goldarrow: (Stephen-Ryan)
[personal profile] goldarrow
Title: To Whom It May Concern
Author: goldarrow
Word Count: 1406
Characters/Pairing: Nick, Helen, Stephen, Abby, Connor, Patrick, Danny
Rating: 15 for language
Warnings: none
Disclaimer: Primeval belongs to Impossible Pictures, not me. I will return them when I’m done, slightly mussed but in superb spirits.

For the November Prompt: Tales – Uriah Heep

To Whom It May Concern

That the words carved carefully into the ancient stone had been still legible when it was found was always shocking to the Advanced Palaeontology professor even after he'd read them so many times. Whoever she had been, she had somehow managed to preserve the stone in a way that the words were still clear after over two million years. Once the translation had been made a thousand years ago, the original had been placed in storage, and the Fold had made the copy he was teaching from, with its deciphered text below it.

To Whom It May Concern,

I have tried so many times to fix this.

Life began, grew from the simple cells to more complex cellular systems, grew older and wiser, developing communication and analytical abilities, first simple societies then complex societies, then somehow always going astray.

Greed and altruism fighting inside each being, greed overriding altruism, the society breaking down, leading to war and finally destruction.

Again and again, I would try to help, tweaking here, pruning there, altering the timeline to bring out the best in people. But there would always be someone who would break loose, someone who would change things in ways I couldn't control.

I finally reached the moment of pure animalistic frustration. Yes, I admit it. I, Helen Ambrose Cutter, stepped through an anomaly to the lower Palaeolithic and screamed in fury.

Once again, I'd changed things. Once again, it had gone wrong. Destroying my sweet Stephen hadn't helped. Shooting my poor foolish Nick had made things even worse. Losing those two silly children in the Cretaceous hadn't helped at all, which surprised me. Temple was too intelligent to not have made a difference once he finally grew up I was sure, and his infatuation with the Maitland girl made her the only one able to keep him on track whenever he started wandering down dangerous paths.

Nor had enticing that little boy through the anomaly done any good. How could I have known that losing Patrick would turn into an obsession for his brother? That stupid Matt from the future was actually starting to make a difference, but then Burton came in and caused exactly what I'd been afraid Nick was going to do.

So I had gone further back in history, removing people who caused wars and strife, hoping that mankind would be able to keep advancing peacefully. But always, there was someone else waiting in the wings to take over and the cycle would begin again.

So, now I'm done.  It's time for me to go back to the very beginning, start again, and try with a completely different beginning for humanity.

Every piece of evidence shows that the group of hominids below me are the beginnings of the human race. What the evidence doesn't show, but what I've seen, is that halfway across the world in a few thousand years there will be another group, unrelated but very similar, but much more peaceful. I need to see if starting again completely will work this time.

I'm taking a chance with this. Every other change has been in the actual human race, so somehow, no matter what happened, even if Helen Ambrose had never been born in the new timeline, it didn't seem to affect me, standing outside the timeline.

But with this, I'm changing the actual genetic makeup of humanity. If it destroys me, then I hope that something good will come out of it.

Sincerely,
Helen Ambrose Cutter

XxX

"So, there you have it, children, the true story of how we began." Nick Cutter looked around at his class, rather enjoying the shocked look in the students' eyes.

Over the years, as Head Lecturer for the Advanced Palaeontology class, he'd fought time and time again to be allowed to include this one artefact into his lecture.  He had never understood why the Elders wanted the information kept quiet, only known to the select few in the Fold who understood the significance, but now he did. When he'd received the roster for his current class, he'd taken a few minutes to get over the shock, then handed it straight over to the Elders. After their own moment of complete shock and the subsequent days of heated debate, they'd agreed that this group should be immediately brought into the Fold, no matter their ages.

Stephen Hart, the second oldest but most serious member of his class and the son of the clan-leader, spoke quietly, as usual. "I'm not sure I understand. The names she uses in that letter are ours."

Waving a fine-boned hand to encompass the students in the class, he continued, "How can that be?"

Connor Temple, their youngest clan-joined, stared at Nick. "It's a test, right? To see how gullible we are?"

His older cousin Abby Maitland nodded. "We would have seen that before, would have heard something about it before. There's no way that every person in the worlds would have kept that secret."

Patrick Quinn, the younger of the far-clan-joined, shrugged. "I saw one of those 'anomaly' things she talked about." When everyone turned to stare at him, he grinned. "It looked really pretty. I was about ten, I think. Stuck my head through, but it was pissing down rain, so I didn't bother with it."

His older brother Danny gasped. "Fuck, you saw?"

Patrick shrugged again. "Yeah, wasn't anything special."

Everyone turned to stare at him.

Connor spoke first, disbelief apparent in his tone. "You mean you had the chance to walk into another world and you didn't take it?"

"Are you cracked? It was pissing down rain, cold as shite, and I was late for my tea. I wasn't going to go prancing off. I was hungry."

Stephen's lips twitched. "Perfect logic for a ten year old."

Cutter agreed. "Yes, it was. Now think, what would have been people's reaction if they'd seen this before?"

The students all shared helpless glances. Abby bit her lip, eyes narrowing as Nick watched her. The animal behaviour expert often came up with some very interesting ideas in their round-table discussions.

"Because if people had known, then every child would have had our names, so the parents could say 'yes, my child changed history'."

Nodding, Cutter clapped his hands. "Got it in one, child. Excellent."

A second look at Stephen showed Cutter that the clan-son was not happy. "Stephen? A comment?"

"This 'Helen Ambrose Cutter', Professor, it seems she'd been your wife in some other line of time."

"Yes, it seemed she was." Cutter kept his tone quiet and serious, not letting on how much the knowledge had disturbed his sleep over the years.

"She seemed to think that mankind was horrible, that it was perfectly all right to kill and manipulate and destroy entire societies in the search for what she deemed 'perfection'."

"Yes. Go on."

Stephen continued, staring down at his clasped hands as he spoke. "So what she did, wiping out an entire world full of people, would normally be considered the most heinous of crimes."

"And?"

With a nod to Abby, Stephen held his hands up. "So why would anyone actually want to name their children after those in a tale horrific enough to frighten anyone with any empathy or good sense?"

"Ah." Abby stuttered for a second before Danny responded for her.

"Because there are always fuckwits."

When the rest of the class gaped at him, he grinned and shrugged. "Just because these worlds are a lot nicer than the one she kept talking about, doesn't mean we don't have some stupid people here, too."

"And there you have both sides of the story. The reality of our history, and the reasons that only those amongst the Fold know the truth of it."

"The Fold?" Connor's voice squeaked a bit. "We're going to join the Fold?"

Dead silence greeted his exclamation as all eyes turned to Nick Cutter.

He nodded slowly. "Yes. All of you, clan-son, clan-joined, and far-clan-joined, are among those who have been Chosen to lead our people."

Cutter stood, bouncing slightly in the lighter gravity of Mars. "The true diaspora is beginning, children, and in another ten years you will be leading the Ships out to the stars. We've colonised every place in this solar system that is terra-formable, now it is time for Mankind to explore."

The young men and women stared at him and each other, combined pride and terror mixed in their gazes.

.
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