Saturday, August 30, 2014

Step Back Part Four

Saturday September 20, 1969

At a rare Saturday morning meeting of the Soviet Politburo a film was shown.  It was a 16 millimeter film produced by the U.S. Government of an interview with Mission Commander Evelyn Boatman.  The intended audience were the heads of allied governments along with diplomatic and miliary leaders with top secret clearance.

The KGB had stolen a copy.

For this showing the live accurate and translation of the Standard English dialog was provided by two field grade KGB officers reading from a prepared script.

The officer reading for Boatman was in fact the second man selected for the task.  The first had visibly flinched upon reading through the script for the first time and ultimately would refuse the assignment.

“There is simply no way around it, the fact is that Soviet Communism is based on a purely false concept of human life and is thus doomed to failure.”

The members of the Politburo sat silently as the historic image of the red banner of the Soviet Union being lowered from the Kremlin for the last time was projected on the screen.

Boatman had spoken again.

“Although the Soviet state had been quietly dismantled in the original timeline we cannot be certain of that this will occur in the current timeline.”

When the film ended and the lights came up the Minister for Agriculture spoke.

“How could this child be in command of the Star People?”

Star People was the term adopted by the Soviets for the crew of the starship Eagle. 

Yuri Andropov, the Chairman of the KGB, responded.

“Comrade Minister, The Star People claim to be able to medically reproduce a fully functional mind in a new body.  As a result Boatman himself claims to over two centuries old.”

The Minister for Industry spoke up.

“Don’t they know that Communism is the greatest and final form of social organization?  How could they not know this?  How could they be so blind?”

Andropov answered.

“The Star People are claiming that they have a capitalist society under a minimum state.  And they are also claiming that their political doctrine is based on the works of Ayn Rand.”

The minister’s eyes widened and he shouted out his response.

“Rosenbaum--that lying cunt?  She knows nothing!”

The Industry Minister had used Rand’s given surname.  Andropov again replied.

“Boatman and several other Star People have met with Rand and her inner circle in New York.  And they are now actively promoting her philosophy of Objectivism within the United States.”

“Why do they bother with her?”  Said the Industry Minister.  “That cunt was discredited when the affair with her head disciple was exposed!”

It was at this time that Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, spoke up.

“Comrades, let us stick to main topic, what can we do about this potential future?”

Most of the members silently sat up and nodded.  Brezhnev then spoke again.

“Mikhail Gorbachev, step forward.”

Gorbachev had been brought directly from his apartment in Moscow with only a brief amount of time to dress himself.  As a result his appearance before the Politburo was shoddy and unshaven.  He then was seated to the side of the room as the film was shown to the committee.

As a result he now saw himself as a dead man standing.

Brezhnev spoke.

“So Gorbachev, what do you have to say for yourself?”

As he saw himself as effectively dead there was no point in attempting to deceive anyone.  He answered honestly.

“What can I say comrades?”

The Minister for Agriculture spoke in return.

“What can you say?  What can you say?  What kind of policies are Openness and Restructuring?”

Gorbachev looked directly at the Agriculture Minister before replying.

“Comrade minister, you speak of events that have not happened, nor as a result of the appearance of the Star People will they ever happen.”

“Explain.”  Said Brezhnev.

“The appearance of the Star People has already altered the chain of events.  What they have told the Americans about the future has altered how they will act in the future.  And changes in how the Americans act will result in changes in how the Soviet Union will respond.  The future described by Boatman is already dead.”

“Nonsense.”  The Minister of Industry replied.  “Boatman and his people are lying!”

The Minister of Science spoke up.

“I must strongly disagree.  The Star People have brought back data on astronomy that they have shared with the Americans, who in turn have shared it with astronomers worldwide including ours.  This includes data on the dead star designated Niven Sixty-Nine.  Several of our radio telescopes have now confirmed the existence of the dead star.”

Everyone in the room stared at the minister.  Brezhnev spoke up.

“What does that mean?”

“In the late Twenty Second century this object will pass through the inner solar system and will radically alter the orbits of the planets, including the Earth.”

Another minister spoke up up.

“Will it hit anything?”

“That’s unknown.”

Andropov then spoke.

“According to the little information we have the intended mission of the Eagle was to assess the damage done by the object and to rescue any survivors found in the Solar System.  The Eagle was originally constructed as a ship that traveled below the speed of light.  When a faster than light drive was developed it was installed in the ship and successfully flown on two missions to nearby stars before the mission to Earth was attempted.  Their passage backwards in time was not expected.”

Another minister spoke up.

“So what do we do now?”

No one had an answer.

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