“Hello, earth to Ethan. Ethan, come in please?” Chris waved his hand in front of Ethan’s face, eliciting no response. Okay, something’s got to snap him out of whatever fog he’s in, but what? Wait, I got it! Chris went over to the computer set up in the corner of Ethan’s workshop opened up the browser and searched for pictures of naked men. Eeewwww he thought as he looked over the selection presented to him. He finally selected one of a young naked guy on his stomach shown from the butt up and hit Print. The laser printer whirred to life and spit out the picture. Chris quickly wiped the browser history and closed it down. Grabbing the picture he went back over to Ethan and waved it in front of his face. “Oh, Ethan, look what I have for you,” he teased. Nothing. Exasperated, he finally grabbed Ethan by the shoulders and shook him. “Here we go again. C’mon, bro. Snap out of it!”
“Man, you were really out of it. I’ve been trying to get your attention for the last 10 minutes. What’s going on with you? You’ve been like this since you came home from the hospital.”
“There’s just so much. I can’t get my head around it all.”
“Around what?” Chris pulled up a chair and sat down next to Ethan, placing his hand on his shoulder. “Come on, Ethan, you can tell me anything. You know that.”
“It’s just what the doctors told me in the hospital; that there’s something strange in my blood that can lead to a cure for all STD’s, even HIV and AIDS, that a vaccine could be created that can save countless lives.”
“And,” Chris prompted.
“I mean, it’s a little overwhelming. Why me? I’m nobody special.”
Chris rolled his eyes, “Here we go again. Ethan, you are special. You’re special to me, you’re special to our friends, and you’re special to your customers. Do you want me to continue?”
“No. I get the point. Then there’s the fact that I’m cured of HIV. If I’m cured, then maybe they can cure…”
“Don’t say it!” Chris interrupted.
“First of all, that scum bag Ken knew he had AIDS. He got you so drunk you passed out and when you did, he fucked you without a condom.”
“I would never have allowed that to happen,” Ethan argued.
“Then how do you explain the fact that I caught him pulling his dick out of your ass on the couch. There was no condom wrapper anywhere. Ethan, his come was leaking out of you. He raped you, but you refused to press charges. Alicia told me that technically, since he was in full knowledge of the fact that he did have full-blown AIDS and did not use a condom when he fucked you; that is classified as assault with a deadly weapon. He should be in jail somewhere, not roaming the streets infecting others.”
Ethan sighed, knowing his brother was right. “Well, there’s nothing I can do about it now.”
“Yes there is,” Chris argued, “you can still press charges.”
“I have no proof of anything.”
“You don’t need proof. You have an eye witness, me.”
“I’ll think about it. There’s something else, though.”
“I kinda thought there might be. Whatever it is, we can get through it together, and if need be we can always call upon the services of our good cousin Sarah.”
“She can only give us advice. She couldn’t represent me in court because she’s family.”
“Let’s worry about that later. What else is going on?”
“Well, I keep having this dream…” Ethan’s eyes grew cloudy as his mind turned back to the dream he kept having night after night.
“Why don’t you tell me what you can remember?”
“There’s this really tall, well-built guy. A redhead if I remember correctly. He keeps telling me that he loves me and he will always take care of me. I’ve never seen him before. He kisses me then he disappears. He never tells me his name.”
Just then the phone rang. “Evans Woodworking, Ethan speaking. How may I help you?”
“Mr. Evans, my name is Julie. I’m calling from the Hematology Department at the hospital. Do you have a couple moments that we could talk?”
Everyone crowded around Michelle and looked inside the travellator support console at the empty space where a temporal capacitator would normally be.”
“We were so sure we’d find a TC here,” Michelle said in disbelief.
Duncan laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. “I was sure as well; that this would be the solution to the puzzle. I’m sure you all were on the right track. Wait a minute! What about the prototype at Transdimensional. Did we ever remove the TC from it?”
“No, we didn’t. I totally forgot about that,” Liam apologized. “We needed the prototype intact for testing upgrades to the hardware and software.”
“Michelle, you and I are heading over there tomorrow. As Director of the Timeline Preservation Commission I have the authority to inspect any travellator at any time for any reason, and that includes the prototype.” He glanced at his CompCom. “It’s late. Everyone go home at get some sleep. Good job everyone. If we find what I think we’re going to find, dinner tomorrow night is on me!” Everyone went their separate ways, hoping for a free dinner the following night. Nobody but Duncan realized the true significance of the presence of a temporal capacitator in the prototype travellator.
The next morning, Duncan visited Ryan in jail and filled him in on everything that was going on.
“Ethan?” He asked.
“Alive and well. The obit was false, and we’re pretty sure we know who and how. In fact, I have to leave to go check on something. Talk to you soon.
Duncan and Michelle arrived at Transdimensional Engineering, where they were met with a hostile security force bent on denying them access to the travellator.