silently slid open to greet him. Passing through the now open walkway, the Captain found his room exactly as he left it a several hours before. He walked across the room and sat down on the edge of his bed. He lifted up his right leg, placing his foot on his left thigh. Then, he proceeded to unzip a zipper on the side of his boot.

After he had gently slid the boot off, the Captain started rubbing his foot and let out a satisfied sigh as he did. Then he did the same thing with his left foot. Once he was satisfied, the Captain stood up and walked over to his desk. Sitting down, he pressed a button on the side of a screen on his desk. A logo with Earth in the middle of it showed up on the screen, and started rotating.

Sitting down at his desk, the Captain pressed another button on the screen. Then a small set of lasers on the bottom of the screen, invisible unless someone knows where to look, activated and made a pattern on the desk in front of the screen. The result was a diagram that was shaped like a computer keyboard. The Captain started moving his fingers to where the nonexistent keys were located. When he did, the logo with Earth stopped rotating and a place to put a username and password appeared underneath of it.

“Son of a Bitch,” the Captain whispered to himself when two words showed up on the screen above the Earth logo.

“Access Denied, You have 2 more tries before Security is alerted.” 

The Captain slowly typed his username and password into the computer. He silently applauded himself when he typed it in correctly the second time. The screen opened to his desktop, showing a verity of symbols on the screen. He tapped on of the symbols with his index finger and an application opened up on his screen. As soon as it did, the screen was filled with tabs on the right and left sides and a white blank space in the middle. He moved his fingers silently over the screen reading the titles on the tabs as he did. Each of the tabs had a date as its title, and he was looking for the latest one. Finding it, he tapped it with his finger and it brought up the Captain’s typed out log for the day.

He started typing in the log where he had left off on the day before. He wanted to get back up to par with his daily log for the Director and other officials at Fleet Command. His fingers started to move more gracefully with the laser keyboard as he used it. He was typing about the new scan they had taken, the one with an alien ship heading toward them. He also attached the scan log for his superiors to go over. Then, there was a chirp from his desk. Leaning over, he pressed a button on the right edge of his desk.

“Yes?” He asked to seemingly no one.

“The alien ship is coming into range sir, I suggest you come out here.” Stevens’ voice said from a speaker imbedded in the Captain’s desk.

“On my way,” the Captain said as he stood up from his chair, pressed a button on the screen, and headed for the door.

Moving through the doorway, the Captain walked over to the middle of the bridge. In the middle of the room, right in front of the main view screen, the Captain stood behind a small metal podium. At the top of the podium there was a control panel, one that let the Captain control the entire station at his fingertips. His Second of Command, Lt. Colonel Stevens, had the same type of panel on his, Stevens’, chair.

“Status,” the Captain asked as he pulled up the stations systems on his command panel.

“The alien ship in coming in slow, at the speed of light sir.” Stevens reported, looking up at the Captain.

“Do we know who it is?”

“Scans show its design to be unlike the alien ship that attacked Earth six months ago.” A Major reported from a nearby science station.

“Understood, Colonel.” The Captain said.

“Yes sir?” Stevens replied, looking over to the Captain

“Take us to Action Stations.” The Captain said flatly.

“Yes sir,” Stevens said as he tapped a button on the armrest of his chair. “All Hands, Action Stations. Prepare for battle. I repeat, all hands Action Stations. Prepare for battle.” When he finished speaking, an alarm started to sound around the Station.

The Captain started pressing buttons on his panel and holographic screens appeared in front of him as he did. One screen showed him the scans that the stations Sensing Detectors were taking bi-minutely. Another larger screen showed him the vitals of the station. He could see power output, weapons and shielding systems, and other things like that. Looking up from the screens, the Captain peered around the room. To his right and about five feet away, he saw a young lady sitting at a control computer.

“Send a message to Fleet Command.” The Captain told her.

“I can’t sir.” She replied.

“Why not?”

“The alien ship started transmitting some sort of signal as you come onto the bridge, it’s preventing us from using any of our communication frequencies.” The young lady replied.

“Of course it is,” the Captain said.

“Sir?” Stevens asked.

“Nothing Colonel, just thinking out loud.”

“Understood. What would you like us to do?”

“There’s nothing that we can do, nothing besides wait.” The Captain said.

The entire room was still, every eye was on the view screen which was displaying the latest scan. The Captain sat in his Command Chair, his knuckles were white from his squeezing the armrests. Stevens looked from the main view screen to the Captain, trying to get a feel for what his superior was thinking.

“The alien ship is within view of the external cameras.” The officer at the science station reported.

“Put it up.” The Captain said, standing up and walking towards his metal podium.

An image of the alien ship appeared on the main view screen a few seconds later. Nobody knew what was going to happen, and that made the room all the more tense. Then the door opened, and a man stepped into the room. However, this man looked different than the others. He was wearing the same black uniform, but he didn’t have the same composure that the rest of the crew had. He was different, almost out of place with the scene.

“Captain,” The mysterious man said, as he walked towards the Captain.

“Yes?” The Captain answered as he turned towards the door. “Who the hell are you?” He added, when the Captain saw that the new man in the bridge wasn’t a part of his crew.

“Who I am doesn’t matter,” The man said. “I need to talk to you.”

“I don’t think so,” Stevens said, standing up to intercept the man.

When he did, the man in the suit put his hand in his pocket. Pulling it out, he held a small device that was no larger than a small smartphone. Then, the man pressed a button and a stream of particles exploded out of the device and into Stevens’ chest. The force knocked Stevens to the deck, and landing on his stomach as his check smacked into the cold floor plating. Attempting to stand up, Stevens got his hands under his chest and tried to push off the floor. However, before he could, the man in the fedora fired his weapon again and Stevens was left unconscious and drooling into the cold, metal floor.

“What have you done to him?” The Captain shouted, moving to his Second’s aid.

“He’ll be fine, he’s simply sedated. Now, I would really like to speak to you Captain.”

“Then speak damn it!” The Captain said, as he tried to verify that Stevens was okay.

“Alone,” The man simply said, and he motioned the weapon in his hand towards the Captain’s room.

The Captain looked up at the mystery man, and slowly stood up from beside his second in command. Glancing at the view screen to his left, the Captain noticed that the alien ship was still moving towards the station. Then, his eyes shifted back to his station’s current threat. Locking eyes, the two men had a battle of wills until the Captain decided that it was in his best interest to do what the man wanted. Especially since he didn’t know what other tricks he had in his pockets.

Turning to face the doorway to his room, the Captain slowly moved towards it. When he got halfway there, he flipped around on his heels and looked around the room. Then, he looked at a young man nearly half the Captain’s age and spoke. “You have the bridge,” was all the Captain told him and then he walked to his room. Just like they did before, the doors automatically opened when they sensed his presence. They stayed open until both men were comfortably inside the room. Then, the doors silently slide closed and the men were cut off from the rest of the station. The Captain was cut off from his crew, and any help.

“Well, what do you want?” The Captain asked.

“You need to leave,” man said, as he walked over to the only window in the room.

“I’m sorry?” The Captain questioned, as he sat down on the edge of his mattress.

“You need to leave this station, and sooner rather than later.”

“Why?”

“That’s classified, just trust me and do it.”

“So, you pop up out of nowhere. Waltz right onto my bridge, which I’m going to have a lengthy conversation with my Chief of Security about, and tell me that I have to leave? My own STATION?!” The Captain replied, getting angry as he spoke. “Not to mention I don’t even know your name, where you’re from, or what you do that makes you think that you have the right to push me around.”

“What’s about to happen here will ripple out and affect the course of humanity. I am just trying to help you decide.”

“You’re not making any sense.” The Captain replied, and as he finished the room jerked around.

“It’s starting,” the man said, as he looked at a wristwatch on his left arm. “Right on time too. You have to decide Captain.”

“Decide what?!” The Captain asked, regaining his balance.

Looking up, the Captain saw the man fade away. His, the mysterious man’s, body turned into a light glowing blue color. Then, the man was gone just as mysteriously as he had arrived. With another swaying of the station, the Captain stood up and moved to the doorway. As he started through, the station swayed about again and the Captain had to grab ahold of the doorway to steady himself.

“What’s going on?” The Captain asked his crew.

“The alien ship was coming right at us, I ordered the Station be moved out of the way,” Stevens replied, as he shook off the sedation.

“Status?”  The Captain asked, looking around the room for answers.

“All of our systems are online, and in the green.” Stevens said to his commander.

“Good, can we get some scans of that ship?” the Captain asked.

“Negative, the alloy that it’s comprised of won’t allow our scans to penetrate.” The Science Officer replied, turning around in his chair to face the Captain.

“Captain!” The young Communication Officer shouted, standing from her chair.

“What?!” The Captain replied, alarmed at her sudden outburst.

“The alien ship is sending something,” She replied, still staring down at her equipment.

“What is it? A communication?” The Captain asked, stepping closer to the young lady.

“I don’t know…” She said, her answer trailing off as the lights began to flicker.

The Bridge crew all began to look at the ceiling as the lights continued flickering on and off. It lasted only another moment, and then everything was dark. The only light was from the computers, since they had an internal backup battery in case of power failure. The Captain walked around the Bridge, looking at his crew. Then, there was a flash of light from behind him. The Captain turned around to find a woman was forming in the light ball near the main view screen. It was the same woman that had approached him twice already, the computer’s hologram.

“Hello,” the Hologram said when it had fully formed in front of the Bridge crew.

“What is the meaning of this computer?” The Captain asked the AI.

“Computer? Ah, yes. You believe this to be a manifestation from your computer core. However, that is not the case. We scanned your station, and found this program in your system. We simply upgraded it, and are using it to better interact with you.” The woman said, almost flawlessly.

“If you’re not my computer, then who the hell are you?” The Captain asked, stepping towards the Hologram.

“Captain.” Stevens warned, but the Captain waved him back with his hand.

“My name is Na’vi.” The Hologram stated.

“Are you in charge of the ship coming at us?” The Captain inquired.

“For the moment, yes.”

“For the moment?”

“Until my crew is revived, I am in control of all ship operations.” The Hologram said.

“Until your crew is revived?” The Captain asked, rubbing his forehead from the confusion he was having.

“Na’vi, the name of the ship now moving towards you, is the last remaining battleship of a species that died out long ago. We were in one of the last battles for our world, when the ship was badly damaged. Our Super-Light Engine was severally damaged and we had no way to repair it. So we set out for help from a friendly world at Light Speed, and the crew went to sleep as we moved through the galaxy.” The Hologram told.

“Let’s say for the moment that I believe this story of yours, what do you want from us?” The Captain asked.

“Upon scanning your Solar System, we detected that you have Interstellar Travel capabilities, and we changed course to meet you in the hope you would help us.” The Hologram said.

“I see…” The Captain said, as he thought about the situation.

“Sir, I ask you now. Will you help my crew?” The Hologram asked, with an almost emotional tone in its voice.

“I will have to think about it, we are a cautious people Na’vi.” The Captain told the Hologram.

“I understand, and I will leave you to your decision. When you have an answer, hail our ship and I will reappear to receive it.” The Hologram said, and then it gave a slight bow of its head, and whisked away.

When the Hologram had fully dissolved, the Captain turned away from the main view screen and walked back to his chair. Sitting down, he placed his chin into his right hand and began to think. Everyone in the room was watching him, wondering what was going on in his mind.

“You’re not seriously thinking about helping them, are you?” Stevens asked, expressing a note of concern in his words.

“I am thinking about our situation Colonel.” The Captain said, and then he looked at his Communications Officer. “Can we contact Fleet Command yet?”

“No sir, the alien ship is still giving off some sort of…well its best described as static, which is distorting any signals I try to send out.” The young lady told her Captain.

“Interesting,” The Captain said aloud to no one in particular.

“What are we going to do sir?” Stevens asked.

“Let’s go over what we know. First, this Na’vi is a battleship and nothing less. It is supposedly damaged from a battle. Science!” The Captain suddenly yelled.

“Sir?!” The Science Officer replied.

“Do your scans show anything that looks like battle damage on the outer hull of that ship?” The Captain asked.

“Give me a moment,” The Science Officer said, turning back to his computer. “None that I can find, sir.” The Science Officer replied a few moments later.

“Nothing?”

“No sir, no scars, holes, hell there isn’t even a scratch in the paint. As far as I can tell, that ship is in perfect working order. At least, on the outside.” The Science Officer reported.

“This just keeps getting interesting.” The Captain said, as he stood up from his chair.

“You think that they lied?” Stevens asked.

“At the very least, they lied about being damaged beyond their capabilities to repair. It is possible that they were in a battle, but it seems that they have long repaired themselves.” The Captain told his Second.

“Then why show up and ask for assistance?” Stevens asked.

“That’s the question, but whatever the answer I don’t know if we’ll like it.” The Captain said, as he turned to the main view screen. “We’re going to accept their proposal, however, we’ll do so with extreme caution. Stevens, I want you to keep the shields up and weapons armed, if they so much as throw a rock at us I want you to blow them out of the sky.”

“Yes sir.” Stevens said, with a sly grin across his face.

“Communications, hail the alien ship.” The Captain said, and the young Communications Officer started pressing buttons on her computer. A few seconds later, the Hologram reappeared.

“You have an answer?” The Hologram asked.

“We do.” The Captain replied.

“What is it?” The Hologram asked, getting right to the point.

“We will help you repair your ship, under the condition that as soon as it’s repaired you leave our system and don’t return.” The Captain told the Hologram.

“Your terms are accepted.” The Hologram said.

“Good, now what help do you need?” The Captain asked.

“We would like to dock with your station, and then awaken our crew. That way, if anything goes wrong that a system should fail, none of my crew shall die.” The Hologram said. “Added, it would be quicker with my crew working as well.”

“No,” the Captain said sharply.

“I’m sorry?” The Hologram asked, genuinely confused.

“I don’t want your ship attached to my Station, or your people on it.” The Captain said.

“Well, I am afraid that point is not negotiable.” The Hologram said, beginning to grow upset.

“Then we have no deal, and you may continue on your merry way to the next advanced solar system.” The Captain said.

“I’m afraid we’ve waited too long to do that.” The Hologram said, and then it flashed out of existence on the bridge.

“Sir!” Stevens exclaimed, as he looked at his armrest readouts.

“What?” The Captain asked, keeping his eye on the alien ship which was being displayed on the main view screen.

“There’s a power build up inside of their ship.” Stevens reported.

“Weapons?”

“Unknown sir,” the Science Officer replied before Stevens could.

“Coronel, fire a plasma burst close to their hull. But don’t hit them.” The Captain ordered.

Stevens started pressing buttons on the touch pad on his armrest. Then, on the outside of the Station, one of the plasma cannons moved into a position that in the alien ship’s direction. There no noise as a red light began grow inside of the cannon’s barrel. Inside, there was gases that were being superheated until they hit a point in which the gases turned into a molten “blob” of fire. Then, when the molten magma like substance was ready, high powered magnetic fields formed around the molten gases.

The magnetic fields caused the molten gases to move down the barrel of the cannon. As it did, the molten gases gained massive amounts of speed until it flew out of the barrel at high speeds of up to several thousand miles per hour. In a matter of seconds the molten gases flew through space and past the alien ship. The Captain watched the entire process from his position on the bridge. Then, he watched the alien ship to see what they would do.

“What do you want us to do now?” Stevens asked.

“We take a breath and wait to see what they do.” The Captain replied.

The breath didn’t last long, because the alien ship turned to face them. However, it didn’t turn sideways like the Captain had expected. Instead, the alien ship moved at the Station head on. As it did, the front of the alien ship changed. The front of the ship extended forwards, as the metal clashed together to form a spear like instrument. Then, the alien ship began to move towards the Station.

“What the hell is that?” Stevens asked.

“Looks like a ramming device. Not unlike what the Ancient Greeks and Romans would use.” The Captain said, pacing in front of his chair.

“What do you mean?” Stevens asked.

“They would build ships like that, with a sharp weapon on the front. Then, ram their enemies in battle.” The Captain said, and then he turned to Stevens. “All available power to the forward energy shields. Aim weapons, and fire on that ship.”

As the alien ship moved closer, the Stations weapons moved into position. Cannons began firing, and balls of molten gas moved through space and smashed into the side of the alien ship. However, the energy from the plasma weapons was dispersed through the alien’s unknown alloy in their hull.

Then the alien ship began to speed up, moving quicker and quicker towards the Station. In turn, the Station’s crew continued firing more and more even though it didn’t have much of an effect. As the alien ship got within a few hundred kilometers, two holes opened in the front. Then, an orange glow grew in the newly formed holes. When the glow changed from orange to blue, there was a massive burst of energy from the holes in the front of the alien ship. Two beams shot parallel to each other from the alien ship and then hit the energetic shield around the Station.

The Station swayed as the alien weapons hit the shields. The lights throughout the Station dimmed to a minimal setting, as the computer tried to draw every ounce of extra power to the forward shields. However, it was all for naught. As the alien weapons overpowered the Station’s primitive defenses in a matter of seconds. When they did, the twin beams from the alien ship started slicing through the Station like a skilled surgeon. Cutting up the Station like a butcher would cut a piece of meat.

The Captain stood on the bridge as sparks flew around him, he felt his body’s weight begin to change and realized what was about to happen. Turning around, he walked swiftly back to his chair and sat in it. As soon as his rear was in the seat, he pressed a button on his armrest and a harness moved mechanically over his shoulders and down his torso. Finding its way to the bottom of the chair, the harness latched onto the seat and secured the Captain to his chair. Immediately afterwards, the artificial gravity on the Station went out, and all of the crew started floating in the air.

Looking around the bridge, the Captain saw almost all of his crew trying to hold on to their chairs. They hadn’t prepared for gravity to go out like the Captain had. “I should have warned them.” The Captain thought to himself, and then he looked at Stevens. Stevens was sitting securely in his chair, however, the man wasn’t wearing a harness. Instead, when the gravity went offline he had pressed his legs against the sides of his armrests, and the pressure was keeping him in his chair.

“Weapons?” The Captain shouted over the cries and screams of his terrified crew.

In response Stevens simply shook his head, his eyes telling the Captain that he was worried. The Captain then grabbed ahold of Stevens left shoulder with his, the Captain’s, right hand. Then, with his left, the Captain pressed the harness button on his armrest. Floating just above his chair, the Captain pulled on Stevens shoulder to moved closer to his Second. Then, when he was floating right in front of Stevens face, the Captain began to speak.

“It has been nothing short of an honor to serve with you Jason.” The Captain told Stevens.

Before Stevens could give an answer, another set of twin beams shot out from the alien ship. They cut through space like knives, until they found their mark. Stevens sat in his chair, and looked over his Captain’s shoulder to see one of the beams headed straight for them. He gently closed his eyes, and concentrated on his breathing. Stevens heard a cracking, splintering sound and everything went dark.

“I told you, this is what was supposed to happen Stevens.” An older man said, as he watched the Earth Fleet Space Station being torn apart by the alien ship on a holographic screen over a control center in a large dark room.

“I thought I could change it. I thought I could save my grandfather.” Stevens said.

“I know Stevens, and it’s something everyone tries to do when they start here, it just never seems to work out the way we want it to.” The older man told him, as he clasped his, the older man’s, hand on Stevens’ shoulder and left the room.

Then there was a clicking, and a metallic clank coming from down the hall. A young man was walking down the hall with a great, golden staff in his hand that he used to walk with. He had short brown hair, and bright green eyes that showed his true age. His blue cloak with golden trim floated on the air as he moved. Then he turned into the room, and walked down the two steps, moving up to the screen where Stevens was standing.

“Stevens,” the man said.

“Yes Timekeeper?” Stevens asked, saluting the man as he spoke.

“I heard that you went back to the AS-01, also referred to as the P.I.S.S. incident.” The Future-Timekeeper said.

“I did sir.” Stevens admitted, his gaze moving to the ground.

“I told you not to go back there. That is a moment in time that cannot be changed. It is fixed to always end the way that you just saw.” The Timekeeper said, motioning to the holographic screen with his staff.

“I just thought…” Stevens started.

“I know what you thought, but I gave you an order. One that you chose to disobey. I cannot have Agents of the TCA questioning my orders, I issue them for good reasons and sometimes, reasons that you may not understand at the present moment.” The Timekeeper said, pacing as he spoke.

“Yes sir.” Stevens replied.

“Now, I expect you to follow every order I give you from here on out and if you don’t. Well, I’ll have no choice but to discharge you from the services of the Temporal Change Authority. Is that understood?” The Timekeeper asked, moving close to Stevens face with the last question.

“Perfectly sir,” Stevens stuttered out.

With his reply, the Timekeeper turned and gave his cloak a flip. Then he walked back to the doorway and out the hall. As his staff clanked against the hard floor, Stevens let out a breath of air he had been holding, and turned back to the screen. He watched as the twisted metal and bodies floated seamlessly through empty space. “There has to be something I can do, something to change what happens after this.” He thought to himself, and then he looked around real quick. Worried that someone had overheard his thoughts, and would report it to the Timekeeper.

“There has to be something,” He thought again as he left the room, thinking.

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