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THE ZENDA VENDETTA

Time Wars: Book Four

by Simon Hawke

 

A CHRONOLOGICAL HISTORY OF THE TIME WARS

April 1,2425:
Dr. Wolfgang Mensinger invents the chronoplate at the age of 115, discovering time travel. Later he would construct a small scale working prototype for use in laboratory experiments specially designed to avoid any possible creation of a temporal paradox. He is hailed as the “Father of Temporal Physics.”

July 14, 2430:
Mensinger publishes “There Is No Future,” in which he redefines relativity, proving that there is no such thing as
the
future, but an infinite number of potential future scenarios which are absolute relative only to their present. He also announces the discovery of “nonspecific time” or temporal limbo, later known as “the dead zone.”

October 21,2440:
Wolfgang Mensinger dies. His son, Albrecht, perfects the chronoplate and carries on the work, but loses control of the discovery to political interests.

June 15, 2460:
Formation of the international Committee for Temporal Intelligence, with Albrecht Mensinger as director. Specially trained and conditioned “agents” of the committee begin to travel back through time in order to conduct research and field test the chronoplate apparatus. Many become lost in transition, trapped in the limbo of nonspecific time known as “the dead zone.” Those who return from successful temporal voyages often bring back startling information necessitating the revision of historical records.

March 22,2461: The Consorti Affair

Cardinal Lodovico Consorti is excommunicated from the Roman Catholic Church for proposing that agents travel back through time to obtain empirical evidence that Christ arose following His crucifixion. The Consorti Affair sparks extensive international negotiations amidst a volatile climate of public opinion concerning the proper uses for the new technology. Temporal excursions are severely curtailed. Concurrently, espionage operatives of several nations infiltrate the Committee for Temporal Intelligence.

May 1, 2461:
Dr. Albrecht Mensinger appears before a special international conference in Geneva, composed of political leaders and members of the scientific community. He attempts to alleviate fears about the possible misuses of time travel. He further refuses to cooperate with any attempts at militarizing his father’s discovery.

February 3,2485:
The research facilities of the Committee for Temporal Intelligence are seized by troops of the Trans-Atlantic Treaty Organization.

January 25,2492:
The Council of Nations meets in Buenos Aires, capitol of the United Socialist States of South America, to discuss increasing international tensions and economic instability. A proposal for “an end to war in our time” is put forth by the chairman of the Nippon Conglomerate Empire. Dr.

Albrecht Mensinger, appearing before the body as nominal director of the Committee for Temporal Intelligence, argues passionately against using temporal technology to resolve international conflicts, but cannot present proof that the past can be affected by temporal voyagers. Prevailing scientific testimony reinforces the conventional wisdom that the past is an immutable absolute.

December 24,2492:
Formation of the Referee Corps, brought into being by the Council of Nations as an extranational arbitrating body with sole control over temporal technology and authority to stage temporal conflicts as “limited warfare” to resolve international disputes.

April 21, 2493:
On the recommendation of the Referee Corps, a subordinate body named the Observer Corps is formed, taking over most of the functions of the Committee for Temporal Intelligence, which is redesignated as the Temporal Intelligence Agency. Under the aegis of the Council of Nations and the Referee Corps, the TIA absorbs the intelligence agencies of the world’s governments and is made solely answerable to the Referee Corps. Dr. Mensinger resigns his post to found the Temporal Preservation League, a group dedicated to the abolition of temporal conflict.

June, 2497-March, 2502:
Referee Corps presides over initial temporal confrontation campaigns, accepting “grievances” from disputing nations, selecting historical conflicts of the past as “staging grounds” and supervising the infiltration of modern troops into the so-called “cannon fodder” ranks of ancient warring armies. Initial numbers of temporal combatants are kept small, with infiltration facilitated by cosmetic surgery and implant conditioning of soldiers. The results are calculated based upon successful return rate and a complicated “point spread.” Soldiers are monitored via cerebral implants, enabling Search & Retrieve teams to follow their movements and monitor mortality rate. The media dubs temporal conflicts the “Time Wars.”

2500-2510:
Extremely rapid growth of massive support industry catering to the exacting art and science of temporal conflict. Rapid improvement in international economic climate follows, with significant growth in productivity and rapid decline in unemployment and inflation rate. There is a gradual escalation of the Time Wars with the majority of the world’s armed services converting to temporal duty status.

Growth of the Temporal Preservation League as a peace movement with an intensive lobby effort and mass demonstrations against the Time Wars. Mensinger cautions against an imbalance in temporal continuity due to the increasing activity of the Time Wars.

September 2,2514:
Mensinger publishes his “Theories of Temporal Relativity,” incorporating his solution to the Grandfather Paradox and calling once again for a ceasefire in the Time Wars. The result is an upheaval in the scientific community and a hastily reconvened Council of Nations to discuss his findings, leading to the Temporal Strategic Arms Limitations Talks of 2515.

March 15,2515-June I, 2515:
T-SALT held in New York City. Mensinger appears before the representatives at the sessions and petitions for an end to the Time Wars. A ceasefire resolution is framed, but tabled due to lack of agreement among the members of the Council of Nations. Mensinger leaves the T-SALT a broken man.

November 18,2516:
Dr. Albrecht Mensinger experiences total nervous collapse shortly after being awarded the Benford Prize.

December 25, 2516:
Dr. Albrecht Mensinger commits suicide. Violent demonstrations by members of the Temporal Preservation League.

January 1,2517:
Militant members of the Temporal Preservation League band together to form the Timekeepers, a terrorist offshoot of the League, dedicated to the complete destruction of the war machine. They announce their presence to the world by assassinating three members of the Referee Corps and bombing the Council of Nations meeting in Buenos Aires, killing several heads of state and injuring many others.

September 17, 2613:
Formation of the First Division of the U.S. Army Temporal Corps as a crack commando unit following the successful completion of a “temporal adjustment” involving the first serious threat of a timestream split. The First Division, assigned exclusively to deal with threats to temporal continuity, is designated as “the Time Commandos.”

MENSINGER’S THEORIES OF TEMPORAL RELATIVITY

1.
The Theory of Temporal Inertia.
The “current” of the timestream tends to resist the disruptive influence of temporal discontinuities. The degree of this resistance is dependent upon the coefficient of the magnitude of the disruption and the Uncertainty Principle.

2.
The Principle of Temporal Uncertainty.
The element of uncertainty expressed as a coefficient of temporal inertia represents the “X factor” in temporal continuity. Absolute determination of the degree of deviation from the original, undisrupted scenario is rendered impossible by the lack of total accuracy in historical documentation and research (see Heisenberg’s Principle of Uncertainty) and by the presence of historical anomalies as a result either of temporal discontinuities or adjustments thereof.

3.
The Fate Factor.
In the event of a disruption of a magnitude sufficient to affect temporal inertia and create a discontinuity, the Fate Factor, working as a coefficient of temporal inertia, and the element of uncertainty both already present and brought about by the disruption, determine the degree of relative continuity to which the timestream can be restored, contingent upon the effects of the disruption and its adjustment.

4.
The Timestream Split.
In the event of a disruption of a magnitude sufficient to overcome temporal inertia, the effects of the Fate Factor would be canceled out by the overwhelming influence of the resulting discontinuity. The displaced energy of temporal inertia would create a parallel timeline in which the Uncertainty Principle would be the chief governing factor.

 

PROLOGUE

It was a room where time did not exist. Whenever Moses Forrester entered it, he left the 27th century behind and stepped into the limbo of his memories. Here, in his private den, the world of 2619

did not intrude. Outside the door of his small sanctum were his quarters in the section of the TAC-HQ

building housing bachelor officers on command staff. From the massive window in his living room that took up one whole wall, Forrester could look out over all of Pendleton Base spread out far below him.

At night, the garish glow of the urban blight that was Los Angeles could be seen in the distance. Behind the door, however, there was just one small room with no windows out of which to gaze. There were other things to look at here, all of which called forth panoramic visions of their own.

The door slid aside into a recess as he approached it, the lock responding to his voice speaking the code phrase, “old time not forgotten,” and he took two steps inside, the door sliding shut behind him.

With a somber expression, he gazed at the many incongruous items displayed about the room which, at first glance, gave it the aspect of a storage place for worthless junk. However, the like of this agglomeration could not be found in any museum.

One wall was floor-to-ceiling bookshelves. Arranged upon the shelves were priceless first editions, ancient tomes, yet all in absolutely mint condition as if they had just come off the presses. The rarity of the titles was matched only by their diversity. It was the library of a scholar with quite eclectic tastes, many titles autographed—
Honore de Balzac, Sigmund Freud, Fyodor Dostoevski, Mickey Spillane,
Barbara Tuchman, Isaac Asimov.

Hanging upon one wall was a sword, a heavy weapon with an ornately jeweled hilt inlaid with solid gold. It had been taken from the scabbard of a dead knight named Rodrigo Diaz, better known to history as El Cid. Beneath this beautiful broadsword hung a far more plebian-looking weapon, an old and somewhat rusty rapier, a gift to Forrester from one of the officers under his command. It had been discarded by its owner when he had received a better one from George Villiers, the Duke of Buckingham. Major Lucas Priest had known how greatly Forrester would value a blade that had belonged to a Gascon swordsman named D’Artagnan.

Next to the two swords hung a badly weathered powder horn, which had once been the property of an American frontiersman by the name of Daniel Boone. Above it was displayed a long flintlock rifle named “Old Betsy.” It had been found near the body of Colonel David Crockett at the Battle of the Alamo. Close by the rifle hung a wicked-looking knife that was only slightly smaller than a Roman short sword. There were many imitations of it throughout later years, but this was the original Bowie knife, rumored to have been forged from a piece of a star.

Displayed in a velvet-lined case was the black powder pistol that had slain Alexander Hamilton in a duel with Aaron Burr. Encased in a small frame upon the wall was a cloth mask once worn by a famous black-clad avenger in the days of Spanish California and, beside it, another pistol, a pearl-handled .45, which had been stolen from the most famous tank commander of them all. On the small writing table, next to a framed letter written to Forrester (though the name by which the author of the letter addressed him was “Murray”), a small block of lucite stood about six inches high. Inside it was a misshapen piece of metal, about the size of a man’s thumbnail. It was a jezail bullet which had been removed from the shoulder of an army surgeon attached to the Berkshires (66th Foot) on July 27, 1880. The letter was from the same surgeon, whose life “Murray” had saved at the Battle of Maiwand during the Second Afghan War. The return address was 221B Baker Street. These and other, less celebrated mementos comprised what was referred to by the soldiers under Forrester’s command as “the old man’s collection”; to smuggle back an item that was deemed worthy of inclusion was considered a great coup.

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