Return Engagements: Book Three (Part Three)

The flight I ended up with (there were only two) left at 6:44 PM, and since it was a propeller aircraft, it wouldn’t arrive in Vegas till late at night. And so I found an isolated spot to relax in, and hopefully to sleep. I was already tired from the entry ordeal.

I slept a little, but the airport was small and the terminal was narrow. Soon it was too noisy to sleep in. And so I rested a bit more, then found some coffee and reacquainted myself with the old Midway.

Coffee in hand, a pastry in my pocket, and with several hours to kill, I pushed my way through the terminal, searching for an airport bookstore. The airport was primitive compared to ours, but the needs of its human travelers were the same, and I eventually found what I sought.

The book titles were a bit more serious that ours, but still with plenty of vapid ones. I did, however, stumble upon a book that surprised me; it was called The Apostle, the second in a series by a Jewish author on the subject of Christianity. That took me by surprise, and as I glanced through the book, I couldn’t help but admire him. Regardless of a few errors I noticed, I was greatly impressed that he was attempting to rejoin Judaism and Christianity in an era that wasn’t seeking such a message.

I bought the book, made my way to my gate, and found a lonely place to sit and read.

* * * * *

Not too long after, they called for my flight, and it was lovely to board a plane like civilized people. Passengers were treated like valued customers, not like criminals, which left me smiling broadly all the way out the door, up the steps and onto the plane.

The seat next to me was empty, and so I spread out, slid to the window and watched the lights of Chicago below. They were fewer and far less bright. And even after we were away from the city, I stayed at the window; it was interesting to fly slower and at a lower altitude.

Eventually a stewardess brought me something to drink and I pulled myself away from the window. Then, and mostly just for the fun of it, I started listing people I wanted to visit, where I thought they’d be, and all the interesting events I’d like to witness. There were a lot of wonderful and interesting people I never had a chance to meet during my lifetime (scientists, economists and authors, just to start with), and an excellent opportunity to find them had just fallen into my lap. It was, truth be told, intoxicating.

I played with my legal pad for perhaps an hour, most because it was fun. I was too tired to address my central mission, but happy for some lighter entertainment. I’d get myself to Vegas, find a good room at a good hotel, maybe have a bite to eat, and then sleep for as long as I needed. Once I stabilized in Vegas, I could mount my primary assault on 1947 and 1948.

Before long, however, my energy waned further and I decided to get some sleep. And so I put my papers away and made a quick stop in the restroom. When I returned, however, there was an impeccably dressed man sitting in the seat next to me.

He looked at me and said, “I need to talk to you.” I knew instantly that this wasn’t an ordinary man.

I nodded my head and sat next to him, but by the time I my backside hit the chair, it was clear that this man was not pleased by my presence. By no means was he outwardly threatening, but his substance, for lack of a better word, was tremendously powerful, and he wasn’t assuming the best of me.

Who are you, and why are you here?” he said.

Clearly, this man knew nothing of me or my previous visits. More importantly, he knew none of my friends. And that meant that I was sitting next to a tremendously advanced being… an advanced being who saw me as an intruder in this world, and who had taken seriously the possibility that I was a threat to others.

I was sent here by people similar to yourself,” I said, “in the hope that I could improve this world – a version of my own, though slightly offset in time – thereby using the principle of conservation of charge to improve my own, permanent world.”

And yes, I really did say it that concisely. For one thing, I had rehearsed it quite a few times, in case I ran to a moment like this one. But just as importantly, something in this man pulled me up toward his level: it pulled me past the things that might normally muddle my thinking.

I see,” he said, “and how close to your place and time?”

My parents and grandparents are presently living in the city we took off from, and I’ll be born there before many years.”

You’re too comfortable in this for your development level… this isn’t the first time you’ve done this?”

Correct. It’s actually my third time.”

You and the people who sent you thought it worked the previous times?”

We did. The results weren’t absolute, but we thought it changed things positively.”

From there I explained how I was picked for the job, briefly explained my two prior trips, and my entry this time. Finally, he smiled and said, “It sounds like an exciting set of adventures.”

I assured him that, short of space exploration, they were the finest adventures I could imagine.

After sitting for a moment, I asked him a question: “So, you were monitoring this temporary world for some reason, saw me, and decided that you needed to check on me?”

More or less,” he answered, and then he hesitated. That was unusual; people of his level were seldom unsure of themselves for very long… or at least I had never seen them uncertain for long.

* * * * *

It’s a singular experience to meet and interact with one of these advanced people. On one hand, there’s no question that they are thousands of years ahead of us, not so much in knowledge, but in personal development. They are internally far more coherent than we are. I wish I could give you a better description of that, but I don’t have one. When you’re sitting with them – at least once you get past the shock that you’re really, truly talking to someone who in earlier ages could only be understood as an angel – you can feel the difference.

Still, these people have never made me feel “less” in any essential way. In fact, they respected me and happily listened to me when my information was better than theirs, as it was regarding my own world. They had no problem being the ignorant one.

You can call me Renn, by the way.”

Thanks, my name is Paul.”

Then he hesitated again, but with a sort of upward direction this time.

You’re right, of course, that I’m here for a reason. It’s related to a mistake people on my world made some time ago… at this time in your world… and we’ve never known how it played out. And now, since you were here… and hoping you weren’t some sort of accidental vandal… I decided to find out.”

I should have known what he was talking about, but I was so fixated on him personally that I didn’t think of anything else. When you’re with these people, you want to absorb everything about them. It’s an insanely rare opportunity.

But I did recognize that there was something here for me to pick up on. Nonetheless, whether it was due to the intensity of the day or whatever, I simply didn’t. And so I nodded and waited for him to continue.

Do you know anything,” he went on, “about some probes that crashed on your world”… he looked out the window to get his bearings… “on this quadrant of this continent, in a few months?”

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Paul Rosenberg