Author: Alfred C. Airone
They never really believed me. After fifteen years, I can say that. And now, of course, it’s too late to prepare for what comes.
I had hoped that somehow, unexpectedly, I had changed time for the better. Maybe I did, but the enemy later outflanked me, as has always been the case. I will never know.
My name is Cassandra. I am recording this because I need to put my thoughts in order, to make whatever final attempt I can to save these people, and to save my own world, my own time, by altering its history. I arrived in this time period fifteen years ago, hurled by the Time Catapult into my distant past – more than ten centuries, as it turned out. Moments from sure death, a soldier fleeing a lost battle in my own time, I materialized ten feet above the playing field of a sports stadium, in the middle of a competition, and lay stunned while players and security personnel rushed to take me into custody.
I was treated with respect and care but kept a prisoner. Over the next few days, I told my story to a succession of skeptical officials and, eventually, weeks later, to the President of the United States, the nation to which I was later transferred. My Anglishan – close enough to the English of the time in which I landed – enabled me to convince powerful enough people that I was neither insane, nor a spy, a danger, or a liar – that I was someone who seemed to be telling the truth. And I warned them: the war that had ravaged my world for centuries, the war that was being fought back and forth along the timeline, and which had cast me back to their world – that war was in their future.
The recent series of unexplained nuclear explosions outside three towns in Canada was one of the first signs. Then the disappearance of Dr. Edmund Garvey, a name that meant nothing to me until it was explained that he was the world’s foremost expert in what the present time calls “quantum computing”. What we in the future know as the basis for the time-travel technology with which we wage war. His capture was almost certainly a gambit in the war.
Then today: a report of a major battle between unknown forces near uranium mines in South Africa.
Every new piece of information I hear convinces me that we – myself and the ancestors among whom I now dwell – have moved forward in time and reached the Time War Periphery. The point deepest in our past at which the final attempts of either side to alter the past took place. The point in the timeline at which both sides were forced to recognize the futility of trying to outflank an enemy who could just as easily leap back to an earlier time and outflank them as well.
If so, we have reached the time which I long ago predicted. They understood – there are brilliant people here among my ancestors – but I know they never quite believed. They are hopeful, these ancestors. They have no appetite for giving up.
There – the knock on my door that I have been expecting. I must let them in. They will have questions – I already know what they will ask and what my answers will be.
I hurry to the door. They will believe me now. And I will help them as best I can. I hope it’s not too late.