This is the 1st chapter of a science fiction novel I am thinking about doing. It was initially done for a college assignment.
A Novel by Linda Herren
I barely remember what life was like before we found out that Kevin’s condition was incurable. He’s seven years old. He doesn’t deserve this. He should be outside playing ball with his friends and flying around on his new fly-cycle. He should be going to school.
Instead, he goes to the doctor. Once a month, and once a week, he goes for nuclear-laser treatment. Personally, I can’t believe that in this day and time, we still have to use the old fashioned ways to treat cancer. You would think that by the year 2075, we would have been able to find a cure.
A glance at the clock in the kitchen tells me I don’t have time for coffee this morning. I rush out the door just in time to catch the commuter fly-train on its last run of the morning. I hate these things, always crowded and slow.
Arriving at the lab, I see everyone is happy and smiling as usual, until they see me. They look at me and the smiles become glued-on looks of sympathy.
“Good morning, Nick,” they say in unison.
“How is Kevin today?” Sheila asks.
“About the same,” I answer dryly, trying to smile gratefully. ‘The same’ means he is still in bed, or on the couch, most of the day. He is still hooked to machines to keep the constant flow of needed medicine coursing thought his tiny veins. ‘The same’ means he still watches TV most of the day, or plays games on one of those new-fangled things kids have. I don’t keep up with technology.
As I continue down the hall to my research lab, I hear them talking quietly. I know they are my friends and have nothing bad to say, but I wish for the happy times with them again. And with my wife and son.
In my office, just I start listening to my messages, there is a knock on the door. I disconnect from the message system and say “Come in.”
The door opens.
“Hey Nick.” It’s Tom, the Director of Research, and the only man higher in the company than I am.
Tom enters and sits in the big chair across from my desk. He looks around a minute, as though trying to find the right words.
“I had a visitor this morning,” he finally says.
Time travel is something that used to be a very common thing. After it was ‘perfected,’ folks started going everywhere, all the time simply for entertainment. That is, until they realized that, if they didn’t do things exactly right, they would get lost in another time and place. Most often, lost forever. So now time travel is seldom used. It seems no one has ever figured out how to ‘perfect’ it enough for common use.
So, when Tom says he ‘had a visitor,’ I knew by the tone of his voice that the visitor was from another time.
“My great-great-grandson came to visit,” Tom said, thoughtfully. “I must say, it was rather strange to be talking to someone from the future. He sure looks a lot like my own son did at that age.”
“He is 32, and he’s a doctor,” Tom said with a smile. I could tell he was proud so I smiled for him.
“Did his visit have a purpose?” I asked, “or was he just out gallivanting around the universe?”
Tom laughed and said, “A little of both actually. He learned from his grand-father, my grandson, that one of my granddaughters dies from cancer, 75 years from now. She hasn’t even been born yet, and I already know when she will die. That’ll make a man stop and think about life as he knows it.”
I didn’t know what to say, although I agreed with him. I just nodded my head and said “Mmmm Hmmm.”
I gave Tom a minute with his thoughts while I shuffled some papers on my desk. After a minute, Tom began again.
“That brings me to the other reason he came to see me.”
“He said he was from 2275 and in his time, they have found a cure for cancer. It was discovered in 2200.”
Here Tom paused with a frown.
“What is it?” I asked.
“His name is Troy. He told me that the discovery of the cure for cancer caused World War 3. In 2275, the Earth is nothing like we know it, Nick. It is a place of constant war. There is no peace. He told me of bands of criminals that just go across the land, killing everyone they find. People have to kill or be killed. They have to steal for food. There are no stores, no businesses of any kind, except prostitution. Even those poor women often have to kill or be killed.”
“What caused the war?” I asked, not quite understanding how such a wonderful thing like a cure for cancer would cause war.
“When the cure was discovered and word got out, there were several world leaders and powerful and rich people who had cancer. They all wanted to be the first to be cured. At the time, it was only available in small doses because resources for the ingredients were very rare. So, the rich guys all thought they could buy the cure for themselves. They started a bidding war, each one bidding more than the next, until they resolved to killing each other for the right to be first.”
“Wow!” I said, “That sounds terrible. I can’t imagine.”
“That makes two of us,” Tom agreed, nodding his head.
After a thoughtful moment, Tom continued. “He wanted me to know about the cure, and where to find the only dose he knows of, so I could obtain it for my great-granddaughter. He said circumstances kept him from bringing it to me, but he could help me locate it if I travel to his time.”
“Oh, okay, I see.” Not sure where Tom was going with this, I was a little worried. Was he going to ask me to go with him? There was no way I could go, I had to be here to take care of Kevin.
Tom went on, “I don’t know my great-granddaughter, Nick. I probably never will.” He paused again, a thoughtful look in his eyes. Then he looked up at me and said the words that forever changed my life. “But, Nick, I do know your son, Kevin, and I love that boy as though he was my grandson. I want him to have that dose of the medicine, so he can have a full and healthy life.”
I sat dumbfounded. I didn’t know what to say. Here was a friend of twenty years telling me, more or less, that he would give the life of his great-granddaughter for my son, who was no relation to him.
“I don’t know what to say, Tom.”
“Just say ok. Say ok and save your son.”
I sat like an idiot, nodding my head continuously, my mouth open with no words coming out. So many thoughts were running through my head at the same time. Tom is a good man. I will have to travel to 2275. That’s a time of war. I know nothing about fighting. I’ll have to learn to fight. I have to, for Kevin. I can do this. I can do this for my son!
I looked up at Tom, still nodding my head. “Ok,” I said. I’ll go get the cure.” Standing up, I walked around my desk as Tom rose from the chair. I hugged him tightly, with tears streaming down faced. Unashamed of my emotions, I sobbed openly and thanked him over and over again.
With a slap on the back, Tom said, “Let me know if you need anything,” and he left my office.
Right away, I called home. I didn’t know how I was going to tell Alexis what I was going to do, but I knew she would stand behind me and support me in whatever I did, especially if it means helping Kevin.