Crystal's StorySite storysite.org
Alex Harrison walked out of the bathroom, in deep meditation. Today was the day he had been waiting for, hoping for, for as long as he could remember. Today he would undergo a genetic replacement treatment, a highly experimental treatment developed by some biotech company he had never heard of. But when he heard what they were offering, he jumped at the chance. There were no guarantees, of any kind about anything, but the chance to be what he had always wanted was something he couldnt pass up. He would start the journey to womanhood today.
Many people would ask him why he wanted this if they knew about it. His family would be angry and ashamed he knew. But he would take the chance. It was nothing he could really explain. It was just something he felt. For as long as he could remember, he felt more comfortable around girls, doing what they did, instead of around guys. His personality was more passive, less prone to anger, less testosterone driven. Everything seemed right for him to be a woman, except of course for the fact that his particular genome had specified that he would be a male. But today that would change. He would be able to experience womanhood in its full glory. He might even be able to give birth.
There were risks of course. The process could not work. It could deform him. It could kill him. But the doctors had told him there was a good chance it would work. His mother had always told him to listen to doctors, to trust them. He would do so in a way she never intended now.
Also, he would need to change jobs. He was an electrical engineer, designed and put together circuits and computers. There was a dearth of such jobs, so he didnt need to worry. He had made arrangements for his identity after the transformation. He would be Alexis Laura Harrison. He had always liked that name.
Alex checked around the room for the last time. He was dressed nicely, but not formally. He had his wallet and keys in his hand, and was heading for the door, checking to see if he had forgotten anything. Then the door opened.
He had no roommates, he had no girlfriend, and there was no one who should just barge right in with out knocking or ringing the door bell. Through the door stepped a woman, who looked nice, but not spectacular. She was wearing faded jeans with a plain white t-shirt. She was also wearing a backpack. She bore a certain familiarity he couldnt explain. She moved quickly, hastily, and closed the door behind her before stepping towards him.
"Ok, Alex," she says, as if in a rush. "Alex, I cant tell you who I am, where I am from, or how I know what I know, but you have to trust me," the woman said earnestly. She continued hurriedly, "You cant go for the treatment you are going for today. Please listen to me! If you do, you will contract a disease that will be incurable and will kill you in ten years or so. You will be miserable. You will be shunned and avoided by your family. You will have few friends. You will regret this," she said, apparently finished. She had spoken with an earnestness and conviction that stunned Alex. That, however, didnt keep him from getting angry.
"Now you listen here," he shouted angrily, with all the pent up emotion of a lifetime of a dream that had always been beyond his reach. And now that it was right there, this stranger, this woman would just walk in to his house and tell him not to, to try to pull him away from his dream. "You, you, you," he stammered, shaking his finger at the woman, "I dont know how you know what you know, and I dont care. This has been my dream, my, my purpose in life! You wont, and neither will anyone else, stop me from taking this chance at my dream! I want this more than anything, more than life itself," he screamed, in an ever louder and more angry voice. All the while, the woman shrunk back, and back, withering under the verbal assault, and by the time he had finished, she was crying, shaking her heard, muttering, "No, no," the whole time.
"Get the fuck out of my house, Im going to seize my dream by the horns! Get the fuck out! Leave," he continued, his blood boiling now. He grabbed her by the arm and threw the crying woman out of his house. He slams the door, and begins to quickly pace around the foyer, his anger slowly dissipating. Finally he calms down enough, and leaves the house, locking the door behind him. He walks up to his car. Looking around, there is no sign of the strange woman. He gets in, and begins driving to the facility where he will undergo his treatment. He curses as he glances at the clock, realizing he will be a bit late. But on the ride, doubts begin creeping up in his mind.
How exactly will your family take it," said one voice in his head. You know they wont take it well. You can hear their words, cant you?
And what if something does go wrongs, asks another voice. You could be deformed, or even killed. Is that worth this? Is it really? Isnt life worth living?
It really wont change anything, proclaimed another. Thats what it is all about. You only think you want it. You really just use it as a scapegoat, something to take all the blame. What will you blame for all the things that go wrong in your life after this? Hmm?
As these thoughts flashed through his head, his facial expression changed to match what was being sid, in various mixtures of confusion, doubt, and deep thought. Finally, he lashed out at these doubts.
This is what Ive always wanted. If I back down now, I will regret it for the rest of my life. It is now or never, he thought to himself. He had a minute ago felt as if under the scrutiny of a packed house at some theater, with himself standing on the stage. After this thought, he smiled. He felt better already. But there was one last voice to have its say.
You may regret it anyway, was all it said. That was more unsettling, and alex didnt smile for the rest of the ride.
"Hello Mr. Harrison, a little late, arent we," asked Dr. Thomas. "Are you nervous? Do you feel all right?"
Alex had gotten there about half an hour ago, had gone through all the pre procedure nonsense, and was finally in the room where the procedure would take place, the place where he would spend the next two months in a state of deep sleep. It would take that long, more or less, for the changes to take place. At least that was that was the best guess of the doctors. He was minutes away from the procedure.
"Yeah, a little bit."
"Well, if you want, we can still call it off," he said in a non convincing manner. He would go through with it.
"No, no. Im ready; Im sure."
"Good, Ill go and get things moving, then," said the doctor. He then turned around, and left the procedure room. Alex was all alone.
He still had a few doubts, but nothing very big. He was nervous, but also excited at the same time. This was what he always wanted. He thought back to the incident with the woman. He could only wonder. He wanted to believe, to say, that she was wrong, but she could be right. He had never really believed in god, but perhaps she was a messenger from above. Or maybe she was just well informed. Or maybe she was just crazy. Who knows. There was one thing that kept nagging him about her though. She had seemed familiar somehow when he had seen her. He still felt as though he remembered her from somewhere or something. But he couldnt quite put his proverbial finger on it. It was then that Dr. Thomas and a nurse with a syringe entered.
"Ready, Mr. Harrison," the doctor asked as the nurse stepped up to his arm and prepared to inject the sedative.
"As ready as Ill ever be," Alex responded. Two things occurred to him as he laid down on the bed he had been sitting on. First, that the procedure room was sure dark and foreboding for a doctors place of work. A sign? And the second thing, the nagging familiarity of the woman, was on his mind until his very last moment of consciousness. And at that last moment, the last he hoped he would spend awake as a male, he realized who the woman reminded him of. The surprise of it kept him awake for an extra second. Then everything went to black.
Twelve Weeks Later...
His ( her? ) first glimpses of the world after the procedure were of bright white light. Over the course of the next hour, he ( she? ) thought he ( she? ) could discern sounds, and later voices. Eventually he ( she? ) could tell from the square grid of tiles above him ( her? ) that he was laying flat in a well lit room. There were many voices. Alex ( Alexis? ) finally got up the will and strength to turn his ( her? ) head to the side he ( she? ) thought that the voices were coming from.
There were three or four doctors and nurses standing to that side, with one, a nurse, observing him ( her? ). She saw the movement and alerted the other three. They turned. Was that Dr. Thomas?
"Well, hello Alexis, how are you feeling this afternoon," he asked. It was indeed Dr. Thomas. He didnt look or sound happy at all.
"I, I feel tired," Alexis said, seeing as Dr. Thomas had called her that, signifying success.
"Yes, you will be groggy for the next few hours," he said, retaining an air of unease about him.
"Was, was the operation successful," was the only thing she could ask. She felt more awake now, but felt weak, and in no way ready to get up. She still saw the look the doctors and nurses shared however, that all hadnt gone as planned.
"Ms. Harrison," Dr. Thomas said, pulling up a chair, "not everything went well, to be perfectly honest. You are indeed fully female, even able to become pregnant and give birth. However," he paused here, "however, during the procedure, a small piece of genetic material broke loose and began to spread throughout your body. It is what is known as a viroid. There is no cure, we dont even know where to begin. We can give you treatment for it that will prolong your life, but you most likely live more than ten, twelve years or so, unless a major leap in medical technology happens. Either that or a miracle. And any children you have would become infected. Theres even the chance of sexual transmission, though the viroid would need to be studied to determine whether or not that is true. I am sorry Ms. Harrison. We only mostly succeeded."
Alexis could see the sadness and concern in his face. Alexis wondered whether that was for her or his project. Alexis decided it was the former, if for no other reason that she needed it greatly at this point. She began to cry. The nurse who had been observing her earlier came forward and embraced her. It felt so good.
"Ms. Walters, when Ms. Harrison is stronger and ready, you can help her move into her temporary room," she heard Dr. Thomas say. The nurse holding her nodded. Alexis drifted into sleep in Ms. Walters embrace.
When she awoke, the room she was in was mostly dark. There was only a dim light. It was enough to see by. This room was different from the one she had woken up in. It was less hospital like and more like a room that you might find in a hotel. Other than the bed, which was in the middle of the room, there was a dresser by the side of a window, a door near the dresser, another door on another wall, and a desk with a mirror on the same wall as the second door. Alexis got up, and walked up to the mirror. When she got there and looked intently at the reflection, she received the sock of her life. She was the woman, the woman who had told her this would happen, the one who she had exploded at. She had also said she would be miserable, and that her family would for all intents and purposes disown her. Alexis dropped to her knees and began to cry. Ms. Walters chose that moment to come in. She did her best to console her, but Alexis was going to be unhappy for quite some time.
Seven Years Later...
Alexis stepped out of the bathroom where she had just finished her shower into her dark room. She was weeping softly, as she had for almost every morning for the last seven years or so. Ever since she had woken up that first time. Ever since she had gone to her parents home soon after the procedure and, exactly as the woman, the one who looked just like her, had said, her family had been angry, intolerant, and ashamed. She had been kicked out very quickly. For about a year, she had let her life fall to pieces. Her only friend had been Harriet Walters, the nurse who had been there from the start. They had lost touch when she had finally gotten on her feet again.
This had come when she got a job with the government in a remote base, working as support staff for a very, very secret project, one that could possibly explain a few things. The goal of the project was to create a time machine that could send a person or object back in time. Forward in time was easy. All that was necessary for that was a spaceship that could travel very close to the speed of light. Going back was harder, but a few crack government physicists had thought they had it figured out. There was plenty of electronics work to be done, and Alexis was there to help do it.
The project seemed to be close to success. She had believed it would from day one if for no other reason than it explained the woman perfectly, or almost so. The woman had been her, in the not too distant future. She had come back in time. There were problems though, problems inherent in going backwards through time. Alexis saw the clock during her ruminations on the past, and realized she had to get moving. Her shift started shortly.
She quickly threw on the project-labeled jumpsuit, cleaned up her appearance, picked up her equipment, and walked out into the hall, locking her door behind her. She walked down a maze of corridors and entered the main labs, where, standing in the middle of the vast, cavernous room, was the time machine itself, running itself off an advanced tokomak fusion reactor, which was a few rooms over. At the top of the mess of machinery and circuits and particle accelerators and other knickknacks she couldnt even begin to comprehend, was a small sphere. This was the chamber, from which a passenger would go backwards in time. Dr. Larson, the project director was talking with Mr. Trent, her boss. Mr. Trent saw her, broke the conversation with Dr. Larson, and walked over to her.
"Youre a little late this morning," he said coming up to her.
"Sorry," she said, "I just got a little distracted."
"Thats all right," said Mr. Trent, who could never be angry with anyone for too long, and had great sympathy for her, even if it was from a distance. He was also one hell of an engineer. "Theres a meeting in something over an hour and a half. Youll be called to the auditorium when the time comes over the loudspeaker," he said, reaching into his folder for her assignment. And, just as if on cue, the loudspeaker came to life, dispersing words of seeming gibberish, but really very technical language. Mr. Trent handed her her assignments for the day. "Here you go Alexis. Nothing much today, just some minor repairs. Work is pretty much done, really," he said, then walked off. Alexis did the same, looking over her assignments for the day.
And, about an hour and a half later, the loudspeakers called all workers into the massive auditorium that was used for mass briefings. Only once, at an earlier stage of the project, had the whole of the workforce been gathered. There were easily several thousand people here. Alexis took her seat, and listened for the presentation to start. Dr. Larson stepped up soon afterwards.
"Ladies and gentlemen, Ill be brief," he said, a statement that meant nothing since he hated to speak for a long time. "Project Time Keeper has achieved completion."
With those words the audience broke into a standing ovation. It last for ten minutes despite Dr. Larsons efforts to continue. It finally ended soon after Dr. Larson, most likely at the advice of Dr. Taylor, another of the projects leaders, whispered something into Dr. Larsons ear with a smile, and Dr. Larson took a bow. Their was a brief rise in the volume and intensity of the ovation, but it began to level off fairly quickly after that. Alexis herself had been cheering. Dr. Larson continued.
"Project Time Keeper has been completed," there was a smattering of applause at this, during which Dr. Larson paused. It died off, and he continued, "and we are ready to begin testing. We want to begin testing A.S.A.P. so that we can control who gets to go first. If the bosses find out were done too soon, theyll send an astronaut or something to do it. The Project Board has decided, however, to send someone, all conditions permitting, into the past the day after tomorrow. The identity of that person will be determined by lottery. Each of you gets to pick one eight digit number, not beginning or ending with a zero, and the person who comes closest to the number the computers come up with will get to go. If there is a tie, as in two different numbers that are the same distance from the result, there will be a coin flip to decide the winner. You can enter your number at any terminal on the network. The program is called lottery, thats lottery all letters in lowercase form. It takes your number as a command line argument in the Terminal. It will tell you if the number is valid or not, or if it has been taken. Good luck to you all," he finished, and curtly turned away. Everyone tried to get up and leave at once to get to the nearest computer, or to get to their rooms.
Alexis ran through the corridors among a large crowd, rushing to get back to her room. If she remembered correctly, she had left the Terminal application up, online, and set to the base directory of the server. She had decided to use he birthday as her number, 10241973. She reached her room, unlocked it in record time. She was confident she would win. After all, that number had always been lucky for her. She had been chosen for the genetic replacement procedure with that number. Whether that could be called that lucky or not was up for debate, but it was a winning number. As Alexis shook the mouse, she found that the Terminal app was indeed up and where she wanted it. She typed in the appropriate command and hit enter. The program returned a message saying that the number had been accepted for "Harrison, Alexis L." She sat down on her bed, and gave a sigh of satisfaction. As she scooted back on her bed, she heard the crumbling of paper in her pocket, as well as the rattling of a few tools in another pocket and remembered that she still had work to do. If she worked fast, she could finish before lunch.
The time until lunch passed quickly, and she hadnt thought about the lottery much. Then lunchtime hit. Alexis had finished just in time, and had the next few days free, unless something unexpected happened. As she sat down in her usual spot with a few friends, the loudspeaker came to life. The voice was that of Dr. Larson.
"Ladies and gentlemen, I will keep this brief. All lottery entries have been made, and the computer has just generated the random number. It is currently searching the database of lottery numbers for the best match. If you will be patient," he said, trailing off. The whole base went quiet. You could have heard cars driving on the nearest road, which wasnt near the base at all, if of course the machinery hadnt been running. Then Dr. Larson spoke up again.
"We have a winner," he said, as if he had just stated an observation on the greenness of gras. "I would ask the winner to come immediately to my office for a briefing on procedure," he said, skirting the subject to the great annoyance of the crowds listening. One man in the cafeteria shouted, "Just tell us, you fuck head," and threw a milk carton at the nearest loud speaker.
"The winner is Harrison, Alexis L. Congratulations," he said and simply hung up. Alexiss friends looked at her in astonishment and jealousy. Alexis just sat there, said nothing, but couldnt help but have a smirk cross her face. And it wasnt going away anytime soon. She had thought it was highly likely that she would be selected, but hadnt been 100% sure. Now she thought that she should never have doubted it. She excused herself from the table, and began to make her way to Dr. Larsons office.
It took her ten minutes to get there, but when she did, she was ushered right in by his secretary. She sat down in a chair facing his desk.
"Congratulations, Ms. Harrison, you won the lottery. You get to be the first human being to travel backwards in time."
"Thank you Dr. Larson."
"Yes, well, tomorrow you will be fully briefed, get some elementary training, and such. The day after, you get to go back. You will get to choose the point in time and the place to which you wish to go back to. You can give that to the techs tomorrow. Do you have any questions," he asked, serious and unemotional as usual.
"Well then," he said, and a smile, the first she had ever seen on his face, grew across his face, "I will see you tomorrow. And congratulations again."
The day had been long for Alexis. Briefing after briefing, and the exersizes at the end of the day were murderous. But she had made it through them. She had also picked her desired destination. She would go back to that fateful day all those seven years ago. She would try to stop herself from going. The only problem was that the physicists and engineers had explicitly warned her against such interventions. But she would do it anyway, she had to try. The universe be damned. Anyway, if how things had turned out was any indication, it wouldnt work anyway. But she had to try.
Her thoughts, as she neared sleep, became more nervous and doubtful. What if something went wrong, what if she accidentally destroyed the universe or something? Of course she didnt much care about herself any more. Her medications would keep her alive for a few more years, no more than that though. But what if she ended up hurting others, even if she succeeded in her mission? What if what she did caused a war or something like that? There were so many questions, so many doubts. She would go through with it, though. She knew, as a fact, she knew she would make it back in time, but would she return? Unlike last time, when all she cared about was herself, didnt even think of how it would affect those close to her, her family especially. She realized she had probably hurt them almost as much as they hurt her. After all, she had given them no warning, no clue, nothing. She had just done it, because she felt like it. She took no input from anyone. She fell into sleep, crying at memories.
She got up early the next morning, showered, and for the first time since the procedure, didnt start crying. She got into a jumpsuit they had given her yesterday, and brought with her a backpack they had given her to hold normal clothes for the short time she would be there. The backpack and the clothes were exactly the same as the ones her double had worn seven years ago. This would be an interesting day. She walked out into the corridor. Various members of the workforce were at their doors, many of which she had never met. They all gave her a few words of encouragement, many joking with some degree of sincerity that she must have cheated to get the spot. There were no hard feelings though.
Alexis arrived in the main chamber on time, and looked up to see the massive machine, now with a series of stairs leading up to a platform at the entrance to the main chamber. The whole machine was alive, humming, hissing, and making this noise and that. Alexis began to climb the stairs. She arrived at the top and was greeted by Mr. Trent, Dr. Larson, and many others. They wished her luck, shook her hand. It all just went by so quickly. Before she knew it, she was standing in the featureless spherical chamber. The hatch was still open, and an engineer walked up to it and began speaking to her.
"Ok, you ready," he asked, and she nodded. "Good. I cant tell you what to expect or anything, so Ill just say a few things. Try not to move away from the center of the chamber or else it might not work. If everything works according to plan, well plop you pretty closes to where you wanted to be in terms of space. Time is no problem. You may be a block or two away from where you wanted to be, but this was built to be accurate and precise in going through time, not space. Got that?" Alexis nodded again. "Good. Oh and one more thing, dont interfere. If you cause a paradox, god knows what will happen. Good luck," he said, finishing with his stern warning, a warning Alexis had every intention to disregard. She nodded, and gave a mock salute. He closed the hatch.
She stood there, alone in the well-lit white chamber, waiting for the jump backwards in time. She began to twiddle her thumbs, literally. It was a habit she had picked up a long time ago. Then, the chamber went black. At least that was her first impression. Then she realized she was weightless, then lights of various colors began circling her, starting very dimly, and getting brighter and brighter. Her world was a kaleidoscope of colors, constantly shift and changing, evolving, and growing more bright and intense with each moment. Then, suddenly, she was surrounded by bright, white dots, that started spinning around her, faster and faster, until they formed circles. The circles very quickly began moving up and down, like waves in a sea of light. Then there was a flash, and the waves became circles, the circles dots, the dots disappeared and were replaced by the colors, which dimmed and slowed until she was again left in blackness. Then there was a bright flash, and a sensation of falling.
She hit the grass, very much disoriented, and awed by the spectacle that she had just seen. She had hit fairly softly, and looking around, she saw she was about a block away from her old home. She saw the gas station across the street. She ran across the vacant street, around the building to the womens bathrooms, where she exchanged her jumpsuit for the faded jeans and white shirt in her backpack. The jumpsuit went in the backpack.
Alexis then walked out of the station, around to its front, and gathered her bearings. There were children playing down the street. Across from her old house in fact. Could they have seen what had happened just now, her arrival. Could they have seen, or should it be said, will they see the events about to take place at my old house. Alexis began walking down the sidewalk towards her old home.
It was a sunny day. For some reason, she had always remembered it as a cloudy, miserable day. The events of the day must have clouded the memory, Alexis thought. And soon enough, she was face to face with her old home. She just stood there for a moment, taking it all in. The friend and girlfriends she had once had here when she had been a man. The good times and the bad times. Alexis just gave a sigh of nostalgia. She then purposefully strode up to the front door, and opened it. She moved in quickly and hastily, and closed it in the same manner, and came face to face with her old male self. Paradox time.
"Ok, Alex," Alexis says, quickly, rushing it. After all, she didnt know how much time she had. "Alex, I cant tell you who I am, where I am from, or how I know what I know, but you have to trust me," she said earnestly to a still stunned Alex, "You cant go for the treatment you are going for today. Please listen to me! If you do, you will contract a disease that will be incurable and will kill you in ten years or so. You will be miserable. You will be shunned and avoided by your family. You will have few friends. You will regret this," Alexis said with conviction and emotion. She could see that this was having an effect on him, but, just as she remembered doing, he began to get visibly angry.
"Now you listen here," he shouted angrily, with an anger that Alexis remembered expressing her self seven years ago, subjective to her of course. She prepared to take the verbal abuse she knew that the male version of herself was about to give for her trying to distract him from his "dream." "You, you, you," he stammered, shaking his finger at her, "I dont know how you know what you know, and I dont care. This has been my dream, my, my purpose in life! You wont, and neither will anyone else, stop me from taking this chance at my dream! I want this more than anything, more than life itself," he screamed, in an ever louder and more angry voice. All the while, Alexis shrunk back, and back, withering under the verbal assault, and by the time he had finished, she was crying, shaking her heard, muttering, "No, no," the whole time.
"Get the fuck out of my house, Im going to seize my dream by the horns! Get the fuck out! Leave," he continued, obviously very, very angry with her. A silly thought occurred to her, despite the angry man fast approaching her and her own crying. "Im going to seize my dream by the horns?" I cant believe I said something that dumb, Alexis thought. It was enough to bring her back to her senses. Now she had a decision to make. Would she try some more, and possibly cause a paradox, or let it go like she had done when she had been the angry man? She decided to do things differently.
He grabbed her by the arm and was about to throw her out of his house, Alexis began to speak.
"Alex, listen. I am you, from seven years in the future, I am Alexis Laura Harrison. I have come back in time to prevent you from doing this. You want me to prove it, fine," she said hastily, thinking quickly back to tell things that only he, and consequently she, would know. "Your stack of nude magazines was hidden under a floorboard right next to the closet. You were once caught in drag, by Mrs. Allen, but successfully managed to pass yourself of as a real girl and escape. You lost your virginity to Sara Eschen," she stopped, as Alexs features change into ones of deep confusion. Alexis took this advantage to press her argument, her plea further.
"Dont go today, dont undergo Dr. Thomass procedure. I have a disease, caused by a viroid byproduct of the procedure that will kill me in three or four years. I havent spoken to anyone in our family since what you think of as yesterday, when you, and hence I, talked to Steve, our brother. Please, it isnt worth it. Let the dream go. There are other dreams," she said quickly, and with a note of great desperation.
In Alexs mind all the while, the doubts that Alexis had been able to quash with relative ease were flourishing, boiling over, waiting to take over his thoughts. But he was determined. That could be seen in his eyes, as he held her, ready to throw Alexis out into the front yard. The front door was wide open. Alex tensed as he prepared to throw her out when Alexis got lucky. She simply disappeared. Alex had no clue where she went. She was just there one moment, and gone the next. This confused Alex even more, to a greater degree than anything she had said. He closed the door, and slowly paced the foyer.
On the one hand, Alex thought, She just barged in, and told me a bunch of crap that no one could prove. On the other hand, however, she had known a lot that almost no one else should have known. And what reason would she have to gather all that info. Could she be another candidate, wanting to get me out of the way to give her a chance? But she had said her name was Alexis Laura Harrison, which is the name I would choose, and I have told no one that. And of course there is the fact that she just simply disappeared. Could that have been her returning to the future?
Alex stood there, at the foot of the stairs, and decided to call it off. It was just too strange, too much too fast. And, he realized as he looked at his watch, he would be really late even if he left now. So he picked up the phone and dialed the number of the institute.
"Hello, Dr. Thomas, this is Alex Harrison."
"Ah, Alex! How are you? Are you ready for todays procedure?"
"Actually, I wouldnt be able to make it. And," he paused, his last chance to still go for the treatment. He decided however, that however much he wanted it, it would hurt his friends and family excessively. A fact he had not considered before. "And, I think that I have changed my mind in regards to the procedure. Im sorry, Dr. Thomas, I just dont think it would be the best thing for me to do at this time." He heard a heavy sigh on the other end. The voice that came back was more tired and wary than the one which had responded to his call in the first place.
"Very well, Mr. Harrison. Are you sure? You wont get another chance at this in a while."
"Yes, Dr, Thomas, Im sure," Alex said, with a firmness and certainty in the decision he had made.
"Well then, goodbye," he said curtly, then hung up before Alex could respond.
Alex walked into his living room and sat on the couch facing his TV. He just sat there for a while, contemplating what he had done, and what he had not done. Then a thought occurred to him. How was it possible that the woman that he would have been, Alexis, could have come back in time to warn him not to undergo the procedure if Alexis no longer existed, now or at any point in the future? There would be no one to come back and change his mind. But at the same time, if there was no one to come back to warn him, he should still have gone to undergo the procedure. But in that case, Alexis would have existed to come back to stop him, which would mean there would have been no Alexis to come back and stop him. A cycle.
No, a paradox. The grandfathers paradox they called it in college I believe. Based on the idea that if I went back in time to kill my fathers father, before the conception of my father, how would I have been born to go back to kill my grandfather. But in that case, my grandfather would have lived, hence I would have lived, and I would have gone back to kill my grandfather. The grandfathers paradox. Who knows how things worked out? Or who knows if they did?
Alexis again found herself in the black void, and again the variously colored lights began to appear, dimly at first, then brighter, moving and shimmering like a kaleidoscope. Then, once the kaleidoscope of colors was very bright, they disappeared and were instantly replaced by the bright white dots, and they in their turn began spinning until they formed solid circles. The circles began moving up and down forming the waves of light, and then there was a flash. Then another. Then a series of blue ones. Then a series of green ones. This was followed by a series of yellow ones, a series of orange ones, and finally a series of red ones. Then there was one great, bug, flash in which all the colors were displayed everywhere and yet did not coalesce to form white light. Then there was another white flash, followed by the familiar waves, followed by the circles, then the dots, the the colors which faded into the back void, and then she was falling again. This time she landed in a white, spherical chamber: the time machine chamber.
The door was immediately opened by those outside, and they rushed in, without a word, and dragged her forcefully out. She was about to protest when she smelled the burning. As she was dragged down the stairs from the platform, she saw several small fires in the machine. Could that have caused the strange flashes in the middle of the return? Alexis didnt know, but she was dumped right at the feet of Mt. Trent, Dr. Larson, and others, who looked at her with an angry stare. And that was when she noticed things were a bit different. She was no longer wearing the white t-shirt. It was black now. The backpack was also different. Most importantly though, she felt different, and yet not so different. It was a familiar sensation. Alex patted himself down, confirming that she was now a he again, and thus the procedure had never taken place. He would live for a long time yet.
Unless the stares reflected the intentions of the crowd at whose feet he was laying. He carefully got up, brushing himself off, and confirm he was not hurt.
"Well, Mr. Harrison, you certainly know how not to follow instructions," Dr. Larson said, in a voice that was surprising in its calm relative to the fury of his face.
"Excuse me," Alex responded, confused. One of the nearby engineers who had heard what he had said spoke up first.
"You caused a damned paradox. Youre lucky you didnt destroy the universe, or get yourself changed or something. You did, however, manage to destroy the time machine, you bastard." The crowd to his front nodded. Alex just stood there. He had accomplished everything he had set out to do, and he had gotten to travel in time. Alex knew it would be his first and last time though.
I wonder, he thought, even as the crowd of project leaders began to express their anger at him, if those colored flashes during the return trip were caused by the paradox. Its curious.
Two weeks after the time travel incident, Alex returned to his home, the one he had so recently visited in the past. His family was all there, happy to see him again after six years. There was a lot he didnt remember about the one year of the seven between the procedure that didnt happen in this timeline and his getting the government job to work on the time travel project. But he was able to wing it as it seemed nothing of importance had happened during that year. Things had changed over the past six, however. His two younger brothers had both gotten married. One already had a boy and was expecting another boy, the other was expecting a girl.
After his family left, Alex sat down in front of his TV. He thought about the events of the past seven years. It had been exciting, but he was glad it was over. And his desire to become a woman was satisfied, and now no longer played any part in his mind. Thats when Alex noticed that he had a message on the answering machine. It was only two days old. He played it.
"Hello, Alex? I dont know if you remember me, but this is Harriet Walters. We met at Tonys Bar about six years ago. Anyway, I heard from a friend who has a friend that you would be back in the near future. Would you perhaps be interested in getting together sometime in the next week or two? Call me, my number is 265-782-2841. Bye."
Alex sat back down on his couch, and thought. Harriet Walters. Though he didnt know anything about he had met, known, or felt about Harriet in this timeline, in the one he remembered, they had been good friends.
She cant have changed too much between timelines. Theres only seven years that are different, he thought.
Yes, he would meet with her. Perhaps something would come of it. His mind began to wander, and it finally settled on the paradox he had created. Obviously it had resolved itself. How, or why, he couldnt say. But the timeline had adapted itself to the paradox. Very interest indeed, Alex thought. Alex smiled. The possibilities were endless.
Authors note: the grandfathers paradox is a real construction, and it works just as I explained through Alex and Alexis above. What would happen to the universe if something like that happened, no one knows. There is a good chance that time travel backwards may be impossible. Or it could be possible, but you could travel no further back than the time when the machine was created. It is very complex, and there is no convenient way out of the paradox as I showed at the end of my story. So heres something to think about: if something along the lines of the above story really happened, what would happen when you reached the paradox? Something to chew on.
© 2002 by SsiRuuk25. All Rights Reserved. These documents (including, without limitation, all articles, text, images, logos, compilation design) may printed for personal use only. No portion of these documents may be stored electronically, distributed electronically, or otherwise made available without express written consent of the copyright holder.