Paradox Metaphor
Chapter 7 -- Mistaken Identity
by Steve Donohue

McGrath and Radke prepared themselves for the displacement and then settled back to enjoy the ride. This looked to be a pretty simple assignment. They were being sent back to 1998 to capture some old Forest Service geezer before he could create a paradox. This was going to be a lot easier than their usual military targets.

They arrived at the drop site in good time and were about 200 meters from the spot where Rand was expected to arrive. They were alert and ready and hoped to catch him before he got too far out of range. They carried portable paradox sensors to help them locate him. Their orders were clear -- they weren’t to take Rand until they had something on the logs. Downes wanted to be sure he could drum Rand out of the program without any liberal whining about Ageism or any other isms that might apply.

They sat in the capsule and waited, listening for the sound of the paradox alarm. The displacement alarm went off first and they saw Rand’s capsule appear. He didn’t seem to spot them and he quickly began using a coring machine to dig a hole. He put something in the hole and then headed back to his capsule. That was it, the alarm had gone off and he’d created a .08 paradox. This wasn’t quite the .93 they were looking for, but it was enough to bust him out of the Service.

The two of them jumped out of their own capsule and headed for Rand’s capsule. As they approached, they lost sight of Rand in the darkness. Switching to night vision, they spotted him hiding behind a tree and watching them. They grabbed him and hauled him back to their own capsule. As they loaded him in, his own capsules’ auto-return executed and catapulted itself back to it’s own origination point. They rushed him into their capsule and triggered the auto-return, alarmed by the sound of campers returning. They’d squeeze Rand back in 2027 and force him to identify what he’d done; merely guessing might make things even worse.

Rand began to fight against them and to protest violently. Radke lost his temper and wound up shooting Jeff with a tranq dart. He was very strong for a man his age, and the dart took nearly 25 seconds to bring him down, more than double what it took to bring down a normal target of his weight and size. Satisfied they had their man, they initiated the return sequence and returned to their own time.

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