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Another Look at My Past

Chapter 27
Professor Lively, you have been ordered to report to the Assembly of all Altgeld.”
“And I am here, reporting as ordered.”
“Raise your right hand. If you have no right hand, raise your left hand and hold it on your right side.”
Professor Lively stood with his right hand raised, keeping his expression carefully neutral. These
Assemblymen had absolutely no sense of humo r, and any wisecrack would only work against him.
“Do you solemnly swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”
“I so swear.”
“If your religious compunctions forbid you to swear, just nod your head.”
“I have already said that I swear.” Professor Lively came dangerously close to talking back.
“Please have a seat. Remember that you are under oath.”
Professor Lively sat. He reminded himself that whatever it was that they had planned, they had to bring it to
him. Let them make the mistakes.
“Is it true that a group of time travelers was inserted into the past at the late Heroic Age.”
“Yes that is true.” Edgar Lively answered in a carefully neutral tone.
“For what purpose.”
“Historical research. In particular they were to ascertain when the Battle of O verall occurred, and if possible
to determine if it was really the turning point of the war against the hssswwx.”
“How were they to record these observations?”
“They had to just remember. O f course no modern recording devices could go back in time. And we decided
that even a notebook and pencil might look out of place for a semi- literate country boy straight off the farm.
All those chosen were bright, well-adjusted young men, certified for high IQ and sanity.” Not sanity of
course, not for Timmy. Fortunately they had had the foresight to falsify the records.
“What kind of training were the time travelers given?”
“They were given extensive orientation in the customs and linguistic conventions of the time. They were
shown how to do common tasks that are done on the farm.”
So far, so good, thought Edgar Lively. All this was stuff that any up-and-coming staffer would think of to
ask. Show these boys some respect and he would get out of here in one piece.
“Have you done analysis into the multi-dimensional causality threshold of trans-temporal time- line disporia?
In other words, what actions of the time-travelers would change history?”
Woah. This buffoon had stumbled onto the one issue that was causing serious back-room debate in Historian
circles. The real question was, did these Assemblymen really know anything about it? Had someone tipped
them off to the very real concerns in the time-travel project, or was this Assemblyman just saying big words
that he did not understand?
He was probably just fishing. It was the oldest trick in the book, say something and see if anyone becomes
all defensive and nervous. That might work on most people, but they were not going to see Edgar Lively
become all defensive and nervous.