The Mini-burger

FanFic in the Birmoverse

Election Day – Savo

“Hey!  YOU!” yelled the plainclothes officer. 

I cringed and hunched my shoulders, praying a bullet wouldn’t follow the yell. 

It was late in the evening of Tuesday the 7th of November, 2000 and I was standing in a hallway that led out of the Capitol North Annex Building on Don Gaspar Avenue in Santa Fe.  It was the Office of the Secretary of State of New Mexico.  And I was aware of the enormity of the crime I was committing. 

The official rushed up behind me.  I was stopped with my back to him ten steps from freedom.  My hands out by my side about 30 degrees from my body.  My palms facing forward.  Timing myself with the man’s footsteps, I swung my left arm high as I swiveled around on my right foot and moved forward.  My left arm dropped down around the officials outstretched right arm. I leaned back until it snapped, then took hold of his wrist and twisted. 

The pain overloaded his consciousness and he collapsed to the floor.  It was then I saw his two companions, one holding a two-way radio to his mouth. I turned to run as they began sprinting after me.  I knew then that it was all too late. 

The first one tackled me and I crashed into the locked glass doors.  I rolled to one side and went to punch the man’s throat, but I was numbed, devastated by my exposure.  The fight was taken out of me, my hand dropped to the floor. 

I saw through the glass a uniformed officer just now unholstering his firearm.  What had happened?  The second plainclothes officer had now caught up.  I looked up in time to see his face as he swung the portable radio at my head.  Hey, I guess I can understand that… 

My vision started to clear up a little while later. I saw I was in a small room: one door, one table, couple of chairs and a filing cabinet.  My hands were cuffed to the arms of the chair I was on.  The guy that had the radio was leaning over me, looking very pissed off.  My foggy mind finally began processing his brand of English. 


“Huh?” I thought was a good opening gambit.  And it gave me a few more seconds to think. 

“Just who the hell are you?” he said. 

“What time is it?”  Always take the lead in any interrogation. 

“Nearly midnight.  Now who are you, what’s you name?” 

“Would you mind taking these handcuffs off please sir?” Be polite, it annoys people so much when you’re polite to them and they can’t be impolite to you.  I’d stuffed up, I might have completely screwed my mission, but I could at least try and enjoy myself.  Failure just meant more of the same, what would happen with success was almost unimaginable. 

“Hell, no,” spluttered my captor “do you know what you just did?” 

Oh yeah I know, I know what I doing and you’ll probably want to hang me from the nearest lamp post for it, I said to myself. 

My lack of verbal acknowledgement made him keep on giving out information.  “You near broke off Agent Fox’s arm,” he said. 

Now that confused me.  Is that all he’s worried about?  The fate of worlds hangs in the balance and he’s moaning about one government employee’s broken arm. 

“Yes! See,” he said with emphasis, in reply to the confused look I hadn’t been able to keep off my face. “This is serious.  Assaulting an electoral official in the conduct of his duty is a Federal Offence,” he said with emphasis. “Now, what is your name!” 

It couldn’t hurt. “Geoffrey Saunders, Mr…” peering at his name badge “Wright”  I had finally found my Mr Right. Stop kidding about, I admonished myself, this is serious. 

“Alright now, Jeff…” 

“Geoffrey,” I interrupted, as much as anything to keep him off balance. 

Wright took a breath, pursed his lips and squeezed out through clenched teeth: “Geoffrey, I want to know what you were doing here in the State Annex Building.” At least I knew where I was now. 

“Are you going to Miranda me?  Because you should really Miranda me, let me know what my rights are, shouldn’t you?”  Please don’t get me a lawyer though, I said to myself, this is too complicated already. 

“No sir, I do not! I do not yet suspect that you have committed any crime by being in the building.” 

Other than breaking your colleague’s arm and compromising your elections, I thought.  I am going to have to watch this internal dialogue with myself or I’ll end up saying something important to him. 

“How’s the election going?” I asked 

“Why do you want to know? You could have looked at any of the screens where you were and found out all about it. 

“Now I’ll ask you again, Mister Saunders, what were you doing at the electoral commission?” 

He reached down and put a clear plastic bag on the desk.  His smile cracked his face.  Oh no, they’d searched me while I was out of it.  I could see all of the incriminating evidence just sitting there in the bag, taunting me.  Looks like this country hick knew it all and was just toying with me. 

Everything really had gone wrong, and this grinning, “good ‘ol boy” in front of me knew it.  The time translation had landed me with only hours to rig my part of the election results.  It got me in the right area, sure, Santa Fe, New Mexico.  But instead of having days to arrange myself and the computer equipment, I’d had only a couple of hours. 

I knew I had worked in a blind panic and obviously left a trail everywhere I went.  But the locals were quicker to get on to me than all of our scenarios had anticipated.  I hoped that the Wisconsin, Iowa and Florida agents had better luck.  All we had to do was change a few votes, just discouraging the Greens vote should have been enough, but the Committee wanted to make sure the balance was tipped in these four States, so, back we came. 

Wright opened the plastic bag, took out my wallet, my homing beacon and lastly — the tease — my data slate. 

“Tell me about this,” he said, holding up my data slate.  The grey rectangle is just a bit bigger than his hand and the same thickness. 

“It’s a ChuFon-based handheld personal computer CF7.3.” I read the model number off the front of it. “You can read it just there,” I said, nodding towards it. “ChuFon, very popular.” 

Mr Wright smiled and shook his head.  He must have appreciated my sense of humor.  “We know what it is.”  He opened its little stand and turned it on  The virtual keyboard and mouse projected onto the desk in front of it. 

Just then another Electoral Official entered the room.  “Mr Wright, West Coast polls have closed.” 

“And?” said Wright. 

“All the TV stations say it looks like Gore.” 

Wright turned to me and gave me an all-knowing look. 

I sighed.  “Mr Wright, my name is Geoffrey John Saunders. I am a senior member of the Federal Overwatch Committee’s Investigation Team, based in Denver Colorado.  I have been assigned by that Committee to attempt to alter the results of the 2000 Presidential elections.”  I hated the way the Overwatch Committee had directed me to tell everything if I was caught red-handed. 

Wright put on a poker face. He turned off the computer and re-bagged my property.  He held it up and his colleague left the room with it. “Continue,” he said. 

I put my head down and stared at the desk. I felt broken.  “Professor Pope’s calculations were correct.  In January last year we were able to project quantum information backwards through time — our time, not the multi-verse.  The first projections were only a few nano-seconds back, but as we got more and more power, the further and further back we could project.” 

I looked up.  “I forgot, you don’t know my history.  This,” I looked around, “changed everything.  This election will destroy everything America could have become.  It plunged us into a spiraling death race.  We didn’t stand a chance.” 

Wright was looking uncomfortable now.  “You’re saying this ‘time travel’ thing happened last year?” 

“Last year for me: twenty eighty-seven.” 

Wright’s face was like a Samurai mask, unmoving, unflinching, hard.  He knew he’d got me. 

I continued, “In ten months’ time, three commercial jets loaded with fuel and passengers will be flown into the World Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington by Islamic terrorists.  They will cause a huge loss of life and invite retaliation by the U.S. military.” 

“How do I know you’re from the future?”  said Wright, leaning back and folding his arms. 

I took a calming breath.  “It took a long time, but the Overwatch Committee saw this election as the pivotal point in history.  It began a so-called War on Terror.  The President that came out of these elections dropped the ball.  He failed in his sworn oath to protect this country.  He didn’t know it; he didn’t know what his actions and inactions would do, what the consequences would be. 

“The Committee assumed he did all of these acts in what he wrongly thought were the best interests of the nation, nothing malicious.  The Committee needed to change the results of the elections. 

“A subtle approach was called for: the Greens’ vote for the late Ralph Nader were all that should have been needed to change the results.  So we started off by compromising them, by corrupting data contained in some computers that certain ecologists and scientist used, especially the stuff about global warming. 

“You mean global warming doesn’t exist?” said Wright 

“Hell yes it does,” I said, “Richmond Virginia has a surf beach now.  But we had to try and doctor the data to make the Greens look bad.  The temperature data were the easiest, then a few changes of well-known speeches before they were delivered, and before too long the Greens started to look as if they didn’t know what they were talking about.  Their data seemed suspect and their conclusions, spurious.  That should have swung the electorate around the other way.” 

Wright sat forward and leaned his folded arms on the table. “Go on,” he said. 

“As I said Pope’s calculations proved correct.  We were able to project at first inanimate material and then living tissue back in time.” 

“And that’s where you come in?” said Wright. 

“And that’s where I come in.  The Committee decided that the result of the elections couldn’t be guaranteed.  The conditions back home proved it; they hadn’t changed.  So I was sent back to rig this election.” 

“That is an offence, Mister.” 

“Yes, I know but so are the deaths of the millions that came about as a result of this election.  It is wrong to not try and change it.  Do you know what else happened? Or rather what will happen because of this?” 

Wright leaned back and shook his head. 

I said, “The Taliban in Afghanistan, you know them?”  

He nodded. 

“They were able to expand their territory and moved into Pakistan — just swept away the government in a matter of days.  Did you know Pakistan has nuclear weapons?  Now a fanatical group of warmongers are armed with nuclear bombs and missiles.” 

“But hey,” said Wright, “didn’t the Taliban kick out the Russians and stop opium being grown?” 

I paused. “True, but they never really liked us and it wasn’t because of us they did that.  Once they had control of Pakistan they turned to Iran and ousted that regime.” 

“Yeah, but those were the Iranians that took our embassy people hostage and are always threatening to nuke Israel,” Wright said. 

“Whose side are you on?” I demanded straining against my handcuffs. 

“Just settle down there, boy, don’t want to open up that wound on your forehead again.” 

I sat back down. “Yeah, anyway, after getting their hands on Iran’s nuclear program they turned their eyes north to Kazakhstan.  It didn’t take the fundamentalists long to get their hands on the old Soviet Union’s Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles there.  To add insult to injury Saddam Hussein was murdered by them.” 

“But didn’t we go to war against him in the 1990’s?” 

“Yes, but we needed Saddam.  These Islamists nuked Israel off the map.  Took out the Palestinians’ lands and some of Jordan, too.” 

“Aren’t some of those terrorists Palestinian?” 

“Just listen to me.  They tried to attack us with those Russian missiles.  We shot them all down — but over Russia and China.  They invaded Kashmir, and then India and Pakistan nuked each other.  It just kept getting worse, millions were dead.  Libya gassed the London underground: thousands more dead. 

“While we were worrying about the Taliban, China grabbed Taiwan.  Killed hundreds of thousands.  Indonesia annexed Papua New Guinea and the Torres Straits islands.  Thousands more dead.” 

“Where’s that?”  asked Wright.  So he wasn’t all-knowing. 

“It’s near Australia.”  I took a deep breath and barged on, “Our so-called allies the South Koreans moved on the north, all the way to Pyong-Yang, crushing everything.  The North Koreans used dirty bombs and killed millions of themselves, Chinese, and Russians as well as the invading South Koreans. 

“The Chinese and Russians thought we were involved.  That and our knocking down the ICBM’s on their lands pushed them into each others’ arms.” 

I started getting louder and angrier at this man just sitting there, “They attacked us! They killed us, man!  Don’t you understand?! This election has to be changed.” 

“But you’re not going to change it, boy,” said Wright. “I don’t know if I believe you or not about this time travel business.  Your equipment is really advanced, never seen anything quite like it.  But you won’t be changing this election result.”  He stood up to go. 

“No!!” I screamed at him, dragging the chair as I stood, “Gore didn’t attack them.  LISTEN TO ME! He didn’t fight back.  You can’t let him win the election.”


1 Comment »

  1. From Mysterius on 07/06/06

    I almost thought that he was trying to get Gore to win, until the last paragraph. Even then, I had to reread it a few times before I understood. Good work. 🙂

    From James on 07/06/06

    Nice riff on the temporal options theme….!

    From MickH on 07/06/06

    Good twist in the tale Savo!
    A nice little story

    From savo on 07/06/06

    I saw the ending coming, it wasn’t a surprise to me.

    From Mysterius on 07/06/06

    Well, if you wrote it, the ending can’t be *that* surprising when you read it, can it? 😉

    From savo on 07/06/06

    oh … yes … you’re right

    From savo on 07/06/06

    oh … yes … you’re right

    From savo on 07/06/06

    oh … yes … you’re right

    From savo on 07/06/06

    (NOTE: the comment below may not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)
    Geez where is everyone? It’s so empty in here it got me stutter worse than usual.

    Ah that’s right they’re out on the booze and chicken feet.

    I’ll just amuse myself here … alone … for a bit then.

    I’ll check for echos – Quack Quack Quack.
    Hmm no echos.

    I suppose I could read my emails.

    From savo on 07/06/06

    (NOTE: the comment below may not actually from a journalspace member. Their IP has been logged.)
    Na it was an email – singular.

    I think I’m on the wrong thread, I should be on the one about lunch.

    From Bangar on 07/07/06

    Well done mate, where do you find the time?

    From savo on 07/07/06

    I type fast.

    From savo on 07/07/06

    I type fast.

    From SFMurphy on 07/07/06

    I shudder to think how things would have turned out of Gore had won. Not that Bush is much better in many ways (somewhere between the two, there has to be a sane, happy medium). I’ve often toyed with the idea of writing an alt 09-11 story for the main SF markets here in the states. Savo, I think you ought to give it a shot. You’ve got the chops for it.

    Northtown, Missouri

    From savo on 07/07/06

    Thanks very much for the comment Murph.
    I still don’t understand your collegial voting system. But the results were very very close we (meaning the whole world) nearly got Gore.
    Lots of reading about Gore would be necessary I’d say some interviews with Gore would be necessary too but probably out of the question, certainly who ever was going to be his National Security Adviser and defense minister. Would there have been a Homeland security Tzar? Lot more research than what I did for this, but hey I even got the close states right.
    I almost gave the tag away by saying the Taliban expanded into Pakistan when I should have just put they took over Pakistan need to re read more. I should have had Wright ask about the twin towers thing and I forgot to put in the fully bendable PDA. Also the first larger paragraph would have been better with “crime being committed” not “crime I was committing”. But I sent this into John ages ago.
    Did you like the nod to Star Trek (Temporal Overwatch Committee)?

    From Lobes on 07/09/06

    Bring back Gore for 2008

    he’s the only one who can save this planet from melting down!

    From yankeedog on 07/09/06

    Very good, savo! Good ‘Twilight Zone’ style twist at the end!

    From savo on 07/10/06

    Lobes: LMAO ROTFL LOL etc etc

    From SFMurphy on 07/10/06

    Savo, the Electoral College is pretty simple to understand. It is a part of the balance between State Sovereignty and Federal Power. The idea is that while a raw majority of the entire population might vote for one candidate, a smaller state with less population should not be penalized for the tyranny of the majority. Thus, each state gets a number of electoral votes based upon their population.

    Mainly, this is to keep populous states like California, Texas and New York from dominating the Federal Government by virtue of population weight.

    Personally, I prefer the system. Those states have entirely too much power in this Humble Missourian’s opinion as it is. I’m not just talking political power, but also cultural and economic power.

    One need look no further than to the location of most of the American Publishing Firms, which is New York.

    Now, for those that get upset that Gore didn’t win in 2000, here is something to keep in mind.

    Albert lost his home state by ten to twelve percentage points. If he had carried his home state, this discussion would be moot. Further, it would be the Republicans crying foul about the college if things had worked the other way.

    As it stands, I think Gore would have been an absolute disaster. The Taliban would likely still be in power in Afghanistan. The irony is that Gore would probably lose to any Republican Challenger in 2004 based upon the charge that Osama was still on the loose.

    Not that Bush II is much better.

    Northtown, Missouri

    From J on 07/10/06

    Good story but definitely not a realistic understsanding of Gore’s foreign policy stances. Like Clinton, he would have ordered a retalitory attack (remember, when no one on the Right cared about the genocide in Central Europe, Clinton sent air strikes and troops) against Afghanistan (remember Clinton ordered strikes against Al-Quaida targets. When the strike against the factory in North Africa took place, Clinton was accused of “wagging the dog.”).

    From savo on 07/11/06

    I know J, but its only I story, I’m not American, I don’t know the voting system, nor much of the politics. I have learnt most of it in the last six months here, but apart from that I think its a pretty good ‘twist’ which was all I was after.

    I don’t have to ‘beleive’ in the story. Ask Lobes about my opinion of the surf beach in Richmond.

    Don’t tell Murph but I have read police studies that blame Clinton et al for the MASSIVE drop in crime rates in the US and particularly in New York and Washinton DC. The economy firmed up so much people got jobs and did less crime. London is like that now with its booming economy

    From savo on 07/11/06

    I know J, but its only I story, I’m not American, I don’t know the voting system, nor much of the politics. I have learnt most of it in the last six months here, but apart from that I think its a pretty good ‘twist’ which was all I was after.

    I don’t have to ‘beleive’ in the story. Ask Lobes about my opinion of the surf beach in Richmond.

    Don’t tell Murph but I have read police studies that blame Clinton et al for the MASSIVE drop in crime rates in the US and particularly in New York and Washinton DC. The economy firmed up so much people got jobs and did less crime. London is like that now with its booming economy

    From spartacus on 07/11/06

    Nice story, i like FOCIT!

    I wonder what AQ would do if they could alter one single event in history?????

    and talking of alt history

    From SFMurphy on 07/11/06

    J, with respect, Gore wouldn’t have done anything of the sort. He’d have chucked a few cruise missiles into a few empty mudhuts, just like Slick Willie did, and called it a day.

    All one needs to remember about Willie is that he had his hands on Osama not once but THREE times and he let him go every time.

    And Clinton’s strikes hit precisely nothing. Big points for bombing an aspirin factory in the Sudan and more points for bombing a Chinese Embassy in Serbia. Nice going.

    Northtown, Missouri
    I think Afhganistan would have gone down as it did in “real” history, no matter who was President. The mood of the American people following 9/11 would have forced even Jesus to attack the Taliban and get bin Laden.

    However, with Gore, it could well be that bin Laden might have actually been “gotten” – because our military would not have been distracted by Iraq. Only Bush would have sent us there.

    I don’t know why people think Democrats are necessarily wimps, when history shows that the only person to pull the nuclear trigger was, in fact, a Democrat.

    Comment by miniburger | 2 October, 2009 | Reply

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