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We all gathered around the space shuttle, nervousness electrifying the air. So many questions ran through my mind, running endless loops on themselves.
What will it be like over there? What will I get to do? Who will I become? Only one way to find out: I stepped aboard the shuttle.
Liftoff was not far off. Strapping myself in, I looked to my right and saw a mother and her baby daughter. The infant was crying while the mother pleaded with her.
Tears ran down the mother's face, and I had to look away. All this was necessary, I thought to myself. We're all doing a great thing, something that will hopefully be remembered for ages.
A pseudo-flight attendant walked down the aisle, offering refreshments to anyone who cared for one. Personally, my mouth was dry from the suspense, so I waved her to my seat. With a ditsy smile, she flicked her hair and said to me,
"What'll it be, sugar: cola, water, or lemonade?"
The lady nodded, and headed for the back of the spacecraft. I looked straight ahead at the backs of a young couple. They were draped all over each other, sobbing audibly and talking in cracking voices.
"Don't leave me, honey. I can't bear to see you go."
"I'll always be with you, in one way or another."
It was almost too much to bear. I could feel hot tears welling up in my eyes. Not now, I said quietly to myself. I'm stronger than this. I resettled in my seat and gladly took the glass of cola that the attendant had just brought me. A voice crackled over the sound system.
"Five minutes to takeoff. Be sure to strap yourselves in securely and snugly."
I tugged on my safety belt. Not like I would need this for too long, I pondered. It'll all be over soon enough. Then I'll become part of history.
A few uneventful minutes had passed. I mainly sat there in my seat, twiddling my thumbs and looking out the window.
"Isn't it a sight to see?" the man in front of me said to his young son.
"Daddy, why is it so bright?"
"Because it had been hurt over a long period of time, son."
The thought was mutual, I wanted to say. But I kept to myself. I didn't want to intrude on their conversation; that wasn't my style. You see, I'd always been the reserved kind, the pensive one.
I liked to ask myself questions, as to become smarter. Though I feel that I am fairly educated, I've yet to figure out how, or why, my ancestors set fire to Earth.
It was time. All the travelers were secured in their seats. My pulse was rising by the seconds. What's it going to be like over there, on Earth? Is it hellish, or Paradise? Too many questions existed, not enough answers. I felt the turbines powering up, and the thrusters coming to life. Time to ditch the old me, I thought, and find the new me.
The shuttle lifted off, and the force of its ascension pressed me into the back off my seat. We were climbing vertically for now, but soon we would be on a crash course towards Earth. We won't make it there alive, not in the traditional sense; I had read enough of our history books to know that we travelers are on a one-way trip.
But we would at least assume a different body in a different time period. Maybe we could find out what happened to Earth, and how to stop it.
It was not but a few minutes in when I saw my end coming. Looking down at my hands, I could see my fingers vaporizing, the atoms disappearing into non-existence. I cried tears of joy as my torso was torn apart, atom by atom. I had the chance to right others' wrongs; I could rewrite history, determine the future. I closed my eyes for the last time, and was greeted by pure darkness.
I awoke to find myself sitting on a luxurious, cushion chair in an elliptical office. There were a couple of advisers by my side, and a man of Russian descent on the other side of my desk. He looked distraught, as if imagining some terrible fate befalling him.
"Mr. Kennedy, I want you to reconsider your proposal."
"Sorry, Mr. Khrushchev, but you have provoked not only my anger, but the anger of my country on the whole. You have struck fear into their hearts, so I shall do the same to your people."
One of my advisers approached me, holding a button enclosed in a glass case.
"It doesn't have to end like this! There must be some way that I can change your mind!"
"That's where you are wrong, Mr. Khrushchev."
The adviser opened the case, and I heartily slapped the button. With that, I unleashed the beginning of a vicious cycle of mistakes and destruction.