Author : Steven Perez

The drive to Persepolis from Shiraz had been longer than expected due to an unexpected radiator leak, and at that moment, all I wanted to do was stand up and walk around. I’ve always loved to visit the ruins here, mostly because I have a fondness for the era of the Persians. This time, though, my visit had a much darker purpose.

The Land Rover finally came to a stop near the entrance of the tomb in question, and the team piled out and started taking out the gear in the back. The local authorities always groused a bit whenever we showed up in the area, but they realize that the work we do is vital to the good of the entire world, so they don’t kick too much. But it still spooks some people to see us in the flesh, so we tread carefully.

The perimeter finally comes together, and Saunders fires up the generator. The lights coalesce together, and the rift is finally visible to the human eye. I hate dimensional rifts.

“Looks like we have more fugitives,” Kendra says with no small amount of disdain. The suits upstairs call them “temporal trespassers”. The teams spread out across the world came up with a simpler name for them: “fugitives”, after a story by Harlan Elison about time-travelers.

“Geez, you’d think these guys would learn,” Sung Li growls.

I bring everyone out of their reveille. “OK, so let’s find them.”

We lock onto their temporal signals and locate them quickly; scavengers from the 22nd Century. That figures; with all the horrible wars from that century, it’s a wonder that the human race survived as long as it did. Things must be really bad if the fugitives had taken to trying to alter history from distant locus points along the continuum.

We quickly seal the breach and leave a little something in case the rotters come back. Satisfied that we performed out jobs adequately, the team repacked our gear and waited for the extraction point back to the 835th Century. I would drive the SUV back to Shiraz so as not to arouse too many suspicions. Right on schedule, the null point formed and swept the team up into the vortex and back home.

I stared out over the remains of an ancient human civilization for a long while and couldn’t help but wonder how much might have been different had the humans not killed each other.

The things a machine thinks about with time on his hands, eh?

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