looked around and saw only tall grass, the trunks of trees, bushes and dirt.
He was belly down on the ground crawling, the weight of a forty-plus
pound pack pressing against his back and a rifle in his hands in front of
him. Sam didn’t recognize the
make of the rifle, but it was an older model and not in the best of shape.
The disembodied voice yelled again.
looked around him in vain; he couldn’t see much past the tall grass, just
more grass and trees. He saw no one in the direction the yell had come from.
He didn’t want to stand up or even get on his knees; Sam had
learned long ago that it was always best, in that first minute after
leaping, to play along cautiously.
his head off the ground as far as he could, Sam looked around him. He
clearly was in some sparse forest, and to his left he saw a hand shoot up
from behind a bush about twenty yards away from him. The hand rapidly
pointed forward but at a different angle than the angle Sam was currently
crawling. Sam adjusted his
from behind him came the crashing, stomping sound of boots crushing bushes.
Sam felt himself yanked up on his feet by some strong force pulling
on his pack, so unexpected it was that Sam dropped his rifle to the ground.
Spinning around Sam came face to face with two men that looked Mexican or
Latin American and whom pointed at his chest and head respectively two
weapons Sam did recognize: Uzi
Boy,” Sam uttered nervously.
ONE: THE PATROL
ran off of Sam profusely as his mind tried to grapple with the situation now
before him, a situation that could find himself shot and dead at any second.
He needed a plan but had no idea where he was or what he should do.
men were clearly Latin American with the jet black hair, brown eyes and deep
olive skin color and a good half a foot shorter than him, the one to his
left the broad-chested, burly one, spoke rapidly and in Spanish, a language
he did not understand, with an accent that Sam did not immediately
recognize, but was quite sure was not Mexican.
the Hell am I?’ Sam thought furiously.
‘And where the hell was Al?’
opened his mouth to say something, yet no words came out so he shut it.
He opened it again after the second man uttered another furious
exchange in Spanish.
don’t speak Spanish,” Sam was able to mutter this time.
men looked at each other; both guns moved an inch or two closer to Sam.
Sam suddenly wished he had not said that, for clearly, by the
agitation on their faces, he had said the wrong thing.
two men started gesticulating wildly with their guns, the message clearly
being that they were going to march Sam off somewhere. Before Sam had time
to react to their gesticulations, two large cracking sounds ripped through
the forest echoing immediately. Both
men fell before him to the ground face first, blood rising from their backs.
jumped back reflexively, tripped over an unseen decomposing tree branch and
landed hard on his butt on the moist soft Earth.
A wave of shock crashed over Sam like a seventh wave from the ocean,
and nearly took him under.
quivered, both hands and legs trembled, all Sam could do was simply stare at
the two bodies that lay face down in front of him.
had just happened? Was that what he had come to prevent? Was this the wrong to make right? Had he just failed? Where
the hell was Al?
sorrow could attach itself to a chamber of Sam’s heart, he heard the sound
behind him he had been so desperately listening for since he arrived here
— the distinctive swishing sound of the sliding doors of the imaging
God,” Sam said out loud.
Thank Juan and Teresa,” boomed the voice of a tall, roguish thirty
something man with a lean face and a scraggily peppered beard.
Thank you too,” replied Sam, not really knowing what to say,
surprised that this Caucasian man had spoke English to him. The girl next to Juan dropped down and hugged Sam tightly.
thought you had been shot by the way you fell,” she said speaking directly
into Sam’s ear. Teresa was a
short woman, in her early twenties, Sam would have guessed.
She had brown hair that came down to her shoulders and appeared to
have been last cut by a dull knife; she too was Caucasian.
reluctantly hugged Teresa back. She
was a skinny, scrawny thing that could have used a few more meals.
As he did Al came into Sam’s view.
Al could not have been dressed more out of scene or context had he
purposely tried. Dressed in a
green suit with saucer size black dots all over it and a hot purple tie, Al
held his communication handlink with Ziggy in one hand, and the other he
held one finger over his lips.
in about five minutes this little meeting is going to breakup.
We will be able to talk then,” Al said quickly.
Sam looked at Al and nodded ever so slightly, acknowledging that he
not only saw him but had understood him as well.
was relieved to have Al into the leap and hoped everything had not already
gone terribly and irreversibly wrong. Sam
stared back at the two fallen men in front of him.
that been absolutely necessary?” Sam asked Juan angrily. Al
waved his hands, trying to prevent Sam from asking the question or to at the
very least soften his tone.
looked puzzled for a moment, but than a huge grin hung on his face, he put
out his arm for Sam to take. Sam
took it, standing up.
them than you, huh Pablo?” Juan said and laughed as if everything that had
just happened had been a big joke.
stole a glance at Al before replying.
Sam. Laugh,” said Al
could not bring himself to any kind of laugh; it took all his effort to
muster up a poorly shaped smile.
clutched his arm. Juan handed
him back his rifle after picking it up from the ground.
my, Sam. That is a Russian AKA
assault rifle. I haven’t seen
one of those in years. A great
weapon in its time,” Al said more off the cuff than to Sam.
this time a group of others had surrounded Sam, all of them coming out of
the woods, many shaking his hand or pounding him on his back, mumbling their
congratulations. They were all Caucasian; twelve to fourteen people total a
hand full of women and the rest men, all ranging in age from early twenties
to early thirties.
this makes it easier,” Juan said with a chuckle.
“Thanks to Pablo here, we don’t have to worry any longer about
the forest patrol,” Juan
spoke with the air of authority; he was clearly the leader of this group.
looked around to see everyone’s face; many looked hungry and haggard, yet
their eyes told the truth. They
were all determined, single minded and believed in what they were doing
(whatever the hell that was).
station is only two hundred yards a head of us.
There will be only six guardia.
You all know what to do. This
will be a glorious step down the Shining Path.
To Tupac Amaru! To Peru!
To Freedom!” Juan said
with complete and utter conviction. Sam
looked around at the smiles, the nods, and the truth they all heard Juan
wondered Sam. Was he in some
sort of religious war? He
desperately tried to remember his world history.
Damn his Swiss cheesed brain, nothing at all came to him.
and Pedro break them out,” Juan said to Sam as Sam stared back at Juan not
up from his hand link Al said, “He means open your pack Sam.
Open your pack.”
took the pack from off his back, placed it on the ground and opened it up;
it was full of pipe bombs. Sam
looked to the red head next to him, the one they called Pedro.
He had an identical backpack filled with pipe bombs and odd wiring.
Everyone rushed in and grabbed things until Sam was left with only two pipe
spread out. Surround it. We
attack within the half hour. We will be the hammer that all of Peru will feel,” Juan
said. Most everyone gave out a
quiet cheer and then wandered into the forest.
surprised Sam by kissing him on the mouth.
see you when this whole thing is over,” she said and Sam clearly
recognized the sound of love in her words.
She too wandered off into the forest.
Sam looked immediately to Al.
this way Sam. I’ll talk while we walk,” Al said, with pure tiredness in
in the hell am I, Al?” Sam
asked in an exasperated tone. Sam
did not like the feel of this leap at all.
Everything seemed so strange, so completely foreign to him that he
was having a hard time relating to anything.
stay down. Hide behind the
trees. You are going to reach a
clearing soon, right before the station.”
walked in a crouched position, hiding behind tree after tree.
floated next to him, pounding his palm on the handlink.
am I, Al?” asked Sam as he hid behind a tree.
in Peru. On the outskirts of
Lima, technically you are in a city called Callo, but Lima starts just past
the electrical station. You’ve leaped into Paul Wendle, 29, who came to Peru six
years ago to get his doctorate in Latin American History,” Al stated.
can’t tell me this is all about some class?” Sam asked.
of course not. Five years ago Paul was recruited by a terrorist organization
called the Sendero Luminoso or in English, the Shining Path,” Al continued
as he consulted his handlink.
Sam exclaimed. “What are they after?”
all terrorists are after Sam - control.
Their ultimate goal is to topple the Peruvian government and place
themselves in charge. I don’t understand why they feel violence is there only
recourse,” said Al, shaking his head with this last statement.
placed his hand to his head trying to remember anything he could about the
Sendero Luminoso. His mind
grappled at straws.
can you tell me about their philosophy?” Sam asked.
….” Al hit the side of the handlink hard with his palm.
“Not much I am afraid. Ziggy
is looking into it. It took her
a very long time to find you. So
long in fact, that as soon as she found you I jumped into the Imaging
Chamber with almost no information to prep you with.
But here’s what we know: The
Sendero Luminoso traces its history back to the mid 1960’s at one of
Peru’s major universities. Student
radicals banded together adopting a Maoist political structure combined with
the Incan belief system to try to topple the Peruvian government.
They claim they want to bring back the glory that was the Inca Empire
when Peru was last great.”
what’s happening now?” Sam asked as he rushed behind another tree.
are getting ready to bomb a major electrical station that provides
electricity to over half of Lima, approximately 6 million people.”
shit,” Sam said reactionary.
about sums it up,” Al said.
I need you to find all the information you can on this movement, as well as
some person named Tupac Amaru,” Sam said with some urgency.
could be troublesome, Sam. We
are already having some trouble trying to access the government of Peru’s
records. When this terrorist
movement is finally put down, some 12 years from this time, there will be
tribunals who will do every thing in secret Sam, very Spanish inquisition
stuff. All records will be sealed or even destroyed.
Were getting what we can cobbled mostly from newspaper accounts from
the United States, which paints with a wide brush,” Al said scratching the
side of his face. “This is
going to be a tough one, buddy,” Al said, obviously concerned.
nodded his head to agree and at that moment both him and Al heard the same
words going through their heads.
now on the leaps will become harder,’ those
now immortal words of the bartender, God, fate maker, or what ever he was.
what does Ziggy think I am here for?” Sam asked after a long silence
between the two old friends.
is efforting that right now, Sam. We
don’t have much to go on,” Al said staring at the handlink.
what is Paul’s fate?” asked Sam.
moment passed before Al answered. “Eighteen months from now Paul will be
arrested with many other Sendero Luminoso.
One month after being arrested the jail that he is in, along with 47
of his fellow comrades, will burn down to the ground.
The only survivors will be prison officials and guards.
No inmate will survive the inferno,” Al said flatly.
I am here to save Paul,” Sam said aloud, not really asking a question, but
rather stating his goal.
computes a 72.8% probability for that.
He also goes by Pablo; they have all chosen more ethnic names to fit
in better, and to renounce their ties to the West.
God, I wish I had a cigar. Why
did I agree to stop smoking for the week?” Al said rubbing his head with
his off hand and fidgeting. “I
will go back and debrief this kid. See
what I can get out of him,” Al said most determinedly.
does he get arrested for?” Sam
don’t know Sam,” Al responds a bit slowly as he stared at the handlink
and dreamed of a nice Havana cigar.
back. Talk to the kid.
I will try to stop this attack from happening,” Sam said completely
unsure how he would accomplish that task.
very, very careful Sam. You’re
a terrorist. There are going to
be plenty of people trying to shoot you or worse, trying to kill you. Remember they will have just cause,” Al said.
had never seen such a serious or stern face on his best friend in all his
Al,” Sam said seriously, realizing for just the first time how hard and
dangerous this leap truly was.
watched as Al disappeared through the sliding doors of Imaging Chamber.
He wished, as he did every leap, that it were just as easy for him to
walk through those doors.
returned to his stealthy walk toward the station, desperately trying to come
up with some sort of plan.
what do you got for me?” asked Al Calavicci as soon as he came out of the
Imaging Chamber, and back to his own time.
Senor Calavicci. Como esta?” came Ziggy’s unique synthesized, female
absently looked at the glowing orb, although he could hear Ziggy’s from
the speakers that were embedded in every wall.
“What?” Al asked,
not really in the mood to have to contend with one of Ziggy’s ‘moods’.
Frankly he was worried, more worried than he had ever been on a leap
before. Oh hell, why beat
around the bush, he was frightened for Sam.
Damn frightened. Absently, Al scratched his left arm. He wanted to get back to Sam as quick as he could, but he
needed to get information first.
is currently learning Spanish, Admiral,” said head programmer St. John. He
seemed a bit pleased and distracted at the same time, his eyes lingering on
wonderful,” Al said remotely, thinking that that might be useful.
Absently, Al reached to the breast pocket of his shirt pocket and
felt the small box of breath mints that he used to toss Gooshie.
He stared at St. John, who was staring back at him. A slight shiver
went up Al’s spine, which he shook off and addressed the glowing orb.
a deep breath Al spoke, “Ziggy what have you learned about the Sendero?”
have been focusing myself on Peruvian language and culture.
I just finished 100 Years of Solitude.
A superior novel that utilizes a literary style known as magical
realism…” said the disembodied voice.
St. John!” Al bellowed, his
anger beginning to rise.
make sure to get Ziggy re-focused,” St. John said, re-focusing himself,
and knowing how hard a task that was going to be to do that to Ziggy. Wisely
he chose not to share this fact with the admiral.
St. John. Immediately,” Al said with a sigh.
“I need to talk to this kid,” Al said with a growl exposing his
growing frustration with this leap and his ever-deepening concern for Sam.
you should take three quick breaths and than one deep one.
It would really be refreshing, clear the mind a bit,” came the
chipper voice of Tina, who had just walked into the room wearing enough pink
that she closely resembled a Pepto-Bismol bottle.
glared at Tina. Tina smiled
back and Al relented, taking in three quick breaths and a deep one.
He didn’t know about relaxing but it did make him feel a bit
anyone been in there,” Al motioned to the Waiting Room, “to check on the
John stalled a moment before replying; he loved the intensity in Al’s
eyes. “Dr. Beeks was in there and the kid got briefed.
But she stormed off just before you came out.”
nodded. He would have liked to talk to Beeks before going in but he had this
overwhelming feeling that time was short on this one.
He glumly walked into the Waiting Room to find Sam all curled in a
ball on the floor.
that wasn’t entirely true. What
Al truly saw was Sam’s body possessed by some being he had never met.
What he saw was his best friend, confused, maybe even in pain, yet
what was there, Al knew, was a person of a very different ilk than his best
son. My name is Al Calavicci.
I have a few questions for you,” Al said reaching into his suit and
pulling out a small pen and note pad.
that is one loud shirt. That got batteries with it?” the kid said, staring
at Al in disbelief.
didn’t appreciate the humor, especially since it was at him but he did
acknowledge that it took bravery and a certain amount of strength to joke in
a situation that you were completely foreign to.
want to help you. I have come here to help you,” Al said trying to start
everything off on the right foot.
not here to help me. Let’s be
honest you’re here to help your friend not me,” the kid said sullenly.
did not disagree with him.
am trying…” Al began before getting cut off.
Yeah. I got it from the
funny looking guy with the bad breath.
My life is fucked up and you’re here to fix it or you friend is in
my body,” the words came from Paul Wendle through Sam.
Al never quite got used to hearing all the different voices from his
friend’s lips. He sounded so angry, this kid.
Al had to remember to keep his distance emotionally, it wasn’t Sam
who was angry with him, but rather it was Paul, perhaps angry at the world.
let me tell you one thing. I am
here fighting for my convictions. Fighting
for my beliefs and ideals. Peru
has been hijacked by the West, the capitalist society, the great Uncle Sam,
hijacked by Europe, by the crown of Spain, and I am one of the few with the
balls enough to say stop. Leave
these people alone; let them take back their history, their culture.
Stop trying to impose yours on to theirs.
I am fighting to bring this country back to the time and the ideals
of the Inca, they’re the people of which Peruvians had descended,” Paul
spoke vehemently, Al could just imagine him up on a park bench somewhere a
book in one hand, bellowing out this message.
Al interrupted him before he really got going on this tirade.
may not call me by a name that is sacrilegious and has no further meaning to
me. I am Pablo,” the kid
Pablo,” Al said very slowly and deliberately, already perturbed.
“Who is Tupac Amaru? Some
sort of leader?” Al asked.
kid looked him dead in the eyes and laughed. “Man, you could say that.
Tupac Amaru was the last Sapa Inca, the last leader of the Inca
people, the last great people that Peru has ever known.
Did you know that just previous to the Spanish landing, there had
been over 200 years of peace under their rule, no starvation and crime was
just looked at him not answering, not wanting to get drawn into some sort of
political debate with this kid. He
couldn’t afford the time. Sam
couldn’t afford the time.
Amaru,” Pablo continued once he saw he was going to get no rise out of the
old man who stood in front of him, “was captured by the Spanish taken to
the Incan capital of Cuzco, where he was tied to four horses and
was only 18 years old and had eluded the Spanish for months before being
caught. When the Spanish
murdered him, they unwittingly sent his body to the four corners of the
Incan empire. His spirit now
lives in all of Peru and in every Peruvian.
He fought against the Spanish, the foreign aggressor, as my brothers,
sisters and I fight against them now. Peru
has been ruined, been fucked over repeatedly by Spain and the U.S. for
years. It is time to return to
the ideals of the Inca and a better life for these people.
It is time to rise and take back Peru from those who have corrupted
and co-opted her. We have
chosen to follow the lead of Mao Tse Tung and the shining path he once paved
for China. We will follow one of our own that will lead us and the
people of Peru back on the track of this destiny created by the Incas.”
began to see something in Sam’s eyes; he began to see this kid’s
determination, his beliefs. Al
realized that there was now one question he had to ask.
far would you go for your cause?” Al asked dreading the response this kid
was going to give.
is not a cause. This is a crusade to save these people. Have you even walked down a street in Peru?
Any street? Any city? Have
you seen all the street kids, running around without shoes? Doing any thing
to survive from robbing, killing, pulling tricks, begging. And the mothers
with their young children, with not a place to live, trying just to survive.
There are no salvation armies over here.
If you are living on the street then that is where you are living and
dying. The government is too
poor and corrupt to do anything for them, man.”
Pablo took a breath.
that mean bombing Lima? Killing
people?” Al butted in, trying to get the kid to answer the question rather
than go on another tirade.
make it sound so indiscriminate!” Pablo huffed angrily.
“Everything is a part of a plan.
Every act gets us father down the Shining Path.
In order to get to the end of the Path, any act may need to be
performed. Drastic times
account for drastic measures.”
how far your group would go. I
want to know how far you personally would go,” Al said trying to clarify
have killed to get down the Shining Path.
Sometimes it’s what we must do.
It sends a powerful message, man.”
nodded on the outside and shuddered on the inside.
about Teresa?” Al asked.
great. She will be a great
follower. And one day she may
even make it down her own Shining Path,” Pablo said.
there some doubt?” Al asked.
She’s just green. I
have just recently converted her,” Pablo
said with some measure of pride. “She
is a little too dependent on me, but she will get over it.”
turned around to leave, noticing that the kid never mentioned that he loved
her. He felt sorry for Teresa.
when can I go back?” Pablo yelled from behind him.
soon as humanly possible,” muttered Al more to himself than to the kid.
soon as Al walked into the Control Room he was yelling, “St. John, get a
new program set up for Ziggy. Get
Ziggy coming up with new alternatives, this kid is not it.
This leap is not to help him. Make
this fast, I got to get back to Sam; he’s in real danger.”
had never wanted a cigar more than he did at that very moment.
Why had he made that promise to his wife to quit?
Could he get away with breaking it?
THREE: THE STATION
had never been at such a loss since he began leaping.
How the hell was he supposed to stop this bombing?
He could stop himself from throwing the two pipe bombs he was
carrying, but how was he suppose to stop the dozen of others from setting
he just walk away? What if he just took this kid home? It would be easy. Al
could easily come up with his parents’ home address. He could simply take him to the airport and fly as him home.
Couldn’t he? It seemed so easy, but yet Sam knew that no leap was ever
easy. And what would that leave
with the events here? They
would still continue with or with out Paul it seemed.
Could he do more good by staying and trying to stop it?
How was he going to do that?
shook his head sadly. He had to try to do something.
The power station was nothing more than one small cement building and
about ten hectares of power generators all outside on the open ground.
There was a small rusted cyclone fence that surrounded the perimeter
and Sam saw two maybe three Peruvian police, guardia, with Uzi’s walking
couldn’t believe how indefensible it was.
Looking down upon the power station from the edge of the forest, Sam
had a good view of the opening V of the valley that seemed to begin with
this power plant and filtered from there into the city of Lima, eight
the hell am I going to do this?” Sam asked himself out loud.
having self doubts are you Pablo?” the female voice came from directly
already because of this leap, and never hearing her, Sam nearly came out of
his skin in surprise.
spun around to see the same young lady who hugged him earlier…. What was
her name again? So many new names every leap to try to remember. Teresa.
Yeah, that was it.
didn’t hear you Teresa,” Sam said truly surprised.
looked gaunt and grimy; her blond hair was pulled back behind her, tied off
with a piece of string. She
wore an alpaca sweater with a couple of big holes in it, a pair of horribly
stained jeans and some sort of shirt underneath the sweater.
She looked like she could use a good hot meal, a hot shower, and a
warm bed, in that exact order. When
she looked at Sam it was love, Sam recognized that look instantly.
She smiled and not only did it cover her face --
it brightened it.
a second she hugged him again, pressed her lips to his and forced her tongue
between them. After making sure
that Sam had had no recent dental work done, she came up for a breath.
so excited,” she said in a husky voice, something a whisper.
I… am too,” Sam stumbled.
would have never done this, if it hadn’t be for you,” she said with a
smile, “God I would have been in some class somewhere reading some shit in
books, instead of here living life, finding out what was really happening in
Peru. Knowing how truly
oppressed these people are, and me actually doing something about it.”
Her smile faded slightly and she dropped her eyes to the ground,
“But Pablo I have to admit the whole thing scares me a little.”
heart beat a bit faster. He
could appreciate her fear; in fact he shared it.
I’m scared too,” Sam admitted.
smile grew even wider, if that was possible.
falling in love with you, you know?”
Teresa said, staring deeply into Sam’s eyes.
mind kicked into overdrive. What
to say? What to say? He
responded with the first thing that came to his mind.
“I know,” Sam punctuated it with a smile and hoped that would
pass. By this time in his
leaping career, Sam had become a professional in safe answers---those
answers that minimized problems. Direct
answers without the input of Al or Ziggy were gambles at best, and the house
was stacked to win.
could tell that that was not the answer she had wanted or hoped to hear, and
would have like to lean in and kiss him again.
Sam clearly saw the indecision in her eyes.
so glad you recruited me out of my innocence,” she said, reaching out to
hold Sam’s hand.
looked at her, smiled and nodded, another safe response.
When the hell was Al coming back?
To make it through this leap Sam realized he needed to know a lot
more about Pablo and Teresa’s relationship.
are you doing this?” Sam asked her in all sincerity, although the real
person he wanted to ask was Pablo.
I really do want to make a difference to those people in Peru.
You’ve seen them Pablo, most of these people are starving or going
hungry on a daily basis, the government is just layers of corruption.
You taught me that. The
women and children in the streets begging for money, the filth and grime, it
all breaks my heart. I want to
help,” Teresa said, a tear running out of each eye.
you okay with what is about to happen?” asked Sam, not sure at all what
was about to happen himself.
understand essentially what we are trying to do.
Blacking out Lima makes a statement.
It tells the government we’re a force to be dealt with.
It lets the people know that we are fighting for them, and it let’s
them know that we can get to the government and the government cannot stop
us,” she said as if dictating a statement that had been burned into her
Sam prompted, hoping to get more out of her so that he might understand what
was going on, and could come up with a plan to stop it.
she repeated hesitantly, again her glance left his and drifted to the
ground. “I don’t want
anyone to get hurt, that’s all. I
believe in life.”
I do…” Sam said about to agree with her until Teresa broke back in.
I know what you are going to say. Killing
is a crucial part of it. If one
of the group got killed, they did it fighting, than they go down their
shining path. If a guardia gets killed its justified. They are a part of the government — a part of the
oppression,” Teresa stated but there was something in her voice that Sam
picked up on. This particular
message was not so ingrained in her; in fact, he could tell that she
wasn’t at all comfortable with the possibility of death.
Sam hoped she would never have to see any.
She seemed so young and so innocent.
Sam replied, not knowing what to say.
occurred to Sam that maybe thing were not hopeless after all.
He was sure he would be able to talk Teresa out of this if he worked
the potential for people dying and if Teresa felt this way there was a good
chance that others felt this way, if he could talk to the rest of them….
Maybe something could be done.
a moment Sam had hope and then it was dashed.
looked down at her watch, “It’s almost time.
Group one should have the stationary bombs ready to go.”
one?” asked Sam without thinking.
course, they have the really dangerous job.
They must strike while we distract.
I felt much better getting assigned to group two — the decoy
group,” Teresa said relieved.
shut his eyes and inertly swore at himself.
He should have realized that there had to be a bigger plan.
What were two-dozen pipe bombs really going to do against a power
station that size? Keep the
guardia busy for the real bombs to take affect — of course.
what was he going to do? How
was he going to stop this?
you mind if I come with you?” Teresa asked shyly.
not at all,” Sam said with a smile. He
didn’t know what to do anyway. He
needed a guide.
was he to do now?
Sam worried about the state of his condition, and the problems with this
leap he did not realize that Teresa had been talking to him.
you all right today?” Teresa asked with genuine concern in her voice.
just don’t seem quite like yourself, today,” she stated.
“Does this have you spooked?”
could say that first part again,” Sam muttered under his breath.
Sam nodded his head to acknowledge the second part of her statement. ‘Spooked’ was not quite the word he would have chose
‘totally freaked’, ‘at a complete loss’ were fairly adequate
am surprised you seem so hard as a rock all the time, so devoted to it all,
in such a single minded way.” She
smiled, “It is nice to know that you have a softer side.” Teresa stared at him adoringly.
Sam reciprocated with a cautious smile back to her.
He had to be careful,
had no idea how close these two were, or were going to be in the future.
If Dr. Beckett had learned anything in his time as a leaper he had
learned that the little things mattered.
The wrong word said, tone implied, inflection in one’s voice could
start a cascade of events that could lead to many more problems and this
leap had more than enough. Besides
after Sam leaped from this one, Pablo would have to deal with any
ramifications leftover. Sam
considered himself a guest every time he leaped, it wasn’t his life he was
jumping into, it was someone else’s and he was always conscious of that
fact. Whatever decision he made
now his host would have to deal with it at some point in the future.
you believe that we will make it down the shining path?” she asked him.
staggered, not knowing what to say. He
hated being so trapped by this lack of knowledge.
“Well, I don’t really know.
I hope so. I guess,”
Sam croaked out lamely.
looked at him quizzically but brushed it off and continued her thought.
“I want to complete my trip down the Shining Path.
It would be so great to be back among the Inca, to live their lives,
to have Peru and its people be fed, sheltered, healthy and proud again.
To throw away all this capitalism, throw away all these foreign
aggressors, to throw away all the technology to live simply as the Inca’s
did once,” Teresa said with a dreamy look to her eye.
mean transform modern Peru to life as it was during the times of the
Inca?” Sam questioned.
Teresa answered looking quizzically at him again.
that is what is at the end of the Shining Path — a better life by brining
the past to the present. And so the Shining Path is everything that needs to be done
to get there, and of course we’re the ones that know what needs to be
done?” It really wasn’t a
question; it was more Sam working out the philosophy of this group out loud.
course, sometimes it takes an outside view, or even someone from outside to
effect the change that is needed,” she said.
thank god for us,” Sam replied.
you are sounding like yourself,” Teresa came back.
She had obviously missed the sarcasm that Sam had laced the statement
looked at her anew. How deeply involved was Pablo in this cause?
How deep did he believe?
is what we live for--what we spend nearly every waking moment struggling to
do. These people need us.
They are struggling just to live, just to survive.
They need someone like us to fight for them.
We are devoting our lives to them.
We live together, all on the run, we except the poor conditions that
we live in, knowing that we are helping them.”
silence grew between them, Teresa looked nervously at him.
moment of silence between the two was suddenly interrupted by a loud crack
that ripped through this triangular valley and up to the edge of the valley
wall to the tree line, where the two of them stood talking.
eyes bulged and her face went slack jaw, in the blink of an eye.
Staring down at her watch she spoke frantically, “Pablo, we’re
late. We’re suppose to be throwing our bombs right now.”
looked at her with what he imagined to be frantic panic on his face.
Damn,’ cursed the inner Sam, ‘I
was unable to stop it.’
made a dash down the hill to the flats of the long grass, as she ran towards
Pablo. Hurry and we can still
be of help,” she yelled back at him.
Only Sam did not want to be of help, none whatsoever.
the hell am I going to do now?’
thought Sam, as he had yet to move a muscle.
Sam was caught up in the conflict of the moment.
His body wanted to run after the girl, his mind told him to stay,
walk away from it. From behind
him he heard the all too familiar swoosh of the Imaging Chamber doors.
burst out of them at a run. “Stop
her Sam! Stop her! Yell
at her to duck, get to the ground anything!
Now, Sam, now!” Al’s
face looked white, he was beaded with sweat.
and Al had been doing this long together for any kind of hesitation or
mistrust to creep into Sam’s action.
This was his best friend trust was complete.
Without Sam putting any thought into it whatsoever, Sam yelled out:
“Drop, Teresa! Drop
must have been close to that amount of trust between Teresa and Pablo, for
Teresa dropped into the two-foot tall grass that very instant.
There was a mere second before bullets, fired from the post at the
station, passed through the air where she had just been standing.
boy!” Sam said out loud as he watched the scene take place, and the
bullets continue to fly through the air trying to discover Teresa hidden in
body acted before his hand and he ran to her.
He heard Al faintly, speaking in the background, although it took
several seconds for Al’s words to have an impact.
Duck! Get down!
You can be seen by the shooter!” Al was shocked, frantic and livid
all in one moment. What was Sam
floated next to him yelling obscenities trying to get Sam to listen.
It was tough for Al to remember that Sam had no military training. Sam was a doctor. He
spent his time with computers and books; combat, military tactics were not
what Sam thought of, of course these were a part of Admiral Calavicci's
foundation of thinking.
wasn’t until the first shot ripped a hole through Sam’s back pack,
arresting his run and spinning him one quarter of the way around, that Sam
heeded his best friend's advice and dropped face down on the grass.
The impact bruised two of Sam’s ribs from his backpack landing
straight down onto him.
crawl out of the back pack! The
tower can see it! Hurry, Sam!
Hurry! March double
time!” Al screamed at Sam, a
bit of the old military lingo filtering down from his mind to his speech.
got to get to Teresa,” Sam spoke back, his words muffled by the fact that
he spoke into the dirt.
won’t be able to if you are DEAD! Crawl
out of the back pack NOW!” Al voice dropped an octave and became rough and
gravelly. His voice was reminiscent of the one he used when he used to
bark out orders to cadets and second year back in the Navy. Al was beginning
to feel it, all those sensations that only came out during combat:
the sickening feeling in the pit of your stomach, your nerves on
edge, and your senses heightened on complete alert for anything, the
slightest thing unusual or out of place.
Al’s eyes darted all around keeping look out over a fallen comrade,
instincts and years of training taking over.
struggled to get out of his pack; to Al it looked like he was wrestling with
it and losing.
down. Keep down, Sam,” Al
said encouragingly. Another
group of bullets ripped through the grass around Sam.
Sam cried out, feeling a sharp, hot, blistering pain sear through his lower
If I had a gun I’d take care of that nozzle now,” Al said
exasperated by the fact there was nothing he could do.
down, Al could see that Sam had been hit in the last folly of bullets.
He couldn’t tell how bad it was since Sam was thrashing about so
Hey. Up there!
Here I am!” the female voice jolted both Sam and Al.
looked over the grass plains, and in a kneeling position waving her arms
madly, was Teresa. He was able
to see her upper torso as it emerged from the grass.
If of course Al could see her so clearly than so to could the
is she doing?” Sam questioned, not believing what he hearing.
And saving your ass,” Al replied.
“Crawl as fast as you can Sam away from your backpack.”
crawled instinctively to Teresa’s location.
Sam, go opposite of her. If you
get too close the shooter will get both of you.
C’mon Sam, do this!”
saw the logic of what his friend was saying even though it slapped him in
the face with cold water against what he wanted to do which was save Teresa.
Sam vacillated for a second before he began crawling through the
grass away from Teresa.
is she, Al? How is she?” Sam
asked through gritted teeth, as pain shot through his lower leg.
fine, scared shitless, but fine,” Al replied while staring at his hand
she supposed to have died?” Sam said still crawling on his stomach,
ignoring his leg and ribs.
Al replied. “In the original history of this event Teresa was killed, as
was half the group. Most died from his gun.”
Al pointed to the top of the tower.
“So you and her have got to move and keep moving,” Al said as he
stared at the handlink trying to understand all the new information that
flooding in from Ziggy.
yelled back, something inaudible.
she is scared,” Al said feeling a tug to his heart. This girl resembled
his oldest daughter at that age, and seemed to have the same sense of
it will be all right. Just keep
moving don’t let him get a bead on you.”
came the faint female voice.
your head, Sam! Cover your head, Sam!”
A frantic voice came from Al’s panicked face.
Sam got rolled from the concussion wave of the explosion that toppled
explosion ripped through the power station sending a cascade of white sparks
one hundred feet into the air. One
quarter of Lima blackened in an instant effecting over 2 million people, and
blazing the name of the Sendero Luminoso into the minds of every Peruvian
with access to media.
would have thought it was a pretty sight to behold, reminding him of summer
nights and Fourth of July fireworks, had it not been for the underlying
guilt he felt for not stopping this event in the first place.
In this had been the event he needed to stop he had failed at it,
miserably. Sam had failed to
protect Pablo from this act. Although Sam had kept Pablo from actually doing anything to
endanger anyone’s lifes, or to cause harm, he doubted a tribunal would see
it that way—doubted it very much. He
was a part of the group who did this; consequently he was a part of this,
even though he took no willful action.
He was as guilty as anyone here.
Sam tried to ask a relevant question yet the words would not form, and
Sam’s mouth simply hung open.
run, Sam. Stand up and run.
The guard tower came crashing down.
There is no one to shoot at you now.
Although I am sure the Peruvian army is racing here with every intent
to kill,” Al said.
stood up and put weight on his left leg, lost his balance, succumbed to
gravity and got back up to do another test on his leg.
He couldn’t see the wound through his pants, but the muscle still
seemed strong, blood caked his lower pant leg but Sam didn’t feel woozy
Run! Run!” Sam yelled at the top of his lungs.
He saw her in the distant emerge from the grass and run off, in his
opposite direction around the power station.
do I go?” Sam asked wearily.
Northeast.” That took him on
the other side of the power station. Sam
ran with a limp.
FOUR: THE SHANTYTOWN
ran and Al directed. Sam couldn’t tell how long he had run - he guessed about
two miles. A point in time came
when Sam had to address his leg wound.
Sam sat on the cold damp ground ripping away his lower pant leg to
get to the wound.
lucky son of a bitch. That
nozzle nearly got you. The
bullet nicked the side of your shin. One
more centimeter it could have shattered it,” Al had exclaimed.
had just nodded; tearing off a sleeve of his shirt that he tied over the
wound, far from sterile this was the best bandage he was going to be able to
manage. It seemed to stop the
bleeding well enough.
ran well after that, if a little tenderly.
are we going?” Sam asked the floating Al.
closest shanty town,” Al replied.
a shanty town?” Sam asked trying to get a bearing on where he was going.
are about to find out,” Al said gloomily, looking up from the handlink.
“You better brace yourself.”
was about to ask what Al meant by that remark, but as they cleared the last
of the trees he found out he really didn’t have to.
didn’t know what he had expected to see in a shantytown. No image had
instantly formed in his mind when those two words were put together, but
this would not have been anything he would have imagined.
out in front of him, on the desert plain were rows and rows of makeshift
tents. They were put together
by no more than pieces of wood and brown, flimsy cloth, which would not stop
much of a wind let alone cold or rain.
In the middle of each quad of tents was a fire pit, with dishes of
clay, the occasional pot and pan, although those were rare, and no glass at
were everywhere, of all ages, most looking haggard and spent.
You could read the stories of their hard lives written in each
wrinkle or pockmark on their faces. Many
children ran around with heavily calloused bare feet, all struggled to have
a complete set of clothes on, most of the boys and younger kids wore no
shirts; most were filthy covered with layers of dirt and sores.
could not see a water source anywhere, not a stream, a creak or a well, but
what could one expect in a desert.
do they get their water?” Sam asked his holographic friend.
steal their water from other towns. What
water they are able to come up with they ration to every man, woman and
child,” Al said after consulting his handlink.
how much is that per person per week?” Sam asked.
a good week, maybe a pint a day,” Al answered stoically.
pint?” Sam said in an unbelieving tone.
are the poorest of the poor. Most
have come to Lima from the poor parts of the country — the Andes.
Their uneducated, big families, and have no real skills other than
farming and herding. Yet they
come to live here and by far most think this is an improvement” Al
what does the city do for them?” Sam asked.
Al stated. “Nothing at all. To
the Lima officials these people are squatters and nothing more.
They choose to ignore them and hope they go away.
Lima is a poor city that can’t take care of their own, let alone
the thousands of squatters that come here every year.”
what do these people hope to gain?” Sam asked hoping there was a silver
lining somewhere to this ceasing black cloud.
will squat here. They will find work. They
will pool their money together over the next decade or so.
They will begin to build homes for everyone here.
They will tap into Lima’s electricity and water supply.
The government is overwhelmed they will not catch them at any of
this, in twenty or thirty years Lima will acknowledge this squatter
community and it will be named and incorporated in the city of Lima itself.
people will never prosper here; they will always be poor, just eking out a
living. The death rate is
extremely high here. Lots of
malnutrition and disease but it is better than where they came from, and
hopefully, the next generation will not have to struggle as hard to live.”
opened his mouth to say something but instead he chose not to and simply
looked around. He had never
witnessed so much poverty or so many poor, sad people.
a long moment, Sam noticed that some residents staring at him.
are they looking at me?” Sam asked, for everyone, including the children,
whom he could see had stopped to stare at him.
Sam you do stand out,” Al said.
who’s talking,” Sam replied glaring at Al’s wardrobe.
But Sam suddenly knew what he was talking about.
He was taller than everyone he could see by several inches at least;
he was Caucasian, they all had straight jet, black hair, brown eyes.
They all stared at him.
is their race. A combination of Spanish and the natives who were here when
the Spanish came,” Al said.
mean the Incas?” Sam asked more rhetorically than to Al.
replied Al. “They have probably never seen someone like you in their
do I go from here?” Sam asked.
looked at the handlink, “Follow me.”
tried but it was hard. His limp
was pronounced, his muscles of his leg had stiffened up, but they didn’t
cause him any pain, at least he never had a chance to think about the pain
it was causing him. Sam hobbled along walking through a burgeoning crowd, as many
people came out of their tents to look upon the commotion at the electrical
adults he saw eyed him strangely, accusingly, like he was the cause of all
of this, and thus to blame. It
was a natural reaction, Sam understood, as it would happen, they were right;
Sam was to blame.
the other hand, the kids were different, in that they did not make the same
association as their parents and grand parents, so they ran up to Sam, most
talking fast and non-stop, all reaching out their hands to try and touch Sam
himself, his skin specifically.
ran around him in circles, laughing, jumping and chattering.
Knowing no Spanish, Sam could not understand a word that was being
said to him, but after a short while the infectious nature of the kids
rubbed off on Sam and he to laughed and giggled.
laughed as well as he floated away from the mob.
“We’re almost there.”
limped along after the hologram with kids circling around him and more and
more adults glaring at him.
is now estimating only a 27.7% chance that you are here to save Pablo,” Al
stated almost grimacing as he did.
Sam said and than he realized. “Of course not, I failed to stop that.
I may be stuck here,” Sam voiced the last of the sentence nearly
sticking in his throat.
Sam. We don’t think that is was Pablo at all,” Al said.
“He is totally devoted to the Sendero.
He has no reservations. He
fully believes that what he is doing is the best for Peru and its people.
I couldn’t just walk away. Take
him back to the states?” Sam
quickly plugged in the conditions into his handlink.
He began shaking his head before speaking.
“Ziggy estimates a 90% chance that he would come right back as soon
as he could.”
who? No wait where are you
getting your information?” Sam
asked. If the kids around him
were bothered by Sam talking out loud, they didn’t show it.
Of course it probably helped that they didn’t understand one word
from sealed Peruvian documents about crimes against the state, tribunal and
inquest records, and whatever newspaper articles we have been able to
discover. It took us forever to
get the Peruvian government to unseal the documents so we could have them.
Then Ziggy insisted on learning Spanish, so she could do the
translation. Didn’t trust
anyone else to do it?” Al let
the exasperation with Ziggy flavor his words.
you check the American Embassy records in the states?” asked Sam.
Al responded, “What are you thinking?”
just playing a hunch. It's
another avenue to pursue,” Sam said.
typed furiously into his handlink. “Ziggy’s
and Sam continued to weave around the makeshift tents.
A few of the kids began to flow back to their respective parents and
tents. Al continually looked at
his handlink every minute or so to see if Ziggy had any new information.
the umpteenth tent, Sam saw the group he had seen when he first leaped into
Pablo. They were easy to spot.
They were gathered together about fifteen in number, most had guns on
straps hanging over their shoulders, talking, laughing, and congratulating
exuberantly. Everyone was loud,
gregarious and in a good mood. Many
were drinking out of hollowed out gourds.
Sam was welcomed with great revelry.
comes the conquering hero!” exclaimed Juan, loud enough for the entire
group to hear.
is not the time to be modest. Now
is the time to bask in our success,” Juan said his arms out extended above
his head to emphasize this grand gesture.
“What you did out there, you and Teresa, of course,” he motioned
his head and before Sam could look around, Sam felt Teresa grab his right
arm and give him a kiss on the cheek.
two of you rocked, drawing all that fire. That was gutsy, brave, insane and
perfect. This went so much
smoother than anyone thought it would,” Juan said a big smile on his face.
He handed out gourds to both Teresa and Sam.
looked at Al.
true,” Al said nodding his head. “Half
of these people standing in front of you never survived that battle.”
smiled slightly. He could not help himself; they were all smiling at him.
Well maybe Sam had done something good—changed the future for the
why am I still here?’
looked conspicuously down at the handlink.
‘Yeah, but most now die in that prison fire.
Sam you saved them from some months at least,’ thought Al, not
really wanting to pass on this news Sam.
Al frowned at the handlink.
What was this? Teresa
didn’t die in the prison fire.
John, run a track on Theresa Lynn Ramsey.
Tell me what you find out,” Al said into the air.
Al nodded, getting a positive answer back from St. John through the
was then that all thoughts took a back seat for Al.
Juan lit up a cigar.
Al gasped out loud.
saw the cigar instantly and shook his head at his friend’s fascination
bet that is a Havana,” Al said, getting as physically close to Juan and
his cigar as he possibly could.
took a drink from the gourd, choked instantly and began having a coughing
is this?” Sam coughed out the
you ever had chicha? It’s a
corn beer they make that usually ferments in a llama’s stomach buried in
the ground. This one tastes like about 3 or 4 months or so.
Pretty cool huh?” Juan responded blowing out cigar smoke that floated through
his holographic friend.
I wish I could smell that. I just want a taste right on the lips.
Let my tongue get a taste of…” Al dropped off.
“Damn that promise.”
wondered off as others asked him and Teresa about their earlier actions.
followed Juan staying downwind of the cigar smoke, letting it pass through
him at every chance.
wanted to stop him, but he was too surrounded.
He couldn’t say anything inconspicuously.
So Al floated off and Sam tried to deal with all the questions he was
getting bombarded with.
wondered off to a small group of comrades surrounded by some intense looking
Peruvians. Teresa let go of
Sam’s arm and knelt down by the kids, trying to engage them in talk with
her knowledge of broken Spanish. Sam stayed surrounded by Sendero laughing, drinking, and
followed Juan gathering as much peripheral enjoyment of the cigar smoking as
he could. His moment of bliss
was interrupted by the constant pulsing of the handlink, which was urgently
letting him know that it had received a fresh download of new information.
Al ignored it for a full minute before his consciousness got the
better of him.
shit!” Al exclaimed upon reading the new download.
Sam?” he said out loud, frantically looking around and cursing himself for
verdad es el Sendero Luminoso! Tupac
Amaru muerta para ti…” Juan was speaking loudly behind him to a growing
crowd of upset Peruvians. Al
left him there with one last long look at the cigar.
put me back to Sam,” Al said into the handlink.
disappeared from Juan and reappeared by Sam.
we got it. We know who you are
here to help with 92.7% surety.” Sam
looked up at his friend. The
crowd was waning from him, off in their own little cliques; Teresa was off
to his left in a circle of young kids, each one of them trying to talk to
Sam asked thankful for the information.
said Al. “We thought all this
time she died from the sniper. We
only knew that she was found shot. She
whom?” asked Sam.
you,” Al said.
Sam said startled.
the time of the prison fire, the U.S. Government was trying to get him
extradited for the trial,” Al said his eyes quickly darting over all the
information that was pouring out of the handlink at him.
looked at Teresa who was kneeling down by the kids; they were all laughing.
She seems to truly love him,” Sam said.
don’t know,” Al said hitting the handlink repeatedly.
“St. John, what …” And Al disappeared in a second.
was left there to stare out into space.
returned a half a minute later.
follow me, there’s a situation up here Ziggy wants you to check out,” Al
said and floated off.
had to run to keep up with him, which wasn’t easy since he had been
standing a while and his leg had stiffened up.
Yet, Sam tried to keep up with him as best he could without
had got into the conversation with all good intention expressing Sendero’s
philosophy, educating these people to how wonderful this cause was, how
wonderful their cause was, how wonderful Peru would be for them when they
were victorious. However the
conversation turned heated and venomous words came from the Peruvian, saying
such evils as the Sendero Luminoso were the problem and that they were
causing them harm.
We all must make Sacrifices,” Juan had yelled.
is not your fight to fight. You’re
not Peruvian. You are just here
to usurp the Government and take charge.
One oppressor for another. It
makes no difference. Power
corrupts equally,” came the various responses from the crowd.
there the conversation degenerated into a shouting match, with tempers
rising on both sides. By the time Sam got there, the four or five Sendero members
were yelling back and forth with the crowd of Peruvians, fifty or more, in
at least two languages. The
Peruvian crowd encircled the group of five Sendero, all of whom looked
nervous except for Juan who was beat red with anger, and was wildly
gesticulating with his arms as he spoke at the top of his lungs.
ARE HERE TO FREE YOU FROM THESE FOREIGNERS, WHO HAVE TAKEN OVER YOUR LIVES
AND COUNTRY. LONG LIVE THE INCA
— THE PRIDE, THE PEOPLE, THEIR GREATNESS.
WE CAN BRING IT BACK, ALL OF IT TO YOU, FOR YOU.
SAFETY, FREEDOM, PEACE.”
began pushing through the crowd. He
wanted to get Juan out of there, calm him down.
Sam was forced to admire his conviction; his words seemed to ring
with some sort of sincerity. But
could you really go back to the past? Could
you really take a country, kicking and screaming, with you?
WILL BRING BACK YOUR RELIGION. YOU
WILL BE ABLE TO SHED THE HEATHEN CHRISTIAN GOD AND WORSHIP INTI — THE SUN
GOD. WORSHIP THE EARTH, THE
HEAT, AND THE FOOD HE IS GRANTING ALL OF US HERE TODAY. YOU WILL HAVE FOOD
TO FEED YOURSELVES AND YOUR FAMILIES, YOUR OWN LAND TO WORK, YOUR BORDERS
PROTECTED. YOU WILL BE ABLE TO
FEEL HAPPY AND SAFE.”
was pushing his way through but he could feel the synergy of the crowd and
it was all negative. Some of the people in the crowds held implements, scavenged
items: sticks, pieces of pipe
and assorted things. Sam pushed
through the crowd harder; this situation could get ugly soon.
keep your eyes on Teresa. Make
sure she stays out of the way if this gets ugly,” Sam said to the floating
aspiration that drifted through the people of the crowd next to him.
Sam,” Al pressed two buttons on the handlink and was gone in an instant.
Sam broke into the inner circle and immediately went up to Juan, grabbing
they are not hearing you. They
are not getting your message. It
is time for us to go,” Sam said in what he hoped was a calm and reassuring
know, Pablo. I must become the
teacher,” Juan replied. His voice was adamant and his demeanor strong.
“They fear. Christ,
look at them of course they fear. They have grown up in a culture that has for generations that
has kept them poor uneducated and has beat them down on a daily basis with
rampant crime and starvation. They
fear change, and they have good reason.
They fear change because for them all change in the past has been
bad. We bring good change.
They just can’t see it, not yet.”
And with these two words his mouth twisted to form a smile.
should find a better time,” Sam said insistently beginning to pull him by
the arm and make their way through the crowd.
was not to be pulled.
will never be a better time,” he said flashing a smile.
Sam thought, ‘he is actually enjoying this.
What tactic do I take now?’
is not the time. We must go,” Sam urged.
was having none of it. “No,
mi amigo. A lesson must be taught.
These fine people must be taught a lesson that all of Peru will
did that Juan. We bombed the
station. God knows how much of
Lima got blacked out. They have
heard that lesson,” Sam said, still feeling all the negative energy around
took pause as he was thinking about what Sam had just said.
“Yes, that was a lesson but it didn’t reach this group.
That lesson was more for the government than for these everyday
people. They need to understand
the lesson more personally.”
though he was getting somewhere, the rage he had seen in Juan had dispersed.
He was no longer red and no longer screaming.
will get caught by the guardia if we stay here.
We need to go back to head quarters or where ever,” Sam said ending
the statement pretty lamely since he had no real idea where these people
stayed or lived.’ Yet the statement seemed to hit a mark, Juan froze as
recognition crossed his face.
that time, Juan got hit by a flying piece of wood, the crowd was getting
rowdy. Juan was not hurt al
all, but Sam saw his face grow red.
lesson has to be taught,” Juan said calmly.
squeezed off a round from his gun before Sam even noticed he had gone for
it. The crowd immediately
silenced and scampered. Juan
shot indiscriminately as did the other four encircled members.
Screams of fear and pain flew through the air with sounds of spraying
bullets, stomping of panicked feet and Juan repeating the single word:
“Lessons, lessons, lessons.”
reached to grab Juan’s gun but then he stopped and raised his free arm
into the air. The rest of the Sendero stopped shooting.
lesson has been learned,” Juan said passively.
lesson could have possibly been learned here?” Sam yelled at Juan
incensed, struck by the shock of the horror of the situation.
Everything. This shows
we are serious that we believe in our cause, that we will do anything for
it. It shows them our importance. It
shows them we need to be respected,” Juan said with a wry grin on his
shock would not leave Sam’s face. What
had just happened? What had
gone wrong? How could he have
out the scene, Sam saw death, pain and blood.
Victims lay scattered all around them.
Women and children were weeping and screaming, men were yelling,
swearing and few had broken down completely over a fallen loved one.
Sam saw at least ten bodies strewn out on the ground, another fifteen
he guessed to be injured, and some he could tell critically by the size of
their wounds and amount of blood that flowed freely from them.
Sam realized that they would all die.
These people had no first aid, no local doctor, no health education,
no medical facilities, and no help coming, at least not soon enough to make
was moving now. Juan led the group, Sam reluctantly followed until he saw Al
kneeling over by Teresa. Sam
ran to them and sight he saw brought him to tears.
had blood all over her, all stemming from a bullet wound to the chest of one
of the little boys that had been following them.
His face was stark white pale, his eyes were wide and bulged, his
lips were parted and his mouth was clenched hard, a trickle of blood seeping
through gaps in his teeth.
body twitched twice, his jaw unclenched and the boy, who an hour ago had
been laughing and running, died with his eyes open in Teresa’s lap.
was bordering on hysterics with her grief, mouthing the word ‘why’ over
too was weeping, desperately trying to put his arms around the boy, yet
losing the inevitable struggle as his holographic arms kept going through
went over and hugged Teresa.
leaving now!” Juan’s scream was heard somewhere behind him.
hugged back so hard that Sam’s ribs yelled in protest and air escaped from
need to go,” he whispered gently in her ear.
He released her and he gently, caringly moved the boy off her lap.
Sam closed the boy’s eyes.
took Teresa in his arms and got her moving.
She could not take her eyes off the dead boy; she kept the boy in her
sights as long as she could, sobbing the entire time.
and Teresa walked slowly together, stammering and weaving between the tents.
Each scream they heard behind them brought yet another tear in their
collective heart. Juan led the
group, Sam and Teresa, brought up the rear.
They all made their way out of the shantytown.
FIVE: STRANGE SILENCE
all walked father into the city of Lima.
The closer the city’s heart they got the more the neighborhoods
improved. The tent town evolved
into makeshift buildings, to buildings that actually incorporated cement or
stone. Yet everywhere Sam
couldn’t escape the fact that his was a third world country, garbage was
strewn in piles in streets, the sidewalks, and the alleyways.
city was dark, at least this part of it was, and as far as Sam could see.
The streets were practically deserted, stores and little shops locked
up, all vendors gone and the people sequestered in their homes.
It created a strange silence.
and Teresa dragged their way through the town but it was disconcerting to
hear the other Sendero members ahead of them practically gleeful, and not
share the passionate pain over those they had just killed.
soul wept. Teresa’s turned to anger and charged Juan, knocking him down
onto the gravel road, that we had all been walking down the middle of.
son of a bitch! Murdering bastard!” She
screamed flailing fists into his chest with such flurry.
Sendero members close to Juan pulled her off him.
sent a message!” Juan yelled at her once he got to his feet.
That we’re murdering bastards that are as bad if not worse then the
government we are trying to topple. Yes.
We sent that message very loud and clear.”
Spit flew from her mouth, as she stared straight at Juan, shouting
the words as tears flowed from her eyes.
We gave them a less on of how serious we are, how just our
cause…” Juan tried to counter.
We taught them to fear us at all cost.
Join us or die!” Teresa
that works too,” Juan said that sly grin sliding back on his face.
asshole!” Teresa shouted and
again began pounding her fist into him.
She had every intention to try to hurt him, but Juan seemed unfazed,
is a powerful weapon. Something
we can use on our side. Listen,
Teresa what we did was good. You
knew when you joined us that there would come a time for sacrifice.
Well this was that time. Those
people sacrificed themselves for the greater good of all people in Peru.
Don’t you see Teresa, we took one very big step today – one giant
step down the Shining Path,” Juan said his eyes bright and intense.
I don’t see. What we
did was evil. Those people
didn’t sacrifice themselves because they didn’t choose.
You arrogant son of a bitch, you made that choice for them.
If anything they were sacrificed by you.
By all of you. Do you
really believe what you did back there was a good thing?
Do you? Do any of
looked around to see a lot of blank faces stare back at her.
Only one face shook his head and that was Pablo’s.
Her eyes glistened with a prolong look at Pablo’s eyes before
looking back on the group.
did not join to kill innocent people — to kill the Peruvians we are
supposedly trying to help. I joined to make change,” Teresa said her grief pouring out
changed many lives today,” Juan declared.
ended many as well, women, children…” Teresa could hold back no longer
and burst into sobs, falling to the ground to sit and sob.
"I want to leave.”
group stood and watched Teresa as she grieved.
No one moved to her to help her with her pain, although someone moved
closer to Sam. Al floated
need to talk to her, convince her, show her how really right this was,”
Juan whispered into Sam’s ear.
couldn’t help it and laughed out loud.
don’t know that that is even possible at this point,” Sam said shaking
his head. Sam had said it to be
flippant to show Juan that he was firmly on Teresa’s side, yet like so
many things previously, Juan did not seem to take it with that intention.
I suppose you are probably right. But
you know what has to happen next then.
You recruited her. The
duty will fall to you. Try
talking to her at least.” Juan
stepped away from Sam leaving him with that very cryptic statement.
sudden understanding, like a lightning bolt from above, Sam knew.
‘Oh my God,’ Sam thought, ‘this is the moment I was
meant to stop.’
walked over to Teresa and knelt down beside her.
could hear Al’s handlink buzzing and saw it pulsing.
Al looked down and looked back to Sam with eyes wide and his mouth
opened, but Sam cut him off before he had a chance to speak.
okay, I know,” Sam said softly to Al.
do?” Teresa asked back quietly in surprise.
are you going to do?” Al asked. “Sam,
do you have a plan?” Al
prayed that he did.
simply ignored his friend; he needed to totally focus on Teresa.
This leap turned out to be all about her.
want out. I want to go home,”
Teresa whispered, her eyes pleading with him.
deserve to,” Sam said slipping his wallet into her hands.
“I have no idea what’s in it but you’re welcome to whatever can
get you home. Will you…? Can
you get home by yourself?”
at Sam with bloodshot eyes, Teresa nodded.
will have to leave quickly. Take
the chance when you get it,” Sam whispered.
know the penalty for abandoning the path,” she said, not looking near as
naïve as Sam had once thought she had been.
will do everything I can for you,” Sam said and stood up.
came up to him as soon as Sam took one step away from Teresa.
everything cool?” Juan asked.
oh so cool!” Teresa said sarcastically.
“Can’t be much cooler than when you kill people, uh Juan?”
not with us are you Teresa?” Juan asked with a sigh.
am not with you. That is probably the first thing you’ve said that was right
all day. I hate you, Juan.”
Sam shouted out hoping she would stop.
This was not going well and she was not going to make his job any
Pablo. I need to say
this. I know what is going to
happen to me, I am no idiot. So
if this is it, I should be able to say anything I want.”
put his hands up in surrender.
continued, “I hate all of you. But
I especially hate what you did to me. I
hate what I became today—an accomplice to mass murder, a killer of all
that was innocent, a killer of exactly what we came here to protect.
I am ashamed of all of you, and especially ashamed of myself.
I can’t associate with any of you anymore.
I’m leaving.” Teresa
turned and walked back down the street.
you loaded? Here use mine.
Do it here in public. A
lesson needs to be taught to the rest of the group,”
Juan said in a voice as cool as a cucumber.
Sam received the gun that had been slung over Juan’s arm.
stared at the gun nodded, “Yeah.”
turned and began to walk quickly over to Teresa, who simply walked down the
gravel street in no hurry.
what are you doing? You’re not actually listening to this nozzle,” Al yelled
stopped and raised his gun to her back.
Sam said in a loud voice. In
the middle of the road, Teresa froze and slowly turned around.
smiled at him and ran behind the nearest building.
it, Pablo! After her, now!”
screamed an irate Juan to the rest of the Sendero.
bullets on the gravel road, Sam spun around.
The group of Sendero all froze.
Sam had to buy time.
to go, Sam. Show them who is
boss,” Al yelled out his encouragement as he scanned the handlink.
“She needs more time Sam. She
needs to get far enough away so they won’t be able to find her.
She is running like mad and changing her course often. But she needs time yet.”
simply stood there waving his gun back and forth, trying to cover all of
this was your cause, your entire life.
This is what we have been working day and night for the last five
years. What are you doing?”
Juan asked vehemently.
her go,” Sam said calmly.
A blood red Juan yelled at him.
it is what I do,” Sam said with a smile.
him!!” yelled Juan. A number of the members of the Sendero took a step towards
him. Sam sprayed the ground
with bullets just ahead of them; this stopped them all in their tracks.
pulled a .38 special from a hip pocket and pointed it straight at Sam.
the gun, Pablo!” Juan yelled.
not to chase after Teresa,” Sam responded.
are in no position to bargain!” Juan
yelled red in the face.
jumped up and down. “Shoot him Sam! Shoot
him! He’s going to kill you!
Shoot him Sam!” Al was frantic.
far away is she?” asked Sam.
looked quizzically at him.
no longer cared what any of them thought anymore.
needs a few more minutes to get a few more blocks to make 100% sure, Sam,”
Al said reluctantly.
he will shoot me,” said Sam.
shot before. Remember your leap to Vietnam,” Al pleaded, “Just shoot
I can’t,” Sam shook his head.
I am not at war. And because Pablo believes in what he is doing,” Sam said.
“This is my only way to be true to him and save Teresa.”
Pablo,” Juan said a second before he pulled the trigger.
jumped in the way of the bullet; it passed right through him to strike Sam
in the upper chest. Sam fell
over backwards sending out a spray of bullets into the air as he fell.
None of the group moved.
walked over to Sam.
you come any where close to him you nozzle!
I swear…” Al kneeled by Sam his arms reaching out to touch him,
here. This is what happens to
non-believers. This is a very
powerful lesson,” Juan said with a mixture of sadness and giddiness.
bullet had entered high on Sam’s chest but ricocheted into the body,
glancing off a rib, puncturing a lung and now he was bleeding internally.
Through gasping breath and with the taste of blood in his mouth Sam
was only able to utter one request. “Tell
me about Teresa.”
looked down at the handlink. Through
tears Al smiled, “She's made it Sam.
She's made it. She makes
it back to the States. She gets
back into school. Sam, she
becomes a psychologist for children who have gone through traumatic
smiled up at Al. Al continued to talk; Sam can no longer focus on the words.
It’s weird that he felt no pain and was suddenly so tired.
A strange silence crept over the world.
In that moment two events happen simultaneously:
Paul Andrew Wendle took his last breath and Dr. Samuel John Beckett
Sam Beckett, quantum physicist, was in the static blue-white nexus once
more, resting between his time-traveling missions to put right what once
went wrong. He could feel
nothing physically at the moment, just the sensation of not being bound by
the laws of gravity. Sam could
not remember this place when he leaped nor the voice of the Other, the one
who often spoke to him. Those
memories only stayed with him while in this stasis.
you prepared?” the voice of the Other spoke to him.
I going home?” Sam asked desperately, his desire to return to his own time
as deep as ever.
yet. The objective is not yet
accomplished,” came the reply in a tone that almost sounded stressful.
“You must leap.”
that moment, Dr. Beckett could feel the twisting sensation enveloping him,
and his world began swirling, swirling, until the familiar faint whining
sound grew, and once again, he found himself in the past, his body occupying
the aura of yet another host.
time-traveler thought the effect of the leaping was taking longer than usual
to wear off from the noise that still reverberated in his ears.
However, when Sam’s physical senses finally kicked in, he
discovered that the sound of a crowd cheering was the new clamor.
He was not expecting, however, to find himself sliding, nor holding
on to something that was sliding in front of him, almost dragging him along.
The cold air around Sam was a shocking change of temperature to his
skin, and as he looked closer to his surroundings, he realized that he was
gliding down a large stretch of ice.
are you doing, Jerry?! Let go
of the stone!” a voice called out from in front of him to his left.
Frantic, the leaper began trying to stop himself as he released the
large, round object that he was holding onto by its handle, and ended up
falling onto his side. Sam spun
like a top, crashing into the guy who jeered at him, who instantly joined
Sam at ground level, unfortunately using the physicist as a landing pad. The
crowd’s cheering turned to laughter and sounds of sympathy.
out a sound of pain at the other man’s elbow digging into his ribs as he
stood up, Sam was relieved when another person came over and dragged him off
the stone didn’t even make it anywhere close!
What’s wrong with you?” the rib-jabber complained, and glared at
Sam. Embarrassed, Sam Beckett
moved his gaze to the ground and muttered, “Oh, boy.”