Changing the Past
by Barton Paul Levenson
29th-century Texas, like much of the rest of the world, was hot, dry, and windy. Sool, son of Menk, stood outside the National Research Arena, in dusty air that smelled of boiled cabbage, his cloak wrapped tightly around him. Three white-robed elders stood with him. The setting sun left long shadows everywhere.
One elder reached out to take Sool's hands. "You agree with our aims?"
"Very much so."
"We all have those we love in this world. But it is a sad, dying world. Your actions will eliminate all you know, if your mission succeeds."
"I understand this, Elder."
"For the good of mankind, it must be done. Otherwise human history will be short and miserable."
Another elder, a woman, reached into her robes and drew out two glass cylinders, one with shiny green powder within, one with red. "We know, Sool, that you are a great warrior, proficient with all manner of weapons, or even with no weapons. But the major goal of this mission--please keep this in mind--is to save life, not take it. Thus, these weapons, which are non-lethal, at least in their immediate effects. The green causes sleep. The red, extreme suggestibility. You understand the plan?"
"I do." He took the vials and put them in his cloak.