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. All work is copyrighted to Dan Kirk © 2004

Do Over

Chapter 18


We'd arrived at Travis Air Force Base very quickly thanks to the fast driving of the first agent, who'd finally introduced himself as we neared the base's main gate. His name was Henry Watson and his partner was Bob Holliday. The two had shown their identifications to the gate guard, we'd been waved inside and now we were sitting in a small room just off of the tarmac with four men staring at us occasionally as they talked with the two FBI agents.

"Hi, my name is Walter Meadows." One of them said as he came to stand near the table where Brian and I were sitting. He was in his mid-forties, lean, and had dark hair. "I'm with the National Security Agency."

"It's nice to meet, you, Mr. Meadows." I said politely. "I'm Davey Jones, and this is Brian Breckenridge."

"I spoke with Mr. Ruskanov for a short time earlier tonight, and the FBI agents who drove you here seem to agree with him that you didn't keep yourself secret for any malevolent purposes." Mr. Meadows continued with only a little awkwardness. He moved to sit down across from us. "Personally, I can agree with the idea that under most circumstances no one would have paid you any attention except to see you got proper medical help for being crazy."

"The concept of time travel is so far-fetched I even woke up a few times the first few months thinking I was dreaming and it would be 2004 again." I said. "The experiment was to send me back for 20 minutes, and I'd be there to observe only, not interact at all. The crazy doctor got it wrong, though, and I've been here for two and a half years and able to interact far too much for my comfort."

"It's nice to know you felt comfortable enough with how the world shapes out that you didn't try to intervene too much." Meadows said.

"That's not the point." I said with a little exasperation. "It's like, I was never too sure about how changing most things would happen, and then some of them I don't really remember until they happen or I see stuff happening that results in them happening. It's like the Beirut bombing. I couldn't remember what year it took place in until we sent the battleship over there to bombard the city. Then I remembered we followed up with marines and all that. Other things, I remember with more clarity, especially as they get closer to my adult years."

"Like the shuttle Challenger?" He asked, so the FBI guys must have told him.

"Yeah, now that was a big event my junior year in high school." I admitted. "I remember sitting in the classroom when the principal came over the speakers and told us that the shuttle Challenger had just blown up on take off. We watched the news for days with that, and I remembered having wanted to be an astronaut at the time, so I followed everything they said about it carefully. Even with that, I couldn't tell you the day it was going to launch, just the month and year."

"Dr. Waszaclowski kept mumbling something while he was interred in the hospital." Mr. Meadows said, pulling out a small notebook and looking at it for a moment. "He was chanting something like OBL kills America on September 11th. Do you know what that was about?"

"Yes, and it's not this year." I said softly. "That's one date no American alive in 2001, or the years after are likely to forget. It's been burned on all of our consciousness like the fourth of July or more accurately like Pearl Harbor."

"What happens on that date and what year?" Mr. Meadows asked, leaning forward slightly as he spoke.

"It's September 11, 2001 and it's the day Islamic Fundamentalist terrorists manage to hijack four US airliners. Two of the planes are rammed into the World Trade Center buildings in New York, destroying both of them. The third plane was rammed into the Pentagon causing minor damage, and on the fourth the passengers had learned of what was happening with the other planes so they rushed the cockpit, forcing the terrorists to ditch the plane into a field in Pennsylvania instead of Congress or the White House."

"Holy fuck." Brian whispered from next to me while Mr. Meadows blinked, shook his head and blinked again.

"Who did this?" Mr. Meadows asked after a moment.

"OBL was the man who organized and financed the operation." I said. "More than that, I don't want to tell you yet."

"Why not?" Mr. Meadows asked with a hint of anger. "It's not like we won't believe you. We'll find him right now and kill him."

"He has something to do first, and it's beneficial to the United States." I pointed out to him carefully. Osama bin Ladin was being helpful to the United States right now. He was a key player in the mujhadeen rebel fighters in Afghanistan. He worked for the CIA, and helped keep those fighters going while they worked to eventually drive out the Soviets. It's only in the late eighties that he became a problem. "When this person has accomplished that, I'll tell you or others in the government what you need to know and you can take him out. If you let me watch, I'd be extremely grateful since I do remember what he's done in the future and seeing him die would be good."

"So you're going to ask us to trust a fourteen year old kid with knowing what's right to spit out and what's not?" Mr. Meadows asked with some incredulity.

"Physically I am fifteen." I reminded him and he just stared at me. "Mentally I'm only a few years younger than you."

"But you're still only one person." He said. "Tell me, what did you do for a living when you participated in this experiment?"

"I was between jobs." I answered, sitting back carefully.

"Did you have a college degree?" He asked me.

"No, I was a few credits short." I admitted with a sour feeling in my stomach. "I made a lot of bad choices the first time around, choices I'm doing my best not to repeat."

"Yet you say we should trust you with what to parcel out and what not to." He argued calmly. "Isn't that a bit arrogant? We have dozens of experts we can have question you, and even more analyze what you give us for its impact on our nation. Then our leaders can decide on what to act on and what to let happen. Isn't that a wiser course than trusting someone who made a lot of mistakes and now is trying not to make them?"

"I'm not sure." I admitted, his logic was hard to argue against.

"The others have arrived and will be on the tarmac in ten minutes." Agent Watson said as he came over to the table. Mr. Meadows just nodded briefly.

"Davey, we'll be flying you out to Washington now." Mr. Meadows said to me. "Agent Watson and Agent Holliday will be going with you, as will I and the other two gentlemen in this room. They are with the CIA and Defense Department. The dark-haired man is Richard Ames with the CIA and the other man is Alan Gardener, an assistant to the deputy Secretary of Defense."

"Did you say Richard Ames?" I asked him with some surprise, trying to remember where I'd heard that name before.

"Yes, do you know him, or of him?" Mr. Meadows asked me.

"He sounds real familiar for some reason." I said softly, and the answer popped into my head. I'd nearly forgotten that little tidbit. "Shit, um, crap, I'm not sure what to say right now."

"You'd better say something." Mr. Meadows warned. "Is there something wrong with Mr. Ames?"

"Yes, um, maybe." I said softly. "I remember him being arrested in the 1990's for spying on behalf of the Soviet Union, but I can't remember when he was arrested or when he started spying for them. He may be right now, but then again it may have started later."

"Sweet Mary mother of God." Agent Watson said, not even looking back at the man. Agent Meadows was more conspicuous, staring hard at the man in question.

"Now the question is, can you arrest him for spying on my word alone when I remember none of the specifics of his case?" I asked. "Hell, I'm not even sure if he's a spy yet or not. Right now he might be just an innocent man."

"You're sure he was arrested as a spy?" Mr. Meadows asked.

"Yes." I stated firmly. I remembered that much. "I do remember he was found to have leaked information that led to the deaths of several agents in the field, or their arrest."

"That's enough for me." Mr. Meadows said. "We'll have the FBI do a thorough investigation of him. We'll tell the national security judges that we have reliable information from an impeccable source and that will be enough for the secret warrants we need. Agent Watson, have your partner monitor him at all times during the flight and we'll make sure his chance to debrief Davey is not given during the flight."

"We'll get on it right away." Agent Watson said.

"Okay, young men, let's head out to the Tarmac." Mr. Meadows said as he stood up. We followed his action and he led us out onto the tarmac where one of the Air Force's VIP planes was waiting. Mr. Rush made sure we were okay while Brandon and Trevor gave us both hugs as we met at the foot of the stairs. Some Air Force personnel were putting our bags into the cargo hold as Mr. Meadows led us up the plane's stairs. It was a relief we wouldn't be taking a cargo plane, and the converted 737 was very comfortable, complete with all first-class seats. He directed us to some seats in the middle of the aircraft while the FBI agents took seats near the front with Mr. Ames and Alan Gardener. Mr. Rush sat with them up front as well. An air force enlisted man came back to make sure we were buckled in and then went towards the front of the plane, sitting a good distance from the other adults.

"Shit, Davey, are we in big trouble or what?" Brandon asked as the plane's engines started.

"What did Mr. Rush tell you?" I asked.

"He told us about the stuff happening in Russia and that crazy doctor who followed you back in time." Trevor said softly.

"I don't think you guys are in much trouble." I said trying to calm them down. "I might be, but so far things are looking okay."

"Are they going to try to keep you locked up now?" Brian asked with a definite worry in his voice. He was still holding my hand firmly.

"I don't think they'll be able to do that too easily." I said. "We'll just have to wait and see how things play out."

"I hate waiting." Brian murmured, leaning across the seats to rest his head on my shoulder as the plane's captain announced we'd been cleared for take-off. The plane jerked as it began to taxi and I took a deep breath to calm myself. Truth be told, I was nervous as hell at the moment. As soon as the plane was in the air, and climbing to cruising altitude, Mr. Meadows headed back towards us with Mr. Gardener and Mr. Rush.

"Boys, we need to grab Davey for a bit." Mr. Meadows said calmly. "We'll be back in the rear of the plane. The flight attendant will come back in a minute with drinks and snacks for you."

"Come on, Davey." Mr. Rush said calmly in English and I unbuckled my belt, gave Brian a reassuring kiss as I took my hand from his, and followed them back. There was a little conference table in the back and we sat there, with Mr. Rush next to me while the two government men sat across from us.

"I understand that you once served in the US Navy?" Mr. Gardener asked me after we were all sitting down.

"Yes, I was machine gunner in a small boat unit." I answered honestly. "We dropped off SEALS and sometimes marines in hot zones during a few low-level operations and a few high-level actions that were public."

"So you have seen combat?" He asked and I nodded. "What can you tell me about those operations?"

"None of them are for at least four years." I answered and said no more as he stared at me for several long minutes.

"Okay, fair enough." He said. "Now, what can you tell me about the military preparedness of the Soviet Union at this point in time?"

"A lot of the threat that you see on paper is just that: threat on paper." I said cautiously, trying to order my thoughts. "I'm most familiar with their naval units so let's start there.

"That's fine." Mr. Gardener said as he pulled out a notebook and pen. As I spoke he scribbled furiously.

"Let's start with their submarine fleet." I said. "Numerically they match up with what our intelligence thinks about them. Their training though, is nowhere near the level of our Navy's. Supply problems are worse than we think they were at this time. Their naval torpedoes have half the range our analysts are currently saying, and their seeker systems aren't anywhere near as capable as we imagined. For their surface forces, materiel problems are worse. Most of their ship captains focus on keeping the engineering plants running first, their crew fed second, and their hallways polished third. Weapons come in last and every ship has some functional problems with them. What they are specifically, or what each ship faces as a problem, I have no clue. Their surface-to-air and surface-to-surface missile systems are as deadly as we project, when they are working. The biggest problem they have in those fields is that the crews who fire and direct those missiles have nowhere near the level of training they need to be proficient. Their close-in-weapons systems are ten times better than our own as well, but even they have a hard time with our Harpoon anti-ship missiles."

"What about their land forces and air forces?" He asked.

"There, their materiel conditions are better for the most part." I said. "Their tanks are good, although the M1-Abrams will kick their butts even outnumbered. Their air force is well equipped and serviced, as are their rocket forces. The biggest advantage we have there is training and unit tactics. I know right now the all-volunteer force is just beginning and we're ramping up training. Keep doing that and we will win every engagement in the future over armies equipped with their war material."

"So we do fight them?" Mr. Gardener asked.

"Now that they have someone who knows how they failed?" I asked rhetorically. "I don't know. In the future I remember we never fought the Soviet Union or Russia. We fought some other countries that were armed with their equipment. We killed nearly ten thousand of their soldiers to every soldier of ours that was killed."

"Holy shit, those are some odds." Mr. Meadows whispered and I nodded.

"Do you see why I'm so hesitant to just tell everything I know?" I asked him. "I've just told you that in future conflicts we fight, we kicked their asses. Part of that was better equipment, part of it was better training for our troops, and part of it was excellent strategy from our generals. Now, what happens if we go into a situation where because of what I just told you we don't make adequate plans from the generals, but rush in there headfirst? We might lose a lot of people doing that, all because I told you something I shouldn't have."

"Well, we understand we have to be cautious." Mr. Gardener said.

"Understanding and following through are two different things, sir." I told him sharply and thought of how to relate this. "When we invade another country in 2004, as part of a pre-emptive strategy to combat terrorism, our enemy's forces collapsed like paper tigers. In the rush towards victory, we became overconfident. We'd fought the country thirteen years earlier, we'd held them under blockade for those thirteen years and they barely scratched the paint of our tanks, our ships, and our planes. We knew we were better than them and rushed towards their capital at break neck speeds. Our supply lines got overstretched, and one of those convoys was ambushed, killing most of the soldiers in that convoy including several women. A few were taken prisoner including a female soldier who was driving the convoy."

"Women are allowed in units that close to the front in the future?" Mr. Gardener interjected and I smiled.

"They are allowed in everything but infantry and tank units." I answered. "They fly fighters, combat helicopters, they crew all navy vessels except for submarines."

"Next you'll be telling me we let in homosexuals." Mr. Gardener snorted, and then widened his eyes as he remembered I was one. "Um, sorry, I didn't mean…"

"No offense taken." I told him calmly. "I know it's hard to comprehend such changes from this vantage point, oh and the answer is yes, you do take in homosexuals into the armed forces in the future. As does Great Britain and many of our closest allies. They all find out the bullshit about morale in the ranks was just that: bullshit."

I'll be damned if I tell them about don't ask, don't tell. Just let them chew on what I'd told them for a few years.

"Um, back to the topic?" Mr. Gardener said weakly and I nodded. This was getting to be fun.

"Those three elements of our armed forces: best equipment, best training, and best leadership are what make our forces so successful." I continued. "We give them the best equipment, the best training and we give their leaders the right orders and the freedom to implement those orders, and we win. When we micromanage the leadership, things don't go as well."

The entire flight back east was spent with me going over everything I knew about military matters. Mr. Gardener was quite knowledgeable about military weapons systems and we spent a lot of time going over every specific piece of equipment and what I could remember about their strengths and weaknesses. We talked about the albatross of a bomber, the B-1 and how it was only of limited use while the B-52 was a much better platform for the next generation of cruise missiles that were currently under development. We talked about unmanned aerial vehicles, the Bradley fighting vehicle, reactive tank armor, the Navy's Aegis system and a whole host of other items, many of which I'd never heard of before. He seemed quite surprised as I discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the super-secret F-117 Stealth fighter and the B-2 Stealth Bombers. He had assumed they would remain secret for over a decade, not become public knowledge in a matter of a few years.

I think it was that, more than anything that convinced him there was no doubt about my having memories of the future. Those programs were so top-secret that when I drew him accurate sketches of the actual aircraft he just sat back and stared at me for several long minutes. Then he asked me how many were currently in service and I had to admit I had no idea. I'd never bothered to memorize just when they went into full service or when they were just prototypes.

When the plane landed, Brian and the others were loaded into one car while I was loaded into another. I almost protested, but they told me it was necessary for now and promised I'd be brought to where Brian was staying sometime later that day (it was about three in the morning local time). Mr. Ames from the CIA was led to another car by the two FBI agents where he'd be taken to a holding cell. The car I got into was also occupied by Mr. Meadows, Mr. Gardener, and Mr. Rush, and we drove from Andrews Air Force base through the quiet morning.

"The major networks are going to be getting the story about the Soviet Union in an hour." Mr. Meadows said softly as the car reached Washington, D.C. "When they do, you can imagine how bad the reaction is going to be, and the fact that it's an election year won't make things any easier. The entire White House has been up all night."

"I bet." I said softly, looking out the car's window at the nation's capitol. I'd been here once, for about three hours in my previous life, but never really seen it like this. It was definitely more beautiful than I remembered with the Washington Monument lit up in the early morning's darkness.

"Even if you had told us, and you had been believed, this likely would still have happened." Mr. Rush pointed out and I saw Mr. Meadows nod as I turned to look at the man I called uncle.

"Yes, even if we'd taken the scientist at his word, we likely would not have been able to stop this." Mr. Gardener agreed and I breathed a sigh of relief. So long as everyone else in authority believed that as well, things should go okay for me. Maybe my future wouldn't be so ruined after all.

Then again, the Soviet leadership now knew where they'd failed, and what the long term affects of that would be no one really knew. Was the knowledge of their imminent demise going to push them to war? Or would it result in another fifty years' worth of Cold War?

"Where are we going?" I asked as the car continued into the heart of Washington. The one time I'd been here before it had been to visit the Pentagon after 9/11. I knew this wasn't the way to that building.

"The White House." Mr. Meadows said with a wry smile and I stared at him.

"I thought I was going to the Pentagon or Langley or somewhere to be debriefed." I stated with a little confusion.

"Our orders were that if we felt you were the genuine article, and cooperative, that you were to be brought to the White House Situation Room." Mr. Meadows told me, springing the surprise on me now. He must have had a sense of humor after all.

"I've been thinking in the back of my mind I'm going to be locked up with doctors in white coats, poked, prodded, submitted to every medical and psychological test imaginable and you've been letting me think that." I fumed sullenly and both government men laughed while Mr. Rush just watched.

"Oh, you will be taking a lot of tests, and talking to a lot of people." Mr. Gardener promised with a laugh. "You won't be locked up, but you won't be free to exactly walk out either. What exactly happens with you in the long term, that's not for me or anyone in this car to decide, but for the big bosses. No matter what you may think, we do answer to the elected leaders and something like this, they will decide on."

"Well, you know, that's actually a relief." I said honestly, and it was.

"Why is that?" Mr. Gardener asked me curiously.

"President Reagan is a good human being." I answered, confident in that assessment and willing to share it with them. "I may not agree with a lot of his politics, but he is an honest, man with a great deal of personal and professional integrity. If he believes someone or something is a threat to America, he'll do everything possible to overcome that threat, but if he believes something or someone is a friend of America, he will do everything he can to help them. I'm an American, I'm not a communist nor do I believe in their system. I may dislike some of the corrupt practices of American businesses, but the freedoms we enjoy I believe really are best for everyone."

"But you're a homosexual." Mr. Gardener countered and I gave him my undivided attention as he continued. "It's illegal for people to do what you do with your boyfriend in half the states; you're spit on by a majority of Americans. How can you say America is so great when you're all but an outcast for so many people?"

"Times change." I said with a gentle smile. "They're changing as we sit here, and how people look on homosexuals is one of the things that will change over time. Don't get me wrong, there's plenty of people in 2004 who still don't like homosexuals, but the issues that were being debated were so far advanced from what we face now that it's almost unbelievable. Sure as hell, I never expected them to come up in my lifetime!"

"Like what issues?" Mr. Rush asked and I smiled at him. Yeah, I'd share this little tidbit of information.

"The Senate had debated an amendment to the Constitution to ban gay men and lesbians from legally marrying each other." I said and relished the wide-eyed looks on the two government men's faces. "It was brought up after one state started issuing valid marriage licenses to gay couples. It failed to receive even a simple majority of votes in the Senate, and in national polls only fifty to sixty percent of Americans believed gay marriage should not be allowed. What was most interesting was that in each new poll every few months, the numbers opposing gay marriage were dropping. At the rate they were going, by no later than 2006 a majority of Americans would support gay marriage. You see gentlemen; I know right now gay marriage would die with eighty percent or more of Americans opposing the issue. I also know that things can change so much in twenty-one years that that number is reduced by nearly thirty percent and will still drop. That's America, that's what I think is good about this country. In the Soviet Union, I'd be locked up, as would the gay activists who successfully changed public opinion in our country. Here we may get spat upon, we may get protested, or yelled at, or even beaten by vigilante thugs, but our government is open to change and the more people we convince that we're right, the more open government becomes. That's why I can be an openly gay American in 1984 and support my government fully without worrying about what it thinks of people like me, because one day it will change."

"What if you didn't know the future and how it would change?" Mr. Meadows asked cautiously.

"The possibility of change still exists, and there's more than enough proof in our history to show that it can be changed through peaceful, legal means." I shrugged and he nodded.

"But I bet you're willing to use your knowledge of the future to further the gay rights movement, aren't you?" Mr. Gardener asked.

"Greed is good." I quoted and saw their blank looks. "Oh, the movie Wall Street hasn't come out has it? When it does, go see it, it's good. That's a quote from one of the characters in it, and I think taken in moderation, he's quite right. A little bit of greed is good. It motivates people as individuals, and no I'm not above improving my own situation a little. I'm not going to use it to stomp all over people, or make myself mega-rich, but I think it's very much the American way to use it to make myself more comfortable. As for the gay-rights movement, I'm very careful about what knowledge of the future I use."

"How so?" Mr. Meadows asked. Both men were frowning now while Dyadya was looking at me carefully.

"I know a lot of the arguments that work, and those that don't." I explained. "I know what tactics work, what tactics don't. I have no compunction about using that knowledge in that field. What I won't do is use knowledge about stuff like Jim Baker's extortion from his television ministry or Jerry Falwell's sleeping with prostitutes. I could use that knowledge to discredit them, but I won't. They eventually will get caught and have to deal with it on their own, but I won't use my knowledge to speed things up that are in process."

"Interesting code of ethics you have." Mr. Meadows observed. Dyadya was nodding to himself as if he agreed with me. I looked out the window of the car and we were pulling up to the White House now. That caused me to look down at the jeans, t-shirt and jean jacket I was wearing and I realized just how under-dressed I was.

"I should have worn a suit." I muttered and that got a laugh from Mr. Meadows. Both men were wearing suits while Mr. Rush was wearing slacks and an open-collared dress shirt.

"Did you pack your suit?" Mr. Rush asked me and I shook my head. He just smiled. "I will ask that they let me buy you one if we are here more than a day. I will take Brian and use him to get your size."

"Thanks" I muttered as we pulled up to the gate. Mr. Meadows rolled down the window on his side and spoke quietly to the guard and we were waved through, heading to one of the side entrances instead of the main entrance. I was still intimidated though. I had never been in the White House before.

The building was brightly lit and bustling with people as we moved through several corridors. I was both surprised and unimpressed by different things. It was an impressive building, and felt like the hub of power that it was, but everything was much more cramped than I thought it would be. We were all given passes to wear around our necks and escorted through by two uniformed Secret Service agents. They took us to a stairwell that looked like it belonged in any old house and we were soon in a bustling basement that was filled with men in uniform, all of whom seemed to be rushing around.

The hallways were very narrow as we were led into an anteroom that had a placard saying 'White House Situation Room' to the left of a heavy oak door. There were two more agents dressed in the expected black suits who spoke briefly to Mr. Meadows before opening the door. When we entered the actual Situation Room, I took everything in with careful glances.

It was a lot smaller than I had expected, with a large conference table occupying the middle of it. There were banks of phones on the table, smaller tables where junior officers were on their own phones, and in one corner was several printer machines with a couple of computer terminals being manned by junior officers. A map filled one wall, with pins spread all over it, and another wall held analog clocks telling time all over the world.

The conference table was filled with men in uniforms. Four star generals and Admirals predominated from all the services. I recognized the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of State, the National Security Advisor, and the Vice-President as well as the man who sat at the head of the table, President Ronald Reagan himself. As President Reagan stood, I reflected he really was a tall man, and wiped my sweaty palms on my jeans as unobtrusively as I could. He looked tired as he spoke quietly with Mr. Meadows for a few moments, their words absolutely inaudible to me. Instead I took in the worry lines on his face, and the bags forming under his eyes and wondered at what he would say, or what I would say. In all honesty, I was feeling quite over my head at this moment, and completely, totally lost.

"So, you're the young man who has the answers we need." President Reagan's voice startled me out of the daze I was sinking into and I realized he now stood in front of me, holding out a hand that I took in a firm grip. One thing about this man, he didn't have a weak grip at all.

"I can only hope I have the answers you need, Mr. President." I said weakly and he smiled.

"We'll see about that." He told me, and took my arm to lead me back towards the table where he motioned for a four-star general to get out of the chair on his left. I sat down numbly, hoping I was not going to mess things up here. This was suddenly too real, and I wanted nothing to do with it. When I saw the bowl of jellybeans I almost let out a small laugh for some reason, and it turned into a series of choking coughs.

"Get the young man some water." President Reagan ordered and a glass of water appeared in front of me from somewhere. I took it, sipping gently and hoping I didn't get the hiccups. Reagan reached over and pushed the bowl of jellybeans towards me. "A young man like you is probably tired from the long flight and late hours. Have a jelly bean, the sugar will do you good."

"Thank you Mr. President." I said, taking a few and popping them in my mouth. Okay, some things the media reported were just damn true. As I chewed under the obvious study of so many powerful men I felt myself calming down slightly. For some reason, the jellybeans were helping me calm down. Maybe it was just the habit of chewing food that made me feel more normal and less out of place. Then again, maybe it was just the President's charisma. I'd never seen it directly, not even at one of his live speeches, only through the television, and in person it was so much more powerful than I'd imagined. Just the way he was watching me seemed comforting, like you were talking to a beloved grandfather or father instead of the President.

"You feeling better?" He asked me with a concern that I did not hesitate to believe was genuine.

"Yes, Mr. President, thank you." I said with a nod and he smiled gently.

"Good, now I understand you have been told the basics of what is going on in the Soviet Union, and as hard as it is for me to believe, I have been told that you have knowledge of our country's future." He said gently without a hint of the tiredness on his face. "I want you to start by telling me what you can of how you came into the past."

"I don't know if it's right to say I came into the past or if I just gained memories of the future." I said first. "I appeared in my twelve-year old body, but I remembered the life and had the personality of myself as an adult. Physically, I'm now fifteen and in all honesty I'm not the same person I was before the experiment."

"Interesting." The President said with a smile. "How did this experiment work?"

"It was an illegal experiment." I admitted softly. "The scientist was offering a lot of money and I was jobless at the time. The money was enough that I could get back on my feet, so I took the risk and volunteered. He picked me from the pool of volunteers and I was escorted into a chamber with a large machine that reminded me of a Magnetic Resonance Imager. That's a medical device like an x-ray. They're just coming out now in their first generation form. They scan the body to the cellular level, providing an in-depth view of the body's functions without using harmful radiation. He pumped me full of drugs and then put me in the machine. I was supposed to only be able to observe the past for twenty minutes, but when I awoke, I was in the past and could interact.

"At first I thought I'd be yanked back into the future, but it never happened. I was stuck here and tried to make as few changes as possible."

"Why?" The President asked and I went into another version of the explanations I'd given twice already. He, and some of the generals as well as the Vice-President and cabinet officials occasionally interjected questions, which I answered as fully as I could. By the clocks I could see, this lasted for nearly forty minutes. I finished with explaining that since there were now others who had gone back in time and they had changed things, I felt a strong duty to do what I could to help.

"I am not sure I would have done much differently." President Reagan said with an approving nod. I let out a sigh that turned into a yawn, a yawn that set several other people off around the table. The President didn't yawn, but he did look at me with a fondness that I found reassuring. "Mr. Meadows, take young Mr. Jones back to where he will be staying and see he gets some sleep. I am going to get some rest myself. I will want to see him here at nine in the morning."

"Yes, Mr. President." Mr. Meadows said as he stepped forward from where he'd been standing further back.

"See that he receives the appropriate protection." President Reagan ordered. "He's a valuable national asset and I do not want him hurt. He's also my guest here in Washington, is that clear?"

"Yes, Mr. President." Mr. Meadows said and as the President stood, I joined everyone else at the table in also standing. It was nearly four o'clock in the morning.

"Gentlemen, we will reconvene at 0700." President Reagan said before departing. Mr. Meadows led me, along with Mr. Rush back outside. Mr. Gardener had left with the Defense Secretary and several officers. The car headed out of the White House and I was surprised when it stopped a block away.

"This is one of the Guest Houses for White House visitors." Mr. Meadows explained as he led me inside. "It has the benefit of being close to the Treasury building and the tunnel between there and the White House. You'll use that later in the morning when you return. Your friends are already here."

"Thanks." I said, feeling very tired. I was emotionally and mentally drained, and realized my body clock was saying it was one in the morning. I followed Mr. Meadows inside the house and upstairs where he showed me to a bedroom. It was decorated in what was probably colonial American style with lots of oak paneling and heavy furniture, and a large canopy bed where Brian was sitting. He smiled and rushed to give me a hug as soon as we entered, and I was so enjoying his embrace that I didn't notice Mr. Meadows leaving.

"At least we aren't in a jail cell." Brian whispered into my ear as we broke the hug and I stumbled to the bed. "What happened with you?"

"They took me to the White House and I met the President." I said around a yawn, enjoying the way his eyebrows rose. They really were quite handsome.

"Holy shit, so things aren't that bad?" He asked me with some relief as I took my shoes off.

"I think it's going to be okay for us, as long as we don't end up at war." I said tiredly, and he helped me take the rest of my clothes off. He was just wearing jeans and the t-shirt and shucked them off quickly as I climbed into bed. We met in the middle and I rested my head on his chest, drifting off to sleep despite the nagging worries in the back of my head.


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