Timeless Love in an Everchanging World
UNFINISHED Started in 2013
Columns of quantitative data lined the walls of the live-in cubicle as Xander rubbed his temples pushing the strain of the work out of his head. Deadline: five hours. He did not understand why an industry leading corporation would entrust such a lowly employee for such a large task. He could only make one choice, one event in all of history to change.
The numbers twinkled against the stained wall hypnotizing Xander’s mind and forcing him closer to slumber. A forceful shake of his head revived him to the actual world. His mind was mush, no progress, no real thoughts, blah. He tapped the wall behind him to switch his display from work to entertainment. He slid back to a horizontal position on his bed and stared off into the ceiling where the display followed his gaze.
He viewed two women on the display, both malnourished to such an extreme, that most of their skeletal structure was visible. It was a foul display of lust between the two women forcing their bodies upon each other in the lewdest fashion. It was an activity devoid of romance or sensuality that for many was far from entertainment. But that was not why the display had chosen the video. The technology catered to the viewers desires. Xander having been lonely for the last few years, rarely leaving his cube needed to see the connection. He needed to see the sex. He needed to see that what he was missing was nothing more than animal, no love, no emotion, and no thoughts.
The screen faded into his mind as he lost consciousness.
Deadline: four hours and thirty minutes.
Hunger pulled Xander back to life. He shot up in his bed and surveyed the room. He always felt he was not alone. The so called apartment was a perfect square, 15 feet by 15 feet by 15 feet. The walls were an off-white to mask any stains they may hold, but the food, semen and general filth that infested his world shined upon the drab paint.
It was late in the evening. The room was darkened with only the ominous glow of the makeshift city pouring in through his square window. The drapes blocked the shine from brightening his walls, but left the appearance of a grey shadowbox where his window stood.
The hunger curled his intestines forcing him call out for food. Xander tapped the wall to return the display to work as he spoke aloud. “Order Galinfan’s. I need two cheeseburgers, a large piece of toast, a cinnamon pie slice, and a large whisky and seltzer.”
He scanned the data hoping for a brief moment of enlightenment. Maybe a small unnoticed aspect of his research would jump out at him. Nothing. He dropped his head in frustration allowing the sounds of the city sooth his body. The waves crashing against the pillars of the cities foundation, the bangs and buzzes of what he was once told were the modern conveniences of the ocean-dwellers. Even his attempt at relaxation gouged at his brain with the reality of life.
There was a time when he wanted to go to University. When he was finishing public school he had dreams of archeology, visiting the oldest civilizations on the planet, but the Sea-Dweller recruit grabbed his attention.
“Live with all the modern day conveniences. Live in the most technologically advanced city on the planet. Live as a Sea-Dweller a full city, the perfect place to live, work and play.” The pitch was just what Xander had wanted to hear. He signed up immediately.
The reality of life turned out to be a sweat shop of sorts, living in a cube, ordering delivery, and no human interaction with the exception of the calls that displayed across his walls. He was dead to the pain of his situation. No emotion welled up within him, just apathy.
Xander’s hunger pains coincided perfectly with the creaking of his door opening. Food. Maybe it would nourish him enough to complete his task.
Deadline: Four hours.
Xander followed his animal instincts and devoured the food, not grasping his concentration but increasing his fatigue instead. He tapped the wall behind him to bring up entertainment and to procrastinate his goal more.
It was a comedy of misfortune. He gazed upon people in unfortunate situations being humiliated in hilarious fashion. Politicians were being exposed as frauds, actors shown losing their minds in drunken stupors, and average people being fooled into believing they are being arrested. Sleep.
Deadline: Two hours and fifteen minutes.
Xander at twenty eight years old held the historical fate of the world in his hands. His decision would change history.
The knowledge that a boy at his age with his education would be entrusted as a historical analyst baffled him. The Corp was the largest corporation in the world, but their ability to cut costs by finding talent before they had the credentials to charge for it was what kept them on top.
He looked at the data across his walls letting his eyes take in the rows and columns as if they were sustenance. Everything was coded so he could not see what event was what. He only had importance, impact on The Corp, impact on the world, and the date.
He had assumed that he would be heading up an assassination. Most the events that had been changed were assassinations in an attempt to keep one person from developing a certain technology so another could be the first. This forced Xander to push all his option back 100 years. The statute of limitations on murder was 100 years so he had to go far enough back to protect himself.
The Corp had been attempting to break into the amusement park industry, but after thirty years of trying to get a foot in the door The Emerald Forest still controlled the industry beyond comprehension.
The Emerald Forest had stolen the industry 120 years ago. They revolutionized theme parks by grabbing large sums of land and renting out different amounts of space to random intellectual properties. Then building and selling rides, games, and merchandise to the IPs for use in the park. Within two years Emerald Forest had made their initial investment back ten fold.
The first park they built was erected in mere months. The most popular movies, books, games, celebrities, brands… all had their own sections. Each one would pay a rental fee for use of the land, pay just above cost for the rides, games, and merchandise. Contract Emerald Forest to fill their area with employees. After which they would get a percentage of the gate plus all the income from their sections sales. And as each section lost popularity the IPs would end their lease and sell their rides, games, and extra stock merchandise back to the Emerald Forest at a deep discount who would rebrand it and recycle it back out to the next IP.
They expanded across North America rapidly. Within five years there were amusement parks in every city with a population over a million. Worldwide came just years later but the expansion was just as brisk.
The timeframe Xander was looking at was even smaller than he originally thought. Brentwood Elfargus, the creator of the Emerald Forest, built his first park in CY-125 (Current Year minus 125 years). He had full control over the industry in CY-120. But the theme park industry was not fully supported by the public until CY-123.
He only had a three year window to be sure that there would be an amusement park industry for the Corp to build from and to be positive that Emerald Forest would not be so strong as to overcome the change in history he was about to cause.
The choice was simple. He needed to trigger event 256B. He could look up to see what the coded event was but he knew already. It was the assassination of Brentwood Elfargus. In the year CY-122.
The display on his wall highlighted event 256B and the assigned date. Hour 15 Day 3 Week 56 Year CY-122. Xander lay back on his bed and began thinking through his report summary as the display on the wall transcribed his thoughts into a letter.
Deadline: One hour.
The report set finished on his display, but he refused to send it. He knew his decision would affect millions of people worldwide. All time shifts caused millions of people to be adjusted in their reality.
He tapped the wall. More pornography. His mind had obviously been drifting to the opposite sex. But when he lived in a city where he rarely saw the outside world, humans much less women were not a part of his life.
He watched the young girl on his wall run through a pathetic script where she found the love of her life, married him, and proceeded to give herself in everyway to him and his group of six friends. All Xander could think was ‘this is the best porn can achieve as far as a love story?’ The scene baffled him, but did its job. Xander enjoyed the production as it was meant to be enjoyed.
Deadline: Fifteen minutes.
Xander realized he had left his Whiskey and Seltzer alone and felt it was time to partake. Subconsciously he knew he needed the liquid courage to present his report.
An occasional drunken stupor was the extent of his rebelliousness. There was a lack of immorality in his past. At his age he felt a loss that he never went into the seedy dark side of society. There were no stories of fights and murder, of drug use to near death, of sleeping with handfuls of women over the course of a few hours, of feeding on the human hormones that could empower him to the classic superhero levels. His past was all childhood and isolation. There was nothing else to speak of.
Deadline: Three minutes.
Xander gave in to the guilt gnawing at his mind and sent the mail. He downed a couple more swigs of his beverage and prepared for the confrontation with his boss. The pig man as he called him. It was less than a minute when the pink sweaty man appeared on his display across his walls.
“Xander! Your report seems thorough.” The fat man called out through the grunts and snorts in his normal speaking voice. “How are things out there in the City over the Ocean?”
Xander looked up into the face of the pig man letting his head wobble slightly to each side as the whiskey took over. “It is fine sir.”
“Turn on the fucking light kid! I can’t see you while you are sitting in the dark.”
Xander followed his order and called out lights to let the disgusting visage of his boss see him in his hell hole.
“For the love of the Corp, pull yourself together, boy. You look like shit. Get dressed, go out on the town, and get that dick of yours into some cheap pussy.” The man had no tact for business. Everything to him was kids wanting to commit debauchery, but he was rarely off base.
“Sorry, sir. I have been working non-stop for the last six weeks.” It was a lie, but one that hopefully would put him in good graces with the pig man.
“Well fuck! You have done a great job here. I have to read you the legal bullshit then I am ordering you some fucking pussy, so get put together so you can get fucked, kid.” There was a pause while pig man pulled up a display for his legal requirements in his speech. “Your plan will be submitted to the Order. Upon acceptance two agents will be assigned to use the time shifter to accomplish the mission. Due to our winning bid we have the right to perform the time shift for this half decade. The Order will be supervising the time shift to assure that their government isn’t damaged by the events that change. Assuming all goes as planned there will be an emergency alert sent out before the time shift so everyone can prepare for any shifts in their personal lives.” Another pause. “Good work, boy. Now get dressed so I can send you some fun.”
The pig man disappeared and Xander laid back tapping the wall returning his display to comedic misfortunes. He had not had sex in years so it would be something he would enjoy but the thought of it at that moment made him sick.
He did not know the day or the time. The sounds of the waves crashing filtered into his room as normal. The lights in his room still shined as he looked to the window to get a grasp on life again.
The place was filthy, he never turned the lights so he did not have to deal with the disgusting scenery he had created over the last few years. His head throbbed with the pain of whiskey and dehydration. The display showed a show that confused him. It was a ballet. It was a boring show of women dancing to some of the oldest music known to modern man. Music he had studied in public school. He hummed the tune as he attempted to remember the words that went along.
“Nice to see you are awake.” A soft voice whispered into his right ear.
Xander quickly shoved himself to the side of the bed not expecting to have company. He lost his balance and slid off the bed onto the soiled floor below. Laughter came from his bed.
“Careful. I am here to give you a good time, if you break your arm before I can’t do shit for you.”
It was a woman. Must have the “pussy” pig man had wanted to order for him. He got to his feet and looked over at the girl. Absolutely gorgeous, obviously a prosthetic face, but one of the most beautiful women he had ever seen. She sat on his bed wearing a tight plastic skirt and nipple guards. Her face showed a little humor in it as she watched Xander try to gather himself after his brief scare.
“Sorry, I saw you were asleep and figured I could watch something while I waited.” Her words went from soft and fun to deep and sultry as she turned her mood towards her full time profession.
She crawled across the bed imitating a cat of some sort while Xander wondered how disappointed she must be. A woman of her beauty having to come and open herself up to a worthless piece of shit like him, it could not be some thing she wanted.
She grabbed his writs and wrenched him down on the bed. Literally tearing off his clothes she moved quickly into a whirl of lust. She kissed him in ways he had forgotten about. It did not last long, minutes at best, but the smell of her sweat and the softness of her skin fulfilled a need Xander had long missed.
“Good. I like it when it is quick.” She said as she rolled off the bed.
Xander reached for a towel to wipe the proof of his crudity away. “Stop that you little perv.” The girl shot at him. “Lie in it. You obviously have no worry about life why clean that off you. I will be gone in a few minutes and that is the only reminder you will have of what you were just allowed. I am better than anything else you will ever get.”
The words should have stung Xander but they did not. He knew she was right. And in a city full of pathetic wastes of life, the most gorgeous was the ruler. Although she may be a low dollar prostitute this was still her kingdom and she could say what she wanted. Xander watched her leave.
He felt like a child. He felt like a rapist. But worst of all he felt like an idiot. He wanted her back. He wanted her there to talk to him to spend time with him. He felt like he had fallen in love with her, the only person to physically touch him in forever regardless of what she though of him.
He coughed, vomited a little over the side of the bed. The lights still on, burned his eyes. He turned them off and rolled over into what now had become a sticky stain on his sheets. I should clean this up he thought. But he did not.
He dreamt of her words. He knew they were true. “Lie in it. You obviously have no worry about life why clean that off you. I will be gone in a few minutes and that is the only reminder you will have of what you were just allowed. I am better than anything else you will ever get.”
It was the emergency alert that brought him out of the dream. But he still heard the words. “Lie in it.” Sirens blared across his city and although he could not hear it they blared across the globe. But he just heard her voice. “I am better than anything else you will ever get.”
The alert sounded out to instruct the world. “Please backup all your possessions onto your ID site. The Order will maintain all ID sites so in the case of a personal shift in your existence your belongings will transfer with your new life. Please lie down and relax the time shift will commence in the next few hours. For most there will be no change, but for some there will be an alteration to your current reality. If you are altered you will be instructed to attend a time shift class to ease your adjustment. Most people collect their new memories within days, but for some there is a longer transition.”
The alert repeated as Xander tried to drown it out with his own thoughts. He did not update his site with his belongings he did not feel he needed them. The alert pounded his head along with the long gone whiskey.
He thought to himself maybe I will have never been born. He knew that happened occasionally during a time shift. The Order never acknowledged it but maybe he would be lucky enough to be dead or at least never alive.
He had heard of stories where people never transitioned into their new lives after a shift and went mad with the dual memories. Was that the worst case scenario or was nothing changing the worst case. He did not know.
He closed his eyes drifting towards sleep. He prayed to the Order that his life would change, that it would not be like all the other shifts where nothing happened to him. And while drifting into sleep he heard her words again. “I will be gone in a few minutes and that is the only reminder you will have of what you were just allowed. I am better than anything else you will ever get.”