No one said time travel would be easy.
Peter Cooper, a widowed father of two whose life is crumbling around him—until a bizarre encounter with a desperate Army general launches him on a risky mission: to go back to 1942 and change a moment in time. The repercussions will almost certainly alter the conclusion of World War II. But will the ripple effects stop there? And what kind of life will Peter return to?
Unknown Consequences: A successful mission may not have the success he had intended.
Linear Shift is a serialized novel, with 4 total parts planned. This is part 1.
“Why are you telling me this now?” Peter demanded. “Why didn’t you tell me this back then, if it’s so important to you? I’m no longer in the army and I’m not going back. What does it matter anymore?”
“Would it have made a difference if I’d told you this twenty-two years ago when you enlisted? Would you have stayed in the army longer with this information? Would you have still married? Would you still have become an architect? Would Mary still have died in an auto accident?”
All these questions floated through the air, but Peter flinched at the mention of Mary. Mary was his wife’s given name, and anyone that knew her called her Minnie. Hearing her name spoken out loud felt like an ice pick in the heart.
Peter was confused and irritated. “What’s the point of all this?” he asked, angrily.
“Peter, I clearly have more knowledge about you than just the basics. I know you are about to lose this house. I know your kids are barely passing their classes. I know you were laid off, and are currently looking for work. What if I told you that I could drastically change your circumstances, almost instantly?”
Peter was a proud man. To hear a stranger plainly spell out everything that he was struggling with almost brought him to tears. He had failed, and he was embarrassed. He was far too ashamed to ask for help from anyone.
“Are you sure I can’t get you something to drink? I’m going to get myself a scotch.” Peter stood without waiting for the general to reply and walked to the bar cabinet. He pulled out the bottle of Glenfiddich and two glasses. He returned to his seat and poured out two fingers each.
“Peter, this is not the answer to your problems,” said the general as he took the glass from Peter.
“It might not be the answer, but it might help ease the process.”
Peter brought the glass to his lips and tilted it back until the glass was again empty. The general sipped at his glass and returned it to the table. Peter poured himself another and leaned back, glass in hand.
“So, what do I have to do to get this ‘help’ that you’re offering?”
“Before I can really tell you more about that, I have to have your word that you will not divulge any of the information that we are to discuss to anyone. Not even your children—although I don’t think they would believe any of it. I have to be clear here: no one. No one at all.”
Peter held up his hand, his pinky finger pressed against his thumb and said with mock solemnity, “Scout’s honor.”
“I’m sorry Peter, but I’ll need more than that. I have a confidentiality agreement that you would need to sign. What I am about to tell you is beyond top-secret-level clearance.” The general opened his attaché case and removed a file folder with the words “EYES ONLY” on the cover. From it, he slid out two sheets of finely typed paper. He handed one of them to Peter, then sat back in his chair and again sipped his scotch. As Peter read over the forms, the general finally took his eyes off of Peter and scanned the living room. He was quite surprised to find the house in good order, considering all of Peter’s troubles, including raising two teenage children alone.
After several minutes of silent reading, Peter looked up at the general and said, “This must be seriously top secret if the army would go to these extremes, were I to talk. Do you have a pen?”
The general produced a blue-marbled Mont Blanc pen and Peter signed the document before returning it to the general.
“Actually, Peter, this isn’t an army operation. It’s an unclassified branch of the government that only a very select few even know exists. It’s so clandestine that I’m currently not at liberty to inform you of its call sign. The document that you just signed will only afford you just enough information to make a rational decision whether or not to assist us; no more than that. If you agree, there will be several more documents that will need to be signed along the way. Do you understand?”
“Good. Now that we have an understanding, and your signature, we are inviting you to join a small team of exclusively selected civilians, others such as yourself, to travel back in time. Back to 1942, France to be precise.”