This has been a story that has been in the works for some time, the works of my imagination and the imagination of some of my closest friends. It started out with us just fooling around with ourselves like we sometimes do when we aren't seriously writing, but then as time went on we started to write more and more scenes that go along with it. The result, therefore, is this story, which is probably the longest thing we've written so far other then our roleplay which is always in the works. We hope you enjoy the fragments of our imaginations.
Part One: Chapter One
It all started on a fateful summer morning, or just past morning as the case might be. Star leaned against a fence at Gettysburg, staring out across the open field where years earlier Pickett's Charge had taken place. The hot summer sun beat down upon her but she didn't let that bother her, shaded her eyes across the brim of the Confederate kepi she wore as she allowed herself to be lost in thought. Her brown hair was tied back behind her to keep it off her neck, and her brown eyes held a thoughtful expression on them behind her glasses. Each time she came here, she always thought about the people who had fought and died on that field, especially her favorite general from that time period, Lewis A. Armistead.
One of her friends, who they all called Dana approached her, carrying a box. At times people had been known to say that they looked alike, although Dana's brown hair was cut shorter under her kepi and her eyes behind her glasses were green instead of brown. The two of them had bound together by a love of history and writing, thanks to the internet which had allowed them to talk despite the distance between their two homes. Over time, they had come to almost consider themselves sisters.
Dana poked her friend on the arm, breaking into Star's train of thought and causing her to glance over at her. "Come on, get in!" Dana said, putting the box down on the ground before gesturing towards it.
Looking at the box with interest, Star raised an eyebrow before looking back up at her friend, a curious expression planted across her face. It was a box, what good would it possibly do for her to get into it?
"Come on," Dana said again, "We're going to Five Forks!" Just earlier, they'd been searching for the order of battle to that very same battle for research for a short story they had wanted to write. Only they had decided to take a break and walk out onto the battlefield, a place that both of them loved. What better way to find out about the battle, then to go there themselves, to the very time the battle took place?
Once again Star raised an eyebrow, not sure where Dana was going with this. "In a box…?"
Dana nodded eagerly. "This is not an ordinary box. It is, in fact, a time machine."
"A time machine?" Star stared at the box for a long moment. It wasn't that she wouldn't love a time machine. Often she dreamed about being able to go back in time, maybe even save Armistead's life so that he wouldn't be killed at Gettysburg but could instead see Hancock again and have a life after the war. She just would never have pictured a time machine to look like that. "It looks like a box."
"Yes, well." Dana shrugged. "I borrowed it from Calvin. Hopefully he won't find out before we're done with what we've come to do."
Star didn't have any idea who Calvin was, having never heard of the story of the boy and his tiger, Hobbes. But she didn't question it, decided to humor her friend and climb into the box. "I suppose I'll trust this box, time machine thing then if it has the power to take us back to the Civil War," she said.
Dana nodded. "Yup! It sure does! It can go all the way back to the Jurassic age if you-"
Just then a voice sounded from somewhere that didn't seem all that far away, after Dana had climbed into the box. "Where's my time machine?"
Star's eyes widened but she remained quiet and ducked down inside the box, curling up in a ball on the bottom. She had a feeling that the owner to the voice was Calvin. Who else would be looking for a time machine here? Dana was right beside her and Star stared at her for a moment before whispering. "Now we're done for."
Pawsteps could be heard as something sniffed around the box. "I found the time machine Calvin. How'd it get here?"
"How should I know? Let's just take it back where we got it from until we need it again." From inside of the box, Star and Dana could feel someone trying to lift it, although he couldn't get it off the ground.
It was then that a tiger peeked over the edge of the box and his eyes widened as he saw the two there, curled up next to each other. "Calvin…."
Still trying to lift the box, Calvin didn't pay any attention to him. "Not now Hobbes."
"But Calvin!" Hobbes grabbed Calvin and lifted him up to see.
As he noticed Star and Dana in the bottom, Calvin's eyes also widened. "Who are you and what are you doing with my time machine?"
"Um, hi. We can explain everything, honest," Dana stated.
Star looked up at the two, hiding her surprise at a tiger being there. It wasn't everyday you could a tiger talking and looking at you while trying to get back in time. "I go by Star and this is my friend, Dana. We're trying to get back in time to the Civil War."
"Great!" Calvin jumped into the box with them. "I'll come along and act as your navigator. Come on Hobbes!"
"You're… you're coming with us?" Star asked in surprise.
Calvin handed Star and Dana each a pair of goggles. "Of course! It's my machine. Put these on."
"I think I'll stay behind on this one," Hobbes stated.
Star studied the goggles. "Oh… okay… Do I have to wear these?"
"Yes. It's only a matter of safety." Calvin dragged Hobbes in the box and handed him goggles. "And you're coming too stripey-pants!"
With a sigh, Star continued to look at the goggles. She remembered trying to wear goggles during her science classes in high school and how she could never get them to sit right with her glasses on. "I hate wearing goggles…"
"Would you rather have the gray matter of your brain sucked out from the velocity?" Calvin asked her.
"No! Of course not!" Star said, "But how would that happen?"
Calvin shrugged. "Time travel is a risky business."
Blinking, Star put on the goggles, trying to fit them as best she could over the frames of her glasses. "I never thought of that."
"Everybody hold on!" Calvin shouted, revving up the time machine
The two girls both held onto each other and the side of the box. "Is this good Calvin?" Star asked.
Calvin glanced over at them and nodded. "Yeah, that's good."
The time machine hovered off the ground and began to move as Star glanced around them, hardly able to believe that this was even possible. If she had known something like this was possible years ago, she would have already done this and seen the time period that captured most of her interests. Hobbes, however, whimpered from where he was in the time machine. "We're all going to get killed Calvin!"
"Is there a problem?" Star asked Hobbes, glancing over at him..
"Yes," Hobbes replied, "He always drags me along on these crazy trips!"
"You're still alive now, aren't you?" Dana asked.
Calvin looked at them. "Besides, one of the Regiments had a tiger as their emblem. Maybe we'll meet them!"
"Yeah, we'll be alright," Star said, "It should be interesting."
The time machine then exited the vortex and Calvin said, "Here we are!"
Dana looked up with Star, excited. "Great! What year is it now?"
Staring in amazement around her, Star took in the great field and the troops that marched across it. She knew this field, this place that she had long ago ingrained in her memory and knew that they had not traveled to Five Forks like Dana had said they would when she first brought the time machine over. She pointed towards a fence in the middle of the field, feeling her excitement only growing. This was better then going to Five Forks, because she would know that person anywhere. "Look! There's Lo!"
"We're actually here!" Dana hugged Calvin in her excitement.
Calvin wasn't impressed. "Get offa me!"
Either not hearing, or not paying any attention to Calvin's requested to Dana, Star tackled Calvin in her excitement. Without his time machine, she never could have been there, on the very field that Armistead was on, while he was still alive.
"Sorry, but thanks!" Dana stated happily.
"Hobbes!" Calvin called, hoping the tiger would get the two off of him.
Star nodded in excitement, not letting go of Calvin. "You brought us to this place! How can I ever thank you enough?"
Hobbes was busy staring at them. "I'm the one who's supposed to pounce on Calvin…"
"Alright." Star shrugged and looked out across the field as she let go of Calvin and stood up.. "If you'll excuse me, there's someone I'd like to see."
Leaping from the time machine, she could hear the cannons going off, landing among the Confederates as they attempted to cross the field and take the heights in the middle. Star already knew that the attack would not work, and that the men who returned would be the lucky ones, for Pickett's division would never completely recover from the loss of so many men. She also knew that if she didn't do something, she wouldn't have a chance to talk to Armistead after coming all this way. As history had it, he would be shot down just inside the stone wall and die two days later.
At the sound of the cannons, Hobbes yelped and ducked down in the time machine, quivering. He didn't bother to care where Star was going, was too terrified of the place they'd landed in.
"Star! Where are you going?" Dana yelled over the noise as she stood up to better see what her friend was doing.
Star yelled over her shoulder as she ran. "To save Lo!"
"I should have guessed," Dana said, watching her at the same time that Calvin and Hobbes both asked. "Who's Lo?"
No one answered their question as Star charged across the field towards the Confederate general and leaped on him without giving him a moments notice, bowling him over onto the ground and landing on top of him, out of breath. "Who are you?" Armistead asked, his eyes wide as he stared at her.
"STAR!" Dana shouted from where she stood with the time machine. "We need to get somewhere safe!"
She shook her head, not getting off of Armistead. If she left, then running out onto the field among all the cannon fire wouldn't have done any good. She couldn't leave Armistead, only to watch him go and get shot. "Lo's here! I'm not going anywhere!"
Armistead didn't bother to ask how she knew his name, although he was getting annoyed by the fact that she was keeping him from leading the men and from doing his duty as a general and as a soldier. "I'm trying to fight a battle. Would you mind getting off of me?"
Back at the time machine, Hobbes shouted towards her. "I'm with Dana! Somewhere safe, like the twenty-first century again!"
"I'll fight!" Calvin said as he grabbed an abandoned sword, probably dropped by an unlucky Confederate officer who would not make it to the stone wall, who might not even be alive anymore.
Again Star shouted across the field. "It's fine here, this is only Pickett's Charge!"
Dana's eyes widened. While she knew the field, the people, she hadn't thought of it that way, had been too excited by arriving during the Civil War to take in the details that clearly proved which battle it was. "Pickett's Charge?"
"Yup," Star nodded, "Don't you recognize the field?"
Dana looked around. It was clearly the field they had just left, except for the fact of course, that it was another century, during one of the most important battles of the war. "So it is."
Armistead looked across the field at the others, then at Star on top of him. There wasn't time to deal with this right now. "I don't know who any of you are, so if you don't mind, I'd prefer if you'd get off of me and let me lead my men."
Star shook her head. "I'm sorry, Lo, but I'm going to have to insist. You're staying at the fence. It's for your own good, please believe me."
Calvin ran by then, waving sword and Dana chased after him as he ran out onto the field. "Get back here!"
Armistead glanced from his men to Star. "Don't you understand that this is my duty? You can't stop me."
"If you're going," Star said, meeting his eyes, "Then I am going with you, sir."
She stood up as Armistead did the same and watched in wonder as he picked up his hat and stuck it through his sword. All the times she's read about it, or watched it in the movie Gettysburg could not compare to that moment, to actually seeing Armistead in person, the sword in his hand as he shouted the lines she knew by heart. "With me! Who will come with me?"
"I'll come, sir!" Calvin started to follow Armistead as he set off across the field, Star close behind him and the Confederate soldiers under Armistead's command who were still alive following them, following the hat that served as a guide to where their leader was.
"Wait, Calvin," Dana shouted after him, still chasing the boy as Hobbes runs past, trying to get to Calvin. He roared and tackled Calvin.
"AUGH!" Calvin protested, "Get off me, you monstrous malevolent moron!"
Dana got down beside them, trying to separate the two of them, the soldiers only glancing in surprise at them before moving around them. "You guys! Can't this wait till after the battle?"
Armistead reached the wall, and Star climbed up beside him as he once again shouted words that she could have quoted with him.
"Turn the cannons on them, turn the cannons!"
Star watched the soldiers as the Confederates surged towards the wall before following them onto it, and then onto the other side. Nothing could ever compare to see all of this. Through all the horror, the dead soldiers, she could hardly believe that any of this could actually be happening. Could it all just be a dream, and she would wake up only to find out that she wasn't beside Armistead, and have to just live without believing time travel to be possible.
But Armistead was moving to go over the wall, and without really thinking about what she was doing, Star lunged forward and grabbed him, sending them both tumbling off the stone wall and onto the side away from the Union soldiers. She didn't want to get Armistead upset with her, but she couldn't just watch and watch him get shot. "I'm not letting you go over that."
"Why?" Lo stared at her as Calvin and Hobbes stopped wrestling and watched in amazement.
"Woohoo!" Calvin shouted, waving his sword, "Show 'em the cold steel."
Watching the battle, Dana said, "Um, with all due respect, I think it'd be wise to order a tactical retreat, don't you think?"
"I won't argue with you there," Hobbes said, running back to the time machine, still holding a protesting Calvin.
"HEY!" Dana shouted after them, "What about us?"
Star glanced up from where she was with Armistead, her eyes wide as she watched them run. "What's going on?" She shouted to make herself heard over the sounds of the battle as gray and blue forces met just on the other side of the stone wall.
"Hobbes and Calvin are deserting us!" Dana said, chasing after them.
Her eyes widening, Star grabbed Armistead and chased after them. While she loved the time period, she wasn't about to let herself be left behind. There were certain pleasures she enjoyed about their time period, and she was happy enough to have just made it to 1863 for a visit, even if she would have loved it to be longer.
Armistead seemed to be in too much shock to say anything but Star looked over at him, understanding how much must be feeling. If only she had time to explain everything. "You'll be thanking me later," She gasped as she ran, falling into step with Dana.
"Sorry General, sir! It's not my fault," Dana said, using the rank that they used for fun, as she continued chasing Hobbes and Calvin who reached the time machine and were already inside, preparing to leave.
"Wait for us!" Dana shouted, jumping in after them.
Star jumped in directly following Dana and pulled Armistead in after her, the general seeming to still be too shocked to say anything. "Put on the goggles," Calvin said.
Armistead turned his full attention to Star. "You can't take me from the battlefield like this, it is my duty to be out there, not here."
He pointed toward the field as Calvin revved up the machine and Star shoved goggles on Armistead's face, putting her pair back on. "There isn't time for that now, Lo."
The time machine lifted off from the ground as Star watched Armistead but as soon as it entered the vortex, Armistead disappeared. Dana's eyes widened in surprise. "He had to go back to his proper time, I guess…" Calvin stated.
"NO!" Star protested the second Armistead vanished as moved to the edge of the box and looked down before making a quick decision and leaping out of the time machine to find him without a seconds notice.
"STAR!" Dana shouted, trying to call her friend back as she disappeared and then turning towards Calvin. "Turn this thing around."
Calvin looked at her for a moment. "I can't."
Glancing at Calvin, then back in the direction Star disappeared in, Dana made up her own decision as she leaped out after Star. "I'm coming General!"