“So you see Ambassador–”

“Pilot,” he corrected for the millionth time.

“Yes, of course. Pilot. Our projections are more accurate for the dark moments. Because we have a linear perspective. We have lived continuously through history rather than hopping and skipping about. We have had no dark periods. We see your future becuse your future involves traveling to the past.”

“I understand all this,” Pilot X said. “But I still don’t see how it gives you perspective into your future. How could it?”

“Analytics,” the head of the Allendan Core responded.

“But Aelred, the committee has analytics. Some collected directly. And a larger data set because we can get them from all of space and time.”

Aelred shrugged. “Our math says we are more accurate. A direct constant sampling in real time beats sampling with major sark spots. You–” he paused. “You don’t know everything that is happening in space and time. We know more.”

Pilot X laughed. “I find that a little hard to believe.”

“Show him.”

The woman who had first approached Pilot X to invite him here, stepped forward. She placed a display generator in front of him and graphs and charts came to life. They described a war taking place at intervals across time up until several centuries before. Ancillary information purported to show pictures and other evidence.

“What war is this, I’m unfamiliar?”

Aelred nodded. “It is the time war. It has been hidden from us by its participants because of its devastation. Also because of causation. It could never start if parts of history aren’t left untouched for it to develop in. Our civilization lives in those parts. The dark times. The portions left without much history or confused history? That’s because of the time war. And our projections show in the future it devastates all and leaves the universe to die of a heat death, unpopulated with no real future.”

Pilot X shook his head. “Even if this is true, why would the Committee not know of it. They would be sending people like me to combat it and defuse it. It’s what we do We maintain the timeline.”

Aelred looked extraordinarily sad. “Yes,” he nodded. “It is what the committee does. Our records show in earlier ages they still thought as you. But now they are complicit. Elements hide the truth from others in the committe. They must believe there is only one final solution. One way out and they cannot find another way. They have gone from maintaining the timeline, to preserving the parts that are untouched. Like a museum.”

Pilot X only shook his head. “No. I know you believe this and I respect your belief, but it can’t be true. You– it would take a lot to convince me.”

Aelred seemed satisfied at this. “Of course. I would prefer you believed me but you told me you wouldn’t,” he grinned slyly. “You’ll be back to tell me of your part and I will barely believe you. SO take this,” he gave the display generator to Pilot X.

“Peruse it or not as you will, but do not destroy it. I can say with some certainty that it will come in handy someday. More I cannot say. For I would not let you tell me.”

Pilot X chuckled. “Well it does sound like me. All right,” he tookt eh display. “But one thing. Why me? What do you think I can do abotu any of this if it’s already fixed in time.”

“We know there are ropes. threads. Variations, between the fixed points,” Aelred looked desperate. He grabbed Pilot X’s arm. “You among all have the talent to weaved them. You among all have the clarity to see how it must be done. When you begin to believe I may be right, do as you are told by your superiors but do not trust the, Do not believe them. And remember. You have this!” he pointed at the generator adn then let Pilot X’s arm go.

“Pilot X,” he said somberly “You are the last hope of the universe.”