The ins and outs of time travel were way over Hiram Bloch’s head, but his latest mission was the answer to the question everyone on the planet had pondered since the 1940s:
“If you could go back in time and kill Hitler, would you do it?”
The answer to this question had ranged from the satirical to the serious. In this case however, the answer was decided for Hiram. The technology was created, tested, and perfected. The history records were poured over, and the mission handed down to Hiram from the top brass of the newly minted Flow Force. This task was not his first, but definitely make-or-break career-wise for him. If successful, he would get a medal, maybe a parade, and a guaranteed ticket to Temple for Yom Kippur.
Hiram glanced down at the badge he kept in his pocket.
“Why the fuck did they call this military branch Flow Force?” He questioned for the tenth time that week. “It sounds like we’re all on our period.”
The image on it was similar to the Aquarius star sign encircled with the words “Time Flows Through Us All, We Heed the Call”.
Hiram rubbed it and felt the cool metal on his fingertips. He did this as part of his pre-jump ritual. It was a silly superstition, but it gave him a sense of comfort, and he hadn’t been atomized in the pulse field mid-jump yet.
“You’re up next.” Said the engineer from behind the console next to the “Hopper”, the classified (to the public) internal nickname for the time machine.
The military felt the need to keep time travel hush hush from the average citizen. Imagine it being commercialized and used for such trivial things as re-doing family gatherings that went bad, or not-so-trivial things like elections where the loser can’t accept the outcome. No, the general time stream, while malleable to a point, needed constantly monitored to ensure no permanent damage done, at least nothing unintentional.
Hiram put his badge back into his pocket, took an earpiece from a tray next to the engineer, placed it in his ear, and stepped into the machine, the hum drowning out everything else but his thoughts. He gave his mission a run-through in his mind one last time. It was simple in nature, but historically speaking a game changer. The document he received had only two bullet points:
1. Find Hitler.
2. Kill Hitler.
They didn’t specify Adolph Hitler. No address, picture, nothing. They didn’t feel the need to be specific, because how many Hitlers in the past could they possibly refer to?
The hum of the machine had grown more intense, and a rhythm had begun to emerge. It surrounded him, making him sway slightly. He got down on one knee and closed his eyes. The first time he saw someone else do this was before his first mission. He thought they had tried to copy the movies, but the hum was addictive, and you couldn’t help but sway. The scientists told them it had something to do with harmonics or magnetic fields or some bullshit he hadn’t quite paid attention to. The only thing that mattered was this: Sway too far in any direction and it would throw you out of sync with the jump and you could lose a limb or worse. To be fair, when you arrived at your destination, you did look cool.