Paradox Metaphor
Chapter 15 -- Interrogation Part I
by Steve Donohue

Downes and company entered the infirmary to find a younger version of Jeff Rand lounging against a pillow. There were restraint straps pinning him to the bed and he seemed to have given up all hopes of escape.

"Mr. Rand," began Downes, "I want you to know that this has been a mistake..."

"A mistake?!" interrupted Jeff, "A mistake?! You send a couple of goons back through time to kidnap me then they drug me and tie me up in your hospital and you call it a mistake?".

"Id hate to have to ask the doctor to give you a sedative Jeff, may I call you Jeff?" He continued after a brief nod from Rand. "You see, whats happened here is that your future self has traveled back in time to create a paradox. That means hes altered the time stream and reality."

"Im familiar with the term," said Rand, "but I dont see why you kidnapped me."

"Actually, that was an accident. Our team was after the future you, but in the darkness and with bulky clothing on, they apparently intercepted the wrong target. However, were hoping you can help us."

"Ill try," said Rand, "but just tell me one thing: will you be able to take me back to my own time after this, or am I stuck here?"

"That is still under investigation," said Doubleday, "although we believe that returning you will prove safe. After all, without some corroborating evidence, no one is likely to believe that you were kidnapped and taken into the future."

"Now, Jeff, what I need to know is if you know of any reason why you would have come back to 1998. For some reason, you did it yesterday and at the same time you endangered reality as weve all known it."

"Hmm," said Jeff, "not that I can think of; there wasnt anything particularly special about that year."

"Hes lying," said the doctor carefully looking at his instruments. "His galvanic skin temperature and his heart rate are both up. He knows why he was there."

"Thats true," said Radke. "When we found him, he was hiding behind a tree. What if he was hiding there waiting to see his future self?"

Downes nodded. "That would be consist with your profile Mr. Rand. It shows you to be a very goal oriented person. What we need to know then, is what goal you had set for yourself that compelled you to endanger the entire space-time continuum."

"Its not really my problem," said Jeff, "your past is my future, so this whole paradox only affects me in a very minor way."

"Normally, that would be true," said Doubleday, "but not in this case. The event you caused created a paradox factor of .98. Anything over .2 generates a ripple that proceeds outwards in both space and time. Normally, time is fairly resilient, so that paradox cant easily change the past, only the future. However, with a .98, we believe the entire universe may be reshaped to fit whatever paradox you created."

"So you mean the whole universe is going to turn into Winter Camp?"

"Yes, either Winter Camp or whatever other system of beliefs those closest to the event horizon held at the time of the event."

"Good."

"Enough of this mollycoddling," said Downes. "The plain fact is that you constitute a threat to the universe as it now stands. I could keep you here and then youd never generate another paradox."

"Ahh, " said Jeff, "but keeping me here is a paradox, and it might be just as bad as whatever paradox I created, perhaps even worse."

"Hes probably right," said Doubleday.

"Okay then, well handle this another way. Doc, I want this man ready to cooperate in 6 hours. Use sodium pentathol or whatever else you have in your black bag, but I want the truth from him. Radke, get McGrath down here and the two of you take turns watching him. Im going to go get some shuteye so I can start thinking clearly. Doctor Doubleday, could you work with your people to determine the probable paradox of just keeping him here?"

"Yes sir," came three replies almost in unison as the two doctors and Radke all agreed to their portion of his latest request.

It was only a short ride from the office to Downes apartment. He thought about the paradox on the way there and realized that he truly did need some sleep. He hadnt slept in nearly 31 hours, since the start of this event the evening before. Giving himself a few hours to rest and recuperate was probably the right idea, even if it did make him a little nervous to leave Rand alone. As Renees panties slid to his bedroom floor at 1:30am, he was sure that hed made the right decision.

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