Thursday, September 18, 2014

Step Back, Part 15

On that morning President Nixon was actually looking forward to this particular meeting in the Oval Office.

“Congressman Bush it is good to see you.”  He said to his guest.

“Thank you, sir.”  Congressman George Herbert Walker Bush of Texas replied.

The men walked over the sofas and sat down,

“So what did you want to speak to me about, sir.”  Said Bush.

“As a result of information brought back from the future, Vice President Agnew will not be running for reelection.  I want you to run for the office of Vice President in his place.”

Bush was shocked to hear this, but he quickly recovered.

“I would be honored, sir.”  He replied.

The two men continued their discussion about the future in more detail.

In the Uptime Liaison Office in Arlington, Virginia Lieutenant Commander Keller had two meetings scheduled.  The first was an interview for a leadership position with the security unit at the Uptime Base in Nevada.

Walter E. Short had a resume that was impressive even by Uptime standards.  He was a third-generation West Point graduate and had risen through the ranks of the army and had been on track for a top post within the Pentagon.  But on his first tour of Vietnam he was sent by the Joint Chiefs of Staff to compile a report on the failings of the current military policies.  His clearly critical report was unexpected and was immediately restricted for the joint chiefs and President Johnson only.

Short had repeatedly applied to join the Special Forces and the request was consistently denied, his subsequent request for retirement from the army at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel was granted.

The history of his counterpart on the original timeline was far more impressive.  Short had become a well read author in the fields of politics and military history.  His works would in turn influence the prime movers of the events that would eventually become known as The Reformation.

What he would become on this timeline was now another question.

The intercom buzzed, it was the local civilian receptionist out front.

“Commander, Colonel Short is here.”

“I’ll be right out.”

Keller stepped over to the closet and checked her appearance in the full length mirror mounted inside the door.  With her surface duty dress uniform clearly in order she stepped out to the reception area.

She found Colonel Short standing before the reception desk.  Although he was in a grey civilian business suit his military bearing was obvious as was his regulation haircut.  Even in his early forties he still had the appearance of a film star.  The man could clearly could pass for a fit and healthy version of Marlon Brando.

Keller spoke first.

“Colonel Short, thank you for coming.”

“Thank you, Ma’am.”  He replied.

It was a very pleasant meeting where Colonel Short agreed to take charge of the locally raised security force at the surface base.

The next meeting was with Mr. Gordon Graham, the Nixon Administration’s liaison with the Uptimers in Washington.  She did not expect it to be a pleasant one.

Keller did not stand up when Graham entered her office.

“Take a seat.”  She said.

With Graham seated she spoke again.

“Mr. Graham, do you understand why you are here today?”


“It’s because of your failure to perform your job.”

“I don’t understand?”  He replied.  “I have performed my duties perfectly!”

“Really?”  Keller replied.  “Let’s examine one issue in particular.  We are raising a group of locals to perform security duties for our surface base in Nevada.  We intended to arm them with current technology weapons and we asked you to order specific weapons from a specific manufacturer on our behalf.  You have clearly failed to do so.”

Graham’s virtual feathers were virtually ruffled.

“You don’t need that foreign junk!  I ordered perfectly good Americans guns for you instead!”

Great Vacuum, she thought, what a moron.

“Mr. Graham,” she replied, “The M14 rifle was adopted because the United States Army Ordinance Corps has a long standing case of Not-Invented-Here Syndrome.  The M60 machine gun is such a worthless piece of junk that it will eventually be replaced by the FN-MAG machine gun under the designation of M240.  And the M3 Grease Gun is simply an obsolete piece of junk.  We have cancelled the order you placed and I had to place a direct order for the correct ordinance with Fabrique Nationale de Herstal in Belgium.”

The locally raised security force under Colonel Short will be issued FN-FAL rifles, FN-MAG general purpose machine guns, and licenced UZI machine pistols made by FN Herstal.

“You can’t do that!”  Graham proclaimed.

“I had to.”  Commander Keller replied.  “And you’re also fired.”

Graham shouted.

“You can’t do that!  I work for the United States Government!”

No, thought Commander Keller, I suppose I couldn’t fire him.

She replied.

“What I can do is to perform a ballistic lobotomy on you should you step foot in this office again.  Do you understand Mr. Graham?”

Gordon Graham abruptly stood up.

“You haven’t heard the last of this!”

He then stormed out of the office.

It was still afternoon in London when the guest arrived at the Prime Minister’s residence. 

“Mr. Clarke, thank you for coming.”  Said the Prime Minister.

“Thank you, sir.”  Arthur C. Clarke replied.

“Mr. Clarke, you’ve met with these people aboard their ship, why won’t they speak to Her Majesty’s Government here in London?”

“Because in their view you’re not a government.”  Said Clarke.  “They see the Labour Party and socialists in general as savages.”

Prime Minister Harold Wilson was stunned to hear this.

“How can that be?”  He asked.  “Socialism is clearly the most progressive form of social organization.”

“I asked the same question of their Mission Commander, Mr. Boatman.” Clarke replied.  “In their view Socialism is simply stone age savagery heavily disguised with a heavy coat of make up.  He also stated that there was absolutely no point in communicating to any sitting Socialist state as they are in complete denial with all respects to reality.”

What Clarke didn’t repeat to the PM was that they generally held the current Terran Socialists to be a lower form of life than the stone age natives of the Planet Eden.

“Would they ever speak to anyone here in United Kingdom?”

“They may speak with a Dry Tory such as Mrs. Thatcher, but they have nothing but absolute contempt for the Wets.”

This was not what the PM wanted to hear.

In Dallas a group was gathered in prayer before the ER entrance of Parkland Hospital.  The widow of the Reverend William Grant led the group in prayer for her late husband. 

Larry Travis and his film crew were observing the proceedings.  He quickly noticed that not one prayer was said for Judith, the daughter taken by the Uptimers to their ship.


No comments: