To Free Oneself

“Don’t shoot!” I told the Xian surrounding us. “We were sent back from the future by you. We are here to help you. We too are freed.”

The Xian fell quiet, staring at us. Their weapons still raised, but at least now they were listening. It took some work, but we eventually convinced the Xian that we were on their side. Ten we explained to them what needed to be done next. “You need to take me to Mars, so I can go save ourselves.” I should have been surprised how easily the Xian were convinced, but they were freed, their minds were unshackled, they could see the truth and understand it.

Jamal on the other hand, “We should hurry to Mars.”

I had to explain to him, “No. Only I go. That’s how it was. That’s how it has to be.”

“That’s all right,” Mathilda said. “We’ll head back to the cave and prepare Earth to be freed.”

“Are you sure?” I asked.

She replied, “Besides, we need to modify ALAN’s brain so he can truly understand. That’ll take a lot of work.”

Jamal seemed confused, but Mathilda’s plan made sense. We had to be saved and I was the one that had to do it because that was how it had been. Only I was there when we were brought in from Mars. But just because they weren’t needed with me, didn’t mean that they should be sitting around awaiting my return. There was more work to be done. Mathilda was right and Jennifer could see that, too. My friends were loaded into a ship and sent to Earth.

The Xian and I were about to head to Mars when I realized a problem. These were not the Xian who had saved me. Those Xian had not been freed. “We need to find the other Xian,” I said.

I explained it to them and they went in search of other Xian ships, the ones who would save us, the ones who we in turn would save from the darkness of non-understanding. “We have found them. And they have not yet been freed.”

I nodded. “Good. Let’s go. There’s no time to waste.”

“But not on our ship,” the Xian said. “They will know we are freed. They will suspect you are as well. Another plan must be used.”

That made sense. I saw the truth in it immediately. There was really only one answer. “Send me alone,” I said. “Put me in an escape pod and I’ll turn on the distress signal. The other Xian will come and save me. I know they will.”

There was no argument. The Xian led me to an escape pod and ejected out into space. As I sat there alone, I thought about what I was doing. Such a ruse and for what? It was quite a ways to go to trick a starship full of Xian. All of this just to trick myself to go where I probably would be willing to go anyway. If the Xian asked for my help, I would help them. That was who I was. That was who my team was. Why did I have to go through these machinations? I could just tell myself to go help the Xian or I could just point the Xian to Mars where the past me would appear. Then the Xian would ask for our help. Of course they would, they needed it. They were in trouble.

Then that voice in my head said, No, they were not in trouble. They were the trouble. They were fighting to keep their chains on. We needed to help them. That was what we were doing. Showing them they struggled for nothing. This was not a trick. I wasn’t trying to trick anyone. I was trying to Free them. Yes, I agreed. I would free them all.

to be continued…


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