He got back to the hospital and asked the doctor if the patient could leave. "Yes!" the doctor answered, "But he is to be engaged in no strenuous activity. I have never seen anyone as physically drained! The man virtually has no strength. It is little wonder he collapsed. He must have high protein meals, plenty of carbohydrates. We're not worried about him gaining weight until he has reached a satisfactory level."
"I understand," Davis answered. Davis gave the doctor the uniform he had brought and asked him to have the patient dress. A few minutes later he joined him, and they departed. The General ushered his guest into the back of his car, snapped to his driver "Home, Martin!" He opened the control panel on his side of the seat and closed the privacy shield. "How did you know these things were going to happen?" he snapped.
"Because they're part of history," his guest answered. "The circumstances of this terrible day were what led to the war with The Chinese. The Supremacist Movement was so crippled by this incident that it never recovered completely. They became tiny scattered groups of only two or three individuals that nobody paid any attention to. Unfortunately no one ever suspected the depth of their insanity. One of them got into the highest levels of the military, got the codes that launch our missiles. Three of them broke into a launch facility, and fired twenty missiles at the most sensitive targets in China to eliminate the Asia threat. The Chinese considered it an unprovoked first strike and retaliated with everything they had left. Then for five years while the provisions lasted it was just an ordinary war with conventional weapons. By the time I left nobody was doing much because nobody had anything left. There wasn't enough land to grow food, the fuel supplies were gone, what there was couldn't be transported. Everybody in China was already dead, and the rest of the world was going fast. This time line is simply unstable. That it lasted as long as it did was miraculous! We have to find the point of diversion, the time when the true history split off and you have to go into the past and contact somebody, and have them go the rest of the way and fix the damage. And I only have forty eight hours, then I will automatically return to my own time."
"I still don't understand," Davis argued, "why can't YOU go into the future?"
"The technology. The slip molecules will only let us go back one hundred years. I barely made it here."
Davis looked at him . "Look! You couldn't have come from the future! If you were actually my grandson how old would you be...in your sixties, your seventies? I'd say you're twenty five, thirty at the most. Explain that!"
"That's why I can't go any further into the past," the man answered. "The slip molecules make you younger the further you go back. If I went back another hundred years I wouldn't exist! I would merely be a small amount of chemicals that would arrive at the destination. The molecules work by altering the genetic structure. We fit in the period of time where we belong because of our genetic state.
I know it's difficult, but I assure you, it's completely true! There's some other things that will happen today. Somebody drunk in a light plane will try to land at a military base in Tennessee. He'll hit a big transport taking off. It'll crash into a school. There'll be nearly one thousand casualties. There'll be a horrendous automobile pileup in one of the subterranean Boston tunnels. A van carrying some illegal substances will blow up, causing the cars behind it to pile up on each other, before the traffic can be stopped. I've been given as much as I can to prove to you what I say is true. You have to believe me, because the slip molecules have already been transferred to you, and when I go back to the future you'll be transmitted into the past!"
"What?" Davis snapped.
"They were programmed," his guest continued, "to automatically go to the person I meet with the genetic inheritance closest to mine. It has to be a near relative in order for them to bond and function."
"Did you ever think," Davis complained, "that it might be appropriate to get the person's consent first?
"There's no time for niceties like that!" his guest answered. "We HAVE to succeed, there's no argument! If you were to refuse we would be dead. It didn't matter! So they were simply programmed."
The General stared out the window. "I suppose under the circumstances," he finally managed, "I have to realize ya'll thought you were doin' right. You mean I'm just going to disappear?"
"For 48 hours!" his visitor answered, "Then you will reappear....hopefully! The system's never been tested. We had no reserve capability. Either it worked, or, it didn't."
"Well, if what you say is true," Davis moaned, "I certainly hope it works! My son....your father, is a history buff. We can barely keep him off the computer after he's got his homework done! He's got every film that was ever made about the war of Union aggression. We'll have to see if we can find this point of diversion of yours. But how will we know?"
"We'll know," the visitor answered, "or, I will, when I find something that diverts from what I've been taught. Then we'll know that's the point where things started to go wrong, when the south started to win."
"That part really bothers me," the General moaned, "that if we succeed the Confederacy will lose. Isn't there any way we can fix things and still have the south survive?"
The General's visitor shook his head. "Well, when I introduce you to the family," the General snapped, "we've gotta call you something! What's your name?"
The young man smiled. "Jefferson Davis!" he answered, "I was named after my grandfather."
"Well around the house I'm called Jeff, or, Dad." the General snapped. "We'll call you Jeffrey. That will make less confusion."