Defilement in Time

Vietnam, 1987

A small boat of long forgotten American prisoners of war was floating into a small hidden dock in a squat jungle village on the western coast of Vietnam. The horridly malnutritioned figures that piled out were skeletal and gaunt. They were marched on to a bamboo dock by ten or twelve armed regulars. AK-47s did not feel good in the back but they did not have enough energy to even protest. They were slowly marched through the village and on to an airfield.

Commander James Olandaran stared into the holographic display at the scene about his TDRC – Time Displacement Replacement Coordinator – holding his assault rifle firmly. He didn’t like messing with time but this was a new war. His job was to stop the death of one man in this group of POWs. Plain and simple.

His enemy is always different. Many times, it is time itself – avoiding killing the wrong person at the wrong time like one of his own ancestors. There is a whole department in the organization – The Department of Time Readjustment and Shaping (TRAC or “Trace”) – that researches every individual, programs his cyber-eye displays and weapons to label each target lethal or non-lethal target, and maps out entry and exist for each time mission. Because of the nuclear war that happens in a few year from where they are, most targets are expendable and thus marked with the lethal targeting. His weapons is keyed into this targeting system, and alternates between lethal energy and non-lethal – or “stun.”

His squad of Time Tracers were all reviewing the mission briefing through their eye displays, double checking targets and assignments. First timers always had the questions – if it has happened already, don’t we know the outcome? That gets into a lot of the temporal sciences that was way above Olandaran’s pay grade. He just told his soldiers to do their duty and we will all come out of this just fine. And the human race will be better for it.

Time was a new thing to the military, that’s all Olandaran knew. The time shaping engineers endlessly researched their targets, their goals and the results of past missions, to make sure they were shaping time “correctly” – whatever that meant. At times, memories were altered in some people, while other times subtle changes in personality. The only people that truly know what really happened are the soldiers. They remain in what the scientists call a time vacuum. Subtle changes they make to the timeline don’t effect them. At least, that’s what the scientists say.

Maybe sometime in the future – which is something they have yet to learn how to get to – we will realize how much time is defiled.

“Nearing the Time Drop Point. Ready your men, commander” the pilot said to Olandaran.

“Roger that. I’ll stay up here, as usual. I like to see their faces when we drop out into normal time space.”

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