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By Scott Rinehart All Rights Reserved ©

Scifi / Adventure

Chapter 1

It was March in the New Jersey colony, and Dick Danger had spent the rest of the month of February among the Lenni Lenape Indians and the sweet young Doe Eyes. But anger towards the British for the many crimes against the American colonists was starting to get worse. Dick had joined with a group of colonists to form a raiding party against the Redcoats. Dressed in his standard buckskin clothing and coonskin cap, he was also now sporting a scruffy beard that Doe Eyes absolutely hated. She often thought of stuffing flowers in it to attract bees, hoping that would make him shave it.

Currently the raiding party was attacking a small British depot in the swamps near present day Malaga. It was during the raid that he met Ted Greene, who as impossible as it may seem, made Dick look smart. It was only through their combined stupidity and dumb luck that they managed to survive the raid at all.

While the plan had been laid out prior to the raid, Ted had been listening intently while digging deep in his nose. Dick, seeing this decided that it would be hilarious to slap upwards under Ted’s elbow, which drove his finger even deeper. Dick felt a bit bad about the bloody nose that Ted suffered from it, and while helping him to stop the flow, they both failed to leave with the raiding party.

After the blood stopped flowing the two men rushed through the forest to catch up to the rest of the men, but somewhere along the path and in the rush they went the wrong way. When they arrived at the depot, they had come upon it from the other side at the point in time that the Redcoats were repelling the raiding party. Not thinking but reacting rather fast, both men fired at the British from behind. Neither one of them hit a body, but both of them hit powder kegs, blowing up the small depot and some of the soldiers there.

The rest of the soldiers gave chase, not having to protect the depot anymore. The chase went on well into the twilight hours, until the Redcoats gave up with the fading light. Dick and Ted continued on through the swamp until they came to a clearing of sandy ground among the pine trees, and decided that they couldn’t run anymore. Eventually both men fell asleep under the trees.

Long about midnight they were rudely awakened by a loud droning noise, and looking up in the sky saw bright multi-colored lights. At first both men were bewildered, but tried to make some sense of what they were seeing.

“It looks like those powder kegs are still exploding. We must have done better than we thought” Ted offered.

Dick had no chance to reply as suddenly a very bright light shone directly upon them. It moved until it was shining directly downwards onto them. Both men looked at it and at each other in dumbfounded confusion.

“So what do you make of it now, Ted. Sure aren’t powder kegs.” Dick asked.

“We must have been shot. We’re surely dead, and the angels of the Lord are coming for us.” Ted said, checking himself for bullet holes. Not finding anything immediately, he took a drink from his wineskin. “Am I leaking?”

“Nothing that I can see.” Dick managed to get out before Ted started spinning him around, checking him for bullet holes. Dick removed his cap and slapped ted with it.

Suddenly and without warning both men were lifted off of the ground and into the air. They were flying up into the light weapons and all. As they reached the source of the light, they saw human shaped figures silhouetted in the light. Clearly these were angels.

They weren’t angels but aliens that immediately put both men back to sleep. When they woke this time they both laid upon beds that appeared to be made by a silversmith with lots of silver to go around. Both men were groggy and confused.

“We must have to wait until morning to see the Lord, so they put us up for the night.” Dick queried.

“Hey! My buttocks are sore. Did you bugger me in the night?” Ted asked.

“Now why would I want to do something like that?” Dick replied.

“Well, I am told that I am a very handsome man.” Ted answered.

“You’ve been lied to my friend, and I won’t stand for it. When we meet Our Maker we’re going to find ouch which scoundrel told you that rot, and see that they don’t come here.” Dick said adamantly.

It wasn’t long before two; very slender naked men with grey skin entered their room through an invisible door. They both walked over to each of the men and forced their mouths gently open and inserted one small pill each.

“Ah, you strange looking angels must by the apothecaries of Heaven. Thank you, but we weren’t sick.” Ted said.

“I feel as though I just had a feast. What was that?” Dick asked.

“Nutrition.” the taller of the grey men answered. “Come. We have much to discuss.”

They followed the grey men to a large window looking out at the night sky. A large circle of blue and white came into view. Patches of the white were calm in most places, but spinning around in a few others, it was very pretty.

“That is your planet, the Earth. I am Grlik.” the grey man said again.

“So this is what it looks like from Heaven.” Ted said.

“No, it looks much smaller from the Pleiades. But what you see of your planet now is not even in your own time. We are in the Earth year 2318. And you are here to stop a great tragedy from occurring.” Grlik said.

“Wait. That would make us…” Ted started to figure using fingers at first, and then attempting to remove his moccasins so he could finish counting.

“Both of you being thirty of your years old when we took you, and taking you five hundred and forty-three years into your future, would make you both five hundred and seventy-three years old. You haven’t enough toes to count that.” Grlik replied.

“Yes, but it is a good think that I checked. I have a bunion.” Ted said.

“It isn’t a bad one.” Grlik told him.” We checked both of you physically when you came aboard.”

“Did you bugger me while I slept?” Ted asked, getting angry.

“We removed a rather large walnut from your intestines. It was causing a blockage that could have caused problems for you. You do know that you don’t eat them whole, don’t you?” Grlik asked.

“Yes. I’m not stupid. I was hiding it from a squirrel that had nefarious plans to steal it.” Ted answered.

“So what is the tragedy you brought us here for besides Ted’s constipation?” Dick asked.

“Our computers search throughout all the records of every human in the history and the future of your planet, and have concluded that of all humans everywhen that you two have just the right amount of dumb luck to save the universe.” Grlik answered.

“What about our fighting, hunting, tracking, and survival skills?” Dick asked.

“I’m sure that you will need those as well.” Grlik answered. “There is a treacherous group of assassins down there right now in the midst of the Earth Peace Delegation. They are plotting to kill the members of the Outer Planet s Peace Envoy. You must go down there, get into the Delegation Convention, get aboard the Summit Ship before it takes off, find the assassins and stop them. If you fail, there will be a war that will destroy your planet and every other planet after it.”

“Um, excuse me. I’m still trying to figure out how we get down there. If I can’t see my cabin that must be a pretty far drop.” Ted asked.

“We will get you there safely. Just step on that circle.” Grlik said.

They did, and were immediately sent plummeting towards the Earth in an odd clear egg-like capsule. Both men were scared out of their wits.

“Commander Grlik sir, are we sure we have the right two men? We could have had Laurel and Hardy, Abbott and Costello, Hope and Crosby, Martin and Lewis, all of the Marx Brothers or even any of the Three Stooges. They seem to be too stupid to pull this off.” the First Officer asked.

“The computer doesn’t lie. These are the right men. But The Stooges would have been great, taking down the assassins with eye pokes, hair pulling, and the Curly Shuffle.” Grlik answered.

Meanwhile on Earth just outside of East Coast City, which stretches from the northernmost point of Maine District One to the Key Largo Neighborhood, the capsule came to a screeching halt five feet from the Earth’s surface and gently landed, releasing the men on the Earth in one piece. Dick walked from the capsule first and grabbed his buttocks, then proceeded to smell his hand.

“Well it wasn’t me.” Dick said.

“Oh, just give me a minute” Ted said, running off behind a bush to clean himself up. He was nearly finished when he had some unexpected help from the automated sprinkler system that all of the forested areas were equipped with since the Great North American Brush Fire of 2300 burned away most us the former US and Canada. “Waaagh!” Ted screamed as jets of water sprayed his buttocks and britches clean without warning. Minutes later they left the Central Park Historical Garden.

They looked about them in wide-eyed wonderment. Wagons without horses flew in the skies above them, people wore strange clothing clearly designed by the bed-making silversmith, and they walked about talking to no one and everyone, and hardly noticed each other. Of those that did notice the two men, they turned up their noses in disgust, muttering strange things like “don’t they know that the Replicant Animal Skin Phase is so 2317?”

Hearing that people still spoke English, although a strange version of it, Dick decided to ask directions to the Delegation Convention. Most people ignored them until a strange child hovering in the air besides them pointed them east towards the river. The Convention Hall took up most of the former East Manhattan, and was merely an expansion of the old United Nations Building.

Long before they reached the river they were met by strange men in shiny black plated armor from head to toe holding a strange box up to people as they approached.

“Approach, and be scanned for weapons.” One of the strange men announced.

“What do we do now? It’s too late to get rid of our weapons.” Ted asked Dick.

“I don’t know. I guess we get arrested, and when they take us further in for questioning we make a break for it.” Dick answered.

They stepped up and were both scanned with the boxes, but their weapons were so old they weren’t considered deadly anymore.

“You do know that work crews are supposed to enter through the south entrances, right?” asked one of the guards.

“I’m sorry. We thought this was the south entrances.” Dick said.

“No. They are about a mile down in section G. I’ll let you both enter here now, because I know how badly they need the muck blown off of the sewer walls, but next time use the right entrance.” the guard told them.

Dick and Ted thanked the guards and proceeded in and south towards the right entrances, until coming upon a strange sight. People were stepping aboard floating disks saying things like River Overlook or Press Towers, and away the disks would go. Dick told Ted to do as he did, and stepped upon a disk. After pushing Ted off and making him get his own he commanded he disk “Summit Ship” and away he went, Ted must have figured it out because his disk followed behind, and away through concourses they skimmed until reaching a big thing shaped like an oddly symmetrical peanut, and the disks landed.

The vessel was as big as twenty Philadelphias, and as tall as the Appalachians. They approached two other guards and inquired about where to enter the ship to clean the sewer walls. The guard inspected the air in the sky for a while before answering and directing them to a ladder beneath the ship about twenty feet away.

Having climbed the ladder they were aboard the ship, but had no idea where to begin looking for the assassins.

“If we were assassins where would we be?” Ted asked out loud.

“Right here, because it’s easy to get into, safe from the guards and a good place to wait. But they would be different in the future and have a better place picked out. They won’t come here. Get some sleep.” Dick said, and they both lay inside extra piping sections and went to sleep.

They heard other people climb the ladder, but thought nothing of it and went back to sleep. They felt a tremor when the ship took off, and that woke them. As they began to crawl from their piping sections they heard voices, and stopped at the ends of their pipes to listen.

“This is a great place to lay low until it’s time to strike. No one will find us here.” said one of the voices.

“It would be just dumb luck for that to happen. So when we go we got hot with the microwave rays and melt every one of the alien bastards.” another voice said.

Dick and Ted crawled forward to get a better look. The hatch they had come up was closed and four men stood by a table talking, strange guns in their hands. These were the assassins.

“You were right, Dick.” Ted said.

“There are too many, so we shoot two each and make it even.” Dick said.

Aiming their rifles at the assassins they prepared to stop them cold. Dick fired, killing one of the killers, but Ted delayed and the smoke from his gun got into Ted’s eyes causing him to miss when he fired, hitting a valve that was tied to the ship’s stabilizers. The ship pitched hard to one side, preventing the assassins from returning fire. Dick got up and charged with his rifle preparing to swing it. Ted followed his lead, but when the ship pitched again he went flying across the room. Dick however managed to knock one of the assassins out with his rifle butt.

As Ted flew slid across the floor, still flung out of control, he reached out to stop himself and grabbed the hand wheel of the hatch, spinning it round and opening the hatch. The ship pitched even further to that side, and the dead assassin and the unconscious one slid across the floor, through the hatch, and down the ladder as Dick fought in hand to hand combat with the remaining two.

Ted, wanting to help Dick threw his hunting knife, hoping to put it within Dick’s reach. Instead he threw even better than that hitting an assassin in the chest. The ship rolled and as it stopped the newly dead assassin slid over and down the hatch as well, followed by the two wrestling forms of Dick and the last assassin. As they neared the hatch Dick sprang upwards and over the hatch door letting the last assassin go down the hatch himself.

The two men closed the hatch and the ship eventually stabilized, then they gathered their weapons. Before security could come and mistake them for the assassins two figures materialized before them and they all dematerialized until they found themselves back on Grlik’s ship.

“Why didn’t you send us down to Earth like that?” Dick asked.

“Now what fun would that be?” Grlik answered.

“Stopping the assassins wasn’t that hard.” Dick told Grlik.

“Yes, your dumb luck did make it seem extremely easy. In every other probability the computer came up with, the selected individuals would have failed to locate the assassins in time.” Grlik told them.

Grlik went over to a console while the ship made its way back in time to drop Dick and Ted off at home. A human male appeared in a window on a wall that hadn’t been there a minute ago.

“Timekeeper Morrow here, what is your report Grlik?” the man said.

“Our operatives have succeeded in their mission. There is now no chance of bleed-over from this alternate future into any other. The other operatives may now proceed with ensuring this future doesn’t happen.” Grlik answered.

“Ensure that your operatives have no recollection of the events that have transpired.” Timekeeper Morrow told him.

“Are we sure that is necessary? Even if these two tell anyone of this, they’re both buffoons, and no one will believe them.” Grlik told him.

“You do know that we’re still here, right?” Dick asked Grlik.

“Perhaps they are better off without the strain of any extra knowledge after all.” Grlik relented.

“Timekeeper Command out.” Morrow said.

“Grlik out.” Grlik responded.

“So what are you going to do to us? My buttocks still hurt from that other thing you did.” Ted said.

“Oh, this won’t hurt a bit.” Grlik said as Dick and Ted passed out.

When Ted and Dick woke from their slumber it was morning in the clearing where they had fallen asleep, and Ted’s buttocks still hurt. Dick took Ted with him back to the Lenni Lenape camp, and leaving him with the single squaws to inspect, went off to his wigwam and Doe Eyes.

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