Challenge #02197-F007: The Girl Who Circled TimesteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  last month


"My apologies for the security breach. I was experimenting with temporal rifts and found myself here." -- Anon Guest.

Roswell, New Mexico. 1947. Everyone has a story about what happened that year, but it was a weather balloon carrying a top-secret attempt at detecting enemy nukes and that was that. However, since the American Public believed there was a coverup, it and the nearby Area 51 became the perfect stalking horse for other, experimental technologies.

Then there's the actual Incident that happened a decade later. Deep in the warehouse where excitable people with little in the way of scientific knowledge were allowed to glimpse mock-ups of alien craft, something... else happened to appear. There was electrical discharge and the cameras caught several blurs before a humanoid figure stumbled into the clear zone around the prop spacecraft. The cameras, alas, did not record the sound that occurred at the same time, which witnesses identified as not being wholly unlike a person dragging a house key up and down a piano wire.

The guards snapped into action. Even though they were on Window Dressing Duty, they knew what to do with an intruder and did so with extreme prejudice. They were also smart enough to know that anyone who could just appear in the middle of Area 51 should be kept alive for questioning. Just to see if there was anyone else who knew how to do that trick and how it was done and if there was anything that could be done to prevent them from doing so again. Which was how America, in 1957, got hold of a fountain of information in the form of Cassandra Jones, Experimental Time Traveller.

Of course, it took them a few years to believe her story. It took them more than a few years to actually listen to her. In that time, they realised that Cassandra was not ageing and all the things she could warn them about[1]. By the time the people surrounding her stopped condescending in her general direction, things like transistors, Viet Nam, and Watergate had already happened.

She tried to warn them about the Kennedy Assassination, too. Not that it worked at all.

Ever wondered why there was a sudden technological leap in the 70's? Cassandra. She could walk them through how computer chips worked and the processes involved in miniaturisation. She was not allowed to take the credit for inventing the internet, and not taken seriously every time she warned them about bad decisions.

Some people just won't listen. Even if it's to a person who literally came from the future and has been dead-on accurate for decades on end. They did start to pay attention to things like presidential assassinations, but failed to pay attention to things like which presidents would actually be good for the country, as opposed to the ones who would ruin it.

They stopped listening to Cassandra again by the mid-nineties. She could rant, rave, warn, and predict all she liked, but the people who had the money were the ones in charge. Politics was a rich mans' game and she wasn't allowed to play for several reasons.

She was a scientist, and though the people came to her with questions concerning how to avoid the revolution she predicted, they would not listen to her reasonable explanations. She tried. She really tried. Rich people could avoid all their fears by redistributing even a fraction of their earnings to help those who were struggling. If they were just benevolent enough, they could survive the fires of retribution.

They didn't listen. Rich people never listen to people who tell them to give away their money. Not even when she could prove it would save their lives.

She told them the history she knew, right down to the day and means of their deaths.

They didn't listen.

Then, one day, they no longer came.

The guards stopped guarding. Those survivors who believed in conspiracies came next. Found the old props. Found the previously-guarded technologies. Found the ages of records. And, eventually, found Cassandra.

They listened. They realised exactly what they had in a person who knew how to avoid the bad things and how to make the ruined world a better place. Things everyone could do. Things only certain people could do. Things that would take generations to do.

They not only listened to her, they also let her out. They let her have her freedom. They let her teach. In doing so, they altered their path into a better and brighter future.

Cassandra started ageing on the day that her other self was born. She aged rapidly, imparting what wisdom she could before the tides of time eroded her away. The cycle would start and end and start again.

With a little girl who wanted to see tomorrow, tripped into yesterday, and created today.

[1] Because most people experimenting with time travel want to go forward, their grasp of the past is sketchy at best.

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / dani3315]

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