Author: Julian Miles, Staff Writer
“This project costs more than every other clandestine operation put together! In fact, I could equip a division with the best we have right now, and still have change to buy a squadron of F35s!”
Senator Godley starts hammering his fist on my desk for emphasis. Senator Swanwick hastily picks up his cup.
I smile at them both.
“Gentlemen, I understand that this new focus on oversight has ushered your department into a golden age of power and influence. However, I implore you, please turn your attention to the unspecified assets that caused the other 1.1 trillion hole in your budgets. What my department does is untouchable, and will never be disclosed.”
Senator Swanwick stands up, drains his cup, and smiles at me.
“Godley was convinced he needed to expose some egregious malfeasance on your part. I am more inclined to trust the decades-old Constitutional Writ that places your office beyond oversight or reproach. Thank you for the coffee. You have a good day.”
“I shall try to. Please convey my condolences to Theresa Godley. It would be inappropriate for me to visit at the moment, given the late Senator’s statements about me.”
“I’ll do that, Vernon. Goodbye.”
The door closes behind him and I check my watch. My schedule has cleared for the day. I can slide out and surprise Susie before her recital.
From the door of the office I look back at my desk. The same one the Director of Internal Logistics has sat at since the department was founded. I think I’m the ninth director, but it’s just as likely I’m the twentieth. That’s the thing about managing the secret Time Directorate of the United States Government. I never know what is genuine history, and what is the result of a manipulation.
All those writers and scientists missed the one obvious outcome of time travel: reality adjusts. We are sure that time as we know it is often meddled with. Causality adjusts reality for every slip-up, every carefully planned intervention, every surgical strike. Whether it does so by rewriting the world’s recall, or by spawning another reality, is unknown.
The outcome is nobody knows about any change to history, because the changed state becomes our history. I know that sometime this month I have to make a decision regarding a problem that seems intractable. I also know that if I decide on temporal intervention, the problem will cease to exist as far as everything is concerned. The operative will return with no memory of what they did, except for a certainty of success.
Which does suggest that those who attempt to intervene and fail are lost forever, but we have no record of them. Everything we do is technically a non-event, as no requirements can be recalled, and all causes and targets for the missions are no longer applicable.
That’s why we are the only department with Constitutional Writ and absolute immunity. By any recognised metric of success, we do nothing and cost a fortune.
All I have is the count on the wall outside the bunker that conceals the launch chambers. It’s incremented whenever an operator returns.
It stands at one thousand, nine hundred and forty-one. I think I might be responsible for some of the recent increments.
It doesn’t really matter. I do my job to the best of my ability, only using the power available to me as a last resort. That sense of duty, and the love of my family, reassures me.
Enough pondering. Theresa has a recital tonight. I don’t want to be late.