“359, hold your position, you have an airstrike inbound!”
Fire rains from the sky. Soldiers scurry around the explosions, finding cover and firing their weapons into the distance. The camera pans out to shows Fenway Park in utter destruction. The battle ensues just outside the ballpark in street on Boston. The Prudential building is half missing, and the Hancock building is gone. Fires rage and smoke fills the air.
“Alright! Listen up! Bravo team, head south towards Boylston and cover the intersection! Delta, you flank right, cut your way down Jersey, shoot anything that moves. You and you, you’re with me, let’s go!!!”
The soldiers run off in opposite directions as the camera sticks on the leader. It 360’s around him to show Brenton Cross, full military gear, assault rife in hand. They run down the street and are immediately met with oncoming fire. They take cover behind a couple of burning cars and begun returning fire.
Brenton leaps over the hood of the car and runs down the middle of the street and chucks a grenade into the distance. It explodes, launching several enemy targets into the air in pieces.
Brenton motions towards his men to follow him, then suddenly a line of smoke darts at Brenton’s position.
He hits the pavement, just a few feet from Brenton, sending him hurling through the air. He lands flat on his back. His face blackened and blood pouring from one of his eyes, his men rush to him.
“Medic! We need a medic!!!!”, one of Brenton’s men yells.
The ash from a cigarette is flicked into an astray on a stainless-steel table. The camera zooms out to show Brenton Cross sitting at this table with another man in a suit.
“Now, tell me about this future again. You say we are at war?”, the man asks.
“Not just any war. The war of wars. This war makes World War II look like an open hand slap contest. The end of mankind.”
The man jots notes down on a legal pad.
“Brenton, have you ever been admitted to a psychology rehabilitation center before?”
“No, and we don’t call them that anymore. We call it ‘reconditioning’, it’s not a method we like to use, but it’s efficient in our time, especially during strife. I’ve never had to enter reconditioning.”
“Interesting. What if I was to tell you that just a year ago you spent nine months at this very facility that you’re visiting now?”
“Impossible. I wasn’t here a year ago…. I mean… here, in this time.”
“You were in the year… what was it? 2040…?
“42. 2042. I left on August 4th, 2042, precisely a year after the President declared war with France.”
“France, but they are a U.S. ally-”
“Not in my time. In the year 2039 the G7 had major disagreements and split, the US allies with Italy and Japan, France allies with the UK, Canada, and Germany. Meanwhile, Russia bonds a nuclear relationship with China and South Korea and ensues a triple threat war that eventually sends humankind to its demise. A year ago, while you say I was here in this facility, I was on the front lines on our own turf, fighting the Battle for Boston against Canadian troops.”
“That is some story, Brenton. But, unfortunately, a year ago you were here. On this very date your schedule consisted of morning and afternoon group therapy sessions, with an evening discussion with Dr. Michaels.”
“And who’s Dr. Michaels?”, asks Brenton.
Brenton seems irritated as he lets the cigarette burn damn near close to his fingers.
“Brenton, we have diagnosed you with Grandiose Delusional Schizophrenia. It’ a condition in which a person has an over-inflated sense of worth, power, knowledge, or identity. They could believe they have a great talent or made an important discovery. In your case, you believe you’re from the future and have been sent back in time to stop the end of mankind. To be honest, Brenton… we’ve seen this movie before.”
“And we suggest that you be readmitted.”
“And, if I was to refuse?”
“Well… we can’t force you here, but we could submit a court document that says you are a danger to yourself and the public, and at that point you wouldn’t have a choice.”
“You need to be careful, Brenton.”, a deep voice said just inches from Brenton’s ear.
Brenton winced as a needle pierced the skin on his lower eyelid. The threading moved over his eye and then entered his skin again just under his eyebrow.
“I didn’t even see it coming. Our intel was bad, the Canadians came from the northeast, not the south like it said. Thought we could engage in a firefight while another team flanked.”
“Not the fight, Brenton. That wasn’t the real battle, son.”
The man sat back in his chair. He’s just as beat up as Brenton is. He also wears a uniform but much more decorative. He crosses his arms and takes a deep breath.
“We’re moving forward with Operation Octane.”
Brenton stands up, surprised.
“They got it to work?!”
“Mike… I mean… Commander-“, Brenton is cut off.
“It’s you, Brenton. We chose you.”, the commander answers Brenton’s question before he could ask.
“I won’t let you down, Commander.”
“You can’t, son. It works or we’re dead. Simple as that. But it isn’t just about infiltrating HOW and implementing the phases. You can’t expect to just walk in, know which matches to win, which to lose. Who to associate with, who not to. Time will be throwing you curve balls, son. You need to be careful of what you and say and who you talk to. We’re talking almost 120 years ago, Brenton. Imagine being in that time and somebody telling you that they are from the future. They’re going to lock you up! You’ll need to be smart, witty, stealthy, and you must stick to the timeline. The timeline is the most important of all things…cover that eye up, Brenton. You need to get ready. Be at the simulator at 0800.”
“And Brenton…. I spoke with the engineers. We were wrong…. we only have the power to send one there and back one time.”
“Hiptoss, dropkick, pin attempt…roll out, watch out the arm reach from cell twenty. Take the suicide dive, allow the hair grab, kickout at two.”
Brenton choreographs the moves for his match at Alcatraz.
“You know what happens, stick to the timeline.”
Brenton stands on gym mats, in the middle of a dimly lit gym. He shadow boxes and imitates a leg sweep, then actually takes a bump as if he was clotheslined by an imaginary person. Then on his back, kicks his legs as if he was being pinned. Brenton then throws a back elbow to his right.
“No, no, no! It’s the left! The left! Come on, Brenton, get your shit together!”, he punishes himself.
“Crash Rodriquez is no doubt somebody who will capitalize on minor mistakes like that. He’s a fighter, he always has been. An underachiever who always wanted more but came from the womb already on the defense. Somebody who doesn’t care about winning or losing. Well, I’m sorry to say, Crash, that we are two very different people. Winning and losing is absolutely everything when it comes to the timeline. As you sit there and pour your heart away of what happened in the past, I look to the future. Every word you say, every insult, every motive. Any statement that comes out of your mouth regarding me, our match, the event, the outcome means nothing… and everything. Yes, you were destined for something, everybody is. It is no coincidence that in the last minute, you and I were slated to lock up at Alcatraz.
When you look at me, you look at another opponent. You like at somebody you can leave in your wake and continue in your career to eventually become a champion. I don’t look at you the same, Crash. To me, your nothing but…a phase. No different than Austin Bishop was. You’re an event an on a timetable that needs altering for me to simply get to the next phase. You are the subject of a carefully scrutinized, studied, surgical plan. We know you; we know who you are, how you fight, and how you fought at RATR. Yes… because it’s already happened! RATR 2019 at Alcatraz. The event pulls millions in television, and you were the first they saw, and you put up quite a showing, Crash. You were in the opening match, the General Population Match, where you deserved to be… and guess what…you won. That’s right, you faced, believe it or not, Austin Bishop….
But now I am here, and I’ve set events in motion to alter past events so you would face me instead. And now your victory that has already happened will disappear and cease to exist. The text on record books will change, your likeness will alter, the fans view of you will change. But that’s not important because wins and losses don’t matter, right Crash? What matters is the timeline. I along with others calculated exactly what needs to happen in order for me to enter the phase. A phase that keeps me on this new timeline in order to reach what we call, the climax. The climax is a time altering event that eventually sends our species into the ultimate downward spiral eventually leading to extinction. I don’t want to die, Crash. I don’t want to be here. I want to be where I belong, with my wife, living in a beautiful home with children, clean air, peace, with a 9-5 job. That’s what I wish for myself and my people. I didn’t battle thousands of enemies, watch the closest to me die, breath nuclear ridden air, and travel all this way for somebody the likes of you to fuck with my plan. You will do what you’ve already done with minor alterations, but this time you will lose.
You must lose. The fate of mankind depends on it. For me to change the climax, you must lose. Then I can return to where I came from and return to a place of placidity. Go to town meetings, watch high school football games, go apple picking. That’s my dream, Crash. It’s not about the trauma of your past. It’s about the trauma of our future. You must lose.
Doors open to a court room. The camera moves into a lightly filled room, seemingly a small manner of the law.
“Thank you, your honor.”, says a man at a table.
“Thank you, Doctor. After reviewing the documents presented by Doctor Michaels and the Langley Porter Psychiatric Hospital and Clinics in San Francisco, I’ve deemed that Mr. Cross is indeed a danger to himself and the general public, and an order for a warrant for his detention for admission to the psychiatric facility is allowed. Issue to be taken immediately by the San Francisco Police Department. Court adjourned.”
Dr. Michaels turns to his left to another man.
“Go get him.”
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