Destined for Greatness

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

I had a story line pop into my head. Not my usual style, but it was a fun write. I hope you enjoy it.

Destined for Greatness

Gail D Prentice

 

General Wooten, Post Commander of Fort McCall, paced nervously around his office.  Three of the four scouts had not yet returned from their rounds.  Corporal Leevey stood quietly at the end of the general’s desk as they waited for word from the other scouts.

“General,” Corporal Leevey broke the silence. “May I take a squad to search for them?  I would start with Private Masters route and work out from there.”

General Wooten stopped pacing.  A deathly silence filled the room.  Then the solid clomp of his heels began again.

“Get a squad ready,” the general began.  “I’ll wait thirty more minutes before I send you out.”

“Yes sir,” Corporal Leavey snapped to attention and waited for the dismissed order.

“Well, get on with it!” Wooten snapped, quite agitated.

Leavey gave a quick salute and headed for the door at a swift pace.

For General Wooten, thirty minutes seemed an eternity, but for Corporal Leevey, it was mere seconds.

With five men’s horses saddled and at the ready, Leevey and his squad sat outside the general’s window, not so patiently waiting for the nod to go.  All five horses swayed from side to side, kicking up a small fog of dust with their hooves.  They, too, were ready to get a move on.

General Wooten waved at the squad and they immediately spurred their horses and galloped out the main gate and headed southwest, as the main gate closed quietly behind them.

For two hours, they traveled southwest.  They spread out to approximately one hundred yards between themselves and studied the ground for the tracks of the familiar US Calvary horseshoe print in the soft dusty trails.  They moved quickly but meticulously, examining the ground studying all tracks.

About the third hour toward the southwest, a cloud bank rolled.  It appeared to be a very dense fog.  The men remained in contact with each other by an occasional shout.  Twenty minutes later, the fog lifted as quickly as it appeared.

From that point on, they lost sight of any possible track, deer or even coyote, they assembled on the hill overlooking the Crow River, eight miles from the fort.

“This is so odd,” Corporal Leevey commented as they all dismounted.  “Not so much of a sign of a horse from three miles out.  How can that be?”

“Not as odd as that fog,” Collins said, raising concern with the other riders.  “Did you notice that there was no moisture in that fog?  Did you feel like it was an odorless smoke with particles of something, yet nothing in it?”

“Take the horses down to the river and water ‘em, rest ‘em and we will split up and go east and west on the riverbank looking for something.  If any of the other scouts made it this far, they left tracks in the mud.”

It was silent as the men walked their horses to the river.  There, they dropped the reins and walked over to a shade tree along the Crow River’s edge.  They all sat on the ground and enjoyed the coolness of the earth.  That was so much better than the pounding heat of the saddle.

Thirty minutes later, they instinctively stood to their feet and headed to the Crow River to gather their mounts and start the search again.

“Private Root,” Corporal Leevey ordered, “Head back to Fort McCall and see if any of the scouts showed up.  I will be headed west on the Crow. Bring me word.”

Without a word, Private Root mounted his horse and galloped away in the direction of Fort McCall.

“Collins, Graves, go east.  Samuels and I will take the west,” Leevey ordered.  “Make it quick.  Try to make it five miles, then circle back within eyesight of the river.  We’ll meet back here about dark.”

Instantly, the two mounted and headed eastward without a word, Collins on the river’s edge and Graves keeping about fifty yards from the river.  Leevey and Samuels assumed the same positioning, headed westward.

The next six hours were arduous.  Everybody’s eyes were straining to see anything that even remotely looked like a horse print with an Army shoe print.  Nothing.  In fact, the sight of deer, coyote, or bobcat was strangely missing.  It was as though the river was not there at all or the water was tainted, and the men did not recognize it.  The horses did not act peculiar or disoriented. The water had to be fine.  How could there be no recognizable signs of life along a flowing river in the middle of absolutely nowhere?

Five miles of nothing as Collins and Graves studied the terrain.  Collins, reining his horse around, motioned for Graves to head further away and they headed back to rendezvous with Leevey and Samuels.

As they drew close to the point of the river where they parted company, they saw Root riding hard toward them.

“Did you find Leevey?” Collins said as the three dismounted.

“I don’t know what is going on,” Root said breathlessly as he dismounted his lathered-up horse. “I did not find Leevey or Samuels.  You are not going to believe this, but Fort McCall is gone.  There is not even a trace that it was ever there.”

“Aw come on Root,” Graves chuckled, “We all know how you enjoy spinning a yarn.”

“I am serious,” Root almost shouted, his voice trembling in terror. “Nothing, I mean nothing is there.  Not a horse, not a man, not a building.  The latrine isn’t there.  You know that you can smell that for a quarter of a mile.”

“We’ll wait until dark for Leevey and Samuels to show up, then we’ll go from there.  In the meantime, unsaddle the horses, rest them and water them,” Graves suggested.

“You don’t believe me, do you,” Root shouted. “Dead gum it, I am not storying to you.”

An hour later, the three men rose to their feet and trekked to the river to gather the horses. Leading them back to the tree, they saddled them and stared of to the west, trying to spot Leevey and Samuels.

“Something isn’t right here,” Collins started.  “It has been dark for a while and Corporal Leevey isn’t here.  He is the most punctual man I have ever known.  Let’s ride west for a bit and see if we can find them.

“Root, you and Graves take it further away from the river.  Stay in sight of each other.  We have close to a full moon tonight, so we can see quite a distance.”

The three men rode for an hour westward up the Crow River. Stopping, they rallied together to discuss the next move.

They gathered what firewood they could find and started a fire.  Surely that would create enough light to be seen for quite a ways up and down the river.  Then they waited.  They took some hardtack from the saddle bags and munched on the hard, stale bread and waited some more.

The night was quiet.  It was deathly quiet.  Not so much as a cricket.  No coyote howling in the distance, no owl hooting, not even a mosquito buzzed around their ears.  It seemed that each of the men could even hear each other’s heartbeat.  The rhythm of the heartbeats was different and eerily loud.  This was a silence they had never before experienced.

“This is not right,” Graves whispered softly.

“I told you so,” Root said a bit louder.  “But you wouldn’t believe me.”

“We never said that we didn’t believe you, Root,” Collins almost scolded.

“You did not have to,” Root sassed back.  “Your voices said it, though.”

“How long should we wait?” Graves asked.

Collins drew his revolver and shot three times in the air.  Then waited for a response.  After a few moments, he fired three more rounds into the silent night sky, and waited as he reloaded.  Nothing.

“Okay, let’s head to Fort McCall.  If Leevey and Samuels were anywhere close, they would have heard and answered,” Collins ordered.

“I’m telling you,” Root said excitedly, “there is no Fort McCall. It is gone.”

“Well, we need to start somewhere,” Graves said as he swung his leg over the horses back. “We are getting nowhere just sitting here.”

The ride toward Fort McCall was incredibly quiet.  Not once did they hear a coyote, an owl, or a cricket.  The horse’s hooves, even at a walk seemed to be loud and heavy.  Every squeak of the leather saddles was almost deafening.

Four hours later, they crested the hill just south of Fort McCall.  Their gaze fell upon more darkness.  There were no familiar lamps in the guard towers or lights hanging out from the front gate.  Just darkness.  Vast darkness and open prairie.

“What the…” Collins started.

“I told you,” Root interrupted.  “There is no Fort McCall.  It is gone.  Corporal Levey and Samuels are gone.  I don’t know what is happening, but this is creepy.”

“For once, Root, I agree with you,” Graves said softly.  “Something is really out of order here.”

“Make camp here on this knoll.  We will be able to see much more in the morning.  Get some sleep.  We will need to be fresh in the morning,” Corporal Collins ordered.

As Corporal Leevey and Samuels trekked to the west, again finding that there were no tracks of any kind anywhere.  Corporal Leevey even crossed the river and checked the other side for tracks.  Even more confused than they were, they turned to the east and searched the ground back to the rendezvous.

About halfway back to meet with Collins and Graves, Leevey and Samuels entered another freakish but brief fog.  Again, as quickly as they entered, they exited in a few minutes to find that the track that their horses had left going west were now strangely gone.

Arriving at the rendezvous Leevey looked blankly at his partner, Samuels.

“Have you ever seen anything so strange?  Not as much as a hoof print of or anything.  Now there is no sign that we were even here six hours ago.”

Looking upward, Samuels observed a strange object.  It was larger than any star or even the sun for that matter.  It just hung there as if suspended on a rope from the sky.  The light of the late rising moon illuminated it.  The bluish-green essence stood out vividly in the darkened night sky.

“Is that a comet,” Samuels asked as he pointed to the object.  “I have never seen anything like it.  It doesn’t appear to be moving like a comet.”

Corporal Leevey looked skyward.  “That is not a comet.  At least not a comet like I have ever seen before.  That thing is massive and much closer than any star, sun, moon, or comet could be.”

The two stood there, mesmerized by the sight in complete silence.

“Let’s camp here for the night,” Leavey suggested.  “Get a fire started and I’ll stake out the horses.”

About twenty minutes later, the horses grew very nervous and started pulling at the restraint, keeping them anchored to the tree where they were tethered.

Out of nowhere, two men approached from the darkness.  “Do not be alarmed,” one of them called as they entered the flickering light of the fire, Samuels had started.  “We are not going to hurt you.”

Both Leavey and Samuels leaped from the ground where they were sitting and drew their revolvers.  “You had better identify yourselves,” Leavey ordered as he pulled back on the hammer.

“We are Alderman and Lavenski, officers of the Allied Space Continuum,” Alderman introduced.  “There has been a mistake made and we are here to set things right in time.”

“Allied Space what,” Samuels said as he pulled his hammer back also.

“We are not here to harm you,” Alderman repeated.  “Please lower your weapons and here us out.”

“Better yet, why don’t you raise your hands where we can see them and come closer,” Leavey ordered firmly.  “I need to see who I am talking to.”

“Fair enough,” Lavenski said as they raised their hands and began walking slowly.

As they drew nearer, Leavey and Samuels noticed a uniform of some sort on each man and each had a different insignia on the front of their right shoulder and an unfamiliar flag on their left shoulder across from what appeared to be their rank.

Ten feet from the fire, Leavey ordered them to stop and sit on the ground with their feet spread apart and their hands on their knees.

“Now, if either one of you make a move, we will be forced to shoot.  I don’t know who you are, where you are from, but I know that you are not form anywhere close to here.  So, start talking.”

“What we are about to tell you is going to sound unbelievable,” one of the men began.  “My name is Ship Vice-Commander Abram Alderman.  We are from planet Earth.  In fact, I am from Oregon.  Portland to be exact.  My partner, Senior Science Commander Ezra Levenski, is from Pueblo, Colorado.

“I know,” Senior Science Commander Ezra Levenski quickly continued, “that you do not recognize these towns or states for that matter, but rest assured, that in twenty-eight years, they will be real.”

Levenski paused for a moment to let that much soak in, and then continued.  “I said that an error was made.  In fact, there were several mistakes made.

“We were attempting to create a time travel mechanism, at least that is terms that you will understand, that would assist us to jump time barriers into the past to prevent certain occurrences from happening to keep peace among the inhabitants of the Milky Way Galaxy, specifically the Delta Quadrant, which includes Earth.”

“Now, hold on here.  Do you really expect us to believe this ridiculous story?” Samuels raised his revolver to eye level.

“No, we really don’t,” Vice Commander Alderman said firmly.  “The best we can do is prove it, if you will let us.”

“Prove it how,” Leavey quizzed.

“May I move,” Alderman asked?

“Very slowly,” Leavey allowed.

Alderman slowly reached to his chest and tapped what appeared to be his rank emblem.  “Chief Alcove, transport Item One six meters to my west in thirty parsecs.

“Don’t be alarmed,” Alderman looked at Leavey.  “In five Earth seconds, a small box of documents will appear two feet from you.  I want you to open the box and retrieve the document on top.  It will be a historical document of the building and opening of Fort McCall.  You, Norris Leavey will be the first private to be promoted to corporal in this new post.”

When Alderman stopped speaking, the box appeared just like he said.  It just materialized out of nowhere.  Leavey and Graves immediately stepped back ten steps.  “I am not opening that thing,” Leavey said, his voice quivering.

“May I,” Alderman asked.

“Slowly,” Leavey again agreed, keeping his revolver trained on Alderman.

Alderman slowly stood to his feet and walked to the box.  He stood there at the box until Leavey gave him permission to open the box.

After opening the box, he picked up a document that appeared to be very old and fragile.  “I have a light, may I turn it on so that you can see this clearly?”

With a cautious nod, Leavey stepped another pace backward as Alderman produced a small rectangular box from his side pocket and flipped a switch.

A brilliant light began to emit, lighting up the area where they stood as if it were daylight.  He stood there holding it, making no attempt to appear aggressive.

Corporal Leavey stepped forward and stretched out his arm.  “May I?”

Vice Commander Alderman stretched his arm out and delivered the document into Leavey’s hand.  “Do be careful.  These are original documents and over five-hundred years old.”

Samuels exhaled loudly, “Whew.  That is going to be hard to prove.”

“Not at all,” Levenski responded.  “It will take some faith and more documentation, but we can prove it.”

Leavey stood there reading the headline of an old newspaper dated August 7, 1847.  “United States Fort McCall Private Norris Leevey was promoted to the rank of corporal.  This momentous occasion was the first promotion since the building of Fort McCall.

“Corporal Leevey is the first corporal in this new outpost.  His bravery against the attack of two tribes of hostile Indians, and his diligence to protect the men in his company, was above and beyond the normal call of duty.

“Because of his bravery and leadership, Fort McCall has taken its place as a major hub for the United States Cavalry and distribution point for the western territory.

“General Clyde Wooten, has been assigned command of Fort McCall…”

“That was two years ago,” Corporal Leevey stopped reading.  “Anybody could get access to this newspaper.  How does that prove anything?”

Vice Commander Alderman reached into the box and retrieved another document and handed it to Leevey.  “Read this one.”

“Be it known this day.  Corporal Leevey, is awarded the United States Cavalry Medal of Valor for his heroic actions in the Battle of Two Tribes, at Fort McCall, Western Territory.”

“This is the actual certificate that I received.  There is only two of these in existence, one on the wall of my billets and one in Washington.

“Now you have either stolen from my billets or you have stolen this from Washington.”

“Neither,” Vice Commander Alderman replied.  “If you will look at the age of the paper, you will see that it is very old.  If you look at the lower left corner of the page, you will notice the very slightly torn corner.  If you remember, this is how your very own certificate looked when you put it in the picture frame.  Corporal Leevey, this was your personal copy of that document.  It was given to your younger sister, Ellen, after you died…”

“I am not sure that is true,” Corporal Leevey interrupted.  “I don’t know how you know about my younger sister, but this is a little too farfetched to be believable.”

“May I?” Vice Commander Alderman nodded towards the box.

Leevey nodded.

Reaching into the box again, Vice Commander produced another document and handed it to Corporal Leevey.

“Private Samuels, Private Root, Private Collins and Private Graves found dead outside the gate of the former command center Fort McCall, five years after they were presumed AWOL from Ft, McCall.  Cause of death is unknown.”

Samuels almost shouted.  “I am right here and not with the other three.  How can I supposedly die with them and be AWOL?”

“Now this is getting out of hand,” Leevey almost shouted.  I just dispatched those three to search for…”

“A lost squad,” Vice Commander Alderman finished.  “Yes, we know.  It is because of this wrinkle in time that we are here.”

As the sun began to rise, Leevey and Samuels were fighting the weariness of exhaustion, mesmerized by what they had stumbled into, and confused by what they were hearing and seeing.  So much had taken place, so much had been literally thrown at them that seemed to be impossible.

“There is one last item in the box.  It is good that it is getting daylight, because this needs to be seen clearly.

“Now, don’t get excited and start shooting, this is the most relevant piece of history to convince you of what we are telling you.

“This violates the laws of time travel, but we felt that it would be required to convince you of what we are doing.

“I am going to bring from this box a firearm.  In fact, it is your very own firearm, Corporal Leevey.  We can prove it by the serial number and the marks on the barrel and the handle.

“I am going to reach into the box and pull out a revolver by the barrel.  I am not going to point it at anybody, and it is not even loaded.  Even if it were, I don’t think that it would shoot at the age that it is.”

Leevey raised his revolver, as did Private Samuels, and he nodded, “Very slowly!”

Slowly, Vice Commander gently lifted the revolver from the box and handed it to Corporal Leevey.

“Check the serial number of your revolver to this one.  Compare the large scratch along the right side of the barrel and compare the deep wear in the grips on the left side that aligns itself with the right-handed holster rivets.

“You will see that this is in fact your very own revolver.”

As Leevey examined he revolver, he stood befuddled.

“I would have brought your holster with me, with your initials stamped in the belt loop on the back side, but it didn’t suffer time as gracefully as hoped.  It is far too fragile to transport and handle.”

“Okay, let’s say that I believe you.  You have produced some compelling evidence.  Why are you here from… I can’t believe that I am going to say this… the future?”

“As we told you, there were things in the past that needed to be corrected in order for the future to move ahead peacefully.  The wrinkle in time is directly related to this very time and search party.

“You picked these men because you thought that you could trust their abilities and their character.

“What happens next…”

“First things first,” Leevey again interrupted.  “We are searching for a lost squad.  What happened to them?”

“You no doubt have seen our ship in the sky.  Yes?”

“If that is what it is, then yes.  Continue.”

“We have them in our ship in suspended animation.  I realize you have no idea what I am talking about, but they are unharmed, alive, and well.

“What we are here to do is stop an assassination that will bring about a complete change in history.  It is you, Corporal Leevey that will be assassinated.  You will be assassinated by someone that you trust explicitly.”

“Do you really expect me to believe this cockamamie tale.  This is a bigger tale than what Private Root can concoct.”

“Personally, no.  I do not expect you to believe all of this.  In fact, I do not care if you believe it or not.  However, I wish you would believe it because it is all true.

“I can’t tell you what will happen in the future, because that could damage the timeline that we are here to correct, and we are taking a big enough risk as it is.”

“Okay, then what are you here to do?”  Leevey ordered.

“We cannot tell you, but you need to believe that what is about to happen is the best for the future of the United Sates and the Delta Quadrant.”

“This has gone far enough,” Samuels spoke up.  Turning his revolver toward Vice Commander Alderman, he again pulled the hammer and his revolver roared to life.

At the speed of light, it seemed, Senior Science Commander Ezra Levenski raised an odd box from a holster in his trousers and fired what seemed to be a ray of light at Private Samuels.

The flash from the muzzle of his revolver stopped as if it were a mere photograph.  The bullet, just inches from the muzzle was also stopped in midair.

“Samuels is not hurt.  He is in the suspended animation that I told you of a moment ago.

Levenski tapped his emblem, “Chief Alcove, five meters in front of me, transport to containment on my mark.”

At that, Levenski walked calmly to where Samuels stood.  With his fingers, he pinched the bullet and tossed it to the north about fifteen meters and it tumbled to the ground.

“Mark,” Levenski again tapped on his emblem.

Instantly Samuels disappeared and the roar of his revolver shot faded out.

“What happens next,” Alderman continued, “the lost squad will ride in as if nothing happened.

“You will escort them into Fort McCall as if you found them.  As far as Samuels, Graves, Collins, and Root, they did go AWOL as far as history is concerned.  That is part of the time wrinkle that cannot be fixed.  Because you separated like you did, they got lost in time and could not be recovered without making drastic changes that might send ripples through time that could cause effects far worse than leaving the timeline alone.

“I know that this is foreign and confusing, but believe us, their part in history has no effect on the future and won’t be noticed at all.

“Samuels, however, has a direct link to the escalation of terror in the future, and would have assassinated you in ten years.

“You, Corporal Leevey, will make history that you would not believe if I told you, so I won’t tell you.”

“History will have a very bright future because of you.  You are destined of greatness.”

“Okay, Chief Alcove, bring us home,” Levenski ordered as he again tapped his emblem.

As soon as the two time travelers disappeared, a fog swept the area and Corporal Leevey heard the approaching of horses.

“Hello in camp,” a soldier called loudly.  United Sates Cavalry scouts, may we enter?”

“Yes,” Corporal Leevey responded, looking at where the green ship had been.

“Corporal Leevey, here.  I’ve been looking for you.”

 


Submitted: December 11, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Gail-D-Prentice. All rights reserved.

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Spyguy

Very well concocted! Compelling storyline!

Sat, December 12th, 2020 8:54am

Author
Reply

Thanks. I appreciate that very much.

Sat, December 12th, 2020 8:28am

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