Jumping Back

"I find myself now fifty years prior to the year 2067. Everything is different considering in this particular period of time there is abundant life that will last approximately six more years. That is the amount of time I have to defuse the situation that caused almost complete desolation in the following years. In this time, I must force myself to become the ultimate mediator and higher up personality in American political society."


1. T.M.

It had been done before, yet not on as large of a scale as I was able to pull of some moments before. In trials, there had only been jumps as large as a few minutes or seconds at a time. Fifty years was of course unfamiliar to the machine. Nevertheless, it excelled. I find myself now fifty years prior to the year 2067. Everything is different considering in this particular period of time there is abundant life that will last approximately six more years. That is the amount of time I have to defuse the situation that caused almost complete desolation in the following years. In this time, I must force myself to become the ultimate mediator and higher up personality in American political society. Normally, it would take me six years to assimilate to a new place, let alone to a completely new period of time. Luckily, I was not shipped on a whim. My entire team has prepared for this situation for years. However, I am now unable to communicate with them due to their current inexistence. My team had been formatting a way to break that barrier safely, but my patience wore thin. At this point, they are probably realizing that both the machine and I are gone.
You would not have to own a time machine to prophesize that nuclear war would plummet the world into a state of dystopian darkness. History tells us fifty years later that the higher ups of politics were stringently advised to hold back on nuclear warfare. Of course, when one nation strikes, the other must strike back harder. Childish, yet often greatly effective. Effective to the point where citizens, innocent, suffer. I brought with me nothing but my clothes, American paper money, and an I.D. that reads Tim McGannon, born in 1985.  With other details enclosed on the card and my picture, I would be able to counterfeit my way to a position of power and likability.
I wander the streets of New York City, familiarizing myself with the landscape that had been engraved in my head with constant study an immersive technology. I scan the streets, noticing my clothing is an excellent match to those around me. Thus far, my journey is successful. However, as unpredictable as the city is known to be, I keep my satisfaction low and my expectations lower. I hold my eyes at a steady level, not allowing them to shift or give any person the presumption of arrogance. Discreetly, I study the faces of people passing by, whether by foot or wheel, judging based off the expression on their face if they were aware of the circumstances they would be in just a few short years into the future. Of course, none of them did. A woman, moving faster it seemed than the cars themselves, pushed past me going the opposite direction with a child struggling to keep the pace behind her. A man some ways down the street did not seem to be in such a hurry. He took his time, eating, as he walked, not urgent to get to his upcoming destination. Another man, balancing the actions of the other, set out into some sort of race. You would have thought a gun went off, signaling the start of this man’s venture.
This man was directly in my line of sight, but I did not move. I assumed he would run around me, or push me over trying. Either way, I would keep my path. The man advanced, and I was now able to distinguish his features. He was tall, and had a severely disheveled face as if he had not slept for days on end. I did not take it literally when my partners described New York City as the city that never sleeps. His brow cast a shadow over his eyes, so as he came closer I was unable to tell what direction they looked. The rest of his face, however, was clear and rather unsettling. His cheeks were drooping, and his mouth had a tiresome quiver to it. I became distracted from my stare when the man made a new move. His arm shot into the pocket of his large coat, and pulled out a small, pointed object. I assumed this was a knife of some sort. Not thinking anything of it, I continued to walk towards him. He was still feet away before he jumped towards me at an attempt at slashing my face. He was too eager, and fell beneath me. At this point, I knew I had no choice but to react to the man.
He was quick to his feet, to my surprise, and I was forced to disarm him. He was too weak to hold any real power against me. My hands were clamped around his dry wrists, and his eyes were urgent against my own. His teeth are now clenched in a position that seemed it would soon burst open and spill all words in his head. He struggles with this, either previously not aware he would make it to this point, or in blatant shock. My face, contrary to his own, is stern, radiating a sense of control. My eyes assert his own, and he looks away, ashamed. People who had been passing by at the time the man attacked now stood by, not sure whether to help or continue walking. Instead, some continued to stand awkwardly. Many walked. I expected no different. We must of both looked like madmen, grasping for a few seconds of control over the other, only now becoming completely balanced.
His jaw released and loosened, giving way to the sound produced from his throat. He tried to speak, then had to stop to clear his raspy voice. Again, he thought of speaking. His eyes shifted, and I could tell there was a sudden change in the man’s motives. I suppose he realized this unnecessary violence was not effective. I broke contact with his stare, and used a cover of being in pain to subtlety glance towards a mere traffic cop about thirty feet ahead my line of sight. He was making his way down a row of cars parked on the side of the street with no real urgency. The row ended about two cars before it got to the point where I was standing here with the man. The cop would have, at this point, no real reason to continue our way. Of course, I needed to create such a reason without grabbing the attention of the man I continue to hold still.
Perhaps if the traffic cop realized a threatening fight was occurring, he would intervene. The man does not struggle any longer, only wonders what must be going through my mind to let him stand unbeaten this long. I loosen my grip on the arms of the man, giving him the advantage. As planned, he used this advantage to give himself the upper hand. The man used little force to push me to the concrete surface on the ground, my head hanging dangerously near the crowded road. His eyes flared once more and he became flustered in searching for the knife I had thrown from his grip minutes before. He released me in his state of confusion. If I were trying to retaliate, he would have given yet another open opportunity. The man shook his head and seemed to be reprimanding himself. Disoriented would be best to describe the state of him. The knife, which he had been looking for, is lying flat behind the back of my head. This was done on purpose, for I did not know the maniacal strength this man might gain with an advantage as large as that. 
The man that was slowly walking and eating at the same time whom I had seen minutes before now made it to my location. His face gave an impression of confusion. The violent man was still holding me captive, yet not certain what he should do. It seemed he had lost all motivation. I looked the man with the food in his fearful eyes and flicked up my eyebrows as if to say, “Yes, this is exactly what you think it is.” He seemed to have gotten my impression, and scanned the streets. He, as I had, noticed the traffic cop. “Aren’t you gonna do something?” he said halfheartedly in the direction of the cop. The cop, however, seemed too invested in his work to pay attention. Either that or he did not realize it was him who was being spoken to. He shrugged, gave me an apologetic look, and continued walking. I felt it was time to notify the officer myself.
Quickly, my arms shot up and grab those of the man on top of me. He was caught off guard and unable to react quickly enough before being put in a spot of vulnerability. I turned my head back towards the traffic cop, and this time yelled, “Officer, if you wouldn’t mind!” The man beneath me became panicked, realizing now that he would soon be detained. The cop glanced over once, then returned to his work. Of course then, realizing his mistake, turned back to us for a better look. This, for the meager traffic cop, was an opportunity for him to show off his superior abilities. He assumed that I attacked the man beneath me, as I was the one with the advantage with the other man looking helpless, and I had to explain the situation. If the violent man hadn’t been given a makeshift drug test, then the traffic cop would have never believed me. An arrest would put a black spot on my upcoming political record. One which I cannot afford to have. The traffic cop began to call the more qualified officers to pick up the attacker, and while busy with this, I returned to my walking path.
The cop noticed me after hanging up with a local deputy and yelled, “Hey, buddy! You can’t just walk away!” I could hear him exclaim from tens of feet away, “You need to fill out a report!” He seemed to of given up when the man he was attempting to hold still used his overgrown fingernails to harm the cop. As I walked the streets of New York City, I heard a multitude of things. Whether it be the yelling of a traffic cop who had potentially saved my life, the chatter of city-goers, or distant sirens, it was all clear. My hand, now in my pocket, fiddled with the knife that my attacker wielded, gripping it against my side. Now I became inclined to think of what motives the man could have had to attack me. Judging by the rage and desperation in his eyes, I decided he was not fully incoherent. I walked down the street, studying faces while keeping to myself, grasping nervously to the end of the knife. I rubbed the handle, feeling deep engravings that made the letters T.M. I continued to walk, study faces, and press the knife against my side.


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