Another Look at My Past
“Hold that sword out in front of you. With one hand, Mills. Next you'll be bringing your grandmother here
to help you.”
Frank Mills struggled to keep the sword level in front of him. The weight suit he was wearing made it worse.
The canvas outfit had looked harmless at first. Then they started putting little weights in the pockets all over
it. Every day they added some more. The same thing was used to train people to work in high-gravity
“Sheath your swords. Now pick up one o f those rocks and take it over there.” Tracy was very good at
thinking of things for them to do.
“O h, did I say put the rocks there? Tee hee. I meant to say put them over there.”
Frank was amazed. A couple of weeks ago, he could not have done any of this. By keeping their demands
just short of impossible, they had gotten him into pretty good shape.
“Fall in. That's fall in, Jones, not fall over. Sit down, take a load off.”
Frank and his old friend Nelson Jones were glad to sit down. Here came old Edgar Lively, bless him. He
was moving really slow, and that was just fine, since it gave them more time to rest.
“How's everyone doing today?”
“Fine” said everyone in unison. Frank was so tired his head was about to fall off, but he was just fine for
“I came out today to tell you some things to watch for once you are in the past. It may not be as you
expected. Who can tell me, when was the Battle of Overall?”
Every hand shot up. Miss Vaught would have been proud of them. Frank was selected to answer.
“Year 221, day 16, running through day 18, at the end of the day.”
“O h really. And who told you this?” asked Professor Lively.
“Uhhh, Miss Vaught. I think.” Frank had a sudden fear that Miss Vaught had taken her paddle out of her
desk and was coming to get him.
“Yes I'm sure she did.” said Professor Lively in a much more kindly manner. “That is part of the standard
historical doctrine taught to schoolchildren all over Altgeld.
“There is a kind of consensus among educators as to what to teach our children. But the reality is that we
ha ve no hard evidence as to when the Battle of O verall occurred. Circumstantial evidence leads us to
believe that it occurred somewhere around the time that Mr. Mills recited.”
Professor Lively had the habit of calling students Mr. or Miss or whatever you were. The first time it
happened, Frank had looked around for his father. His father was Mr. Mills, was he not?
“Some reputable historians think the Battle of O verall was twenty or thirty years before the commonly
accepted date. Others argue that it was not a single battle, but the gradual attrition of the hssswwx by the
Dick Burlington could take no more. Jumping to his feet, he shouted: “This is outrageous!! You stand there
and tell us what we learned in school may not be right. What is the truth? I demand to know!!”
Professor Lively was not in the least shaken by Dick's outburst. If Professor Lively had ever been shaken, it