Stand Against the Light Snippet 3

Eclipse told herself that the Medford group were people she could visit. The question she needed to face was more important.  Someone had seemingly murdered one billion people, replaced them with another seven billion people, and hidden every clue of their misdeeds so thoroughly that seven billion elsewise sensible people never suspected that something was wrong.  Wiping out all record of past civilizations, not to mention changing the spin of the Moon on its axis, looked to require huge amounts of power.  How had it been done?  Why?  She’d spent a week doing what the Medford group had wanted, trying to solve things their way, without success. On the other hand, they’d eliminated a Doom.  Perhaps when both Dooms were eliminated everything would go back to normal. Now she would try solving things her way. 

The How was perhaps easier.  You could make all the changes with a real time machine, going back into the distant past and changing things until you got the present you wanted.  Star was convinced that was how it had been done.  He wanted Eclipse to teleport the four of them back in time — never mind that she’d never ever done even a tiny timeward teleport, the power requirements looked fatal, and Star couldn’t tell her where in history to go — so they could catch the time bandits in the act. 

She needed serious thinking.  She carefully wrote “Put Things Back” at the top of the paper, following her words with a question mark.  The real questions were who?, how?, why?, and how to fix?   Bringing people to justice was in there someplace, too. 

She’d spent a week looking for the footprints of a time machine, not finding a sign of them.  She’d gone too fast in deciding what to do, she thought.  Star had convinced her it was a time machine, but there was no proof.  How else could it have been done?   Surely Solara or Corinne could have used the Ambihelicon for the same purpose.  The amount of power required to reshape the world in a new image remained huge beyond belief.  A time machine gave you leverage.  Go back six thousand years, kill the right person, and all else would be rearranged to meet your desire — so long as the correct choice of victim had been made. 

History did have episodes like this.  Any number of ancient civilizations had vanished in a single night.  The Grand Parade of All Marik had done a flank left into the Pacific Ocean, fifteen million people marching to watery graves in the space of half an hour.  But after the sweeping, those civilizations were dead and gone, not replaced with a warped version of themselves. Here the American Republic had been replaced with a United States of America, to some unclear purpose.

About George Phillies

science fiction author -- researcher in polymer dynamics -- collector of board wargames -- President, National Fantasy Fan Federation
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