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Changing Fates
The truth was, you didn't find success on an even playing field. People could pull themselves up by their bootstraps, sure, but that wasn't ever ideal. The same went for John Carlyle. He had no idea how, or why, but when he went to sleep at night he found himself in another world. Corporate espionage was never so easy.

It closely mirrored waking life, in the sense that the big things were where they belonged. Little things - like rockets on an assembly line or files on a mainframe - however, those were fleeting. Even his clothes changed constantly, from the soft comfort of a hand made Italian suit to nothing but his underwear, and back. Watches worth more than many people made in a year faded in and out of existence on his wrist. As he looked around the streets of Mecca, he saw windows open and close, piles of garbage appear and disappear, and yet despite those signs of habitation not a single soul seemed to stir. The Abraj Al Bait clock tower dominated the landscape; even in the so-called holiest of cities, the forces of capitalism could not be barred.

Things were coming to a head in the city, and the Custody was at a Rubicon. The fuse was already burning, and if Nikolai Brandon couldn't manage to put it out he would see half his empire destroyed within a few weeks. And at the center of it stood a man named Nicholas Trano. He was a bit of a goody two shoes, but also projected to take a huge chunk of voters if he chose to run in 48. The news organization he held controlling interest in had made and broke candidacies, and if he so chose he could hand pick the next president of the United States.

It was no surprise, then, that Carlyle found himself there. If he could gain the support of Trano, he wouldn't have any trouble taking the reins and turning America around before it fell on its face. If it isn't too damn late already,
he thought. God send that wasn't the case.

The sound of boots sliding to a halt on the pavement behind made him jump a little, but not by much. When he turned, he saw an old man staring back at him. It wasn't exactly a surprise - if he could do it, logic dictated that there must be others. The man stood as solidly as the clock tower behind him; either his old age had not yet caught up with him or something about this place revitalized him.

For a few seconds, he said nothing. Carlyle realized the old man wasn't staring at him, but through him. Just before Carlyle asked the man who he was, he spoke. "That must never happen." Carlyle placed the accent to somewhere in the midwest.

That made Carlyle tilt his head. "What 'must never happen?'"

His response was matter of fact. "If you choose to run for president in 2048, your country's best chance for survival dies with you." It was also down right insane.

"That doesn't make any sense. I'm the best chance the United States has to stay relevant."
He didn't know why he felt the urge to argue, but it was irresistible.

If the man's sudden appearance hadn't surprised him, the fact that in an instant he seemed to shift within arms length did. Before Carlyle could even respond, the man's hands were on his head. Then the entire city faded from view.

"This is the future, if you are successful." Carlyle had no body; the voice came from everywhere and nowhere all at the same time. If he still had a head, he would say it came from inside his brain. If only he could speak.

Visions flashed in front of him, stretching to fill his entire consciousness. Crashing markets, martial law, civil war. He saw Nikolai Brandon seeming to control lightning like he was a modern day Zeus, tossing fireballs at people as they tried to run away.Now that's a fucking metaphor,
he thought.

Then finally, he stood - or rather, floated - on the surface of the moon as he saw the Earth bathed in nuclear fire. Not much of a metaphor, that.

"Now you know what will happen. Do you still wish to continue?"[/color][/i] Carlyle was unable to stop himself from gasping when he found himself back inside his own body.

It was hard not to see the logic in what he was saying. After all, it - what the hell?

He unconsciously shook himself. "For all I know everything you just showed me is a lie. It looks to me like you work for the Custody."

A kind of pressure, almost imperceptible at first, but now nearly deafening in its force, clamped down on him. "I work for no one, John. I simply hope to bring about a better time. Join Nicholas Trano. At his side, you will have your victory." In a blink, he was gone. Strange, but Carlyle almost thought he heard faint laughter in the distance. He would have to call Trano in the morning.

Edited by John Carlyle, Mar 12 2014, 09:49 PM.

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