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Excerpted from Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

And then there are the most dangerous monsters: the ones disguised as human.

black tuesdayManhattan, New York, 1929. 29 October (where Ivar gets involved with Meyer Lansky, Joe Kennedy, Bugsy Siegel and just wants to come back)

Ivar was startled as a man darted out from an ally and ran into him. He felt wetness on his face and realized it was blood as the stranger collapsed to the ground. There was blood everywhere and Ivar’s instinct was to flee, but his special ops training upon “joining” the Nightstalkers allowed him at least to stand his ground for a moment.

“Are you him?” the man gasped.

Ivar knelt, trying to find the source of the blood, but it was everywhere and he hadn’t taken the emergency medical training as seriously as he should have. Then his hand sunk into the guy’s stomach, intestines like soft, warm snakes, and Ivar realized the man had been gutted. And there was a gurgling noise and Ivar knew the guy had been stabbed several times, including at least once in the lung as the sound indicated a sucking chest wound.

So some of the training had stuck.

The stranger held out a canvas bag. It was smeared with blood, but Ivar automatically took it. Might be a bomb, he heard Nada warning, but Nada wasn’t here. Wasn’t around in the then (or was it now?) either.

“What is it?” Ivar asked.

The man was looking over his shoulder. “Run. Run. They’re coming.”

“Who’s coming?”

“Them.”

“I’ll help you.”

The man winced in pain. “The mission is more important. Go!”

Ivar looked past the man and saw no one, but he had no doubt that whoever had wielded the blade would be following the blood trail.

Every instinct he had pressed Ivar to run away and leave the man as requested.

Ivar ripped off his overcoat and tied the arms tightly around the stranger’s chest and stomach, partially staunching the flow of blood.

“Come on.”

There was no protest. Ivar wrapped his arm around the man’s shoulder and headed off. Past the statue of George Washington, marking his inauguration at this very spot where slaves had been bought, sold, and rented. He turned into a dark alley, searching for a door or window.

It is 1929. The British High Court rules that Canadian women are persons. The 1st Academy Awards are given out and Wings wins Best Picture. The Graf Zeppelin flies around the world in 21 days. Stalin sends Trotsky into exile. All Quiet on the Western Front is published. Popeye appears for the first time in a comic. The Dow Jones peaks at 381.17, which it will not reach again until 1954. The first patent for color television is submitted. Rioting breaks out in Jerusalem between Arabs and Jews over access to the Western Wall.

Some things change; some don’t.

The world was indeed never, ever, going to be the same.

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From Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, 1980. 29 October– where Eagle must make sure Operation Credible Sport (2d rescue attempt of the Iranian hostages) does not take place

“Lots of history at that there airfield,” Hammersmith told Eagle, while pointing with the end of a twig at the triangle of runways on the map. “March of ’42, ole Doolittle hisself brought his raiders there. Trained them to take off in a short distance, just like they was gonna do the next month off the Hornet when they bombed Japan. Can still see tire marks where they burned rubber on the tarmac, cranking those old birds to full power, then releasing the brakes. Those marks have lasted longer than then men who made them.

“Then right after the Big War, they tested some flying bombs they copied off the German V-1, launching them in this field, here, off the airstrip. Abandoned now, but some rusting launchers are still there. Use them as objectives sometimes for the students. Those old timers used Nazi scientists for that ‘cause after the war, the Russkies were the enemy. Kinda strange ain’t it, how yesterday’s enemy is today’s buddy, eh?” He didn’t wait for an answer and Eagle began to suspect there was more to Hammersmith than his first impression. “Airfield been abandoned for a long time though.” He looked up at Eagle. “Until lately. Been off limits for a bit.”

“So,” Eagle finally said, “you’re my contact.”

“Yeah. Surprised, ain’t you, son? Takes all kinds to keep the timeline ticking. I ain’t gonna ask you when you come from. I don’t want to know dick about the future. That would fuck with my head and my head’s already kinda fucked up. I done two tours in ‘Nam and sometimes I don’t think so straight. And I know you’re here only for twenty-four hours, so let’s not be dicking around. Let’s get this done. I don’t suppose you know what this is about?”

“You know what’s happening at Wagner Field?”

“Yeah. They’re testing a modified C-130 for short landings and takeoffs. Almost Doolittle like, which I kind find interesting. I gotta assume it’s got something to do with the clusterfuck in the desert back in April. Know some fellows from the Battalion who were in on that. So maybe we’re going to be trying again? And you’re here to make sure that happens.”

The last sentence was said not as a question and that was enough warning for Eagle to keep the details of today’s history from Hammersmith.

“Sort of,” Eagle said.

“Fuck me to tears,” Hammersmith said, and Eagle could only think of Nada saying the same thing, so many times. The ranger instructor was no fool.

“We gotta stop it, don’t we?”

Okay, Eagle had seriously underestimated the Time Patrol agent. “Yes.”

Hammersmith was silent for several long seconds. “Then that’s the mission.” A soldier accepting his duty. “Do we have to kill any of our own?”

“No.” Hope not, Eagle amended silently.

“All right.” Hammersmith nodded. “I can live with that. Time to get real.” Hammersmith shrugged off his rucksack and opened it. He dumped a sack on the ground. “5.56. Live ammo. Take the damn blank adapter off your weapon and lock and load. I’ll be your assistant patrol leader and I’ll navigate for you. The rest of the men have live ammo in their rucks and I’ve already passed the word to load up.” He slapped his own rucksack. “We got one M60 with eight hundred rounds of 7.62, claymores, some LAWs, grenades, pistol ammo. One of the fellas got an M21 if we need to pop someone at distance. Oh yeah, two M203s with fifteen HE rounds each.” He held up a shotgun with a short box magazine. “And I have my Lola. SPAS-12 shotgun, loaded with slugs.”

Eagle processed the inventory: Claymores were anti-personnel mines; LAWs were light-anti-tank weapons; an M21 was a sniper rifle. Live ammunition. The M60 was a medium machinegun, good firepower. The M203s were M16s with a 40mm grenade launcher slung under the barrel. And there was Lola, a semi-automatic shotgun.

So they were prepared for battle.

Eagle was starting to feel better about this mission, but Hammersmith put an end to that flicker of optimism. “We might not have to kill any of our own, but that don’t mean this is going to be a cake walk. I been in these swamps for years, sonny. Grew up down here. Walked many a patrol so I can get us the airfield. But things ain’t right.” He nodded out toward the dark swamp. “There’s something out there. Something that don’t want us getting to that airfield. Something bad, real bad. Evil-like. And it’s between us and the airfield and whatever it is you gotta do.” He paused. “I don’ suppose you can tell me what it is exactly you gotta do?”

“No, Master Sergeant.”

Hammersmith sighed. “Figured.” He turned off the flashlight. After a moment, they emerged from underneath the poncho and stood up.

Hammersmith became formal. “Let me know when you want to move out, sir.”

It is 1980. President Jimmy Carter decides to boycott the summer Olympics in Moscow in response to the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. Mount St. Helens erupts, killing 57 people. CNN goes on the air. John Lennon is shot and killed. The Iran-Iraq War drags on. Operation Eagle Claw, intended to rescue the American hostages in Tehran, fails. There are 226,545,805 Americans registered in the census. A Norwegian oil platform collapses in the North Sea, killing 123 crew and spilling oil. Reagan defeats Carter in the presidential election.

Some things change; some don’t.

Eagle took a deep breath.

This was going to suck worse than doing Ranger School again.

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Black Tuesday finalExcerpt from Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

Andes Mountains, Argentina, 1972. 29 October– where Moms has to make sure some of the Andes plane crash survivors, actually survice.

Moms had done a lot of hunting in her time, but she’d never seen a track like this. Large, over six inches wide by sixteen inches long. Almost human shaped, but different. “What made that? What did we shoot?” Moms asked.

“A monster,” Correa said. “We did not kill it, as you could tell. It has gone off to nurse its wounds. It has had many names, in many lands. Yeti in the Himalayas. Abominable Snowman. Sasquatch. Bigfoot. Ts’emekwes among the Native Americans of the Pacific Northwest. Here in the Amazon and Andes it has been called Mono Grande, or Large Monkey.” He shrugged. “I prefer Yeti. Much simpler.” He slid the FN FAL rifle onto his shoulder. He coughed, hard, for several moments, turning partly away from Moms and bending over.

“Are you all right?”

“A touch of the flu,” Correa said, straightening up. “Nothing to worry about.”

bigfoot-faceMoms didn’t care for the cold. Early in her career she’d served in a special ops unit that was oriented toward Winter Warfare training. That meant she was prepared, which was both a good thing and a bad thing. It was good that she knew what she was doing here at 13,000 feet in the Andes in the middle of the fall.

It was bad in that she’d learn to hate being cold.

It is 1972. According to Coordinated Universal Time (UTC), this is the longest year ever, with two leap seconds added. The Nightstalkers close a Rift near Hoover Dam. Nick Ut takes his Pulitzer Prize winning photo of a naked 9-year-old Vietnamese girl running after being bombed by napalm. A Japanese soldier is discovered hiding on Guam, 28 years after the end of World War II. A Serbian flight attendant survives a fall of 33,000 feet in the tail section of a plane that explodes mid-flight. The Godfather is released. Nixon orders Haiphong Harbor mined. Watergate. Atari releases Pong. The last manned moon mission, Apollo 17, is launched. We’ve never been back.

Some things change; some don’t.

Her mission had just begun, and already Moms had battled a creature of legend.

Nothing but good times ahead.

Not.

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Excerpt from Time Patrol: Black Tuesday

London, England, 1618. 29 October– Sir Walter Raleigh is executed. Or is he?

Mac shivered as much from the night air as the pronouncement of the pending execution.

The Lord Chief Justice took a step forward. “Sir Walter Raleigh, you must remember yourself; you had an honorable trial, and so were justly convicted; and it were wisdom in you now to submit yourself.

OTD-October-29---Sir-Walter-Raleigh-jpg“I pray you attend what I shall say unto you. I am here called to grant execution upon the judgment given you fifteen years since; all which time you have been as a dead man in the law, and might at any minute have been cut off, but the King in mercy spared you. You might think it heavy if this were done in cold blood, to call you to execution; but it is not so; for new offenses have stirred up His Majesty’s justice, to remember to revive what the law had formerly cast upon you. I know you have been valiant and wise, and I doubt not but you retain both these virtues, for now you shall have occasion to use them. Your Faith has heretofore been questioned, but I am resolved you are a good Christian, for your book, which is an admirable work, does testify as much. I would give you counsel, but I know you can apply unto yourself far better than I am able to give you.”

Raleigh’s head drooped down, the messy hair falling over his face and mostly hiding it. But Mac caught the hint of a smile on Raleigh’s face through the hair.

The Lord Chief Justice continued. “Fear not death too much, nor fear death too little; not too much, lest you fail in your hopes; not too little, lest you die presumptuously. And here I must conclude with my prayers to God for it, and that he would have mercy on your soul.” He paused, and then announced: “Execution is granted and will be carried later today.”

As the guards stepped up next to Raleigh to escort him away, he lifted his head and looked at the man next to Mac. “Will you be present at the show later this morning, Lord Beeston?”

“I hope so,” Beeston said. “If I can find a place in the crowd.”

Raleigh smiled. “I do not know what you may do for a place. You must make what shift you can. But for my part, I am sure of having a place.”

The guy had guts, Mac had to grant him that

And with that, Raleigh was hustled away.

Beeston edged close by Mac’s side and spoke in a low voice. “You are here to help save him. Say the word is yes. I will lend my sword to yours, as will those who have gathered. Surely history cannot allow such a man to suffer this fate. It is not in the prophecy.”

It was also not stated as a question to Mac.

Mac looked at the old man, well dressed for the time period, sporting a wig that didn’t quite hide his baldness. He had a wicked rapier scar slashing across his left cheek, a piece of nose missing and a gash ending above the right side of his mouth. The wound had not healed well. And his eyes glittered, in which Mac recognized the confidence of a fellow warrior.

Nope, Mac thought, I’m not here to save him.

It is 1618. The Thirty Years’ War, one of the longest and most destructive conflicts in European History, begins when two Catholic Lord Regents are thrown out of a window in Prague; they land unharmed. Pluto reaches its aphelion, coming closest to the sun, and will not do so again until 1866 and then 2113. Kepler discovers harmonics law. The Treaty of Deulino ends the Polish-Muscovite War, until it resumes fourteen years later.

Some things change; some don’t.

But then the question Mac pondered was: Why was he here?

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Time Patrol: Ides of March

15 March 2016

Bob Mayer Appearance Discovery Channel

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