After materializing back in Ethan’s workshop, Chris was the first to recover. “Okay, what a crazy fucked-up dream I just had!”
“I had the same weird-ass dream, I bet.”
“Guys, I assure you it was no dream. You just made a trip to the 30th century. It was absolutely real; as real as I’m standing here.”
“But how is that possible.”
“Many years ago from my perspective, scientists started looking into alternative methods of transportation as our atmosphere became more and more polluted. That eventually led to the invention of the travellators, which could transport a person instantly from one place to another. Not long after, the travellators became the only method of transportation other than bicycles as any type of powered motor vehicle became outlawed. It was a complete fluke that we discovered that the travellators could transport people through time as well as from place to place.
Once that was discovered, the government recognized the very real possibility of someone going back into the past and altering history for their benefit ike manipulating the stock market to get rich or assassinating a pivotal historical figure, so they formed the Timeline Preservation Commission. As an agent of the TPC it's my job to correct anything that alters the timeline and prevent potentially disastrous paradoxes."
"Wow," Ethan said through pursed lips. "How is it that you do what you do? How do you know when the timeline has changed, what changed it and to fix it?"
"One step at a time, basically. I can't explain how the technology works, but we have equipment that somehow recognizes when things have changed and alerts us. It's up to us to figure out what changed and how to fix it. For example, remember that weird green thing that appeared in your shop? That was from the future. When I came back to retrieve it, us meeting wasn't supposed to happen, nor were we supposed to make love. When we did, it caused the timeline to skew. So I made a return trip and recovered the item I made sure we didn't meet. That caused the timeline to really skew, which convinced my boss Duncan that you and I are connected, and somehow caught up in a temporal causality loop. Those are a bitch to figure out and fix."
"A what?" Chris jumped into the conversation.
"Temporal causality loop. That's were the effect precedes the cause. How can I explain it? I know. It's like eating a bowl of popcorn before you make it."
"That makes my brain hurt," Ethan groaned. "How are we connected?"
"Well, for starters when I came back and gave you those medications while you were asleep the timeline was partially restored. One of our historians discovered that, and I really shouldn't be telling you this, next year your doctor will come up with the serums to create the medications I gave you from protein markers your blood."
"Now my head really hurts. So what I'm getting is that if you hadn't given me those drugs they wouldn't exist?"
"Pretty much, yeah. Mind-blowing, isn't it?"
Ethan put his head in his hands as if he had a bad headache. "That's the statement of the millennium. But why me? There's millions of people out there with HIV and AIDS. What's so special about me?
"I honestly don't know. My guess is that it had something to so with your unique body chemistry."
Ethan just shrugged. "So what was all that with your alarm saying something about paradoxes?"
"Temporal paradox. They're extremely bad. It's basically when two things, completely opposite things that can't possibly happen simultaneously do. It also means something very bad is about to happen, like someone is going to die or an building is going to suddenly be destroyed. Something like that."
"So what caused the - what did you call it - temporal paradox?"
"I don't know. It happened shortly after we stepped out of the travellator, so my guess is that either one or both of you weren't supposed to come to the future yet, or even at all. They'll probably have it all figured out when I get back. Liam, the other guy you met, is really good at figuring that stuff out."
Ethan locked eyes with Ryan. "So when do you have to go back?"
Catching the sparks flying between Ethan and Ryan, Chris stood up. "I need a drink. A really strong drink or maybe a dozen of them. Later!"
Ethan slumped against the work bench. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes I'd never believe it. I'm not really sure I do. I don't even know if you're real. Maybe I'm dreaming."
Ryan walked over to him, placing his hands on Ethan's face. "Does this feel like a dream?" He asked as bent down and gently kissed him on the lips.
Ethan closed his eyes and gave himself over to the kiss. A soft moan escaped his lips as he opened his mouth. Ryan took advantage and pressed his tongue into Ethan's mouth, gently exploring every nook and cranny, allowing Ethan to do the same. They broke apart and Ryan huffed his annoyance when his beacon started beeping. "Something's up and I have to return. I will be back as soon as I can and we’re going to finish what we started”
"Absolutely." He gave Ethan a quick goodbye kiss and pressed the button on his beacon, no longer worried about materializing and dematerializing in front of him.