West Wing Wiki is a time travel story and also a type of alternate history story. The basic assumption in this story is that when a time travel technology is invented at a point in our future and then a decision is made to try to accelerate the shift from the industrial age to the information age. Part of the plan for altering the past was that an attempt be made to start an open government wiki project before 1990. White House 2
The man we know as Ross Perot was, in fact, a time traveler. He was sent back in time (to 1965) in order to speed up the use of computer technology by the U.S. government. His initial efforts had limited success and created the timeline familiar to us. Some additional documents with advice were sent back to Perot in 1975 as a kind of "mid-course correction". This creates an alternative history that differs from our timeline.
In our timeline, by 1985 computer networks suitable for exchanging email and newsgroup posts were growing. The World Wide Web launched in 1992 and by 1995 the wiki age had begun, but fiction wikia did not start until 2005. In the new timeline (as described in West Wing Wiki), Jimmy Carter becomes a two-term president and starts using wiki technology in 1984.
Technical limitations on time travelEdit
The time travel technology used in this story has some serious limitations. In particular, there are limitations on how much mass can be transferred back to any point in time. It is decided that the most effective way to alter the past will be to send a person back in time, but the technology limits how far back in time such a large mass can be sent. For technical reasons, 1965 is about the limit. Additional smaller masses can also be sent back, but not too close in time to when the time traveling person arrives in the past. A set of digital documents is the best that can be done for the "mid-course correction" in 1975.
I propose that the first chapter be a kind of teaser that shows how Ross Perot receives a floppy disk sent through time from the future to 1975. This creates a new timeline, changing things from the events we know in our timeline to the events described in the story.
In 1975 Ross Perot had recently moved into his new office in the new headquarters for his company, Electronic Data Systems. He is the proud user of the latest in geek gadgets: a personal computer. Nancy Wyatt, Perot's office assistant finds a floppy disk with Perot's name ("Henry Perot") on it and "ROTC". Puzzled by the strangely labeled disk, Nancy shows it to Perot who recognizes it as a likely time-shifted object from the future. Perot figures out how to read the files on the disk and uses the information provided to make some important changes to his company's operations in Iran. The disk also has some specific advice for how Perot can make investments that will speed the development of computer networking and word processing software.
Note: the title of this chapter ("Data Point") is taken from the type of computer that Perot uses to read the disk from the future.
The data disk from the future has information about computer technology pioneers such as Robert Cailliau and Harold Koplow. Perot is instructed to provide financial support and helpful suggestions to them in order to speed the development of key computer technologies.
Perot is instructed (by information on the disk from the future) to help CIA Director William Colby defend his efforts to make public illegal activities of the CIA and the US government. In particular, Perot is warned that Dick Cheney is putting pressure on the investigative reporters who are getting leaked information from CIA personnel. See Parthian Revolution, below. Information on the floppy disk also warns about the growing power of Ruhollah Khomeini in Iran. Thus informed, Perot is able to keep Colby in office and prevent the Iranian Revolution.
Plot detail: how can Perot use his information from the future to help Colby? Would Perot work indirectly through people like Seymour Hersh? Pick someone like Paul Wolfowitz or Robert McFarland to be putting pressure on Hersh to not reveal past illegal activities of the CIA such as those within the Phoenix Program and Operation Menu. In particular, Ford wants to prevent revelations about his role in allowing Nixon to carry out illegal military actions in Cambodia. Following Perot's intervention, Colby survives as CIA director and Cheney is removed from his position in the White House. Colby carries out serious reform of the CIA and is even retained as CIA Director by President Carter.
I propose that the second chapter shift to the future (in the original timeline) and show how a clone of the original Ross Perot is trained to go back in time to 1965. His training is focused on the early history of the development of computer technology. He takes with him information about how to develop time travel technology. This first "change in time" creates the world as we know it, avoiding a nuclear war found in the original timeline and leading to a much more rapid development of time travel. This allows the floppy disk to be sent back to 1975 from the year 2076 in our timeline.
Plot details: does the clone of Ross Perot simply take the place of the original Perot? Is the original kept alive and used as a source of advice?
In 1975, Electronic Data Systems has contracts in Iran for the establishment of computer systems in Iran. Perot is warned (by information on the floppy disk) of the danger of an Iranian Revolution. He is also warned about the Halloween Massacre. Perot goes to William Colby and warns him that he will soon be replaced as Director of the CIA unless he takes action. Perot tells Colby to investigate Dick Cheney's involvement in attempts to discredit investigative reporters such as Seymour Hersh. Cheney's White House memos calling for dirty tricks practices are exposed and, fearing a repeat of the Watergate scandal, President Ford fires Cheney from his position as Deputy Assistant to the President. As a result, Henry Kissinger remained as National Security Advisor for the remainder of Ford's term as President and William Colby continued as Director of Central Intelligence. Continuing to work in collaboration with both Colby and Kissinger, Perot makes use of his knowledge from the future and his contacts in Iran to help engineer a shift in Iranian policy that eventually becomes known as the "Parthian Revolution", an extension of the earlier White Revolution. The Shah of Iran works with Cyrus Vance to stabilize the government and initiate democratic reforms. The stability of Iran helps Zbigniew Brzezinski and Stansfield Turner engineer a more moderate outcome to the 1978 military coup in Afghanistan, resulting in the installation of Babrak Karmal as president and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan never takes place.
Under conditions of increasing geopolitical stability, President Carter is elected to a second term as President. By the time he finally leaves office in 1985, Carter has set up a wiki that is used by his advisers to collaboratively develop policy. A similar "public" wiki is started that allows collaboration between academics and journalists, eventually expanding along with the growing internet to become fully accessible to everyone via the world wide web, which develops in 1988 with the help of strong funding from the Mondale administration.