“Well?” Ryan demanded as he stepped out of the travellator.
“Thirty-two percent restoration of the timeline; I was right,” Duncan said with a sigh of satisfaction. “The two of you are meant to be together. The question is, in our time or his time?”
“I think the next logical step would be to bring him to our time and see what happens.”
“How would you feel, just out of curiosity, to living in the past?”
“I wouldn’t like it. I’d have to be careful of everything I say or do. We don’t want any paradoxes on our hands.”
“I agree. If you are meant to be together, and everything points to that, it would have to be in the future.”
“Wouldn’t that cause additional timeline alterations?”
“Good question.” Duncan contacted Anne in the records department. “Ann, please get me anything and everything you can find on Ethan Evans, and I mean everything, including engagement announcements, weddings, children, contributions to society by him and any offspring. Thanks!”
“Duncan, I promised Ethan and his brother that I’d come back and explain everything. I picked up a keepsake box from the Antique store, but I didn’t look at it very closely, and I should have. It was same box Ethan gave his cousin for her birthday a month prior. We have a potential paradox on our hands, but I don’t think that will happen.”
“Get back there and see that it doesn’t!” Duncan snapped. Of all the… He was unable to complete the thought.
Ryan materialized right outside Ethan’s workshop. He walked in and saw the two brothers sitting on stools not moving or talking. Shock, I imagine. Walking up to them he put his hand gently on Ethan’s shoulder, causing the man to practically jump out of his skin. “I’m sorry; I didn’t mean to startle you.”
“Who are you?”
“I told you, my name is Ryan.”
“No, I mean who are you? Where do you come from? How could you possibly have a keepsake box hundreds of years old that I gave my cousin last month?” How can you possibly be the man in my dreams? Ethan pondered.
“Okay. Please listen carefully and try to understand. I’m from the year 2931. A couple of months ago, I came back here to retrieve an artifact that had somehow found its way here. I’m an agent of what in my time is the Timeline Preservation Commission. We monitor the timeline for alterations and fix them before they can become dangerous paradoxes. You and I met and a connection formed between us, which is a violation of our laws. I returned to the future, and came back again to retrieve the artifact, this time making sure you and I never meet.”
“Yeah, right. This is all some kind of side effect of the medications. I’m hallucinating.”
Ryan stepped in and kissed Ethan gently. “Did that feel like a hallucination? I gave you those medications. I didn’t want to see you suffer and die. I wanted to take care of you.”
Ethan’s eyes bulged. “That’s what you said in my dreams.”
“Yeah, I’ve been dreaming about you for several days. It’s been driving me crazy. But you can’t possibly be telling me the truth. There’s no such thing as time travel.”
“Not yet, anyway. I’d like to take you back to my time so you can see.”
Ever the protective older brother, Chris found he couldn’t be still any longer. He stood up and pushed Ethan behind him. “You ain’t takin’ him anywhere. I don’t know what you think you’re doing, but you’re so full of shit your eyes are brown. I don’t know where you got that box from, but take it with you and get the fuck out of here. Don’t ever come back or I’ll have you arrested for trespassing.”
“No, wait. I want to go. Maybe it will explain some of the other dreams I’ve been having.”
“Okay. I promise you that this is absolutely safe, and I will bring you back the minute either of you say so.” Receiving an affirmative nod from Ethan and Chris, Ryan activated his beacon, for the second time that day, putting his arm around Ethan’s shoulder and grabbing Chris by the arm.
This feels so right. Ethan thought as they dematerialized. Seconds later, they stepped out of the travellator where the two brothers were introduced to Duncan and Liam.
“Welcome to the year 2931, gentlemen.”
No sooner had Duncan said that then a klaxon started, “Alert! Alert! Temporal Paradox imminent. Temporal Paradox imminent. Alert! Alert!”
Ethan and Chris looked stunned as Ryan shoved them both back into the travellator. “I am so out of here. Liam! Hit it!” As the three men dematerialized, the Klaxon stopped.
Breathing a sigh if relief, Liam looked over the computer displays in front of him. “I don’t know why that happened. There were no warning signs. Nothing. I don’t understand it. None of these readings make sense.”
“What about the timeline?” Duncan asked weirded out by what just happened.
“Everything’s back to the way it was before they arrived.”
A few moments later, Anne burst into the control room. “Duncan! I found something really interesting about Chris, Ethan, and Alicia Evans.