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Aiyana Kaleya Zheutlin had been reading strange languages for the past three weeks, ever since returning to the present and the arctic base of Operation or rather Project Retrograde and discovering how much of the present they’d changed. Something Kelgarries and the fastidious and annoying Dr. Antoine Barnes had mentioned in their briefing when the six time agents got back caught her interest.
She was pouring over photographs and reports on The British Museum’s collection of clay tablets originally discovered in the ruins of the ancient city of Nineveh by Austen Henry Layard in 1849. The Library of Nineveh’s King Ashurbanipal was a monumentally historic find. It contained important works, all on baked clay tablets, such as the Epic of Gilgamesh and the Law Code of Hammurabi, the former included a non-Biblical account of a great flood like the one in the Book of Genesis.
The Museum’s collections database counted 30,943 tablets in the entire Nineveh library collection. Most were written in cuneiform and a few in other near east languages. However, Aiyana was looking for clues of the use of a previously unknown language in these records.
Two days before he took his first trip through the time gate, Major John Kelgarries had a hush-hush meeting at Operation Retrograde with Antoine R. Barnes, Head of the Temporal Mechanics division, the last word in temporal field operations and perhaps the one person in the operation who actually understood the Forerunner time map.
It was late. Just about everyone was asleep at the arctic base except those personnel on night duty. They were in a small conference room. Barnes had cut the surveillance feeds. This was strictly off the record.
“That’s the long and the short of it, Major. Assuming your mission to bring back the survivors is successful, I can only predict to a 48% accuracy how our history and our present will be changed.”
Found at flickr.com
Major John Kelgarres had been the military commander of Operation Retrograde for over five years but in all that time, he’d never gone through a gate. Not until today.
“Are you sure your presence is really required John. After all, we know our job.”
“It’s not you Gordon. I’m Walter Byrd’s C.O. I’m responsible for the safety of the men and women under my command. Byrd’s been out of touch for a long time. He and his people have been stuck tens of thousands of years in the past. They thought we gave up on them, they thought they were alone, cut off. If there’s any doubt he’ll order his team to come home, I’m here to see otherwise.”
Krenim timelines from the two part Star Trek: Voyager episode, “Year of Hell”.
At what used to be Folsom base in a hidden canyon in 21st century Arizona, four men and two women walked through the time gate temporal field and disappeared. Kelgarries said a silent prayer. His long wait for their return began…or so he thought.
Ashe, Murdock, Zheutlin, Huỳnh, Fox, and Romanovich stepped through the other side of the gate. A forerunner base, operational, new…and populated.
“They’re dying. They’ll all dying.” Ross stared in horror suspecting the terrible secret of the alien time gate modifications.
There must have been dozens of Forerunners dressed in their blue-gray skinsuits. They had all collapsed on the floor, writhing in pain, choking.
“Back,” Ashe commanded. Back before the gate closes.”