By Kristen Sheley
Based on the Characters Created by Robert Zemeckis & Bob Gale

"In Flux"

Synopsis: While Clara and Doc Brown are away at the hospital to have their third child, Marty McFly comes over to keep an eye on Jules and Verne and entertain them on their last day before their family gains a new member. But after he nixes a suggestion by the boys to see a popular video that all the kids at school are talking about, they break into their father's lab to take one of the time machines and go back to the weekend it opened on the big screen, five and a half years before.

While outside the movie theater, they run into the Marty of 1982, with his friends. At first, the group agrees to help the boys sneak in, but when that plan falls through and they are left outside, along with one of his friends' younger sisters, Emily, they find their own way in. Afterwards, the boys and Emily entertain themselves in the mall until they're located by her very frantic older brother and his friends.

When Jules and Verne return home, they are shocked to find their father and mother both dead, their town different in some startling ways and Marty's life altered -- for the worst. Somehow, someway, they changed history so the scientist and teen never met. Can the kids figure out what went wrong and fix it before they're history?

Length: Approximately 45,000 words
Written: March 1999 - March 2000
Revised: March 2000 - April 2000
Author's Notes: This may give the impression I've been working on this story for a year, but that's not entirely accurate. I got this idea in February of 1998, according to the couple jotted down sentences in my little book of BTTF story ideas, plots, and outlines. Due to the direction other concepts had pulled me in the next year, I kept putting off writing this story. I was also not sure of anything else other than the basic premise -- Jules and Verne go back and accidentally prevent Doc and Marty from becoming friends. After finishing "The Ship of Dreams," I kept my sanity in check by working on outlining a plot for this story as I worked on my original young adult novel. Contrary to what one may think, it was tremendously difficult for me to stop writing BTTF stories... even if it was for only a month. Having a project to tinker with -- even mentally -- kept me from going too crazy!

I had written 20 pages of this story when a new fit of inspiration demanded that I put this project on "hiatus" and do "For All Time" before this one. It ended up working a lot better that way, although I was kind of ticked at the Muse. When I picked the story up again after FAT was done, it took me only a month and a half to knock out the remaining 70 or so pages, which is quite extraordinary progress for me, especially considering that aside from writing I was working part time, going to school full time, and running around in what spare time I had with my friends. Blame it on the fact I'd outlined this story to the nth degree before really writing it, something I should probably do with all my projects.

I had more or less outlined how Doc and Marty had met and become friends in "When the Future Meets the Past," and found that an excellent blueprint to have as I was building this story. I wasn't really thinking ahead to do a story like this as I wrote it, however. That scene was written sometime in the late summer of 1997; this story idea did not hit until February 1998. It actually worked our rather well, though.

I cannot say, precisely, where the idea came in regards to why Jules and Verne went back to the fateful date. I decided that the meeting would take place in May of 1982, shortly before Marty's 14th birthday, and that the kids wouldn't know about the date that Doc and Marty had met. In other words, their purpose for time travel wouldn't be to see their father and Marty become friends, it would be for something else. At some point in my outlining, I came up with the idea of a film premiere. I think it had something to do with my friends talking about what they were going to do when the new Star Wars film opened in May '99. (Most of my college and high school friends camped out for tickets.) From there, I went to the library at my university, pulled the issues of the Los Angeles Times from the month of May in 1982, then looked at what films opened on the Fridays of the month. I reached my film from the simple reason that it looked like something boys would want to see and it was R-rated -- two requirements I had. Personally, I have never seen this film, although most every guy I know has, so I suppose my guess on this being a "guy film" was quite accurate.

Marty's friends have a few in-jokes connected to 'em. They're the future Pinheads, for one, and their first names were bestowed upon them after three of my guy friends in college, who are in their own rock band, currently called 16 Second Hum, that is growing in popularity and visibility in the Portland-area (after changing names and lead guitarists twice). My own little tribute, I suppose.

The room number of Clara's room at the hospital follows another in-joke tradition of mine of being the date I wrote the scene. The first digit or so is the month, and the final two are the date. I've done this in practically every story I've written. No reason why.

The title of this story is sort of a double meaning/bad pun -- "in flux" refers to how things are sort of flexible and changing, and "influx" would best describe the new member of the family -- an influx of a new character.

Unbeknownst to me until writing the story, May 14, 1982 -- the date the film opened up and the kids time travel to -- was Robert Zemeckis' 30th birthday. Strange, but true!

The 1980's is a time period with which I both grew up in and with which I have an utter fascination and nostalgia for. I've always felt rather cheated that the 1980's were wasted on me when I was a child, unable to appreciate them as they happened. So having a story occur in the early portion of this decade and be considered time travel by the characters was really interesting. I'd be three years old back then....

This was a new experience, following just Jules and Verne on an adventure, without Marty or Doc along for the ride.... although we do see the classic characters in '82, as well as at the beginning and end of the story.