A NEW BEGINNING
"Was it really so wrong when some good-old-guys
made their own moonshine whiskey? Or when rich
folks paid to be space tourists? Or when they started
mining the asteroids and upset the stupid
commodities markets? Or way back when they added
carbonated water to patent medicine and made Coca
Cola? I'm just glad they did," said Ben West.
He held the glass to his ear to listen to the bubbles
bursting for a while. Then he added. "Look, you just
can't put the bubbles back in and pretend it hasn't
"Time travel is different," said Sara.
"It's against the laws of nature and what you are
going to do sure does go against some of the laws we
have right here and now. So be careful."
Ben grinned at his own response, "You can't go
against the laws of nature. Either something works or
it doesn't work. The Department's got itself well into
time travel and with taxpayers' money. That's our
money you know. And it looks like everyone we
work with thinks it's OK."
He looked around the near empty café. Just the two
of them late in the day at the same old table. Nothing
much to see except the multi-media they could have
gone home for or the never ending haze drifting it's
choking way outside the bio-dome. That's why we've
been coming here all these years he thought, it's about
being able to look out, nothing more, there should be
something more. Then a door slammed somewhere
and his mind came back with a jolt to the cancer and
the crippling medical bills and why he had to go
"Anyway," said Sara. "What if you get caught?
"Hey, I won't get caught. I know my way around.
Ought to, I've worked here long enough. I've got the
all the clearances. The security computer thinks I'm
one of the good guys. What's more, if they don't get
me before I go back they don’t get me at all. I'll be
As they had planned, they didn't have the luxury of a
proper goodbye, just one last long squeeze of hands
that the surveillance systems wouldn't pick up on.
Ben whispered, "You know what they say. If only we
could know then what we know now."
Then he was gone.
* * *
It was the day they went over to the private sector, the
day the Department was taken over by the Ben West
Sara had a good seat in the front row for Ben's well
scripted and well delivered speech. She nodded at his
tales of how he had kept his research ahead of the
competition both worldwide and domestically. She
giggled at the jokes just a little more than perhaps she
More than once, their eyes met as he spoke and she
found herself thinking out loud, "If only I'd been
lucky enough to have met someone like that."
A New Beginning was
published in the E-book version of
Stories in the Ether, Issue Four
First appeared in the online version,
Nevermet Press, 23 Dec 2011.