|Forecasting America's Destiny ... and the World's|
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I woke up August 1, 1980. I was a little confused about what was going on at first. A lot of us tried to replay our lives the second time around, what we call TL-2. Afraid that changing something will bring about their deaths the next day. They failed, of course. No one is a perfect actor with a perfect memory, and even random radioactive emission changes the weather soon (the Butterfly Effect). Man, I never would have been able to reach that Christmas party in 1989 in TL-2...twenty inches with four and five foot drifts. Me, I didn't even try. I went into Library Science and became a librarian. Got a job. I was happy. The Depression arrived a year earlier, World War Three started in a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan...same lineup, same death toll. No Bird Flu, so I lived to be an old man. In 2028 I felt a terrible pain in my chest. Didn't want to be a bother, I was a he-man, thought it was just bad indigestion. Guess it was a heart attack. Anyway, I collapsed and blacked out. Woke up August 1, 1980.
Went into Library Science again, but this time I invested in Microsoft (they hit it big in both previous timelines). I hit it big. I took better care of myself, and noted eventually that medical science was advancing a little faster this time. I also noted a novelist who was writing about events that occurred in TL-1 and TL-2. I got in touch with him and he interrogated me about details from the first two timelines. This is how I found out there were others of us (42 that we know of this time around). All born in the late Fifties. Some of us were "discovering" medical treatments earlier, trying to extend the lives of all of us. This time I made it to when I got my cereboid intamp, my "second brain" implant (I am so used to it that now I feel like I am working with half a brain). I made it to the Singularity (I don't have the words to define the words to define the words to describe what it was like) and eventually died, though I was older than Methuselah this time around. Meanwhile, the Depression occurred a couple years "late", World War Three started with a Second Korean War... Chinese-Muslim Pact against the rest of the world, a couple billion died.
I woke up after I died. August 1, 1980. This time we formed the "Time Conspiracy", figuring that the whole point of this was to prevent a major cataclysm in the early 21st Century. We pulled strings from the shadows, trying to change history. Many of us became movers and shakers...it is hard not to succeed when you have so much experience from three timelines to draw on. We kept our secret, though, and worked behind the scene. The Depression was the latest but deepest of all, the Third World War began with a Chinese coup and invasion of Taiwan, this time nanotechnology was used and three quarters of the world's population died... including me.
This is TL-5. We went public this time. We are currently a "fringe" society, with no way to prove our bona fides. But that will change tomorrow. Every galaxy has "billions and billions" of stars in it. About once a century, one of those stars explodes. According to scientific knowledge, there are two kinds of stars that can become such "supernovae". One is a red supergiant, another is a white dwarf orbiting close to a giant star. We have made a public prediction that the star Sanduleak -69° 202a in the LMC galaxy will be observed to go supernova on February 23, 1987 (that was my idea...that Astronomy degree came in handy after all). Sanduleak -69° 202a is (or rather was, millennia ago, since it is thousands of light years away) a blue supergiant. Carl Sagan had a good time with one of us on the Johnny Carson Show last month. But as he himself has said, "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". We expect the next time he speaks with us, he will be more...respectful.
Today is February 22, 1987. Maybe we'll get it right this time.
Prolific science fiction author Thomas Richard Mazanec lives in Cleveland. His web site is http://tmazanec1.xepher.net/webpage.html
(Comments: For reader comments, questions and discussion, see the "Maybe We'll Get It Right This Time" thread of the Generational Dynamics forum.)