Let's Do The Time Warp Again…

By Merlin and Patti

Disclaimer: This is Alex's fault.

And any grammatical, spelling or continuity errors are Patti's fault.

Just because.

Anyway, I'm too sweet and innocent to be at fault…

 

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Cheyenne Mountain

February 1996

Man, I can't believe how long it's taken to get that system back online. How Air Force grunt wannabe-computer-geeks think they can comfortably and reliably program a system is beyond me. Especially those who take more pride in polishing their hand weapon than in polishing their hard drives. Having said that, Airman Bad Breath seems to spend more time in the bathroom polishing something else…

I'm honored that the Air Force offered me a contract here to salvage the mess the previous idiots made of the back-up system. If the American taxpayers knew how their hard-earned dollar was being spent, there would be more riots than there ever were back in the 1970s. Mind you, I could do with some of the more available merchandise that was smoke-able back then. Stress and I never were very good friends.

Narrowly missed a conversation with Colonel Humorless yesterday when he barged into me to get out for a cigarette break. I gotta say that nicotine doesn't do for me what it used to – and it sure as hell seems to have tightened his ass. Unless you have to have your sense of humor surgically removed if you want to ascend in the military. Or is that ass-end? I've tried talking with the man, but he seems so preoccupied with being miserable and not being here. Makes me wonder if he's been stuck inside these concrete walls as long as I have.

I know I'm good at what I do, and I appreciate being called in as an "expert", but the next grunt who refers to me as Grandpa, is going to get nailed with a thermal diode where the sun doesn't shine. I've lived; I have a sense of humor; but hardcore processors should be installed in machines, not pinned up in the boys' locker room.

At least not when I'm too old to enjoy them for myself!

However, three months stuck in a large hole in the ground playing with binary coding and a bizarre form of encryption for an "undisclosed purpose" can get depressing. I much prefer being above ground. If I had wanted to spend my life underground, I would have asked whichever deity to let me be reborn as a gopher.

 

Cheyenne Mountain

March 1996

Found a fellow prisoner, sorry, civilian today. We myopically crashed into each other by the coffee machine, and spent a pleasant fifteen minutes bitching about the recycled flavor of burnt cardboard. It seems we both tried the Cuban roast that Starbucks introduced some time last year, and swapped caffeine-addict tips. I feel sorry for the kid whose been yanked in from who-knows-where. I remember my own longer-haired days, but I thought his style went out with the musical Hair. Can't talk really, I guess, especially as the locks I sport now are gray, and few and far between. Poor lad seemed so bewildered and out of place here in the mountain, and I can't see why he's here if his eyes glazed over at the mention of parsing, and buffering binary modifiers. I know that the work we do is classified, and from what little I understand of purpose, they are clearly contracting out according to need, to avoid total understanding - but why else would there be another civilian contractor down here if not as a computer geek?

 

Cheyenne Mountain

March-the-something, whatever-o'clock

I'm bored. I've never been quite a bored as this before.

I've been confined to my room for more hours than I care to think about, and have just been informed that when I am given clearance, I am to finish the last strand of programming, and pack my bags. The Air Force would like to retain my services but at a new location in Nevada. I'm getting way too old for this kind of shit.

There was the most almighty earthquake sensation earlier – and I don't think it was that kid OD-ing on caffeine. Odd though, as I could have sworn Colorado was away from the majority of epicenters. For someone who's always believed in conspiracy theories, I am beginning to suspect a new one, and having sworn myself into secrecy I can't discuss it with anyone. Damn.

I can still hear the pounding of testosterone charging past my locked door, as a pile of macho marines pretend they're defending the earth. Just exactly what kind of threat are they expecting a few miles below the surface?

Damn, that coffee must have been better than I first thought.

 

Nevada

November 1996

And I thought I was bored at Cheyenne Mountain…

I get the secrecy thing, but this is ridiculous. "Excuse me, but I need to see how this relates to… okay, so no I don't." "Would you mind if I…. okay, maybe not." "Is it possible to… sorry, stupid question."

It's not like no one's ever heard of Area 51 and don't have an idea what goes on here. But what the hell am I doing here?

I am beginning to wonder if I shouldn't have gone into fiction writing when I finished my Tour of Duty after all. I never wanted to fire a weapon, so whose bright idea was it to go into communications instead, and become so damn good at it that the military wanted to keep my number?

 

Cheyenne Mountain

April 1997

Well, fuck me runnin'.

Colonel Humorless is still here, and I swear I've just seen him dragging Coffee Boy down the corridor with him, covered in sand, and wearing something Arabic. Although with the words he was spouting he might have been swearing Arabic too.

And I've just been struck by something that is utterly impossible.

There is definitely an impressive conspiracy theory going on here – and I don't understand how or why.

This is only supposed to be a short-term contract this time, but my curiosity could see me either dead or locked away somewhere permanently.

Got any idea what the letters SGC mean? I sure don’t; no one will tell me. How about Specially Ground Coffee? Stud Groupie Convention? Stereotypical Galatctic Congoers?

 

Cheyenne Mountain Complex

SGC

July 1998

Oh crap, am I in trouble.

There's the cutest blonde here, and I'm old enough to be her father. If I hadn't so badly invested my funds in the early 1990s before Black Monday hit, I could already be retired. Retirement seemed to work for Colonel formerly-Humorless, and he's been pulled back to active duty multiple times… and he seems to like the blonde too. Quitting the nicotine was a good move for him, as was quitting with his use of hair-dye.

I'm still trying to ignore what I noticed last year, but the more he changes, the more it seems to be coming back to haunt me.

 

August 1998

Crap, crap, crap, crap, double-crap and holy shit.

Not only have I injured the Captain in the middle of yanking out a stubborn hard-drive, but General Hammond has pulled me into his office to give him a full account of the accident. That rip in the soft tissue of her hand was nasty, entirely my fault… and worryingly familiar.

And General Hammond's not angry. If anything he's smiling.

I am beyond not understanding.

Especially as I think I've now worked it out.

And I don't get it.

At all.

Somewhere back in the 60s I must have mixed some impressive drugs, because what I think is happening is so NOT POSSIBLE.

 

August 11th 1998

Four people have just passed me in the corridor and I cannot resist doing something.

I don't think I will ever forget my disappointment as I sat in the movie theater and watched the opening credits of the first Star Wars movie. In revenge, I wait for Coffee Boy with the 1970s hair and the 1960s clothes to walk past me.

I still don't understand, and so now it's his turn not to understand…

… so I smack him upside the head.

Hard.

"What the heck was that for?" The whining, injured tone was not one I'd heard from him before. Now, or thirty years ago. A long, long time ago, in a galaxy not so far away.

"That was for ruining Star Wars for me."

It's been a long time since I physically heard anyone's jaw hitting the floor, but revenge is sweet.

But you know what? I still don't get it.

And I'm not sure I want to at my age. Or his age. Or whichever age I was. Am. Was.

Screw this.

Maybe I should see if Jenny still has some stash hidden away somewhere…

 

 

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Fin

Copyright Merlin and Patti

August-the-whatever, 2005

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