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“He’s been like this for days,” the nurse said, regarding the young man standing by the window, staring loosely and apathetically at the brightly-illuminated courtyard. A cardinal feathered its wings, while an elderly couple bickered about common things as the man fed a gang of pigeons bits of wheat bread from his sandwich. Dennis appeared disinterested, but the nurse could have sworn she saw the hint of a smile at the corner of his mouth, but she didn’t get her hopes up.

She shrugged. As she began, turning back to the older man of Balkans descent, he spoke forcefully, saying, “Keep Mr. Davis on a close observation,” he stated, looking over the files sternly. “You may want to keep him for another week to ensure he stays on his medication, and to make sure there are no lapses in his dosage.” He let the pages fall back to the clipboard and handed the file back to the nurse.

“If you have any problems,” he began, fishing around in his coat pocket for a card, “please, don’t hesitate to give us a call, in fact – we’d prefer if you called us before getting in touch with the authorities.” The man smiled and shook her hand. “It was a pleasure to meet you, miss.”

The Balkan man smiled and departed with a noticeable limp for the elevators as soon as he’d relinquished her grasp with a hand caressed by a giant white bandage across its middle. Nurse Daniels hesitated before looking at the front page. The horrors that file contained gave even the man pause, and even having read through them once was enough to give her nightmares and mentally exhaust her to the point she herself had to take medication. She didn’t dare look through it again, setting down on a table in her office. Once she had closed the door, and was alone in the room, she looked over the man’s card. It had the United Nations Commission on Human Rights logo emblazoned on the front left, and below it – in small print – was the name of the man, Volkan Jamakovic.

Dennis was better off because of this distraction, as his memories had begun to resurface – as his recollection and sense of self began to return.

  • * *

3 years earlier

Genoa had told Dennis there was a rumor in that part of Brooklyn, about his uncle – George Evan Davis. Detective Davis had been cocky, and taken his work seriously while with NYPD. He’d been ‘one of the few (uncrooked)’ cops, Genoa had said. “He really thought that the police were the last line of defense of the citizenry from the really powerful criminals, the politicians,” said Genoa.

“You know, what they’re supposed to be doing, not worrying about pot-heads and drunken idiots at the bar,” Genoa added as he waved his hands around the air hysterically, eliciting uncontrolled laughter from Dennis as he handed his eccentric friend the weed joint.

“Well, you know, local law enforcement are traditionally more corrupt than federal-level cops because they don’t have as much violent crime to deal with, since most of that stuff ends up on FBI desks – the Customs and Border Protection, and most of those paramilitary organizations that work for Homeland Security, on the other hand – by and large are incredibly corrupt, and you have a lot of politically-motivated CIA agents, too,” said Dennis, who’d been studying Political Science as his major ever since moving up to New York to return to college and move in with Genoa, to help him with his activist project, ‘Independence Front’.

Genoa smiled, his eyes almost slits, as he took another drag, then handing it back to Dennis. “I bet that’s where you get your conspiracy theorist streak from.” Dennis frowned and shook his head.

“George Davis.”

“Oh, pfft!”

After their smoke session, the duo went exploring the Brooklyn urban architecture. They enjoyed each other’s company, laughing with glee as they shoved one another.

They only enjoyed another six months of this, for soon it was time for Dennis to begin his externship with the United Nations. Genoa and his girlfriend Stefani almost seemed to be getting teary-eyed.

“I’m gonna miss you bro,” said Genoa, giving his shoulder a slap.

“It’s important to have someone we can trust on the inside,” Stefani said.

Dennis smiled nonchalantly. “I appreciate it guys.” He pointed to the plane behind him. “When I get on that,” he said. “I’m going to the Middle-East, and I might not be coming back,” said Dennis.

“Oh no,” said Genoa, straightening his backpack strap. “You’ll be coming back, alright.”

They made the announcement for the final boarding.

“Stay safe out there.”

Dennis responded to this with a thumb’s up.


Thumrait Airfield, on the Arabian Peninsula, was bustling with traffic of international accord. Soldiers from the United States, Britain, France and others had congregated there for the latest conflict – the war on an organization known as Jundallah al-Fatah, or ‘God’s Army of Conquest’.

They had taken over vast swathes of Iraq, Pakistan and Turkmenistan, and the international community was focusing all of their effort on the largest concentration of ‘JaF’ fighters - Iraq.

Unfortunately, a significant JaF presence had emerged in the very country of his current occupation, Oman, particularly in the city of Salalah and the town of Thumrait – the latter of which he was currently in.

The streets were largely unpaved, and small clouds of dirt mushroomed from the ground each time a car, truck or camel scooted by him. It was exceedingly difficult for Human Rights Officer Dennis I. Davis to meet anyone, since the official and wide-spoken language in Oman was Arabic, and Davis could only speak English, Spanish and a little bit of metropolitan French.

They did, however, have good beer.

It was in one of these small, narrow, hole-in-the-wall bars that Officer Davis met a group of Frenchmen on shore duty before entering the campaign against the militants.

"You should really consider joining the Legionnaires," said Sergeant Fournier as he took another swig from his ale.

Davis chuckled a bit and shrugged. "I, honestly no longer have an interest in the services," he said, pausing. "I guess I just grew out of it."

Then, from behind, a voice in plain English with a full-blown American accent bellowed out, "What do you have to lose?"

Davis and Fournier, as well as the other Frenchmen, looked back just as the masked man finished a beer. He was wearing the blue helmet of a Legionnaire, as well as possessing all standard tell-tale equipment, as he too stood up. He gave Davis a pat on the shoulder as he exited.

"What's your name," shouted Fournier.

"Steels," he shouted back, after he was already out of eyesight.


Living in town for the next three months proved to be grueling. And although a little bit of money went a long way toward food, drink and tobacco, it was very hard to come by. On average, although his place of residence was payed for by the UN, he only came by an average of 20 to 50 dollars a day, and converted to Omani rial was equal to only 10 to 20 and then some.

The JAF were pushed back by the beginning of the following year, and Davis was transferred to Dubai, the largest city in the neighboring country of the United Arab Emirates. With a population of over 5 million - well over half of the entire country as a whole - Dubai was a city not much smaller than New York. It had a bustling financial and banking district, as well as a downtown and a gigantic shipping and fishery sector.

Davis's instructor had informed him that his newest transfer was mostly as a break, as a thanks for his hard work and effort over the past year-and-a-half. But he had also said he could be relocated at any time, should he be needed.

Aside from the cripplingly-hot temperatures that he had barely gotten used to, freedom of speech in Dubai was limited - preventing any form of criticism against the royal family or law enforcement. None of this was an issue for Davis, he rarely left his air-conditioned apartment, and he had little to say to anyone since all of his friends were in America or, now, France.

What was an issue, was the general treatment of foreign workers there - which included himself. Davis was forced to keep a very tight schedule; heading to the local UN office to work for six hours a day, and heading straight home. He had to order out, and even then he would find faces peering out at him. He would find dead animals on his door step, and threatening messages written on his wall. The UN explained that this was normal for people who worked for the organization, and that they were commonly associated with the UN Permanent Security Councilors, such as the U.S., France and Russia.

They said that the fact that Davis was also an American who spoke French didn't help.

Davis didn't get out much to enjoy coffee, alcohol, or even tea in his current state of isolation. When he did go out for groceries or other commodities, even cigarettes, he was forced to constantly look over his shoulder. Never take shortcuts - a philosophy he always espoused. Since he never got on the bad side of Dubai law enforcement, he was forced to rely upon them.

This torment went on for almost a year, before he finally managed the courage to go out one day. Davis was drunk, and decided that it would have to be during the afternoon, or noon-day, when the sun was high in the sky. He would go into the center of town, the most populous, and he would go get some coffee.

As he came down onto the street from his apartment, the wind and heat ripped at his clothing. He was instantly blanketed in a thick coat of sweat and dry goosebumps as he was pulled at from all directions. He hadn't remembered it being this hot, but he shrugged it off.

Davis made his way past groups of people huddling in small 'camps' and groups, murmering about the latest bombings or wars in the upper Middle-East such as Syria and Turkey. Davis continued making his way toward the more populated, richer parts of the city, where more and more people sported business suits and ties; carrying briefcases, golden watches and Bluetooth devices as they popped in and out of marble and granite structures sporting revolving doors and escalators. Davis almost felt like he was back in the United States for a moment, until he was reminded by the Arabic strokes of font lining the fronts of the stores and food places advertising quick snacks and caffeinated boosts to the work day. Davis figured it wouldn't really matter since he couldn't read Arabic, and followed his nose.

He was led to what was - surely enough - a coffee shop.

Davis pointed out what he wanted, and the cashier rang up his order. While he sat twiddling his thumbs and glancing between a various assortment of things that did not in any way hold his interest, he almost entirely forgot about the coffee. He realized that his watch was broken, and he tapped it several times attempting to get it to restart until he heard the cashier call out his name.

Davis got up and nervously got his coffee. He decided to sit and think about what he was going to do next while he sipped on his hot beverage. He certainly did not want to continue working this job - he wanted to go home. He'd had enough. It had been almost three years, and he felt that was long enough to claim as a source of experience. Almost as soon as he thought about this time scale, however, his watch began to tick.

He almost jumped back in shock. It hadn't worked for several days, why all of a sudden start now? Then he noticed the people around him were no longer recognizable, their faces had become distorted and out of focus.

Assuming he was having a panic attack, Davis stood up and grabbed his coffee, and then immediately began heading home.

The trip back was even worse.

Not only were the people around him without faces, they had become misshapen swirls of shadow and light. There were no people, no one to talk to - even if he could talk to someone he didn't know the language well enough to convey what was happening. He kept his head down and continued his trek back to the apartment.

Davis slammed the door and locked it, his chest heaving as he poured sweat while attempting to calm down. He'd dropped the coffee some time ago on another street.

By now, his entire perception was warped beyond recognition, the walls and angles intercepted one another at odd and alien angles, and he could no longer walk in a straight line. He kept pushing himself until he noticed his bed, which he dove straight for immediately.

But Davis did not sleep.

He watched the room and the apartment collapse around him into a mess of fractals and geometry. Eventually, the room gave way to reveal a field, upon which his bed was laying.

He stood up, realizing he could walk straight and normally, and began to proceed further into the field.

Davis was not going anywhere in particular, but merely trying to comprehend what was happening to him.

Suddenly, in the distance, two parallel beams of light crested a knoll, and then descended. They peaked once more, and then descended once more, until Davis realized that they belonged to a military Humvee. The vehicle pulled up next to him, and the older black man in the passenger seat shouted for him to get in.

"There's no time to explain just yet, just hurry! They're coming!"

Davis noticed that it had begun to rain, but not water - oil.

The rain was black.

"HURRY!"

Right as he shouted, there was a deafening sound that reverberated throughout the valley. A light appeared on the horizon, and Davis could see strange airplane-like aircraft zipping and sliding across the darkening sky, the black oil rain coming down in sheets now.

Davis climbed in and the Humvee departed, speeding up with each passing second.

"We have to be going 200 miles-an-hour to get through the temporal lattice, then we can regroup and figure out our next move, you hear me?"

Davis shook his head.

"I'm Staff Sergeant McGraw, this here is our RECON squadron, also known as Response Coalition," he explained as lightning began to ripple across the vehicle.

"HANG ONTO SOMETHING!"

The lightning became blinding, which was replaced by white, and then, they were in the streets of a big city, which looked like it had been abandoned for a long time.

"Welcome to Miami, in the year 2079, thirty-four years after the Turkish–North American invasion," McGraw announced, getting out of the Humvee.

Several people noticed their presence, and scampered off into the various abandoned structures and behind debris.

Davis held up his hands.

"Okay, what the entire fuck is going on here!"

Everyone stopped their bickering. One of the vagrants lowered his sawn-off, and they then proceeded to exchange glances.

"He doesn't know what's going on," one of them asked.

McGraw held up his own hands now.

"Maybe this an opportunity for us to come together and work things out, yeah?"

The older man thought about it for a moment, before shaking his head and frowning. "No, we caught you stealing a week ago - stealing food."

They agreed in a raucous choir the guilt of their targets.

"Wait, don't you think we need to let the newcomer in on the ropes, at the very least?"

They exchanged glances once more, and began to bicker amongst themselves. Meanwhile, the soldiers were lining up shots. It was only now that Davis noticed the wear and tear. They had been out in these barrens for months, if not years.

McGraw gave the order, and the men were gunned down like bowling pins. One by one, they were torn apart by the modified assault rifles.

A moment went by as the gunfire echoed throughout the city, and another moment of uncomfortable silence followed it.

"Okay, what just happened," Davis inquired harshly.

"We had to," said one of the others. "They want our trans-temporal technology, or T3," he continued.

"And stealing food and water here is almost necessary, since it is a wasteland for most of the countryside and we can't travel into the past for very long."


Davis had fainted and awoken in the back of the Humvee, to his dismay. At first upon waking, he'd thought it had been a bad dream, or he'd been drugged. But now, as his surroundings came to focus, he realized he was doomed.

There were oddly cheerful yet quiet voices in the background, accompanying a dull fire beside one of the buildings.

"W-what happ-" he was cut off by a hand falling on his shoulder, and turned to see a face with a finger to its lips - that of Staff Sgt. McGraw.

"We can't speak too loudly, lest they hear us."

Davis looked around in fear and paranoia. "Who?"

McGraw merely gave Davis a thoughtful stare, and waved him over to the fire. "You need to eat," he said, presenting him an MRE.

"Careful, don't hold it by the top, water's still boiling and will burn the shit out of you."

Davis did so, but he had already known to do so, the soldier merely assumed he did not.

While he waited for his food to cool down, McGraw filled him in on a bit of what was happening.

"It all started with the second operational run of the Large Hadron Collider, in short," he began, taking out a cigarette and lighting it. "The first was bad enough, peaking in late 2012, but the next one? The one in 2017...?" He shook his head.

Between spoonfuls, Davis managed, "the thing that did the whole God particle thing?"

McGraw chuckled sardonically. "It did much more than that." He stood up and began to pace. "On July 4th and November 8th 2012 respectively, the LHC discovered the Higgs boson and it became no longer a theory, and were then able to peer into the fundamental source code of reality... itself."

Davis had now finished his food, and was lighting up his own smoke.

"Makes a scary sort of sense. What happened in 2017?"

McGraw frowned.

"We don't talk about what happened in 2017. It's the reason we're all here right now."

Before Davis or McGraw could say more, a low growl permeated the air around them. The soldiers then began arming up.

"What was that?"

"Them, Davis. Them."

McGraw tossed him a shotgun, which Davis barely caught. And almost immediately after, one of the men shouted, "HERE THEY COME!"

They all had their guns pointed at a door, and Davis realized they were in a garage.

The alloy slab of metal bowed in, dented and smashed. The racket grew until it was almost deafening. Davis and the others found themselves gritting their teeth when it suddenly ceased.

Silence touched the room.

Until, almost a minute later, the door to the complex inside flew off its hinges. A man wearing what looked like HAZMAT Riot Control armor burst into the door, and began firing a noxious black smoke out of a grenade launcher.

"TAKE THEM OUT!"

As the first enemy was taken down, two more took his place. Then there were three, and five, and then twelve. Soon. A swarm of the shadow police had filed into the room, and McGraw and Davis just barely got the door open when a man in military-grade armor sporting the Turkish flag insignia on his chest entered. He was upright, and his face remained expressionless, and the duo only got a glimpse of him as they climbed out from under the damaged garage.

They ran for hours, not stopping once until they found a vehicle with a workable engine, an Audi in this case.

"This should work," said McGraw, peeling open the passenger side door with impossible strength. "I'll gun," he said, punching his rifle. "You drive."

Davis sighed. He hated driving, but now his life depended on it. The Sergeant was unquestionably a better shot than him, and those... things... were right on their tail.

"Shit," he heard McGraw utter behind him. He turned and saw him pointing his rifle at something, and just in time to hear him say, "we gotta move."

Davis hopped into the driver seat, trying to control his breathing and start the vehicle at the same time. McGraw hopped in, just in time for Davis to hit the gas.

And just in time to see them speeding away from two black Humvees in the rear-view mirror, which were in turn followed by a helicopter.

"Did you get the T3," shouted Davis.

"Yeah," shouted McGraw between gunfire. "They don't know that, they're still looking, buys us time."

After firing at the other vehicle.

"Another thing they don't know?"

"What's that, Sarge?"

"We need to kill them as much as they need to kill us," he said. This didn't do much to ease Davis's inhibitions, but it certainly helped.

One of the Humvees fell away, and soon after the fractals began to return, enveloping the Audi.

"HERE WE GO!"

The light pulsated, and they found themselves in what looked like 1980's Norway. The chopper and Humvee continued their pursuit through the portal, and for the first time Davis could make out the face of the Turkish soldier that they had seen back in the future.

"This guy's gotta be taken down," McGraw said, almost as if he were reading the Officer's mind. They tried to shake their enemies through the snowy mountain pass after going off-road, but still their efforts proved for naught with the chopper.

"SHIT! We needa get back on the road so we can-"

"YEAH! I KNOW!"

Davis wheeled the vehicle around, and nearly careened off the edge of a cliff before darting back into the brush. Tree branches smacked against the windshield, cracking it little by little.

"C'MON PICK IT UP, THAT THING'S RIGHT ON US!"

Out of nowhere, the other Humvee hurtled into view upon the road and the duo smacked right into at an angle, sending both vehicles into a tailspin and a somersault respectively.

Both vehicles were transported into a city that looked to be far in the future. Massive hyper-freeways of twelve and more lanes blanketed the skyline interlacing with skyscrapers hundreds of stories in height on average. The vehicles zipping by looked more like aircraft than cars, and moved so fast as to be near-blurs. In the skies above smaller shuttlecraft moved in tandem with larger carrier and cruiser-type vessels that looked like a cross between the International Space Station and the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Upon one of them was a golden flag with a symbol resembling a cross between a lion, an eagle and a koi fish - the national animals of Britain, America and Japan respectively - and Davis was almost captivated by it until they were almost sliced in half by one of the plane-cars. Davis narrowly avoided it, pulling out onto the side of the giant street. McGraw grabbed Davis by his shoulder and then shouted, "CHOPPER INBOUND!"

They had no choice but to stay against the far-right wall of the structure, and accelerate to top speed. Once they did so, they were able to get a clear visual of the vehicles, which weren't going much faster than they were at the moment - but at cruiser speeds. The chopper was now missing and hitting the civilians in the crossfire.

"If we don't stop this fucker he's going to rip a hole in the spacetime continuum," shouted McGraw, firing off more rounds from his rifle.

"If we get hitched to one of these cars, maybe their speed can slingshot us into the past without using up too much energy," McGraw added.

"You're shitting me, you want me to try to ram this car into one of those things!?"

"IF YOU DON'T, EVERYONE THAT IS, EVER HAS BEEN, AND EVER WILL BE, IS DEAD! FUCKING DEAD! DO YOU GET THAT!"

Before Davis could react, McGraw lost patience and grabbed the wheel, shoving it right into a truck-like vehicle beside them. At their speed, they sent the truck hurtling end over end, at which point McGraw grabbed the T3 and pressed it to his chest, grabbing Davis by the collar. They were thrown from the car, and landed several hundred feet closer to the ground than they should have. Davis must have blinked, because they were now on a hill outside of the city of Knoxville, his birthplace.

"Judging by the normality of this scene," McGraw heaved, "we're back in the year 2017, the year all this shit went down."

"When all of what went down? You still haven't told me."

McGraw heaved. "I haven't told you, because it hasn't happened yet."

Just as he said this, Davis saw McGraw getting out his pistol. "Get down."

"What?"

"NOW!"

Davis didn't hesitate, he dove for the ground and McGraw fired a burst of carbine fire into the shadow police officer. He fell backward, and his mask came off. Davis saw only a glimpse of an eyeless face with razor sharp teeth before two more and the Turk burst from the grass and limbs and fired upon McGraw. The Sergeant got only a burst off, hitting the Turk in the leg, before falling before a hail of gunfire.

Davis retaliated by firing off three shots from his shotgun, the first killing the nearest officer and the latter blowing the second one's head clean off. Davis went to fire fourth time but found the gun out of ammunition, and the Turk grabbed and threw him with incredible strength across the field.

As Davis prepared to get up and keep fighting, the Turk hoisted him into the air and began to strangle him with one hand. That is when Davis's survival instinct kicked in, he raised a balled fist, and as he did so the Turk's eyes widened in fear. It is at this point that Davis realized he, too, had incredible strength.

He launched a punch straight between the Turk's fearful eyes, and dropped to his knees as his adversary recoiled in pain and injury. Davis was about to launch another, when the Turk caught his fist, and got him in a headlock.

"Do you know what happens to children here," the man taunted in plain English.

"No," replied Davis, "but I know what happens to you."

Davis retrieved a knife and sliced the back of his hand open, spilling blood everywhere.

The man screamed in agony and Davis bolted to his feet and out of the woods. He kept going until he hit the fairgrounds, which were in full swing. Davis ran until his feet were sore, and then ran some more.

Eventually, he passed out.


When he awoke, he was in the UT Hospital, in one of their beds and one of the emergency rooms.

The 'unit' consisted of ex-cons, mental health patients, and others undergoing crises. O. J. Simpson was getting out of prison, and J. Xavier Gates - heir to the Gates political dynasty and American imperialist - was president. His mate, Ethan - a heavy-set androgenic black man - was happy about the former, and dismayed by the latter.

"So, Mallory Copeland didn't win the election," asked Davis.

Ethan shook his head.

"Nope, those right-wingers got what they wanted all along. They saw a chance and they took it, after Charles W. Gates was impeached for launching the War in Iraq nearly 15 years ago, they knew the only way they'd get another Gates is if they pushed for the wife of the only other President to be impeached, Wayne Copeland."

But Dennis still didn't understand, and before he could ask, Ethan saw it on his face.

"Look boy," said Ethan, as he scooted closer to the young man. "I was in the service," he said, whispering, "when the elder Gates was in office. Not many people know that since Reagan, even since Nixon first launched the War on Drugs, the CIA has been collaborating with the Mexican Drug Cartels to dominate and infiltrate the government. They've been stoking tension and instability across Central America... and do you know what the long-con is?"

"No."

Ethan inhaled. "A North American superstate."

Dennis had a feeling a civil war was coming to the US, and what the man said made too much sense. But, they were all there because of their malfunctioning brains. Everything the man said to him could've been lies. He didn't know who or what to believe anymore. He found that his father was having them transfer him to Lakeshore. The man at the end of the room, whose light indicated was a convict and was covered in tattoos, gave him a thumbs up and an evil grin as he exited the hallway.

Davis was left alone, with memories, that he was told had never happened at all.



Written by D. Compton Ambrose
Content is available under CC BY-SA

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