Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. kneels beside a motel bed, silently saying his evening prayers. A flash of brilliant blue light and a sound like ripping fabric filtered through autotune makes him turn and shy away from the opening in space through which a woman in a white dress gingerly steps. She smoothes the wrinkles in her flowing white gown and pats the hair buns at the sides of her head down as the rip in space knits itself back up. Dr. King has his hands in prayer again.
“Dear Heavenly Father, I’m not ready to leave this earth behind, please send your angel back…”
“Dude, calm down, I’m not an angel, I’m a time traveler. My name is Kristin.” She holds out a hand to shake, which Dr. King takes, a confused look settling over his placid visage. “Please stand up, it’s an honor to meet you, this feels weird,” Kristin says as she helps Dr. King to his feet.
“Oh, I still believe God has sent you for a reason, my dear.” Dr. King says skeptically.
“Sure, hey listen, first of all, avoid balconies and Memphis forever. There are some racist assholes out to get you and we need you to stay alive, Dr. King! The future is really fucked up. We have a demented tv star in the White House and they’re locking kids in cages, it’s getting out of control. You’ve got to stick around, so hire more security, do what you need to avoid bullets at all costs!”
“I know, right? Seriously, don’t get killed. Second, I have this petition. Well, two petitions.” Kristin hands two clipboards to Dr. King.
“Who is Carrie Fisher?”
“Debbie Reynold’s and Eddie Fisher’s daughter. In the future, she’s in this movie that creates a huge following, almost like a religion. People find solace and hope in this movie culture and it helps them want to survive. The thing is, she doesn’t have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and her male co-stars do. This is representative of the sexist inequities which still exist in my time and we desperately need a symbol of equality installed on the sidewalk. I’ve collected almost 7,000 signatures because people care that much!”
“Excuse me, young lady… In my time, my brothers and sisters are getting sprayed with firehoses and attacked by dogs…” Dr. King says in a calm, even voice.
“I know! There are still horrors being inflicted upon humanity in the future and I’m here because I believe this could be a conduit for change! This movie, it’s called Star Wars, it’s so ubiquitous, I can’t wear this outfit in public without everyone recognizing it. The power these images, these characters hold in our collective consciousness can be used for good. This movement is bigger than the star, it’s about making social changes that benefit all genders and races!” Kristin passionately orates to the stoic civil rights leader.
“All right, so what is Family Guy?” Dr. King asks, looking at the second clipboard, a smile starting at the corners of his mouth.
“It’s a cartoon tv show, kinda like the Flintstones, it’s mostly been written by men and a few brilliant women. Occupy Family Guy is a petition for an episode written entirely by women in honor of Carrie Fisher’s prolific writing talent.” Kristin says, smiling, feeling the pitch sink in.
“Why should I put my signature on a petition for a cartoon?” Dr. King challenges politely.
“I went to jail for using civil disobedience over this petition,” Kristin says, not smiling anymore. (It’s true)
“Where’s my pen?” Dr. King looks for a black fountain pen on the motel desk.
“Really? You’re going to sign?!” Kristin says, ecstatic.
“If they’re locking up white women for civil disobedience in the future, everything really is fucked up.” Dr. King says, no hint of sympathy. He signs Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on both petitions, dated January 19th, 1968.
“For real,” Kristin replies as the space-time continuum rift opens behind her. “Okay, I gotta get back to my own time, don’t get shot! Thanks, Dr. King!”
“God bless you and your quest, Kristin!” Dr. King waves as she steps through the time rift.
“And may the force be with you!” She says, on the other side of the rift as it stitches itself back up.
“What?” Dr. King looks confused.
“It’s a future thing! Love you!” The time continuum closes and Dr. King immediately calls his security supervisor, cancels his trip to Memphis and becomes the first black president. Barak Obama is known as the first biracial president. Carrie Fisher gets a star. Kristin Grady lives in an alternate future where equal rights are more firmly established than ever, where she cosplays Princess Leia just for fun.