Nifty Disclaimer - This story is a work of fiction and contains scenes including sexual relations between people of the same gender. If this isn't your cup of tea, or is illegal where you live, please do not read. Any relation between fictional characters and real people is purely coincidental.


Do Over

Chapter 17


"God dammit David Ray Jones, when do you get those fucking things off?" Brian asked as I pulled away from another failed attempt to take him into my mouth.

"Two more weeks for the retainer." I mumbled in irritation. I was fifteen, dammit, and braces weren't supposed to be in my future. Considering the state of my teeth at thirty-six though, it was probably for the best. Still, it made taking Brian into my mouth all but impossible.

"Well lean back and we'll do this the old-fashioned way." He said in a husky voice and I complied, leaning back into the prickly hay as he climbed on top of me, his hard cock nestling against mine before he began humping me gently. He stayed gentle for no more than three thrusts and then was going at it full bore while my naked legs wrapped around his ass. It wasn't long before he was spilling his cum between us, and the way his body jerked in its orgasm was more than enough to send me over the edge into mine.

"I love you." Brian whispered in an exhausted voice and I let out a long sigh of relief as our cum cooled between us. It had been a long week since we'd done this last, and I'd missed him a lot. It was my fault that we'd been apart that long though, since I'd accepted Dr. Grayson's invitation to join him in Europe for the awarding of the Nobel Prize. It had been my first time to Geneva, and Brian couldn't go because he'd managed to get a D on a test, and had to do a make-up for it while we would be gone. Mom had gone with me on the trip, and Jenny, and it was their first time out of the country (officially mine as well, but I had memories of other trips).

We'd stopped on the way back in Paris, which was why it had been a week. Doctor Grayson had consulted with some of the leading physicians in his field there, and I'd gone on daily trips to their AIDS wards, my French only slightly improved for having helped Brian with his studies in that language. Fortunately, we'd had a government-assigned interpreter. I'd loved visiting the Louvre again, although I had to make sure I didn't mention having been there before. Paris was actually nicer, and friendlier than the time I'd visited in my past life, and I enjoyed everything except for Brian not being there with me.

"Well, I hope you learned your lesson about keeping your grades up." I teased him and he frowned. He had blamed the D on me, for keeping him up late too many nights when I'd stay over with him during the week. It didn't happen much, Tyatya and Dyadya were quite insistent on me being home during the week most of the time.

"Fuck, I missed you doing it again." Trevor said as he climbed into the loft and Brian rolled off of me so our cum-covered abdomens were fully visible. In the last five months he'd grown more comfortable about being around Trevor or Brandon without being fully clothed.

"Yep, you can just drool all you want buddy, he's mine." Brian teased Trevor who just threw a towel we'd brought with us in the general direction of where we were, followed moments later by our baseball pants and t-shirts.

"Mom told me to tell you dinner would be ready in ten minutes." Trevor said as he sat on a bail of hay. "So, you manage to get your mouth around him yet?"

"No." I mumbled disgustedly. Why Brian had to tell him about that I don't know, but he hadn't stopped teasing me for a month.

"Ease up, we all had braces when we were kids." Brian said with a chuckle.

"But I'm fifteen!" I nearly wailed.

"So, a lot of others our age have them right now too." Trevor retorted and I sighed in defeat.

"Well, not all of them end up on television every few weeks." I muttered and got another laugh for my troubles.

"You're the one always agreeing to do the shows." Brian pointed out as he took the towel and wiped me off carefully before cleaning himself. I could see Trevor focusing on us as he did so and wondered how many times he'd jacked off thinking about us. Our bodies were even tighter than they had been during football season. We worked out five days a week now with Brian's weights, and ran the five miles from school to Brian's every day. Of course, with baseball season underway, we'd had to cut back a little on the weights, but baseball practice left us nowhere near as tired as football had. Both of us now had six-pack abs forming and I had to keep from looking at my nose from every angle and imagining it improved by plastic surgery. I was struggling to not be that vain, but it was hard when I looked better than I ever had in my original life.

"We're on a roll." I said firmly. "We've gotten the AIDS education program running now, and I'm the spokesperson for it so I have to do that."

"Just like you're going to be traveling to schools next fall." Brian said sourly.

"Hey, stop messing up your grades and your parents said you could go as well." I reminded him. His grades had started slipping a little, mostly because he wasn't applying himself to the tests and his parents were getting a little worried. Truth be told, I was too.

"I just freak out on the tests." Brian said sourly. "It's like I'm in a pressure cooker, everyone watching me and if I mess up everyone knows now."

"Fuck, I'm sorry." I said, feeling guilty. "I tried to tell you it could get like this, but I don't think I explained it right."

"No, you did." Brian argued. "It's just that I didn't think it would be like this ALL the damn time."

"You guys better get dressed for dinner." Trevor said before heading off down the ladder. Brian and I did get dressed and followed him down, leaving our argument where it had been left. Neither of us really wanted to continue it any further. We were just finishing dinner when we heard a car pull up. It was Friday night, Brian and I had headed home with Trevor, not bothering to shower after the game, and headed right to the barn. Brian was always horny after baseball games, saying time after time that watching my butt while I played first base and he was in the outfield drove him crazy.

Last month, Mom had moved to a two-bedroom apartment still in the district of Downey and my old junior high where Jenny was back attending. A three-bedroom would have stretched her budget as a single mother, even with the support payments for Jenny that Dad had agreed to during their separation. Thus, I stayed at Trevor's with his parents' full blessings. I think they liked having an additional kid in the house. I visited Mom every other week, spending the night with her and Jenny, sleeping on the couch, but this wasn't one of those weeks, and I doubted she'd be pulling up. Brian's parents were out of town for a weekend get-away, which was why he was staying there. Their first weekend get-away last month had been spoiled by the death of Coach Campbell from my old junior high school. Dyadya got up and answered the door when there was a knock a few minutes later. Two men in black suits came in, speaking in hushed tones before Dyadya led them off to his seldom-used study.

[That doesn't look good.] Trevor said in Russian. I nodded, as did Brian who had been picking up more and more of that language. Tyatya just nodded with a worried frown. It was a shame really, that our school didn't offer Russian as a foreign language. It would have been an easy 'A' for the three of us. Probably for Brandon as well, but he was taking Spanish as was Trevor.

[Father has said there have been questions asked at his work.] Tyatya said softly in Russian. Brian probably didn't get all of that, but after five months I was feeling almost fluent in that language. It was going much better than my German, although Tyatya had started speaking to me in German whenever we were alone.

[Were they to do with me?] I asked her. About a week after the momentous board meeting, the FBI had shown up worried about me as a security risk for Trevor's family. They had been quite insistent that I keep my mouth shut and seemed convinced that since I was gay I was going to get the Rush family revealed as Soviet defectors.

[No more than the rest of us.] Tyatya said with a frown. Twenty minutes later the two men left and Dyadya returned to the table, but he would say nothing at all, just frowned at the remainder of dinner on his plate before pushing it away.

[David Davidovitch, come with me.] Dyadya said and my legs shook as I rose to follow him. That he'd used my patronymic instead of the familiar form of address meant it was to be a very serious conversation. I suddenly wished I was wearing more than the gray baseball pants, and white t-shirt with blue sleeves that went under our team jerseys. When Mr. Rush had a formal talk with me, I always felt underdressed no matter what I was wearing.

[Sit.] He ordered me, pointing to a chair in front of the heavy oak desk he had here. On a corner of that desk was a personal computer, and the bookshelves behind him were lined with physics books in both Russian and English. His study was where he kept the little work he brought home from Lawrence Livermore, and entering it without permission was tantamount to violating National Security. Usually the door was padlocked and the windows there were the only in the house with bars on them.

[What is wrong?] I asked him, sticking to Russian. I was more comfortable in that language when dealing with him or Tyatya, and fluent enough that most of the time I no longer needed to resort to any English.

[You enjoy reading fictional science books, no?] He asked me and I thought about that for a moment. I hadn't read many in this lifetime, but we'd discussed Asimov's work on a few occasions.

[A little.] I agreed after reflection.

[What do you think of time travel?] He asked me. [Not fiction, but real time travel. Assume it was possible.]

[Time travel would be very dangerous] I said with barely a pause. My hands were shaking so I sat on them, curling my fingers into my uniform pants for reassurance, and not getting any. [It would be so easy to mess up the future if you went into the past.]

[But couldn't you achieve great things, if you were to be able to live your life over again?] He asked me and I could feel sweat wanting to break out. I had to calm myself, and I had to do it fast.

[You could, or you might destroy the world by assuming you knew everything when you only knew part of the whole story.] I said softly, doing my best to relax. His eyes bore into mine and I had the feeling he knew something.

[You understand security, no?] He asked me after staring into my eyes for several long minutes. [You understand that sometimes things cannot be told to others, even your loved ones?]

[Yes.] I answered honestly, hoping this was not going where I thought it was, based on the visit by the two agents.

[This, you tell no one, not my son, not Brian, no one.] He ordered and I just nodded. He locked gazes with me again and nodded slightly to himself. [At work, there is a scientist, he is odd fellow. He is obsessed with time, and spends more of his time on his obsession than his true work. Many times he has almost been fired for not completing his work, he is so obsessed with time. On Monday, he went mad, yelling that he'd been successful. He drew diagrams of machines with technology we do not have, saying it was how he had done it, that he was from the future and he said many crazy things.]

A feeling of cold dread rushed through my body at his words, and as he continued I broke out into a sweat, no longer even thinking of staying calm.

[He said the Soviet Union was no more, that it would fall in 1991.] Dyadya said with a shake of his head. [He said we would be at war with terrorists, barbarians, and that President Reagan was sick with some disease I have never heard of. Officials send him to hospital to be treated, but he say things there on Wednesday that connect you to him. He say he send two others back, David Jones, and one other, Alexei Shevrenadze. Does that second name mean anything to you?]

[Alexei Shevrenadze?] I asked, stalling for time and he nodded. [No, unless he is relation to Eduardo Shevrenadze.]

[He is Alexei Eduadovitch.] Dyadya provided as an answer and I groaned. That meant Alexei was the son of the man who was now the Soviet Foreign Minister and the future President of the former-Soviet State of Georgia. The man was a communist hard-liner, dispirited by the collapse of the Soviet Union, and had publicly blamed Mikhail Gorbachev for that country's collapse.

[What has happened?] I asked with a long sigh and received a stern glance in return.

[When you quote Derzhavin, you sound just like someone I knew for a short time.] Dyadya said carefully. [You sound like you learn Russian from him, not from books in library. The accent is gone now, but I remember it well and remember how you reminded me of this teacher of Russian.]

[Lee Croft at Arizona State University.] I said with a defeated sigh and he nodded again, showing no emotion. [He is a good man, and a good teacher.]

[But if I ask him, he will not know any David Jones.] Dyadya stated and I nodded.

[Four hours ago, a coup happened in Soviet Union.] Dyadya said and I felt my stomach flip-flop. There was not supposed to be a coup. [In several hours it will be announced that Eduard Schevrenadze is new Premier.]

[That idiot!] I ranted. [His experiment failed. There is no way back but through living, and he sent someone who had no ethics!]

[So, he is not crazy?] Dyadya asked. [That is sad because he die trying to escape this morning.]

[My god.] I said with wide eyes.

[It was high security place.] Dyadya said with a shrug. [He took nurse hostage with knife and tried to kill her, so was shot instead. He knew many secrets, and now we know he knew many more. His drawings were destroyed, and I pray his process was unrecoverable. This is…tool that is too easy to misuse.]

[If it can be done once, it will be done again.] I said with a frown. [The Soviets know about it now and will try to duplicate it.]

[How much of process do you know?] He asked me with a raised eyebrow.

[Almost nothing.] I answered with a frown. [I know what machine looked like, but he said it was different type than what I know such machines to be. I know he used drugs, but not what kind or chemical structure of drugs.]

[Why you not tell anyone, or did you?] Dyadya asked with some concern showing in his voice. [Did you not trust me?]

[I told very few people.] I answered. [The more who know, the more who could share the secret I wanted to hide.]

[Why did you want to hide?] He asked me.

[I was afraid of ending the world through foolish advice.] I said softly. [How would the government react to know its President has disease that eats his memory, makes him unable to remember things, but is not yet so bad as to impair his work? What would happen if they knew that continuing certain actions will bankrupt the Soviet Union in 1991? Would they spend more, also bankrupting us instead of just them?]

[But you have changed some things, or were you with Brian in past life?] He asked me and I shook my head.

[Brian and I had not seen each other in many years and were never friends, much less lovers.] I answered honestly. [I did not seek to be his lover this time either. It just happened, and when it did it was so wonderful I could not turn it down.]

[How old were you when you came here?] He asked.

[Thirty-six.] I answered and his eyebrows rose.

[You did not use age to seduce Brian?] He asked me with a deep frown.

[No, I tried to use age to stop him, but his youth overpowered my age.] I answered honestly and that got a single bark of laughter from him.

[It happens to all of us at times.] He said. [But you are man in boy's body. It must not be easy for you.]

[Sometimes it's unbearable.] I said honestly. [When we went through legal fights last year, I wanted to handle everything myself. I could not though and had to submit to adults.]

[Yes, I look back and see that struggle in you.] He said before letting out a very heavy sigh. We sat in silence for several long moments. [This thing with AIDS, the doctor, does he know?]

[Some, but not all.] I answered. [He knows I have some knowledge of future, not how or why, but that I did. It helped with fighting disease. It is only major change I decided to make, to save people from disease, not from man.]

[So you let marines die in Beirut, but not people from disease?] He asked and I could do nothing but nod.

[It is tough decision to make, for any age.] He said. [I think it right decision, except now there are others without your ethics.]

[Why were those men here earlier?] I asked him softly.

[They will be back in less than twenty minutes.] He told me. [I sent them to eat dinner while I talk to you. They do not know if time travel story was true, but will speak to you, and I will go with you. I will be your advocate with them. Any else who know for certain about you will also go. This doctor, we will tell them he might suspect, but that he does not know. Now, you must be honest with me as I have been with you, who else knows?]

[Brian, Brandon, and Trevor all know.] I said firmly. [No one else. It is too great a secret for others.]

[My son has kept this secret?] He said with some incredulity. [I am pleased.]

[Be sure to tell him that you are pleased.] I said and he nodded. [I guessed those would be ones who know. Get your lover, and my son, and go upstairs. You must shower and pack bags for three days, maybe more. Bring your schoolbooks, we will work on your studies while there. Tyatya will call your parents and tell them you are with me on business trip that could not wait. We will not tell them real reason until necessary.]

[Are you mad?] I asked him worriedly and he smiled.

[In some ways you really are boy, no?] He asked.

[Yes.] I answered honestly. [The body affects the mind as much as the mind affects the body. I am physically young and that affects me in some ways. I have learned to accept it and deal with it carefully.]

[This is very interesting.] He said, and I could see the inquisitive scientist in him. [We will talk on this more in the future. For now, I am not mad at you. Were I in your shoes, many same decisions I would have made. Now, though it is time for new decisions.]

[Yes it is] I agreed solemnly and left his study quickly. Tyatya was nowhere to be seen in the living room, but both Brian and Trevor were there with worried looks. I figured Dyadya was on the phone to Brandon's parents, making some excuse for him to come with us, and I looked at my lover and my friend with some regret.

"They know." I said in English and Brian moved instantly taking me into his arms while Trevor frowned.

"How?" Trevor asked while Brian did his best to comfort me.

"Remember how I said only a mad scientist would mess with time?" I asked and Trevor nodded. "Well, if a scientist is that mad, one supposed failure won't stop him and he'll eventually do it himself. There's a lot more, but some things have happened big time and well, the time to hide is over."

"So what's going to happen?" Brian asked softly. "They can't take you from me. I won't let them."

"Thanks to Dyadya, we're all going." I said. "Everyone who knows about me. Look, they can't just kill us and make us disappear. We know too many people, hell, we were on the national news several times over the last few months. There's no reason to just kill us, and I can be helpful, I know that, and I will be. It's just…we need to be careful I guess. We're supposed to shower, get into some traveling clothes and pack for a few days, and don't forget the schoolbooks. Dyadya insists he'll expect us to stay up on our studies."

"Great, just great, we get a break from school but not really." Trevor joked and I had to chuckle or go crazy. Brian and I headed upstairs, his hands around my hips, resting on the belt loops of my uniform pants as we moved together. We were so used to each other's bodies that they fit together at times like this perfectly, and we could move comfortably despite being all but tangled up in each other.

It happened far too quickly when we heard a knock on the door downstairs. We were just finished packing our bags when we heard it, and Brian let out a groan. I gave him a long hug before we picked up our bags, two each, and headed downstairs. Dyadya was talking with the two men in the door while Tyatya was hugging Trevor close to her, frowning fiercely. When we reached the bottom of the stairs she crossed the room and gave us each fierce hugs before walking up the stairs, unshed tears in her eyes. I didn't know if she had been told everything, but what she did know she obviously didn't like. I was the object of fierce frowns from the two FBI guys.

"We'll take the subject in our vehicle, you transport the other two boys, and pick up the third." The lead FBI agent said to Dyadya.

"No, I go with him." Brian said, pulling me close to him. We were dressed in jeans, t-shirts, and jean jackets, matching except my shirt was white and his blue.

"Don't argue, kid." The other agent said firmly.

"He goes with me." I said firmly and they both locked gazes with me. Mine told them clearly this was not open for discussion.

"Fine, we'll take these two. You know the way?" The first agent conceded as he turned back to Dyadya.

"I do, I will be about twenty minutes behind you." He told them. "I have to lie to a good friend and take his son without his knowing why."

"We could just arrest them all for treason." The second agent said firmly and I felt my temper flaring. I really had had a temper as a teenager, something time had dulled, but it was damn hard dealing with it even with adult memories.

"Change the attitude, agent, or you'll find out just how much of a pain I can really be." I warned him, letting my temper loose a little. "If what I've been told about the situation in Russia, sorry, the Soviet Union is true, you're going to need me to be very cooperative, not pissed because you mistreated my family and friends. I don't take kindly to threats to me or to them, and if you feel like threatening them, I strongly suggest you don't."

"You are in no position to make demands." The second agent said angrily. Apparently he had about as much control of his temper as I did. "You're in a heap of trouble already. You should have reported yourself as soon as it happened!"

"Why?" I retorted. "So I could be locked up like the scientist who did this? Where did he end up? Oh yeah, dead with everyone thinking he's crazy. Sorry, I'm smarter than that. I was in a situation where very few people in authority would believe me. My best bet at a happy life was to lie low and keep my mouth shut as much as possible, trying to make as few changes as possible. The next twenty-odd years aren't always the easiest, and a lot of people die, but dammit, things didn't turn out that bad either. In fact, overall things were quite good for this country. There's some things in the future that maybe I'd have had to try do something about, but that was over ten years down the road and I'd be in a better position as an adult to try to make those changes without ending up in a mental institution. I've not been sitting here trying to hide in order to save my own skin, with no thought for my country. I've been playing it smart and not doing anything that would cause something like what's happened in Moscow."

"He has a point there, Bob." The first agent told the second, a grudging respect forming in his eyes.

"But still…" The second agent began, but I interrupted him.

"When I found out, a few minutes ago, that the past has been changed in ways harmful to the interests of this country, I did not hesitate to reveal myself." I pointed out. "Mr. Rush had to make no effort to find out the truth, and I'm going with you now not because you're going to put me in handcuffs if I don't, but because the past has been changed in a way that is a direct threat to this country. Gentlemen, in the future, I joined the Navy and took an oath to defend this country. I may not have taken that oath in this timeline, but I am still bound to it by my own personal beliefs. It was Patton who said that we shouldn't die for our country but make the other guy die for his. If I'd said something earlier, I'd have ended up locked away, and probably have been no use to you now. Now, it's time to step to the plate and make the other guy die for his country. All I'm asking is for respect I am due as a citizen of this country who is volunteering to help in a time of crisis. It doesn't hurt you to give that respect."

"Fine." The second agent said in defeat. "Let's just get going. Every minute is important right now."

"Let's go then." I said with a nod, and moved off as they led the way to the black sedan they'd driven. Brian was right beside me and we threw our bags in the trunk of the car before getting in the back seat. We sat a little bit apart, but his hand had a death grip on mine, a grip I was returning as the car pulled out and sped down the road at twice the legal limit. Trevor and his father were barely in their car by the time we were miles away.

"So, who wins the Super Bowl this year?" The first agent asked me with what he was attempting to make a wry grin.

"The 49ers, but you don't really need me to tell you that." I responded with an answering smile. At least he was trying to be friendly.

"So, will you tell me what's happening that's got everything all riled up?" Brian asked me.

"You mean you didn't tell your…friend?" The second agent's pause was probably to stop from using a slur. At least he stopped himself.

"I was told to keep it secret." I answered. "All I told him or Trevor was that sometimes mad scientists are mad enough to keep trying when experiments appear to fail, and that something big had happened."

"Okay, you get a point for that one." The second agent said with an approving shake of his head. "I don't suppose it'll hurt to tell your friend since he's not going anywhere but with us. Kid, the quack who did this time thing sent another guy back, a Russian. From what the report on the quack said he claimed the Russians were our friends in his time and that he didn't think the person would be able to do anything, so he used him for his second trial run. The Russian kid has an important father, who has just led a coup against the Soviet government. The Russian kid's father is in charge now."

"Holy shit." Brian said with wide eyes. "That's just why you said you shouldn't try to do anything, Davey. It would change the future and maybe fuck up the good stuff."

"You really meant that?" The second guy asked looking back at me with a little more respect.

"Yes, it wasn't just some lame excuse." I answered. "It's the butterfly effect. A butterfly flaps its wings on the prairie, which creates a small wind, which accumulates with other moving air turning into a bigger wind before moving out to sea, which then turns into bigger wind when it hits a tropical depression, and eventually grows into a huge hurricane that kills thousands when it hits land. You never know which butterfly taking off will cause that, and which won't. You only know the potential is there in every little action. Yes, some things have been changed by me, but most by accident."

"I wasn't an accident." Brian said with a grin. "I was the one that changed you."

"Only because I stood up to you that day you bumped into me." I said and the two agents looked at us with some confusion. It provided a good example of what I meant and I proceeded to tell them how Brian and I'd met this time around, and how we became friends and then more, all because instead of just glaring at him as I'd done in the original time, I'd said something to him. "So you see, the little action that caused a big change was I spoke to Brian instead of glaring at his back. That set in motion more changes, and I had no idea where any of them would lead."

"I've seen you on television with that AIDS doctor." The first agent said slowly after I was done. "You changed stuff there, didn't you?"

"Yes, and I managed it without really telling the doctor my secret." I said quickly. "He guessed a little, but I neither confirmed nor denied anything. When faced with that disease face to face, I couldn't refuse to do anything, just like I can't refuse to try to help now."

"I don't see any negative effects from what you did with that." The second agent pointed out. "How long did it take for something like AZT to come out originally?"

"Try the late eighties or early nineties." I said and he nodded.

"See, think of all the good changes you could have been making." He pointed out.

"But which would have been good or which could have ended in nuclear war?" The first agent asked rhetorically and even the second agent went quiet for several minutes.

"I couldn't know, could I?" I asked them. "Dealing with a disease is one thing. Dealing with political interactions, military situations, and so on are so much more complicated because even historians have to guess at what people were really thinking, and sometimes those involved lied. AIDS was so bad at the beginning that there was almost nothing that could happen that would make it worse other than to do nothing. International politics is another matter entirely. President Reagan has Alzheimer's, a disease that destroys the memory and cognitive centers of the brain. He begins to suffer from it during the last years of his Presidency and goes public with it in 1994. There is no cure for it either and eventually he dies in 2004. How does knowing that help this country, and how does it hurt us? Reagan's policies led to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. How would Bush do if he was made President because of Reagan's illness now being known?"

"Damn, thinking like this gives me a headache." The second agent muttered.

"He's had one for two years." Brian said softly, but giving me a proud look. The second agent turned around to look at him while he spoke. "The month before those marines died in Tel Aviv, he fretted about if he should do something, if he should risk being called crazy and locked up, giving up the life he was enjoying in order to save those marines. After the bombing happened, he cried for three days and wouldn't go to school or even talk to me until I forced him to talk."

"Why didn't you try to save them?" The second agent asked and there was no venom or anger in his voice, just curiosity.

"There are several reasons." I admitted softly, still feeling the guilt of those deaths. I must have been silent for some time because there was an impatient snort from the second agent. "First of all, those deaths resulted in us pulling out of a situation that would have only gotten messier if we had remained. We'd have ended up alienating most of the Mid-East like we did in 2004 after invading Iraq. Second, the lack of security that killed those marines taught our military a harsh lesson that saves a lot more lives over the next few decades. Sometimes lessons have to be learned in blood in order to be really learned. As much as I don't want to try to play god with this stuff, this was one of those times. Now, the shuttle Challenger is a different story."

"What goes wrong with Challenger?" The first agent asked.

"In 1986 it blows up on launch because of faulty o-rings in the booster engines." I answered. "There's a letter sitting in my friend Brandon's desk that asks a series of questions that will lead certain NASA engineers to figure out the problem before that launch. He has a friend's brother's uncle who works there and writes him on occasion at my urging."

"That's the other kid Mr. Rush is picking up, isn't it?" The first agent asked and I nodded.

"Yeah, he's supposed to send that specific letter off in a few months." I said. "When the guy looks into the questions, he should see the flaw. If he doesn't, there's more questions to ask. The problem with Challenger blowing up was an engineering problem. The fixes that occurred that worked were engineering fixes. The administrative changes didn't work cause Columbia blew up in 2003 on reentry.

"Fuck." The first agent said harshly. "What went wrong there?"

"A piece of insulating foam damaged a wing during launch and it broke up on reentry." I answered. "NASA administration was mostly to blame there, and lessons learned from Challenger actually blowing up didn't stop Columbia getting destroyed. So, it's something that I figure can be changed without people having to die for the lessons that were learned. Plus, you have to understand, I didn't think I was coming to live back in time. I thought I'd be in 1981 for twenty minutes, only able to observe, not actually be able to change the past. If I'd known this was going to happen, I'd have spent weeks studying every thing I could. As it is, I have only my original memories to go from, and as you can see, I'm fourteen. A fourteen year old doesn't remember a lot of things that happened when he's thirty-six. If I'd come back during the school year, I'd have never remembered any of my locker combinations or even my class schedule. I might have remembered playing football, or having German class, but which room, which period, I sure as hell didn't remember and those were things important to me."

"I think I get that." The second agent said. "Hell, I can't even remember my dorm room from college, much less my high school locker combo."

"Now carry that further out into events that take place in the world every day." I said.

"Ah, fuck, I think I got your headache, bud." The second agent said to me and I grinned.

"So, can I ask where we're going?" I asked them.

"Travis Air Force Base." The first agent said. "We weren't supposed to tell you anything if you were uncooperative, but I think we're both satisfied you are the real deal."

"Yeah, you pass our inspection." The second agent said in a lot friendlier tone. "From Travis you'll be flying to Washington. The big boys want you at hand with what's going on. You and your friends will be debriefed there."

"Oh joy." I said sarcastically.

Well, at least Brian wasn't being ripped away from me yet.


Poor just couldn't last forever, could it?

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