You can only kill so many of Hitler's mothers before you realize it's pretty damn pointless: No matter how many pregnant women you shoot in the head, no matter how many fetuses you destroy by draping a thermite blanket over her womb and incinerating her midsection down to ashes, the God damned bastard keeps getting born. You pop back from the past with the blood of another mother on your hands figuratively and all over your time suit literally and you realize you haven't really changed a damn thing, he still got born anyway.
So, you try another tack. Go find Herr Schicklgruber when he's just a child and incinerate him for a change.
No good: The bastard is born again. Does this mean Hitler had an illegitimate father? If so, go back and kill all the women you know to have given birth to Hitler. He still gets born. Kill all their parents as children; he gets born again in an entirely different bloodline, but still he gets born.
Kill more and more. Trace every contaminated family tree as far back as you can; kill those ancestors as children before they reproduce. Still he gets born, kill all the ancestors in that time line.
No good / all bad: He gets born again and again and again.
Finally, one old guy on the team gets an idea, asks the brass if he can try it: Travel back, set himself up in business using knowledge of history to place investments, gain power / influence, wait until Hitler is a starving artist, become his patron / his promoter, steer him towards success.
Did it work? We don't know. He went back, we never heard from him again. We got a message passed to us over the years in the form of a document held for us by a Swiss bank; said he arrived safely, had set himself up, would relay further developments as they occurred.
After that, nothing. No reference to him in history books, no prearranged markers or clues left behind. Other than that single document, no evidence he had ever existed at all at that time.
Debate: Did he fail? Did he die? Or did he succeed, and in succeeding create a whole new time line?
It's decided that whatever he did, whatever happened, we would not waste another time suit in hopes of succeeding. In this time line, Hitler remains born.
The frustration is palpable: Have we been wasting time and energy (literally and figuratively) trying to thwart that what must be? Have we spent resources that might better have been dedicated to the now cancelled Manhattan Project? Worse still, have we in all our futile murders only been creating hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of alternate time lines where Hitler ran amok? Worst of all, other time lines where he is victorious?
We do not know. We will not know. We cannot know.
In this time line, in this place, the dragon comes for us.
And perhaps instead of wishfully thinking we can go back and undo the evil by cracking the dragon's egg, perhaps we should just acknowledge our fate is to fight the dragon.
© Buzz Dixon