Chapter 8

But before he could say any more the window shattered.  Several bullets flew across the room lodging themselves in the wall, and tearing up furniture.  Outside in the street voices could be heard screaming "Lincolnites!  Lincoolnites!  They've fired on the capitol!  Get them!"
More shots rang out and more screaming was heard.  The standing Jefferson Davis reached up to his head. When he brought his hand back down it was covered in blood!  His counterpart at the desk leaped to his feet, whisked off the gaudy necktie he was wearing, folded it, and used it as a compress to slow the bleeding.  The door burst open and several men in gray uniforms, pistols drawn, entered.  "Are you all right, Mr. President?" one of them asked.
"Yes General Lee!"  the President answered.  "Please holster your pistols and assist me here!
My cousin has been wounded."
"Damn Yankee filth!"  one of the other officers snapped.  He quickly came forward holstering his pistol and steadied the visitor on the other side.  "Well, you can sure tell you two are related, Mr. President!"  the man remarked.  "Except for being a few years older he's your spitting image!  Let's get him out on the couch and lay him down 'til our doctor can be fetched."
The visitor was made comfortable.  It was some time before the others drifted away and The President could speak.
"What do you mean, you're ME?" he inquired.
"I am you,"  his guest answered, "I came from the future.  There's some papers in my pocket.  In a little while a Professor Daniel MacClain will contact a man named on them.  Can't remember it right now.  He'll sell him some plans.  Those plans must be captured, they must be destroyed.  No one must ever see them or mankind will be destroyed!  MacClain must be shot, he must not return where he came from. You MUST believe me!"
President Davis took the papers and began to look through them.  A doctor arrived, examined the patient, produced a pair of pliers from his bag and pulled two slivers of glass out of the patient's head.  He then produced needles and thread and stitched the wounds, cleaning them with alcohol.  "Not too serious," the doctor remarked.  "There's also a bruise.  He must've been hit by something.  Couldn't have been a bullet, probably a piece of the window frame. I'll send some men to have him taken to the hospital."
"No," President Davis ordered.  "He will be taken to my home.  Two armed guards are to accompany him, in addition to those already guarding my residence.
"Yes, Mr. President!"  an officer snapped.  In a few minutes the visitor was carried away.
"General Lee!"  The President snapped, "I need an officer for a special mission and a dozen picked men, civilian clothes, two side arms apiece, as quickly as possible."
"You will have them within an hour," the General answered.
"Fine!"  President Davis continued, "I will be in my office working.  Do not get anyone to fix the window until I am done briefing that officer.  Then workmen may enter.  Make sure there is no one outside within ear shot."
"Yes, Mr. President!"  the General answered.
President Davis went back into his office and continued to work.  Almost exactly an hour later there was a knock on his door.  "Enter!"  the President snapped.  A gaunt looking man entered.  The President wondered if he was fit enough to serve in the army.  The man came to attention and spoke.
"Captain Howards, sir!  You need someone for a special operation.  I have a lieutenant and twelve good men ready to proceed, sir.  What do you need?"
The President picked up the papers he had been given and held them out.  "There is, sir, at the consumption sanitarium in this city, a Patrick Shaunassey, a boiler maker.  In a short time he will be contacted by a gentleman named MacClain, who will sell him some plans.  Those plans are for a useless weapon that The Union is trying to get us to waste our time on manufacturing.  MacClain is a Union spy.  You are to intercept those plans, destroy them, and execute MacClain.  Shaunassey is an innocent, a patriot.  He does not know he is being used by Union subversives.  Did I make everything clear, Captain?  Do you understand what must be done?"
The Captain looked through the papers.  "I understand perfectly, sir!  We will find suitable observation posts, and keep this person under surveillance.  Am I to report back to you at the conclusion of my mission?"
"You are indeed to," The President answered.  "Captain, there may be at third party attempting to interfere with this operation.  I do not think the incident this morning was an attempt on my life, but was an attempt to kill the messenger that warned me of this plot!  Be careful, Captain!  Be diligent and alert!"
"Understood, sir!" the Captain answered.
"You may go!"  President Davis snapped.
The Captain came to attention, nodded, and departed. Barely had he got out the door than carpenters entered and began dismantling the shattered window as President Davis continued to work. But his thoughts were on the men hurrying acrossed the city.  He knew his visitor wasn't quite telling the truth, but he knew that MacClain had to be stopped, and he hoped these brave men could stop him.  But how great was the danger they were facing?  He would worry until they returned, he would worry very much!

Page 15

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