Time Travel Logs

1954 Part 1


By Bob C.

Copyright (c) 2008

Based upon the concept of The Foresight War by Anthony G Williams and Foresight America by Paul Adkins.



Chapter 1.

Bob Thomas was in a meeting room, drab, heavy smell of tobacco smoke. Three men in military uniforms, and one in a suit were sitting at the table. Two guards in military uniforms were standing by the door.

“Mr. Thomas, why didn’t you come to us first?” Bob Thomas was still groggy. “Mr. Thomas!”. Stirring himself, he answered, “Can I have some coffee?”, one of the men poured some from a steel urn, put it in front of Thomas with metal containers with cream and sugar.

“I actually recently read a science fiction story just like what is happening. I read an intro online then ordered the book, Foresight War, I think it was Tony Williams.”

“On line?”

Thomas answered “Ah, it’s 1954, I was using a computer network, I can explain it more later. Anyway, the book was about a British man from 2004 who finds himself in 1934. He has some items that he normally carried which he used to get the attention of a scientist, then he helped Britain do better in World War Two.”

One of the men in uniform introduced as “Dr. Chadwell” asked, “So why didn’t you do that?” Thomas answered, “You see, that’s the problem, there’s only a little to fix, and much to get wrong, from 1954 to my year, 2008, there has not been a nuclear war, there was even the fall of communism, sure there are things that could be better, could have been better, but nuclear war was avoided so narrowly, that any change made now could change that outcome.”

“So what was your plan?”

“To live quietly, first I got a little money from a pawnshop from something not anachronistic. I was going to modestly benefit from foresight, and try not to change history if I could help it. On the other hand, there was something called the butterfly theory, in my time, or maybe the 1960’s, that said even the flap of a butterflies wing, could months or years later change history in large ways, and even change where a hurricane would be.”

“What happened to your plan?”

“I drank too much in a bar, and showed off my cell phone that takes pictures. I suppose I could have been robbed, but instead I wound up here.”

Another man in uniform said, “Mr. Thomas, you are obviously a patriotic American who wants to help his country. I think you can be of immense service. And like you said, the damage is already done. Our scientists are going to learn from your device, and meeting you has changed history. The people in this room are the start of a whole new government project all because of you. So, let’s make the best of the situation and find ways to improve our future and steer clear of the dangers ahead.”

Bob Thomas knew enough about project Ultra and such from the 1950’s to know that they could probably get him to talk eventually anyway, so there was no point in trying to stonewall.

“All right, I’ll cooperate.”

“Very good.”, the main in the suit, introduced as Professor Robertson, said. “What sort of expertise do you have?”

“My actual working career involves computers, but so far removed from what you have in 1954, or from the basics of how to create what I depended upon to do my job, that it is almost useless. However, I did have a hobby of being interested in alternate history, in ways history could have been changed, as well as a basic hobby-based knowledge of a lot of areas of history and technology. By the way, Dr. Chadwell and Professor Robertson I know who you are. You are part of the Office of Scientific Intelligence and you just issued a report on UFOs.”

“What do you know about UFOs?”

“In 2008, there has never been evidence of extraterrestrial involvement. Many people believe in that though. Did you know that the U-2 plane that you are about to start flying actually is a cause of many UFO sightings, especially before you start painting them black? And since it is still a secret program for a few more years, your people are going to crudely explain away sightings. In my time 50 years later, it was known that the government lied about UFOs, so some people believe in extraterrestrials.”

Robertson said, “It’s time to break for lunch. We’ll go to the cafeteria. Let me remind you that much of what you know is classified, and even the existence of time travel is classified. Not everyone in the corridors is cleared for this information, so Mr. Thomas, except in closed rooms with only authorized personnel, there is to be no disclosing of the fact you are a time traveler or any information from the future.”

Lunch was surprisingly good. Bob Thomas didn’t know what to expect for a 1954 military cafeteria, but besides the ashtrays and smoking, there wasn’t much that would be out of place in 2008. Maybe more shiny metal surfaces and no plastic were the big differences.

They got back to the meeting room, this time he noticed the big tape recorder that was recording the meetings. There didn’t seem to be any video recording.

Dr. H. Marshall Chadwell, restarted the meeting, “Mr. Thomas, since you have identified the most crucial part of the future is in avoiding nuclear war, why don’t you describe what you know about it, and your recommendations.”

Bob Thomas thought for a while, then answered, “Neither the Soviet Union, nor the United States wanted a nuclear war, yet they almost blundered into it by accident a number of times. Mao of China is privately telling Khrushchev around now that he does want a nuclear war, but when they actually develop their own bomb, I think in the early 1960’s, they are as cautious as any other and are never part of a nuclear show-down.”

“The first show-down happened in October, 1962. Khrushchev secretly sent missiles to Cuba, then it was discovered by U-2 flights, then Kennedy considered a preemptive strike, which later historians think would have at least led to several US cities being hit, and most of Western Europe as well the East Bloc being destroyed.”

Chadwell interrupted, “Cuba? Thomas replied, “Yes, around the end of 1958 a revolution led by Fidel Castro takes over Cuba. This leads to all sorts of negative consequences, including the Missile Crisis of 1962, possibly the assassination of Kennedy in 1963, generally hurts the US reputation after a failed invasion of US-supported exiles in 1961, and up to 2008 in a strict US economic embargo that leaves Cuba along with North Korea as being the only remaining Communist nations.”

“Anyway, Kennedy decides not to do a preemptive strike, but to demand the missiles removal, and after a tense week or two they were removed. During that period Khrushchev was convinced to swallow his pride, and that probably led to his removal in favor of Brezhnev and Kosygin two years later. That confrontation period could easily have turned into a nuclear war.”

“In the next two years, the I think starting before that crisis, the US built 1000 ICBMs capable of reaching anywhere in the Soviet Union. Around 1964 to 1966 the Soviet Union built 2000 ICBMs The word overkill starts to be used, and in 1969, President Nixon agrees to arms limitations agreements, still with well over a thousand missiles on each side.”

“Nixon uses nuclear alerts as a way to get the Soviets to back down in some minor crises. I don’t know if there was any actual danger in war then. Nixon used what he later called the madman strategy, of trying to appear to be a madman while actually fully rational.”

“The last major danger was in 1983, when just after President Reagan made some bellicose statements, and there was a NATO exercise that the Soviets though was a cover for a first strike on the Soviet Union, the Soviet early warning system malfunctioned and showed a US missile attack on the way. If it weren’t for the coolheaded response by the low ranking Soviet officer on the scene, civilization could have been ended then. There were also some malfunctions in the US early warning system, I think including one time when the monitors showed a training sequence of what a Soviet strike would look like, and another were a flight of birds looked to radar like missiles. In both cases the US wasn’t on a hair trigger and waited to see that it wasn’t a real attack. I think there was another lurking danger in the years during and after the Soviet collapse, maybe early 1990’s when there was some sort of automatic system to launch missiles if Moscow was destroyed, that turned out to be vulnerable to malfunction also.”

Story: 1954: Part 2


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