The cartography, writing, and ramblings of one crazy winter lover who likes to blog about the fun and inconsequential.

The Grand War-Preview

Here is just a little preview of what is to come for the novel based off the map I made of the same name, The Grand War. This will form the prologue to the first book. I hope you enjoy.

MANASSAS, VIRGINIA
December 18, 1989
Concurrent Timeline

The CIA safehouse, known to the agency as Alvictus, was closer to a Northern Virginia mansion than something out of a spy novel. The house sat on a verdant green lawn and the last rays of sunset spilled onto plush imported furniture in the house’s living room. Were it not for the burly men guarding the exits and the woman sitting across from Agent Paul Livy, it might have almost seemed normal.
    Livy studied the woman who sat across from him. Her features were well-defined: tall, brunette, angular face with a sharp nose and piercing blue eyes. In fact, her features were almost too well-defined. No matter how much he looked, he couldn’t find a single blemish on her face.
    “Does my appearance bother you, Agent Livy?” the woman asked in a clear voice.
    Agent Livy adjusted his tie. “Not at all. I am simply wondering precisely why, in this year of all years, the agency cleared out one of our most important safehouses for one girl.”
    The woman, whose papers only identified her as “The Traveler”, smiled demurely and placed an object in the table between them without speaking. Livy leaned over to lookat it.
    The object was roughly the size of a wallet, but thinner and made of plastic. It had glass on the front, like a mirror, but it was too big for that, wasn’t it? Suddenly, the woman touched the side and glass lit up like a computer screen.
    Every agent in the room audibly gasped. Wither her fingers, the woman swiped across the glass and pressing buttons that existed only on the glass. Livy was not an engineer, but he had used computers on occasion, and this looked like one; only impossibly small and operated by touch, like something out of Star Trek.
    “Impressed?” the woman asked. “Your superiors were. And now you know why I’m here.”
    Livy reached forward and picked up the device. It weighed less than a shoe, and was polished smooth like a wedding ring after wearing it for long enough. He peered curiously at it, and tapped the glass screen a couple times, but it seemed to have turned off.
    Finally, Livy put it down and turned back to the woman. “Alright, tell me, what is this? I work in getting intelligence from spies, informants, diplomats. Who sent you, the Soviets? Chinese? Is this their new technology?”
    The woman laughed, a startlingly loud noise, and shook her head. “Nobody in the whole world can make something like this,” she said. “You’re all at least a few decades away, and less if you manage to screw up in the next few years.”
    Livy peered closer at her. Her words sent chills down his spine. The fall of the Berlin Wall earlier that year had sent Washington into a frenzy, and the Soviets were on edge even more now. The whole world was walking a razor’s edge.
    “Are you trying to tell me that you’re from the future?” Livy asked. “Is this someone’s idea of a joke?”
    “I am no joke,” the woman said, crossing her legs demurely in front of her. “Your superiors sent you here because they believe that what I have to say will be vital, that I can change the world and the fortunes of this nation. Call them if you don’t believe me.”
    “Then you are from the future.”
    “Not yours.”
    Livy tilted his head. “I’m sorry, but I don’t follow.”
    The woman tapped her device again, and with a whir the machine shot out a holographic display into the air. Livy had seen enough movies to know a hologram, but he had never thought he’d see one in real life. “Holy shit,” he said beneath his breath.
    The hologram, however it worked, displayed a political map of the Earth, not unlike the one in Livy’s own office back at Langley. Except, the closer he looked, the more he noticed that nothing was where it should be. All the countries were wrong, he realized after a moment. China was too large, the USA covered all of Canada, the whole Middle East was one country, and Europe was dominated by what looked like Germany.
    “I am from the future, but not your own,” the woman continued. “Where I come from, this is our map of the world. As I learned when I was first brought in for questioning upon arriving here, my world’s history has not been the same as yours for over one thousand years. Functionally, we are from different worlds.”
    “Okay, okay,” Livy said, trying to catch his breath. His hands were shaking. An entirely different world? His mind immediately rebelled against it, but the top brass in the CIA had sent her here. They were the same men who had denied the Berlin Wall would ever come down a year before, despite all the evidence. If they believed her, that could only mean there was something to her story.
    “What are you getting at?” he asked. “I’ve been sent her for, what, exactly? You seem to have all the answers, mind sharing some?”
    The woman seemed delighted in his frustration. “Why, Agent Livy, that is precisely what your superiors sent me here for,” she said. “Under their instruction, you are to be my...chronicler, you could call it.”
    “Your what?”
    “I tell you the history of my family, the history of how I came to be here, and thus the history of all that has happened in our world since the war that changed our entire future.”
    Livy placed his elbows on his knees. “And what is that supposed to accomplish, exactly?”
    The woman pointed to the device. “IF you want more of these, you need to know how we came to get them, yes? If you learn the history of my world and the events that led up to my coming here, then you and your government will have an advantage over the entire Earth. A small price to pay, I think.”
    She was right. As much as Livy hated feeling like an idiot in front of her, he had to admit that the knowledge to make more of those little machines was invaluable. A jet fighter with that kind of technology or a soldier with gear twenty, thirty years in advance would make the Soviets quiver.
    “Alright,” he said, reaching for a tape recorder he had been supplied with and placing it on the table. “I’ll start.” He clicked on the recorder and spoke in clear voice: “This is Agent Paul Arthur Livy, on the eighteenth of December, nineteen eighty nine. I am currently interviewing—”
    He pointed to the woman, who smiled. “Hulan Wincester, from the year two thousand and nineteen, and this is my story, and the story of my world.”

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