It was at this point that a mental block fell away, and I gained a new memory. It had my full attention. Mostly because I had no choice in the matter, but at the same time I wondered how the block had been put there, and if this past event was somehow relevant to our current situation.
It was from almost a year ago. A few of us had gotten together at the end of the summer for one last DVD Night in the Heroes League HQ. Cassie’s idea. Before the start of University.
By “a few of us”, I meant me, Cassie, Daniel, Haley, Vaughn, Jaclyn, Marcus, and Travis. No one from Justice Fist, Kayla was busy, and my sister Rachel hadn’t come – I think she’d been performing somewhere. So the basketball court sized room with the huge TV screen felt a little emptier than on some previous occasions.
We’d watched “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”, had a good laugh about the part with transparent aluminum (considering what we used in our League vehicles), and were getting ready to go home. That part I remembered. Then the Rocket showed up.
That part was new.
I’m not used to seeing the Rocket armor fully assembled, except of course when I’m wearing it, or watching myself on television. It’s pretty impressive up close.
It’s also disturbing when it simply appears out of nowhere. I’m not certain if it would have been more or less disturbing if this Rocket had appeared via the alternate reality ‘Starplate’, but he didn’t.
The first thing he said was, “That wasn’t supposed to happen.”
Everyone in the room immediately took up a defensive posture. We’d already been through one bad experience with alternate reality doubles that summer. You know how it is.
I heard Daniel’s voice in my head. That’s actually you, Nick. Not an evil version. I think he’s a future you?
“Well, I’m not Future Knight,” the Rocket suit said, voice modulator hinting at amusement.
Daniel’s presence faded from my mind. I realized then that if he’d been mentally broadcasting to the League, but this Rocket was me, then this Rocket could have heard Daniel too. Or maybe this was a new suit that could pick up on telepathy? I wondered if that was possible. Thinking about it eased the sensation that something was ‘off’ in much the same way that hearing your own recorded voice sounds ‘off’.
“It’s okay!” the Rocket said, holding up his hands in the universal ‘Don’t Shoot’ gesture. “I’ll be out of here as soon as I touch myself. Er, touch Nick,” he clarified. “That is, uh…”
He stopped speaking and took a step towards me. “Rocket, STOP!” Travis shouted, jumping between us. Or I assume that’s what he was trying to do, he actually fell over as he landed. Which, considering all the enhancements to his senses, strained credulity.
He looked up from the floor, and shot an angry look at Daniel. “Oh, seriously?!”
Daniel raised his own hands. “I didn’t–” He froze. “You’re… Night Cat. Inside Night Wolf’s head.” He turned to look at Haley. “But you’re still you. I’m confused.”
“You’re not the only one,” I heard Vaughn mumble.
Travis/Haley carefully stood back up. “Okay. Not used to being this tall. But honestly, Mystic? You were supposed to send me back into MY body, not my brother’s!”
“I’m not your future Mystic!” Daniel said defensively.
“But you’re going to become him! He and Ghost are what’s making this time displacement work.”
“I’ve read this X-Men comic,” Marcus mused. “Or will it be more like the movie?”
“It’s never like the movie,” Travis/Haley sighed. “We had to obtain Abominator time technology, and get Cassie to activate the interface.”
“Yeah? Cool!” Cassie said. I wondered if she’d sound as thrilled by the prospect if it was her double in the room. I then caught sight of the Guy/Girl gun hanging on the wall, and wondered – if it were shot at Travis, while Haley was inside his head, would he turn into Haley?
“Why should the Rocket stop?” Jaclyn asked, bringing the conversation back on track.
Travis/Haley turned to her. “If The Rocket touches Nick, he merges with Nick, but some memory remains. Enough to screw up the future when Nick tries to optimize certain things the second time around. Sorry, Nick,” he/she added, looking in my direction. “We know you meant well.”
“Why is a second Rocket even here?” Haley asked, looking uncomfortable. She sounded like I felt.
“Beats us,” Travis/Haley said. “Time travel screws up everything.”
“I was fighting the Time Bandit,” Rocket offered. “She’s a mercenary with a one hundred percent kill record.”
“Oh, please. No one’s THAT good,” Vaughan scoffed.
“She is,” he countered. “Mystic learned that it’s because she has the ability to travel back along her own timeline. If she fails at a job, she can tell herself not to take it in the first place.
“We were about to take her down,” the suit’s synthesized voice continued, becoming thoughtful. “I wonder how I got caught in her temporal wake. All I know now is that I want to merge with myself.”
“Well, don’t!” Travis/Haley said.
The Rocket suit shrugged. “Okay, I won’t.”
Jaclyn stepped forwards. “You have to!” she protested. Then she looked down at herself in surprise, and over to Daniel.
“It’s the Shift, inside Accelerando,” Daniel said in a resigned tone. Marcus and Jaclyn were cousins. I decided that mental time travel wasn’t a perfect science. I nearly asked why this new version of our future hadn’t sent Haley again, then decided that I didn’t want to know.
Jaclyn/Marcus cleared her/his throat. “Rocket, remaining here puts a strain on the timeline if you go anywhere other than Infinity City. And if you go there, you indirectly affect the St. Louis incident.”
“Look, I either have to merge, or not merge,” The Rocket pointed out. Rather practically, in my opinion.
“Let’s merge and then try to forget about this whole experience,” I suggested, verbalizing my main thought of the last few minutes.
Travis/Haley turned to look at me in surprise. “We can help with that plan,” he/she offered. “We currently have access to some magic and other devices. Along with these temporal coordinates, we can make ALL of you forget about this. For a while. Maybe a year, at which point it won’t make any difference. Is everyone okay with that?”
It didn’t take long to discuss. No one wanted this sort of temporal headache lingering in their heads. So, moments after the Rocket touched my shoulder, and his form faded out of existence, a glowing ball appeared in the middle of the room. I barely had time to think about what my alternate’s future was going to be like, before there was a bright light, and I didn’t remember meeting him anyway.
I frowned. Had that really happened? The whole experience felt like somebody’s elaborate idea of a prank.
The crazy, zany, and completely NOT CANON! interlude you’ve just read is part of the Serial Fiction April Fool’s Day Swap, 2015 Edition. The mindblowing gag post you’ve just read was written by Gregory Taylor, who normally writes the story The Epsilon Projec, found at https://mathtans.wordpress.com/2014/09/07/1-01-the-gathering/ .
Jim Zoetway, who normally writes this story, today has created their own piece of tomfoolery for Fooled! found at http://fooled-story.blogspot.com .
For a full list of all our April Fool’s Swappers and their stories, as well as dozens of other serial novels that will tickle your fancy, check out The Web Fiction Guide at
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