Who IS Jack Mason, anyway?
A fair and prescient question. Jack, you won't be surprised to learn, has a lot in common with me and the people I've known. You've probably met, drunk with, fought with, fought about, married, divorced, shot at or just become exasperated with someone a lot like him. He's bright, handsome, and has a net worth of some $10 mil at the time he gets out of the Navy and buys his first airplane, a Lear Jet (2 words in 1964). So, unless your personal circle includes multimillionaires, he's got most of us by a few bucks. And most people tend to like him, which is more than you can say for some "rich folks."
With Jack, the really significant difference between him and us is that he's IMMORTAL, at least relatively so. He's been around, in one stage of humanity or another, for well over 2,000 years. Starting with simple artificial replacements (joints,etc.), he's managed, by virtue of his wealth and uncommon daring, to stay ahead of the Grim Reaper. Simply stated, when something wore out, he'd have it replaced. After teleportation, courtesy of particle physics, became old hat, researchers in a company that he controls succeed in stabilizing various animal subjects in the transmission stage. So guess who the first human subject is? Mm-hmm.
A bonus feature of his new massless form means that Jack moves around spacetime at will, a far easier process than the series of hardware-heavy efforts (navigating "wormholes," etc.) that had been the norm for the past millennium or so. Jack encounters them with varying degrees of sympathy and amusement, but does have occasion to befriend the Captain of one such vessel, and gets him to provide a retreat for his 20th century friends, Pete and Linda, after Pete shoots three of the JFK assassins aboard FlxAir's Grumman air taxi.
What's the "Saga" tag all about?
A dictionary will usually cite- 1: a prose narrative recorded in Iceland in the 12th and 13th centuries of historic or legendary figures and events of the heroic age of Norway and Iceland 2: a modern heroic narrative resembling the Icelandic saga. Def. 2's what we're talking about here: It's modern, it's heroic, and it's a narrative. For my purposes, I'll add "multi-volume," because it's already run to two and there's no telling what Jack, the ultimate Chrononaut, will tie into before it's finished. Talk about job security...
Rescuing Jesus from the Cross? Is Jack God, or what?
Look at it this way. When the Aztecs beheld Cortés and Co. approaching the beach, they were certain that the prophesied Gods had arrived. When Orson Welles' radio drama had Martians landing in the pastures of Grover's Mill, NJ, people were certain that the jig was up. In the absence of certaincy, people undertake whatever explanations are sufficiently persuasive. I think that Jack, in his replacement of Jesus with an unfeeling but convincing clone, was dealing with the situation he'd created in finding the historical Jesus as an actual human being. It was in his power to save him, so he did. It was in Jesus' interest that what people thought had happened was not quite the case!
The Original Idea... An Undercover Nazi Agent in New York.
Simon Emil Koedel, a "sleeper" agent for the German Abwehr (intelligence service) originally activated just prior to World War I, operated for the most part in New York City. Koedel monitored American ports and US military suppliers. He obtained all sorts of information about US companies involved in the war effort over 20+ years, forwarding it all to the Abwehr.
Operating successfully in both World Wars, Koedel obtained information, ironically, by posing as a stockholder and businessman within the military-industrial complex. He was able, as an example, to join the American Ordnance Association, whose members received classified information on allied weapons while they were still under development. His luck, however, finally ran out; he was caught near the Norfolk shipyards and convicted on a single count of coastwatching.
Koedel served three years in Federal prison, small recompense for two decades of spying. As I envisioned the FBI closing in, I began thinking about how, if he hadn't been caught, he might've driven south and had his car break down in- where? My hometown!
Thus begins the Saga, with Koedel, alias Kubielski, becoming Jack's mentor in the Bisque of 1946...