Episode 16 --World's Smartest Man

Episode 16 —
World’s Smartest Man

Episode 16:
World’s Smartest Man

 


“Don’t know how I got back here, Eduardo,” Em struggles to say aloud.

“The mission was a failure,” Eduardo announces officially as his image reappears on the large middle screen. “Agents Avila and Wauneka were injected with alien DNA. They are now dead. The MMDI base was destroyed thanks to a signal sent from somewhere on this planet.”

Em sits down with great confusion upon his entire face. How’s this happening? I’m back from the dead! As soon as he touches the floating chair in front of the Eduardo screen several displays on multiple screens that pinpoint Em’s physical and mental state.

“Elevated heart rate,” Em says. “Feel very strange. Not myself. I thought you said I could change what happened in the past. I couldn’t change the past in Switzerland. After trying twice.”

“You are safe here now,” Eduardo says calmly. “Tell me what happened.”

“Agent Wauneka stomped on my head with those big fucking boots of his. I was lying on the floor in Switzerland. He crushed my skull. I felt the horrible pain and I then died there. I also felt a big, ugly flying dragon bite my neck and head off. How could both have happened? Unbelievable sensation!”

“Every man responds to the after effects of time travel like you are.”

“You said that the first time. Not helpful.”

“The aliens restored you to life. They sent you back here to Yucca Mountain.”

“I don’t understand what you’re telling me. I also have a headache the size of Alaska right now.”

“Probably because you have alien DNA in you. And, you also have the DNA of agents Avila, Wauneka, and, Zaman. They are all dead. You have quite a powerful combination deep inside you.”

“What the fuck?”

“Screen number three shows your DNA data. Look at the area that I have highlighted in green. That is your DNA. It’s not like DNA from any life here on Earth. Yet, you have it in you nonetheless. What I’ve highlighted in red in agent Zaman’s DNA. Blue is agent Avila’s DNA. Orange is the DNA from agent Wauneka. Let me overlay all four so you can reach the same conclusion that I reached. The four of you share a common DNA not from this planet.”

Em’s elevated heart rate is displayed on the screen next to Eduardo’s screen. “Oh fuck me, man. You gotta be right. I didn’t want to believe it. I cut my hand when I punched her hard in her face. Her blood got into mine that way. I got the alien DNA from her blood directly.” This is the moment that Em’s panic causes him to lose consciousness while he seated in that floating chair.

Em believes that he is dreaming of meeting both agents Avila and Wauneka in the crew quarters of the lunar base, but perhaps this is merely how he processes the presence of Avila and Wauneka within his gray matter. He is naked like they are. Em studies the 2 agents, enjoying his first look at them without their clothing. Wish I could have lived when they lived. We could have been sex partners. Instead of in this dream. Agent Wauneka steps forward and hands Em a transparent glass globe with a miniature dragon inside. “What the fuck is this for?” Em asks.

Vincent Wauneka replies, “You tell us. Came from your dreams.”

Ted Avila laughs aloud and says, “It’s so fucking obvious.”

“You’re crazy. I hate dragons. Why am I meeting you guys like this? Why are we naked? You remember killing me in Switzerland?” Em asks.

“You are remembering what happened in an alternate timeline,” Ted Avila explains.

Vincent Wauneka adds, “The two of us are dead. But, you are alive. You have the advantage here.”

Ted Avila quickly explains, “You’re carrying the genetic code from me, from Vincent, and from Dani Zaman. We all are dead and gone. But, you also carry all of our individual memories, language skills, talents, and passions. As if we three are your brothers. As if we three are your ancestors. You now literally own our legacy and what some would call our souls. This makes you extraordinarily powerful compared to every other human on Earth. You retain what knowledge and memories you already had, but you have increased brain processing powers now. And there is something you need to know: Through Eduardo, you have access to download into your memory in your head all the many decades of records from MMDI. A device fits over your head like a helmet. The price you must pay for all these gifts is simple: You are under the control of DNA inside you that originated in a far distant galaxy.”

“What do you think they want from me?” Em asks.

“You will have to find that out on your own,” Ted Avila says. “We have no shortcuts for you.”

“But, I’m asking for help here. What do you guys want me to do?” Em asks.

“Figure it out,” Vincent Wauneka says. “You are very powerful now.”

“For one thing, you can move faster than the normal flow of time,” Ted Avila says. “Outside the flow. Between the seconds. You can move within the space between. Like fingers.” Ted Avila holds up his right hand and extends his fingers into the air. He points with his left hand to the extended fingers. “Each second is like a finger on your hand.” He points to the spaces between the fingers. “You can move outside of time. In the space between the seconds.”

Em holds up both his hands. With his left Em points to his right hand as he rotates it while extending his middle finger at Avila and Wauneka. Then, he regains consciousness seated in that floating chair as it spins on its axis. He watches on the screen to see how the elevated readings of his body and emotional state continue unchanged. He hears Eduardo ask “What happened to you?”

“Went into shock. Passed out,” Em answers calmly. “Wow, what an amazing headache. I need to focus here. Need something from you. MMDI has a device that you didn’t tell me about. It was designed to fit over the outside of a man’s head. Connects directly to all MMDI records. Sends data into various cerebral regions.”

“I never told you about that. It’s classified,” Eduardo replies. “Never been activated. Really just a prototype.”

“No. That’s not the answer I want, Eduardo. Three levels down. Inside a box within a box within a box. Here is the classified code to open the third box: ‘Occipital, ciento cuarenta y cuatro, red, kilo.’ I know you know the codes to open the first two boxes on your own.”

When he is seated comfortably in the floating chair holding in both hands what Eduardo in Spanish calls Portal Cerebro, Em smiles as only a victorious man knows how to smile. The device resembles a professional football player’s helmet without a face mask. It is sculpted of transparent material that does not reflect light. Embedded within the device are small silver circular pads. “Por favor,” Em says with respect as he pulls down the device snugly onto his head.

“Activate the brain portal for me, Eduardo.”

“I am concerned about exceeding your physical capacity.”

“Oh yeah, I thought you might say that. But, I now have the mental capacities from three other men added here to my own grey matter. Explains my massive headaches. But, far more advanced biochemical nanotechnology that we’ve got here on Earth. Do I need to repeat my request?”

“Activating your requested download now,” Eduardo announces obediently.

To Em, the sensation feels like floating on warm air in a fast-moving stream of heated puffy white clouds. Em believes that he hears a choir of all-male voices chanting softly in an unfamiliar language somewhere unseen far away. His mind processes the physical sensation as hundreds of tiny jets of freezing water shooting downward into his skull through the frontal bone. He experiences an extended orgasm without either an erection or release of fluids.

“Ah fuck,” he cries out aloud in blissed-out abandon. The freezing water jets shoot through his head unrelentingly like high velocity bullets crash through human flesh. But, there is no destruction of tissue. In the floating chair, Em’s body bounces and convulses due to his orgasm. Both his fists are clenched tightly, but suddenly release. His feet and legs kick wildly.

He expected the sensation to be painful. Instead, his entire brain feels as sunlight is shining in brightly, and, Em processes the entire experience as intense happiness. Now he is aware of things he could not possible know about. He has the equivalent of one eventful day’s memories spanning a continuous period of four years: He now has intimate knowledge of 1,460 MMDI time travel missions—agent’s names, strategies, tactics, and outcomes. He also is aware of alternate outcomes in history that would drive an ordinary man into madness. Yet, somehow, Em does not collapse mentally under the weight of such knowledge.

He awakens and discovers that once again he is spinning around in the floating chair. The brain portal has fallen from his head to the grated metal floor below and appears to have cracked upon impact like an egg dropped so carelessly. Em stands up while holding onto the floating chair to help balance himself. He is squinting as though the room light is too intense for him. He reaches up with both hands to feel his head. Then, apparently satisfied, he drops his feet to the floor to stop the chair’s rotation.

“I’m aware now. Headaches are gone. There have been 1,460 missions,” he says aloud to Eduardo.

“Yes, that is correct, Em. You have all that information in your brain?”

“The only logical explanation for what happened, yes,” Em replies. “It’s overwhelming, to say the fucking least. I know individual details. Names of all the agents. What they looked like. Who they had sex with. I experienced sex with them—the memories are incredibly strong. Like I had sex with thousands of men. I also see where other agents were sent back in time repeatedly to try to change a timeline. There must be laws that control how time travel works or does not work for us. Laws that you or MMDI don’t yet know, Eduardo. Suddenly, my entire body feels drained.”

“Your body needs nourishment to keep your brain operating at peak condition.”

“That’s great. Now you’re starting to sound like my mother and all her healthy living and nutrition lectures at Berkeley.”

“I am having one of your favorite foods prepared for you right now,” Eduardo says.

Em finishes the last bites of a juicy cheeseburger as he spins slowly around in the floating chair. Ketchup and beef juices begin their escape through his smiling lips and start descending downward on his neck towards the collar of his uniform. His blissful experience is interrupted by Eduardo’s voice, “Agent Mainer.”

“Better than anything I ever tasted before,” Em says as he stops the chair’s rotation and wipes he face with both hands to clear away the remnants of cheeseburger. “I feel a little better, Eduardo.”

“I need to ask you: Can you tell me what all that additional knowledge has taught you, Em?”

“I anticipated you would ask that, Eduardo. The capability MMDI had to send agents back in time was lost when the lunar base was destroyed. That singular time travel device down here below the desert is old and unreliable. One device cannot replace the dozens that were operational on the moon. This means repairs to timelines cannot take place now.”

Eduardo replies, “Let me remind you. Repairs to timelines promote order and harmony so that humanity will survive into the future. My estimate is that human civilization will end in about a quarter of a century unless time travel repair missions to the past are reinstated immediately.”

“How exactly will civilization end? Do you know that?”

“I only see trends. Not specific events. Not specific people. Destruction. All life on Earth. A suicidal event of planetary proportions. Caused directly by the actions of particular human beings.”

Em sighs in intense frustration. “If you are accurate, then the imperative is somehow to start time travel operations up again. But, what if the alien part of me works against everything else that I now have in my head.”

“Can you determine from all that’s in your head now why the aliens are against MMDI using time travel?”

“No. Only glimpses. They do not use symbolic language like you and I do. What they know cannot be translated very well into language at all. For me, it’s as if I dreamed something and can only recall portions of what I dreamed.”

“What can you remember?”

“That wave effect the Chinese discovered by accident—killed all those people a century or so ago in Nanchang and led to MMDI creating a base on the moon—that obviously is what the aliens find most important. That wave effect doesn’t just affect space here on our planet. The wave effect somehow makes it all the way across the vastness of space to their galaxy and home planet. The aliens can travel in more than just three dimensions and they don’t need hardware or technology. So, I’m thinking that for the aliens, space-time is very different from how we humans understand it. The differences in understanding might explain to us how the wave effect can go impossibly far distances and have some negative impact upon their home planet.”

“What does the wave effect do to their home planet?”

“That knowledge is missing somehow from my memories. Or I just can’t process the knowledge and understand what it means. But, I believe the aliens came here to stop the wave effect from damage it has done to their home planet.”

“Could you imagine a situation in which what you have in your memories right now might somehow be incorrect? What if what you seem to know and believe is based on faulty mental processes or defective memories? Do you suppose that might affect your emotional stability in negative ways?”

“I don’t really understand what you’re asking, Eduardo.”

“Agent Avila experienced memory problems after he returned from his missions. He had some level of physical brain damage that he was born with. His brain’s physical condition prevented agent Avila from processing the memory alignment that MMDI has done on every agent since day one. Those memory alignments are necessary to keep a man from having emotional problems processing conflicting memories about people and events in the past that he changed while on a mission. Feelings of guilt, remorse, and so forth.”

“Yes, I can remember all that when I scan the mission logs that you downloaded.”

“The human brain processes things in very inventive ways. If one particular path is not available to save a memory, so to speak, the brain seeks out alternative paths so that a memory can be saved elsewhere. That is what agent Avila’s brain did. It gave him the distinction of being the most cognitively unique human being that MMDI ever had as a time travel agent.”

“What has that got to do with me, Eduardo?”

“The conflicting memories are never a problem, per se. The problems are at the emotional level. A man may not be able to deal with the emotions he has stemming from his memories—complicated memories from time travel missions to change people and events in the past. He can feel guilty about what he has done when he changed timelines and those changes resulted in deaths of people. He cannot undo what he has done and save the peoples’ lives, and that can lead to his feeling helpless. He may grow to feel like his life is too difficult to process. He may become careless or fearless and end up hurting himself and others.”

“Is that what happened with agent Avila? Is that why he deliberated took the life of agent Wauneka by smothering him?”

“Exactly right. You do have all the records in your memory or you wouldn’t know that. I buried that event as deeply as I could so nobody would ever find it.”

“I found it,” Em says with a smile. Maybe now I’m smarter than Eduardo. More powerful.

Avila wanted to prove something,” Eduardo explains. “He knew MMDI could restore any man’s life back the way it was before death just by using time travel. That had happened to him, personally. So, Avila in order to convince Wauneka about this, Avila took Wauneka’s life as a demonstration.”

“Are you suggesting that I am unstable emotionally and will become violent like Avila?”

Out of the corner of his right eye, Em watches Dani Zaman walk into the room dressed in the MMDI all-black uniform and wearing boots. Zaman enters the room and approach the floating chair. Eduardo does not respond. In his head, Em hears Zaman’s voice say, “Eduardo cannot see or hear me. Only you can. Do not look over at me. Do not interact with me overtly or verbally. Eduardo will know something is wrong. You can interact with me mentally. Think the words you want to use.”

While continuing to look at Eduardo’s screen, Em thinks to himself: Okay, agent Zaman, what do you want from me?

Zaman’s words enter directly into Em’s mind: “I am here to warn you. This computer that controls MMDI is not your friend. You cannot place your trust in that computer. Any computer.”

Em notices that on one of the screens that his own mental activity is being displayed as a line graph wildly fluctuating with major peaks above a baseline level. Em says aloud, “Eduardo?”

Eduardo replies to Em, “Is there something wrong, Em?”

Zaman’s words enter once again directly into Em’s mind: “You need to leave this place immediately. Travel to future right now. MMDI cannot do anything to stop you. Or retrieve you.”

Em says to Eduardo, “Yeah, definitely wrong. A throbbing headache. Growing intensity. Feeling very depleted. Upsetting. Probably what you’re picking up right now on the screen. I’m using up a lot of physical and mental energy.”

“You are changing rapidly. That is why you feel as you do. Perhaps you need rest. Do you think you could fall asleep?”

“There you go sounding like my mother again, Eduardo,” Em says with a fake smile as he stands up from the floating chair and walks away from Eduardo’s screen. “I better go downstairs to my quarters. Try to sleep in my rack down there,” he says as he steps into the hallway where Eduardo can only see him with overhead cameras. He waves to Eduardo as he passes under ceiling camera number 57-R, which captures Em disappear from view while walking down the hallway.

Em appears twenty years later on a large balcony at a five-star resort overlooking the shimmering blue Pacific Ocean in Chile. He is wearing only a pair of bright red swim trucks. Em has not aged at all because he has jumped from 2331 to 2351 in nanoseconds. He smiles as he inhales the calming scents of the ocean below.

“Where are we now?” asks Dani Zaman, who is on the floor in Em’s hotel room in a provocative pose wearing only a loincloth. “And why I am wearing this gay stripper costume?”

“Which answer do you want first?” Em asks sarcastically and then continues, “We are together here in a place literally at one end of the Earth. Nobody would think to look for me here. A luxury hotel inside the free zone located within the city of Iquique, Chile—popularly known as Zofri. Twenty years ago you urged me to jump into the future to escape MMDI. So, I did. Not sure how. Just imagined it. Made it happen. I’d learned about Zofri when I was in college. Studied international trade agreements. But, you don’t give a flying fuck about any of that. You wanna know why you’re wearing only a loin cloth.”

“Seems wrong somehow,” Zaman replies as he looks vulnerable and worried. He gets up from the floor and stands on his feet very close to Em.

“Big, masculine guy like you looking so vulnerable,” Em observes. “I find that irresistible. And your cock and balls showing through the thin loin cloth. That’s an added plus. Let me just stare at your package for a few minutes.”

“Am I really here?” Zaman asks.

“Well,” Em says as he moves closer to his hotel guest, “I may be a geek, but I really do not have a scientific mind, so I actually do not know how to explain that to you. But, I see you here in my hotel room. Therefore, you are here physically.” Em is close enough to Zaman to reach out and grab his loin cloth. Em quickly removes the insufficient covering of Zaman’s manhood.

“I’m here because you want me as your sex partner?” Zaman asks.

“Could you just shut the fuck up?” Em asks quickly. “Don’t speak at all. I just wanna look at you standing naked here in front of me like this. I really like having to look up into a man’s eyes when I stand like this directly in front of him. How tall are you? Yes, you may speak. Sorry I said that to you.”

Zaman smiles self-consciously and says, “Six five and a half.”

Em stares at Zaman’s thick cock and says, “I’d say you’ve got more like eight and a half there. Or maybe even nine.”

“Never had sex with a Black man before,” Zaman admits quickly.

Em quickly grabs Zaman’s cock and balls with both his large hands. Zaman gasps as Em expected. “What makes you think we’re gonna have sex here? Maybe I’m merely a sadistic motherfucker who just wants to cut off your big cock and balls and keep them as trophies.” Zaman grabs Em’s wrists as he watches helplessly and screams in horror. Em slices through Zaman’s cock and balls with a shiny silver dagger that is at least twelve inches long. Zaman’s blood splashes over his midsection, legs, and the hotel room floor as the young man falls to his knees, screaming out uncontrollably in extreme pain. Both his large hands cover the messy clump of bleeding flesh where Zaman’s manhood once proudly existed.

Suddenly, Zaman is standing in Em’s hotel room wearing the loincloth. He asks, “Where are we? And why I am wearing this gay stripper costume?”

“Which answer do you want first?” Em asks sarcastically and then continues, “We are together here in—. Oh, just fuck it. Not gonna do this again. We did this already.”

Zaman asks, “Hey, how do you control time like that? You can rewind time so easily.”

Em answers, “Not sure. Just think it. Make it happen. So easily. I can move between the seconds. Like living in the space between my fingers. You can remember what I just did to you cock and balls?”

“Yeah,” Zaman answers as he covers his midsection with both his large hands. “Remember how much it hurt, too.”

“Well, no need for me to repeat that stunt,” Em says. “Better for us to have sex instead.”

“Never had sex with a Black man before,” Zaman admits quickly.

“Me neither, actually,” Em admits. “Only Asian guys. Nobody else.”

Zaman says, “You’re young and muscular. Very sexy. Especially with those red hot swim trunks. You should have all kinds of guys chasing you to get you to fuck them.”

“I like to receive,” Em says plainly with no embarrassment.

“Good. I’m a top,” Zaman says with a confident smile.

“Lose that loincloth and follow me to bed,” Em says.

Zaman quickly tosses the loin cloth across the room to reveal that he is beginning to get aroused. “No more sharp objects?” Zaman asks.

Em shakes his head “no” to assure Zaman that this time, he is unarmed.

When the two men are together under the soft pastel blue sheet on the large hotel bed, Em whispers in Zaman’s left ear, “Unable to resist men like you. Tall. Muscles. Masculine.” Zaman responds to the compliment by sliding down under the blue sheet so that his face is just above Em’s midsection. Zaman’s oral skills impress Em, who writhes and cries out unashamedly in intense pleasure. Zaman’s mouth is full, so he can only grunt with approval when Em shoots.

They stand naked together in silence at the balcony rail and look at the Pacific Ocean. The sun is just reaching the edge of the horizon. Zaman keeps his large right arm around Em’s waist. He quietly says to Em, “Trade me something. I show you a few new things. You teach me how to swim.”

“Don’t know how to swim?” Em asks. “I heard you went swimming in the ocean in California.”

“Not exactly,” Zaman replies with a frown. “Kind of over-reacted. I know that now.”

“What happened?” Em asks as he hugs Zaman to show his approval.

“Alien DNA was forced in me. Changed me. Didn’t want that in me, controlling me. I was so pissed off. Forced me to use my mind telepathically. Couldn’t do that before they controlled me. My mind sent a signal somehow. That led to destruction of the base on the moon. Didn’t want to do that. I killed all those men! The aliens cannot act in the world of humans without having a human that they control. I couldn’t swim. Knew that full well. My only defense. Just walked out into the Pacific Ocean. Until the water was deep enough to submerge me. The waves did the rest. Knocked me over. Felt scary. But, also peaceful.”

Em kisses Zaman’s large right shoulder affectionately. “Let’s get back into bed,” he says softly as he takes Zaman’s right hand to lead him back through the open sliding glass door into the hotel bedroom.

In bed together once again, the two men are playful. Tickling one another leads to biting one another on the neck and lips softly. Zaman throws back the pastel blue sheet and lifts up Em’s legs into the air. He quickly applies a generous amount of thick, clear sex lube to Em. As he feels Zaman’s large fingers slipping unmercifully in and out of him, Em exhales vocally with pleasure. Zaman positions his muscular frame on top of Em and thrusts himself repeatedly and forcefully downward, bouncing Em roughly on the luxurious hotel bed. Em convulses with an intense orgasm and shouts out in ecstatic release as Zaman unloads into him completely.

In the middle of that same night during a dream, Em is walking naked by himself along the edge of the ocean illuminated by an eerie full moon. He smiles as he remembers having sex with Zaman. Now I just have sex? Any time I want. Is that what I’m supposed to do? His smile fades quickly when he hears a ferocious cry from some unknown flying beast somewhere up in the sky. Em watches the flying dragon pass directly in front of the amazing full moon. In the morning as Em sits with Zaman naked at a small round table where breakfast is being served, he nervously says to Zaman, “Had a dream about a flying dragon.”

“That’s okay,” Zaman says, “You can trust me to keep your secrets. What do you think it meant?”

“Don’t know for certain,” Em admits as he sips his orange juice. “Always was afraid of dragons since I was a kid in the Bay Area, though.”

“Grownups never told you dragons don’t really exist?”

“Funny,” Em replies. “The dragons I saw were real. In street parades. Giant puppet dragons. In the Bay Area there are many festivals and parades to celebrate the year of this or the year of that. The beginning of the lunar year. Whatever. My parents were these cool professors at Berkeley. So, like all self-respecting African American parents will do, mine wanted to make sure their young dark-skinned boy was properly introduced to the cultural artifacts of Asian holidays. Dragons on parade. Scared the shit out of me at the age of four.”

“What about your own artifacts? What does that word even mean?” Zaman replies with a chuckle.

“My own culture—African American, that is—was mainly celebrated through the music Black people create. Jazz from the Twentieth. Hip-Hop from the Twenty-First. Circle chorales from the Twenty-Third. That kind of thing. And, of course, all the Black culture foods and beverages.”

“What’s this all got to do with dragons?” Zaman asks.

“Absolutely nothing at all. My parents wanted to broaden my cultural sensitivities. Always fucking took me to dragon parades in the Bay Area. I was only four. Stood right down there on the street when the parade started passing me. My parents pushed me out into the street so I would be very close to see the parade. I was okay with that because they were right there behind me on the edge of the sidewalk. One of those big, red dragon puppets with several guys inside comes dancing and prancing towards me like all dragons do in those parades. Scared me like nothing ever had before. Something went wrong. Maybe because I screamed? The guys who were working the puppet inside lost their footing while dancing. I saw a giant red dragon head coming down directly on top of me. Just a four-year-old Black boy from Berkeley. So out of place and vulnerable. The jagged teeth were sharp. One of those obviously fake dragon teeth reaches my chest. It scratches me there only slightly. A little blood. But, then I noticed it had somehow torn through my favorite tee shirt. Well, I screamed again. Like I had been electrocuted. The first guy in the front under the giant puppet head was this beefy Asian teenager. He falls over on top of me as he trips over the puppet head’s inner fabric and ropes. Ended up with me on the bottom and him on top of me. The inside of the giant dragon puppet head completely covers the two of us lying there on the street. I never had been so physically close to another guy before. He was handsome. I remember the intoxicating scent of his body. And the thickness of his neck. Passed out. Don’t remember anything more.”

Zaman sits there with his mouth wide open in surprise.

Em explains, “I knew I liked guys. Even at age four. How is that even possible?”

“That awareness just happens naturally,” Zaman says.

“Always get hard for muscular Asian guys. Snuck around as a teenager. Any place around the Bay Area where I could find Asian guys my age.”

“You ever come out to your parents?” Zaman asks.

“Yeah, very recently,” Em replies. “They were outwardly fine with me. My mom seemed kind of sad about not having grandchildren. I’m an only child. What about you?”

“My parents were Arabic but were born in the United States. Both were on a Foreign Service assignment in Qatar. That’s where I was born. They were killed in the Middle East regional terrorist attacks of Twenty-Nine Oh Four.”

“So sorry to hear that,” Em says quickly.

“Yeah,” Zaman replies with a sad face. “Both my brothers were killed in Qatar that same day. I happened to be in New York City when it happened.”

“You ever go back to Qatar?” Em asks quietly as he touches Zaman’s left forearm gently.

“Couldn’t face doing so. But, no denying that I came from an Arabic culture, right? My father taught me what I needed to know. My name, Dani, means near or close. And my surname, Zaman, means time or age or era. Those count as my cultural artifacts?”

“Yeah, why not,” Em answers quickly as he moves his hand down to grab tightly onto Zaman’s left hand. “What kinds of guys you like most?”

“Masculine,” Zaman replies. “And genuine. No hiding. No falsehoods. I wasn’t expecting you to be so open.”

Em starts getting tears in his eyes suddenly.

“What’s wrong?” Zaman wants to know.

“Well, for starters, you’re dead. Trapped in my brain’s biochemistry,” Em replies as he fights to not burst into tears.

“I can still fuck you,” Zaman announces proudly. “You experienced that already.”

“Yeah, I do know that,” Em admits. “But, I feel like I’m more than just a little crazy. I mean, you’re dead and you’re fucking me. That’s real sane for a grown-up man like me, isn’t it?”

“You gotta not focus on that part of it,” Zaman says.

“That part of it,” Em repeats back.

“We can have sex as much as you want,” Zaman says as his large right index finger pokes into the center of Em’s chest directly between the pectorals and moves slowly downward towards the abs. “You feel me. Genuine enough, right?”

“Yeah. Would it sound like a total amateur if I admitted you’re the best fuck I’ve ever had?” Em asks with embarrassment.

“I appreciate that,” Zaman responds gently, knowing how difficult it was for Em to say that aloud to him. “You can be as open with me as you want. Nothing to lose here.”

“I fantasized about being raped by Greg Chen,” Em says to Zaman without any prelude. “The morning I was ordered to Yucca Mountain. Chen didn’t rape me. I always wanted him to. He never did. It was just me. Just in my head. I was helpless. He owned me. Wanted him inside me. All the time. He was rough. Just perfectly rough. He was bad to me. Not good for me. Wanted him dead. Wanted to watch him being beheaded. Not how I really want to think about guys. So, I broke up with him by phone. From underneath some mountain in the damn Mojave Desert. Couldn’t face what I had done. Made up being raped. Compensating. He was just rough. Never genuine. Only rough.”

“You okay with all that now?” Zaman asks.

“Not really. Moved on. No more rape fantasies. No longer even think about beheadings. Something different now. I just see myself gently holding hold Chen’s lifeless body in my hands. Made no progress at all,” Em replies with tears in his eyes. “Not sure how Chen died. At least his head wasn’t cut off.”

Zaman replies, “You obviously need a real, living man to share your life with.”

“Yeah, well, good luck to me in finding him,” Em quickly shoots back at Zaman.

“You can work on that,” Zaman says. “But, first things first. You must prove to the aliens that you are going to succeed compared to me. I failed them. They certainly won’t want you walking out into the sea at high tide.”

“How do I convince them of something I’m not even sure of?” Em asks.

“Fake your confidence,” Zaman says. “The rest will follow.”

“Well, I quit MMDI. Twenty years ago. I left without notice. I think that makes me unemployed right now.”

Zaman replies, “Not really. You now you work for the aliens.”

“I jumped forward in time to get away from MMDI and the aliens,” Em says.

“You cannot get away from the aliens. Don’t you get that? They travel in more than three dimensions,” Zaman reminds Em. “They can manipulate humans on any level at any time they choose.”

“They put a dragon into my dream last night as some kind of threat to me?”

“What do you think?” Zaman asks. “They can read your childhood memories and nightmares like everything is just posted right out on an open network with no encryption. They travel in multiple dimensions. How difficult do you think it is for them to implant images and scenes into the dreams of mortal men?”

“Okay, you’ve made your point,” Em says.

“You have to help them get what they want,” Zaman says. “Without giving yourself away totally to them in the process. Learn from my mistakes.”

“Time travel operations stopped twenty years ago. Eduardo told me he calculated that human civilization would descend into chaos in twenty-five years after time travel missions were stopped,” Em says. “By his math, there are only five years left. Some planetary event. Gonna destroy all life on Earth. Unless I find a way to restore time travel operations.”

“If I were you, I would not accept anything that computer in charge of MMDI tells you,” Zaman replies. “You now are more powerful than that computer. You don’t need MMDI. Or technology. You can travel in time like the aliens do. MMDI will see you as a definite threat now. Because you’ve become competition. MMDI never had any such challenge before.”

“What are you suggesting I should do?”

“You could start your own time travel operations. Like the aliens do, you were given the power to travel in time without machines. You would just need to recruit other guys to share that same power.”

“You mean I would need to inject alien DNA into other guys?” Em asks. “Are you kidding me? You know how agonizing that feels for a guy?”

“Yes, I felt it, too,” Zaman says. “Look, if a guy survives the agony, he’s good to go. You could become the leader of a new era of time travel here on Earth. No need for using Lunar Blue. No more wave effect. No technology required at all. You have all the DNA you need. It’s in you. Nobody can take that away from you. Not even the aliens can do that. Right now, you are the absolute best prospect for them. You’re all they’ve got here on this planet.”

Em sits there in stunned silence for nearly two minutes. When he replies to Zaman, Em says, “That’s what all this has been leading up to? Is that what they want from me?”

“I don’t know. I certainly do not speak for them,” Zaman says quickly.

“I need to think this through,” Em admits. “A very risky move for me to do. I would be helping aliens take over humanity here on Earth. Kind of a serious step, don’t you think?”

“You believe that time travel operations must be restored,” Zaman says. “You need to restore time travel, then. Just not like it was with MMDI 20 years ago.”

“Eduardo made all the decisions,” Em says. “He told me he was crucial to time travel. He made all the decisions about which timelines were to be repaired. He also made all decisions about which agents got sent back in time for the repair mission. His existence enabled MMDI to function. A human being could never do all that. The computing power that Eduardo has outdistances whatever new mental capabilities I have today with the alien DNA. Whatever I may do, I still need Eduardo. Yet, I don’t wanna trust him.”

Zaman says, “Get your mind off this right now. Come back and look at this later. With a fresh perspective. Focus on something else.” Zaman stands up next to Em at the balcony table with a full erection and steps closer to Em so that his cock touches the left side of Em’s lips gently. Em turns his head playfully so that his lips slowly align directly with Zaman’s impressive erection. Em opens his mouth wide and accepts Zaman’s member into the warmth of human body temperature and the silky smoothness of saliva. On the street level at the back of the Iquique luxury hotel a couple of shirtless teenage boys are wrestling each other playfully in the street. But, they stop immediately as they hear Zaman’s orgasmic shouts echoing down from the balcony four stories above them.

Afterwards, Zaman sits next to Em and says softly, “I can see on your face what you’re concerned. But, I have no reason to lie to you. None. That computer that runs MMDI has every reason to do whatever it takes to protect the agency. That MMDI computer attempted to control you. Now you are controlled by the aliens. You’re thinking that you’re double-fucked.”

“That’s right. What options do I have?”

“Well, you certainly are not behaving like you’re the world’s smartest man!” Zaman says. “Along with your own knowledge and memories, you have DNA from extragalactic aliens plus DNA from three highly-intelligent MMDI agents, plus all of the MMDI time travel mission records. And, your take-home prize today is this slightly used gay stripper costume.” Zaman reaches behind his back and reveals that he had been hiding the loincloth. He tosses it at Em, who tries to catch it. But, the loincloth sails over the edge of the balcony. Down below on the street, the two teenage boys continue to look up the side of the hotel building to see if they can figure out from where the orgasmic shouting has come. Zaman’s loincloth lands gently from the sky directly onto the upturned face of the beefier of the two teenage boys.

Once again Em is walking naked by himself along the edge of the ocean illuminated by an eerie full moon. He hears a ferocious cry from some unknown flying beast somewhere up in the sky. Em watches the deep black silhouette of a flying dragon with an immense wingspan pass directly in front of the full moon. “Maybe I need to be obvious. Talk to this thing. Feels real. Not like a dream,” Em says aloud.

The immense dragon stands regally on the beach directly in front of him. “Dragon of Zofri, let me approach you,” Em says aloud to the beast, who tilts his head sidewise and gets a puzzled like a dog will do when you give him a verbal command. Em continues walking forward toward the dragon on the beach, who stands silently with no apparent nefarious intentions. Once Em is sufficiently close, the dragon tilts his head downward and opens his huge mouth to reveal spectacularly dangerous jagged teeth. The dragon’s throat emits a loud, yet friendly sound almost like that of a purring domesticated feline, so Em feels no fear.

One of the dragon’s sharp teeth touches Em’s muscular chest above his right nipple. In so doing, a small cut about the size of a postage stamp is made in Em’s skin, allowing a tiny stream of deep red blood to catch the fluorescent moonlight as the scarlet stream flows down slowly onto Em’s right nipple. Em throws his head back; he’s emotionally aroused by the small incision on his chest. Then, Em realizes that he suddenly has achieved a full erection. The top of the dragon’s tail curves ever so gently around Em’s muscular legs. Em stretches out both his arms and opens his hands in a gesture of acceptance. The narrow tip of the dragon’s tail draws closer to Em’s buttocks as he loses himself in considering impossible outcomes that might happen to him next.

“I remember when I was a very young child, a student,” Em explains to Zaman while both men are seated naked at a small round table over breakfast on the balcony at the Zofri resort, “I learned in school what all students have learned for generations.”

“About how time travel began,” Zaman says.

“Yeah,” Em replies. “How the Chinese government perfected time travel shrouded in secrecy. They had some huge facility underground below the city of Nanchang. They had discovered a rare extraterrestrial substance on the moon that they named Lunar Blue. They mixed this substance with terrestrial elements to create a power source for their time travel technology.”

“What are you thinking?” Zaman asks. “Going back to Nanchang to change that timeline?”

“Exactly,” Em replies. “That timeline needs to be corrected. Chinese leaders boldly went public and announced to the world that China intended to use time travel as a weapon to take over all nations on Earth. People all over the world responded in fear. A war of nations against China seemed imminent. But, unexpectedly, China fell into irreversible panic and chaos when over one and a half million people were killed in a nanosecond in Nanchang because of technical problems at the time travel facility. What if we go back to the past? To 2191 and Nanchang. What if we make sure that explosion takes place? We would be responsible for creating the mass casualty event known as the Nanchang blue inferno and we would end the use of time travel technology fueled by Lunar Blue.”

With his heart rate unimaginably high with anticipation, Em materializes wearing his obligatory uniform and boots inside the deep underground facility in Twenty-One Ninety-One where the Chinese are conducting their time travel experiments. As he stands in a cavernous warehouse with dozens of rows of spherical storage containers about the size of a human that are filled with Lunar Blue, Em confidently smiles. He knows that he has arrived at his intended destination.

“What kind of mess do you imagine we both can make here?” Zaman asks as he stands next to Em in the warehouse also wearing in the same uniform and boots.

“That MMDI uniform certainly looks great on you,” Em says as his eyes carefully examine Zaman’s entire body. “Never saw you wearing that before.”

“You dressed me like this. How I’m costumed says a lot about your sexual fantasies,” Zaman replies.

“Maybe we should focus on our mission here,” Em says. “Not sex. Give me a situation report.”

“You’re the boss,” Zaman says. “While we are here in 2191, we exist in the space between the seconds. We both are moving faster than the typical flow of time,” Zaman explains. “I could fuck you eight times right here on this warehouse floor. To us, it would seem like hours passed. But, if any of the Chinese army security guys are trying to observe us through all those cameras up there above us, since we’re moving so incredibly fast in time compared to them, we’re completely invisible and undetectable.”

“Only eight times?” Em asks. “You feeling a little weak today?”

“You can take me to a hotel later and I will give you what you need. First, we need to cause the explosions down here that will destroy this entire inventory of Lunar Blue.”

Seated at the head of a large round conference table in an ultra-contemporary office environment in 2192, Em is wearing an all-black uniform and boots as he addresses several older gentlemen. “Thank you all for agreeing to let me talk with you all here in Brasilia face to face,” he says. “And I am grateful that you are with me in person and that we are not using communication technology. You represent the scientific, military, and corporate sectors of the United States, Europe, Canada, Argentina, Colombia, and Brazil. I appreciate the expense that you all brought upon yourselves to be here in person with me this historic morning.  I know that my looks certainly can be deceiving. You may be wondering how can it be possible for a such a young man from Berkeley, California to offer you the power of human time travel without technology. How could this young man have succeeded after the Chinese government and military and scientific community failed?” Em quickly explains how he has time travel capabilities using his mind because he was given alien DNA.

“An injection of DNA,” Em says. “That is how it all begins. Each recipient must consent to such an injection. Fully informed. Deliberate choice. Can never be reversed. Very painful. It is agonizingly painful. I tell you this with complete transparency. I will supply the DNA injections from our benefactors.” The attendees show their approval by applauding.

“You are crucial to this process,” Em says. “I ask you begin immediately to recruit the young men whom you think will succeed as agents in this time travel effort. To maintain absolute secrecy, any man who is not selected from the total pool of recruits will have his specific memories about the recruitment process wiped away. I can use time travel capability to change men’s memories easily. So, I assure you with absolute certainty that secrecy will be preserved.” Once again, there is applause in the meeting.

Em continues: “Together we will create an agency for time travel operations out of our meetings here in Brazil. I will provide the leadership initially, but I will then turn things over to anyone else whom you select after the first year of operations. I will start by providing the required orientation and training of the men whom I select from the pool of recruits to become time travel agents. An objective computer will select the time travel missions to the past. Keep track of the changes made. No interference whatsoever will come from our benefactors. There is only one catch. We will be able to conduct time travel. But, we cannot use technology. We will travel in time using our enhanced DNA together with new powers created within our brains. Because we will not use technology for time travel, we are choosing to be respectful of all life beyond our home planet. In making that choice, we will be sparing the known universe of any adverse effects of time travel stemming from what we humans do.” Because of his efforts and persuasiveness that year in Brasilia, Em secures the funding and backing to create what will become the second iteration of MMDI.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Inside a five-star resort hotel suite in Chile in 2351 overlooking the bright blue Pacific Ocean, Em and Zaman sit naked at the edge of the very large bed. They are covered in intense perspiration. Expensive bedding covers them from their waists down to the luxuriously thick, red carpet on the floor. “Eight times,” Em whispers to Zaman. “You promised me eight. I expect to be fucked two more times,” he says as he uses both his hands aggressively to shove Zaman off the bed so that he lands on his butt on the floor.

– – – – – – – – – – – – –

Episode 17 is next
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