Ground Zero

When he finally figured out where it had all started, Kerr Avon started laughing. He laughed for a long time; long enough to bring tears to his eyes, and hide the truth from himself.

Orac didn't really fancy the idea, but Orac was a computer, and had to perform the necessary calculations.

It seemed so very silly, in retrospect. One small action; theatrical, he'd grant, but small none the less, was enough to send everything spiralling down into the darkness he'd grown up as a part of. It was frightening, as he read back and back, through archive after archive, to watch the incremental steps which had led to the Federation.

What was even more frightening was realising he couldn't really alter that many of them. The task was immense, and would require reaching back into history so far he'd wind up erasing his own existence. Determination turned to despair, which turned to a new determination.

"Orac, teleport. Then leave."

He didn't bother with a gun. Not today. Not today of all days.

"Are you sure?"

The computer's voice was hesitant, concerned. It was within the necessary vocal parameters - after all, if the machine could manage smug, it could manage those two. What was unexpected was the realisation that the concern was genuine.

"I'm certain."

The teleport took him, disassembled his very being, and put him down where he had asked to be placed. He looked at the airliner inches from his face, heard the sounds of screaming and panic in the office around him, and died smiling.

Somewhere in a locked vault in the bottom of a morgue in New York, there's a very strange skeleton. It's a human skeleton, male, a bit on the short side maybe, but otherwise normal. There's nothing too odd about the bones, until you look at them closely - say with a microscope, or a gas chromatograph. One of the finger bones is slowly growing smaller as the years pass, as each successive class of pathologists, anatomists, physiologists and forensic specialists takes a look at the odd chemical profile of the bones that were found in the rubble of Ground Zero. The DNA is on file, too, and it's peculiar as well - it shows mutations which can't be found anywhere on earth.

Nobody says anything about it officially. There are too many questions involved, and nobody wants to find the answers.