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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'The Sheridans' by Alternate Historian Robbie Taylor
Alternate Historian Alternate Historian Robbie Taylor says, Ratty excites us with tales of the Sheridans. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Ratmanifesto site.


February 21

In 2004, Jacob Sheridan and Livinia Nixon are married at their beach resort in Darwin, Australia. After saving the earth from the Martian invasion the previous summer, a grateful planet poured out its well-wishes on them, and the couple would never need to work again.


April 2
In 2004, Jacob Sheridan surveys the damage to the exterior super-cooled chamber holding the Projection Virii and methane crabs they have retrieved from Saturn's moon, Titan. Several methane crabs are crawling across the outer surface of the chamber, apparently oblivious to the fact that they are in space. Sheridan immediately retreats to the ship and goes through decontamination to get rid of any possible P.V. that might be making him see methane crabs.


March 16
In 2004, Livinia Sheridan orders the 7 ships they have with them to do a visual search of the Athena without using their sensors. Since the Titanian methane crabs seem to be invisible to tracking devices, the only way to find them will be to see them. After several long hours without leaving their ships, the Australians report no sighting of the crabs. The Sheridans, under pressure from the Australian government, then destroy the Athena and the Huygens, the spaceship it is carrying.


March 19
In 2004, Livinia Sheridan fine-tunes the sensors on her ship to locate the specific chemical components that they know are in the methane crabs of Titan. Using her new sensors, she is able to detect a presence on Australia's shore, but it doesn't match the shape of the crabs - in fact, it has no shape at all. She advises the Australian army to pull back while she and her husband Jacob study this new information.


March 20
In 2004, both Livinia and Jacob Sheridan conclude that the Titanian methane crabs that they have been seeing are not, in fact, Titanian methane crabs. There is some sort of organism contained in the remains of the crabs from the Huygens that is making everyone see the crabs. The Sheridans then begin working on a way to kill these tiny organisms.


March 22
In 2004, the Sheridans manage to modify their Martian nanovirus enough to kill the few captive Titanian organisms they have in their lab. Jacob Sheridan informs the Australian army that they have a means to kill the Titanian organisms currently impersonating methane crabs on Australia's shores.


March 30
In 2004, fascinated by the Titanian parasites they have dubbed the Projection Virii, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan assemble a super-cooled chamber to carry a load of P.V. and methane crabs back to earth. They wisely elect to keep this chamber outside of their ship - just in case.


March 23
In 2004, the Australian army releases the modified nanovirus against the Titanian organisms on their shore. As the Titanian organisms die, the 'methane crabs' that they have been projecting around themselves disappear. The Sheridans save the day again.


March 26
In 2004, the Sheridan expedition to Titan flies over Mars, and the doctors take the opportunity to perform a thorough scan of the planet. They discover an ocean just below the surface, and see the Martians moving about on the surface, reconstructing their surface civilization. They send word back to earth to watch the red planet for signs of trouble.


March 28
In 2004, the Sheridan's Titanian expedition reaches its goal. Saturn's largest moon is fascinating, and the married scientists record everything that they are doing. After finding a nesting site for the methane crabs, they scoop up several and assemble a laboratory outside of their ship to examine them.


March 31
In 2004, fascinated by the Titanian parasites they have dubbed the Projection Virii, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan assemble a super-cooled chamber to carry a load of P.V. and methane crabs back to earth. They wisely elect to keep this chamber outside of their ship - just in case.


April 5
In 2004, the Sheridan's tests prove to them that the methane crabs are harmless, and cannot survive in earth's atmosphere. The Projection Virii, on the other hand, are highly adaptable and mutable. The military requests as much information on these organisms as the Sheridans can gather.


March 9
In 2004, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan locate the Huygens, which looks remarkably intact for a vessel that crash-landed in the Pacific Ocean from outer space. They are in a large enough sea-going ship, the Athena, to carry the Huygens, so they put it into the cargo hold. 'Quarantine the hold,' Jacob suggests to the captain, 'and we'll open it when we get back to Darwin.' The captain should have followed the good doctor's prescription.


March 10
In 2004, the crew of the ship carrying the Huygens, just crash-landed on its return from Titan, begin seeing strange things moving around the ship. Scientist Jacob Sheridan, brought in to investigate the Huygens, sees a huge crab-like creature while examining the hold; the creature disappears into the water before Sheridan can alert anyone.


March 11
In 2004, Jacob and Livinia Sheridon, convinced that the ship they are on has been taken over by the crabs from Titan, convince most of the crew to abandon ship and head off in the smaller life boats. Sheridan uses his cell phone to call Australia and tells the Prime Minister, 'We're in it again, Mr. Howard.'


March 12
In 2004, Jacob and Livinia Sheridon, convinced that the ship they are on has been taken over by the crabs from Titan, convince most of the crew to abandon ship and head off in the smaller life boats. Sheridan uses his cell phone to call Australia and tells the Prime Minister, 'We're in it again, Mr. Howard.'


March 17
In 2004, the Sheridans return to Darwin for a quiet St. Patrick's Day after their mission to retrieve the Titanian methane crabs ended in the destruction of the ship carrying them. Unfortunately, Darwin's quiet is shattered when the tide brings in hundreds of the crabs to the small town's shores, and the Australian military is called out.


March 18
In 2004, Titan's methane crabs swarm across the beaches of Darwin, Australia. Jacob and Livinia Sheridan lead the counter-attack against the alien menace, but it seems that for every crab the Aussie forces finish off, two more pop up from the water. Fighting desperately, the Sheridans make note of something they have seen repeatedly - the crabs don't show up on their ship's sensors. At great cost, they get a sample of the remains of some crabs to examine back in their lab in Darwin.


March 21
In 2004, the small Titanian organisms that are making the people of Australia see methane crabs on their beaches prove very hard to kill. Doctors Jacob and Livinia Sheridan work on modifying the nanovirus they used against the Martians to fight the Titanians.


March 29
In 2004, experiments on the methane crabs of Titan show the Sheridans that the tiny organisms that caused hallucinations on earth are parasites living on the crabs. In their natural environment, they are fairly harmless, but when heated to earth's temperatures, they become agitated and start projecting images of crabs around them.


March 25
In 2004, on the anniversary of Christiaan Huygens' discovery of Titan, Livinia and Jacob Sheridan take off for the Saturnian moon to attempt to expand their knowledge of the strange creatures that caused the first exploratory ship to crash back on earth. They are carrying their nanovirus just in case.


March 7
In 2004, two vessels splash into the Pacific, 50 miles from the Australian coast, near Darwin. One is the Huygens, which the International Space Administration already knew was damaged. The other was the quarantine ship sent up to examine the Huygens, which had been in perfect shape when it lifted off from the I.S.A. command center in Tanegashima, Japan. The I.S.A. requests that the Australian government send someone to examine the wreckage, and they turn to their nearest experts, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan, in Darwin.


March 15
In 2004, a firefight breaks out on the Athena as the teams led by the Sheridans report Titanian methane crabs all over the ship. Jacob and Livinia Sheridan order all their men to withdraw back to their spaceship, and they take off hurriedly. The Australian doctors plan to vaporize the ship with as much firepower as they can muster, but before giving the order, Livinia notices something odd - the crabs are not registering on their sensors.


March 31
In 2004, with their exterior, super-cooled chamber filled with methane crabs and the parasitic Projection Virii, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan's ship takes off from Titan and heads back to earth. They have some high hopes about genetically engineering the P.V. into a more useful citizen of the solar system.


April 1
In 2004, the Sheridan's ship flies through a heavy meteor shower. Although they raise the shields quickly, they are unable to tell if their super-cooled chamber on the outside of the ship was damaged. Jacob Sheridan prepares for a spacewalk to examine the damage.


April 3
In 2004, as the Sheridan's ship approaches earth, several members of the crew notice methane crabs sneaking around the ship. The doctors stop the ship and decontaminate before they land on earth, in order to keep the Projection Virii from spreading there again.


April 4
In 2004, the Sheridans land back in Australia with only a small amount of their original cargo from Titan, but reasonably sure that they are not going to recontaminate earth. They whisk the Projection Virii and methane crabs off to their lab in Darwin to continue their examination.


April 7
In 2004, the Sheridans manage a stable projection from a Titanian Projection Virii they have modified. For 30 minutes, they are able to keep up an image of Livinia Sheridan that is indistinguishable from the original doctor - and her husband Jacob is only able to tell the difference when the P.V.-generated one fades away.


April 10
In 2004, the Sheridans present their tamed Titanian Projection Virii to Australian Prime Minister Howard and his cabinet, giving them a small show of the two doctors singing and dancing. Howard, delighted at something good coming from the space program for once, grants the Sheridans a large sum of money to keep developing their P.V. project.


April 6
In 2004, the Sheridans tame the Projection Virii, and begin mutating them. They hope to be able to program the P.V. to project images they decide on. Their first attempt, a projection of Livinia Sheridan, works for a few minutes before devolving into a methane crab.


March 8
In 2004, Jacob and Livinia Sheridan reluctantly leave their retirement home in Darwin, Australia to examine the wreckage of the Huygens, a ship that crashed into the Pacific on its return from the Saturnian moon, Titan. The first ship they encounter is the quarantine ship that had gone up to meet the Huygens, ISA 21. It bears the marks of weapon fire, and its entire crew is dead.


March 13
In 2004, using their ship's sensors, the Sheridans sweep over the Athena, a cargo ship carrying the remains of the Huygens, a space ship just returned from Titan. When they see no sign of the methane crabs they believed to have taken over the ship, they alert the other ships to begin searching the waters around the ship.


April 15
In 2004, several ships arrive on Titan to collect the Projection Virii for the new Sheridan Corporation, which is planning to domesticate and use them as a holographic information transmitter. The new containment procedures work well, and they are able to return to earth without losing any ships.


April 15
In 2004, several ships arrive on Titan to collect the Projection Virii for the new Sheridan Corporation, which is planning to domesticate and use them as a holographic information transmitter. The new containment procedures work well, and they are able to return to earth without losing any ships.


March 13
In 2004, using their ship's sensors, the Sheridans sweep over the Athena, a cargo ship carrying the remains of the Huygens, a space ship just returned from Titan. When they see no sign of the methane crabs they believed to have taken over the ship, they alert the other ships to begin searching the waters around the ship.


June 26
In 2003, Martian forces control three quarters of Greenland and penetrate deep into the Scandinavian peninsula. They also land on Tierra del Fuego in South America and begin fortifying their positions on Antarctica. Meanwhile, desperate Australian scientists manage to crack the secret of their power source; nanobots tearing down matter and generating small, controlled nuclear reactions. Jacob Sheridan, a nanotechnologist from New Zealand who had been recruited by the Aussie army, begins experiments to see if he can replicate these effects.


June 28
In 2003, Jacob Sheridan replicates and is able to control nanobots created using the techniques copied from the captured Martian vessel. The handful of nanobots he has made are able to generate more power than a rocket engine. Sheridan had been awake for over 48 hours, and was manic when he burst into office of General Bertram Hughes, declaring, 'We've got the buggers, now!'


September 2
In 2003, Jacob Sheridan and 20 of Australia's elite forces leave for Antarctica again, bearing a machine he has developed. Livinia Nixon comes out of her coma, and nearly breaks free from the restraints on her hospital bed.


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© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.