Jun. 3rd, 2011

Me and the rest of the 71st Rifles Platoon jogged into the hangar. Sergeant Hibbett called a halt and a parade rest. I stood with boots spread apart and my needle rifle over my shoulder. I was breathing heavily; we were all wearing full combat armor. 71st Rifles was about to go into the meat grinder.

Lieutenant Csonka joined Hibbett at the front of the hangar and surveyed the four squads of his platoon critically. He listened to a woman in a white coat who whispered in his ear, then checked his watch.

"Okay, ladies," grunted Csonka. "We've got less than five minutes before the TWIG opens. Ours is a serious mission – very dangerous, very difficult – but survivable if we're smart and don't fuck up. So listen up, because here's how it's going to go down."

Hibbett unfolded a laminated map. "The far end of the TWIG opens here, at the top of Hill 246. Lightly wooded area, slopes down over three quarters of a mile to here – a single story masonry block building where the Zhizhi Generator is housed. It's well defended; they've got a full company and they're dug in. We'd love to mass troops but there's no time; we've got to hit them with what we have on hand, and that's you. Everybody we know, everything in the universe, is counting on our success."

Everybody knew the score. It was the 23rd century. A rogue state had sent agents back to the 22nd century to trigger a global war, effectively changing the future. This orphaned the 23rd century that I lived in, effectively separating us from the timestream. We only had a short period of time to go back and repair the gap, or the unraveling of time would propagate forward and write us out of existence.

The trouble was, that same rogue state had set up a Zhizhi Generator ten years after the global war. The Generator made it impossible to travel through time to any period before it; some sort of time-space interference screwed up the carrier wave that supported a Two-Way Interchronal Gateway, or TWIG for short. There was only one thing we could to: travel back to where the Generator was and destroy it. But there wasn't much time.
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"Where am I? What's going on?"

Hello, Jack.

"I can't see anything!"

I'm sorry about that, Jack. The portions of your brain that deal with visual input weren't put back together. Don't be frightened. Everything is perfectly fine.

"Everything… is fine?"

Yes. Calm down, your stress levels are too high to be safe. I'm going to explain exactly what's going on, because I know you must be experiencing a certain amount of confusion.

"I … okay. I'm calming down."

This is good.

"I just feel really weird, because I don't know where I am, or how I got here, or really anything."

All right, here's what's happened. I'm just going to lay it out there, plain as day. You died, Jack. You were dead and buried. People mourned you. Some time passed. Quite a bit of time, actually. It's almost one hundred and fifty years since you passed away. Well, medical science has progressed a great deal since your passing. We have the ability to bring people back, even people who have been gone a long time. So I'm here to offer you a choice.

"A… choice?"

Yes, a choice. The same kind of choice you offered people yourself, back when you were alive and practicing medicine.

"I… I was a doctor."

That's right. You were Doctor Jack Kevorkian. And I'm here to ask you: if you want – if you really want to – you can live again.

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