Gift of Time

Gordon did not know what to think when Dave first walked in with Simon. He had been looking forward to cooling out with the guys after yet another unpleasant week. Working temporary jobs was rarely nice, but he was still unable to find anything else. His times spent with the guys were one of the few ways he got to escape real life, if only for just a few hours.

Gift of Time

by Grover


 
Disclaimer:
This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to real people or events is unintentional. Transgender themes and other mature themes are included within. If you would be offended by these, please don’t continue! I, the author, reserve the right repost this work. A big thank you goes to Jamie Lou and Paula for their help in making this readable and for inspiration! Any remaining mistakes are of course mine. Due to the nature of this story please excuse my small delusions of grandeur!


 
Gordon did not know what to think when Dave first walked in with Simon. He had been looking forward to cooling out with the guys after yet another unpleasant week. Working temporary jobs was rarely nice, but he was still unable to find anything else. His times spent with the guys were one of the few ways he got to escape real life, if only for just a few hours.

There really was not anything wrong with Simon. He was tall, fit and anything but your typical geek. Not that Gordon or any of the rest of the gang was going hold it against him for they were a tolerant bunch after all.

The only problem with Simon was that he was trying way too hard to impress and fit in. Gordon had met others like him before and knew that they were just a little insecure and were only overcompensating. In almost every case, there was a good person hiding under that irritating persona, but he would sure be glad when Simon just relaxed at little!

Simon was from India but was going to school in the States. That was fine with the rest of the oddballs who collectively called themselves the gang. They were a mixed bag of college grads, dropouts and even a few ex-military guys like Gordon. Sometimes they did Role-Playing-Games and other times they would just hang out together. There was not even a set roster of just who was a part of the gang. It was not even all guys but just a group of people sharing common interests dropping in, as Real Life would allow them.

It was heaven for Gordon. He was having a tough time adjusting back to civilian life even though he had been lucky and had never been sent to where the fighting was going on. It was difficult for him to find work and even more so to keep it once he found it. Moving back in with his parents had not helped matters at all except with the finances.

Working odd jobs let him survive but, along with pressure from his folks, did not do anything for his quality of life or happiness. If it were not for the gang and the relief hanging with them brought, he knew he would be in bad trouble. While he had never tried to carry though with it, he had thought about suicide and had even gone so far as to plan how. Gordon was well aware of how close he stood to the black void’s edge.

He even knew the name for his pain: gender dysphoria. There were many smart folks who were still arguing about the terms and what they meant. For him it was simple, his body was male but Gordon wanted to be a woman.

If it had not been for the internet he might have gone crazy because, although he knew how he felt, he didn’t have the right vocabulary for those feelings. A bookworm since early school, one day he’d searched the internet for reading material. He was turned off by the limited selections available at the local library with their procuring process watched by the ultra-conservatives of his Bible Belt community. Adding a low income into the equation meant he was looking for something free to read.

That’s how he stumbled onto the Transgender Fiction sites. It had blown his mind that here was an entire group of people that felt the same way he did. While some of the stories were poorly written or just plain out and out bizarre, others were well written and recounted so well the way he felt.

For the first time, Gordon found others he could relate to and talk to about himself without the fear of bad things happening. He’d already had more than his share of that growing up, starting when his nosey brothers had caught him in some of his mom’s things. THAT was something he never wanted to go through again.

Since he had found TG fiction, he had even been able to indulge in one of his oldest dreams: writing. Like several others in the gang he wanted to become a writer, but he never seemed able to finish what he’d started. Now, writing about his pains and carefully hidden dreams had given him the strength to complete his stories.

Gordon was surprised when his fantastic tales were well received. Encouraged by the other Ladies online he wrote more and had even finished a novel. That work had taken an entire year and still needed to be proofed, but he had done it! What he had not done was tell his friends in the gang about his endeavors.

It was not that he thought they would freak out. The truth was he was being an absolute coward and couldn’t stand the idea that his only solace could be in jeopardy. He knew intellectually he was being unfair to them, but just couldn’t show them his works because what they would reveal about himself.

So on that early fall Saturday morning he was looking forward to hanging out with his friends and decompressing. Dave bringing Simon was an unwanted intrusion. Rather than game or just hang out, the group decided to take in the new C.S. Lewis flick at the mall. Afterwards it was always a good place to just waste time, visit the sacred and holy bookseller, game retailer, and music distributor.

By the end of the day, Gordon had to admit Simon wasn’t all that bad and, like the rest of the guys, shared a rabid interest in the future. They had solemnly confessed to each other that true Science Fiction fans watched more Discovery Channel than they ever did the cheesy and ill-conceived movies on the Sci-Fi Channel.

Simon was surprisingly knowledgeable about discoveries that only a few years ago had only been dreams but now were now becoming realities. Dave however still wanted to discuss the movie they’d just watched.

Somewhere during all of this, Gordon mentioned an old fantasy of his. “Guys, wouldn’t it be a blast to be able to sit nearby while C.S. Lewis and Tolkien were discussing their works.”

The other guys moaned because they’d heard it before, but Simon’s eyes bulged out, almost as if he were in pain.

Dave, seeking to save the conversation countered, “Or how about being at one the early Con’s where Heinlein, Clarke, or for that matter where any of the other old masters were?”

One of the other guys who’d been quiet spoke up, “What about other events that you could time travel to and witness? Wouldn‘t be great to see the original performances of Shakespeare at the Globe?”

Everyone piped up with their own idea’s of what events in history would’ve been cool to witness when Gordon thought of something, “Hey Dave, do you still have your collection of the X-Files?”

Dave rolled his eyes while mentally changing gears, “Of course I do. You know how I feel about Dana Scully!”

Rubbing his hands in pretend glee Gordon asked, “There’s that episode with a time traveler? How about we adjourn to your place for a TV night?”

Dave made a play out of considering it before he finally gave in. “All right but you all have to bring your own snacks. You guys cleaned me out last night. How about you Simon? Can you make it tonight?”

A little embarrassed at being singled out, but still with that weird look on his face, Simon replied, “Yes, I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

Their evening was a bit like the show that use to spoof old movies: Mystery Science Theater. The gang did the same to poor agents Mulder and Scully in a running commentary. The plot of this episode was pretty standard for the X-Files. A series of strange murders of scientists cause Mulder to jump to the conclusion that a time traveler was involved. Scully the logical investigator comes with a more reasonable theory. Mulder of course is proven right. The time traveler is trying to kill everyone who was involved in discovering time travel because discovering the truth about past events has caused disastrous effects on society.

Gordon enjoyed the give and take of ‘roasting’ the pair of FBI agents. More than once, a scene needed replaying because of their rowdiness. But it wasn’t a big deal, it just made a good time to run to the kitchen for more snacks, get a drink or take a bathroom break.

“The whole point of that episode was if you remove the mythic quality from historic events then you also take away the magic from them as well,” Dave argued after it was over.

“I disagree Dave,” Gordon replied. “Haven’t you ever heard the expression, ‘You just had to be there?’ If we had time travel, we could experience it all for ourselves. That’s what archeology is about anyway, looking for the truth behind the myths. Besides people will believe what they want to, regardless of the facts. That’s why there is still a flat earth society.”

Gordon noticed that Simon had been quiet although he was listening intensely. “How about you Simon? What do you think? Would time travel steal the heart and soul from our culture or be another tool for enriching it?”

The expression on his face at being the center of attention was so hilarious everyone lost it. His dark face blushed red, which set the gang off again. When the laughter finally died down Gordon felt a little guilty about asking.

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to embarrass you Simon, but really, what do you think?” Gordon asked again.

Simon paused to think about it for a second. “Well as with any tool, it can be used for positive and negative purposes. As an information gathering device it could be used to discredit some groups while strengthening the position of others. Knowing exactly what happened at various events will offer insights into what led up to them and help keep us from repeating old mistakes.”

“As for visiting artists, authors, and others as they are creating their works, it will give us insight into their creative processes and the person themselves. Knowing that individual better will give us a better appreciation for the events that drove and motivated the person to become one who left their mark upon history.”

Everyone was quiet just before Dave burst out with, “Dude you had us going! You’ve got your tenses mixed-up! Time travel isn’t real you know!”

The gang gave Simon a hard time for a bit before they moved over to another victim. The conversation went on back and forth for while until Dave found a favorite episode of his and started the DVD playing.

Gordon knew it was time for him to make tracks because, if he got home too late, he could count on hearing about it the next day from his parents. There was something he wanted to do first.

He gestured to Simon who still seemed as if he was trying to memorize everything said. With the ‘who me’ look that Simon gave him, Gordon couldn’t help but smile back when he nodded “Yes.”

“Hey, Simon sorry about putting you on the spot back there,” Gordon told him while reaching for his jacket. “The gang can be a little rough sometimes but they’re really good hearted.”

“That is okay Gordon. I understand I am new and so must be initiated. Maybe I can read some of your writings next time,” Simon asked with a nervous smile.

Gordon felt a dismal lump splashed deep down in his guts, “Writings? Who told you about that?”

Taken aback Simon replied, “I think someone mentioned that you and some of the others were writers. Did I misunderstand?”

Gordon breathed a little easier. “Oh yeah, I want to write. But I’m not a writer yet. When I actually come up something worth reading I’ll be sure and show you, deal?”

Simon smiled as if offered the chance to read some masterpiece, “Yes that would be wonderful, thank you!”

After waving goodbye to the gang and heading out into the chilly Southern winter evening, he reflected that Simon was an okay kind of person. Sighing, it’ll be nice when his English improves some. Those mistakes in his speech would drive Gordon’s overactive imagination and paranoia nuts!

In the following weeks, Simon became a regular fixture with gang and Gordon had to admit he was a good addition. He did seem to observe more than participate. However when he had something to say, it was always worth hearing. Perhaps the only thing that drove Gordon to distraction was Simon’s interest in what he was writing. Out of self-defense, Gordon did talk about some of his non-TG stuff and that seemed to make his new friend from India happy.

Meanwhile, he thought about trying his hand at something a little different. Some of his favorite authors online were posting excellent stories that tried to explain to the normal world what being TG was and how it felt. His own tales were based on the private stories he’d fantasized about since he’d first sensed his differences. They were mostly about wish-fulfillment using magic or science fiction as plot devices.

They were not the first to try and give the “normal” world an explanation of the unexplainable. Cynically he’d decided that Quantum Mechanics and being Transgendered had lot in common. You had to be crazy to understand the counterintuitive approach or it would drive you nuts trying to grasp the insane concepts. The end result was the same, lunacy.

He was still considering how to approach this new story when the holidays rushed up. He worked a little more regularly now after getting a job with a retailer, restocking after-hours. This made his parents happier but left little time for writing.

Before he knew it, Christmas was upon them and it was time for the gang’s annual holiday get together. Being busy, his escapes with the gang were even more of a must to help him deal with the stresses. In the past, he’d had a reputation for giving thoughtful gifts. He put a lot of himself into it and there was nothing like the delighted surprise of someone opening one of his gifts to give him the warm and fuzzies.

This year they had an excellent turnout and everyone was having a great time. Simon announced the sad news that, because of family problems, he would return to India in a few days. However, even that didn’t dampen the festivities, although it did give them a poignant note, and made the gang determined to give Simon a happy send-off. It always hurt to make friends and then have them leave. They always claimed they would stay in touch but very rarely did so. The whole thing put Gordon into a melancholy mood in spite of the merry making.

All too soon, it was time for Gordon to leave, having church in the morning. The rest of the crew urged him to stay just a little longer but, as much as Gordon was tempted, he knew that keeping the uneasy peace with his parents was more important.

Simon followed Gordon out to his car. With a smile, he presented a gift about the size of a thick paperback book to Gordon.

“This is for you my friend. I know you must be wondering why I waited until after the party. The reasons why are in the card. It is for you and you alone. Please promise me two things?” Simon asked mysteriously.

Gordon a little baffled nodded, “Sure. Okay. I can do that.”

Still smiling, his teeth white in his dark face, Simon earnestly told him, “First you must open and read the card, but you must wait for Christmas. Open the gift only when you are sure you will have complete privacy. Second, believe what you read and see. If this was to be a gag gift then you would have received it inside to share the mirth with our friends, deal?”

“Sure, Simon I can do that,” Gordon replied a little confused at the requests.

“Good! One more thing my friend, please continue to write, no matter what! I for one believe that anyone can change the world! I know we will never see each other again and that saddens my heart. Good-bye Gordon.” Simon choked out and embraced him.

Surprised and afraid someone might see them Gordon stiffened, then realized the truth of Simon’s goodbye and hugged him back furiously.

“Good-bye Simon my friend,” he said, tears in his eyes.

The last Gordon saw of Simon was his car’s taillights disappearing into the chilly Southern night.

On his own way home, he wondered about Simon’s rather strange way of giving a Christmas gift. Arriving, he saw the lights go out when he turned in the drive, a sure indicator his mother had stayed up waiting for him again. If he could, he would move out in a heartbeat, but working intermittently didn’t give him that option. They just didn’t understand his problems and expected him to be like his brothers. Robert finished law school this year and was ready to take the bar exam. Joe had purchased his own long-haul tractor and was a successful owner-operator. While each had taken very different paths, his parents regarded each as a success. They did not think so of him.

Right now, it was even worse. Both brothers and their families were visiting for the holidays. Everyone just had to rub it in about his employment woes.

Gordon was careful about keeping his secret from his family, given how they’d treated him growing up. His brothers had snooped on and tormented him while he’d been struggling to deal with his feelings and desires. Physical violence had been strictly forbidden by their parents but hadn’t been necessary. Rob and Joe were quite adept at using embarrassment and humiliation against him.

Simon’s warning about keeping his gift confidential made Gordon mindful of past transgressions. After locking Simon’s gift up with his other important papers in his fire-safe, he turned to other things they could find. He did have a few pieces of feminine clothing but those didn’t concern him as much as his scribbles on the computer.

He checked his emails and decided to back everything up on his flash-drive just in case. Furthermore, he turned on his password protection and other security he had not used since his Army days. He hadn’t felt the need with only his parents around, they being computer illiterate. His brothers were another story altogether. With his precautions done he fell onto his bed, letting sleep claim him.

The next few days were hectic ones with the entire family attending church Sunday, and Monday being Christmas Eve. He did have to work Sunday night restocking and all-day Monday doing general assistance, but mindful of his distrust of his brothers, he made sure he took his flash-drive with him. His reunion with them made it painfully obvious that they were still as unpleasant as ever. Okay he would admit that Robert had mellowed out some, but Joe the truck driver seemed determine to make up for any testosterone-fueled macho-idiocy the lawyer-to-be had lost.

No matter he’d half expected it, when he got home and saw his brother Joe grinning he knew they had violated his privacy. Checking his room, he saw that someone had been there. They hadn’t even bothered to turn off the monitor after locking up his computer with wrong passwords.

Looking to see what else had been disturbed he found his collection of feminine articles from the back of his closet, removed and tossed on the floor. His face burned with anger and Gordon wanted nothing more to demonstrate to tough-guy Joe that he wouldn’t stand for being bullied anymore. However, unlike his brother, he thought about the consequences. If they fought, it would ruin Christmas for everyone and, as always, he would be blamed. He felt his tears well up and, after wedging a chair against the door to ensure at least a little privacy, he threw himself on his bed, burying his sobs in his pillows.

He heard the snickers outside in the hallway where his brothers took delight in his misery. The doorknob moved when they half-attempted to come in but the chair held. Failing, they eventually tired of their game and left. Exhausted by the pain within his heart and the day’s work he fell asleep.

His mom did wake him with her knocking upon his door and letting him know about dinner. Gordon, not wanting to make a scene during the holiday told her he was tired and not feeling well. All he needed, he told her, was some rest. He assured her he would eat something later.

Gordon could tell she knew he wasn’t telling the whole truth, but was willing to leave it be for now. Of all of his family, she was the closest to understanding he was different. But, with her rural conservative background, she didn’t understand. He breathed a sigh of relief when she didn’t force the issue. Gordon resolutely refused to show his face to his hoodlum brothers and show them how much their invasion of his privacy hurt. However, he knew he would have to make an appearance for the family’s traditional Christmas breakfast.

He took a shower and spent the rest of Christmas Eve surfing the net, chatting on the TG communities with whoever, like himself, was alone this year. Shortly after looking up and seeing it was past midnight and technically Christmas, he thought about Simon’s gift.

His friend had asked that he wait until Christmas and now it was. Simon had also requested he open it in privacy and, since the door was locked, he figured that qualification was also met. He retrieved the paperback-sized box and set it next to his keyboard. It was wrapped in bright green metallic holiday paper with Christmas tree watermarks and tied with a shiny red ribbon topped bow. Even having been stuffed into his fire-safe hadn’t crushed the colorful poinsettia like bow.

Simon had said something about a card but Gordon didn’t see one attached to it. For that matter there wasn’t an easily-visible way to open the darn thing. There was a pair of curly ribbons that came out from under the flower bow. When he pulled them, the entire bow suddenly collapsed into a single red ribbon!

“Whoa!” he exclaimed pushing himself backwards, surprised. Blinking his eyes, Gordon examined the metallic red ribbon. It didn’t even have a crease along its length, despite having been wrapped for at least a couple days. It had a springy feel to it and that made him wonder. The stretchy material gave him an idea.

Gordon took the ribbon to re-tie it on the box. After he got the decoration around all four sides and brought it together to tie the bow, he felt tension in the red strip. Upon release, the ribbon snapped as if it were elastic, back into its original poinsettia flower decoration!

Eyes wide, he stared at the multi-folded ribbon still slightly bouncing from its release from his fingers. Where in hell had Simon gotten this? If anything like this were commercially available, they would’ve been selling the blue blazes out of it, but he had never seen or heard of decorations like this.

Taking a deep breath, Gordon pulled on the curly ribbons and once more it neatly untied itself. He picked up the present and saw, revealed by his removing the decorative trimming, a pull-tab like seam.

Not sure what was about to happen, he tugged on the paper tab. As with the ribbon, the green wrapping paper did the work itself, releasing the box it had covered, reshaping and folding itself into a card.

The box looked like some kind of woman’s beauty product, but the card lying there, in theory, promised an answer to Simon’s growing list of questions. Opening it, he could see Simon’s neat handwriting inside and a pre-paid debit card.

***

Dear Gordon,

Holiday greetings my dear friend! I am going to reveal some amazing things that you will either believe or you will not. I have read all of your stories that you have posted and have enjoyed them all. Know that I am aware of your gender dysphoria and feel great sorrow at your plight and that of others like you. I know that the next few years of your life will be full of challenges, but you will overcome them and become the person you were always meant to be.

I know these things, for I am not from India, but from the future. I am a time traveler. More accurately, I am a graduate student who is part of a special program studying the literature of your time period. Back when I first joined your social grouping, I nearly fainted when you revealed your desire to travel back in time to listen to your favorite authors discuss their works, for that was precisely what I was doing.

There lies my quandry my dear friend. It is one thing to discuss someone’s life and writings in the comfortable academic atmosphere of the University, but quite another to speak to them as they struggle daily with terrible aches of the heart. I thought I was prepared for what I would find here because of the special classes and training I had to take to be able to qualify for the program.

I was not. After having met you and the others I could not help but be moved. Thus, I contemplated the prohibited. You see, in my time science has solved the dilemma that plagues you. The anguish of being in the wrong form and shape in my world is so simple to cure we use what you call an over-the-counter remedy.

One of those is my gift to you. The races of man have interbred until pure genotypes like those from your era are rare. For variety’s sake, many use products like my gift much as those of your time would change their hair color. I used the most common description of the main characters of your stories to select what I hope is closest to your inner self-image. I took the precaution of re-packaging it so the directions would be clear and concise.

Ah, I can hear your questions now my friend. Yes, the use of my gift will indeed transform you into the image on the front of the box. It is a permanent change unless the “deactivator” is used. Like most consumer products from my time, it is, as you would say, “green” and so flushing the “deactivator” is environmentally safe if you want to remove that option.

Again, the answer is yes. You will be a female in all ways including the ability to bear children. Your fingerprints will still be the same and your DNA is still identifiable as yours because those are necessary safeguards my time uses to prevent criminal misuse.

As to whether giving this to you will cause me problems, the answer is again, yes. The timeline will have been altered, which is against the rules I agreed to abide by. No, the universe will not end. Neither will I, or the world I know, disappear. The worse that will happen is this timeline will split off into its own parallel stream. That will make it difficult to visit this time period from mine because of the disturbance. The people who run the service will not be pleased with me, but I am not repentant.

Be happy with your new life my friend. I have transferred some of my operating funds onto a pre-paid debit card to help you. All I ask is that you remain true to yourself and follow your heart.

Your friend
Simon

***

Gordon pushed his chair back with a disbelieving shove. It was too much. Simon knew about him and his stories? Not from India, but a time traveler? A gift that could transform him?

He hadn’t taken any real precautions to prevent anyone from finding out who was writing his stories online, so someone finding out who he was for real wouldn’t be very hard. Additionally he’d heard India had a cultural niche for those who were transgendered. Maybe not a very nice one, but a type of acceptance. “See” he told himself. “A nice safe real-world explanation. Agent Scully would be proud.”

Except Simon had asked him to believe.

Gordon eyed the colorful box upon his desk with a heart-stopping shiver. If the note were true, that box held all of his most wonderful dreams and darkest nightmares. It wasn’t enough for him to be able to reveal the woman within his soul; he…, she had to be accepted as that person.

To have a miracle transformation, like out of one of his stories, would make many things easier, but without the favorable reception by his family and others whom he loved and respected it still would hurt terribly.

“Who am I kidding?” Gordon wondered. He’d never even taken a feminine pseudonym online. It was one thing to say he was transgendered, but another to re-label himself. He who was so afraid of anything that would give away his fragile secret.

This was all just so impossible. Besides, why would any student of literature of any time period want to study him, the gang or the Ladies online? Gordon didn’t fool himself that what he wrote was anything more than wish fulfillment. Even though a dear online friend had often told him differently, he’d had doubts anyone would ever want to pay for anything he’d written.

The Ladies online had written some wonderful works, but truthfully, the subject matter was too far out there for mainstream culture to digest. A few had sold some of their stuff, but was that enough to justify studying the entire community, much less him? Some of the gang were very talented and some of their conversations were very memorable. The thing was, few of them had yet written much of anything.

Gordon held his head in his hands. If this was true, opportunity had not come knocking, it had blown the door right off the hinges. Time to put up or shut up. He knew, and had always known in his heart, what he wanted more than anything in this world or the next. All he needed was the courage to reach for it.

With trembling fingers he picked up his gift. “MISS CLAIRVON Celtic Lass” was boldly emblazoned on the front. A beautiful young woman with a full head of fiery red hair was smiling coyly from the best holographic picture he’d ever seen. No matter how he turned the box, her green eyes seemed to follow his.

The gift-wrap, card, and this box were convincing evidence of the truth of Simon’s tale.

Turning the box over, he found the instructions and began to read.

***

Simon stretched restlessly. He knew the Temporal Patrol would notice the splitting timeline. Before they came for him, he had to see Gordon one last time. He didn’t dare go to her in person but relied instead on the network of sensors that he had emplaced weeks before when he’d begun his study. Part of that study had been the copying Gordon’s first novel from his computer

Simon had shut down every sensor in Gordon’s room after his friend had opened the gift. He’d wanted to take no chances of any recordings of his friend’s transformation reaching his own time. Feeling enough like a voyeur already, Simon decided that Gordon deserved privacy for this most personal of times. Therefore, despite the temptation, he ordered the sensors to self-destruct without a trace — as designed.

All he had left were the roving ones in the hallway and family room. Haggard, he checked the time remaining before morning. Gordon’s family traditionally gathered together Christmas morning. The younger children of Gordon’s brothers were already awake and were pulling their sleepy parents from their beds.

It was only a matter of time before the Temporal Police managed to work its way past the disturbance of the dividing streams. Gordon’s mother had knocked on her son’s door to rouse him, but Simon knew despair when his equipment buzzed with the unmistakable signs of an incoming Temporal transfer.

Panicked he looked to his surveillance gear but Gordon hadn’t yet appeared.

Behind him a deep male voice announced, “Simon Suilman Chang you are charged under Section 641; with intent and with forethought of causing a major temporal disturbance.

Defeated, he turned to face the two large men. Although dressed casually for this time period, it was clear they represented Authority. One had the small gray square of a neural over-rider, known as a “Come-along”, in his ham sized fist while his eyes asked the non-verbal question of whether there would be trouble.

The other time-cop, just as intimidating, stood ready, but Simon heard an alert from his surveillance rover. He turned and almost immediately felt a large hand twist his arm behind him. Simon ignored it all, for there she was.

Gordon had stepped from her room wearing a dress from her feminine wardrobe. It did not fit very well, but her eyes caught Simon’s heart. They were so full of emotion they sparkled like emeralds. Her face was still recognizable as Gordon’s for the nature of the transformation used her own genes. She was beautiful.

“Aw Felgercarb,” the time-cop restraining his arm cursed. “Look at his face Jack. He’s fallen in love with her.”

The other slipped the neural over-rider onto Simon’s temple and sighed. “It happens, Barton.”

Addressing Simon, “Your retrieving her “lost novel” was well done and made your reputation. But you had to screw up the stream. That’ll make any other studies in this era difficult. Your training warned you of the dangers of close contact. You’ll never be allowed back into the university’s temporal research program again with this in your records.”

Simon hardly heard a word as he watched Gordon make her entrance. He couldn’t hear her words but knew they were being faithfully recorded on his personal network. Her flabbergasted family gaped as she made her statement and with a dignity that the old Gordon lacked, took a seat.

Unwillingly, Simon was pulled from the display as the ‘come-along’ made him follow the time-cops to the center of the room for the return to his own century.

He’d known the repercussions of his actions for himself but had worried about how Gordon would fare. His last glance showed her facing her family with a strength that history said she’d only exhibited later in life. As the 21st century began to fade about him, a roving sensor captured one last picture of her smiling. Then Simon knew she would be well.

***

Terran Encyclopedia 25th edition:

Scholars have long debated the identity of the mysterious individual known as Simon, to whom every one of Jordyn Brigham’s books is dedicated. Records of that era do not give any insight as to his identity. Temporal abnormalities in this era, which complicate further research, make it unlikely his identity will ever be determined. The Dedications all read, “To my dear friend Simon.”

Happy Holidays!



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