The Plan

"I'm not going back
to the future," Lovey said.
"I want to stay here
and be an Artist."
"But can't you be an Artist
in your own time?"
The squirrel asked.
"Sure," he said.
"But I'll have to get a
day job and that drains
my creativity."

Here, I don't need money.
I am Attila's slave but he sees to my needs
and all I have to do is . . . Entertain him."
He and Dupres exchanged looks as Lovey's voice trailed off.

Several days after the banquet,
Dupres was able to meet with Lovey 343
in a secluded place.
Lovey had shown up in Italy nearly
a year before Dupres' arrival.
He had been shot by the Terminatress in 2525
and landed on the scene severely wounded.
The Huns had stumbled upon him and were intrigued
by his overall appearance and clothing.
They nursed his wounds and let him
remain in the camp. The clone pretended
that he couldn't remember his life before
so that the Huns would stop questioning him.

When Dupres told Lovey about his plan to take the Huns
forward in time to fight the Kentucky squirrel hunters Lovey was troubled.
"You haven't seen what the Huns do," he explained.
"They murder, torture and rape innocent people . . . I've seen it."

"Are you forgetting what the squirrel hunters have done to us?" Dupres countered.

"But they won't stop at squirrel hunters," Lovey went on.
"Attila will want more and you will not be able to control him or his army . . .
All humans aren't evil, you know. And we don't all deserve violent deaths."

Dupres didn't want to appear heartless but he had to say what was on his mind.
"Humans hurt animals, even when they mean no harm." He thought for a moment.
"They lock us in cages and let us go insane so that their children can visit us on field trips.
They enslave us and force us to perform in circuses for their own entertainment and profit,
they poison us so that they can build their new homes over ours and blame it on OUR overpopulation . . .
No," he said, "Don't ask me to consider the safety of humans.
Humans think that we exist for their use."

Lovey lowered his head. "I don't think that."
"I know," said Dupres.
"Anyway," Lovey went on, "you can't even control your Tree of Time."
"I am working on that." Dupres said with conviction. "As you can see, without even trying,
you and I ended up in the same place. With a little more thought,
I am convinced that it is possible to direct the outcome of one's journey."

Later, as Dupres spoke with Attila about going to the future,
he realized how single-minded the barbarian was about conquering the world.
The entire world could be his with the squirrel's help.
And in return, Attila would make the world a safe place
for all animals to live, particularly squirrels.
Attila even agreed to stop eating meat and force a meatless diet
on his subjects once he became King of the World.

It was at this time that Dupres realized that Attila was lying.
The Hun had figured out how to block his real thoughts so that the
squirrel could not read them.
It was the only explanation, for Dupres knew that the barbarians
would never give up their meat.

Still, Dupres was holding something back from Attila, too.
In a little over a year, the Hun would be dead.
And if the rebel squirrel played his cards right, he would become
the new Hun leader and control them as he pleased.

Stockton Dupres had much to think about as he lay in his bed that night.
And not the least of which was how to get
700,000 Hunnic warhorses into the Tree of Time for transport.

To be continued . . .

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