“I’m just going to kill as many Nazis as I can, don’t worry Doc,” said a voice that elicited a loud “Hooyah!” from the men in the room.
“Again, we are not sending you back because we need your help winning,” General Card addressed the men in his usual stoic tone, “your great-great-grandfathers have already won this war. We are sending you back for your own edification. The men that invaded Normandy and secured the beaches have some of the highest valor in history. We’re sending you back so that you will learn a thing or two from them. Let’s not forgot the real threat with which we have to deal. The Aliens are going to be here in less than 4 months, and they very well can kill every living soul on this planet.”
The room became sober. “We are going to send half of you, you’ll land at an English port in Fowey, sometime in the morning of June 5th, 1944,” continued Admiral Rigsby. “You are part of the U.S. 29th Division, and you will be invading Omaha Beach, the Easy Green section. Find and board an LCVP- they may also be called a Higgins Boat. While you are crossing the English Channel, get to know some of the men next to you, but try not to reveal too much about yourself. Once you hit land, try not to get shot in the face. The armor you are wearing will protect you from a body shot from the Nazis’ MG-42, but the armor cannot protect your head. Once you touch ground, your objective is to help the men secure the beach. When you have accomplished that objective, find the Nazi bunker facing Northwest in the Les Moulins crossroad, get all eight of you together, and jump back to present day.”
Francis stepped forward and handed out a bronze pin to the eight men that would be sent. The pin displayed three stars formed in a triangle and a thin stripe through them. “This is your key to jump back. Underneath the pin is a button that if you enter the correct sequence will trigger the jump for your return. Simply press down for three seconds, release for two, and press and hold until the jump initiates. Now, if you somehow lose it, that is okay. They are programmed with your DNAs, so just get within ten feet of someone else’s pin, and you will be included in the jump. However, if there is someone not in your company within the jump radius, it will not go well; the best-case scenario is they die instantly, and the worst-case scenario is they are lost in an infinite time loop. So be careful that you are alone.”
“We’re sending half of you first, and if things go FUBAR, we’ll send the other half to extract you,” Rigsby offered.
“But if all goes according to plan,” Interrupted Card, “we’ll send the other half for the same experience after the first team returns. Once we have proof of concept that this works, we’ll begin to send troops en masse, and we’ll have a shot to ward off these aliens once and for all.”
“Hooyah!” the soldiers shouted.
The men left the tent and moved to a large warehouse. Behind a long portable table was a small team of engineers and physicists running and testing a complex code on the computers. A platform sat in the middle of the warehouse with thick wires running from the computers on which the team was working. Francis lead the men into the warehouse and walked up to his team, and asked, “how are we looking?”
“Looking good,” a young woman responded without looking away from the screen and without breaking her stride on the keyboard, “we have the molecule isolated and the code has run successfully. The reactor is 95% charged, so we should be able to make the jump in a few minutes.”
“Good work,” Francis responded.
“So, how does this work exactly, Michaels?” asked a soldier who was examining the platform.
“Dr. Smith, could you explain what’s going on here?” Francis responded.
She sat back in her chair and cracked her knuckles and said, “basically, when atoms interact with each other there is a transfer of information that happens in a parallel dimension. We were able to encode that information, and one of the things we found was a series of constants. One of the constants we recognized was the speed of light, and there was a paper that was published right before the first invasion which suggested that the constant of the speed of light could theoretically have not stayed consistent throughout history. So, with the assumption that the constant is malleable, we can isolate a hydrogen molecule and essentially set the speed of light constant in the code to whatever we want, and when it reacts with its surrounding environment it shares its information and time averages out, which can actually change the phenomenon of time for everything in the environment. Basically, if we set the constant slow or fast enough, we can control the time in history the environment will average out again.”
“So it’s essentially one extremely complicated algebra equation?” The soldier replied.
“I guess so. An extremely complicated one.”
A tall man with thick glasses who was fidgeting with a different screen chimed in, “Dr. Smith, we’re fully charged.”
“Are you ready to go?”
The eight soldiers on the SEAL team were given their dark olive-green uniforms, other than the fact that they were reinforced with their modern body armor technology, they were indistinguishable from the uniforms of the men they were soon to fight alongside. They each had their helmets in their arms, on the forehead of each the blue and gray symbol of the US 29th Infantry Division. Lastly, Michaels personally handed each man the bronze pin, the key to their return.
The team in uniform stood on the platform while all the others kept behind the table of computers.
“We’ll initiate the reaction in 30 seconds,” Dr. Smith announced.
“Michaels, how long will they be gone?” General Card asked.
“While typing on a keyboard, Francis answered, “If it all goes well, they should be back in exactly five minutes.”
“10 seconds, 9, 8..” Dr. Smith shouted.
The distortion of the charge grew louder and louder, as the countdown dwindled. Just before Dr. Smith yelled, “one” the soldiers all shouted in unison, “Hooyah!” A brilliant flash of light burst forth on the platform, the warehouse when dim, in before the team could think, the platform was completely empty.
While the rest of the company attempted to rationalize what they had just seen, Francis began looking at his watch. The quickest five minutes passed before he looked up again. Another minute or two passed, and he began to feel anxious.
“Do we have vitals?” Francis asked, dashing to a screen.
“Yes, all eight online,” answered the tall man with glasses.
“Mel, can you run troubleshooting on the return keys?” Francis directed Dr. Smith, who nodded and began typing furiously.
“Michaels, what’s wrong?” General Card asked, “You said five minutes until their return.”
“I don’t know, we’re checking on it now. I would get your men suited up, though.”
“What is the deal,” asked Rigsby as the eight remaining soldiers ran to put on their uniforms, “they’ve only been gone ten minutes?”
“Ten minutes to us could be five days for all we know,” Francis answered. He was keeping composure externally, but his mind was in a rage.
“It’s all clean, Francis,” Dr. Smith said softly to Francis, “none of the keys failed; but look at this, it’s because none of the keys have even been activated.”
“What do you mean?” Card said leaning over them to hear the interaction.
Francis pressed his fingertips against his forehead and rubbed his temples. “It means they haven’t attempted to come back.”
A heavy silence followed and was only broken by the return of the SEAL team ready for their jump.
“Alright men,” Rigsby shouted, “we do not know what is going on, but your new objective is to find the team and get out as soon as possible. Then we can finally shut this insane operation down.”
“We’re 50% charged.”
“Dr. Long,” Francis asked, “how long did the invasion last at Omaha?”
“Omaha Beach was secured by midnight,” he responded.
“Okay, I’m adjusting the coordinates, they’ll land on the beach hopefully right after the invasion,” Francis announced. “But you’ll have to be prepared for the possibility that you land in an active firefight.”
“Two minutes, and we should be good.”
The tension increased directly with the noise of the charge. The warehouse became warmer from the heat of the computers. “We’re ready,” said Dr. Smith.
The countdown started at 30. The light dimed as it had before, the flash of light disoriented those watching directly, as it had before, and the platform was suddenly empty as it was before.
Francis stood nervously and rolled his sleeves up.
“Francis, these processors need to cool quickly or they can sustain lasting damage,” Dr. Smith said, inspecting the computers.
“Okay, when they jump back we’ll shut it down for the night.”
Each minute that passed Francis fell deeper into despair. He checked his watch: ten minutes since the second jump. “It’s been something like 2 weeks for them, they’re not executing the objective.”
“They’re probably in the middle of the battle of Caen by now,” Dr. Long offered.
“Vitals?” Francis asked.
“Same thing; no attempts.”
Francis let out a yell and pounded the table. He breathed heavily for a few seconds and collected his composure.
“Mel, do we have the capsule?” Francis asked.
“Yes, it’s over here” she answered hesitantly, “but I am very concerned about the processors sustaining damage- even if we only jump the capsule.”
“I know, but we don’t have much of a choice,” Francis said as he ripped a page from a journal and scribbled a message on it.
“What are you doing?” Card asked.
“We have this capsule we used to gather samples in previous jumps. It doesn’t take as much energy to jump it, and it has a built-in key to come back,” he answered.
Francis folded the paper and filled the capsule with an extra bronze key.
“What did you write?” asked Rigsby.
“Quick instructions on what to do if their keys aren’t working, or if they forgot the sequence,” he said. “Also, I told them to remember what they are fighting for,” and he put the capsule on the podium.
“Francis, this really is dangerous…”
“Please just do it,” Francis snapped.
Mel recoiled slightly dropped her head and typed a sequence on the computer. “Okay, 30 seconds.”
“I’m sorry, it just. It just has to work,” Francis said after walking next to her.
It happened the same, the capsule disappeared.
“We’re overheated,” Dr. Smith said, “Andy, go grab all the fans we have and the rest of the coolant.” The tall man with the glass ran at her command.
“I told you this was a stupid idea,” Rigsby began yelling at Card. “We’re down a SEAL platoon, and all this time we wasted…”
“I’ve got a signal, something is coming through!” exclaimed Dr. Smith, who was looking at a tablet now.
Everyone stared intently at the platform, a phenomenon swept through Francis’ soul that he hadn’t felt since before the first invasion: hope. A burst of light from the platform blinded everyone in the room. When they regained their sight, they saw the capsule exactly where it was originally set, but now it was full.
Francis approached cautiously and opened it Immediately, its content spilled to the floor. Francis counted 17 bronze pins with three stars and a stripe, all of the keys that were sent with the men. The rest of the capsule was filled with 57 silver pins of an eagle clutching the Nazi swastika.