In “Discovery New Earth”, the crew of the United Nations of Earth Space-Timeship “Leeds” went back in time 300 years and found a planet which was a mirror-image of our 21st Century Earth. But when they moved back to the present, they discovered a world decimated by a nuclear holocaust. So they went back to try to prevent this catastrophe…
(Picture – Sombrero Galaxy from NASA)
Pilot Dave Smethurst frowned in concentration. They’d spent weeks here, 200 or so years in the past, flying over planet Bellia. Round about this time something had gone catastrophically wrong here. Some incident had caused all-out nuclear war and destroyed all Life on this world. If only they could prevent this thing occurring…
Dave: “Pete, we need a closer look! Bugger the risks.”
Pete Smith (Co-Pilot): “Yeh.”
Dave: “Let’s do it!”
The Space-timeship “Leeds” went into a steep dive. Sure enough, its scanners showed much more of the Bellian military activities.
Pete: “What the ****?”
Dave: “What’s happened to the cloaking?”
Pete: “**** knows!”
Voice over radio: “Woah! The b******s have got into our airspace! Launch interceptors!”
Another Voice: “Request Retaliation! Repeat, request retaliation!”
First voice: “They’ve ****ing disappeared! Must have some masking technology…”
Dave: “Let’s get outta here!”
Minutes later, Dave and Pete were safely in a high parking orbit, fully cloaked. But Dave was shaking his head. Below them, inter-continental missiles were weaving deadly webs, all over the planet.
Dave: “We caused it! If we hadn’t come back…”
Pete: “Is there anything we can do?”
Dave: “God knows.”
Two of our weeks earlier, Tarash Kran was supping a nice cool beer, watching the telly. He’d had a very boring day on Radar Duty. Soon he would complete this particular stint, and go onto something else. Being a Warrior was not all about death and glory, unfortunately.
There was a knock on the door. Absent mindedly Tarash went to answer. Outside were two military police officers. He didn’t recognise them, but we would: it was Dave and Pete! They asked to come in, and presently all three were sitting around a lounge-table, having a drink.
Dave: “You see, we’ve got this new plane, with a top-secret cloaking device…”
Pete (later): “… We can only target our missiles when the cloak is off, and this is the only way we can test targeting short of trying it on them.”
Dave: “All we want you to do is keep quiet about this!”
Two weeks later Tarash is watching his radar screen. Presently a line of blips appears.
Supervisor: “How’s it going, Tarash?”
Tarash: “Bloody boring Sir. Just commercial stuff as usual.”
Mission accomplished, Dave and Pete returned to their base on Earth. No reply on the radio! As they homed in on headquarters they saw a devastated city. Hurriedly they landed, and began to search these new ruins. Presently they disturbed a tramp-like man who appeared to be scavenging. Their first challenge was to stop him from running away, but that done, they could talk.
Dave: (to man) “What’s happened here? We’ve been away a few days.”
Man: “What’s happened what? You’re the first people I’ve seen for about three years.”
Dave: “When was the city reduced to this?” (He swept his arm wide, indicating the view of mass-destruction).
Man: “Where the Hell have you been? The Bellians did this nearly a hundred years ago!”
Dave: “Oh! I see. Do you happen to know when you first met the Bellians?”
Man: “About twenty years before that, I think, so the stories go.”
Dave: “I think we need to talk, Sir.”
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