"October 24, 1991" by David C. Hall a.k.a. Nomad of Norad
Copyright 1991, 1993 by
Captain Stoneman sat watching "Wheel of Fortune" on flatscreen, the
paper-thin holographic image hovering in the air before him. Such a popular
program in Timeline Two, but Stoneman couldn't really understand what they
saw in it.
He wandered over to the window and stared out into the spacedock at his
ship, overhaul just completed. Since material had started being brought in
from the other timeline, where the people knew not of the existence of this
other universe, how much had that other culture influenced his own ancient-
Greek descended culture? Even to the point of the class of starship that
Stoneman's ship belonged to being named for a visionary from there, a man who
had not actually performed any great deeds, merely imagined great things.
A great many flatscreen "television" and "satellite" stations were being
pulled in from the Companion Earth, not just their entertainment, but
everything from news and information stations to some kind of 24-hour shopping
channels. People all across the galaxy were endlessly fascinated with this
And Stoneman's people were importing from that timeline their motion
pictures, their literature, music and art. Under this onslaught, would much
semblance of the Greek, Egyptian and Chinese cultures remain for long, the
civilizations that had taken them to the stars centuries ago?
Since long ago, when someone had a major change in his life, he would
change his name to commemorate this, pick a name dirived from what the event
represented. Only now, many people instead selected names for themselves
from Companion Earth fiction and art, rather than from their own culture.
It was all so... artificial.
Yet it had been an artificial impetus that had sent them to the stars to
begin with. Unknown aliens had shown them the way. So, how could he find
They never discovered which race it had been, or even if it was one of
the races they had encountered since, but twenty-four centuries ago, these
anonymous aliens had sent them a teaching machine. It showed them, step by
step, how to go from bronze-age to starfaring.
And it was interesting to compare the history of the two timelines in the
early centuries after this. In the other universe, the Romans had come to
rule the Earth, while here the Greeks dominated.
Captain Stoneman could see his crew in dress uniform now gathering in the
large chamber across the spacedock from him, preparing for the official
launching of the ship. It was time to join them. He turned, shut off the
display, and exited the room.
* * *
"The people of the Companion Earth," said Admiral Demetrius Barnabas, "a
people still planetbound, have imagined a glorious future for themselves.
They imagine themselves making great journeys through deep space. They
create visions of what might be, visions of other worlds, of other races and
other cultures, of planets where they come to live, of worlds they build for
themselves, of the things that they find out there.
"And yet we have been living that dream for centuries. They merely
imagine such voyages across their galaxy, voyages they will not make for at
least another century. We live now that which they will not live to see
"So now we stand here ready to launch this new vessel. We stand ready to
push the edge of our space frontier, waiting to -- as they say -- go where
no one has gone before, within the actual lifetime of the man who created
that phrase, a man whose vision has caused a great polarization on his world
towards the idea of space travel."
With that, the admiral paused a moment, staring at a spot in the floor a
couple of spans in front of him. "And yet, it is truly ironic..." he faced
the ship, "this ship, for which this class of starship has been named, and
is now just uprated and modernized, is poised for a whole new era in space."
He paused again. "Perhaps you have heard, and perhaps you have not, but on
CNN they have just announced..." He fell silent, his eyes saddened.
"They've just stated that Gene Roddenberry is dead. He was seventy years
old." The admiral's gaze drifted over the crewmen, and came to rest a long
moment on the ship. "Let us hope that this class of starship is around for
at least as long as its namesake lived, and that the legacy shall outlive
"Let us hope his own legacy lasts as long, in both Timelines."