Coming out of the third bar the frustration was evident on Colin’s and Adrienne’s faces. “We’ve got to find him, Colin. Duncan was so pissed at him. I’ve never seen him that mad before. Ryan could be facing the death penalty and I’m afraid he’ll do something stupid,” Adrienne said; various emotions flowing across her face and in her voice.
“Like beating Duncan to the punch?”
“Colin, this is serious. How can you make jokes about it?” Adrienne was incensed.
“Believe me, I’m not. I’m just as worried about him as you are. He’s my cousin!” Colin snapped.
Adrienne responded softly, placing her hand on his arm, “I know, Colin. I just wish…” Her voice trailed off.
“What do you wish?” Colin asked softly.
“I wish there was a way that Ryan and Ethan can be together. I might have a solution. I was thinking about…”
“Don’t, Adrienne. Dangerous territory.”
“As I was saying, I was thinking about seeing if Jon or Michelle could modify a beacon so that Ryan could go back in time and use the chronometric field as a temporal shield of some sort that would prevent any paradoxes.”
Colin sighed deeply. “Talk about banging your head against a brick wall,” He muttered under his breath.
“I’m going to ignore that. Anyway, it should be relatively simple for them to disable the locator and emergency return circuits. That will make it impossible for us to locate him or pull him back.”
“You know this idea of yours is going to get us in a lot of trouble.”
“Colin, if we can reunite Ryan and Ethan, it will be worth it.”
“And if Jon and Michelle don’t go along with your plan?
“I’ll just have to find another way, but I will find a way somehow.”
“You’re nuts, you know that?”
“Comes with the job.”
Walking into the fourth bar they find Ryan sitting alone at a table in a dark corner of the bar, slumped over, an untouched drink in front of him. Holding her hand up to stop Colin from approaching Ryan, Adrienne slowing walked up to him, saying his name softly with as much compassion and love as she could.
After a few seconds it dawned on him that someone had called his name. Looking at Adrienne with red, haunted eyes it took a few seconds before recognition set in. When it did, he was out of his chair in a flash and gripped her tightly. “I fucked up royally this time. I’ve never seen Duncan so pissed!” He noticed Colin standing there and motioned for him to join them for a three-way hug. “I broke out strictest law. They’re going to execute me!” He sobbed. “The worst thing about it is that Ethan will never know what happened to me, and if he ever finds out, he’ll blame himself.
“I didn’t intend to do anything wrong. I just wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. Is that so wrong? Why couldn’t the bend the rules a little and banish me to the past instead of killing me?”
“I don’t know,” Adrienne said softly.
“We have to find a place for you to hide out until we can convince Duncan. You can stay at my place,” Colin offered.
“No, he can’t. That’s the first place they’ll look. We’ll find a place to hide him.”
Resigned to his fate, Ryan sighed and said, “Duncan can’t make an exception for me. First, it will set a precedent that could undermine the TPC. Second, the Tribunal won’t allow it. I will have to appear before them and they will sentence me to death, to be carried out immediately. No doubt they’re looking for me right now. With the locator chip in my head it’s only a matter of time before they find me. I need you guys to promise me something. After I’m dead one of you go back and let Ethan Know what happened, that I love him and that this was none of his fault.”
“So not happening, cuz. I will not let them kill you. As far as being banished to the past, Adrienne has an idea about that.” Ryan raised an eyebrow at Colin’s statement.
“Yes, my idea is to ask Jon and Michelle if they can either throw together or modify a beacon, deactivating the locator and emergency return circuits, leaving only the chronometric field to prevent any possible paradoxes as long as you keep the beacon on you at all times. You followed your heart. You shouldn’t be punished for that.”
“I really appreciate what you’re trying to do, but you guys would be in serious trouble for helping a fugitive escape. It would be even worse since I’m a chrononaut. I can’t let you do it.”
“And we can’t stand by and let them kill you. To use one of Ethan’s favorite expressions ‘Not no way, not no how’.” Ryan sniffled a little at the reminder of the one person who was his entire world.
There was a sudden commotion at the door. As everyone looked to see what was happening, Ryan slumped back into his chair, knowing his time was up when two TPC security agents bore down on him. “You don’t know how much we wish we could avoid this, Ryan.” The first security agent said. In a short time, Ryan was standing in front of the tribunal.
“Mr. Edwards. You know have been charged with causing a temporal paradox, our most serious law. Do you deny that you traveled back in time, for your own purposes, without a beacon thus causing a paradox?”
“No, Magistrate, I don’t deny it and I accept whatever punishment you see fit to impose.”
“In this case, there can be no other punishment. So unless someone has something to say, you are hereby sentenced to death, to be carried out immediately.
“I have something to say,” a voice from the back of the chamber spoke up.