Chapter 2 - City Hall

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You know I wish that I had Jessie's girl

I wish that I had Jessie's girl

Where can I find a woman like that?

-- Rick Springfield (Jessie's Girl)

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The Perfectionists were a loosely confederated conspiracy. Most of the members not only didn't know who was a member of the organization, they didn't even know how many people were in on the conspiracy.

The idea was to change the past, and for the better. History could be confusing, crazy-making, unfair and downright cruel. So many lives were, as Thomas Hobbes had said, "nasty, brutish and short."

The Perfectionists aimed to change all of that.

They were starting with a very specific time period, which was rife with possibilities. That time period stretched from the October fourth 1957 launch of Sputnik to the April fifth 2063 launch of Earth's first Warp One vessel, the Phoenix. It was the very first epoch of the Space Age.

The Perfectionists' leader, a man named Milton Walker, had chosen this time period because of its many pariotric nodes. Temporal changes could be roughly divided into megaotric – too big for humans to effect; otric – too small to matter; and pariotric – the Goldilocks middle where a meaningful change could be effected by people.

The overall aim was to improve human life, and really only on our side of the pond. Milton, like anyone who had been through the standard history curriculum, knew all about the legendary Empress Hoshi Sato. But the mirror universe had not been of concern to him.

Instead, he had poured his efforts into acts such as trying to prevent the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. He had his own temporal operatives to do his bidding.

There was his daughter, Helen, who treated time travel and temporal changes as larks. Her death had been faked – all the better to let her do her work.

There was Donald Oliver, who performed all manner of odd jobs – everything from snapping a few blackmail photographs featuring Helen – to murdering an uncooperative agent. He could be counted on to keep quiet.

Then there were operatives who had infiltrated the Temporal Integrity Commission itself. There was Marisol Castillo, who was a time traveling doctor and, until recently, had been carrying on with the only married member of the Commission's Human Unit, Doctor Boris Yarin.

Marisol had a lot over Boris, and he was terrified of being exposed as he felt he would surely lose his position. Marisol hadn't quite gotten around to blackmailing him just yet, but she was having a dandy time scaring him. He was human, Xindi sloth and Klingon – his natural condition was paranoia. All she had to do was kick that up several notches.

Another mole was Daniel Beauchaine. He had recently joined the Commission. His life was rather complicated, as he had been a Section 31 operative for the better part of thirty years. As a member of that shadowy organization, his assignment had been to infiltrate the Perfectionists. He had done so in a matter that was so thorough that his sympathies had shifted, and he had ended up convinced that their cause was right. The Section thought that he was still loyal to them, and they had urged the Commission to hire him in order to, ostensibly, watch the Perfectionists. Not even his friend, Tom Grant, knew the extent of Dan's perfidy.

There were others, of course, including an engineer who had developed a most interesting device. The Temporal Enzymatic Drive was a two-part system whereby an operative could time travel without the use of either a time ship or a time portal.

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