Temporal HAARP

Michael C. Pennington

Lame Goat Press


The new mission packet’s square burned across my vision, to perch as a fifty-by-fifty transparency icon, blazing in immediate open mode. I was pissed as hell at the interruption of my supposed temporal vacation. Even the mandatory Rest and Relaxation in my assigned time period was in doubt now. I wondered if the Captain had arranged the vacation to coincide with the emergency activation of my off-duty status.

I instinctively dodged my cruiser to the right, to avoid a collision with a white torpedo that flashed in on my left. It muscled into the double line of traffic that converged to leave the highway. There were times, when I wished that I was a traffic patrolman and not a time cop. I let the jerk pull ahead weaving in and out of the other vehicles leaving the multilane. Maybe he would have a lucky day and get singed by an observant state trooper.

The “open now” packet forced itself on me once more, fluorescing in urgency. I triggered the mission acceptance, predicting I would regret my commitment to duty.  The gorgeous female’s profile was not what I expected. Nor the order to hook up and protect her at all costs. The unusual order was a clue that the Captain had not done me dirty.

As a Federal operative the Captain had access to my location in time at all times. It probably pained him to use me now, knowing my activation would delay his meticulously scheduled nastiness for the enemy. My superiors brooked no discord in our world to be.

Three more vehicles illegally punched by on the two-lane off ramp, forcing their way through the traffic. I briefly suspected they were my opposition, as I scrolled down the mission packet. Marilynn McKenzie’s destiny was embroiled in her father’s political agenda. His voting status, no doubt crucial to one side or the other, amongst the past and my present’s one percent that manipulated our world.

Powering up the stealth vehicle’s lifters, I punched in a new destination for the heart of an area I would have normally avoided. The Alaska state convention center was a huge complex. Normally it would take an hour to just to walk across the grounds on foot. Lucky for Ms. McKenzie, I didn’t have to walk.

I arrowed away, for the little ping that told me what building she was in. I barreled right through the helicopters that patrolled the area with my false federal identification lightening across the digital airways to a traffic controller. I didn’t bother with the marked landing pads and settled near the roof terminal. My vehicle hidden, reflecting nothing but the tarmac that it sat on.

Sliding out of my vehicle, I walked around to the lid of the trunk that lifted on hydraulic rams. I didn’t have time to put on the dragon-scale armored suit. My attention called to the fact; I was probably going to get my ass shot off. I did clip on a field pistol to compliment my concealed weapon. I would have grabbed the stock of the battle rifle if I had any sense. Instead, I touched the fob to close the hatch opting for inconspicuousness.


I ran to the roof entrance, stabbed the call button and impatiently waited for the lift. Descended four levels and made my way across the commons into the building’s largest auditorium. I tracked the ping the Captain had tagged upon my objective. The room was filled with civilian citizens listening to the speaker expound on the necessity of cleaning up our oceans and ozone layer.

I didn’t spot the auburn hair beneath the white, wide-brim hat at first. She perched front row center, in a white and flower print dress, eyes glued to the nation’s ex-vice president.  Raptly, she followed each word, as a man converged on her position from each side. When the speaker of the hour finished his speech and the room erupted with applause, she stood with no clue to her eminent danger.

I strolled down the aisle on the right, hands casually at my side. The suit at the stage exit gave away their possible exit point. He noted my approach, and I affected a stifled yawn with my right hand, stumbling on the carpet nearly losing my balance. His attention went back to his partners closing on their target.

Her objection, the brutal manhandling and the puffed mist of come-a-long spray told me all I need to confirm the enemy. I wasted the man at the exit, damn the consequences, and in rapid aim, I targeted the man to her left. The red blip in the center of his brow alerted me to squeeze the trigger.

Ms. McKenzie slumped against the man on her right, and despite her drugged state, I never expected her to place her hands on top of his as he reached for the concealed pistol. She went to her knees, and I hammered a round into his chest. I had hoped to finish him quickly, so that I could make my way to her side.

Instead, in one motion he slammed his knee up to knock her grasping hands away. Using the momentum from the bullet’s impact, he rolled backwards. He cleared his gun and came up with a black ugly weapon, from my own time, aimed in my direction. Incredibly fast, he dumped three rounds my way as I dove for the floor.

She lost her hat that was pinned to her hair, as he grabbed a handful locks and tried to pull her up in front of him. The movement of his lips signaled he had help on the way. And I briefly wondered if I had my own backup that would arrive in time.

The red pip settled on the man’s wrist behind the gun, I had given up hope of a body shot, now knowing he wore body armor. My pistol extended, I took aim, a much easier shot in comparison to his weaving head. For the first time, I registered my gun’s report echo throughout the auditorium. Strange, how my mind blocked the little things, when I concentrated on the objective.

I didn’t miss the eruption of blood and the pistol fall away from my target’s grip. Regaining my feet, I sprinted for Ms. McKenzie, who had now collapsed to her hands and knees to crawl away. The target had the sense to roll behind her, and I feared he carried a backup gun as most professionals.

He might have killed me as he rose up behind her, while I was exposed almost upon him, looking down his weapon’s barrel. He didn’t expect the next best thing to the ceiling collapsing on him, nor did I. The ex-vice president might have aged, but that didn’t mean his mind had jelled. When he shoved the podium off the stage to flatten the gunman it was a stroke of generosity.

The vice-president must have read my gratitude, as he winked at me, before making for cover.

I was at McKenzie’s side, placing myself between her and the man that clawed his way out from under the podium. He had time to register the bore of my pistol as he froze. I also expected he would regret the weeks of terrible headaches that I would bestow upon him. I slammed the butt of my pistol into his skull. The concussion I gave him, while I forced unconsciousness upon him, had a way of punishing a man. Maybe he would live to be interrogated, but I doubted his handler would allow that.

“Ms. McKenzie, I’m special agent Grail. Come with me, please.”

She was mentally there, for I could see the awareness in her eyes. However, the drug they had sprayed in her face stole her physical coordination. She resisted my help, until I had the intelligence to grab her laced hat. Perhaps my attention to what was hers drew her to focus on my attempted assistance.

“What?” She slurred the single word.

“Grail, I was sent to guard you.” I placed the hat on her head, taking care to keep the hair out of her eyes.


“Short notice ma’am. I’m very sorry about that.”

“Sshats okay.” She reached up to grab my shoulders.

Awkwardly, I assisted her up, since I didn’t dare put my weapon away. I remembered the kidnapper’s lip movement over the sub-vocal transmitter that told me we weren’t out of trouble. “Come on we have to get out of the open.”


When the elevator doors slid aside, I sent a message through my implant to Captain Forge. I didn’t expect the second packet to return so quickly, but then he had never let me down in the past. He pushed me to my limits, placed me in the worst situations and nearly got me killed more than once, but not from the lack of or miss-planned support.

Therefore, he really surprised me when I read, “Sit on her. Get lost.”  Nothing else, not even a hint at what I should do, just those five words, nor a plan to convince her to stay with me.

We hustled to the air car. I opened the passenger door and motioned her inside.  I was surprised when she cooperated and slid in, hands reached for the seat harness as I closed the door.

I ran to my side of the car, too, slow to duck as projectiles whined off the surface. Three men piled out of the stairwell, spread out, each attempting to splatter my brains. With my door away from them it allowed me to get in without endangering my charge.

I slapped my hand on the infrared palm reader. “Lift,” I used the vocal emergency protocol. We shot into the sky, powered by gravtronics.

My passenger didn’t even bat an eyelash, not even a hint of surprise. I held my peace, while I concentrated on departing the area. Damn you Forge, what is this bullshit? I held no doubt that she wasn’t from this era. Too calm, too self-confident and I wondered what technology existed behind those blue eyes. Who was she really?

“Go north,” she said.

“Why?” I was reluctant to do anything, until she answered some questions.

“We have to stop the HAARP Project.”

“Oh Lord.” The most secret government project of the age. The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program for years hid under the guise of aurora studies. In truth the vast antenna array 320 miles northeast of Anchorage was a broadcaster of ELF, Extremely Low Frequency waves that bounced off the ionosphere. A true Star Wars weapon designed to protect the North American continent, but in reality, could cause more harm than good.

Under the guise and pretention of using the science to locate enemy submarines, intercontinental ballistic missiles and underground installations, the government perpetrated the new weapon system on the United State’s citizens.

What many people didn’t realize was that the time’s international agreements banning the development of such weapons had provisions that exclude domestic use. The most recent chemical and biological weapons treaty ban held one exemption. Countries could develop biological and chemical agents for domestic use provided that it was done for police or riot control actions. Weapons that the United States couldn’t use against its enemies could be used against their own citizens. All ratified under the U.S. Department of Justice’s Home Guard Program.

The ELF could be used to disable American citizens by using the pulsed frequencies to change the behavior of humans over a broad to narrow geographic area. The low frequencies caused people to turn passive to even lethargic. But the real nightmare was that if the frequency was increased the people the weapon was used against became extremely agitated to the point of rioting, many turned into raving maniacs.

In Twenty-twelve, a month away, the world that most American’s lived in would turn insane. Too our entire nation’s imminent grief, due to the lack of proper prevention and one military officer’s megalomania.

The words, “Sit on her,” were now very clear. The words, “Get lost,” weren’t.

“Who are you?”

“You don’t know?”

“The file says Marilynn McKenzie, but something tells me you’re not.”

She turned to stare at me, my left finger eased toward the containment switch to restrain her.

“Oh, I’m M. McKenzie alright, just not the one from this time. She was my great grandmother.”

“What year?”

“Twenty eighty-two.”

“Lord. What the hell are you doing back here?”

“I told you HAARP. They informed me you would cooperate.”

“Who are you referring to?”

“Temporal Control.”

She was ten years from my future, my finger itched to activate the containment field. Again, I wondered what kind of hardware was concealed in that braincase of hers. Certainly, more updated than mine.

“Mr. Grail, I assure you that I am very familiar with this vehicle. Please, restrain your basic instincts and do not activate that field.”

Crap! “Start talking.”

“Our orders are to kill General Douglas.”

“Change our past?”

“It has been determined that Douglas is not from this era. Didn’t you receive your instructions before you picked me up?”

“There wasn’t anything about killing no damn general.”

“What did they say?”

“Protect you at all costs.”

“Well? I assure you I know my objective.”

“The second packet said, sit on you.”

A frown creased her face. “That’s all?”

“That’s all.” I didn’t mention, Get lost. “There was nothing about stopping Douglas. What do you know about this guy?”

“He’s from Twenty seventy-five. Just like those men who attacked us. This is all a conspiracy to alter time.”

“But it happened.”

“In your time it did. In mine it didn’t.”

“Crap!” I tried to work out what she meant. If Douglas had went back in seventy-five and changed the past there would be no record of it in temporal storage in seventy-two. I tried to work out the chronological mechanics. One side of my face twisted up and I glanced over at her. If she was from eighty-two and our pasts were different, then my past was about to be changed, theoretically an alternate path would begin for her time. Very soon mine wouldn’t exist.

I didn’t know whether to trust her or not. She was asking me to terminate myself.

“Trust me the world will be much better off if the Twenty-twelve disaster doesn’t happen. Doesn’t that make the least bit of since?”

“Then why doesn’t temporal control go back and change the world in Nineteen forty?”

“Time travel is not developed if they do.”

“Oh!” I thought of all the grief to come. World Order at its very best. “How does the world turn out?”

“We solve our problems on our own. Americans keep their freedom. People just need to stand up for what is right. The world doesn’t need super weapons and fanatical leaders. What we needed was compassion for humanity and to care for the world that harbors our species.”

“How do I know you’re telling me the truth?”

She smiled and pulled a memory card from her purse. “This is why they chose me to come back.”

I took the card and glanced at the high-density screen that flashed from one image to another. The most prominent was of Marilynn and who I assumed to be another me standing together. I held a little girl in my arms with auburn curls.

“I see. How would we stop him?”

“Before he drives onto the HAARP base, we pick a spot and take out his vehicle.”

“That easy? What about the opposition?”

“It hasn’t happened in their time. They’re not sure where we’ll attack from. Time has already changed the moment you and I got together. They tracked me by the temporal disturbance. Your ship was already here.”


“I was dropped off. I couldn’t risk the enemy gaining access to the computer.”

“If I change time, I won’t exist or my ship. How do you plan on getting home?”

She pointed at the memory card. “You pick me up.”

I thought about how much different my world was from the one I now visited. The reason I never went back to my own time. I liked the personal freedoms my ancestors enjoyed as a natural born right.


Marilynn sat on a picnic table, looking totally out of place at the rest stop. The floral dress and sun hat perched on her auburn hair. I couldn’t see her blue eyes beneath the period sunshades.

I pulled the white temporal torpedo up near the table and stepped out. “How did it go, Mrs. Grail?”

She pulled the glasses down on her nose and peered at me over the rims. “You’re here to pick me up are you not, Mr. Grail?”

“On time I hope?”

“Can’t say, events are a little hazy.”

I opened the passenger door for her. “Well, come along, Mari’s been asking about you. She’s worried that you will miss her recital.”

Marilynn sighed, and I visually detected the relief that overcame her as she settled back in her seat. “I was worried.”

“Every things fine dear. Nothing has changed.”

“Not exactly true.” She placed her hand on the slight bulge of her belly that was normally muscled flat. “What would you want to bet that I’m carrying a boy?”

I couldn’t help smirking.