“Yes, Ethan, come in and have a seat. I have a special assignment for you. In a few minutes we’re going to have a special guest who wants to meet you and discuss your work. Because of your unique situation, I ask that you only discuss your job, and do not leave the conference room until the meeting is over.”
“Please head on down to the conference room. I’ll have someone bring our guest there shortly.” As soon as Ethan left, Duncan contacted the control room. “Tell Ryan to bring Chris to the conference room, please.”
Chris held back while Ryan entered the conference room. “Ethan, are you ready to meet our guest?”
“Uh, yeah, I guess so,” the nervousness in Ethan’s voice was quite evident.
Ryan gave Ethan a supportive hug then went to open the door. “Please come in,” he said as he stepped out of the doorway.
Ethan rose to greet the visitor when Chris walked in grinning. He stood there in shock for a few moments before rushing Chris and pulling him into a rib-crushing hug. “I-I-I can’t believe you’re here,” he exclaimed, tears running down his face. “I’ve missed you more than you can imagine.”
“I imagine you’ve missed me as much as I’ve missed you.” Tears were flowing in rivers down Chris’ face.
“Wait a minute.” He gently pushed Chris aside. Cocking his head, he listened carefully, a look of intense concentration on his face. After a few seconds he turned to Ryan, “Ryan, listen and tell me what do you hear?”
Ryan complied and after a minute or so, he replied, “I don’t hear anything.”
“Exactly; the paradox alarm hasn’t gone off.” Before he even completed the sentence, Ryan was out the door racing towards the control room, Ethan and Chris close on his heels.
Rushing into the control room Ryan practically pounced on a surprised Connor. "Connor, what's happening with the time line? I was half expecting the paradox alarm to go off like it did the last time Chris was here.
Connor wordlessly pointed to the monitor that showed the status of the time line. Ryan took one look at it and sprang into action, paging Duncan and Anne to the control room. Adrienne was on a mission, so she would be filled in later.
Duncan rushed into the control room. "What's going on?"
"Since Chris arrived, we've had a 97% restoration of the timeline," Connor explained.
"Is that good?" Chris asked.
An excited Ethan turned to his brother. "That's incredible. It means you're supposed to be here," Ethan exclaimed, pulling his brother into a hug. Not wanting to be left out Ryan joined them in a three-way hug.
"Curious," Liam said. "The paradox alarm didn't go off like the last time Chris was here," he pointed out.
"I have an idea," Anne joined in the conversation. "I think it went off the last time because Ethan and Chris weren't supposed to arrive together."
"That certainly makes sense." Duncan turned to Chris, "I guess welcome is in order Chris. Ryan, Ethan, since Chris is going to be staying with us, you guys are free to talk about anything you want." Duncan checked the time. "Why don't you guys take Chris to the Retro Restaurant then take the rest of the day off to find Chris a place to stay. Charge it to the TPC. I would ask the three of you not to discuss anything about where and when Ethan and Chris came from."
The three men acknowledged Duncan's request and, expressing their thanks, jumped into the travellators heading for the restaurant.
The Retro Restaurant was decorated like a 2579 diner, which Ethan and Chris found fascinating.
"Okay, first order of business," Ryan began, turning his attention to Chris, "housing. You are more than welcome to stay with us. We have a three-bedroom house with plenty of room. As far as employment goes, we'll first need to bring you up to speed on what's happened so far." Ryan's discreet reference to the past was not lost on Ethan and Chris." Their lunch arrived and the three men mounted a vicious attack on the food.
"I really appreciate your offer, and if it's not too much of an inconvenience, I'll take you up on it."
"It's not an inconvenience," Ryan quickly replied. "You are family after all," he quickly reassured him.
Ethan piped up, "We'll need to figure out when we can go get your stuff. There's a couple of things I want to grab from the shop also."
"We'll figure that out later. We've got plenty of time," Ryan said.
"You know, a long time ago I saw a very old vid called 'Doctor Who' and in this vid the main character had a time travel machine called a Tardis that reminds me of the travellators." Chris said.
Since it was a short distance from the restaurant, they decided to walk to the house. When they entered, Chris looked around, totally amazed at what he saw. "Wow, I see I have a lot to learn. I have no idea what half of this stuff is; let alone how to use it."
Ethan smiled sympathetically, "I know that feeling well. There are still some things I don't understand how to use."
"You will in time." Ryan assured him. "You have to remember, I grew up with this stuff. You are 800 years behind technology-wise. You'll get it."
Chris sank into the nearest chair, despondent. "Ethan was always the most tech-savy of the three of us. If he can't get it, what chance do I have? I probably should return to my own time."