Blasting the Past

Kate gazed in shock as Simon Doyle materialized in the bedroom she shared with Castle at the loft. Don't time travelers knock?" Castle whined.

"No time for niceties," Simon declared. "You two have really screwed up the time line. Kate, you weren't supposed to be a police captain. You don't like it anyway. You're always looking for excuses to be on the street. And this whole Loksat thing. You weren't even supposed to know about it yet. That's why your husband had his mind wiped. The whole conspiracy was supposed to come out in a few years, when you'd have the juice to take him down. This year you were supposed to run for State Senate to prepare for a run for the U.S. Senate. You were destined to cast the deciding vote for the appropriation to fund the research for the energy shield that defeats the fascists. But now you never get elected and some ignorant Luddites manage to cut the whole science budget. That sends the country and the world down the tubes."

"I thought you said there was no butterfly effect," Castle recalled. "How could Kate deciding to be a police captain be responsible for all of that?"

"What I told you is mostly true, Castle," Simon explained. "But there are points in time that form a nexus. What flows from them doesn't create ripples in the time line, it causes a tsunami. Whatever moment Beckett decided to become a police captain instead of a state senator, is one of those nexuses. What I need to know is what that moment was, so I can go back and change it. So when was it?"

"I'd like to know that too," Castle put in.

Kate sighed in resignation. "This is going to sound really stupid."

"Not nearly as stupid as allowing the fascists to take over the world," Doyle pointed out.

"Tell him, Kate," Castle urged. "If nothing else, to get him out of our bedroom."

"Alright," Kate agreed. "Babe, remember when we were at the dinner where you got your Poe Award? After your speech we were talking about what I'd do. You said if I went into politics, your next book could be a political thriller."

"I remember," Castle replied. "Jenny said she would sooo read it."

"Yeah, but at that minute I realized there wouldn't be anymore Nikki Heats. I couldn't deal with that. I wanted Nikki to make captain. I wanted her to move up, to be in charge, and for her to do that, I had to do that. So that's when I made my decision."

"Son of a …!" Doyle exclaimed. "This was about one of Castle's inane mystery novels? I've got to fix it!" He disappeared as suddenly as he had arrived.

Doyle adjusted his server's uniform, picked up a couple of entrees from a cart and placed them before Jenny and Kevin Ryan. No one was even looking at him, but it wouldn't matter. With the meta material mask the lab had whipped up, he was unrecognizable. According to the schedule, Castle's speech wouldn't be wouldn't be until after dessert. There was plenty of time for the drops he'd be slipping into Kate's dinner to work. She wouldn't suffer any permanent damage, but by the time of the fateful conversation, Kate would have her head in the toilet. As a piece of misdirection, so would several of the other diners. The whole incident would be chalked up to an unfortunate case of food poisoning and Kate Beckett would become the next state senator.

"You don't like it?" Castle asked as Kate poked at her dinner. "We can see if they have something else."

"There's nothing wrong with the food, Babe," Kate assured him. "But plum chicken was my mother's favorite. Seeing it always makes me feel sad and I don't want to be sad tonight. I just want to be proud of you."

"Still," Castle insisted, signaling the food service supervisor, "on this night, they're supposed to make me happy. And I can't be happy if you're not. If they don't have something else for you from the banquet kitchen, they can bring something up from the restaurant downstairs."

Doyle palmed his face as he watched the exchange of Beckett's dinner. Then he disappeared, just as Michael Connolly ran for the men's room.

Doyle returned to the future. He would have to activate his backup plan. If Kate Beckett couldn't cast the pivotal vote, someone else would have to be put in her place, who would. It would need to be someone who truly understood the importance of science, but had a law enforcement background that would allow him to run on the tough on crime platform that got Kate Beckett elected. Doyle watched nervously as the computer ran simulations to predict the individual who could be manipulated into replacing Kate on her now defunct political path. Finally one name appeared on the screen.

Doyle carefully ran more scenarios before returning to the past. Kate Beckett would have made a much more likely heroine, but Doyle would cope with the change. Now there was one person who could still save the world. That person was Dr. Stanley Perlmutter. Doyle nodded at the time master and returned to the past to pursue his mission.