String TheoryMature

Michael sat there, still half leaning in, with a dumb look on his face. He sat there for a solid minute before he got up out of the chair. “What?” he said, anger in his voice as he passed his hand nervously through his hair. “How is that even possible?”

“What do you mean?” Andrea asked.

“Andrea!” Michael said, nearly yelling as his hands were held in front of him like he was holding the proof of his words. “I never had a child. Not with Cassandra …” he was planting his index on his fingers as he went. “Not with Renee, not with Christal ...” He stared at her in an awkward moment of silence. “Not with anybody. So how could you possibly be my great granddaughter? It's just not possible.”

“Actually,” came a voice from the doorway, which Michael discovered was Harvey's. “I can explain how it is indeed possible.”

“Look asshole, I know who I've fucked and what the hell are you doing in here anyway? Didn't I tell you to get the fuck out?”

“Michael!” Andrea yelled. “Calm down.”

He looked at her, anger in his eyes. “What the fuck? How many times can a guy's world get ripped upside down in a single fucking week!”

“I didn't mean to eavesdrop Michael, but you were yelling pretty loudly.”

Michael shook his head. “This is ridiculous. Is this some kind of joke? If you didn't like me, why'd you give me those eyes?” he said to Andrea, pointing accusingly in her direction.

Andrea was in disbelief. “Michael, I care for you as a father figure. I …” She stopped, her eyes watering. “I never knew my father. I felt like I saw him in you, I loved you as I would have loved him. My emotions are real, they're just not what you thought they were.”

Michael stood there, like an idiot, staring at her with his mouth half open.

“Michael, you may not have had a child with Cassandra, or any of your other relationships prior to her-”

“Damn right I didn't,” Michael interjected.

“But time travel is complex, and certain aspects of it could -”

“Could what? Fuck Cassandra while I was away?”

“Michael!” Andrea screamed again.

“Look,” Harvey said, his hands up. “I don't need this. You can listen to me, or lose your shit. Pick one.”

Michael looked at him, then looked at Andrea. He took a deep breath and nodded to himself. “Alright. Explain this to me.”

“Alright,” Harvey said. He walked over to the clipboard and picked up a pen. He sat down next to Andrea and drew a cone. He then drew several parallel lines within the cone. “This is you in twenty thirteen,” he said, the pen pointed at the narrow end of the cone. “When you travel short distances in time, like Smalldridge and Holt had you doing, there are very few choices being made in that week that can have a huge impact on the world you get to in the future.” He pointed at the few parallel lines that could fit within the narrow end of the cone. “However, when you travel great distances in time, like when you jumped seventy two years into the future,” he pointed at the many different parallel lines on the wide end of the cone. “There are millions of choices that have been made that could change the worldline you find yourself in on the far side.”

“Worldline?” Michael asked. “You mean like an alternate dimension or something?”

“Not alternate,” Harvey said, pointing to the lines within the cone. “Parallel.”

There was a moment of silence as Michael tried to absorb the information.

“Basically, you landed on a worldline, or parallel existence where your counterpart here had a child with Cassandra.”

Michael looked at Andrea. “A child,” he repeated.

Andrea nodded. “A child who was so obsessed with the disappearance of her father that she dedicated her life to discovering the truth.”

“And she did,” Harvey said.

Andrea continued, “She joined the Central Intelligence Agency and spent her entire career piecing together the remains of the Horizon Project.”

“Then,” Harvey started. “Her son, Joshua Rafferty …”

“He changed his name to take his mothers maiden name.” Andrea interjected.

Harvey sighed. “Joshua Rafferty was my mentor. He dedicated his life to rebuilding the project. He was also obsessed with your return. An obsession that may or may not have aggravated his early onset dementia, which is when he started speaking of your arrival as a prophecy that would end the war and allow us to reconstruct civilization once again.”

“Yeah,” Michael said, shaking his head. “That's where my … grandson is it? Was right the fuck out of 'er.”

Harvey sighed. “He may have been delusional near his death Michael, but his fervor in oration garnered a huge following. It almost became a religion, with you as the messiah.”

“Holy crap,” Michael said. “I can't take this shit.”

Harvey held Michael's arm. “You may not bring us divine intervention Michael, but you're still an invaluable resource that can win us the war.”

“Why's that?”

“Because,” Harvey said, his eyes peering into Michael's with hope. “To this day you're still the only man that can travel through time.”

The End

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