Ethan jumped up, his eyes flashing with anger, "Ya ain't goin' nowhere, ya big oaf!" Ethan's southern speech and accent were becoming more pronounced as his anger built. "Yah, it took me some time t’ learn how t’ use this stuff, but ya ain't ignorant. Ya'll learn this stuff easy. What ahs havin’ problems with is how things work, like the travellators 'n' stuff, stuff ya ain't gotta know t’ use the stuff. You know ahs curious 'bout them things," he drawled. Ryan just looked at him; his mouth hanging open in surprise.
Chris shot Ryan a sheepish look. "Obviously you haven't seen him really pissed off. Wait 'till you experience his stubborn streak. You'll want to beat your head against the wall; or his. I want to stay, but I don't want to be a burden to you guys."
"I know what you mean," Ethan said, considerably calmer, understanding what Chris was saying. "When I first came here I was a horrible burden to Ryan and everyone, driving them up the wall with all my stupid questions," he said.
Ryan quickly jumped into the thick of things, "Baby, I know I speak for everyone when I say that you were never a burden, and your questions were never stupid. You were taken from a time where everything was familiar and brought 800 years into the future where everything is strange and unfamiliar. We all care about you. You're part of our family, and now we get to welcome Chris into our family, and soon we'll have the pleasure of bringing Alicia into our family as well."
Ryan's compcom beeped. Upon answering it, his best friend Jon was on the other end. "Hey numb nuts!” Ryan grinned at his use of the ancient insult, “My old NetCol friend Ravon is in town. You guys wanna go out?"
"Your timing is perfect. Ethan's brother just arrived and will be staying with us for a little bit while he looks for a job," he turned to the two brothers. "You guys feel like going out tonight?" He received a chorus of affirmatives, "Everybody's in."
"Cool. How about we meet around 9 at the 2900 Club?"
"Okay. See 'ya then and there." Disconnecting the call, he noticed a slightly stricken look on Chris' face. "Chris? What's wrong?"
"I think I was too quick to agree to go."
"I just realized that I don't know anything about the music or how to dance in this time period."
"Don't worry. If there are any questions you can't answer, just kick me under the table and I'll answer it. The best answer for what type of music you like would be 'I like all kinds,
Standing outside 2900 Club waiting to get in, Chris thought to himself I guess loud music is universal, regardless of the year. Turning to Ryan, he shouted, “I don’t think I’m going to have to worry about being questioned. I can barely hear myself think!”
“You think it’s loud out here, wait ‘till we get inside,” Ryan shouted back.
“How in hell are we supposed to talk in there?” Ethan asked.
“You’ll see,” Ryan answered with a grin as the bouncer Jon and Ravon into the club, pausing when the readout on the age scanner couldn’t determine Ethan and Chris’s age. “It’s okay, Sam. They’re with me and of age,” Ryan reassured the bouncer. Since a cousin of Ryan’s owned the club, the bouncer took is word and admitted Ryan, Ethan and Chris.
Squeezing through the crowded club the five men were finally able to find a side table not too close to the dance floor. Standing on a chair so he could see over the packed dance floor, Ryan was able to flag down one of the waiters. A skinny blond twink wearing only a gold lame thong approached them. Ethan noticed that the waiter was hearing some kind of weird ear plug and a collar and carrying an unusual tray. It reminded him of an ancient pie pan he saw in a museum. As it turned out, the tray actually had a storage compartment underneath. From the storage compartment the waiter extracted five ear plugs and collars, identical to the ones he was wearing, and passed them out, demonstrating how to wear them. Once everyone had them on, the waiter took out a remote control and pushed a couple of buttons, then pointed it at each man in turn.
Ethan was amazed as the noise in the club virtually disappeared, with the exception of the music, which was at a considerably lower level. His eyes grew wide and his mouth dropped open as he heard the waiter ask him what he wanted clear as a bell. He shot a frightened look at Ryan, who chuckled, then ordered for both of them. After a couple of drinks everyone started to relax and pretty soon they all hit the dance floor. Several hours later everyone went their separate ways.
As they were getting ready for bed, Ryan gathered Ethan in his arms, “I can’t tell you how thankful I am to have you in my life.”
“Really; prove it!”
“Bend over and I’ll show you how thankful I am.” As they started wrestling and tickling, a loud scream was heard from Chris’ bedroom. Rushing into the room, they found him on the bed convulsing. At the same time, an emergency beep sounded from Ryan’s compcom, which was still in his pocket. Ignoring the emergency beep, he pulled it out to call for medical assistance. As soon as he activated the compcom, an emergency message came through. “Timeline alteration! Timeline alteration! All personnel report immediately to Timeline Preservation Council Headquarters.