In the Nexus, Worlds Collide

Ted took a drag off his cigarette and looked at Maddie a bit as if thinking about something.

“Tell me something doll. Did someone manage to stop the Germans and Hitler?”

“Yeah. Pearl Harbor got hit by the Japanese navy in December of’41, and that gave the US an excuse to get involved. There was a big push in the European theatre in 44 defined by the June D-Day invasion in Normandie. Germany surrender the next May. Then in August of 45, atom bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan, effectively ending it. The Japanese surrendered a month later. My dad used to talk about what the war was like for them in occupied territory and the celebrations that occurred when the war ended. Of course, that was all short lived for them when they got booted from the Dutch East Indies when it won its independence from the Netherlands and became Indonesia.”

His jaw dropped open and he downed the rest of his scotch while she spoke.

“I knew them Ja** would be trouble. But we got em? Damn good news. That Hitler wasn’t going to stop. Not ever. Dropped the bombs? Knew FDR wouldn’t take shit from anyone. Them bombs. They as bad as some people thought?”

“Let me guess. After that was taken care of, somebody else stepped up to cause more trouble. Please tell me, we didn’t let the Germans build up and come at the world a third time?”

She reached down and pulled up the bottle of scotch once more, filling both their glasses to the half way mark. She had a feeling he was going to need it even more.

Maddie stared into the amber liquid before taking a large swallow of it. “No, it wasn’t the Germans.”

Her eyes went to her husband, the manner and method of his loss never far from her mind.

“Some people say it was because of the bombs, or maybe the experiments everyone’s governments were doing on their own people to try to stay on top. Some say it is just evolution…”

She took another long pull.

“Folks who were different, who had gifts usually relegated to the work of science fiction authors, started appearing with more frequency. The world by and large, the US political structure in particular, were very threatened by their mere existence. They wanted to either control them…”

Now she met Ted’s eyes, a quiet anger and fury burning in them. “…or wipe them out. And they didn’t care who they hurt or trampled in the process. I was a teacher at a school for gifted children in Westchester, NY until US troops invaded the school in the middle of the night and killed the students in their beds.”

The glass was tipped back and drained in one long swallow. The memories of the time were always raw and bleeding. And again, it had not been so long ago.

“If not for the quick thinking of a couple of the older students, my son would have been among the dead.”

He saw the emotion and knew he’d opened a door that he shouldn’t have busted open.

He didn’t know how people handed things like this now, but in his day, he knew what he’d do if a woman showed this kind of emotion.

He put down his glass and put an arm around her and squeezed her shoulders. If she wanted a hug, he’d wrap both of his arms around her. It wasn’t at all a sexual move. It was more like a father to a daughter.

“I’m sorry doll. Our people did that to our own. That’s a world I’m glad I didn’t get to see. Nothing can make up for that.”

She accepted the one armed offer of sympathy for what it was.

“Yeah, it’s a said state of affairs when a bunch of hard bitten mercs have more honor than ‘the greatest country in the world’.”

Her words were bitter and scorn filled. “Excuse me, Ted. I need to go hold my family.”


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