Author : John Logan
Leviathan IV floated in space, amongst the debris of its brother and sister starships, somewhere in close proximity to Alpha Centauri. Inside its massive hull, a team of veterans were preparing for their last mission. They were the last hope for their species and each man felt the weight of responsibility rest heavily on his shoulders.
“Do we have to use these antiques?” asked Stims.
Their leader, a man named Flex, grunted and spoke, “I don’t like it any more than you, but Dakros said we can’t leave any trace of technology on Earth.”
An array of carbine powered rifles lay before them and Stims grudgingly picked up one equipped with a scope and then slung it over his back. “Damn, if they ain’t heavy,” he said.
The other men retrieved a similar weapon and followed Flex down a tight claustrophobic corridor. The walls of the ship began to vibrate, testament to the experimental technology that was powering up to transport the team over four light years distance and six hundred standard years into the past.
The team passed a porthole, the silhouettes of broken ships and suspended corpses painted a bleak picture of devastation.
“They’re all gone,” whispered one man. “All of them.”
Flex turned and scowled, “Shut your mouth, Brack. I don’t want to hear it. Stay focused or I’ll put my foot up your ass.”
The team moved on, each man silent and brooding—lost in his own thoughts. They came to an open chamber where a spherical pod rested half-embedded into the floor. Around it, an eerie crimson light pulsed.
Dakros stood there waiting, his face contorted into a mask of impatience. “Time is running out,” he hissed. “The Earth men have found us. Quickly, all of you gather round.”
Flex nodded to his men, prompting them to form up and stay attentive to Dakros’ words.
“Here is a dossier with all the information you will need concerning the target,” said Dakros, handing it to Flex. “You were all specifically chosen for this mission not just because of your ability to kill, but because of your knowledge of human language and culture.”
Flex studied the dossier. He lifted his head from the printed paper and said, “Are you sure this is gonna work? I mean this is a prototype ship after all—”
“Let me make it clear, gentlemen,” said Dakros. The lines on his face deepened under the shadows of the room. “The human scourge has already annihilated our fleet, next is the home world, your families, loved ones and friends, all of them will die.”
Stims nudged the rifle into a more comfortable position.
“I’m very confident that we can send you to the correct space and time,” continued Dakros. “However, it will be a one-way trip—I’m sorry.”
None of them protested.
Flex plucked out a photograph from the dossier and held it up. “This him?” he asked.
Dakros nodded. “Our historians have worked hard to pinpoint the turning point in the human evolution of space travel. This man…” Dakros pointed an accusatory finger at the photograph, “…is responsible for the human progress that has ultimately led them across the stars to war with us.”
The face of each veteran soured with hatred as they studied the photograph, committing the features to memory.
Dakros suddenly clapped his hands together, shattering the silence. “All aboard now, we have little time,” he said.
They piled into the cramped pod. After a few moments preparation, the pod detached from the Leviathan and hurtled through space, its destination Earth, Dallas, 1963.