It was finally discovered that only bringing Ethan forward brought the timeline back 95% back into its proper flow. While Ethan missed his family terribly, he settled into his new life with Ryan; the two of them building a life together, even as members of the TPC continued to try and figure out what was going on with the timeline. Everyone had believed that bringing Ethan forward in time would fix it. They were wrong.
World War 3 in 2474 and World War 4 in 2802 caused a lot of historical records from that time period to be lost. Ethan took a job working with Anne to try and restore those records, and correcting erroneous information. His knowledge of the time period was invaluable and he was often sought after by the educational system to do lectures. Still he was unhappy, which didn’t go unnoticed.
An exasperated Ryan knocked on Duncan’s door. When he looked up Ryan asked, “Duncan, do you have a minute. I need to talk to you about something important.” Duncan indicated for him to come in and have a seat.
“Don’t tell me, let me guess. Ethan,” Duncan began. “What seems to be the problem? He seems to be adjusting well to this time period, and his work has been exemplary as well as indispensable.”
“It’s an act. He’s not adjusting as well as you think he is. He’s getting more and more depressed every day. He tries to hide it, but he’s not the same Ethan that came forward.”
“Do you know what’s causing his problem?”
“I don’t know for sure, but I’m guessing it’s his family. He’s really close to his brother and cousin. They’re the only family he has left. He misses them, and I have no doubt they miss him as well.”
Duncan sat back in his chair and rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “I really don’t know how we can solve his problem,” He said regretfully.
“The longer you leave something, the harder it is to fix it. I don’t want to wait until Ethan’s so broken there’s no way to help him. I do have an idea. I know we can’t let him go back to his own time without extensive training on how to preserve the timeline,” he paused, not sure how to put forth his idea.
“Go on,” Duncan instructed.
Ryan took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. “Since Chris and Alicia know about us, and Chris has actually been here, what if I were to go back on occasion and bring them here? He could keep them here in the building so they can all spend some time together. We can try it once and have someone keep a close eye on the timeline. If it doesn’t skew we know it’s safe and can bring them here safely. If it does skew, we can immediately return them to the exact moment in time I brought them forward.”
Duncan carefully considered Ryan’s idea. “Okay, we can give it a try. Just Chris, though, since he’s already been here. It can only be for a few hours though, and Ethan will be under strict orders not to reveal anything he’s learned here. I’ll have Colin monitor the timeline so Liam can concentrate on the day-to-day operations.” He paged Liam and Colin to his office and explained what was going to be going on. Sending them back to the control room he turned to Ryan. “Please go ask Ethan to come see me and you go back and get Chris. Have Liam let me know when you get back, but don’t leave until I give you the okay.” Without even acknowledging his orders, Ryan ran out of the room to carry them out.
There was a knock on the door. Chris was startled to see Ryan standing there. He quickly ushered him into the house, lest he be seen. “Ryan. Why are you here? Has something happened to Ethan?” The words came out in a rush.
“Physically he’s fine. Emotionally, that’s a different story. He really misses you and Alicia and it’s depressing him,” Ryan explained.
“Damn!” Chris exclaimed as he got up and started pacing. After a couple of minutes he sat back down, elbows on his knees and his face in his hands. “I appreciate you telling me this, but I have to ask; why did you come back to tell me this? I thought we all understood that we would never see him again, nor he us.”
“I’m here to bring you to see him for a few hours.” Ryan noticed the tears forming in Chris’ eyes.
“But what if the timeline goes out of whack?”
“We have someone in the control room whose sole job is to monitor it. If there is an aberration, we simply send you back so that you arrive a few seconds before I arrived. That way, you’ll never have come forward and the timeline will be restored.”
“Wow. This is all giving me a headache. How do you deal with all of this?”
Ryan grinned, “Believe me it takes some getting used to. Are you ready to go see your brother?”
“Hell fucking yes!” Chris exclaimed as he jumped to his feet.
“There are a couple of things you need to know before we go. In order to keep you from accidentally gaining knowledge of the future that can affect your present, you won’t be allowed to leave the building or see the outside. Also, Ethan will not be able to talk about anything he’s learned. He can, however, talk about his work.”
“Fine. Whatever. Let’s go!”
“Okay.” Ryan put his arm around Chris’ waist and pressed the button on his beacon.
Ethan looked puzzled as he knocked on Duncan’s door frame. “You wanted to see me?”