Thomas had many questions for Major General Hughes, and in return the Major General had many answers. However, most of those answers just left Thomas with more questions. It was in this way that Thomas and Major General Hughes got to know each other over the next few days. At the end of each day, Thomas would be escorted out of the room and to another building which served as sort of an officer's quarters, he had never seen anything more fancy in any of his experiences. Of course going back to when Thomas and Hughes were conversing, the first thing they did was show him a journal he had kept as a boy.
"Thomas, do you recognize this journal?" Hughes held up a thick leather-bound book, it looked old and weathered, but well kept. He had a soldier bring it to them from the vault it was kept in, it was of course a valuable tool for them. They had gleaned many insights into how to build more advanced weaponry and some technological surveillance prototypes. Such as the ones used on the training course yesterday when they went through the survival course. The loudspeakers up on the poles were prototypes developed from the contents within the journal.
Thomas examined the journal and found it to be very familiar, but he couldn't place where he knew it from. So in the end, after a few minutes he just shook his head.
"This is yours," Hughes said. "Well to be precise, its yours and one other persons." He leaned closer. "Thomas how well do you know about the circumstances surrounding your death and well let's just say for lack of terms, rebirth?"
"The details are fuzzy sir, only thing I can recall is that I died on the beach in Normandy." Thomas went all in and told the truth, after all, if they already knew about that, what else didn't they know about? "Sir, I have a question about this, about me. What happened to me or rather what is happening to me?" As far as Thomas knew, these things were not natural, he should have died that day and he didn't. The other thing was that no matter how much he tried to remember about his past in this life, he couldn't recall anything. His life here was a blank slate, he only knew how to be a soldier, as if that was his calling here.
"Well I'll answer since you asked, would have had to tell you anyways," the Major General paused for a second before he turned to look at one of the blank walls and shouted, "turn that thing off, keep this...off the record." Thomas heard a loud click within the somewhat empty room. It seems there were new pieces of technology in play here.
"All right Thomas, let's have out with it, you ask and I'll answer, I have most of the answers anyhow and have to fill in the blanks for my report." Hughes said. "As for your question in particular, what do you know about Operation Kingmaker?" Hughes answered his question with another question.
"Nothing at all sir, not even a shot in the dark." Thomas replied.
"All right then, well let's start with your first question, let's talk about what happened to you." The Major General flicked open the leather journal and after flipping a few dozen pages he stopped at one particular. "This thing has most of the answers, we had a hell of a time finding this. Even your parents didn't know about it, wait I almost forgot. You don't know anything about you do you? Of course not, can't even remember your own parents. Your life is tragic private, very tragic and I wouldn't wish it on anyone else." Hughes shook his head, obviously saddened when he thinks about it. "So, let me say this first. You were never intended to be in this time line, or should I say, this reality."
"Excuse me sir, what do you mean by that?" Thomas was confused, there was just too much information, he didn't have time to process any of this. Didn't boot camp just start? Were they not three days in already?
The Major General chuckled. "You aren't supposed to exist here, the very nature of you being here has already changed history from the moment you were born in this world. Tell me, how long do you think you've been at boot camp?" It was a statement, not a question. Thomas answered it anyways.
"Three days sir? Boot camp has just started hasn't it?" Thomas was certain that his answer was wrong, but he answered it anyways if only to get the necessary rebuttal.
"Try two months, private, well actually it's not even private anymore is it?" Major General Hughes sigh again, with a thoughtful expression on his face he pulled out a small box from within his uniform and set it in front of Thomas. Thomas opened it, another two sets of chevrons, this would propel him into sergeant, but what has he done to get sergeant before leaving boot camp?
"I thought you might be confused, but let me bring you up to speed. There WAS a Thomas Conlin here in this reality, but when you died and the german experiment which took place in your reality failed, it brought you and one more soul to this here reality, and poor recruit Conlin, the original Conlin, was booted from his body. No doubt his soul was destroyed and replaced by both of yours. As for the other soul, it was a man by the name of Thomas Kincade, he was a spy for the Americans during what he detailed as the Cold War in this journal." The Major General tapped on the leather journal to emphasize his point.
"We won't get into that, it's pointless for you to even know of it. Hell, even with our analysts and our scientists, we've only been able to reverse engineer and understand not even a hundredth of everything he's detailed. There's more than just the things you've seen outside, or even seen in here. These are all prototypes made with his information. He meticulously detailed how to craft some of these, but some of the materials we lack or just don't understand yet. I'd tell you more, but some of this information is classified, need to know only."
"Sir, to get this straight, I want to clarify. I'm from another reality altogether, I don't exist here, and I exist basically in a dead man's body with another dead soul?" Thomas was tragically disheartened, he thought it was a second chance at life, but he got much more than he bargained for. In fact, he could be absolutely certain that if there was a second life, he would never get to go to it in this life. This life wasn't his and never was meant to be, he basically brute forced his way in, even if unintentionally.
"Yes, that's correct. As for your parents in this reality. Well they think you're dead. Your entry had such reality-altering aftereffects. Our scientists are working around the clock to figure out what's going to happen to you, will you fade out when you hit the point in time where you died, or is there something more for you? We just don't know. Now, here's what brings me to the original purpose of why you're here. To decide what to do with you." The Major General paused, "it doesn't look pretty, half the people want to turn you into a lab rat to find out how you tick, others want you for your knowledge, as for me? I'm in the camp with your best interests at heart, and that is using you to your full potential in this war. What is it that you want to do with this life Thomas?"
"Well sir I..." Thomas thought about his original intentions, to save lives and prevent the deaths of many of the allies. Was that even feasible anymore? With all of this technology was he even needed? No, he was sure that every soldier was needed. Like Hughes had said, most of this is prototype technology. It would require at least a few more years of field testing. He clenched his hands, one life huh? Better make it count.
"Sir, I originally wanted to save the lives of as many allies as possible, but now...now with what you've told me, I want to take the fight to the germans sir!" Thomas stood up and saluted proudly. No matter what Thomas is, time-traveler, interloper, murderer...he was always one thing first and foremost. An American.
"Good answer, sit down, we have a lot to talk about and not a lot of time to do it. We have many operations outlined, we'll give you the pick of the litter." Hughes offered and gestured at him.
"Sir, tell me about Operation Kingmaker!"