“Now remember, Lieutenant, you’ll only have three minutes to accomplish your goal,” the doctor said as she injected him with jus’ enough narcotic to help him relax through the transition.
Davis instantly felt himself relax as he heard the canopy on the time machine close and latch. He hid it well, the trepidation he felt of time-casting into the past in order to see how the future would be changed. However, he was a US Army officer and he knew he had to obey regardless, thus were the rules for having volunteered for duty at Area 51.
The proton collider could be heard whining as it increased in speed. He closed his eyes for a second as a static charge of electricity coursed through his body, growing to a painful vibration. Then he recalled that he must keep them open for the coming trip.
The thin snap of a crackle slipped through the capsule and with a crashing pop, he felt himself slip apart, as if he’d fallen into a million, million pieces. Yet, he could still hear his heart beating, his breathe drawing in and blowing out and his own swirling thoughts. He crashed onto the wooden floor of the highly ornate room, stunned.
Over him, stood a man, frightened and looking as confused as Lt. Davis. He was holding an object in his hand, perhaps the knob from the nearby four-poster bed. At the sight of Davis, the man threw the thing at the newcomers head.
The object, glanced off of Davis’ head and the Army officer rolled, scrambling to his feet. The timing of the transition was almost too perfect, Davis thought, as he drew his knife and thrust it deep into the man’s chest. As the man relaxed in death, Davis lifted and then pushed the dead body away from himself.
Looking about the room, he found a letter opener on a nearby table and quickly inserted it into the wound. “After all,” he thought, “Gotta make it look like a part of this time period.”
In the hallway came the sound of heels, a woman’s heels. Davis knew he had to hide and wait for the three minute jump-period to reverse itself. He stepped into the ward robe closet and pulled the door closed behind himself.
When he awoke, he was in the base infirmary. His head hurt, he felt dizzy and was extremely sick to his stomach. Try as hard as he wished, he had no recollection of his return trip.
Hours later he was summoned for a debriefing, where he would detail his actions on the late night of January 19, 1867 in Virginia City, Nevada. In turn, he was told that the experiment had been a success as the time line of history had been altered, but with a twist.
“You see,” Doctor Gladys Ames stated, “You were assigned the task of killing John Millain before he murdered Juliette Bulette.”
“I see,” Davis responded, “So, it was Bulette’s room I jumped into and it was Millain that I stabbed?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“So, what’s the twist?” Davis asked.
“In the previous timeline, Millain was tried and hanged for her murder. In the new timeline, Bulette was hanged for Millain’s murder.”
Davis was stunned, “So nothing really changed, save for the order of those who were either murdered or executed.
“Correct,” the doctor said.
Later at the base library, Davis looked up the brief history of the Millain/Bulette case and learned that the Comstock’s favorite author, Mark Twain had written, “I can see that stiff, straight corpse hanging there yet, with its black pillow-cased head turned rigidly to one side, and the purple streaks creeping through the hands and driving the fleshy hue of life before them. Ugh!”
Davis felt sick to his stomach, “Oh, dear god.”