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Mwc10 July: Back To The Future

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Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-01 14:40:43

Great Scott!

I feel a little explanation is required here: On the 3rd of July 2010, it will be the 25th anniversary of the cinematic release of Back to the Future. Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd graced our screens in Robert Zemeckis' cult classic, which spawned two sequels and actually made people care about the iconic car, known as the DeLorean DMC-12.

Also, this month is the 115th Aniversary of the publication of "The Time Machine", by H. G. Wells, so that ties in nicely as well.


All official entries must be submitted here. No linking to your story hosted elsewhere. No discussion whatsoever in this thread. All discussion for this competition must take place in the: DISCUSSION THREAD



Please read through the entirety of the opening posts and familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of this competition. All participants must comply to the rules listed below, as they are final. Failure to comply will result in disqualification from the current competition.

MWC10: July : Back to the Future

Another wide brief is given for you writers thins month - just think how lucky you all are! There must be some element of time travel in you piece, but how you incorporate this is up to you. You essentially have three choices:

1) Travelling to the past
2) Travelling to the future
3) Travelling to the present, but in a parallel universe

The main issue is that you are required to avoid plagiarism - we do not want fan fiction works here, because it is highly unlikely that you would get professional work in writing a sequel. Create your own characters and plots, as this is what will earn you acclaim here from the judges and reviewers.

1) Your piece must involve time travel in some way, shape, or form.
2) Minimum Word Count: 1,000 Words
3) Maximum Word Count: 5,000 Words

Saturday, August 1st 0500hrs EST. I will be online at that time, so therefore the thread will be locked at that point.

1st) $30 Newgrounds store credit.
2nd) $30 Newgrounds store credit.
3rd) $30 Newgrounds store credit.
4th and 5th) Honourable mentions.


1) Please ensure you have proof read your submission before posting it. There are plenty of decent writers on here that have offered services for proofing
2) Post your stories in this thread.
3) Do not post revisions in this thread. They will be deleted.
4) You may submit one story only, one time. Posts will not be deleted at your demand so make sure your work is perfect before posting here.
5) Entries should be posted concordantly in the thread. Don't post the first part, then leave it three days before posting the next, as this makes judging more difficult.


1) Contestants may submit exactly one entry. No more. Users found trying to smart ass their way around this rule will be disqualified from this and an arbitrary number of future competitions to be agreed on by the judges. (You are your alt and vice versa)
2) Users caught posting writings which they do not own will face imediate disqualification from this and any future contests. That means don't try to pass other's work off as your own, you will fail and we'll all hate you!
3) Users must submit on or before the given date. NO EXCEPTIONS!
4) You must follow the rules of this BBS. If you have a question about whether you will be breaking them, contact a moderator.


The judges do not HAVE to review your work and give you a detailed critique, there are too many entries in most contests for that to be a plausible option.
You have the following options none the less:

1) I highly recommend that you review someone else's work, in that way, they may return the favor. ;)
2) There is both a writing club & and writing guild in the Clubs & Crews section which is there as an open forum for writers to post their work.
3) PM the specific person you would like to review your work and hope they will.
4) Post a link to a newspost on your user page which contains your story again, in either the discussion thread or at the end of your official submission in this thread.
5) Mingle with the people in the writing forum. It's the hip new place to be.


Judges will be as follows:


For all Monthly Writing Contests from now on, if you have suggestions for themes, comments on the judging process, wish to become a part of the judging team and so forth, please post it in the Monthly Writing Contest HQ

Will it ever end. Yes, all human endeavour is pointless ~ Bill Bailey
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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-03 00:13:44

TreadVigorously - A Bit of a Philosophical Take on Time - Part 1 of 1

As I sit and write this piece, I travel forward in time. It does not matter how this fact is measured. Whether you view time in Plancks or seconds, it is still fact. The only way to travel to my past is to remember it. The past, therefore, must exist only in my memories. My stream of consciousness moves along the dimension of time as I remember my past. If this is true, with enough strength of mind, can I not recall my future? Should I sit and meditate upon this fact, could I lose myself in my own history, and my own future? I could travel along any branch of time that I can conceive, and it can follow any canon I wish it to. No one can disprove my past, as it is no longer at the present for them to observe. Nor will my past appear again in the future to be challenged by thought, unless my mind demands it. The concepts of past, present, and future are indeed arbitrary. Can it even be proven that present exists? As I think of my present, does that very moment not fade to the past, never to return? There is only one logical conclusion one can draw from the notion of time, and that is that humanity, the very creators of time, must constantly move forward.

Live for the future my friends, as the past may no longer be manipulated, and the present is constantly slipping away from us.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-03 15:26:03

What is time?

The bible says God created time for the people. So does that suggest that one who becomes Omnipotent can control the use of time? So how does one become omnipotent?

Those who have tried and failed at traveling through time have done so through science. The only time science has allowed time travel, it was only a few milliseconds, a man, speeding around our planet.

Is speed the key? Will speed make one omnipotent?

For those who wish to travel back in time, whatever the reason, there is imperfection to it. To change the past is to corrupt it. No matter what evil you are trying to cause or prevent, it will corrupt. And to those who wish to travel into the future, have something to evade. If they claim to want to see the world as a better place, then they are dissatisfied in their life as it is now. If they are trying to escape, it shows cowardice.

However we are all always traveling through time. Sliding gracefully into the future. One day, one hour, one second at a time. That is how it was meant to be, so that is how we live it.

Throughout our imperfections, there is a type of glory. However, not the kind one would need to become omnipotent. For those who have the power to control time, would have no reason to. And those who want to travel through time, do not have the requirements.

So there is only one thing to do: live life to the fullest. Just take it a day at a time. Travel through time the way others do. Do not wish for more, or for less. Live life for the now, and one day, maybe soon, maybe far away, you will die. And when you do, will you have done all of the things you wanted?

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-03 15:50:51

"What is time?" Jeric stared blankly at his teacher. "Say again?" Jeric was the only kid in class who wasn't listening to his teacher. Jeric is fifteen years old, A Freshman at his high school. He had short, brown hair, blue eyes, and a normal face. There was a small scar on his nose from a car accident years ago. "What is time?" His teacher asked again. "Time is..." Jeric started, he glanced at the clock, "...Something we can't understand." He finished. "That is a wise answer." Red Jackson whispered to Jeric. Red was strange, He had red hair, red cheeks, and wore red every day. The only thing that wasn't red were his eyes. They were green. "That is true." The teacher said. "But what is time exactly?" Jeric shrugged. The school bell rang. "I want a one page report on what Time is. Tomorrow!" Everyone groaned. It was the end of the day and the buses hadn't stopped at the school yet. "Dang." Jeric muttered. He decided to walk home. As he walked, he kicked a tin can in front of him. "The teacher is insane." He muttered to himself as he gave the can a swift kick. He saw it land in the ditch and went in to pick it up. "What the..?" He asked himself as he picked up a small coin. It had a strange symbol on it. "Looks like... an hourglass? Great. Another thing to do with time." The moment he said that, everything around him changed. A speeding car changed into a man in armor speeding by on a horse. The houses changed into what you'd see in a movie about King Arthur. "This can't be happening." Jeric muttered to himself. "I'm hallucinating. I've gone insane." He walked around, people stared at him as if he were an alien creature. "Um... Hi?" They ran from him. "Weird." Jeric went on his way, the coin in his hand. He turned a corner and bumped into someone. "Ow! My head!" Jeric shouted as the coin flew from his hand. "Art Thou alright, kind sir?" He heard. He looked toward the voice and his blood ran cold. It was a boy, an exact copy of Jeric, only extremely filthy. They screamed. "Get back foul demon!" The other Jeric screamed. "What the hell is going on here!?" Jeric screamed. The other Jeric drew what looked like a sword. "Whoa! Hold on a moment!" Jeric said as he held his hands up. "I come in peace or whatever." His copy looked confused. "Thou speakest in the strangest manner." He said. "Where dost Thou hail from?" Jeric blanked. "Wait, what?" The copy repeated his question. "Where dost Thou hail from? Who dost Thou serve?" This made a little more sense. "I serve nobody." Jeric said, wondering if the kid in front of him was insane. "Then what shouldst I call you?" The kid asked. "Jeric." The Kid's eyes narrowed. "Thou art similar in appearance and in name, but Thou doth wear strange attire. From what Territory dost Thou hail from?" Jeric thought of what the kid said. "Um, That's a tough question. You see, I was walking home from school and..." The Kid held the sword up to Jeric's throat. "Speak plainly or I shall slit your throat." Jeric decided that the kid was gone in the head. "Why the hell do you have that thing at my neck?" The Kid looked surprised, "You do not know? Are you mad?" Jeric had had enough of this. "I am not an English muffin!" He shouted. The Kid laughed. "Thou thinkst I believe you to be a bread snack? You are mad!" Jeric sighed. "There's no use talking to you, is there?" He looked to his side and saw the strange coin. "That's where that went." He picked it up and said, "If you're not going to speak like a normal person, then could you at least tell me what time it is?" The moment Jeric said 'time', everything changed again. He was in his neighborhood. "Huh, That was weird." Jeric said. He looked at the sky. "It's probably dinner time." He said as he tossed the coin into a nearby ditch. "I think I have something for my report." He said to himself as he went home. The next day, He was up in front of the class. "Time." He said. "Is not linear. It's constantly branching out with random events. I came to this conclusion in a dream I had last night..." Miles away, a man was walking down the road and noticed something shiny in a ditch.

Don't mind the fangs, Or the claws. Or the ears. And the eyes.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-06 23:44:07

Rick was on his way over to Sam's place so that he could see what invention she had been refusing to tell him about recently 'It must be good' he kept thinking to himself.
Once he arrived at Sam's house he knocked on the door and went in to find Sam sitting at the table reading a book on technology 'Ah rick you're here at last', said Sam when she looked up. 'Let's go outside and ill show you my invention'.
Rick was basically exploding with curiosity by the time they reached the back door, Sam said 'Ready?' In his mind rick screamed "DUH!!!" but merely nodded his head behind an inscrutable face. Sam opened the door and Rick saw the strangest thing he had ever laid eyes on.
It looked like a glass forge had thrown up all over her backyard and she simply moulded it. 'It's a pretty bad design, but it should still work.'
'It's a time machine' said Sam walking to the control desk
'Have you tested it yet?' said Rick
'Sort of' said Sam
'How?' inquired Rick.
'Well', said Sam, 'a couple of weeks ago I put my hamster in here and so he must be returning any second now by my measurements'.
They heard a loud BANG and a hamster materialised next to the machine. 'See?' laughed Sam and went to retrieve the hamster.
'Can I have a go?!' said Rick.
'Good, you do want to go' answered Sam 'No need to nag you about it for weeks on end'.
Rick grinned and said 'you DO remember our first date!' and they both laughed.
'So' said Sam, 'how about I send you ten minutes into the future for a human test? this could' really be the new thing of the century!'
'What do I do?' asked Rick.
'Just step in here' said Sam, opening the glass door.
'Ok' said Rick feeling a little uneasy while stepping into the glass machine.
Sam shut the door behind him. He heard muttering and clicking of a keyboard then a beep a clunk and Sam shouting 'READY?'
'Yes' replied Rick
'Set?' said Sam
'Yes!' repeated Rick
'Hold onto your lunch!' shouted Sam. Then Rick heard a switch clicking and an enormous CRACK, and as if he were suddenly launched into outer space he felt weightless...

He couldn't hear anything but thunder zapping around him and he was scared to open the door yet but when the sounds stopped he slowly creaked the door open 'WOW!' he shouted and fully opened the door it looked as though he was looking directly down a tornado but one of every colour of the spectrum.
He heard a faint pop and he saw pictures floating past him then his weightlessness disappeared and he fell rapidly through the air moving away from the glass time machine.
Rick started completely freaking out now grabbing onto whatever he could but when he reached into the pictures he heard screams and crashing: his first mistake. Then he saw a metal pole sticking out of one of the pictures and he grabbed onto it: his second mistake.
The pole completely singed his hands and they felt like they were going to explode with pain but he couldn't let go, or he'd die, he was sure of it.
The glass machine was drawing ever nearer to where he was and he suddenly let go, literally shaking with pain and fear.
He wished it would all stop, he wished it would all go away; he wished he had never agreed...

'I'm going to die...' was all he could think as he clung on to the glass machine 'going to die, gonna die, gonna die...' he decided with the air rushing past him he would freeze so he crawled into the machine, closed the door behind him and sat there curled up on the floor still thinking those same words.
Later on as he felt sleep coming on to him he laid down on the floor and pulled his jacket on again, and sank deep into a nightmare

He awoke several hours later thinking 'was it a dream? Am I going to live?' he began to inspect his surroundings for any possible compartments of food.
'glass, glass, glass but no food!' when he gave up and began to lay down again, he saw a string hanging from the roof and curiosity (and hunger) got the better of him so he pulled it, a robot voice suddenly said 'EMERGENCY POWERDOWN: ACTIVATED' and the machine began to fade away.

Rick completely freaked out now and grabbed the barely visible machine and faded with it, he could hear more frightened screams and shouts saying to stay back but that soon faded and he could hear the thunder back in the time zone. 'Oh God, what have I done now?!' thought Rick frantically after a short while of swapping back and forth between dimensions but the instant he heard the earth dimension he shouted 'HELP!' and heard a reply saying 'we're getting Sam down here right now, she's the machine expert and will probably know what to do'.
'Sam?' thought Rick to himself 'could it be?' but after a short while again he went back to the time dimension and climbed back into the machine 'perhaps I should jump off at the earth dimension and see what happens' he thought to himself but when he heard a familiar voice talking he said 'Sam?! Is that you?'
The familiar voice said 'yes... how do you- RICK?!'
'Yes!' shouted Rick 'please help me!' but what he didn't realise was that he was in the time zone again. He waited, and waited... but no reply came then he heard a small fizz and a hole tore open next to the open door and he saw clearly the effect time had taken on his friend.
Sam appeared much more mature; she had lines on her face and seemed very unhappy about something.
'What's going on?' asked Rick and Sam quickly replied 'I'm getting you out of here that's what!'
'Grab my hand!' shouted Sam, so Rick did and she pulled him as hard as she could into earth's dimension.
Rick heard a decade of sounds rush through his ears, screams, laughter, even crying, but what he didn't expect was when the last thing he heard was Sam saying 'no... RICK!' then he fell into a deep sleep...

Rick awoke in a daze and thought 'what happened, oh right, I hope I was dreaming'
His head completely swam with hope of it all being a dream and also fear that it wasn't.
Then he heard Sam say 'you're awake! You've been here for a month; I was beginning to fear the worst...'
Rick looked over and saw the same lined unhappy face he saw before he fell asleep and fell into despair.


Sam explained 'the year is 2045. When I said I was going to send you into the future ten minutes I was thinking it would truly work but then a power surge came through and, well, it must have overpowered and therefore overshot my machine too far ahead... at least that's what I think happened'.
'On a lighter note; are you hungry?'
'Well' said Rick 'I haven't eaten in around thirty five years, so yeah, ill say I am!'
'Ok then, are you well enough to walk?'
'I think so' he said and tried to get up, but fell over and into Sam's arms.
'Ok' said Sam 'we're getting you a wheelchair'
'Wheelchair?' laughed Rick 'I thought by now you would have made hover chairs!'
'Well' said Sam and the unhappiness reappeared in her face 'we were going to but because of me and my stupid idea of a time machine, all throughout the last 20 years hands and shards of glass have been appearing in random places all over the world and whenever one touches anything from our era it blows everything within a kilometre to smithereens.
It only stopped when the tower to outer space that we were trying to make suddenly melted and fell. Say, is that how you burned your hands?' asked Sam.
Rick replied 'sounds about right' as he looked at his singed hands 'Sam, you said something about lunch and I said I hadn't eaten in 35 years, where's the lunchroom?'
'Oh right' said Sam 'straight through here' and put him in the wheelchair she pulled out of the cupboard while reiterating.
'What do you want?' she asked wheeling him down the hallway 'we have sandwiches and drinks or we have fruit and vegetables'
'Hmm' said Sam 'what sorts of sandwiches do you have?'
'Well' replied Sam 'we have vegetables, cheese, chicken, duck, and boar' 'what?!' said Rick 'that isn't much variety'
'I know' said Sam 'but with all of the ashes flying around there aren't enough of any other animals to eat, they're all poisonous now.'
'Oh' said Rick despairingly 'because of me crushing things in the pictures the world is now in a state of emergency' he thought to himself

"Fall in love, take chances, make mistakes." ~Wings of Burning Love - OdysseyEurobeat

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-06 23:46:27

'We're here' said Sam pushing him into the cafeteria 'it isn't much but its all we've got'.
'Newcomer 'eh?' grumbled a strong, fierce sounding voice.
'Yes' replied Sam 'this is Rick'.
'So' grunted the voice 'the names Mortimer, call me Mort for short'
'Ok' said Rick. 'Hmm, what fruit and veg do you have?'
'Celery, lettuce, pineapple, tomato and avocado'
'Yuck, avocado' thought Rick. 'Can I get chicken, lettuce and tomato in a sandwich please?'
'Sure' said mort
'Nice place' said Rick sarcastically 'very homely' he said and everyone laughed 'Rick?' said a person from over in the corner
'Yes?' said Rick
'You haven't changed a bit' he said in a strong voice 'I haven't seen you in thirty five years son! What happened?' just after he said this Rick realised it was his dad saying this and, forgetting about his burned hands completely, pushed himself over to the corner and hugged his father then laughed 'I haven't seen you since yesterday, or at least that's what it feels like'
'Well now we're all together I want to meet later and hear what happened completely, how does 8 o'clock sound down by the old park?'
'Go have some lunch then some rest and ill see you later' said Michael, Rick's father.

An Unlikely Plan

'So' said Rick 'how many people still live here?'
''Don't know... It's not as though the world is falling ap- not as though everyone's dyin- everything's going to be fixed, soon.'
'How?' asked Rick.
'We need to be fast. I have a plan, but it will need to wait for the meeting tonight, we'll need everyone on it for the plan to work. Just enjoy our botanical gardens for now.'
'Well, come to think of it, I haven't seen many of these plants before. What in the world is that??' said rick.
'It's a Venus bamboo trap' said Sam, looking at the purple blob on a green stick.
'No, the other thing there' said rick pointing at a solid gold flower.
'Oh, that's something I made as a joke, its signifying that gold does, in fact, grow on trees.'
'So it's made of real gold?'
'No, it's fool's gold, but it still means the same thing.'
'Should we head down to the meeting? It's getting close to 7 o'clock.'
'All right, let's go' said Sam.

'I would like to personally thank all of you for coming here this morning, to welcome our brother, son, and friend back to this dimension.' Said Michael
Sam and Rick heard muttering and whispering all throughout the crowd.
'Yes, Rick has at long last returned to earth from the time split. I'm sure you would all like to hear his story so I will welcome Sam up here to explain what happened. Sam, come on up here.'
Sam walked up to the stage that had been set up in the middle of the park and started to talk to the assembled crowd.
'I thank you all for coming here today. All of the destruction, famine, war and death over the last 20 years have, unfortunately, been caused by me and my failed experiment of time travel. But was it a failure? I cannot remember all of the exact details but I'll tell what I can.
'On the day Rick went missing, I had invited him to come to my house and see the time machine I had been working on. He came in and to the backyard to see it, when my hamster test had returned next to the machine. He said he wanted to have a go and I tried to send him ten minutes into the future, because if I had sent him into the past he would have been seen by us and... Well... That's not very important; he walked into the time machine. I set the controls for positive 0 years, 0 days, 0 hours and 10 minutes; however, when I started it the machine took up too much power. There were a few very loud sounds and the machine disappeared. I was so worried for the next week and a half I didn't eat and I refused to sleep until my body shut down and I was taken to hospital. I almost went insane. Killing your best friend does that to people. I continued on with my life and for a full ten years tried to make another machine but every time I tried to use it there would be a loud bang and it wouldn't work. I continued on with other projects and then the world turned to chaos, random destruction and pain everywhere. I'm sure Rick will tell you his side of the story but that's as far as my important part of the story has gone. Rick, come up here.'
Rick climbed onto the stage and looked out at the crowd of roughly 300 people.
'Uh... hi...?' he stammered.
'Just talk. Say it like you're the only one here and you're telling yourself exactly what happened.'
'Okay' said Rick and he told the story from going into the backyard all the way to being pulled out of the other dimension. He only held back from saying he heard Sam say 'no...'
The crowd was dead silent, as though they would never have believed it if they hadn't seen it with their own eyes and without their most trusted scientist believing.
'Extraordinary. Incredible. Unbelievable!' exclaimed Michael 'this truly is the most incredible thing I've heard in years!'
'But my world, my life, everything I know is not as it should be.' Said Rick 'The world is in chaos, everyone I know has either passed away or changed almost unrecognisably! I need to return to my own time. To my home, and my life can be normal again. Please, is there anything possible to be done?'
'The only difference I can think of would be if some unknown mass were being used with teleportation. What were in your pockets rick?' said Sam
'I think all I had was my iPod and my phone... come to think of it, where are they? They just disappeared when I went in and, strangely enough, I forgot about them with everything going on!'
'Rick! That must be it!' exclaimed Sam 'the radio waves sent out by your mobile must have messed with the electromagnetic frequency of the time machine and caused an overload!'
'Um... in English please Sam?' said Rick, dumbfounded
'Your phone messed up the connection of the time machine and sent you here.' Said Sam.
Rick looked down disheartened 'Oh... gee, how grand... another thing I messed up. There's no way back is there?'
'Well,' said Sam 'that may be the reason all of my later experiments with time machines didn't work. With my hamster I had my phone in my pocket and with you, the same but in all of my other tries I didn't have a phone. Ever since 2015 we've been using instant messaging over worldwide LAN internet. There are no phones anymore. But I can make one, and we can send you back.
'Everybody, thank you for your attendance.' Said Sam. 'We need you to gather some scrap metal and tools and meet me in my workshop later.'
There was quiet muttering but nobody truly spoke while leaving the park.

One Last Chance
'So, everyone has left scrap metal in a pile out the front, god knows where they got it from, and you're supposedly building a mobile phone. This doesn't have "what the hell?" written all over it.'
'Wrong, Rick' said Sam 'We're building a phone. Not me. Get two hammers, a chisel and some of the thinnest sheet metal you can find. I'll get all of the hi-tech stuff.'

After they had made a rough box of the sheet metal, they set upon connecting, testing, perfecting and placing all of the magnets, batteries and radio generators, they had a working phone.
'All we need to do is get a time machine out from my old lab and we can send you back.
'Just kidding, I only have one lab, come on out the back.'
When they arrived out the back there was a device that looked like a big glass elevator.
'This is what the original one was supposed to look like but I didn't have the city's best crafters at my disposal. Hop in, take the phone and wait.'
Rick heard several loud sounds and heard Sam shout 'GOOD LUCK!' to him and that familiar weightlessness engulfed him.
He sat and waited as he drifted through the void of the time dimension and noticed he was sitting on an envelope.
Upon opening it he saw a picture of him and Sam together on their first date at the local park, looking so happy, not a care in the world. In the envelope there was also a note that read as the following.

"Fall in love, take chances, make mistakes." ~Wings of Burning Love - OdysseyEurobeat

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-06 23:48:34

I just wanted you to know how much I love you, that I have always loved you and will always be in love with you. If you don't make it out of this alive I want you to know this as my final message and I want you to remember me, and us.
If anything should happen to go wrong, press the button on the roof, however with you at my side, we should not have failed and you will return home safely.
Love, Sam
Rick knew nobody would ever hear it but he said it aloud anyway, he whispered 'I love you too, Sam.'

Another ear-splitting CRACK and he arrived back in his own time, he heard Sam crying and wailing about something he knew not. He climbed out of the time machine and walked across Sam's yard. Sam turned around and whispered 'what happened?'
Rick simply said 'let's go to the park. I will explain the full story in time.'

"Fall in love, take chances, make mistakes." ~Wings of Burning Love - OdysseyEurobeat

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-12 13:53:48

The ability to slip through time, back and forth at will, to see reality in a heartbeat. A widely sought curse, unobtainable to most, and despised by those who have it. I can slip backwards and forwards through creation, seeing all yet touching nothing. For I can leave no imprint on this world, change nothing, only watch. I can only see those that I loved being torn from time, watch their life leaving their cold, unseeing eyes. I can watch the moment of creation and the end of days, every birth and death, the constant rising and setting of the sun. I observe as new worlds are born and old one die, but I do so alone. I have fallen so far I can only be looked at, not seen, heard but not listened to. I am there, in the corner of every eye, just beyond sight and consciousness. And it is maddening. I do not know if I actually exist or not. There is no proof, I leave no footprint, no trace. But I carry on. I am compelled to keep travelling, keep moving, keep watching. For that is my purpose. To continue.

Now I am in Ancient Egypt, watching the pyramids being built. How many of these men before me will live to see their work completed? For that is what I see everywhere. Death. All things must end, and I must watch them. To Ancient Greece, where their great monuments were eradicated before them by earthquakes, the wonders of the Ancient World reduced to rubble in seconds. And the future, where nothing changes, as we cling to the life we have with a tightening grip, yet it keeps slipping through our fingers.

But there are glimmers of hope left for us, a light at the end of the tunnel. That that was destroyed is rebuilt, culture adapts and moves on, surviving in the extremes. From the sheer cold of the Arctic to the blazing sun of the desserts, life endures, struggles and prevails. For that is what put us where we are today, in control of the planet. Yet our struggle against death continues, fighting each disease as it is discovered, overcoming each obstacle in our way. So there is always hope, even in the darkest of days. Even at the end of the world.

The world does not end in 2012, you'll be pleased to know. It actually ends when humanity loses interest in one, small planet in the vastness of the Universe. The Earth is inevitably forgotten, and left to fall in the darkness of space. Why should it be remembered, when the rest of creation has so much more to offer? Humanity doesn't even notice when it is swallowed up by the darkness, the moment goes unnoticed by you, there are much more interesting things to do than notice the destruction of your home. No, the wonders of the Galaxy hold your interest, rather than your true home. But maybe I'm being too harsh on you, after all I can understand what you see in creation, what I observe of the stars and the wonders that they posses. It is a better life that what the Earth can offer, even in the most wonderful of places, it cannot compare to the joys of other worlds. Because I can see them all, every world in creation. And it is an awe-inspiring place.

From the planet Primoris at the beginning of the universe, to the forest planets in the Silva system, the great churches and temples in Monastica, and Superstres, the last planet to resist the end, where all of surviving creation hides on the final day. There are more places than anyone can possibly imagine just waiting for discovery. So it is inevitable that one small, boring repetitive planet goes unnoticed, even if it is home to us all. No-one can resist the wonders the Universe has to offer, the majesty of the cosmos.

But maybe you where right to abandon the Earth. After all, the world never truly recovered from the dark times, when the world fell to madness and the demonic. When humanity found its true evil within. The source was never found, but the chaos consumed the planet in under a week. But even after order was resumed, it took almost a century to rebuild. And even then, we knew in our hearts that that was what we are capable of, the beasts that lie within us all. And the rumours that they still roamed the Australian Outback, which I can tell you are completely untrue, as they didn't like the heat, destroyed the Australian economy and devastated the entire continent. So yes, from that perspective you did have a good reason to go. And you didn't exactly waste your time in space. Oh no, you made your presence felt. Throughout Galactic history, you have stridden to change what you found, to have your name known by all. It is a distinctively human quality, to live forever through your deeds. You search for immortality, through survival, or by name. But it is a fruitless search. The chosen few who actually succeed are driven insane by their ability and the implications. They spend their mortal life searching for a way not to die and then their immortal one searching for a cure to what they have done. For this is the reality of life, we are never completely satisfied with what we have, it's never quite enough, we always want more than we have. It is an obsession that I have seen throughout history, people reaching out for more, the myriad of empires spreading across the face of the planet in a struggle to have all that there is to have. Even when you reach the stars, this trait is seen, as the Human Empire moves as more planets are discovered, wars erupt over new lands as you conquer those weaker than you. It shows, to me at least, that you never change, that humanity is doomed to the same life throughout time.

As am I. I cannot change who I am. I too am doomed to the life I have, wandering through creation, lost and alone. I have no true form, so I cannot die, but I am not alive either. I wonder if this is what I deserve, if I have committed some great crime that is only punishable by this hell, to be forced to watch every moment in time for ever. But if so, I would be able to see it, understand what had happened. That might make me feel better about it, knowing that this happens for a reason. But I don't know. So I have no option but to carry on, to see, and to wonder.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-14 11:11:38

Time is Key

(asterisks indicate indentations)

*****The weather was eerily cold for a September evening. Gold needles pierced through western facing windows and curtains, trying to stitch themselves to the corporeal to linger for a bit more. Leaves shivered with each slow gust sauntering by, turning from healthy green to glowing yellow or burning red. Sometime the wind would catch a leaf or two in its wake, somersaulting to unknown destinations until turning frail brown. Of the recent departed batch, one caught a decrepit, peeling picket fence post previously white. Dead patches of grass were splotched in midst of the thriving blades. The stone path cutting through the lawn were now shrouded and cracked due to the uprising of dandelions. The Victorian beyond the fence decayed into dereliction over the past century, losing its pink paint in strips. The stairs and porch groaned under the unfamiliar weight of the two trespassers at the front door.

*****"Are you sure this is safe?" the young man queried. "Notice I didn't say illegal or insane, because this counts as both. I said safe and I meant it." His slightly beyond ear length locks caught whispers of the wind; the rest of him shivered to the bone. At his height and build he appeared intimidating, but most of the time he himself was intimidated. Even with his rugged good looks, pale green eyes, and humble personality, his relationships were anything but long-lasting and successful. It was nothing against his past girlfriends; he never felt challenged or fulfilled in his time with them. The girl next to him, however, was different and he couldn't put his finger on it.

*****"Of course it's safe. Well, mostly safe. There are those freak incidents, but no worries. It's only a 10,000,000 to 1 chance. Or is it 10 to 1?" She shrugged off her last comment and commenced to reach in her cloth messenger bag. Her auburn waves contained streaks of navy and rested on her shoulders. She was a head shorter than him and appeared to be around his age; she was intelligent, intimidating, spirited, experienced, and somewhat mad to boot. She had average looks, height, and build, but her eyes exposed her to be something more. The best way he could describe it was that they glittered like flecks in an opal. One minute her eyes would be violet, the next minute blue then hazel and so forth. Her eyes reminded him of an old rock song, but he couldn't place the name.

*****"Seriously though, what's with this get up?" he snapped the space age, skin tight black suit, "It looks like a negative of Tron guy without the helmet."
*****"Who's 'Tron guy'? Anyway, it's something from PsyTech, Inc. Its objective is for you to blend in. It make others in the timestream perceive that you have on clothes of the time. The suit does the rest. Right now, I see you in jeans and a hoodie."
*****"Then why does it feel like I'm in nothing at all?" He wrapped his arms tighter to himself for whatever warmth he could get.
*****"The suit's body temp regulator must be off. Bend over." Hesitantly he complied. Her warm fingers fidgeted around his collar until they heard a CLICK. "There. That should do it. Now no matter what climate you're in, you'll always be comfortable. Oh, and you'll need this." She reached into her bag and pulled out a black hairspray bottle.
*****"That looks like hairspray."
*****"Yeah, but it's a different kind of hair spray. It does the same thing as the suit. It will camouflage your hair according to the period. I don't think your hair was accepted like that in the Roarin' Twenties. A couple squirts of this and you'll look like one slick daddy without cutting your hair."
*****"Um. That's still hairspray. No, thanks."
*****"Suit yourself." She squirted the bottle around her head a few time and placed it in her bag. "So then, Tom. It is Tom, right? Are you ready?"
*****"Yeah, I'm ready." Tom searched to say her name, but he couldn't remember if she even had one.
*****"Wait, what's your name again?"
*****"Huh. Didn't think about that. How about Enid? I like Enid."
*****"That sounds like a granny name," Tom grimaced. "I know a good name, but I'm blanking at the moment. It'll come back to me."
*****"Oh, thanks," she placed her hand on his in comfort. "Well, when you remember it, tell me and I'll give it a thought." She removed her hand and replaced it in her bag,"If only I can find them. Ah! There they are."

*****Enid pulled out a key ring fit for a community college janitor. There were an odd number of keys: keys that could start cars, a couple of card keys for hotels and such, and keys to open doors. What kind of doors they unlocked, Tom wasn't sure. She thumbed through each of unmarked keys, mumbling to herself. Tom looked on in curiosity.
*****"So," he started after two minutes of silence,"what kind of keys are those?" Occupied with her collection she answered, "They're master keys, skeleton keys, and everything in between."
*****"Meaning you can go into any house, anywhere?" She looked up holding the ring by a single key, her eyes glittering.
*****"Oh, much more than that. They can get you into any house, car, hotel, secret base, any place at any time. Do you want to see?" He nodded gingerly. She slid the key in the lock like they were made for each other. "Ready to meet the original owners?" Before he answered she turned the key, and opened the door.

*****Walking in, Tom wouldn't believe that it was the same house if he didn't stand on the porch for close to five minutes before crossing the threshold. The house was in pristine condition from the dated wallpaper to the flickering gaslights and the apparel worn by the people in the next room. An older woman in a pale violet dress approached them; her expression of upset and bafflement was clearly read.
*****"And may I ask who are you and why you are in my home?" She coldly interrogated.
*****"Oh, I'm terribly sorry. My name is Enid Johnson, and this is my escort Thomas. We just stepped outside for some fresh air; I thought I was going to faint." The lady of the house pulled out her glasses and inspected the newly arrived couple.
*****"I don't remember inviting anyone named Johnson. And what is with this young man's hair? It's scandalous. Is he wild?"
*****"My second cousin, Mrs. Harcourt, referred me to the party. She couldn't make it due to an ache in her bones. She would've loved to come, but her doctor advised against it. So, we're here in her stead. And as for my escort's hair, I do apologize. Our time from the trip here to the party was so thin I couldn't get it trimmed. Would you happen to have a pair of scissors and hair oil. I can make him look presentable before anyone can see the atrocity." Her words flowed out sweetly like the Promise Land river of milk and honey and practically bewitched the hostess to compliance.
*****"Yes, I do have some in the upstairs bathroom. Just go up and first door on the right. Do tell Agnes when you see her that she's in my prayers." The lady of the house turned and rejoined the group in the parlor while Tom and Enid headed upstairs to the bathroom.

"The palindrome for Bolton is Notlob."--John Cleese, MPFC

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-14 11:16:55

*****"What did I tell you?" Enid smirked as she rummaged through her bag now the shape of a small purse.
*****"Don't rub it in. Who's Mrs. Harcourt, and how did you do that?" Tom sat on the toilet for her to reach his scalp. She pulled out the hair spray and squirted a few times above and around his head.
*****"Honestly, I don't know who Mrs. Harcourt is, but I could sense certain things; she was worried why her friend didn't show." She ran the product through his hair with her fingers, "It's a beneficial side effect working with PsyTech gadgets. They sort of rub off on you. As for the rest, let's just say years of practice turns a raw talent into a refined skill."
*****"Do you think I could do that someday? Convince people like you did with that lady?" standing up in the cramped bathroom.
*****"If you can spare a century or two maybe," checking herself in the mirror. Before he could question the last statement, she turned toward him, "So, since we've been here, do you want to go?"
*****"Go where?" looking puzzled.
*****"Go when, you mean. It's as simple as the turn of a key, my good man." She exited the bathroom swiftly as a sprite. He followed her down the hall to the door she stopped at her whim. She pulled out her janitor key ring and fumbled through the keys. In a manner of seconds, she singled one out between her finger and thumb. "I'd say we are in the 1880's right now due to the lack of electricity and that people downstairs were talking about Presidents Arthur and Cleveland. So I'd say mid to late 1880's. Want to see twenty years into the future?"

*****She turned the key before he responded. The room was dark and the same couple that were hosting the party were now in bed asleep in twenty year's time. She closed the door again and retrieved her key.
*****"How about in forty years' time? So, mid-Twenties. Oh, I love the Twenties! People knew how to throw a shindig and make a drink." She ran through her keys once more to find the right one and fit as well as the last. With the turn of her key and the doorknob, Tom and Enid caught two lovers in an act of unbridled passion. The shock took a moment to wear off before Tom slammed the door.
*****"Is everything all right up there?" the hostess called up. Enid went to the edge of the stairs and replied,"I do apologize again. Men's hair can be so unruly, yes?" The woman nodded in agreement and continued attending to other guests. Enid tiptoed back to the bedroom door and went back to fumbling through the keys again. "Let's skip to 1945. That wasn't a bad year." She found the key in less than ten seconds and slipped it in the lock.

*****She quietly opened the door in triumph, but the look on Tom's face suggested otherwise. On the bed sat a young woman holding a portrait of a soldier, weeping uncontrollably. Her make-up stained tears streaked her cheeks; she started gasping for air with each sob. Under the lamp on the bedside table was a letter, and by the typewriter print it wasn't from her soldier, but a letter dreaded by wives and mothers of soldiers. Enid was about to close the door; Tom stopped it. Silently, he took a few steps in and slowly approached the bed. He glance over at the letter, finding her name on the envelope.
*****"Sally," he said gently. She looked up at him with tear-blinded eyes; all she could see was a man in a uniform.
*****"Hank?" she stood up, facing the man she thought was her husband. She wrapped her arms and embraced him with all of her being. "Oh, Hank! They said you were dead. They told me your plane went down over the Pacific."
*****"It did, Sally," playing along so not to scare her as a stranger. "I won't be here much longer," breaking the hug as Tom sat her back down on the bed and joined her, "but I just wanted to tell you that I was thinking of you in my last moments. I love you, Sally. I always will." He finished by kissing her on the forehead and stroked her hair. "You need to sleep now. And when you wake up, know that I'm always with you; you won't see me, but I'll be with you." Sally smiled as the exhaustion from her sobbing took hold and her eyes drifted shut. He stroked her hair one more time, got up from the bed, and headed back to the 1880's with Enid. He silently closed the door and returned the key to her.
*****"That was a good thing you did there. Did you know her?"
*****"Not really. My friends and I only knew her as the crazy cat lady of our neighborhood. My grandma said that he husband was fooling around with other women before he went into the service. She never knew if he truly loved her."
*****"Well, now she does. You might experience an alteration of memories in a short while. Who knows? Maybe she remarried."

*****Enid started to fly through her keys again until Tom put his hand over them. His gaze pleaded to stop for now.
*****"Maybe later, then? At least one more. How about two years from your time? Maybe someone buys it as a fixer-upper." She fiddled through her keys lightning quick, finding the right key and slipping it in the lock. She cracked the door open, and then flung it open to reveal not the bedroom, but the siding of the house next door. Both stood in silence as the bedroom along with the rest of the house demolished. The crackle of thunder followed the streak of lightning in the distant night sky.
*****"I guess it didn't make it. Sorry about that, chum." She patted him on the back for attempted comfort, but found herself unsure about the reaction. "Are you ready to go home? To your time, I mean?" He nodded silently. She closed the door and pulled out her key, slipping the ring back into her purse for the moment. Before they reached the stairs he softly grabbed her arm.
*****"Could that be prevented? What happened to the house, is it possible?" His eyes appeared tear-filled under the gaslight.
*****"It's possible," she mused, "not all points in time are fixed. A good portion of it is actually really fluid. It all depends on the choices you make." Pointing to the bedroom door she went on, "You changed that woman's life with one simple act of kindness. And in a day or two or maybe less, Sally's future might change if she holds that moment in her heart." On her tiptoes, she kissed him on the cheek; Tom was surprised to say the least. "Well, enough gushy-feely time. I think it's time to make our exit."

"The palindrome for Bolton is Notlob."--John Cleese, MPFC

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-14 11:20:11

*****"Well, doesn't he look smashing? You truly have a gift." The hostess was waiting by the stairs as they came down and gazed upon Tom in wonderment. "Oh, but he has some lipstick on his cheek. Let me get that." She pulled out her handkerchief from her cuff, dabbed it on her tongue, and preceded to wipe most of it off; Enid stifled her laugh.
*****"Well, we better be off. We wouldn't want to miss curfew. Not my idea of course, but cousin Agnes does worry so. We had a delightful time." The expression of bafflement yet again appeared on the hostess's face.
*****"You can't be leaving now. You just got here. Besides, there's a lovely couple I'd like you to meet." Enid headed toward the door and started to pull out her keys. Tom blocked the hostess from seeing the keys and what Enid was doing with them.
*****"Madam, I must say, though our time was short it was well spent." He lifted the lady's hand and kissed it; it smelled strongly of musk. "We'll give cousin Agnes your best wishes when we arrive home."
*****"Shall I see you at service tomorrow then?" she inquired, still blushing from the kiss.
*****"Afraid not. We're heading home before daybreak, and I can't say when we'll be passing through again." The lady slightly frowned , but nodded in acceptance. Tom looked over at Enid to see if she was done. Enid gave thumbs up for their departure.
*****"Goodnight, madam. May your days shine brighter, and your nights be peaceful."
*****"Oh, that's lovely. Who wrote that?" She was now thoroughly impressed by Tom.
*****"No one. Goodbye, madam." Enid closed the door. The lady stood dumbfounded for a moment. Did she see daylight as they left? She opened the door, looking out at the night sky and the couple nowhere in sight.

*****"Well, that was fun," mentioned Enid. The sun had set no lower than when they first stepped in. "You have a knack for sweet talking. Alright, if you have any questions, now is the end of the tour." She waited a moment for Tom fire questions, but only heard silence. "Hey! Are you alive? Did we leave your brain back there, because that's one of the risks of time travel. Or did I just blow your mind?" Her chuckle died after a few seconds. Silence remained thick for a string of moments; finally he spoke.
*****"Can I come with you?" This wasn't a question she heard often. The usual, "Is this a hoax?" or "How did you do that?" were the first to pop up. Her usual spunk dropped to the floor with a thud.
*****"Really? Usually people dismiss it or try to buy my keys, even try to steal them. And those I have taken do it for financial gain. Why should I take you?" Tom didn't need time to think of his answer.
*****"I've been out of college for about three years. I'm in a dead end job with a heartless corporation, I can't keep a girlfriend, my college buddies are superficial, my parents are always traveling, and my fish keep dying on me. I'm scared to get a dog because it might run into traffic to get away from me. After years of being alone, an attractive woman--yes, you--takes an interest in me. If you didn't talk to me in that bar, I would swear I was cursed or invisible. You came up to me and started talking about the craziest things, and now I've seen them. As you said, I have a talent or 'knack' for sweet talking, so with enough time I can get better at it. So, why not?" He inhaled deeply to keep himself from feeling dizzy; a pause of quiet hung. Enid looked into his eyes. Tom could see her eyes change color and the flecks sparkle.
*****"Okay. You can come." Enid started down the steps and headed down the path before Tom followed.
*****"Are you serious? I can?" She stopped at the sidewalk and turned.
*****"Yes. You're good with people, you have nothing to lose, and you're easy on the eyes." She continued walking down the pavement. "Besides, it's nice to have someone around. My colleagues think I'm mad because I talk to myself; it's only because it's the best conversation I can have." She stopped, pivoted toward him on sidewalk, and cocked her head to the side, "Plus, don't you owe me a name?"
*****"Yeah, I do." Tom caught up with her and looked into her eyes once more. "Did you ever meet John Lennon?" She grinned at the memory. "You're Lucy, aren't you?"
*****"Is that what he called me? Lu-cy." She sounded out the name like she was swishing wine. "Lucy. I like it. Old fashioned, yet timeless. Alright then, call me Lucy." She turned again toward her destination and continued walking. Tom caught up with her and strolled beside her. "Lucy and Tom. It's got a 'Bonnie and Clyde' feel to it. Lovely couple by the way. Always knew how to entertain a guest."
*****"You met Bonnie and Clyde?" Tom laughed softly at the thought. Lucy clasped his hand as they walked to their next destination, which happened to be Tom's Mustang a couple of houses down. Lucy climbed into the driver's seat with no objection from Tom; the car's engine purred. They headed down the street and the car vanished to the next adventure.

"The palindrome for Bolton is Notlob."--John Cleese, MPFC

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-19 14:51:25

Time Flight
Word Count:

It is the year 3784; mankind had long abandoned its planet of origin and spread out far across the cosmos, prospering with every new habitable planet and sentient race discovered. Humanity eventual made itself a recognized galactic entity by forming the Space Federation of United Worlds, and in time nearly all races were under its banner. Under the SFUW the next great step in transportation was developed: Warp-Inducement Drives.
But this breakthrough was abruptly delayed when a disgruntled fighter pilot named Dex Kilar went rogue and left the federation, taking the WID prototype with him. Months afterward space pirate raids started happening across the border systems and eventually into the prominent mid-systems. It was clear to federation leaders that the pirates were being led by Dex, for despite the pirate fleet being only eight warships it always managed to flee via isolated wormholes before patrol ships could reach them. The WID had successfully been replicated, and the pirates had become a considerable threat to the galaxy.
As the pirates drew closer to the core worlds, scientists were able to recreate the WID and install it onto several SFUW warships. An improved WID was installed on a single fighter, allowing warp ability without the help of larger craft. This special fighter was to be flown by the SFUW's top pilot in the upcoming counterstrike: Lance Armine.
Soon reports came in on the pirate fleet's latest attack, and the modified strike force warped onto the scene in hopes of wiping out the pirates in one surprise attack.
With the pirate forces dwindling rapidly and the SFUW on the verge of victory, a clandestine battle between two former friends was to occur.


The black of space was tarnished with the harsh flames of smoldering space ships, and the light of the stars were blotted by drifting hunks of burnt gray debris. The battle was nearly over, and the SFUW strike force still maintained thirteen of its initial fifteen ships. The pirate force wasn't faring as well however, for only three jet-black cruisers remained and one of them was being torn apart by several SFUW fighters.
Aboard the stingray-shaped lead cruiser Dex, in military green and sporting an awesome red beret, oversaw the carnage of his fleet in his luxurious chair as klaxons went off all around. Most of the gray-skinned officers there had looks of panic as they quickly read the damage reports filling up much of the console screens.
"Captain, the Malakai is about to break apart! Unless the enemy fighters desist then we will be down another ship!" shouted the officer seated at the console nearest the view screen that took up most of the room.
"Then send our own fighters to deal with 'em, moron," grumbled Dex, who despite his best efforts to relax the panic amongst his crew was annoying him.
"We cannot! They are all destroyed!" shouted the desperate officer in reply. Dex rose straight from his chair for his next statement.
"When the hell did that happen!? What's the goddam matter with you Grays!!" After shouting he slumps back into his comfy captain's chair.
The Zuranthens, or derogatorily referred to as the "Grays," were a skilled technical race that proved valuable to Dex in fine-tuning and replicating the original WID system. But in the heat of battle they're quick to lose their nerves, which was something Dex didn't have the patience for at the moment.
"Contact the Sinistar and tell them to fire up the warp drives. I can't rely on you chicken shits to for anything much less repelling a few lousy federation ships."
"But what of the Malakai, Captain?" asked another gray-skinned officer at the back of the bridge. Dex gives a shrug.
"There are functioning ships elsewhere, and certainly more competent CREW to operate them. Now start pulling us out of this mess."
In the midst of the chaos outside the federation fighters still rained lasers on the floundering and smoking ship. Overlooking the slaughter in the cockpit of his custom fighter Lance eases from his rigid sitting position. Almost immediately the comms buzzed and the voice of the strike force commander was around Lance.
"Status report Lance."
"The cruiser is definitely dead in the water, and enemy fighters are non-existent."
"That makes six of them down. To all SFUW ships, begin firing on the remaining cruiser. All fighters are to follow the Tristar in softening up the capital ship. Lance, I'm counting on you to end this pest problem for good."
"Copy that commander. All fighters group up!" Lance hunches over the control panel and engages the boosters, his blue jumpsuit lighting up with green and yellow lights as his three-pronged ship shot forward. He speeds toward the enemy capital ship with over a dozen fighters following behind.
Inside the enemy bridge a series of beeps goes off in rapid sequence.
"We get signal!" cried the Gray named Zanthur, the ship's head technician who for some inexplicable reason could only speak in stilted English. A holoscreen pops up before the viewscreen displaying the approaching fighters.
"Lance must be in there..." Dex said to himself, and then out loud to his crew, "Just warp us out already before they get here. Let them eat our space dust."
Back outside the fighters gain more distance as the capital ship begins turning away. As it's doing so a shimmering blue circle forms at its bow, steadily growing larger and spinning faster and faster. On the Tristar the commander buzzes in once more.
"Dammit, the lead ship is initiating warp! We won't be able to redirect fire before it escapes, and your fighters won't reach it in time."
"We'll see about that," Lance said determinedly as he punches the extra thrusters and blasts away from the fighter pack straight at the capital ship.
"Lance, what are you doing!?" The commander's voice was mostly muffled by the rattling of the cockpit interior as Lance sped on. The capital ship meanwhile had nearly made its 180 when the warp-inducing circle at its front nearly matched its width.
"You won't get away this time Dex!" Lance shouted as he activates his own warp engine and a blue cone began to envelop his ship. The capital ship begins distorting as its own warp field overtakes it.
"Back out Lance! Back out!!" Commander's order was drowned out by an even greater sound:
Lance's ship starts to distort as his ship reaches the capital ship, and simultaneously they both erupt into blue-white flares and blink out of sight.
Scientists and engineers could never have predicted what happened next. The synchronized activation of two similar yet distinctly different WID produced frequencies that warped not only the fabric of space but time as well, hurling both ships great distances through light years and centuries toward a forgotten destination.

There is no Mercy, only DoDonPachi

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-19 14:54:21

2010 AD

A blast of white and blue light hails the return of Dex's capital ship into normal space. The void of space around them was untouched and a far cry from the chaos of the battle they just left. On the bridge there was cautious silence, quickly disrupted by one crewmen's report.
"Warp was successful sir. Radar is not picking up any other large vessels."
"So we're in the clear?" Dex asked gruffly.
"I believe that goes without saying, Captain."
"Alright," Dex acknowledged before letting out a sigh. "Admittedly I was feeling a bit nervous, but now's the time to rebuild. Set a course for the space dock and ring up the bar. We're gonna need some serious gut-rotters to get this taste of disgraceful combat out of our mouths."
Dex rubs the bridge of his nose as his navigator types in coordinates. After some seconds though a look of concern fills his face.
"Umm, Captain, something is not registering."
"What now you crybaby? I'm trying to relax here."
"The computer cannot formulate a flight course. Either it is experiencing internal slowdown, or we are in a completely different quadrant."
"Whaat?" Dex leans forward, looking ready to hit something. "Are you fucking serious? Where the fuck are we then??"
"I am not sure sir. Perhaps I can consult the computer as to the identity of that planet directly before us." Hearing that last part Dex looks up and out the viewscreen, jumping upright and back into his chair after beholding the huge blue and white orb steadily getting closer.
"Jumpin' Space Jesuses where'd that come from!?" Checking himself Dex resumes a respectable sitting position and calms down.
"Very well. Verify that planet so we know where we are. And make it quick, dammit." Dex reclines in his chair and puts one leg on the other, looking badass. But the photo-op look is short-lived as an alarm goes off causing Dex to bolt forward with a miffed look on his face.
"What now!?"
"There appears to be a small object fast approaching the ship from the rear." Now Dex was looking pissed as he stood up.
"I have no time for you pussies to be frettin' over a damn meteor or something! Get back to figuring our location!"
"The ship detectors confirm that it is no meteor."
"Grrrr! Well bring up the rear view so we can see what it is you idiots!"
"Main screen turn on," announced Zanthur as a holo-screen pops up at the front of room, showing a small blue and white three-pronged fighter soaring through space.
"It is a federation fighter sir. It somehow managed to follow us through warp on its own," spoke the officer who had spotted the anomaly earlier. Dex looks over the live-feed image of the fighter.
"It just has to be Lance. He just never knows when to quit." Dex shakes his head and sits back in his chair. "What are you waiting for? Shoot it down already."
"We cannot sir. This ship lacks rear laser cannons."
"Terrific; again your incompetence amazes me. Why doesn't this ship have rear cannons??"
"Because you told us we would not need them for raids, sir." Silence in the bridge, then Dex speaks again.
"Well turn us around so we can use our forward cannons, genius."
"Yes Captain."
Outside in space Lance notices the engines of the enemy ship flare up to indicate a turning maneuver.
"Gotta disable those engines." Lance flicks a switch on his console and from his ship a missile fires, soaring through the vacuum and scoring a direct hit in the center between the engines. After a brief explosion the rear of the capital ship starts smoking, causing klaxons to go off in the bridge.
"We have been hit. Engines are disabled; we cannot make any immediate turns," said a tech officer from a console.
"Fuck!" was Dex's reply. Back in space Lance grips his control levers tighter.
"Like the commander said: Time to end this, Dex." Lance sends his fighter forward and begins firing lasers along the rear of the crippled capital ship. Panic grew even more amongst the crew.
"We are taking damage all across the hull; hull integrity steadily dropping," reported one officer.
"We are on the way to destruction!" cried Zanthur.
Lance makes his way over the fledgling ship still firing lasers. Past the midpoint of the ship one laser hits a plate that explodes into blue sparks, and suddenly the blue warp circle appears at the front of the ship. In the bridge:
"Warp has been initiated!"
"What!?" shouted Dex, who already had enough of a bad day by now.
"The WID must have taken a hit. Perhaps having it installed so close to the hull was not the wisest of decisions, Captain."
"Since when did I decide that!!??"
As the warp circle grew larger the Tristar also began glowing blue to show that it too was about to enter warp.
"Huh? What's happening??"
Both ships go through their initiation phases, and just like before they both blink out in two flashes of blue and white light.

Skies over Roswell, New Mexico
1947 AD

The capital ship re-emerges right over the stratosphere of the blue planet and keeps moving forward. Nearby Lance's fighter stabilizes and begins following the runaway ship. On the bridge Dex is incredibly tense.
"What happened? Where are we now?" After a quick check an officer replies:
"It is still the same planet, sir. We appear to have only jumped a few kilometers forward. And it appears the enemy fighter has done the same."
"Why? What the freak is going on here??"
"The fighter may have its own WID, hence how it followed us to this planet originally. According to these readings the fighter had made the second jump at about the same time we did, leading me to believe that the two WIDs are linked via frequency after ours took damage. And due to the damage our WID will also randomly initiate warp with no means of control." Dex took a moment to take all that in.
"And what is the exact basis of reasoning to explain why our WIDs are linked, or explain any of this for that matter?"
"Quite frankly, sir, I cannot really say. Perhaps plot progression?"
"Huh?" Before this questionable line of dialogue could continue the bridge starts rocking violently and the edges of the viewscreen erupt in flame.
"Captain! We are on a collision course with the planet. With no working engines we will make impact in less than three minutes."
"We have no chance to survive; make our time!" bemoaned Zanthur.
"God will you shut the hell up Zanthur! Learn to speak regular English you dumb bastard!" Dex gives out a breath then stands to address the crew.
"Crew, despite your shows of cowardice in past exchanges, I am unashamed in saying that it was a time and a half having you work for me. It was a good haul while it lasted, and surely you all hold gratitude knowing that you lived more in the three months working under me than you had with any other part of your life. And at such a bleak moment as this, we must remember to observe the tradition that the captain must always go down with his ship... So long suckers!!"
A platform rises beneath Dex and his chair and pushes them up into a hole that just appeared right above them. Following this departure, the bridge descends into complete chaos.
Meanwhile, Lance looks from above as the capital ship plummets into the planet's atmosphere, erupting into flame and smoke with pieces flying off it.
"I'm sorry it had to end like this, Dex," he said with some remorse. "Perhaps we will meet again someday soon."

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-19 14:56:57

Seconds later the melancholy ends when Lance spots activity on the ship. Through the trailing smoke Lance saw that much of the upper portion of the ship was rattling and rising, then in an instant one third of the ship bursts out and shoots straight up into the atmosphere. It passes Lance's level and soars up as a yell comes over the comms:
The ship portion stabilizes well above the Tristar, and despite the size Lance could tell it was a very large bulky fighter in the shape of the most jagged bloated V he ever saw.
"Dex?" Lance asked despite knowing the answer.
"Ah, so it really is you." Dex sounded pleased as well as extra gruff through the speakers. "It has been a long time my brother... in arms."
"Former brother in arms," Lance sternly corrected. "Our friendship ended the minute you left the federation!"
"Don't give me that. I left because my talents were underutilized and I wanted to show them what they could've had."
"No; you left because you're an impatient SOB who expects prestige to be handed to him regardless of talent!"
"Oww, Lance that truly hurts, especially coming from an old friend."
"We aren't friends Dex, not after what you've done. And it's time I ended your pirate days once and for all!"
"Heh. Always the goody-goody. Very well bitch, I'll murder that space dingy with my SDM Dex Custom-03."
"You named your ships after yourself? Talk about an ego."
"Oh yeah? Like your crap ship has something better to go by! Anyway, get ready to die asswipe!" Dex cried as he put on some techno-rock to intensify the mood.
"Likewise, dick!!" was Lance's equally offensive response.
The skies nearly clear of smoke from the falling ship the fighters thrust forward to do battle. Dex unleashes a barrage of red lasers at Lance, who deftly barrel rolls to dodge them all while shooting forward under Dex. Lance pulls off a half loop and lines up to face Dex's rear with guns ready.
"Ya little sissy! If ya wanna play keep-away then I'm game!" Dex challenged as he activates his bulky fighter's thrusters and speeds off toward the horizon. Lance does the same and a chase is on, yet shortly after some sparks flicker on the top of Dex's ship and the familiar blue light appears in front of him.
"What the?? The WID was installed on my escape fighter? Those idiots!!" Was all Dex could shout before warp initiated and both he and Lance disappear once more.

Hiroshima, Japan
1945 AD

The two fighters burst from warp and jet at a downward angle, breaking through some clouds and flying straight toward a city. After passing the city limits Lance prepares to fire his lasers when a great flash erupts from the city center, followed by a violent fiery mushroom cloud. Lance gets disoriented by the blast but manages to see Dex plow straight into the newly formed cloud. Lance focuses and follows him into the smoke, the radiation and heat sensors going crazy. Searching through the hot smoke and radioactive ash Lance couldn't spot Dex, but then some lasers go past his cockpit window grazing the hull.
"Peekaboo, Lance!" Said Dex over the comms as his fighter broke from a smoke bank and charged at the Tristar. Lance pulls back hard to stop his ship in time to let Dex's ship pass by feet from him, and once clear he reengages the boosters and goes after him. Following close behind the Tristar leaves the mushroom cloud and back into open sky with Dex in plain sight. Before Lance can fire Dex's ship initiates warp and soon the two ships blink out as they pass beneath a silver four engine plane.

Washington D.C., USA
1814 AD

A city in flames greets the arriving fighters, this one with rustic-looking buildings. Lance fires some lasers but Dex dodges them, soaring into the smoke-filled night sky. The ship turns to face the Tristar with Dex's laugh filling the comms.
"Didn't think my baby was so quick, didja?" he gloated.
"Let's see your fat ass dodge a missile big guy," was Lance's comeback.
"Try if you must, loser," taunted Dex before sending his ship into a sharp dive. Lance does the same and gets on Dex's tail, firing a missile as the altitude quickly dropped. Dex immediately pulls out of his sharp dive, making the missile plow straight into the ground behind a burning ornate white building. Lance curses under his breath and levels out of the dive to pursue Dex, and after flying clear of the smoky airspace the warp kicks in and the two are whisked off again.

Sea of Japan
1281 AD

Dex and Lance re-enter over stormy seas as both are pelted by rain and fierce wind. Dex turns his ship 180 degrees to face the Tristar while hovering backwards beneath the charcoal-black clouds.
"Enough with the pussy-footing; it's time to bring the thunder BABY!!"
The tips of Dex's fighter's wings light up and suddenly two huge laser streams erupt from them, accompanied by jagged bolts of lightning from the skies above. The laser streams slowly redirect down and forward at Lance as smaller lasers fire from the front of the ship to Dex's maniacal laughter. Lance bobs and weaves to avoid the smaller lasers as his maneuvering room tightens with the approaching huge lasers. The two large laser manage to obliterate several hapless wooden ships below before a bolt of lightning strikes Dex's ship, shorting out the electronics long enough to cut off the two massive death beams.
"Shit!" Dex cursed just as some return fire from Lance managed to hit one of his wings, at which point he repeats himself before turning around to flee again. Engaging the extra thrusters both Dex and Lance blast off out of the storm and over clear open ocean clocking at 8800 kilometers per hour before another warp kicks in.

Rhodes, Greece
226 BC

The fighters blast in over a stretch of ocean and reach an island with a city. Dex pulls back the thrusters and ducks slightly to let Lance fly over and past him, who upon realizing the ploy rotates his ship to face Dex once again.
"What to do with you now," Dex deliberated to himself, then looking out of cockpit viewscreen his eyes catch something of great interest, to which he says rather menacingly,
"That can work."

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-19 14:58:52

Reengaging the thrusters Dex flies to the city harbor near a colossal metal statue. Pushing a switch the bottom of his ship opens and a magnetic grapple beam shoots out at the statue, hooking onto the base of its neck. Pulling back the ship rips the statue clean from its knees, and immediately Dex makes his ship with statue attached spin in horizontal circles.
"Yo Lance! Try dodging this!" Dex shouted as he disengages the grapple beam, sending the airborne statue soaring toward Lance.
"Holy-!!" was Lance's immediate reaction to the massive metal idol flying right at him, but immediately after he flips a switch and sends a missile off. The missile explodes upon colliding with the statue, blasting it into dozens of large pieces that fall all around the city's harbor.
"Is that all you got Dex? Pretty desperate I'd say," taunted Lance, to which Dex brings his ship up several dozen feet.
"Oh yeah? You're out of missiles hot shot, I got something real special for you," Dex said as he types in a command into the console. Below the bow of his ship two plates slide aside and a large cannon emerges and locks into place, and from its cylinder a massive stream of fire erupts to form a huge stationary fireball.
"Napalm flamethrower more to your liking Lance? Temps so hot your shielding will go out in seconds, along with your wimpy ship!"
"Hold on; you installed a flamethrower on a space fighter??" said Lance disbelievingly.
"What can I say: I'm savage." Dex fires off a few more bursts of flame. "Ready or not here it comes!"
Dex charges his ship at Lance with the flamethrower set to constant. Lance spins his ship around and takes off to escape the approaching heat as Dex laughs. Now the pursued for a change Lance heads back out to sea with Dex's ridiculous flamethrower following behind, and coming in sight of land the blue warp aura surrounds the ships and away they go.

Sodom and Gomorrah
Genesis 19:24

Lance drops the Tristar down over an arid region and towards two primitive towns. As Lance flies over the towns Dex gives chase, his flamethrower incinerating everything below as he passes over. Lance makes for a distant mountain range as the warp activates again, but not before a stray bit of flame catches a fleeing woman outside the towns.

Gesher Benot Ya'akov, Israel
788,000 BC

The fighters zip over some mountains and down toward a river. The flamethrower on Dex's ship sputters and the endless fire stream starts diminishing.
"Shit, out of fuel already? Dammit," Dex said angrily as the fire goes out, a lone glob of flaming jelly fuel falling from the device and onto a tree next to the riverbank, setting it aflame before a group of frightened and crudely-dressed people. Dex switches back to his laser battery and fires at Lance as warp occurs.

Yucatan Peninsula
65,500,000 BC

Flying up into cloudy skies Lance brings the Tristar into a steep ascent and races into the stratosphere to escape the laser barrage. Going higher and higher up Lance dodges the pursuing Dex's lasers, but one at last scores a hit to the rightmost engine forcing the small fighter to drastically lose speed. Smoke trailing from the Tristar Lance manages to push his damaged ship out of the planet's atmosphere and some ways into the vacuum of space before Dex passes him to block his escape. Turning to face his quarry Dex revels in the moment.
"End of the line old buddy. Before you're reduced to space dust I just want you to know that even back in the academy you've always been a sore on my ass." The laser cannons along the wings power up for a finishing barrage. "So long, Lance!"
The firing sequence gets delayed when a warning goes off in the cockpit.
"Warning: Large Object Fast Approaching From Above Rear," spoke the female-voiced warning system.
"Another damn interruption?" Dex was back to being annoyed. "I got no time for this! It's probably some freakin' reinforcements to help Lance, but you're too late assholes!"
The console shoots up a holo-screen displaying a massive hunk of rock careening from above. Dex's eyes pop wide open seeing this, and stretching forward he looks up out of the viewscreen to see the asteroid falling right down on him.
"What the F-!?" was all that he could shout before the asteroid smashes into him, cutting off the techno-rock that had been playing through the Tristar's speakers. The asteroid passes Lance and plummets toward the planet, gaining speed and erupting into flame as it entered the atmosphere. Several seconds later the asteroid impacts and creates a massive hell-storm of fire and dirt with a shockwave tearing over surrounding land and ocean.
Lance sits back in his chair and takes a moment to catch his breath after the close call, relieved that the battle was finally over. The damaged ship drifts in silence, and when the planet comes into full view Lance saw that the dust cloud of the impact had spread over much of the surface.
"There goes the planet..." Lance quietly said to himself. "It's probably for the best with that war going on. Still, strange backwater place that's for sure; all those different building types. You have to wonder what kind of-"
"Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa there chief! No time to relax just yet."
Lance is stirred from his outer monologue when he spots an average-looking man wearing black glide in front of his ship and just hover there. Stranger still, the man's voice came over the cockpit speakers as clear as if he were right there with him.
"Quite a sight, huh? The impact I mean. You should be feeling lucky seeing history in the making."
"Who, what are you??"
"What do you think? I'm a Time Lord. Okay not really; I'm nowhere near British enough for that title."
"Can't hear me so well friend? You can just read what I said on your console."
Baffled Lance looks down at his console to see that everything the mystery man had said was in fact on screen, along with a portrait of the person plus title and name:
--Shooter-Minded Time Enigma--

"I'm also a Techno-mancer*," said the man as he resumed talking (*see Shadowrun). "Actually I'm not; I can just hack any dang thing I want."
Lance couldn't think up a single reply.
"You and that friend of yours really made a mess time-traveling all over the place. The sort of mess that'd cause a Sound of Thunder incident but luckily you two preserved history, as hard to imagine as that is."
"W-wait, time-traveling?? What are you talking about???"
"Admittedly certain 'powers' such as myself did arrange to set this event in motion so any chronological damages done cannot be blamed on you. But since you're here why not show me those fancy piloting skills that got you this far? A test of mettle so to say, and maybe one that will grant you some answers. But not without a proper mood-setter."
Despite the vacuum of space the man snaps his fingers and the sound carries into the cockpit along with a rock-symphony. A song name is brought up on the console:
-\o Japanese Treasure~Ideal Glosbeak -\o
Utterly confused and frightened Lance looks back at the man to see that a great white aura has formed around him.
"You put up a decent fight earlier. Now Try to Extra Stage!"
"What the Hell's Going ON????!!!!"
Neither Lance nor Dex were ever heard from again...

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-21 18:39:03


Dancing cogs, trapped within an elegant and metallic foxtrot, wasting their eternity confined within the embrace of their perpetual companions. An amber whirring fogging the air, the dull, monochrome cry of a soulless child, longing for a forever-absent mother to suckle. An ocean of heat masking the world, distorting the proud lines of a well-defined reality, conquering the cool wind that swept the world free of the still and unfeeling dust.

Wind... words were wind, gales, powerful maelstroms that shook the world. For wind itself does nothing but blow, moving the leaves and allowing the plants to sing their soul-shaking songs. Words themselves are nothing, but their message could move the masses into singing a chorus that reached the ears of God and demanded change.

But wind could only move those willing. The sturdy, the strong, the established, merely watched wind come and go, as fleeting as the continuing and dire song of their leech-like singers, separating the individual leaves and forbidding their departure from their thick branches.

How he detested those unwilling to sing with the wind...

The pained howls of unfeeling steel as it clashed its hungry fist against the sturdy ground, a melody with the heart of a metronome yet the soul of twisted fire. Radiant orange stains the stagnant air, its menacing glow a prelude to the billows and breaths of heat-starved machines. Strained, empty gasps from tired, weary men, eager to be vomited up from the belly of the factory and escape into the freedom promised by the golden glow of a dimming afternoon sun.

But their work was nearly done. The labor of generations had finally reached its climax, the lingering crescendo of dying breaths and eager cries had long tortured the eternal, diligent overseer of this ambition, this dream, this conquest of the once impenetrable law that blighted the landscape of this existence. But it was nearly over. It was almost time for the quivering strings and the trembling woodwinds to lay down their instruments and hungrily soak in the thundering applause of an awe-struck audience.

It was time to join the wind. It was time to imbue the tired gales with a power it couldn't have acquired normally within its wild, unpredictable life. It was time to move the unmovable. It was time to throttle the foundation of establishment and wring the chaos out of it, releasing the demons that Order had hoped to contain. To once again free the true, colorful, anarchic spirit that once embodied humanity before law had come and trapped them in a beautiful cage of lies and protection. Tasty for the eyes did not always mean appealing to the tongue, however, and any attempts to swallow this breathtaking illusion were always met with disgust.

He wanted to believe their promises. He tried, over and over. But no matter how he tried, he only came to reaffirm that happiness never came with order. Happiness demanded freedom, and only the wind would allow him to cave to the whims of the most elusive yet desired emotions in the human mind.


Empty. The ears, the eyes, the nose, were all graced with a welcoming release from the once overwhelming and offensive sensations that came when the factory was active. But now, an emptiness filled them, a blanket of darkness that held each part of him, cradling him within its cool, soothing embrace. It was... brilliant.

The only one to consume the abundance of air that flowed through the factory, his lungs moved, in and out, with the slowness and dedication an artist puts into any masterpiece. It was a time to savor. It was a time to close one's eyes and think about the sobering future and what gifts it promised to give, and what taxes it guaranteed to toll.

Invisible dew, dripping with the flavor of human flesh, dropped silently off the blood-stained gears as their creator started up the shy, transparent little machine that sat in the heart of the factory. A slow mutter arose from the once timid machine, growing in frequency and loudness until its quiet murmurs turned into feverish war-cries that tore through the veil of silence that was suffocating the world.

Amidst this deafening wail, however, another player made its presence known. Another resonance that could be heard, faintly hiding in the musical forest of pandemonium. It sounded of water, wrapped gingerly within a cocoon of rose petals, bouncing rhythmically atop the skin of the moon. When that painfully dim sound reached his ears, his soul felt a rush of euphoria: it worked. He had reached it. This machine was knocking upon the door of time itself.

It was time to change everything.


A stairwell, formed from the very darkness itself, and held firm by the unwavering principles that created this universe. A void, spiraling and eternal, which swallowed his vision and forced his gaze to lock onto the abyss that stood before him. Shadows, a rainbow of black and white, snuck on the line between what he could see and what he was blind to, their nonexistent claws dragging across his pupils, begging to be acknowledged yet fearful of being noticed. It was a whole new dimension, a terrifying one, and something incomprehensible to the human mind. This was time. The door opened for him, eager to welcome a guest into its lonely empire, only to find its once-impatient guest was now paralyzed, his brain crammed with regrets, remorse, and excuse.

He was the ambassador of the wind, however, and after making such ambitious promises to his master, it demanded he make good of his word. A sudden gale, heavy and thick like a giant's breath, sucked him in, drawing him mercilessly into the gluttonous alien world...


An aura of solemn merriment swam throughout the room, lapping up against each and every mind present like a wave against a pearly beach, the waters cleansing the ground yet dragging unfortunate grains of sand into watery tombs. This aura stole away the common sense of many, yet for some it deposited a sense of unadulterated responsibility into their once giddy minds. Whispers were launched into the air, passing through the ears of their intended recipients, then vanishing with the embers that escaped the wild cages of fire that swayed atop each torch that dotted the dark, limestone womb.

A rogue breeze fell upon those present, yet its message was given only to one, a stranger among the men: This is your opportunity. Help me make the whole world sing.

A voice amplified by the legend it would herald ushered a silence to fall upon the whispers and the ash.

"Ur is in a state of discord. Robbers and thieves steal our livestock, our coin, and the kindness out of our spirits. Rapists ravaging the pure wombs of our women, disregarding the rights of their husbands. Murderers claiming the lives of the just citizens, soaking the land with the tainted blood of innocents... it is chaos, madness, and every silent tear shed by my citizens tears into my soul. There is an abundance of good within this city, yet freedom is a tool utilized more by the forces of evil. The continuing issue of how to quell the anarchy has eluded us for far too long... but, my father, Ur-Nammu, has come down from his heavenly palace to grant me this set of codes and regulations, used to deter those with wicked hearts. The gods shall punish evil, in time, but until then, let the thief and the rapist know that earthly vengeance shall be at their doorstep should they invoke the rights held only by gods and kings."

Foolish words masked pleasingly with the promise of a brighter future, yet as one who has come to witness the ripening of this delicate fruit, he knew that the core of this apple was rotten and sick. For this sermon of fools had yet to know that this fowl concrete would harden, restricting humanity to a repetitive existence of melancholy. They were too lost in the present to clearly gaze upon the future, and too excited by the concept of safety to see what sacrifices would be made to make this dystopian dream come to life.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-21 18:41:46

To cage the wind within bars of contempt and threaten her chaotic, serene grace with punishment and reprisal... the only crimes that could clearly exist in a world without laws.

A copper blade, forged by a widower from the remains of rusted armor, sharpened on a river-rock that rested on a bank of tears, rested in the man's hand, a reminder of his task. A duty to his deity, a promise to his patron, a gift to the gales whose songs had not been heard. With a devilish glee, the person lunged forward, an assassin's cry rumbling from his throat. While this blade cut through the air, its metal never dulled, as the wind's blood did nothing but trickle into oblivion.

It hit its mark, the metal diving deep into the pool of skin and flesh, spewing forth red tears from the wound it sorrowfully spawned. A uniform breath was drawn from the throng of men behind him, silenced and awed by his boldness and speed, yet unimpressed or aghast with the motives behind his sinner's massacre. Their blindness emboldened their spirits, which summoned a uniform cry for righteousness, knowing little of the fact that justice without law did not exist: only the singularly wild song of the wind was left, its future chains melted away, now free to sing, to dance, and to move.

A surging wall of sweat and flesh pushed forward through the thick, liquid air so as to accost the strange assailant; yet as swiftly as they charged, the man was stolen from their sights, his visage vanishing into nothingness akin to a wolf darting into a hillside of gray: spirited away by the machine's dying sputters: the unrecoverable years of thousands of men could only produce a moment of such mechanical magic.

Yet, while he was back into time, he was not in his time, no sir. For he had crushed the dream of order before it could impale the ground with its oaken roots.

Yet, a silent dread had been sowed into the fertile soil of his mind. A quiet, reflective knowledge that told him that the wind might have misguided his snow-pure intentions. For while the wind was words, words were built upon a series of uncompromising rules... without rules, people were reduced to spewing out uncoordinated garbles and grunts.

For with chaos came freedom, with order came reflection. The peaceful acknowledgement of one's accomplishments could only be dutifully noticed if one had the ability to guide their own thoughts... and one could not guide the wind.

Humanity was not the wind.

And as he gazed upon the warped reflection of a once proud, caged society, he came to know that the cage did not ensnare the wind, merely gave it shape...

...but without words, without the laws, his mistake could not be undone...


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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-27 13:47:42

AGAIN Part 1 of 2

Again. Again and again, and nothing changed. It was a stupid idea. Was it a stupid idea? Stupid or not, he kept on walking, and then returning. Another lap down the track he said to himself. What is another lap? Yes, tedious, of course mind numbing, but just another lap. Only time, and time was of the essence. Time was everything he wanted. How to return in time? An artist by profession, he'd always have crazy ideas. Crazy. Understatement. If one could walk -or run, or crawl, or whatever -down a track, and then retrace exactly one's steps -down to a T -, time could be... cheated... and travelling back in time could be possible. Crazy ideas. Major understatement.

Fuck. He knew he had raised his arm two millimetres more than needed in that last lap. Stupid. He felt stupid. His idea lacked... common sense... and yet, he kept on walking and returning... rinse and repeat. Something burned inside of him. His guts. What was he searching for? What was he running from? His life. Yes, that tedious life... of course, all of the mind numbing experiences he got from each and every awfully dull day... but just another lap. Here at the track, back home... time wasted anyway.

Weeks. Almost four weeks had passed since the beginning of his little... experiment. He was bored. Interesting what twenty-eight days of repetition can do to one's mind. Today, he felt exhausted and starved. Strange, he had had a hearty breakfast. Had he? He did not quite remember whether he had had or had not had breakfast. If he had... was it really hearty? He started to feel dizzy and, of course, that dizziness resulted in he fucking up yet another lap. He was more than bored, but he had never failed before, and did not mean to fail this time either.

Once. Twice. Three times, you're out. But he'd not stop there. He kept on going... four, five, six and seven. Then he'd go eight, nine, ten and up to eleven. How many times had he walked around that track in those four weeks? A thousand times maybe? More like a thousand, six hundred and eighty-seven times, to be precise. Eighty-eight. Eighty-nine. Ninety. And then it happened. It was a strange sensation. He could not move any of his muscles. His entire body moved on its own accord, and started to retrace its steps... down to a T. His body was actually moving backwards in time. The speed with which it moved rapidly increased. In less than five seconds, he had lost all consciousness, and in seven seconds he was on all fours, huffing and puffing. The ride was over.

Perception. It can be deceiving. Specially, the perception we have of time. He felt pain. He felt sick. An eternity passed as seconds dragged and he was still down on his knees, trying to recover his breath... his composure. He felt hours had passed before he could take a glance over his watch. He knew, in his gut, that he had gone back in time. It was the only possible explanation for his out-of-this-world experience. He did not need the validation of that worthless piece of steel attached to his wrist. Yet, he wanted to know how far he had come. He needn't proof... but knowledge. He wanted to know how back he had come.

Minutes. Three miserable minutes. He had gone back in time only three petty little minutes. Not even three whole minutes, he had gone back two minutes and forty-five seconds approximately. He felt cheated. Four weeks of hard work for an actual gain of three minutes against the insurmountable and relentless passing of time. Call it a day and go back home. Return to the frustration, the depression, the sickness and the pain. What could he do with a three-minute gain against time? The answer was, of course, absolutely nothing. He couldn't sleep that night. He just thought about his little adventure, how his bizarre idea had accomplished everything and yet given him nothing.

Ideas. They come and go as they please, never announcing their arrival and always dressing in the most peculiar of visages. He was in the bathroom, sitting on the toilet, when it hit him. He got a three-minute gain for one lap at the tracks. What would happen if he increased the number of laps? Jump out of the toilet. Brush your teeth. Put on some clean pants. Get down to the track. Two laps. Retrace your steps. The adventure begins, again. This newfound excitement made him error once or twice, but then it happened, only this time he had gone two laps at the track. His body moved backwards in time... again. He blacked-out during the journey... again. He ended up with his hands and knees on the floor, gasping for air... again. Almost breathless, he took a look at his watch. A little over seven minutes.

More. Since the beginning of time, human beings have always wanted more. They want everything. Another day at the track, experimenting. Three laps. Actual gain was twenty minutes. He wanted more, much more. He didn't want a piece... he wanted all of the cake. He proceeded to attempt ten laps at the track. Took him a while, but he managed to complete them... ten laps and a completely flawless retrace. He didn't know the rather exact figure at that moment, but he had gotten three hundred and sixty-seven minutes back in time. He had gained around fifteen days. Two weeks. By that time his girl hadn't left him yet, so he went home to pay her a visit.

Loser. Whenever they'd argue, she'd always call him a loser. This was no exception. This time was different, though. He had grown tired of his relationship. Actually, he had grown tired of everything in his life. He wanted a change. He craved for a change. He couldn't have cared less for everything she called him. He just stood there, smiling. Not once in his life had he felt more satisfied. He considered himself ambitious. Some people called it greediness, insatiability, voraciousness. The son of a rich man, he lived a life of kings. He had never really cared about anything. He liked to write, so he was a writer. Whenever he needed money he reached into daddy's pocket... the trust fond daddy had set up for him, specifically. His name was Thomas.

Exponential. It's a big word, like extreme and excessive. When you have a word that has an X as one of its letters, you ought to know you're in deep shit. Of course, Tom knew nothing of this. Exponential is a term you'd expect a mathematician to use, not Tom. Writers can't do math. After kicking his girl out of his apartment, Thomas returned to the track. He wanted to go further back. He regretted many of his past decisions, or at least he thought he regretted them. Little did he know that these journeys made him go back in time in an exponential fashion... as in exponential growth... exponential acceleration. Twenty laps would take him roughly nine hundred twenty-three years back in time. It's not really necessary to say that Tom wasn't even born in 1086. He was twenty-eight years old.

Bounds. They exist for a reason. When limits are taken out of the equation, problems ensue. Earth has been around for some 4.54 billion years. If one would -and could -go fifty laps on the track and then retrace them, thus activating the back in time displacement, and taking into account an exponential function with Euler's constant being elevated fifty times, one would wind up in a 9864356028514216 years back point in time... a number that is, obviously, even unreadable. Luckily, no person exists that is sufficiently mental to try and go fifty laps at the track. Meet Tom... again.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-27 13:50:52

AGAIN Part 2 of 2

Impossible. It was just a word, and Tom had proven that. It's impossible to exactly retrace and match each and every movement one makes over a certain period of time. It's impossible to travel back in time. Then, was it impossible to go 9864356028514216 years back in time? As if driven by fate, destiny, maybe even chance or stupidity, Tom went fifty laps at the track. He was about to go an astronomical amount of time backwards... or not. Only time could tell.

Theories. Beliefs. Religion. People tend to seek -or create -explanations to everything. Since ancient times, myths and legends have been created. Science suggests the universe started some thirteen-point-something billion years ago. 13.something billion years ago. Tom knew zero, nil, zilch. Not that he was bothered with what he was about to experience, he was at the brink of nothingness... of finding actually nothing and possibly meeting oblivion.

Blackness. He saw without eyes, and Tom met blackness and vacuum. Always being empty, never feeling fulfilled or satisfied, Thomas J. Edwards became what he always had been... a void. There were no words or sounds, as Tom had no mouth to utter them. Even more so, there were no ears for words to lie upon in this place. Tom was wrong, this wasn't blackness... it was blankness. No light. No dark. Nothing. And as Tom struggled to break free, to create a consciousness out of this abyss, to open his mind... the slightest ray of hope shimmered an infinitesimal brightness, far away, in the great beyond. Welcome to the dream. The dream is over.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-27 14:25:33

At 7/6/10 11:48 PM, cheezy805 wrote: Rick,
I just wanted you to know how much I love you, that I have always loved you and will always be in love with you. If you don't make it out of this alive I want you to know this as my final message and I want you to remember me, and us.
If anything should happen to go wrong, press the button on the roof, however with you at my side, we should not have failed and you will return home safely.
Love, Sam
Rick knew nobody would ever hear it but he said it aloud anyway, he whispered 'I love you too, Sam.'

Another ear-splitting CRACK and he arrived back in his own time, he heard Sam crying and wailing about something he knew not. He climbed out of the time machine and walked across Sam's yard. Sam turned around and whispered 'what happened?'
Rick simply said 'let's go to the park. I will explain the full story in time.'

Review time!

Now, one problem I keep on seeing with your story is that your punctuation results aren't that well. I think it would be required using a comma whenever putting apostrophies for thoughts. I don't even know if you should be using apostrophies for that kind of thing. It would be more of a loveable story if you italicized the thoughts instead of that. And when talking to themselves or talking to some-one else...quotation marks would be a WHOLE lot better than just using that since this is a third person point-of-view story.

The story itself was overall a good concept, and well drug-out. But this is really difficult for me to get used to because it seems to be slowly just dragging the concept. By that I mean that maybe you should just speed some things up by not explaining things that don't really need to be explained at all. Sadly, that's a flaw of all us writers. It's not really a HUGE bad thing, but just a thought.

Good luck though!

Help the poor! Help the hungry in Africa!

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-27 14:33:22

At 7/3/10 12:13 AM, TreadVigorously wrote: TreadVigorously - A Bit of a Philosophical Take on Time - Part 1 of 1

As I sit and write this piece, I travel forward in time. It does not matter how this fact is measured. Whether you view time in Plancks or seconds, it is still fact. The only way to travel to my past is to remember it. The past, therefore, must exist only in my memories. My stream of consciousness moves along the dimension of time as I remember my past. If this is true, with enough strength of mind, can I not recall my future? Should I sit and meditate upon this fact, could I lose myself in my own history, and my own future? I could travel along any branch of time that I can conceive, and it can follow any canon I wish it to. No one can disprove my past, as it is no longer at the present for them to observe. Nor will my past appear again in the future to be challenged by thought, unless my mind demands it. The concepts of past, present, and future are indeed arbitrary. Can it even be proven that present exists? As I think of my present, does that very moment not fade to the past, never to return? There is only one logical conclusion one can draw from the notion of time, and that is that humanity, the very creators of time, must constantly move forward.

Live for the future my friends, as the past may no longer be manipulated, and the present is constantly slipping away from us.

Your review (I love doing this).

Now, the idea was very well thought-out. The only thing I found wrong, although I bet this is as far as you could go with it, is that it was very...VERY short. It just didn't seem tolerable to me. Your story is only a paragraph and one sentence long. What is this? It's like you were trying to write a children's book and ended up going to be a little too sophisticated for it! The advanced culture you put into this shows that it's for adults, but the length of it shows that you have the attention span for writing a story of probably a 5-10 year old. I'm not trying to insult anyone here, but that's as blunt as I can be with all of this.

Another thing is that you just seemed to be sort of repeating yourself. Over and over, I keep on thinking to myself while reading to this: ".....I'm looking back on my past without looking into my future...." It's a little to repetitive, don't you think?

Overall, I'd give this story a 6/10 if it was able to be rated. I'm glad that you put yourself up this kind of work, but maybe you should try expanding a little bit more for this kind of story.

Help the poor! Help the hungry in Africa!

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-27 22:22:53

Time Fixers - Part 1 of 2

Max walked right by it, but didn't quite see it. Maybe because that being was well hidden, maybe just because he was too nervous to notice it.
"Good luck!" said someone behind him as he entered the gray room.

He was almost in panic, but managed to sit in the wooden chair that was prepared for him. He stared at the floor for a couple of seconds, thinking how gray and cold it was, until someone entered through the door. Max raised his head towards the old man..."Oh no!"- he thought- "Why me?". Still, there he was, Max, at his 13 years old, having his history oral exam with the most feared professor from the history section: Mr. Liaf. According to his mother, he was the only teacher in the world that could fail an entire class of 13 students just because he was in the mood of doing so.

The old man reached the door and closed it slowly, making the room even darker and creepier than it already was.
Max saw a silver, shiny spot slip in the room as the door shut. Since he was too scared to think properly he simply ignored it.
Suddenly, his attention was requested: "Mr. Emit, right?. His examiner, Mr. Liaf, was sitting in front of him, and had talked with a deep voice that terrified the poor kid, allowing him only to whisper: "mhmm"

"Well... we both know why you are here, so start whenever you want."- said the man while taking notes on a little book he had brought with him.
The boy closed his eyes and started to think as hard as he could, trying to remember all he had studied and memorized over the week; yet, he didn't recall most of what he had studied, maybe a thing or two,but not more, just like if he had it all locked up in his mind, or worst, vanished from it.
He opened his eyes, and there he was, alone with Mr. Liaf.

The small being glanced max from the corner of the room as he slowly shifted, but he had to do it very carefully if he didn't want to recall the big creature´s attention.
His business was only with the small one, and he didn't want to screw up the whole mission, at least not one of this importance.

Max had to say something or perish right there, so he started improvising along the way, at least until he started remembering what he had studied.
For the first minute or two he was doing great, Mr. Liaf took notes only once or twice and his serious face was a sign saying: "You haven't screwed up...yet"

Another 30 seconds or so, and max was starting to get more nervous, as he couldn't continue improvising, he needed what he had read; Suddenly, Max heard a "crack!" coming from the corner of the room, near the door. He turned and saw the silver shiny spot he had seen slip into the room.

He looked at Mr. Liaf, but he was still staring at him with his permanent gaze.
"Seemingly, nothing can stop my exam from taking place" - Max thought.
it took a moment for him to notice something was going on with his professor. He noticed his eyes were dark, better yet, even darker than before, almost as black as an abyss.
His first reaction was to ask if there was something wrong, but, having no reply, he remained still, looking at him.

"Hello." said a soft voice coming from behind him.
Max almost jump from his chair, and by the time he could recover , the voice had started talking again, but this time, it was produced a couple of feet away from him:
"I come from the future, and i have stopped time so i can talk to you without being interrupted, meaning i left you unaffected"

The origin of the voice was a cat. Max blinked. A normal, thin, pretty cat.
He (as Max supposed it was a male judging by its voice) was completely gray,with the exception of a single white stripe that went from his head to his tail.

It took a couple of seconds for the boy to realize the situation. He couldn't decide what was more important: The fact that the cat was talking, or that his professor was still in the same rigid position as before, according to the odd cat,due to being freezed in time. He chose asking about the time manipulation.

"W-wait.... so y-you stopped t-time?!" -Max asked.
"Well, yes. But only because i hadn't got any more options... or maybe i had.
Anyway, i got scared, and i entered into action. You know, if that giant discovered me i don't know what could have happened. Oh yes, and don´t be afraid, i am not here to hurt you boy."
"O-Oh..." the little kid took a deep breath and continued "o-ok, but what do you want with me? I-I'm just a boy!"

The cat started: "Umm...well, i guess i owe you an explanation. As you may have guessed, i am not a cat; its only a shape i took to conceal my true identity.
"But why d..." - started Max, but before he could finish, the creature interrupted him: "Wait please, i haven't finished."
The shape shifter looked at the immobile professor for a moment and continued:
"I said i come from the future, a future you´ll be a part of, as everyone, living or dead. However, throughout history some people make what we call a connection
with time; this people are capable of altering the course of history by simply taking a step right instead of left.
I do not belong to that group, so if i perish during my time here i am sure the universe will somehow manage to keep history intact."

Max was completely confused and surprised with the story, so he asked the creature to continue.
"Now, you are a part of this elite, and that means you're infallible for my... for our future to happen as it is meant to."
The kid´s eyes were balloons by now, he stood up from his chair and started walking around the obscure room in silence.
"Wow, but i still don't understand what are you doing here, not to mention what are you."
"Well"- the creature continued -"although due to obvious motives concerning time-space i cant tell you what i am, i am in liberty of informing you that your role in history starts with a history exam, this one in particular."
Max blinked a couple of times and remembered his professor, who was still petrified.

"Something will go wrong today Max,"- the cat began saying- "so i have come here to fix it, and go back to my era as soon as possible, as to not interfere more than i have already."
The boy sat on the rigid chair and stared again at the floor, thinking what amazing thing he might discover as an adult, cures he could find, nations he could guide...or destroy.

"Max, i have come here to take you to a quick trip to the past; then i will leave, passing the exam is up to you. Of course i expect you to act normally then, and if possible, get a high score." Max thought for a moment the cat was smiling, but before he could notice well, the room became brighter and brighter, to the point it was impossible for the kid to open his eyes.

A couple of seconds and strange noises later, Max opened his eyes to find himself in the countryside, surrounded by nothing more than yellowish grass and a bright sun above him.

His first though was he was crazy, a crazy kid in the middle of nowhere...with a cat.
The animal was standing still, moving its tail, but definitely not smiling,or at least not now. He was looking at the horizon, where a mass of blurry shapes were now pouring out, like a mass of beasts.They were yelling unintelligible things, but they seemed pretty angry.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-27 22:26:44

Time Fixers - Part 2 of 2

A loud war-cry originated from behind Max ,and turning around, the boy saw a similar vision coming from far away. It was obvious what was going to happen.
"They cant see us" suddenly said the small being.
"B-but how??!!" Replied Max, almost shouting.
"Well, if i can travel time, then simply showing you a vision of the past should be fairly easy for me, and guess what, this is a vision."
By now, the two masses were completely visible, and near collision.

The one in front of Max was composed by strong men yielding swords and shields, yet without a defined formation, also seemingly anxious of fighting.
Max started to remember part of his studies, and realized this was not anything like in the books, where the men were properly formed and silent, walking slowly towards their enemy.
This group was supposed to be -according to what the boy now remembered- in three rows, archers in front, infantry next, and cavalry last.
What he saw, confused him: archers were replaced with pike-men, and there were not three organized rows, but one big round shaped mass sprinting towards the sword-men army.

They were getting nearer every second, and Max started to panic. The gray cat had stopped moving its tail, and began smiling. Max closed his eyes expecting the collision to happen any moment...

Another flash, strange sounds, and a little headache reached max, leaving him unbalanced and near tripping.
Whoa...what, we returned?" Max asked surprised, as he expected the now serious cat to let max watch the fight.
"Oh! yes, you see, i couldn't risk deforming the past so much.".-the cat stated.
"What do you mean? And what happened back there exactly? it wasn't anything like what i have read."

"The fact that i returned in time to fix our future meant that i had to reassemble your present, and so, as the present changes, something in the past has to change too."
"What? You mean that by changing my present, you also modified my past?
"Of course" -Started the cat- "Let me put it as simple as it can get: I don't have a connection with time, remember? So history wont modify because of me, yet i did make you change the past, as for you to pass your exam. Now, there has to be a change in your -our- past that makes you say the right things in your exam. So far so good?" - the shape-shifter asked.
"Yes...i think."- Max answered
"Good." -continued the strange being- "Now, what could possibly be that change that makes you know everything you need to know at the exam? Simple, the universe "corrected" the battle we have just seen so as to fit the description you would have given in your exam. So in the end, the "real version" of the battle is now lost, replaced by what your imagination could get. A little sacrifice of history for a better future."
"...I ... I don't think i get it."- The boy said

"Umm...due to the fact you are still a kid, i will explain one more time: If i hadn't come here, you would have said whatever came to your mind on your exam, right? Well, as the past had to be arranged so as to fit whatever you could say, the universe modified the armies to fit the description you were going to give to your professor about them."
" i get it! So i, he he,modified the past?"
"Yes, you'll see that everyone on earth believes the whole battle happened like the one your young mind invented"

Suddenly, max started to feel sick; for a couple seconds he felt like throwing up, but he took a couple deep breaths and felt better.
"Yes, a little side effect of mind shouldn't happen again. You'll be fine" -The small creature said, while starting to move its tail again.

"Now, my time is running out, the past has deformed too much already. I know you may not have all the answers you wanted, but the less you know the better. However, there is one last thing i have to tell you before i go: We will meet again in the future... , and only then i will greet you in my true form."

Max saw how the gray cat smiled one last time and turned instantly into a shiny metal liquid; it quickly slipped towards a window and got through a little opening disappearing from Max´s view.

The little kid was astounded by the whole episode, but before his mind could process any of the recent events, a deep voice behind him said: "Mr. Emit, where are you going? Your exam has just begun."
Max closed his eyes again, took a deep breath and turned his face towards Mr. Liaf.
This time he was ready.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-30 12:48:56

The Shift -Part 1
"Will you hurry the fuck up! Burgers don't cook themselves and you've got a line to hell and back in drive through!" a nasally voice shouted from the front end. Useless idiot, Jeff silently mouthed in response as he hurriedly slammed the microwave shut and flicked the timer, proceeding to snatch buns and condiments and shaping them into something allegedly edible. With a 180 spin he lowered fries and onion rings into a sizzling deep fryer and after a quick glance at incoming orders returned to crafting sandwiches. Damn, need more tomatoes, he realized, immediately grabbing a nearby tomato and knife. His hands deftly sawed and sliced, making neat circles until a streak of crimson jetted out from his hand, greeted with a burst of vulgarity.

"Tell Becky to finish this crap, I'm busted open! I've been on my own here for 5 hours, someone else can take over for a bit!" Jeff announced as he rinsed and wrapped his finger, met with a nasally groan and spouts of disagreement from the manager. Jeff threw off his red visor and let his mess of dirty blond hair hang freely over his wary face as he walked out the back door. His stocky and muscled frame climbed slowly up a ladder to the roof, where he knelt down and sat seiza style, and closed his eyes.

As always with his ritual of meditation he cleared his mind and imagined his Qi flowing freely throughout his body, then gathering just below his navel, swirling about in a whirlpool of warm energy before dispersing through every capillary and cell of his body. In those moments he almost felt as if he could feel the universe, like he could reach out and touch existence itself. He let himself completely relax and forget about the stresses and annoyances of life, now existing somewhere else entirely.

"Hell of a place to meditate, don't you think?" Interrupted a voice alien and yet undeniably familiar to Jeff. He opened his eyes to see a stranger standing confidently before him who bore a remarkable likeness to himself. His figure was lithe and slim, muscled like a dancer or gymnast in stark contrast to his own linebacker like physique. The youth was trendily dressed with designer jeans and a large brown satchel at his side. His blond hair was cut short with a well trimmed goatee framing his fixed smirk. Otherwise, their facial features matched perfectly he realized, slowly raising to look into blue eyes identical his own. "Good news Jeff, you've got a long lost identical twin! Amazing, isn't it?" the stranger declared with a wide grin.

Jeff narrowed his eyes suspiciously, instinctively tightening his fist at the unexpected scene before him. "How did you find me and what do you want?" he demanded, his voice slow and careful, feeling a knot of discomfort growing in his gut.

The stranger let out a dramatic sigh and clasped his hands behind his head, still unable to hide his smirking. "Fine, if your so worried about details, I'll stop enhancing the truth. The reality is, I'm you. Born at the same time, same parents, same genetic code... you and I, my friend, are closer then any pair of identical twins have ever been. And I'm a time traveler. And soon, you will be too."

It was Jeff's turn to grin. "Now you're really..."

"Full of shit, I know, just look at this" he finished as he tossed a small book towards Jeff's feet. He gingerly picked up the small, maroon photo album and opened the front page, revealing a Polaroid of Bruce Lee with a group of students, a younger version of himself included. The following pages had Polaroid photos of various time periods before instant cameras with himself as the star, ranging as widely from confederate uniform to the elaborate suits of French nobility. One particularly amusing photo had himself in normal clothes giving the devil horns hand hand sign along side a caveman making an attempt at a smile and making the same gesture with some difficulty.

Jeff looked to his doppelganger with reluctance. "This is your proof? All that shows is you've got a decent bit of experience with Photoshop and way too much time on your hands."

"Alright, name one famous person from anytime, anywhere that you'd want to meet, and I'll take you, hows that sound?" the leaner Jeff offered, his expression earnest.

Jeff smiled mischievously. "Jesus Christ."

"Seriously? Fuck's sake, THAT is who you want to meet!?" The time traveler closed his eyes and brought his palm to his forehead. "I think you'll be a bit disappointed, but it's your call. Sit. Close your eyes. Do it!" Jeff looked to him with puzzlement, but reluctantly knelt. "This is going to feel a bit different at first, just think of it like meditation. Whatever you do, don't let go."

Figuring he had nothing to lose, Jeff attempted in vain to clear his mind despite his inner voice screaming bullshit. He relaxed and let his body grow still as he felt hands placed lightly on his shoulders. He felt a new, warm sensation, as though he was shifting through reality, like he were nothing more than an electron cloud in a giant sea of existence. Jeff no longer felt conscious but instead something like a vague sense of drifting. A sensation of being carried held him back from the desire to branch out and be absorbed into a sea of particles. He felt his consciousness return to reality and stood up quickly, breathing heavily with shock. He found himself in a grassy area near a dirt road, his recently acquainted double standing by with a smug smile. "Still think I'm full of shit?"

Jeff stood jaw agape as he marveled at his surroundings. His double nudged his side, arm extended with a brown blanket of sorts. He already had one wrapped around himself, hiding his clothing and such underneath and keeping his hair cloaked under it, casting a shadow over his fair features. Shocked by the surreal nature of his situation, Jeff composed himself and silently obeyed, wrapping his own linen sheet around with some help of his companion. "Follow, and don't say anything too loud, we don't want to attract attention" his companion warned in a hushed voice, Jeff responding with a nod. They traveled down a worn down pebble road in silence, occasionally passing by strangers with dark, sullen cast faces. Jeff tried his hardest not to make eye contact, his hands practically trembling at this point. This shit has to be a dream, there's just no way, Jeff thought to himself, giving his inner cheek a hard bite to test his theory. Still here, still hurts.

"Eyes up, chief. There's your savior on his soapbox" Jeff's twin had whispered in a hushed voice as they approached a small group huddled around a speaker. A man with long, dark hair and a matching complexion was speaking in a language phonetically alien to Jeff. It was obvious the speaker was passionate through his gestures, some of his crowd most interested, many indifferent and slowly trudging off to go about their business, and an older man with a thick gray beard appearing especially shocked. Other than being the center of attention, the speaker hardly looked significantly different from anyone else, clad in rough linens and a sash that looked as though it had seen better days. Jeff squinted a bit, still digesting the surreal nature of the situation.

"Hmm... I didn't think he'd look..." Jeff whispered, finding himself at a loss for words.

"Like someone on the FBI's no-fly list?" Dash interjected as met his eyes with a cocked eyebrow and wide grin. "Yeah, it's a bit hard to have any sort of meaningful communication with him, considering the language and culture barrier. Come, let's get away from the crowd before someone notices us." They trailed off casually to a near by lake, for the most part empty other than some fisherman long out of earshot. Jeff slowly relaxed, letting his hair go free and sat next to his double, the reality of time travel slowly feeling as tangible as the earth he sat on.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-30 12:50:36

-Part 2
"So how did you discover... your ability?" Jeff asked cautiously, looking up at his sinewy copy who was leaning back against a tree with his hands clasped behind his head.

"You taught me. Well, not you specifically, but an older you. The man you would have eventually become had I not whisked you away from your otherwise mundane life. The master was the same man as you and I... just older." The speaker slowly stepped forward from his lax stance, his voice growing as he continued his tale. "At fifty one years old, Jeffery Viken quite accidentally touched reality itself and traveled through time. There was a catch though... every time he shifted to another time, time itself reset." His twin couldn't hide the smirk on his face as he stood before Jeff, lecturing and gesturing as though to a grand audience. "Any time we move through time, everything goes back to the way it was, as though we'd never done so. For instance, I could go back in time and kill our parents before our birth... then shift back to now, and you'd still be flipping burgers in that ridiculous outfit. Likewise, even after taking you with me, we could go back, and find you there, grilling away miserably with that bandaged hand of yours." Jeff reflexively touched his recent laceration, reminding him of the events a few minutes and two millennia away.

"The other catch seems to be that you can't go into the future... not any farther then you've aged had you never jumped at all. As you can imagine, the older Jeffery felt quite alienated, unable to prove or even effectively change the world around him despite his new found talent... furthermore, none of his children were able to utilize it. He spent several years testing and trying, in vain, to change history to no avail. Eventually he decided he was tired of being alone, and took advantage of his gift to shift to his youth and teach younger versions of himself these skills... I was the youngest of the three of us. I suppose he went to different times and ages so he'd be able to feel like he had some sort of a family with us, he treated us like his children."

"So where is he now? And your... our siblings?" Jeff interjected, mesmerized and intrigued by the tale.

"Not sure, honestly. A few years back, I shifted away, alone. I've been alone ever since. Oh, my name is Dash, by the way... would get rather annoying if we were both Jeff, yeah? Maybe someday you'll choose your own name then, until then I suppose you're Jeff." Dash smirked and Jeff cracked a grin. "Well, now that introductions and such are out of the way, and you know the basic rules, where do you want to go? And remember, no matter how hard you try, your actions will have no results, no consequences with the future. Think of human history as a playground with no rules!"

The next several weeks floated by like something of a dream for Jeff. Everyday was a new life, sometimes several. Dash took him through light tours of sight seeing historical places and people at the times of their designated importance by the footnotes of written history. It wouldn't be uncommon for Dash to bump elbows with said figures during their travels, making his best attempts to fit in with current trends and accents while Jeff often acted reserved and played the part of brother or cousin , trying his best to stay out of the spotlight. Fearlessly he'd start a conversation with a young George Washington about the life and hardships of the American colonies or get into a bar room brawl with Hemingway. Whenever life threatening danger potentially lurked, the duo would sprint to one another and jump to sometime new. Dash had a fondness for spending their evenings at Taverns during medieval periods and paying their way through song and entertainment. Often he'd start his show with a locally popular ballad of the time period, then mischievously following up with some strange parody of a modern song, such as a rendition of a Beatles song using a harp while feigning a relatively authentic accent. Jeff found it especially amusing hearing Dash singing I am the Walrus in an Irish tavern with matching accent, to the often shocked and drunkenly entertained audience.

Jeff found himself seated at a high overlook in southern Italy on an especially dark and cloudy day, over two hundred years before the birth of Christ, watching the battle of Cannae from a safe vantage point. Dash was gesturing quite dramatically as he ranted in detail of the specifics of the war before them, of trivia completely unknown to any living human from their own era when Jeff had a sudden feeling of homesickness. His stomach lurched at the realization that his life living everywhere at anytime meant he truly had no home, no family to recognize him, short of this strange mirror of himself.

"Have you ever considered stopping?" Jeff asked him. Dash stopped mid sentence and looked to his time traveling partner.

He cracked a grin in response. "Not a fan of Hannibal, eh?"

"I didn't mean talking about the battle." Jeff stated seriously, looking to his double for truth. All humor left Dash's face and their blue eyes met. For the first time, his features looked to Jeff more like a man twice their age rather then a reflection of himself.

"Yeah, I know what you meant. Settling down somewhere, living a normal life. Like it fucking matters!" Something flickered in his eyes as his fist tensed, his forearm lined with tension and definition. "We're not even here, history won't know, no matter how we choose to spend our days! Why play by the rules when we aren't in the game anymore!?"

Jeff stood and faced his leaner reflection. "It's not about rules, or a game, or any of that bullshit. Hell, how many of the men laying down their lives down there still exist in history? Sure, they were in a battle thats hardly even a cliff note in the history books. There's a handful of so called historians who think they know how it went down. Hell, more people in our time know Hannibal the fictional fucking face eater then your hero down there. And you know what? Soon enough, it'll all disappear from our culture, forgotten and certainly not missed. That's just life."

Dash scowled deeply as the distant rumble of thunder promised foul weather to come. "You think it's that simple!? Ohhh, we're going to die and be forgotten like everyone else! At least the bastards down there are a cliff note! They've got families, they have progeny to continue their filthy bloodlines and create the problems of the future! We can never have that, you can bed a woman every day and night from now until two thousand years later and you'd still have no children to call you're own, none of it matters!" Dash shouted, his voice growing gravely and hoarse with anger. Rain poured down, soaking the both of them as they argued. "We can't be like them. We can't even be ourselves anymore, and even if we could, what does it matter? Once the master had discovered how to shift, he erased himself from history, and passed the curse to me, and I in turn, to you." His face was momentarily illuminated by lightning, followed by the deep rumble of thunder.

Jeff gave him a hard stare, feeling his own emotions heating. "Coward's words if you ask me. There's no reason why you can't choose to live your life like anyone else. Hell, you fit right in everywhere you go, you've got more options then we would have ever had. Just stop shifting, time will stop reseting. It's as simple as that!" he stated, his words firm, trying to stay level headed. Dash's lip twisted into a sneer.

"That really what you think!? Tell me what you think of this!" Dash speedily grabbed Jeff's forearm and forced them both into the depths of space and existence itself. When returning to reality they were in a lightly forested area, with a hints of relatively modern structures and buildings in the distance. Dash released his arm and marched off with grim intent clearly written all over his posture.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-30 12:52:17

-Part 3
Jeff followed, asking where they were as they approached a young man with fairly long, brown hair nearing his shoulders, serene as the world around him as he painted. The lean figure kicked the painters chair out from under him, followed by a shin kick to the strangers face.

"Dash, what the hell are you trying to prove here!?" Jeff interjected as he tried to position himself with arms out between Dash and the stranger who was now laying in the grass, presumably cursing furiously in something that sounded to Jeff like German. Dash deftly grabbed his larger twin's wrist and used his other hand to pressure the elbow joint, trapping him in an arm bar, then swiftly kicked his legs from under him before he could react.

"Just watch" Dash calmly stated, dragging the painter a few steps away before pummeling him with a flurry of fast strikes. Jeff hurriedly got to his feet, his face grim as he witnessed this stranger trying in vain to protest and cover his face, curling up in a fetal position. "Dash, you're going to murder this man if you don't stop!" He yelled as stepped towards the scene, grabbing the assailant's soaked shirt to pull him away. Dash responded almost instantly, his shoulder circling around to trap Jeff's hand, and his fingers darted out toward his neck, pressuring his airway with a tight squeeze. Jeff struggled to breathe as sinewy fingers gripped the soft tissues of his neck, eyes wide with shock at the turn of events.

"I don't want to hurt you, brother. You don't even know who this is." Dash stated, trying to sound as level as possible as he released his grip, Jeff immediately rubbing his throat. The stranger was sobbing, and visibly bruised and bloodied on his face. Dash knelt down, using his victim's shirt to wipe away the blood and tears from his face, his other hand batting away his feeble attempts at resisting. He reached into his brown satchel and revealed a black sharpie, scribbling on the man's face as he whimpered helplessly. He pulled the artist's hair back into a tight pony tail as he flinched, and Dash forced the man's face to Jeff. The weary and frightened face had a small, dark mustache drawn in just under his nose and Jeff finally recognized the battered and wide eyed man before him as the creature responsible for the death of millions in the most cruel and unimaginable ways possible.

Jeff met Dash's eyes, full of vengeance. He watched silently as Dash placed his hands on his prey's face, whimpering and crying out until life escaped his writhing body. Dash and Jeff were now alone, silent as if they were the last humans on earth. Dash finally stood, his hands bloodied. "This isn't the first time I've killed him. Must have been at least a dozen times. Doesn't matter if it's before, or after he becomes the monster." He said in nearly a whisper, his voice heavy with emotion. Tears streaked down Dash's tired face. "Even if we never shift again, we'll live our lives in this world we've created, and then what? Life goes on like we never existed, all our achievements, our heartbreak, our successes and tragedies... it's only real to you and I."

Jeff was at a loss for words. He cast his gaze away, squeezing his fist until it hurt. He finally started to speak. "Look Dash, even if you could change things. You can't change the world. You can't change the hearts of people. There will always be cruel individuals, and the apathetic majority who allow cruelty to happen..."

"You think I don't fucking know that!?" Dash quickly snapped, his face becoming flushed again. "You watched me kill Hitler with my bare hands! I've participated in the genocide of Native Americans during the colonization of America! I've hunted along side our ancestors who slaughtered our hominid rivals to the point of extinction! Hell, once I even killed another of one of us the strangest case of murder-suicide I can imagine! I've seen the darkest depths of man, and there's no making it right again..." Dash's voice trailed off and he let out a resigned sigh.

Jeff stood before him with determined resolve. "Maybe not, maybe we can't change the world or the hearts of mankind, but who knows, maybe we're the only ones who experience the world as it should be, and everyone else is living in a false history." He moved closer to Dash, placing his arm on his shoulder comfortingly as he spoke. "We don't have the answers, and chances are we never will. But we sure as hell can make the best of it, right? I know you're tired of being alone, and in a sense, I suppose you still are. How about we go somewhere and just live it up the best we can? Just stay awhile make the best of it. If we don't like it, we can always shift again, right?" Jeff suggested, his voice calm and hopeful.

Jeff cracked a grin for the first time in an eternity. "Well, I guess we haven't got anything to lose by it... we've got all the time in the world."

One shift and several months later the time traveling twins found themselves in a musical quartet playing deafeningly loud pop music to a crowd of enthusiastic fans in a claustrophobic little club tucked away in Liverpool. Girls screamed and swarmed toward the stage as they belted out upbeat and catchy tune after tune. After a synchronized bow and echoing applause, the band made their way back stage. The lead guitarist, a clean shaved youth with fashionably long hair confided to the others as they walked together, "I have admit, you gents from the states can sure carry a tune. Bit unfortunate those cats John and Paul couldn't make it, they're really missing the best of it."

The drummer, another stylishly rebellious English youth replied "I wouldn't worry too much about them, George. Heard they made it big, something about splitting up a treasure, some ancient artifacts. They'll be living the high life while we're on the road. Maybe we'll hear from 'em, they'll hand us a bone sometime once all these girls move on to something new." Dash was grinning like an idiot and Jeff gave him a playful nudge of the elbow.

"You all go ahead, we'll catch up. Need to talk to my cousin here about the family back home." Jeff announced, hanging back a bit.

"Right, right, take your time gents, send them thanks for letting us borrow your talents. Not everyday you find good songwriters out of no where." The drummer said with a wave and walked ahead, chatting with the guitarist about the next show.

Jeff took a quick peek over his shoulder, and whispered to Dash in a hushed voice, "Beatles have to be one of my all time favorites, but damned if I'm not tired of all this boy band stuff! I'm ready for the psychedelic rock, ya know, the good stuff!"

"Patience man, patience. If we want to make this work, we've got to ride it out carefully. It's already been one hell of a ride, yeah?" Dash replied, smirking as always.

Jeff clasped his hands behind his head. "Beats the hell out of flipping burgers. You still have that photo album, right?" he asked casually.

Dash's eyes lit up with recognition. "Yeah, yeah, right here in my satchel. You know I should add more photos while we're here, I forgot about it after you tagged along, honestly." He pulled out a dated Polaroid camera and took a picture of the two of them grinning backstage, the camera nosily dispensing a blank photo. Dash began shaking the photo to speed it's development. "What made you think of that?" he asked with a cocked eyebrow.

"Actually, I was just wondering why you used that type of camera." Jeff responded nonchalantly. "Obviously you could use a digital one, even now if you brought a small printer with you, much better picture quality and such for sure." He watched intently as the blank photo transformed into color and image.

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-07-30 12:53:26

-Part 4

Dash responded with a grin. "Because each picture you take with it is a bit of a mystery, you're not quite sure how it'll come out. Maybe it's just nostalgia from taking pictures as a kid, as I'm sure you fondly remember as well, but most of all I guess I like it because it's phasing out, dying technology. I didn't want it to be forgotten forever."

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-08-01 03:55:25


The rhythmic thumping of blades shattered the silence of the night, slicing through the muggy air which enveloped the wasteland. Despite the late hour, heat from the day still radiated from the moonlit dunes sweeping past below. A cloud-filled sky melded into the sandy horizon as the helicopter moved swiftly across the Israeli desert, ferrying its passenger further into the wilderness.

The passage of time and distance was imperceptible for the passenger, as the same barren landscape stretched for hundreds of miles in all directions. Examining his watch, the helicopter's sole passenger was surprised to find that he had been airborne for just over three hours. Not counting the twenty-hour voyage from Washington, DC, of course.

Lost in the mesmerizing pattern of dunes hurrying past his window, the traveler jumped in his seat when the pilot tapped his leg and pointed below. Following the pilot's finger, the passenger noted a small collection of tents nestled within a deep valley. His stomach lurched as the pilot dipped the helicopter's nose and began their descent into the darkness.


"Senator McNeil, a pleasure to finally meet you," a round-faced man scampered out of the largest of the tents, walking hurriedly towards the helicopter with his arm outstretched.

"Dr. Tilston, I presume," said the lone passenger, shaking the scientist's clammy hand. Out of habit, the Senator adjusted his suit, brushing sand from his lapels, and turned towards the surrounding tents, "You know, with all of the funding you've received, I was hoping for something more state-of-the-art than tee-pees, Doctor."

"Oh, yes...hah...yes," Tilston stammered, clearly flustered, "You see, in of the world, with all of the roving bandits, it's best not to appear state-of-the-art. Come, let me show you inside," he said, beckoning McNeil towards the ragged tent before them.

Stepping gingerly over the hard-packed sand so as not to scuff his expensive loafers, McNeil followed the portly scientist into the illumination spilling from the tent's mouth. Momentarily stunned by the blinding light as he stepped into the cramped interior, it took a moment for McNeil's eyes to adjust. When they did, he noticed that the tent was barren except for a large metallic cylinder situated in the center of the shelter. Dr. Tilston approached the phonebooth-sized cylinder and pressed a series of buttons on the exposed control panel.

Whirling to life, the cylinder's door slid open. "Right this way, Senator," Tilston politely directed McNeil into the tube before stepping into the confined space behind him. McNeil felt his balance shift as the entire cylinder suddenly sank into the ground.

"The entire structure is located underground, to avoid the prying eyes of locals and the Israeli government," Dr. Tilston said as the elevator continued its descent.

"How deep?" McNeil tried to ignore the creeping claustrophobia that had plagued him since he was a child.

"Only about two-hundred feet. We're underground for the sake of secrecy," Dr. Tilston replied, "Not for safety. I can assure you that this technology is entirely secure, Senator. There are no combustion elements, no dangerous chemicals are required and there is absolutely no chance of an explosion."

Tilston's assurances did little to calm McNeil's claustrophobia as the elevator slid to a halt and the door swooshed open. McNeil followed the scientist down the cold metallic hallway, the clicking of his wingtips echoing along the long deserted corridor.

"So, Dr. Tilston," McNeil said, breaking the strained silence between them, "I understand that you are close to perfecting our little project?"

"Actually, Senator, we've had some exciting developments since we submitted our last report," Tilston beamed. He steered to his right and pushed through one of the doorways lining the hallway. A cafeteria stretched before the two men and, despite the late hour, a few dozen men and women were scattered around the room, all wearing either lab coats or dark-blue overalls. McNeil couldn't help but notice a handful of armed men standing at various points around the room.

"We have already successfully transmitted, Senator," Tilston continued, pausing for McNeil's reaction.

McNeil stumbled midstep as the news hit him, "You've successfully sent something...through time?"

Tilston savored the Senator's surprise for a moment before continuing, "Not just something, Senator - someone! And not just once - over the past month we have sent multiple test subjects back through time."

McNeil suddenly felt dizzy and found himself sinking into one of the plastic chairs that filled the cafeteria. Dr. Tilston sat beside him, still eagerly speaking about the project's successes.

"We made our first successful leap through time four weeks ago, using a small object - a ball-bearing to be exact," Tilston continued, "It was just a minor test - yet another attempt to send the item five minutes into the past. The damnedest thing was that we already knew that we were going to be successful before we fired up the machine! As we were prepping the device, a white flash suddenly filled the room and the same damn ball-bearing appeared on the platform, right on top of ours!"

McNeil was too stunned to speak.

"It was astounding, as I'm sure you can imagine," Tilston was almost shuddering with excitement as he spoke. "It proves our theory was correct: That time has already accounted for our actions - that our present cannot be altered by time travel because the actions of the time traveler have already occurred."

"What are you...I'm not sure I understand," McNeil struggled to wrap his around what Tilston was saying.

"That's ok, Senator - it took us awhile to fathom this development as well. Let's say you send yourself back in time three days and try to kill me. Just grab a gun and shoot me, right? What I'm explaining is that you wouldn't be able to do it, because I did not die three days ago. I'm standing here talking to you in the present, so I couldn't have died in the past, you see? The past is unalterable because history has already taken the time-traveler into account!"

"So you're saying," McNeil hesitated, trying to grasp Tilston's breakthrough, "If I went back in time to try and kill myself..."

"...You wouldn't be able to," Tilston finished the thought, "The gun would jam, the bomb would misfire, hell - you might get hit by a bus just before you pulled the trigger! The key is that every action committed in the past by a time-traveler has already occurred." McNeil sat in silence, his mind trying to seize this new reality.

"So," Titlson said, standing up, "Would you like to see it?"

McNeil rose to his feet, his face a mask of incomprehension, and followed Tilston through the cafeteria towards another entryway. "You...uh, Dr. Tilston, you mentioned that you had already sent people through time? But, I mean - how does that work?"

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-08-01 03:56:26

"Well, the transmission occurred just as it did with the ball-bearing, Senator," Tilston explained as he led McNeil further into the complex. "We had already sent animals into the past - simple-celled organisms, mice, primates - so we knew that time travel was possible for a living organism. Even before we had set a test date, our time-travel subject appeared in the laboratory one morning, having arrived from three weeks in the future. Needless to say, we kept the present-and-future test subjects apart, since we didn't know what mental ramifications might occur from meeting your future-self," Tilston giggled at this, clearly impressed with the project's developments thus far.

"Couldn't you just send the future time-traveler back to the future?" McNeil asked as the two continued down another long hallway.

"We haven't experimented with future transmissions," Tilston admitted, shaking his head, "We don't even know if it is theoretically possible, honestly."

Conversation ceased for the moment, as the corridor ended into a large room that stretched for hundreds of yards in all directions. McNeil marveled over the support beams and wires running towards the gigantic central structure which filled the cavernous space. The device resembled a giant metallic cone, hung upside and fully suspended above the floor. Underneath its tip was placed a platform, onto which technicians were welding a metal chair.

"Here she is, Senator," Tilston announced, walking quickly towards the machine, "The Argonaut. We named it after an early H.G. Wells novel that considered the notion of time-travel long before the Time Machine novella."

McNeil could only marvel at the contraption, unable to fully comprehend that he was staring at an honest-to-god time machine. Instead of one solid cone, McNeil could discern seams in the device, where one layer of cone was separated from the next. "How does it work, Dr. Tilston?"

"Haha..hmm, well..." Tilston paused for a moment before continuing, "You see, in order to understand the Argonaut, I'm afraid you would need some expertise in nuclear physics just as a basic starting point. However, I suppose the best way to think about this device is to imagine history as a timeline, laid out in a straight path. This machine is able to create a temporary tunnel that stretches outside time itself and connects the present moment with the past."

McNeil stared blankly at the scientist. "Right..haha, um - well just think of this machine as a window to another time, and we are able to emerge through this window into the past."

Further explanation was interrupted by the entrance of four armed guards escorting a shirtless young man into the room. As McNeil watched, the man was led over to the platform which lay beneath the time machine. He sank into the metal chair where technicians began to attach sensors and wires to his chest and arms.

"Excellent," Tilston beamed, "Everything is right on schedule for the experiment!"

"Tilston," McNeil's voice was tinged with concern, "Why do you need armed guards?"

Tilston turned towards the armed guards walking away from the platform, as if noticing them for the first time, "Oh...well, originally it was unclear what kind of dangers time travel held in store for human test subjects, so we didn't want to risk our own personnel," Tilston mumbled, refusing to meet McNeil's gaze. "So we outsourced...we contacted certain US prisons with death row inmates and made a deal - offer prisoners the chance to participate in our program, as test subjects, or remain in prison and suffer their lethal punishments."

"Damnit, Tilston," McNeil hissed under his breath, "Are you telling me you've been sending murderers and...and rapists through time?!"

"No! Well..." Tilston stammered, "But-but we pick only the most, um...rehabilitated prisoners for our program and we put them through our own review program! They undergo psychological evaluations, therapy, rudimentary language seminars, even theology education!"

"...theology?" McNeil asked.

"Well, of course," Tilston answered confidently, "Everything is possible only with the help of God, Senator - surely you believe this by now? Look at all we have accomplished!" Tilston said, sweeping his hands towards the gigantic machine before them. "It is important that our test subjects learn of the Lord which makes this glorious program possible."

McNeil decided not to press the issue, fearing a lengthy Christian diatribe would be the result. Instead, he simply nodded his head and walked towards the time machine, Tilston trailing behind him.

"So who is our time traveler today?" McNeil asked, trying to change the subject.

"Our traveler today is Joshua, Subject A1103. He has been our best pupil thus far - completely rehabilitated, in my opinion," Tilston explained, sounding like a proud father, "That's why he has been selected for today's important mission."

"And what is that?"

"Today, Senator, we are going to test the limits of time travel - to see how far a person can be transmitted," Tilston voice rose with excitement. "We've sent back objects thousands of years into the past, but we have no way of determining if the trip was successful - even if those objects survive the thousands of years until our present time, we have no idea where to look for them."

"So we decided to send a human back in time," Tilston continued, "Someone who can leave a permanent mark somewhere in the past for us to find. Subject A1103's goal is to create some sort of durable sign that will stand the test of time - one that we can eventually locate in the present, as proof that the transmission was successful."

"So, you're telling me that he'll be stuck thousands of years in the past?" McNeil glanced at the young man strapped into the platform's chair.

"Is that any worse than being strapped down in the gas chamber, Senator?" Tilston argued, confident that the man's sacrifice was acceptable. McNeil remained silent.

"Anyway," Tilston continued, "We're sending Subject A1103 back to the reign of Emperor Augustus. He'll arrive in this very spot, thousands of years in the past. Luckily our geological reports indicate that this region has undergone a surprisingly small number of changes in its topography. In fact, soil samples have proven that this cavern was a valley during this specific time period, so our traveler won't be transmitted directly into a mountain or underwater."

"Thank god for small favors," McNeil said sarcastically, but Tilston did not seem to notice.

"Yes, exactly! We were very lucky in selecting this network of caverns for our facilities," he said, glancing at his watch, "Ah - it's almost time!?" Tilston hurried over to the platform, McNeil following in his wake.

"A1103," Tilston called out, "Are you ready, son?"

"Yes, sir," the man was shockingly calm sitting beneath the behemoth machine, "With the Lord as my shepherd, I shall not stray from my mission."

"Excellent! Excellent, my boy!" Tilston beamed, "Remember that always, and we shall succeed. Go with God, son."

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Response to Mwc10 July: Back To The Future 2010-08-01 03:57:33

McNeil looked on silently, uncomfortable with the persistent religious theme that seemed to pervade Tilston's program. He made a mental note to speak with Tilston about his "theology" teachings later. For now, McNeil noticed that technicians and guards were evacuating the room as the sounds of whirring machinery grew evermore deafening.

"Come, Senator - it's time to retreat to the mission control center," Tilston announced, guiding McLean back through the entrance. The thick blast doors hammered close behind them, minimizing the loud reverberations coming from within. Dr. Tilston walked quickly towards another entranceway, directing the Senator into a room filled with scientists, a medical team and a dizzying array of computer and wall-mounted screens. Images of the mammoth time machine appeared to be streaming into the command center live.

"From in here you can watch the entire show, Senator," Tilston said, guiding McNeal towards a row of chairs, "I'm just going to check through the systems one last time." Tilston hurried off to peer over technicians' shoulders, quietly asking questions as he bustled around the room.

McNeal stared in awe as the giant cone groaned to life and began to spin - every-other layer of the giant device spinning in the opposite direction, lending a feeling of chaos to the mechanism. As the individual parts reached unimaginable speeds, the cone appeared whole once more. As McNeal watched, sparks of light began to flicker within the interior of the time machine, illuminating the gears and joints within. Within moments, a blinding radiance emanated from the tip of the cone, bathing the platform in an eerie bluish glow.

Suddenly, with little warning, a final flash erupted from the contraption and McNeal could hear its engines slowing down. The platform held an empty chair.

"Well, Senator?" Tilston stepped over the McNeal, a triumphant smile on his face.

"Yes, now?" McNeal hoped he had successfully hid the subtle feelings of horror that raced through his mind.

"Now," Tilston's eyes were wide and eager, "We search for our sign."


Five Years Later
Just outside Beersheba, Israel

Dr. Helms stood over his drawing table, studying the scattered topography charts which lay before him. Wiping beads of sweat from his brow, the aging archeologist was grateful for this brief respite from the sun and sand. Moments later, however, the sound of excited cries and running brought Helms to the entrance of his tent.

"Arzt Helms!" yelled one of the diggers, running towards the archeologist, "Arzt Helms, Ich habe gefunden-"

"In English, son," Helms said, once again amused by the myriad of ethnicities collected within this particular project.

"Es tut mir leid, Arzt Helms...We...We found..." the young man stammered, struggling to find the correct words amidst his excitement, "We found...come...!" Frustrated, the young man grabbed Helms' hand and pulled him towards the most recent dig site.

Upon reaching the edge of the hole, Helms immediately saw the cause of everyone's excitement - half-immersed within the desert lay an ancient pillar. At first glance, the formation appeared to be made of simple bricks, crammed together in a display of crude craftsmanship. However, it wasn't the structure itself which caught everyone's attention - it was the eroded markings carved onto the bricks.

Helms knew for a fact that, at this level of soil, artifacts and buildings were dated to the first century - or even as early as 50A.D. However, the carving on the tablet before him was in perfect English - a language that had simply not existed during this period.

Stepping down into the hole, Helms brushed the remaining sand from the pillar and began reading:

Let this be a memorial to future generations.

- Subject A1103

With the grace of God the Father guiding me, I have arrived in the past.

The language I learned in preparation for my voyage has allowed me minimal communicate with local villagers.

They call this land "Judea", and it is under the oppressive rule of Rome and Emperor Augustus.

These people suffer under tyrants; they worship an angry and bitter god.

I now see my true purpose here - the reason God has sent me to this time is to free these peoples' minds and souls.

I have begun to teach them the ways of God - of the patience and kindness of God - as you have taught me, Dr. Tilston.

A small group of men follow me and believe, and our numbers grow with each new village we visit.

I hope and pray that my teachings of peace, love and compassion reach forward through the generations, echoing through history, and make future wars and cruelty a distant memory.

I believe I can change the future, Dr. Tilston - change your present - for the better.

I am with you always, until the very end of time.

- Yeshua

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