The spectators finished flocking to the stands, and pushed towards their seats. The audiences were in bubbles floating in the sky. The show was about to begin for the thousands of guests from the future. The audience members were each given a glass plate when they had descended into the stadium, and many had sat down with their families browsing through their lens options. They were able to see any part of the city they wanted with that piece of glass. The monitor of the event appeared in each of the bubbles as his hologram projected into each sphere. He hovered in the middle of each of the bubbles and welcomed the guests. The admin just finished his meeting and gave approval for all the contestants in the event with the odds for their bets displayed for each of the contestants. More of the crowd arrived as the presenter was speaking, as they floated down like water droplets falling by their seats. There was nothing like a day into the past for many of the guests, and they brought plenty of money to bet on the different players.
The odds for each of the players were projected in front of each of the guests, and they all looked at the stats of each of the players before deciding on who to choose. There were only twenty conscious contestants this time, while the rest of the contestants were ‘minuteman’, or to better explain it unconscious contestants. It was a name much like soldier, and it was just a label given for the show. However, the audience were still able to wager bets on the ‘minuteman’, and many of them did, but the conscious ones were most heavily favored. One of the players favored the highest had her name right above Alex’s with her character’s avatar covered in gold. Her name was Cynthia, and she had a lot of speed. Alex was right below her in the wager pool. He might not be as fast, but he was way more balanced. He was the second most favored by the audience even though he was a lot stronger.
Now, none of the players on the field were aware of the other players, and they all thought they were going out to slaughter minutemen. Most of them would never find out that other players existed, as they would disappear and forget the whole thing happened once their second identity was destroyed. To facilitate the minutemen’s participation the magistrate set up the summoners around the perimeter to make sure none of the minuteman would leave the ‘arena’, which just happened to be Wall street in February 2018. The summoners had their beasts ready to attack any stragglers. Finally, the sounds of chains dragging could be heard even up in the sky. The audience was thrilled hearing the surround sound start, as a few of the minutemen ran into the contestants. They instinctually abhorred the regular conscious players like Alex who were gathering on the field, but they were disappearing like cannon fodder. Though, every now and then one would get the last laugh, and a sad better who hadn’t hedged his bets would drop his head.
Alex was not aware of any of the spectators above, and was never told about it. It was against the rules for someone like Charles to tell Alex, but he did plant a small seed on Alex’s suit to help explain it to him. It was that voice that Alex heard as he ran through wall street looking for minutemen. There was an odd fog, which would occasionally be illuminated by a streak of light. He wasn’t sure why the city was so dark, and didn’t care.
“How are thing’s going Alex?” A man’s voice randomly appeared.
Your just hearing thing’s Alex. Don’t worry about it. He thought to himself.
“I’m down here! Look down here right this instant!” The man demanded.
He looked down and saw his button had turned into a little man that was sitting in his jacket’s chest pocket. It was the fake button that had no real use hanging on the flap. Alex couldn’t really make out his facial features, but he could hear his voice.
“I’m maverick. It’s really nice to meet you, Alex!” He said
“Yeah, that’s great and all. Why are you here, Maverick?”
“Well, Charles was worried that you would never find out the truth, and he figured the times would never change if he didn’t take a risk. You see that’s why he made me. I’m not like those toys you saw earlier. I am a real AI with sophisticated technology. I could probably even teach Alecia a thing or two.” Maverick explained
“Why would Charles have to make you. All I have to do is finish these hundred minutemen off, and then I’m good right?” Alex asked
“Why don’t you put me in your hand, so I can get a good look at you, Alex? I’ve been your button all day, and didn’t really get a chance to see you. All I ever saw was you looking down at your daughter’s picture. Anyway, just put me into your hand so we can talk.”
Alex held Maverick up who smiled at him. He could barely make out the man’s expression, but for some reason he could tell he was happy. He was another example of the things Alex had learned to accept this day. However, what Alex heard next was something that genuinely surprised him.
“I’m Maverick, and as the name applies I’m kind of different from the typical AI. I don’t have the same restrictions as Alecia, and Ted. Moreover, I’m not monitored by the Time keepers since Charles made me off the clock. He literally had to go to the stone ages to make me. Now I’m here because Charles thinks you’re the ideal candidate to change things. The people in the future have a bad habit of coming back in time and putting the present people in odd situations for their enjoyment. You’re in one of those situations now, Alex. However, just so you know Charles didn’t lie to you. You will still get the reward he was talking about, but since I’m here you might even be able to genuinely change history.” Maverick explained
“Your acting like I’m putting on a show for people. Aren’t I slaughtering these creatures for the good of mankind?” Alex responded
“You’re doing a good thing for the minuteman in a way Alex that wasn’t a lie. But you’re just cleaning up the skeletons in their closets, and that’s not something for us in the future to decide is it? Charles didn’t think so and he came up with a plot to stop them. You and I are the main pieces of that plot. He also promised to increase your reward at his own risk. If you genuinely follow all his instructions he’ll risk losing his license, and change one thing for you. It’s the best he could offer you, Alex.”
“I don’t understand. I thought that was what he was going to do. Wasn’t he going to make it so me and Meghan would be able to work out?” Alex prodded
“You don’t understand. He wouldn’t have to go out of his way to do that. All he would have to do is leave a letter on your desk telling to call her when you saw the letter at 11:11. You’re a capable man, Alex. You really only need to remember to call her at that time, and he was sure you two could figure it out.” Maverick elaborated
Alex grabbed his hair. “Are you freaking kidding me. I’m doing all of this for a letter on my desk! You might as well give me the numbers to a lottery drawing, so I can at least earn something from all of this.” He raged
“Now, he would have been nice and gave you at least three notes. It’s more powerful then you realize, Alex. He could leave you a note on the bar on the day you broke up with Molly telling you to not drink that night. There is a lot you can do with a letter alright, Alex. If he did anything else the entire universe would be privy to it. You might even be part of the backlash, Alex. We wouldn’t want you disappearing, now would we?” Maverick continued. “Charles is willing to take that backlash for you if you go up against the magistrate with me at your side, Alex. Even opening a fork in history just for you. All you really must do is complete that final mission Charles was talking about. I can’t tell you what it is yet, but I can tell you it’s not like facing off against an army.” He finished
Alex looked at the little man sitting on the palm of his hand. Did he have to be stuck in such an odd situation? Here it was the chance to change his life, and Charles just had to drop a bomb on his parade, or should he say rain on his parade. Anyway, he didn’t want to change history or stop the time keepers, nor did he even care a little bit about the fact that it was like a game to them. Weren’t the rewards the ability to change your entire life if you won. What was so bad about it? He just wanted that damn reward. Now things were complicated.
“I’m not doing anything until you tell me what’s so bad about this magistrate. What’s so bad about people watching the games. It must cost money to fund this right? I don’t understand why Charles wants to change it. Plus, doesn’t he have those kids to worry about. What if something happens to them if they find out about Charles?
“Oh, well you’re going to understand soon enough. The magistrate is a sick man who oversees the entire time operation. He’s the great grandson of the man who made the technology. It was supposed to be used for good, Alex, but that’s not what happened after our dear president took over. He’s now developing new ways to control people, and minutemen are just the start. Next people will be coming back to talk with their favorite celebrities, or even worse. These games are just the beginning of his sick enterprise” Maverick explained
“So your saying he’d be able to just go back and time, and take over anyone? Wouldn’t someone stop him?” Alex inquired
“He’s a rich man, and he has a lot of power. The government doesn’t see people in the past as equals to their future counterparts. Although there has been some movement in the world’s congress, as of right now Mr. Chairman can do whatever he wants if he has the technology. Charles is willing to risk it because he’s been to the past enough times to see that we aren’t that much different from you 21st century folk. He’s even a fan of some of your contemporaries.”
Alex had a pensive expression. He stopped moving, and the spectators started getting restless. A few of them noticed that he seemed to be talking to himself. Some were grabbing at there hair for betting on a person who worked in advertising. The 21st century people were as crazy as they read about. The monitors were started to suspect he had an AI with him, but didn’t find anything on the radar. The small man Maverick became aware of the anomaly through his systems and immediately alerted Alex.
“Alex, I can’t talk to you anymore, and you definitely can’t talk to me. Slowly put me back in your pocket, and start searching through the streets. You must pretend that I’m not here. I’ll talk again once they take their eyes off you.”
Alex placed the man in his pocket as he was told, and started running down a few of the narrow blocks. He didn’t know wall street very well as he never worked there. There were lots of small shops with people going in and out of them. The only thing was they weren’t moving. Moreover, some of them were in odd predicaments that made him want to help. One old lady was about to fall over into a puddle next to a Chinese restaurant, and the people watching her were grasping and starting to point. He paused to stop and move her, but she wouldn’t budge. On the end of the block a minuteman female was watching him fiddle with the lady, and walked over smiling.
“You seem to be quite a gentlemen sir.” She giggled “It’s a shame you had to be so nice to the poor old lady. I couldn’t find it in my heart to strangle you when you were helping her. How about you come over here and give me an apology. I might even let you go without biting you too hard.” She said
“I don’t think you know who you’re talking to. I’m not a nice guy.” Alex responded. He walked across the puddle before whispering into his pocket. “How do I get that flame of Dichotomy thing to work, Maverick? I don’t want this to take forever.”
The lady sent her chains uncoiling towards Alex a second later. A few other minutemen were watching from the top of the buildings. They got excited and started running down the fire escapes. There was quite a lot of them. He could barely hear them when they were that far away. Sound didn’t travel the same speed in time scape, and he would only hear them when they got closer. The technology would help him out once they were in a forty feet range. He finally noticed the shadows from the corner of his eye when he approached the female minuteman. The lady had to be wearing an expensive dress. He felt odd punching such a well-dressed belle. That voice he was waiting for finally popped up in his head again. Flame of Dichotomy is ready to fire! It wasn’t Maverick’s voice, but the voice from earlier in the day. A series of red lights dashed at her and she vanished into a puff of smoke. The minuteman on the fire escapes laughed at the lady’s misfortune. The pack of them jumped off the wall together before grabbing onto their neighbor’s chains. A few flew at him like bullets thrown by their pack mate.
“You know I have a feeling if I kill you something good will happen to me. Just stand still for a second!” A minuteman roared
Alex didn’t care to reply, and just twirled his waist like he used to when he was in karate class. His form was quite off, but he didn’t lose his flexibility. It was like riding a bike. He hadn’t kicked at someone like this since 8th grade. He used his other foot to push him self off the ground and kicked at the minuteman directly in front of him. It couldn’t handle Alex’s blow, and disappeared a few feet away after smacking into a pretty pedestrian. He didn’t mean to hit her, but after trying to push that old lady he was sure she was alright. Alex picked up his pace and made use of the surroundings. He could jump up to three stories with a push from his dominant foot. The interesting thing was how well the troop of minuteman worked together. They kept throwing each other around with the aim of harming Alex. The funny thing was it just made it easier for him to hit them were it hurt. They started to look like they were moving slower, and slower as he moved around. His right heel landed squarely in the face of some macho asshole who looked like he spent more time at the gym then necessary. He even had on a look of joy as his fist raced towards Alex’s nose. Luckily, here Alex’s foot was enough, and his speed was enough. It wouldn’t be normally. It skated against the surface of his skin, and with his prodigious strength the burly fellow landed on the street before vanishing. A few of them even bounced around like ping pong balls amongst the pedestrians on the street.
The rest of the pack seemed to get the hint that Alex wasn’t a push over. They ran off after Alex took care of twenty of them. That must mean he was a fifth of the way done. At the last second, he held up his hand when he felt like it was time. He was pretty sure that was the signal the flame of Dichotomy was ready, and it was something he would just figure out like it was being programmed into his body. The only minute man left in his vicinity was portly one and he was climbing up the building along his chain. Alex let the streaks of lightning swim at the man. It looked like a dragon of light pouncing on its prey. The man vanished after going up into a puff of smoke. He just had seventy-nine more to go before all hell would break loose.