Жанр книги: Научная Фантастика
Robert A Heinlein To Sail Beyond The Sunset

2) I had been rescued from certain death, across the centuries. (When an eighteen-wheeler runs over a person my size, they pick up the remains with blotting paper. )

3) Colonel Richard Campbell had twice been rescued from certain death and had had history changed simply to calm his soul, because his services were needed to save the computer that led the Lunar revolution on time line three.

4) Theodore himself had been missing in action, chopped half in two by machine-gun fine. .. yet he had been rescued and restored without even a scar.

S) My father was ‘missing in action', too. The AFS didn't even get round to reporting him as missing until long after the fact and there were no details.

6) In the thought experiment called ‘Schrõdinger's Cat' the scientists(? ), or philosophers, or metaphysicians, who devised it, maintain that the cat is neither dead nor alive but simply a fog of probabilities, until somebody opens the box.

I don't believe it. I don't think Pixel would believe it.

But - Is my father alive? or dead? away back there in the twentieth century?

So I spoke to Jubal about it.

He said, ‘I can't tell you, Mama Maureen. How badly do you want your father to be alive? '

‘More than anything in the world! '

‘Enough to risk everything on it? Your life? Still worse, the chance of disappointment? Of knowing that all hope is gone? '

I sighed deeply. ‘Yes. All of that'

‘Then join the Time Corps and learn how such things are done. In a few years - ten to twenty years, I would guess you will be able to form an intelligent opinion. '

‘Ten to twenty years! '

It could take longer. But the great beauty about time manipulations is that there is always plenty of time, never any hurry. '

When I told Ishtar that I wanted to take an indefinite leave of absence, she did not ask me why. She simply said, ‘Mama, I have known for some time that you were not happy in this work; I have been waiting for you to discover it. '

She kissed me. ‘Perhaps next century you will find a true vocation for this work. There is no hurry. Meanwhile, be happy. '

So for about twenty years of my personal time tine and almost seven years of Boondock time I went where I was told to go and reported on what I was told to investigate. Never as a fighter. Not like Gretchen whose first baby is descended both from me (Colonel Ames is my grandson through Lazarus) and from my co-wife Hazel/Gwen (Gretchen is Hazel's great-granddaughter) - Major Gretchen is a big, strong, strapping Valkyrie, reputed to be sudden death with or without weapons.

Fighting is not for Maureen. But de Time Corps needs all sorts. My talent for languages and my love of history makes me suitable to be sent to ‘scout the Land of Canaan' - or Nippon in the 1930s - or whatever country or planet needs scouting. My only other talent is sometimes useful, too.

So with twenty years of practice and some preliminary research in history of time line two, second phase of the Permanent War, I signed off for a weekend and bought a ticket on a Burroughs-Carter time-space bus, one with a scheduled stop in New Liverpool, 1950, intending to scout the history of the 1939-1945 War a little closer up. Hilda had developed a thriving black-market trade through the universes; one of her companies supplied scheduled services to the explored time lines and planets for a bracket of dates - exact date of choice available if you pay for it.

The bus driver had just announced ‘New Liverpool Earth Prime 1950 time line two next stop! Don't leave any personal possessions aboard' - when there was a loud noise, the bus lurched, a trip attendant said, ‘Emergency exit - this way, please' - and somebody handed me a baby, there was much smoke, and I saw a man with a bloody stump where his hand should have been.

I guess I passed out, as I don't remember what happened next.

I woke up in bed with Pixel and a corpse.