Author : David Zhou
“My card,” he said, bowing gracefully to the client from Tarqon, the fifth planet in the Tostis system out in the deep reaches of the Spiraling Galaxy.
“I want to thank you,” the client said. “Thank you for taking on this job. They said you were the only one who could — who would do it.”
“That I am, my friend. I’m a historical writer. I write history. And for this sum, I will write your history.”
The man handed his client a slip of paper with a number on it. It was not small.
“This sum is acceptable. Barely. How would you like payment?”
“Oh, I’ll take care of it,” said the man lightly. “I’ll take it out while I’m writing your history. You won’t even notice it’s not there. Because it won’t be there. You know. Causality and all that.”
The client nodded slowly. “So you have it? Our history? What we want?”
“Yes, yes. You want to win the Sixth War of Independence. You want to ensure that a Seventh cannot, and did not, happen. And as a personal favor, a freebie if you will, you will have married Willemena of Erustis in your thirtieth year.”
“Yes, that’s right. The outline we gave you has more detailed notes. The dates of events, the order we would like them in. And Willemena’s address at that point.”
The man started to turn away. He stopped for a moment. “Don’t worry, it’ll be quick. You won’t even know it’s happening.”
“I hope so,” said the client.
“You can’t, really. Notice. It’s how it works. One moment Tarqon is suffering from a drought of freedom, and the next, Tarqon will be independent, and you’ll wake up with Willemena in your arms and by your side. Sides. However you people engage in such acts.”
The client smiled. “Good luck, then.”
The man grinned. And started towards the gateway.
“Um, one question.”
The man turned, eyebrows raised.
The client hesitated and then spoke. “With all of your writing, how do you know that you’ll still exist? I mean, what if you change yourself?”
The man laughed. And grinned again. “My friend, I don’t worry about that. I like what I do.”
“I have supreme confidence that whatever set of choices I have to make, I’ll make the ones that lead to historical writing.”
He turned and entered the gateway.
“Besides, I’m too good at this.”