The celebration was cut short as security guards entered the control room and quickly surrounded Ryan. “Ryan Edwards, you are hereby ordered to report to the tribunal immediately,” one of the guards said with a sneer on his face. You could hear the proverbial pin drop in the room; the silence broken only by Liam’s muttered “here we go again.”
As Ryan was escorted out, everyone followed in the wake; Liam pausing momentarily to lock down the travellator control systems with a security password known only to Duncan, Colin and himself.
With a repulsive grin on her face, the Chief Magistrate stood. “Ryan Edwards,” she began with a bone-chilling tone in her voice, “you were warned that if you ever returned to this time the death sentence would be reinstated. It is so ordered. Guards, restrain him.”
The feeling of horror was so thick in the room it was almost palpable as everyone assembled in the room watched the Chief Magistrate opened a case and removed a syringe. Everyone knew that the contents of the syringe would bring Ryan’s life to a slow, agonizing death. “At last I shall have my revenge,” she whispered.
Unbeknownst to everyone in the tribunal chamber, Liam had hooked his compcom into the building’s paging system and soon the room was filled with people. He grabbed Colin and Adrienne by the hand and pulled them forward, standing between the Magistrates and the security guards who were having a hard time restraining the frantically struggling Ryan. Other members of the TPC quickly caught onto Liam’s plan and suddenly there was a wall-to-wall linked line of people acting as a barricade.
As the Chief Magistrate advanced on Ryan, ordering everyone to disperse, Magistrate Samuel Conrad stands up, bangs his gavel several times and yells “Silence! The death sentence is hereby permanently commuted. All information regarding any and all proceedings against Ryan Edwards is to be expunged from his record.” Everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. Guards, release Mr. Edwards immediately.”
His voice turned cold. “Gloria Massini, you are hereby relieved as Chief Magistrate and remanded into custody immediately on the grounds of abuse of power and conduct unbecoming a Magistrate. Guards, remove her from this chamber. As the guards removed her, the Magistrate turned to Ryan. “Mr. Edwards, I am deeply troubled by what has happened to you. Clearly there are some loopholes in our charter that must be addressed. I know I speak for Magistrate Doles when I say that we deeply apologize for what you have been put through. You have been an exemplary agent and it would be a great tragedy to lose you. I sincerely hope that you will continue on with the TPC, although I cannot blame you if you don’t.
“It would appear that a serious review of all tribunal proceedings needs to be conducted by Megacity Legal. I will be sure forward a record of your case to them. You, Mr. Edwards, are free to pursue any form of litigation against this tribunal you see fit.”
“I thank you, Magistrate. From the time I was little I’ve always wanted to be a TPC agent. Being reinstated is enough for me. That and being able to be with the man I love more than life itself.” Ryan took Ethan’s hand.
“Mr. Evans, is it?” Ethan nodded. “I sincerely hope that you will not allow your perception of our time be swayed by one maniacal woman. You have been an invaluable asset to the TPC for which I am grateful. To that end, allow me to officially welcome you to our time and I hope you will be very happy here.”
“Thank you, Magistrate.” Ethan snuggled into Ryan. “I am very happy here. This place is amazing, beyond my wildest dreams.”
The magistrate smiled warmly and Ethan before turning to Duncan. “Duncan, Mr. Edwards is to be awarded six month’s pay for punitive damages. I will have the funds transferred immediately.” He banged his gavel. “These proceedings are hereby closed!” Everyone started cheering. The magistrates approached Ryan and shook his hand, apologizing profusely for what he’d been through. Ryan readily accepted their apologies, recognizing that everything that had happened to him was the result of one deranged woman hell bent on getting revenge. Revenge for what, Ryan didn’t know or care. It was over. It was finally over. He was free to pursue the career he loved and be with the man he loved.
Standing up at the head of the table in the restaurant where everyone gathered together to celebrate, Ryan tapped his water glass with a spoon which garnered him with strange looks. “I just wanted to take a moment to thank everyone for your unwavering support. I couldn’t have made it through all of this without you. I love you all, one person in particular.” He knelt down at Ethan’s seat. “Ethan, we’ve been through a lot together, and your love for me never wavered, nor mine for you. I love you with every fiber of my existence and want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Everyone looked stunned with the exception of Colin, who knew what was going to happen.
With tears flowing down his cheeks Ethan grabbed hold of Ryan and said in a loud enough voice that could be heard throughout the entire restaurant, “What took you so long to ask me? Of course I will marry you, you big lug. I love you.” Everyone stood and applauded.
The entire staff of the restaurant surrounded them and applauded as well, since Ryan and Ethan were regulars. The owner came forward and announced that in light of the proposal and acceptance, everyone’s dinners were on the house.
Later in bed after an intense round of lovemaking where each gave and received numerous times, the discussion turned to the events just past. Ethan couldn’t understand any of it. “Hates gonna hate. There’s nothing we can do.”