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#SampleSunday – Final Frontier, alternate history

For Sample Sunday, here is a part of Chapter 7 of Final Frontier.

A couple of hours went by before anything started happening. As McMurphy and Elders were hiding behind some boxes on the floor where Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to have shot Kennedy from, both men heard a door open, with two men walking through. The man who came in first was definitely Oswald, and the second man behind him was shoving a pistol in Oswald’s back, and was carrying something large that was shaped like a rifle of some sort.

Oswald was saying, “Why me?”

“As I keep saying, we need someone who we can blame the assassination easily on. You’ve got a record of siding with the Soviets, so why not you? The federal government will blindly swallow this story hook, line, and sinker, while the Mob will get off scot-free,”

“Ruby, you know you won’t get away with this, don’t you?” Oswald nervously responded.

“Oh, stop with the bravado. We’ve got the Dallas PD in our back pocket and even some of the Secret Service, at least the ones who work for old Lyndon. This should be a piece ‘o cake. All I need from you are some fingerprints, you’ll go to a movie theater, and that’s where the police officers in our employ will pick you up. You take the fall, the Mob gets an enemy out of the way, and everyone’s happy,”

“That’s a bunch of bull. What makes you think I won’t rat you out?”

“You do and you’ll meet your maker with a couple of .38 slugs. Got it?” Ruby waved the handgun in Oswald’s face, who was clearly frightened.

“Yeah, sure. How long do we gotta wait?”

Ruby looked at his watch, and said, “Not very long. Old Lyndon had the motorcade diverted here, so it should be passing through Dealey Plaza momentarily. Once I begin shooting, you slip out of here, and go to that movie theater. No need to make it more complicated than that. Alright?” Oswald indicated he understood.

McMurphy whispered to Elders, “That’s Jack Ruby,”

“Who?”

“Oh, that’s right, you don’t know about what happened in the original timeline. Mr. Ruby there attacked Oswald at the police station after the assassination with that handgun he’s carrying. Oswald died and so did Ruby after the police took care of him. Ruby is a member of the Mob that the Kennedy’s were at odds with. Nobody really knew the whole story behind the assassination. Rumors indicated that Vice President Johnson had the Mob take Kennedy out, which is why the motorcade was diverted here and why Johnson managed to convince Kennedy to make a campaign stop in Dallas to begin with. It was supposed to be neatly wrapped up so Johnson could gain power without having to run for election. Everyone would feel sorry about Kennedy not getting a second term, so Johnson would ride the wave of sympathy to get his first full term without really trying,”

“That must’ve required a massive amount of planning. It’s a wonder that it was pulled off without anyone blowing the whistle,”

“Potential whistleblowers were taken care of, either through being paid off or through death. That was old school south Texas politics for Johnson. Now that won’t happen since we’re here. Now we wait.”

The crowd gathered around the route that President Kennedy’s motorcade was taking. Ruby set-up the sniper rifle and then told Oswald to leave, but before anything happened, McMurphy and Elders stepped out of the shadows, and McMurphy said, “Hold it right there, neither of you move,”

“What? Who are you? You’re not supposed to be here!” exclaimed a surprised Ruby.

“I give up,” Oswald responded with both hands in the air.

“Step away from the rifle, Mr. Ruby. We don’t want anyone to get hurt,”

Ruby responded by turning around, facing the window, and then ran towards it. He crashed through it, fell, and died instantly when he hit the ground. The men could hear members of the crowd reacting to seeing a man falling out of the building. Then the three heard the roar of the engines from the cars in the motorcade, which indicated they were getting the President out of there as fast as they could. McMurphy let loose a string of cuss words before saying, “Great, just great. Now we’ll have cops and Secret Service swarming this place.”

Where to buy:

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Or… Beyond the New Frontier, which is currently exclusive to Amazon is either free to borrow now for Prime Members or buy for $4.99. Also available in paperback currently on Amazon.

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#SampleSunday – Times of Trial: an End Times novel

Here is a sample from the first part of Chapter 4 of “Times of Trial.” Available at: Amazon US, Amazon UK, Barnes & Noble, Smashwords, Apple iTunes, Kobo
Chapter 4

A day earlier….
TimesofTrial_frontcover1“I’m starting to fear for our safety, Eric. Some of our neighbors keep calling CPS and the cops on us for homeschooling the kids, our house gets egged, and someone keeps smearing dog or cat poop on our doors. Along with the graffiti on my car and neighbors who slam their doors every time they see us outside, this is the last straw for me. We should take up that offer to move to Wyoming,”
“I think you’re right, Karen. I was hoping that things might get better. It’ll probably take us a week or more to get there if we go by the back roads. Selling the house and moving all of our stuff would take too long, so maybe we should take only essentials, like food and our camping gear,”
“You want us to camp on our way there?”
“Renting hotel rooms would cause too many questions. If we eat at a fast food joint, or buy anything, I’ll pay in cash. We don’t want the TSA to find out where we’re going,”
“Yeah, I guess you’re right, dear. What should we tell the kids?” asked Karen, as she ran her fingers through her hair.
“Tell them exactly what we’re going to do. They’ll understand. Let’s go talk to them about it.”
Their four children were summoned to come to the kitchen table to discuss with their parents what the family was going to be doing. After listening to what his parents wanted to discuss, Nathan, who was the oldest, asked, “What about our friends? Shouldn’t the Tyler’s come with us?”
“They can’t. They have a responsibility to the older members of the congregation to watch out for them, but when I go inform the Pastor about what we’re doing, I’ll ask again. I’m pretty sure it’ll only be us though. Besides, you can make new friends in Wyoming,” answered Eric.
“I guess.” Nathan shrugged his shoulders.
“Here, we have a map of the roads we’re going to travel on,” Eric laid out a map of Arizona, Utah, and Wyoming, “we’ll be going through the Indian Reservations here in Arizona because the TSA doesn’t have jurisdiction there. If we can find out the places to drive through in Utah without being harassed by the TSA, we should make it. We’ll be camping out the whole way, so bring warm clothes and all of your blankets. Everyone understand?”
“Yes, Dad,” the four answered.
“We’re also leaving all electronics here. We don’t want to be tracked. So no cell phones, tablets, iPads, or portable games. Where we’re going will be pretty much off of the grid.” the kids began whining about how that wasn’t fair. “Enough. That decision is final. Ok, get to work packing the essentials; we’ll be leaving in the morning.”
The family spent the next four hours packing their warm clothes, blankets, camping gear, and getting it into their Suburban. The next morning, Karen asked her husband shortly before they left the house, “Do you think we should lock the doors to the house?”
He thought about it for a few minutes before answering, “Probably not. I don’t think we’re coming back, so we don’t need any of that stuff. If anyone is that desperate for a newer TV, mattresses, washer and dryer, and all of that other stuff, then they’re welcome to it. Come on, let’s go.”
Before leaving the driveway for the church, Eric said, “Let’s pray. Dear Heavenly Father, please guide us on this journey. Help us to avoid being seen by government forces. Please help those who aren’t able to make this journey, and please protect them. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
Once Eric got back into the Suburban after talking to Pastor Tyler, he asked, “So, where to next?”
Karen looked at the map and said, “Ok. Our route will have us driving up State Highway 77 through Globe, Show Low, and then to Holbrook. Once in Holbrook, we’ll have to travel on or next to I-40 for a few miles, then we’ll turn off again onto 77, which looks like a farm-to-market road on the map. I have us going through Chinle, which is just outside of Canyon De Chelly, and we’ll camp out for the night. Since we have four wheel drive, we can get off the main road to do that,”
“Sounds like a plan. Before I drive away, does anyone need to use the restroom?” Nobody said they did. “Good, because we’ll be in this car for at least two hours before we reach Globe.” Eric put the Suburban into gear and began driving north.

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#SampleSunday: New Frontier

Since I finally have something new to share for Sample Sunday, here’s the Prologue to my newest novel, New Frontier, which is a alternate history speculative fiction novel. The Prologue will be expanded on in Book 2, when the starship that leaves at the end of the novel encounters problems while trying to find a missing starship that lead them back to the 1960′s….  Available on Apple, Nook, Kindle, and Smashwords for $2.99,and paperback for $9.99 (links at end of post).

Prologue

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too. It is for these reasons that I regard the decision last year to shift our efforts in space from low to high gear as among the most important decisions that will be made during my incumbency in the office of the Presidency…”

President Kennedy stepped off of the stage after his “New Frontier” speech at Rice University, when he was asked by Texas Governor Daniel, “What did you mean about doing those other things after you said we would go to the moon?”

“That was a mistake. I was going to fill that in by saying that we would eventually explore the rest of our solar system after we take our first steps on the moon, but I forgot about it. Anyway, in the grand scheme of things, who’s going to remember one little paragraph in a speech? All that matters is that I have a vision of what our future holds. The American voters will eat that up.”

“That’s why you’re the President, and not that yahoo, Richard Nixon.”

“I’m sure the American people are grateful for that. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to Washington.”

As Kennedy stepped off of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base, he was met by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who was never eager to converse with any of the Kennedy family, but this time he had to. “Mr. President, I need to speak with you in private.”

“What do you want?”

“Like I said, in private.”

“Oh, all right. Follow me to my car, we can speak there.” When they were situated in the back seat of the Presidential limo, Kennedy asked, “Ok, what’s so important that this has to be in private?”

“I’m sure you’re aware of the death of Marilyn Monroe last month…”

“What’s your point?” interrupted an impatient Kennedy.

“The point is that we have her killer in custody.”

“Didn’t the coroner rule it a suicide?”

“Well, someone told him to rule it that, but it really wasn’t…”

“Would you please get to the point already?” interrupted the President again.

“Fine. The FBI was informed that your brother, Bobby, was seen leaving Monroe’s house the day she died. After an exhaustively thorough investigation, it was concluded that Bobby was indeed the person responsible for the death of Marilyn Monroe. He’s now in custody, where he will be put on trial very soon.”

“You can’t do that.”

“Why? Because he’s a Kennedy? Your father may have gotten away with many a thing years ago, but he also had many friends in high places. With him retired, you and your brothers don’t have that luxury, since you are the people in high places. I’ve got so much stuff on you Kennedy’s, all I would have to do is go to the Press and give them everything available. You would be finished in no time. So, yes, I can have your brother put on trial for murder.”

“What can I offer you to withdraw the murder charge?”

“Bribery, eh? Are you sure you really want to try that with me?”

“What do you want from me?”

“Simple, really. You and your family stay out of my way, and I won’t air all of your dirty laundry. When it’s publicly announced that Bobby killed Marilyn, you will be shocked to hear it, and you’ll reluctantly announce that he will no longer be Attorney General of the United States. If you or your family sends your mob goons after me to silence me by killing me, my will has a provision in it that all the documents I have that are related to your family will be released to the Press. Either way, you’ll be ruined. Do I make myself clear?”

“Crystal.”

“Good.” Hoover stepped out of the car, leaving the President to his thoughts.

A year later, on a campaign stop in Dallas, with President Kenendy’s motorcade on its way to Dallas Trade Mart for a luncheon, gunshots rang out while passing through Dealey Plaza. Kennedy heard the bullets whiz by him, but then he heard a sickening sound next to him. His wife had been shot in the head. In the front seat, Governor John Connally, who had just been elected Texas Governor, appeared to have also been shot by the assassin’s bullets. Kennedy started to panic, but really had nowhere to run if an assassin was still trying to shoot at him. The Secret Service rushed in to protect Kennedy, surrounded the car, and the motorcade rushed away to Parkland Hospital. Both Jacqueline Kennedy and John Connally were pronounced dead within an hour of arriving at the hospital. The FBI announced they would begin their investigation.

After the funeral, Kennedy summoned Hoover to his office. “Did you have anything to do with what happened in Dallas, Mr. Hoover?”

“No, but if I did, you can bet that you would be dead, not your wife or the Governor. Unfortunately, we have no suspects. Too many of the witnesses claim that they heard gunshots from one of the buildings or from the grassy knoll that the motorcade was passing, but no one saw a shooter. Whoever may have tried to assassinate you was professional enough to cover their tracks. The FBI and I have run into a brick wall, and have decided to close the investigation. I’m truly sorry for your loss.”

“I’m sure you are. Thank you for coming.” Kennedy summarily dismissed the FBI Director from his office.

Five years later, after John F. Kennedy was no longer eligible to run for President again. He and the rest of the nation learned that Barry Goldwater won the Presidency of the United States in his second try after trying in 1964. Hubert Humphrey, the Democratic challenger since Lyndon Johnson decided to retire, had been assassinated by Sirhan Sirhan six months before the election, so the Democrats ran George McGovern, who was the Vice Presidential candidate, as the replacement. Goldwater soundly defeated McGovern.

While the world was waiting for Apollo 11 to land on the moon, John and Ted Kennedy were having a party on Chappaquiddick Island with their girlfriends the day before the scheduled moon landing to celebrate the fact that John had helped push NASA in that direction. Ted, and his girlfriend, Mary Jo Kopechne, decided to leave because Mary Jo needed to get home. “Teddy, you should stay here, you’re too drunk to be driving.” protested John.

“I know what I’m doing. Just because you’re my older brother doesn’t give you the right to act like dad.” slurred the drunken younger Kennedy.

“Ok, fine, but if you get into a car wreck, don’t blame me. I tried to warn you, you know.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

“Bye, bye Jack.” slurred the drunk Mary Joe, as she waved at him.

John waved goodbye to them as the two drunkenly got into Ted’s Oldsmobile and drove away. The next morning, Edgartown Police Chief James Arena knocked on the door of the house, John answered the door, and asked the Chief, “Can I help you?”

“Mr. Kennedy, I regret to inform you that your brother and his escort were found dead inside the Oldsmobile at Poucha Pond. It appears they didn’t see the end of the bridge and the car kept going. Due to how the car settled in the water, the two died from drowning. A pair of fisherman on a fishing boat noticed the car earlier this morning, informed us, and we managed to bring the car back up an hour ago. Unfortunately, I need you to come down the Station to ID them so we can officially record that the family knows about it. Can you come with me?”

“Yeah, I’ll come with you. I knew he shouldn’t have left while he was drunk. I knew something would happen, but he refused to listen to me. Now look where it’s gotten him…”

Even though John was hung-over, he was in shock at the news of his brothers’ death, and he was increasingly getting depressed over it. Of the four boys in his family, he was the only one that was left, and he wasn’t sure how his father, Joseph, would handle having yet another son not on Earth. Joseph had ambitious dreams for all of his children, yet of the nine children, four were no longer living. John was beginning to wonder if his family was cursed.

He went with the Police Chief, identified the bodies, and spent the rest of the week organizing a funeral. John wondered why all of this tragedy was happening around him, but not to him. He decided he needed to focus his energies now on his two children, before anything else happened to anyone else in his family. So, he decided to withdraw from public life, because it seemed to him that his immediate family would live longer that way. Four months later, Joseph died at the age of 81 of natural causes.

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#SampleSunday-Shattered Earth excerpt

For Sample Sunday, this is an excerpt from Shattered Earth, one of my science fiction novels. Once you read the excerpt, buy links are at the end, or click on the picture to take you to Smashwords for all e-book formats.

Chapter Five

Around this period, two very rich Terran adventurers had decided to hitch a ride to Mars, after bribing a starship captain. The two wanted to see what it was like on Earth, after hearing news reports about how utterly barbaric and primitive the planet was. They were visiting Britannia just as the Roman legions were recalled to defend the city of Rome. After seeing what was going on with the local Brit tribes, the two decided that it might be fun to organize them, so that the tribes could defend themselves against the Vikings, Normans, and others who had conducted raids on the island. The two named their kingdom Camelot, led by the Terran whose name was Arthur, and his cohort, who was named Merlin. Merlin was considered an eccentric inventor; other Terrans thought he was more than a little insane, while the primitive humans around him thought that Merlin was a great and mighty powerful magician. After all, he looked the part. Merlin had long, straight hair, a long white beard, and wore very colorful robes. Arthur was tall, lean, but muscular, dark hair, and looked like a mighty warrior might look.

Merlin cooked up a scheme to get these primitive humans to accept Arthur as their leader, so he told Arthur of an idea he had, “I have a brainstorm, Arthur; tell me if you like it. These Brits have a legend about a sword in a stone and if a man of great virtue pulls it out of the stone, he will become the undisputed leader of the people. I propose to use our advanced technology to convince these people to believe you’re destined to be the king. What do you think?”

“Sounds like a good plan, Merlin. How do you plan on making it work?”

“I think I’ll build a sword with computer components that will recognize only your handprint. I will then stick the sword in what will appear to be a stone, except this stone will keep the sword in place with an elaborate computer aided locking system. Once you take hold of the sword, the system will recognize your handprint, then it will unlock, and the sword will be yours. You’ll have the masses begging you to be the leader,”

“Sounds like a very good idea, Merlin. Nothing like a little technology turned into sorcery to make one a good leader. Get to work.” ordered Arthur, who was looking forward to this new scheme of Merlin’s.

A few weeks later, Merlin, with the help of an experimental Terran transportation device, suddenly, and without any warning at all, appeared in the town square with the sword in his hand, and a very convincing looking stone placed next to him. He called for the townsfolk to gather, and then, he said, “Good citizens of Camelot. I have created a test for those who wish to lead us. This sword, I will put in the stone, and it can only be pulled out by a virtuous, and good man,”

Merlin then slid the shiny, intimidating looking, sword into the stone, “The challenge has been laid, all men throughout Camelot are welcome to try to pull out the sword, which I have named Excalibur.” with that, Merlin vanished into thin air the same way he had appeared.

Merlin and Arthur watched for little over a month, as man after man attempted to pull Excalibur from the stone. Everyone had a different way of trying to pull the sword out of the stone, which served only to amuse the two Terrans, and tick off the human men who tried to pull out Excalibur. As Merlin expected, not a single man could pull the sword from the stone, so Merlin again reappeared in a flash of light, and said, “Is there no one here who is virtuous enough to take the sword? Who among you is left that is willing to try?”

Having not convinced the people up to this point that he would make a good leader, Arthur boldly, and with tremendous confidence, walked into the town square to pull the sword from the stone. Everyone was whispering, and a few were taking bets seeing if Arthur could pull Excalibur from the stone. Arthur confidently walked up to the stone, put his hands on the swords’ hilt, which activated the computer lock system, and he slowly pulled Excalibur from the stone. The people were shocked at first, but, then began cheering. Arthur wielded Excalibur for a few minutes, going through swinging, hacking, and thrusting motions with the sword, and then motioned for the townsfolk to calm down. Then he spoke, “People of Camelot. I have pulled Excalibur from the stone, so I am now your leader. What say you?”

The people chanted, “Arthur” and “Long live the King.” Arthur was now the undisputed leader of Camelot. Merlin spoke again, “A king needs knights that he can lead into glorious battle against the forces of evil. Who here among you is willing to be a Knight of the Round Table?”

Arthur had not heard this scheme from Merlin, but thought this Knights of the Round Table thing might be a really good idea. According to Merlin, the knights in good standing would gather around a round table, so that there would be no man who thought they were better than the others. Many men came forward to join the ranks of the knights, more than Merlin had expected. So Merlin did something unusual in the eyes of these humans in this time period, he interviewed each applicant, and tested their sword fighting skills. After doing the interviews, Merlin also worked on Excalibur to make it appear more magical to these primitive humans, and when he was done, he showed Arthur the sword, “I did some more work to Excalibur. Press the green button on the hilt, and see what happens,”

Arthur took hold of the sword, and pressed the small green button on the hilt. The sword lit up in an almost blinding, white glow, so Arthur asked, “What is this, some sort of glow saber kind of thing?”

“I would have to say yes, and no, Arthur. It’s supposed to strike fear in the hearts and minds of your enemies. I’ll later add a sound effect to increase the fierceness of the sword. Anyway, I thought it was a cool idea.”

“You do realize you ripped-off a wretchedly bad movie idea from a hundred years ago, don’t you? Next thing you’ll tell me, you’re some sort of ascended being with powers you’re not supposed to use. Come back to reality, Merlin, this is not science fiction.”

“Oh, I know that, but the townsfolk already think I have great powers, so acting like I have telekinesis, or the ability to appear, and disappear at will, isn’t going to do any harm. They won’t know about that movie, who is ever going to see it on Earth? I know what I’m doing, believe it or not. The next thing on your agenda though, is to meet your Knights of the Round Table.”

Arthur was introduced to his new knights the next day; his impression of them was that they all seemed like good, honorable men, and fierce warriors. Merlin was right about the more powerful looking Excalibur scaring enemies. In battle, some retreated rather than fight Arthur. The knights, and Arthur, fought Vikings and Danes; Arthur himself killed a lot of the invaders, increasing his legendary status among Saxons living near, and in Camelot. Merlin set up great adventures for the knights and Arthur to go on, giving the knights legendary status for themselves too. Sir Lancelot was considered the best of the Knights of the Round Table, and he always had the ear of Arthur whenever he had some pithy thought about another great adventure they should all go on, or how Camelot should be run.

Several years later, some strangers appeared in Camelot, who turned out to be a Terran military contingent. They were looking for Arthur and Merlin; when they were found in the castle, the Terran commander said, “Arthur and Merlin, you are hereby arrested for crimes against humanity. You are herby ordered to come back with us to Terra, to explain what you have done. Now, come with us.”

“Crimes against humanity? Seriously? What crimes have we done, exactly?” asked Merlin.

“Take a look around you. Setting up your own little kingdom, and using technology in battles against the Vikings, which we heard about because the rumors made it to Rome, which, naturally, ended up being heard by a scientist there. He contacted the Mars Outpost, and that’s why we’re here, because Terra’s government is not pleased. Now, come with us.”

“Wait! Can I address my subjects, and the Knights of the Round Table, one last time?” asked Arthur.

The commander sighed, and said, “Very well.”

Arthur called together Camelot, and everyone gathered together, to listen to what Arthur had to say, “People of Camelot, and Knights of the Round Table, hear me this day. These men are from my home country, and they are seeking the Holy Grail. They wish for me to go on a long journey with them to search for it, which will take many, many years. So, for my last official duty as king, I place Sir Lancelot as the new king of Camelot; follow him as you have followed me. Fare thee well Camelot, I wish all of you good and long lives.”

Arthur and Merlin left Camelot with the Terrans. They boarded a shuttle that was hidden a few miles away, which took them to a ship in orbit, and the ship headed for Terra. Once on Terra, the two men were brought before the Oversight for Earth Committee, who seemed like a bunch of stuffy old fools to Arthur and Merlin. The chairman of the committee, Senator Tyranous, began to talk the second both men sat down, “Arthur Pendragon, and Merlin Ambrosius, you have both been called here to explain yourselves, and why you decided to interfere in human affairs. Now, what say you?”

Merlin and Arthur looked at each other, Merlin shrugged his shoulders in a nonchalant kind of way, so Arthur said, “We didn’t see any harm in doing what we did. We didn’t give them any of our technology, and they’re still just as primitive as before we arrived.”

“While you may not think you did harm, you gave some ideas to some of those Brits, what were they called? The Knights of the Round Table? Those Knights could get it into their heads that they could invade Europe, on some misplaced idea of a grand adventure, and then plunge the whole continent into another series of wars. Also, we’ve had to go in, and clean up the technology you left when you were arrested. Do you realize that because of your so-called adventure, we’ve had problems with others who want to do the same thing?”

“Well, that really isn’t our problem, Senator.” Merlin sarcastically said.

“Oh, you don’t think so, huh? It has been decided, until further notice, that only our official representatives will be on Earth. All tourism to Earth is now hereby forbidden for the foreseeable future. Merlin Ambrosius, and Arthur Pendragon, you two are now hereby subject to house arrest. This means that you’ll never be able to leave Terra, and you will be watched for the rest of your natural lives, no matter how long that takes. This Committee will now recess for twenty minutes.”

Both men were escorted to their individual homes, injected in their arms with a tracking chip so that they would be tracked anywhere on the planet, and told that if they ever leave Terra, the punishment would be severe, especially if they tried to return to Earth.

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Chapter 1-Out of Time-SampleSunday

This is the first half of Chapter 1 in my time travel novella, Out of Time. Follow the link to take you to the buy links for paperback and ebook.

They had to escape from this period in time. The people they were visiting in the 1600’s definitely thought they were witches, and the spawn of the devil.

Historians warned the school teacher about visiting Salem, Massachusetts, during the Salem Witch Trials, especially with a dozen twelve year olds in her care. The teacher had Doctor John Hawking and Captain Erickson with the class, but, the villagers were chasing after them, and there was no way to get to the shuttle without significantly changing history. All Mrs. Hanson wanted was to show her class, through the Interactive History program, what made these particular Puritans so paranoid, and what happens to people when they were accused of witchcraft. Well, they certainly got more than they bargained for.

Hawking was loudly complaining, “This is utterly stupid. We should have had a military backup when we go to time periods such as these. With all the threats to us from the Puritans, and the Native Americans, neither of which tolerate strangers on their lands. I’m going to file a protest with the President, and insist we get some military assistance.”

“What about interfering with time by bringing advanced weapons, armor, and everything involved with a military operation?” asked Erickson.

“We have the technology to make our weapons appear to be muskets, so why not? We can then have the soldiers wear whatever uniforms from whatever time we’re in, and that will solve that!” insisted Hawking.

“Well, let’s worry about that when we get back.”

After leading the witch hunters through the forest for over an hour, the time travelers managed to finally lose them. The school kids thought this was really cool, while their teacher was frantic. Erickson led them all back to the holographically disguised shuttle, which was disguised to look like a small house. Once they all got back inside, Erickson piloted the shuttle back to the USS Einstein, which was waiting in orbit. On the ship, Mrs. Hanson and her class went to the room that was a temporary classroom, while Hawking and Erickson went to the bridge. On the bridge, Erickson was asked by Yeager, “How did it go, Captain?”

“It didn’t go very well. One of the villagers got it into their head that we were more than just strangers, so we were accused of witchcraft. Mrs. Hanson tried to argue that we weren’t witches, which made them even angrier. So, within minutes we had the whole angry-mob-with-fire-and-pitchforks coming after us. After our little disappearance, we might as well be witches to them. Remind me never to let any historian, or school teachers, convince us to let them travel to Salem of the 1690’s. Now, we can return home to see what other adventures we have in store for us.”

The USS Einstein traveled forward to 2157, so that the sixth graders could do their e-book reports on what happened in the Salem Witch Trials of 1692. After Hawking, and the others, returned from the first missions through time, the government decided that there would be a no-interference policy for the past, a sort of Grandfather Paradox Policy. The idea was, through the previous experience, that if anyone interfered in anything significant to the timeline, that when you returned to your period of time, you may not exist because your ancestors may not have survived a certain period in the time you tried to fix. Hawking said this was all theory, and he didn’t know if the person would disappear from history if they returned to the present, but, he didn’t want to find out.

Contaminating the timeline without meaning to could be a real possibility with the Interactive History program the Department of Education had thought up recently. Too many American children knew far too little about their history, so with the use of a time traveling starship, they could learn from first-hand experience. Hawking disagreed with this, but, convinced Congress to pass a Grandfather Paradox Act, making sure nobody would interfere in the natural flow of history. Sure, Hawking was becoming rich and famous because of this, school districts, historians, and others paid him to take them back in time, but he still cared about not contaminating the timeline.

Hawking was also worried about when those rogue time travelers from the beginning of his first trips through time were supposed to interfere with the original missions, but, he had no idea when in the future they were from. Another worry was the fact that the Time Tripper had been built without his knowledge; what other things had he done that the government had gone behind his back to do their own version? He would never know. Now, government contracts were going to the lowest bidder for the next generation of time traveling starship.
These new ships, with Commander Robinsons’ help, could go faster than the speed of light, if they needed to use the suns’ gravity to jump through time, which didn’t happen very often, since they almost always found fluid time access points. Robinson had also experimented with using black holes to travel through time, which wasn’t quite working out the way he thought the experiments would. All the black hole experiment did was make the ship stay stuck in the event horizon, going nowhere, so now Robinson would have to invent a whole new way to get the ship unstuck from a black holes’ event horizon.

Hawking made sure he held the patents to his time device, which required the new stardrives to work; he wanted no one to go behind his back to build another timeship without his knowledge. President Williamson assured the scientist that anything having to do with the secrets of time travel was now solely Hawkings’ responsibility; there were no longer secret government labs, or secret time traveling missions. Doctor Hawking still wanted to know what kind of missions the Time Tripper had been on previous to Hawking taking control of it to go back to Roswell in 1947, but, all Williamson would say was that it was classified higher than the security clearance that Doctor Hawking had been given by the powers that be.

Hawking had been asked by some Smithsonian Institute historians if he could take them to observe moments like the Boston Massacre, the signing of the Constitution, the War of 1812, and the British burning the White House, the various battles of the Civil War, and other significant happenings in American history. They wanted to record everything for posterity, on video, so that the Smithsonian Museum could accurately portray everything instead of guessing on a few moments in history.

He was a bit overwhelmed with all the requests for his time, and the attention he was receiving, so he finally hired a secretary, and an agent, so that he wouldn’t have to deal with everything so directly. How he ended up as the go-to guy for trips through time, he wasn’t sure; all he wanted to do originally was to figure out how to time travel. Since he enjoyed history, it really didn’t bother him all that much to go back in time, to show everyone how history had happened. What bothered him was what would happen if someone messed up the timeline, like he, and the others, did the first time they went through time, would they be able to fix it again? So, he started reflecting on how he went through this whole time travel scheme the first time.

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