ADVENTURES THROUGH TIME
A SCIENCE-FICTION NOVEL
BY MICHEL POULIN
WARNING TO POTENTIAL READERS
THIS NOVEL CONTAINS GRAPHIC DESCRIPTIONS OF WAR,
VIOLENCE AND SEX AS WELL AS COARSE LANGUAGE AND
CONTROVERSIAL SUBJECTS UNSUITABLE FOR CHILDREN.
WHILE THIS NOVEL DEPICTS MANY HISTORICAL PERSONS
AND EVENTS FROM THE PAST, THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION
AND WORDS OR DEEDS ATTRIBUTED IN IT TO PERSONS WHO
EXISTED DO NOT REFLECT HISTORICAL EVENTS AND ONLY
DESCRIBE ALTERNATE HISTORICAL SCENARIOS. RELIGIOUS-
RELATED EVENTS DEPICTED IN THIS NOVEL IN NO WAY
REFLECT THE RELIGIOUS BELIEFS OF THE AUTHOR.
ABOUT THIS NOVEL
This science-fiction novel is the second installment in a collection of five novels depicting the adventures through time of Nancy Laplante, a female Canadian war correspondent and reserve army officer from the year 2012. Those novels were written prior to the fictionalized events of the 21st Century depicted in them, and thus should be treated as novels about alternate realities. The third installment in this collection, CHILDREN OF TIME, will be published around early 2013. The year in the dates shown in the headings are followed by the letters ‘A’, ‘B’ or ‘C’, denoting in which timeline the action is happening. Timeline ‘A’ is the original historical line, while Timeline ‘B’ is a parallel alternate history created accidentally by Nancy Laplante when she was transported against her will from 2012 to the year 1940 and changed history by her actions. Timeline ‘C’ will be a second parallel alternate history but is yet to be created.
TABLE OF CONTENT
CHAPTER 1 – 2012
22:06 (Eastern Standard Time)
Thursday, October 11, 2012 ‘A’
Lake Manitou, Laurentians area
Province of Québec, Canada
The big gray, ovoid-shaped craft silently landed besides the summer cottage, near the shore of Lake Manitou. Its twenty meter-long dark shape was nearly invisible in the night as it now sat between the log house and the treeline. There were anyway only a few other cottages along the shore of the lake, the nearest of them being a good 300
meters away. A large ramp lowered at the rear of the craft, showing the inside of a wide cargo bay illuminated by red lights. A red Mitsubishi Outlander 2010 then rolled down the ramp and, hitting the long grass of the property’s ground, drove around the back of the log house before stopping under a covered parking space. The craft that had brought the car cleared the ground and flew off as soon as its ramp was closed again.
Rising silently fifty meters above the cottage, it then disappeared in a brief flash of white light.
A tall woman, measuring 183 centimeters in height and with wide shoulders, got out of the driver’s seat after shutting down the V-6 engine, closing the driver’s door before going to the rear gate. A big, powerful man and a teenage girl got out of the car as well and helped the driver unload the various boxes and suitcases from the rear compartment. The tall woman then unlocked the side door of the cottage and switched on the inside lights so that they could bring in their belongings.
“Let’s put everything first in the lounge, Mike. We will put the things in their proper places later.”
“Good idea, Nancy.” Said the teenage redhead, a girl of mesmerizing beauty with large blue eyes, repressing a shiver. “The night air is really cold.”
Nancy Laplante smiled in amusement at her stepdaughter’s remark.
“If you think this is cold, Ingrid, wait until winter comes to this place. The Laurentians can be much colder than Germany.”
“Hey, Canada is synonymous with ice box in Europe, don’t you know?”
“It is too in the States, Ingrid.” Cut in Mike Crawford while bringing inside Nancy’s TV/DVD unit. “Thank God that Canadian women are quite warm.”
“What about German women?” Asked Ingrid Weiss sneakily, attracting a frown on Mike’s face.
“Ingrid, you are our adopted daughter. You may be fifteen years old but don’t even think about starting a ménage à trois with us.”
“And I thought that the people in 2012 were sexually more liberal than in 1941.”
Replied Ingrid jokingly.
“Incest is still one step too far for me. Massages are the farthest I will go with you. Now, if you want to keep warm, you can help me and Nancy bring in all our stuff.”
“Just Mike will do, you young perverted girl.”
The young German giggled and went to pick up a box from the rear of the car. Between the three of them they emptied the car of its content in less than five minutes, piling their things in the middle of the large lounge of the cottage. Mike and Ingrid then looked around the lounge, eyeing the simple but comfortable furniture and the iron stove.
“Nice place you have here, Nancy.” Said Mike. “The property seemed quite large from the air, and well situated.”
“It covers nearly twenty acres, or eight hectares if you prefer using the metric system.” Replied Nancy. “I inherited it from my parents at the age of sixteen. The lake is quite nice, although the water is too cold now to swim in. I am quite fond of this place, actually. Let me show you around.”
Followed by Mike and Ingrid, Nancy gave them a tour of the cottage, showing the large master bedroom, the guest bedroom, the kitchen and dining room, the laundry room and the bathroom. Mike especially liked the fact that the cottage was equipped to be livable even in the event of a long power outage. Apart of the stove in the lounge, there was another wood stove in the kitchen, besides a modern electric stove, and a hand water pump connected to a well sat in the laundry room. There was also an emergency generator in the small basement of the cottage, next to a fresh storage room stocked with dry and canned food. Once back in the lounge, Ingrid went to the bay windows and admired the lake and the surrounding forest of firs and pines.
“This place is so quiet, so relaxing, especially after living through those years of war in 1940-41.”
“It will be nice to relax a bit, effectively.” Agreed Nancy, sitting with Mike in a sofa. “When I think that, only a few hours ago on this same day, those two scientists from the future kidnapped me with my car right here and dropped me in 1940 England.
After ten months of war and two hectic weeks in the 34th century, I am back in my cottage on the same evening, as if nothing had happened.”
“Well, you do have a few scars to prove that you lived through some crazy times.” Suggested Mike. Nancy looked tenderly into his green eyes and kissed him.
“I also have you and Ingrid to remind me that I was there. If for nothing else, finding you two was worth all the trouble and suffering.”
Ingrid sat besides Nancy and hugged her, while Mike did the same. The three of them were silent for a minute, enjoying that moment and caressing each other. Ingrid finally spoke in a soft voice, her head still resting on the shoulder of her much taller stepmother.
“Nancy, my adoption and your marriage to Mike, are they legal in this time period?”
“Not really, Ingrid. Remember your briefing back in 3384: as far as the year 2012
is concerned, you are a German friend of mine visiting Canada. As for Mike, he is my American boyfriend from Montana. You both have valid, albeit well counterfeited passports and other documents and a solid cover story. In both 1941 and 3384, however, you are my legal family. I could always marry officially Mike here, but that would open the possibility that both the Canadian and American government would conduct routine background checks on him. Remember that I am an officer in the Canadian Forces reserves and that, as a captain in Military Intelligence, I hold a high-level security clearance that subjects me to periodic security checks.”
“Don’t you find it confusing to be so many things at once, Nancy? Captain in the Canadian Military Intelligence and military affairs correspondent for a strategic studies magazine in 2012; Chief of Operations and co-founder of the Time Patrol in 3384 and, finally, a disgraced and officially dead Canadian Army brigadier general in the eyes of the British in 1941. To top all that, you went from deadly opponent to merciful angel for many Germans in 1941.”
“Ingrid, I am not an angel.” Replied Nancy, a bit annoyed. “I was healed by a supernatural being and given a few powers back in 1941, but I’m still a woman.”
“A woman that uses telepathy, telekinesis, levitation and touch healing and has the strength of twelve men? A woman that remembers over 9,000 years of past incarnations, along with her past skills and languages?”
“So? You also can remember your past incarnations, going back 7,000 years.
As for me, I still have my monthly periods, can stink if I don’t wash and still am fond of sex. Does that sounds like an angel to you?”
“You are to me, Nancy.” Said Mike, smiling. “The angel of my life. So, what do we have on our agenda for the next few days?”
“Well, a lot of rest and quiet times together, along with a lot of sex. On Saturday, I will have to go to my reserve unit in Montreal to formally sign on another operational tour in Afghanistan. If you want, I can bring you with me and let you two visit Montreal while I am at my unit.”
“Yes! I would love that.” Said Ingrid enthusiastically. “Could I do some shopping then?”
“It’s your money. After that, we will still have a good ten days of vacation. Once my report of my trip to Eastern Afghanistan, which I did just prior to being kidnapped and marooned in the past, is submitted to my editor, we will move to my condominium in Boucherville, then go back uptime, so that I can start seriously training you two and the other apprentice agents. From then on, I will periodically switch between the 21st and 34th centuries in order to keep an appearance of a normal life here.”
“Thank God that you got that anti-aging genetic treatment in New Lake City.”
Said Mike. “You were going to burn yourself quickly like this, trying to live two lives simultaneously. Now that you can live to past 200 years, you are not going to age on us before your time.”
“Don’t forget that you will also get that treatment, like all the members of the Time Patrol. You may yourself need it, as some of our training and most of our mission time will involve hidden lifetime.”
“When will we go on our first mission in the past, Nancy?” Asked Ingrid, thoughtful.
“Once you complete your training as a field agent and aircrew, in about sixteen months. Since I am somewhat uniquely qualified for the job, my first extended mission in the past will come much sooner. I will then have to use hidden lifetime, in order not to disrupt your training program.”
Mike didn’t like that idea much: hidden lifetime was the period of personal time used in either the past or the future of a given departure date and not evident due to the person concerned returning from its trip seconds or minutes only after its original departure time.
One could spend literally years in a past time period or parallel timeline, yet return apparently only seconds after leaving for the past. Mike knew that someone separated from its loved ones for months or years ran a real risk of seeing its emotional bonds weaken or even break. Nancy apparently read his mind and gently kissed him.
“Don’t worry, Mike: I will never stop loving you or Ingrid, whatever happens.
Now, let’s go to bed. We all had a long day.”
“But I’m still alright.” Objected Ingrid. “Do you mind if I watch something on your television?”
“Why not? We are on vacation, after all. I am going to bed, though.”
08:41 (Eastern Standard Time)
Saturday, October 13, 2012 ‘A’
4th Intelligence Company
“Please sit down, Nancy. This shouldn’t take long.”
Nancy took the chair offered by Captain Marc Lemire, the operations officer of her reserve intelligence unit. Lemire, unlike Nancy, was a full time regular officer who also acted as the acting commander of the unit at the present time, since quite a few of the unit’s personnel were serving in Afghanistan as part of the NATO force there, or were augmenting the depleted ranks of the staff of the regional army headquarters that was also based in Longue-Pointe. Lemire gave her a confused look as he eyed her hair, which was extremely short and gave her a boyish look, and spoke in French, the working language of the unit.
‘’What happened to your hair, Nancy? Only two months ago, it fell past your neck.’’
Nancy made a face at that, as if it made her remember an unpleasant episode of her life.
‘’Let’s say that my latest assignment as a war reporter in Afghanistan was a bit rough, Marc. At one time during a battle between an Afghan Army unit and a group of Taliban extremists, someone threw a white phosphorus grenade near me. Some of the 9
phosphorus fell on my exposed hair and started burning through. Thankfully, an American sergeant serving as a trainer and mentor with the Afghan Army unit reacted quickly and immediately cut off big chunks of my hair, thus getting rid of the phosphorus before it could touch my skull. I then decided to shave completely what was left, so that it could grow again evenly.’’
‘’Wow! You sure have quite a risky civilian job, Nancy. It makes me feel guilty to be here this morning, asking you to do another tour in Afghanistan.’’
‘’That’s alright, Mark. Tell me what happened to prompt this request for me.’’
Lemire eyed Nancy for a moment before answering her. For a reserve officer, Nancy was extremely qualified and experienced, apart from being a superb linguist, a world-class pistol shooter, an advanced black belt in karate and a true athlete. She already had more time on operations overseas than most regular forces officers in the Army.
She was also by far the person with the most experience under fire that Lemire knew personally, this mostly being due to her civilian job as a military affairs correspondent, which saw her cover the situation in war-torn countries all over the world. Her last trip in Afghanistan had resulted in some of her reporting being shown on such popular news channels as CNN and BBC, reporting which Lemire had watched. He just couldn’t think of a better candidate than her for the vacancy in Herat. She also happened to be a very pretty woman with a most sexy body, but that was irrelevant to the matter presently at hand.
‘’To make a long story short, Captain Lebowsky was acting as a NATO trainer and mentor for an Afghan Army battalion, or kandak to use the Afghan term, under training in Herat, in the Southwest of the country. During a training patrol, a roadside bomb exploded near him, wounding him seriously. He has since been repatriated for medical treatment.’’
‘’Will he be alright?’’ Asked Nancy, genuinely concerned. Lemire nodded in response.
‘’He will be and should not suffer long-term effects. He is however out of the picture for many months. Unfortunately, he was one of our very few people in Afghanistan who could speak either Pashto or Dari, the two main local languages. You, with your fluent knowledge of both Dari and Pashto and with your extensive combat experience and knowledge of Afghanistan, would be perfect to take Lebowsky’s place in Herat. There is however a slight catch that Ottawa informed us of only yesterday.’’
Nancy frowned then: she had a rather low regard for the desk-bound staffers at National Defense Headquarters in Ottawa. The majority of those officers spent too little time in operational units in her opinion and, as a result, too often lost sight of the realities of combat or became politically-sensitive careerists concerned only with promotions for themselves.
‘’What kind of catch, Marc?’’
‘’Well, Lebowsky had about two months left to do in his tour before returning to Canada. Since very few officers are as qualified as you for his post, Ottawa is asking that you fill in for his two remaining months…then pile on another nine months as his official replacement, which would make you go on tour for eleven months.’’
Lemire gave her an apologetic look as she digested his words, hoping fervently that she wouldn’t turn him down now. To his hidden relief, Nancy finally nodded her head.
‘’Alright, I am ready to take this eleven month tour, on one condition: that my editor at CONFLICTS MAGAZINE agrees to let me go for that long. Ottawa is asking a lot of me by expecting that I drop my civilian job for this long. Things are very tense all over the Middle East and around Iran right now and my editor is very possibly planning to send me there to cover the situation for the next few months.’’
‘’Nancy, I would understand you perfectly well if you refused this tour due to the demands of your civilian job. You already served more time overseas than any of those paper shufflers in Ottawa and they would be poorly placed to criticize you if you decide not to go. When could you know if your editor let’s you go or not?’’
‘’In a few minutes, if he answers his phone. May I?’’
‘’Go right ahead, Nancy.’’
Nancy then took out her cell phone and composed the private number of her editor, as Lemire sat back and waited patiently while she did her call. Nancy got an answer after two rings.
‘’Frank? This is Nancy. I came back home this Thursday and got your message.
To answer it, I will be able to send you my full trip report and article within two weeks, as you were asking.’’
‘’Excellent! I sure could use it soon.’’
Something in her editor’s tone of voice then lit a warning light in Nancy’s brain.
‘’Is there something I should know, Frank?’’
This time, there was a distinct moment of hesitation before her editor answered her.
‘’Uh, no, not really. I’m just having a few problems with some of our other correspondents, who are not pulling their weight in my opinion. Be assured however that I have nothing to say but praise about your work, Nancy.’’
‘’Well, you may have something to say about this, Frank: I would need eleven months of unpaid vacation, so that I could go on an operational tour in Afghanistan as part of the NATO forces there.’’
‘’AGAIN?! Don’t they have other officers in the Canadian Army?’’
‘’Officers that can speak both Pashto and Dari? Maybe two or three others, at the most. I know that this is asking a lot of you, but contributing to the building of a stable Afghanistan would truly mean something to me. Besides, I love nothing more than being able to help pound another nail in the coffin of those Taliban bastards.’’
There was a rather long silence on the line before her editor spoke in a resigned tone.
‘’Alright, Nancy. You may go on your eleven month tour in Afghanistan. I will somehow find a way to plug the giant hole this will create at the magazine.’’
‘’Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Frank. I will owe you one. I promise to send you my article and trip report quickly.’’
‘’That will be appreciated. And Nancy, please be careful over there in Afghanistan.’’
‘’Thanks, Frank. You are a nice guy, truly. Have a good day.’’
Nancy then cut the link and pocketed back her cell phone, smiling at Marc Lemire.
‘’You are lucky, Marc: my editor proved flexible…again. So, when exactly would I fly out for Afghanistan?’’
‘’I still have to look after that, but you can expect to leave from Trenton in at most three weeks. I hope that your passport is still valid for at least another year.’’
‘’It is in fact good for another two years, even though it is starting to be full with entry and exit stamps and visas.’’
‘’Good! I have already booked in advance an appointment with the base quartermaster, while hoping for a positive answer from you, to get you new field kit.
Your appointment is at one O’clock and the quartermaster was told not to be miserly with you. In the meantime, I have here the paperwork for your tour. Here, first, is your contract for Class ‘C’ employment in Afghanistan. You will be attached to the Regional Support Command West headquarters in Herat, from which you will be assigned to the kandak that Lebowsky was helping train. The description and number of your position is here. Please read and then sign if you are satisfied with the contract.”
Nancy read quickly the employment contract, a standard form for reservists designated to fill full-time positions on overseas operational tours, then signed it. There were a few more forms and messages for her to read or sign before Lemire finally got up and shook her hand.
‘’Well, you are now in line for your next operati