The Palmer Conception

Harvey Palmer was a slacker with a love for writing code. All it took was the right combination of numbers, and Palmer discovered the key to time travel. Unfortunately, his love for his high school sweet heart leads him to bring the technology to the public. Not too long afterwards, the CIA takes over the company and parts of history begin to disappear, and Palmer is the only person who seems to notice.

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1. Prologue

 

It was a chilly night on October 21st of 2008, the night Harvey Palmer was born. In the hysteria of childbirth, Lynn and Michael Palmer let the Stranger go unnoticed. It wasn’t a difficult thing to do since the Stranger stood motionless in the far corner simply observing the event. He was about twenty-eight years though he looked much younger. His jet black hair was getting too long and hung around his eyes, an annoyance that he’d learned to leave be as brushing it away never did anything useful for more than a moment. His outfit was nothing special, just jeans, a tee-shirt that read “Initiation's Over, Time to Join the Club,” and black Converse. 

 

Glancing out of the corner of her eye, the OB/GYN believed the Stranger was perhaps the child’s uncle, though she didn’t have time to question and continued on with her work. After the birth, she passed the Stranger on her way to the cafeteria. He was staring at the newborns, Harvey specifically. She walked over to his side to inquire. His expression confused her greatly. He just stood with arms crossed, staring at the baby, blankly. He was impossible to read. 

 

“So are you the wife’s brother or the father’s? I’d guess the latter.” The Stranger tore his eyes from the glass to look at her. He briefly took inventory of her features before returning his gaze. 

“Neither,” was all he said.

“Well you must be a relative.” She was beginning to become suspicious. 

“I am.” He looked at his watch and pursed his lips. He took one last look at Harvey Palmer, and turned to the OB/GYN. “I’m sorry, I’m late. I must be leaving.” He turned his heel and began to walk away. He took four steps, stopped, and turned back to her. “Thank you,” he said.

“You’re welcome,” she responded, with even more confusion. Within seconds he was out of sight. 

 

 

The Stranger was not seen again until Harvey Palmer’s high school graduation. 

 

Though an intelligent boy, Harvey had not applied himself in school and graduated in the middle of his class, much to the chagrin of his parents. His grades were good enough to get into Texas State, but their physics program was obviously lacking. Palmer was a slacker, and everyone knew it, the Stranger especially. 

Harvey looked up from his spot on the floor of the Cedar Park Center to see his family. He could not spot them in the stands, though he did notice the Stranger. He marveled at how similar his face was to his own. Harvey figured he should hunt him down after the ceremony to snag his wallet, because though his fake I.D was good, the Stranger’s real I.D. would be better. He never got the chance. The Stranger heard Harvey Palmer’s name called, then left.

 

Three years later the Stranger appeared outside Palmer’s bedroom window. Harvey did not notice him since he was preoccupied with writing code on his over-the-top computer system. He typed frantically, switching his gaze from any of the three monitors every few seconds. He tapped his feet rapidly while throwing back cans of Mountain Dew. He hadn't slept in days, and his normally bright green eyes showed it. His dark brown hair kept falling into his eyes, but he liked the look despite the aggravation, so he let it be. His true intentions were never clear, but upon entering a certain combination of binary, an explosion (fairly small, not enough to alarm the neighbors) of red energy emerged from his power station. Palmer was knocked off his seat and set on fire in several places. He patted small blazes out with a towel, and looked to the end of the red beam.  

 

A hole had been ripped in his wall exposing a country setting. Confusion gave way to curiosity, and Palmer decided to step through it. On the other side of the hole, he looked back to find that his bedroom was now a floating rip in a blue sky. 

 

“Are you lost? You look lost,” said a voice from behind. Palmer turned to see a girl about his age, maybe twenty-two, with long blonde hair. She was pretty, not as pretty as Her, though. She was oddly dressed in high waisted jeans and a Pink Floyd shirt, and Palmer couldn’t ignore the fact that she was not wearing a bra. Apparently, she didn’t notice the hole. 

“I think I might be. Where am I?” He responded. She laughed, somewhat intoxicatingly. 

“Good night, huh? I’m not surprised. Southwest Texas is known for its partying.” She lit a cigarette and smiled. 

“You mean Texas State?” Palmer corrected.

“No such thing. Are you stoned, ‘cuz I know this guy who sells the best grass you’ve ever smoked, if you want some.”

 

Palmer put the mental puzzle pieces together. The shirt, lack of bra, the jeans, the school name. 

 

“What year is it?” He asked, knowing she’d think he was crazy, but Palmer did not care at all. He had to know. 

“1976. Man, do you have anymore of whatever you’re on?” She replied. Harvey Palmer could not believe his ears, but it all made weirdly perfect sense. 

“Thanks,” he said.

“For what?” But Palmer was already back in his room. 

 

Once he was through, the hole closed, leaving no evidence of its existence. He walked slowly to his computer, wondering what he’d done, worrying that he’d never be able to replicate it, and excited by the possibility of what he’d accomplished. The left monitor gave the precise present date and time down to the nanosecond. The middle monitor was fried, but the monitor on the left still displayed the code he’d written. It was just a bunch of ones and zeros, except for the last eight digits. 04091976. April 9th, 1976. 

With the greatest apprehension, Palmer hit delete eight times. His fingers shook heavily as he typed in another date. 12242057. The beam shot out again and hit the wall. The hole looked remarkably similar to the last, though the sky was getting dark, just as it was outside Palmer’s window. He stepped through his wall and immediately ducked as he heard a giant whoosh overhead. He braved an upward glance and saw a Ford F-150 (though a bit fanicer, and way more shiny than the ones he was used to seeing) blaze through the sky. He laughed the way a mad scientist might. 

“What’s so funny?” Another voice from behind. He turned to see a girl with short brown hair in a modified black flapper dress and elbow length gloves. She puffed on her pink cigarette. 

“Nothing, nothing I suppose,” he replied. “What’s the date?” She looked at him quizzically.

“Have you been chasing the dragon?” She asked, her eyes full of concern.

“Have I what?”

“I guess not. It’s Christmas Eve.” She blew her smoke in his direction. It smelt of strawberries and cream. He almost asked her for one, but was interrupted when a tall ginger in a sparkly, dark green tank top and black skirt came over the the first girl and kissed her. Palmer didn’t mind. 

“Who’s your friend?” The ginger inquired.

“Oh, sorry, I haven’t gotten to the introductions. I’m Elsa, and this is my wife, Dana,” the brunette explained. Palmer took a moment to register the news.

“Gay marriage is legal? In Texas?!” The girls looked at each other a moment before bursting into laughter. 

“Where have you been for the past seven years? Gay marriage was the jumping point for the ‘Roaring 50’s,’” Dana stated. 

“So it’s Christmas Eve, 2057?” Palmer asked.

“That’s correct,” Elsa responded with even more concern for Palmer’s sanity.

“Thank you,” he said, and scurried back into his hole.

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