It was January 26, 2005 and I was in the heart of New York City. I had lived there for almost two years since I was discharged from the Army. I had used my college degree in engineering to secure a respectful, high paying job in the heart of Manhattan. I had a large office, which was quite a luxury when talking about one of the world's largest cities.

Beep, Beep, Beep, Beep.

I reached over and turned off my alarm clock. After rubbing the sleep from my eyes, I saw that it was already 8:00. "Dang it," I thought, "I hit the snooze button way too much today." Jumping out of bed, I ran to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face to get the last traces of tiredness out of my system. I quickly got dressed and jumped in the car. As I pulled into my office building's parking garage, I saw a woman in her mid- twenties stepping out of her car.

"Well hello there. Are you doing anything tonight?"

The woman smiled and shook her head in amusement. "Good morning, William. How's it going today?" That was Ms. Vineer, my secretary. She was a wonderful woman, always on top of things, never losing anything important and never bothering me with trivial matters.

"I'm fine, Julie. How about yourself?" I flashed her a smile. She smiled back, showing all her beautiful, straight white teeth.

"I'm doing fine. It's a beautiful day out, just the right temperature, and Oliver just proposed to me last night." She let out a small giggle of happiness. I stopped at her words, right as we stepped into the elevator up into the main part of the building. I turned and looked at her.

"And what did you say to young Oliver?" It was apparently obvious because of her joy but I decided to play along.

Julie looked at him with one of those expressions that says more then words. This one clearly said stop playing. I grinned again. "Alright, I'll stop playing. I know you said yes. How long has it been since you started going out? Six months? Ten?"

"Seventeen months this Wednesday."

I pretended to be shocked as we stepped into the elevator. "That long? Well, that does seem to be enough time before deciding to get married. Congratulations Ms. Vineer. I'll tell you what. Take the day off and go do something fun with Oliver. I'll get the boss to let him off as well. Just be sure not to do anything illegal that'll get you thrown in jail. I'd hate to lose the best secretary on the face of the Earth any sooner then I have to."

Julie jumped from where she had been leaning against one side of the elevator and threw her arms around me. She was almost jumping up and down with excitement. "Thank you so much, William. You're the greatest."

"You're welcome, Julie. Just remember that you're twenty five and not fifteen. You should calm down." Looking slightly abashed, she let go and I got out of the elevator and started walking towards my office. Looking over my shoulder at Julie, who stayed in the elevator to go back down to the parking garage, I said, "First thing I'll do when I sit down is get on the phone and get Oliver off today."

"Thanks so much."

"No problem." I gave her another smile and walked into my office. I got on the phone and quickly got Oliver off work. If you could say anything about me that was consistent, it would have been that I always kept my word. When I'd joined the army at the age of twenty two, I swore to protect the United States. That had cost me my right arm. Oh well. Anything to uphold a promise.

I reached down and grabbed the suitcase that I'd been carrying with the prosthetic they had put on the stump of my arm. I placed the suitcase on my desk and flipped it open. I took out several sheet of paper that looked like a little kid had gotten bored and drawn on them. But I knew better. I began to scan each sheet into my laptop. After scanning them in, I opened up a word document. At the top of the document, four words appeared that would someday be understood world wide.

The Space-Time Continuum

After several hours of analysis which I probably should have spent working, I finally discovered what was causing my machine to fail. One of the wires that hooked up the power was aligned incorrectly. "Alright. I just have to finish my work and I can get home and move through time!" I thought.

"Time to change the world." I muttered to myself. When I got home that day, I went right to my basement and made the correction to the wiring. After getting in the chair, I typed in when and where I wanted to go and pushed the button.

Suddenly everything was spinning wildly. At first I thought something was wrong but then realized that this might be it. A hazy blue field surrounded the spinning machine. I thought for a time that whether it did or did not work wouldn't matter because it seemed that either way I would surely be killed when thrown from the contraption. Luckily, I managed to hang on for the entire length of the ride. It was at the end of the ride when I was finally thrown from my seat. "I better install a seat belt for next time." My butt was really sore where it had hit a pointed, uneven rock. "Odd. A natural rock in New York City?" I opened my eyes and saw that all around was a jungle paradise, right where New York City should've been. After a closer round of observations, I saw that this jungle had grown up around the ruins of what appeared to be an old city.

"New York?" I thought. I found it hard to believe that in the many years I had decided to travel, New York could have been destroyed and overrun by jungle. Suddenly I realized something. "I'm too far away from the equator for jungle. Aren't I?" And yet it was there. Almost beautiful enough to be called a jungle paradise, except that it was covering the ruins of buildings. I started walking in the direction that the most light was getting through in. As I walked, I noticed that very few of the species of wild life that I could see were familiar to me. Most of them looked like they were genetic mutations of long extinct animals. As I stopped to observe them more closely, I heard something through the silence. Laughter. Now there was something that one rarely heard in an apparently uninhabited jungle.

But there it was again. I turned to the direction from which the laughter was coming from but couldn't see where it originated. I began to advance cautiously through the jungle. Soon, through the woods, I managed to spot light reflecting off of what appeared to be a small metal shack. By this time the laughter had become much more distinct. I took another step forward and suddenly the jungle around me went wild. Sirens blared from nowhere, a large cage shot up around me and numerous weapons emplacements became visible through the dense foliage. A voice came from where I had seen the shack.

"Everyone get off the surface! We have a code BLUE17 in sector H34! Everyone get off the surface!" The voice was deep and commanding. It seemed human but with the mutated jungle life I had seen I was willing to trust voices. Fortunately for me, I was too concerned about the voices. I had bigger things to worry about. Mainly the cage and weapon emplacements. Knowing that there was nothing I could do to get out I acted in a calmer fashion then I would have expected of myself. I sat down on the ground and put my hands on my head.

"Freeze!" It sounded like the same person who had ordered everyone off the surface and announced the code BLUE17. From all sides of the cage, armed and armored men advanced from behind the bushes, weapons held at the ready.

"I'm already frozen." One of the men stepped forward, letting his weapon rest in his arms. He came right up to the bars of the cage and looked down at me.

"Who are you?" It was the same man who had spoken before and it was the first time I'd heard anyone from the future speak below a shout.

I thought quickly about whether or not I should answer truthfully. After such a hostile welcome I was unsure of how wise it would be to answer their questions truthfully. "I'm James Dean Jr."

The man sneered. "James Dean. That sounds like a funny name. Now what would James Dean be doing trespassing on New York City territory?" He said all this like he was speaking to a child. "Is James Dean a spy from Boston? I think James Dean's a spy." He turned to his companions who still had their weapons pointed at me. "What do you guys think? Is James a spy?"

The men remained silent. They just stood there and stared down the barrels of their weapons, unflinching. The man turned back to me. "What do you have to say for yourself, Mr. Dean?"

"All I can say is that I'm not a spy. I don't even know what's going on around here."

The man laughed and I saw that some of his companions even had small smiles on their faces from that. It was the first sign of emotion that I'd seen from them so far. The man continued to look at me, smiling. "What, do you think I'm stupid or something? Anyone who doesn't know what's been going on has been dead a long, long time."

"Well, I don't know what's going on and I'm still alive. What are you going to do about it?" At that point I was pretty mad. I'd done nothing wrong and I had a dozen weapons pointed in my direction while trapped in a cage. The man looked at me in disbelief. He gave a little shake of his head and raised what looked like a small, metal cylinder to his mouth. He hit a button on it and I realized that it was a communications device.

"Control, this is Echo one. Breach in sector H34 secured. Suspect appears to be unarmed and clueless. Echo team is inbound with suspect. Echo one, out."

"Roger that, Echo one. Control, out."

The bars on the cage slowly lowered and the weapons emplacements slowly went back into hiding. Echo team lowered their weapons slightly and formed a ring around me, with Echo one in the lead. We headed towards the shack.

I couldn't help it. I had to ask. I was just too fascinated by all of it to care how stupid they thought I was. "Why are we going to that shack? And what happened to New York City?" Echo one just looked at me and shook his head. He was obviously uneasy, but whether that was from being around someone so ill informed or for some other reason, I didn't know. As we got closer to the shack, I noticed how sophisticated, clean and well kept it looked for its size. Echo one walked towards the far side from where we had been. The first thing I noticed was a high-tech looking identification pad. Echo one took out an identification card and swiped it through. Then he hit in a code and bent down a little for a retinal scan.

" 's pretty impressive security you got there."

"You really are out of it, aren't you?" He gave a little chuckle. "If you're impressed by this then you're really going to love the inside."

With that, Echo team stood back to let the door open.