A Graphic Novel Outline
Brad Wardell, August 2006
Chapter 7: Legacy
DL wakes and finds himself laying on a bed. What should have been a mortal wound has nearly healed and his other cuts and bruises are gone. It is dark.
An unknown voice in the room says into a communicator “He’s awake.”
Moments later, Agent Bill Gerard, a second man in a black suit and Mr. Miller enter the room.
DL: How long have I been here?
Agent Gerard: Two days. You’ve been asleep.
DL: Where’s Ethan?
Frank Miller: He’s in the guest wing. It’s late at night and he’s sleeping. He’s fine.
Agent Gerard: I’d like to introduce you to someone you may recognize, Walter Ableson, President of the United States.
DL: Mr. President, I don’t know what to say. Your…presence indicates that this…scuffle with the Intruders has altered things more than I would have thought.
President Ableson: More than any of us would have thought. All intruders world wide have disappeared. In every country, they simply left. We don’t know what that means.
DL: Not necessarily a good thing.
President Ableson: I agree. So what are we going to do?
DL: We? There is no ‘we’.
President Ableson: How can you say that? You have killed 4 of the 12 intruders on this planet. There is obviously something unusual about you. You are not one of them, but you are clearly not human.
DL: Oh, I’m human.
President Ableson: Then help us.
DL: I talked to Frank here, my father-in-law about this just before the Intruders attacked me at home. It isn’t my war. As long as they leave my family alone, it’s not my concern.
President Ableson: But you have the power to do great things. Don’t you feel a moral obligation to help your fellow man?
There is a pause in the room as DL considers these words. They are words he himself has wrestled with many times over the years. Choosing the right words to explain to the President required thought.
DL: It’s not that simple, Mr. President. There is no possible way you and I can ever relate to each other. I am cursed. I am cursed to live forever. I have lived thousands of years -- many thousands of years. And the thing I’ve learned is that human existence is transient. Fleeting.
My family – my son Ethan, they are what matter to me. And while I could spend a human lifetime solving the world’s problems, I would miss out on my son’s life. That’s time I can never get back.
And as hard as this is to hear, if you live long enough, problems like these Intruders come up time and time again.
Agent Gerard: What do you mean? Human civilization is barely two thousand years old and in that time there’s never been anything like the Intruders here.
DL doesn’t answer immediately. Carefully weighing his words DL finally responds:
DL: I am human, but I never said I am of your Earth.
President Ableson: You’re not from Earth?
DL: Sure. I’m from Austin Texas. But I was born in the year 2188.
Agent Gerard: Time travel!
DL: No, not exactly. And it’s a long and complicated story. But imagine there being an infinite number of parallel worlds. I believe there’s a theory called “string theory” or at least you’re that far along the path to understanding this sort of thing.
I eventually learned how to travel to these parallel worlds. Each one is in its own time phase. I have lived many lifetimes in many parallel worlds each with its own problems.
On my Earth, there were no “Intruders”. The United States fought in additional wars after the Korean war but they were against countries like North Vietnam and Iraq, not aliens.
President Ableson: Alternate Earths. That is amazing. Immortality and power. Quite a gift.
DL: Not a gift. A curse. Forever is a very long time. Ask yourself, what would you do with forever? Think about that. We’re really not designed to live forever.
I have lived so many lifetimes in different times…which brings me back to the question about why not go out and fight a crusade to make this particular Earth safe from its own peculiar super menace.
If you live long enough and travel to enough parallel worlds you will find there’s always some tyrant or demon or dread lord or some other power or horde.
And power is alienating. The more you use, the more it controls you and the more people become afraid of you. The nature of my…empowerment is unholy. It is corrupting. I try not to use it. The longer I live, the more empowered I become so my destiny may be futile, but that changes nothing in the present.
President Ableson: And so you won’t help us?
DL: As long as they don’t try to harm my son, I won’t interfere. He is my priority. In the blink of an eye, you all will be gone and I will be just as you see me now. I don’t want to miss that time with my son.
President Ableson: Then what of your son when he passes on?
DL: Then I will leave and find another lifetime.
President Ableson: Then consider this, DL Bradley – your son will grow old and die for certain. But he will probably also have children. And they will have children. Those descendants are of your flesh and blood. What of them? What legacy would you give to them? A world dominated by evil and oppression? A world where their children could be taken from them – your grand children and great grand children to be taken to some alien world for who knows what monstrous reasons? Is that the legacy you want to leave?
DL, to his surprise, realizes he had never given that a lot of thought. DL had never had a child who grew up and had their own children. The thought of having grand children hadn’t really crossed his mind in the practical realities the President had just put forward.
DL: Very well Mr. President, what do you want me to do?