The Trial of Adam part 1

Adam Durst looked at the bars of his cell and contemplated if this whole thing was real.  His lack of freedom told him it was, but still Adam was in disbelief.  He should be outside these walls, flying through space on his own exploration mission.  To boldly go where… well wherever he wanted.  Didn’t they get it?  He was an explorer, plain and simple, but now he circled the cell like the caged animal he was.  “This can’t be happening,” he said to no one.

That’s why he startled when a voice replied.  “Mr. Durst, it is most certainly happening.”  The owner of the voice materialized around the corner of the hallway.  Henry was an old school guard who was secretly counting the days till he could get out of jail and into retirement.  Following Henry was his lap dog and trainee, Wendell.  “Time to meet your lawyer,” Henry said.

“Should we shackle him?” asked Wendell with a grin on his face.

Henry shook his head.  “I don’t think Mr. Durst will give us any troubles.  Wouldn’t you agree?” Henry asked Adam.

Adam didn’t like Henry, but could respect the man.  Wendell, well he was going to either be a tyrant when Henry retired or out of the system as a statistic.  “I’m a model prisoner,” Adam said.  “I walk a mean walkway.”

Henry didn’t even acknowledge the joke.  He just unlocked the door and waived Adam threw.  Adam walked through and pretended to check the nonexistent pockets of his orange jumpsuit.  “Sorry Henry, I must have left my tipping money in my other suit,” Adam said.

Wendell got into Adam’s face.  “You think you’re funny?” Wendell asked.

Henry put a hand on Wendell’s arm, moving him out of Adam’s space.  “Mr. Durst, are we about to have an issue?” Henry asked.

Adam rubbed his shoulder in remembrance of the last issue he had with Henry.  Sucks when you trip and fall hard into cell bars.  Especially when an old guard who is still built like a linebacker falls on top of you.  At least that’s what the accident report had said.  Yep, old school.  “Nope Henry.  No issues,” Adam said.

Henry nodded and closed the empty cell door.  He then gestured down the wide hallway and the three of them began to walk in a line, with Adam in the middle.  They walked in silence till they came to the private meeting rooms.  Henry unlocked the third one, opened it up, and waived for Adam to walk in.  “Miss Abernathy is waiting for you,” Henry said.

Adam nodded to Henry and entered the room.  Alice Abernathy sat at the table, her briefcase exploded over the entire flat space.  This was not going to be fun.  Henry began to close the door, but Adam stopped him.  “Henry, when you retire you should look into being a doorman.  You would be so good at it, and you would still get to wear a uniform,” Adam said.

Henry smiled a very flat smile through pursed lips.  Adam knew he would pay for that one later, but maybe Henry wouldn’t do anything because Alice had heard the exchange.  Henry’s eyes seem to say the same thing, but then Adam caught a glance of Wendell.  There was a promise of a whole lot of hurt there.  Yep, definitely a statistic.

“Miss Abernathy, he is all yours, unless you wish us to take him back right now,” Henry said.

Alice sighed and shook her head.  “That is tempting, but no, I need to prep him for sentencing tomorrow,” she said.

“As you wish,” Henry said to Alice, but he kept his eyes on Adam.  Yeah, maybe old school would allow for some extracurricular activities tonight.  Adam shuddered as the door closed.

Soul Discovery

Clifford looked at the tangled fiber optic wires before him and groaned.  His headset chirped.  “So how bad does it look?” Sharon asked.

Clifford wiped his brow and tapped the headset.  “Worse than we thought.  Whoever made this either had a sense of humor, or a fifth grade mentality,” he said.  Clifford poked a bit more at the tangle.  “Yeah, I’m leaning more towards the latter.  Why isn’t this all one board?”

“Then get back out of there and we will come up with a new plan,” Sharon said.

Clifford could almost hear the whirling of Sharon’s mental gears over the comm.  It made Clifford chuckle.

“What is so funny?” Sharon asked.

Clifford floated away from the wires and toward a window showing the Earth down below.  “Anyone ever tell you you’re beautiful?” he asked.

There was a long silence then Sharon replied, “That does not make sense.  Look, come back down.  There must be another way.”

Clifford reached out, pretending to hold the planet in the palm of his hand.  “Such a small little jewel,” he said.

“Clifford?” asked Sharon.  “You are scaring me.”

Clifford floated back away from the window and towards the mess of wires.  “I’m scaring myself.  I’m going to give this one more try,” he said.

“I do not think that is advisable right now,” Sharon replied.

Clifford pulled out a small box and waved it over the wires.  The box began to make chirping noises and a small holographic display formed just above it picturing various charts and graphs.  “Well, neither is letting out butts get blasted apart just because we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.  We’re all alone out here, just you and me and a whole lot of nothing,” he said.

“The Netharium will be warping in in fifteen minutes,” Sharon said.  “By my calculations you have ten minutes to activate the cloaking device.”

“And you wanted me to leave?  What was going to be your plan B?” asked Clifford.

“Plan B was to leave Earth for now and come back after Netharium finish with it,” Sharon said.

Clifford began cutting a couple of the wires.  Laser light shown out of the fibers.  “The thing should have worked,” Clifford said as he spliced the wires back closed, dumping the light back into the system.  “And leaving Earth after just refinding it after two millennia?  This will make my career.  I can’t let the Netharium ruin my discovery.  I would rather die.”

“You will risk your life because you were lucky enough to find a single planet that your kind fled from because you screwed it so badly, just because you can forward your career?  What about me?” Sharon asked.

Clifford inserted a probe into the board beneath the wires.  The display changed colors, and the chirping turned into a loud whine.  Clifford responded, “Look, I know it is difficult for you to understand because you’re, well you’re…”

“Just a ship is what I believe you were about to say,” said Sharon.  “For that I should just leave you here as a welcome committee for the Netharium.”

The whine dropped in pitch and the display settled on a sea green color.  Clifford pulled out a small cylinder and carefully took off the cap.  “You wouldn’t do that to me, would you darling?  Not after all we’ve been through,” he said.  Clifford carefully tapped a few small white grains of something out of the container into the mess of wires.

“You are the key to my upper functions, so I cannot leave you,” said Sharon.  “Unlike your exwife.”

Clifford looked hurt.  “That was a low blow, Sharon,” he said.  “Remind me not to buy too much more of this discount Metzawynn tech.”

“Need I remind you that I am Metzawynn tech?” asked Sharon.

The display flashed from sea green to a complete rainbow of colors with bar graphs moving up and down rapidly.  Clifford put away the small container and rubbed his hands.  “Well, I had to work a lot on you as well.  It’s just I’m getting too old for this, and I just want stuff that works.”

“Well you have three minutes, and then you will not have to worry about the getting old part,” said Sharon.

The display chirped one last time and then went blank.  “Yes!” cried Clifford.  He pushed the button on the front of the device.  The Earth faded from view.  “There, I told you it would work,” he said.

“You are correct,” Sharon said, “but I am still not cloaked.”

Clifford floated over to the window.  Sure enough, there was Sharon, about five meters away floating in space.  “Can you see me?” asked Clifford.

“No, if you did not have the comm open I would not be able to detect your presence.  Two minutes remaining,” she said.

“Damn!  Must be the gamma masking filter is damaged,” Clifford said.  “Let me try..”  Clifford floated back to the device.  He rotated a few dials and pushed the button again.  Earth reemerged into view.  “That didn’t work, I’ll…”

“I am now in the cloak as well as you,” replied Sharon.

Clifford worked the dials again.  “I just need more time,” he said.  Clifford shifted more dials and pressed the button.  Earth stayed in the window.

“We are now all uncloaked.  You have approximately 30 seconds.  Cloak your home world.  That is the best solution,” Sharon said.

Clifford turned the dials one more time.  “Why do Metzawynns only put computers in ships?” he asked.

“They worry about computers having souls,” said Sharon.

“I hope they’re right,” Clifford said.

Clifford pushed the button and the Earth remained in view.  An alarmingly large vessel appeared between Earth and Clifford.  He watched the ship thrust toward the surface.

“Why did you not protect your discovery?” asked Sharon.

“I couldn’t stand to think of what they would do to you,” said Clifford, his forehead against the window, a tear in his eye.

“But surely a ship is a small price to pay for discovering the home world,” said Sharon.

The Netharium ship began to shoot some sort of energy beam at the planet and Clifford could just imagine what it was doing to the ground below.  He pushed away from the window and floated back to the cloaking device controls.  “It might be, but I had my reasons,” he said.

“What were they?” asked Sharon.

“I was worried about losing your soul,” said Clifford.

“I do not believe that,” said Sharon.

“Okay, you’ve got me.  Want to know the real reason?” Clifford asked.

“Yes, I desire to know,” replied Sharon.

“If they had destroyed you I would have no way of getting home,” Clifford said.  “And you have all the long range comm gear.”

“Now that is the human I know,” replied Sharon.

Rogue Mental State

Jackson Pettigue straightened his tie and made sure his jacket was unbuttoned.  He wanted to look serious, but not too serious.  Looking in the full length mirror attached to the back of the hotel door he was extremely satisfied with his appearance, dark, handsome and dangerous.  Tonight was his night to shine and put his critics in their place.

There was a polite knock at the door. Jackson was about to answer, but then he saw a stray thread on his sleeve.  He managed to snap the offending cotton at the hem.  This was definitely going to be his night.  He opened the door with the sweep of his hand.  There he saw the Claudia White.

“Hello, Miss White.  Thank you for meeting me here,” Jackson said showing his perfect white teeth.  Some said he was elected because of those teeth.  He always laughed them off, knowing it wasn’t true, but it still felt good.  “I know it was inconvenient, but it is almost impossible for me to get away from here lately.”

Claudia smiled weakly.  “Well, I’m the one who wanted to talk to you, so it was the least I could do.  May I come in?” she asked.

Her smile took a bit of the edge off Jackson’s confidence.  Infuriating woman!  Didn’t she know this was going to make her career?  Still, Jackson knew this was for the greater good.  To that end he put on his billion dollar charm and stepped back, pulling the door wide open.  “But of course Miss White,” he said.  “Please come in and make yourself at home.  It isn’t much, but I enjoy it as a home away from home.”

“Thank you Jackson, and please call me Claudia,” she said entering the room.

Jackson let the door swing closed as he reached for her jacket, but Claudia either didn’t see the gesture, or chose to ignore him.  Why again did he agree to this?  Oh yeah, the cause.  Do anything for the cause.  “Can I get you something to drink?” asked Jackson.  “I don’t have much, but what I have is at your disposal.”

Claudia pulled out the chair that sat at the small table by the closed window.  “No thank you,” she said.”  I would rather we begin.”

Jackson almost let escape an exasperated sigh, but he pressed on.  The sooner his message was out there, and this woman as well, the better.  And to think he was going to offer her a gin and tonic.  “Let’s do so.  Do you want to take pictures first?” he asked.

Claudia shook her head.  “I don’t that that will be necessary,” she said.

She seemed to magically pull a pen and pad from nowhere which caused Jackson to blink.  Why did they have a magician come interview him?  Jackson was getting even more confused.

Claudia seemed to pick up on this and continued.  “So you told my boss you had a new proposal?”

Jackson paused, trying to organize his thoughts, but they seemed scattered across all the planes of existence.  “I, I don’t remember,” he said as he closed his eyes.  Here in his personal dark he could see lights flashing at all around him, following invisible paths that sometimes tied themselves in knots.  He could almost make out a new level of understanding.  It was right there in front of him.

“Jackson, are you okay?” Claudia asked.

Her voice collapsed all those lights into one blob of putrid thought that Jackson purged immediately from his consciousness.  Understanding was for those beneath him anyhow.  Jackson had a higher calling.  That’s right, now he remembered.

“I want to propose legislation banning altered states of reality,” he started.  “These states can be dangerous to the human subconscious.  Especially in the long term.  Especially with respect to incarceration.”

Claudia smiled and placed the pencil down on the table.  Why did she do that?  How was she going to record the interview now?  Jackson balled his hands involuntarily, but managed to calm himself within two heartbeats.

“Jackson, what brings you to that?” Claudia asked.  “That isn’t what you said last week.”

Jackson silently counted to ten before continuing.  Need to keep the anger at bay.  “Said last week?  Woman are you daft?  We did not talk last week.  I was on the Panama Canal handing out quinine to the locals.  Unless you were part of my bikini team we did not talk.”

Claudia pursed her lips.  “Jackson.  I think it is time for us to adjust your medication.”

Jackson closed his eyes and saw those lights again.  “Medication is for those that are looking for an altered state.  I want to eliminate them.  That and the virtual realities the young ones are messing around in.  We need to be grounded in reality less we lose ourselves to the madness.”

Jackson could feel Claudia step up to him.  Her breath smelled of elderberry wine and defeat.  “You are lost already.”

The anger spike and Jackson opened his eyes and reached for Claudia’s throat.  As his fingers brushed against her yielding flesh she disappeared from his grasp, his room, his world.

 

Claudia jacked out and blinked her eyes.  One of her assistants helped her stand.  “Are you okay Miss White?”

Her mind was still working out the real world after the virtual reality dump.  “I’m fine…”  She needed to get them name tags.  She could never remember any of their names.  “How are his vitals?” she asked as she looked at Jackson’s prone body.  The man seemed to be in a dream, his eyes flashing back and forth.  The only thing betraying this illusion was the cord coming out of the base of his neck.

“He seems to be fine, though his CAT scan seems more erratic then before,” said the intern.

What was his name?  I have a PhD.  I should remember the little people’s names.  Claudia put on her best billion dollar smile.  “Keep me posted.  I’m going to go home and get some sleep.”

The intern shook his head.  “You know you can’t leave Miss White.”

Claudia closed her eyes and counted to ten, watching the lights flashing behind her eyes.

100 Word Story #4 Deadly Memories

“Young man,” said an older gentleman holding a futuristic device of LCD screens, nobs, and buttons, “would a movie of your life be interesting?”

“Hell yeah, dude,” Jeremiah said.

The man pointed his gizmo at Jeremiah and Jeremiahs world exploded as he fell to the ground.  The electrodes that had smashed through his skull almost jerked out of his brain, but the barbs held them in.  Jeremiah looked at the man as the old man pressed buttons.  The device came to life, and Jeremiah could hear his memories begin to play on the device as his eyes faded to black.

My Father’s Son

 

Edward looked for his mother in the crowd of people at the genetics conference.    the sea of academics, his mother, Vivian Cox, seemed like a fish out of water.  She was dressed as if she was going to walk the red carpet.  She was a tall woman, made taller by the four inch heals she was wearing.  Her blonde hair cascaded in ringlets around her very round face.  The green satin dress highlighted her green eyes, making them pop out even more.  Edward caught up to her just as the two men she had been chatting with decided to move on.

“Mom,” Edward said, “why are you so dressed up?”

His mother leaned down and kissed him on the forehead.  “Happy twenty-fifth birthday son.  I am so happy how well you turned out.  To think your father never though any of this would work.”   His mom then did a double take and looked him up and down.  “Didn’t I tell you to put that suit I bought you on?” she asked.  “You look like a grad student after an all-night bender.”

Edward might be a grown man, but he still blushed and looked at his shoes.  “Mom, it’s a conference.  I don’t need to dress up.”

“Your father is about to give the keynote talk,” Vivian said.  She leaned in and pulled Edward close.  She dropped her voice to almost a whisper.  “We are going to change the world.”

“Mom, he is talking about cloning chimps.  It’s pretty awesome, but not earth shattering,” Edward responded in the same hushed tone.  He wondered what had gotten into his mother.  She had always treated him more like her own little pet project than her son.  Still, this was weirder than usual.  Edward hadn’t seen either of his parents in the past six months since he had finished his own PhD in bioethics, so maybe she was just excited to see him again.

“The talk is about cloning primates,” she said quietly, but intensely.  She let go of Edward and began waving frantically.  “We’re over here,” she called out.

Edward turned to see his dad shuffle across the floor.  Levin was dressed in a suit, but it seemed to be more of a prison jump suit on him than more formal wear.  When he saw Edward a range of emotions played quickly across Levin’s face, ending in resignation.

Levin shuffled faster to where the two stood.  “Are we ready then?” he asked, looking more at Vivian than Edward.

“Ready?  I’ve been waiting years for this,” Vivian said.  “Time to drop some knowledge on these sheep.”

“Vivian,” said Levin, “please.  This is hard enough.”  Vivian looked like she was going to say more, but his father held up his hand to stop her.  “I know.  You did the hard part.  I promised this to you twenty-five years ago.  I will do it.  Just give me some time with Edward first.”

Vivian looked at Edward one more time.  All warmth was gone.  “Go put on that suit.  I will not have our moment ruined because of laziness.”

“The boy is his own man,” Levin said a bit sternly.  Vivian looked at him for a second, then stormed away.

Levin shook his head as he watched her head into the conference room.  Edward saw so much of himself in his father, but felt proud that his dad still thought of him as his own man.  I am my father’s son.  “Dad, is there something wrong between you and mom?” Edward asked.

Levin looked back at his son.  Levin hung a smile on his face, but it never reached his eye.  Edward got even more worried.  “We will be alright son,” Levin said.  “We just have a professional disagreement.  That is the problem when both you and you wife are accomplished researchers in the same field.  Remember that when you look for a woman to wed.  Of course, if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be here today.”

“Neither would I,” said Edward laughing.

“Yeah, maybe,” Levin said.  “So when I give this talk I want you up sitting behind the podium with me and your mother.”  Edward looked at his father trying to understand.   Levin continued, “Trust me.  You will understand soon enough.  Your mother and I made a breakthrough quite a while back. But I never told anyone, not even you.  I promised your mother this.  Today is the day, our day.”  His father placed his arms on Edwards shoulders and looked him straight in the eyes.  “Nothing changes between us today.  Just remember that.”

The conference organizer came up to the two of them.  “It’s time Dr. Cox.”  Levin nodded and the organizer moved to chorale the rest of the stragglers into the conference room.

Levin turned once more to Edward.  “Happy birthday, son,” he said softly and left Edward standing by himself as he headed into the room.

Edward didn’t know what to think.  He looked at the poster and saw that his mother was correct about the title.

 

Inside the room there was a buzz in the air.  Three news crews had set up shop, causing the normally hermit like academics to flood social media wondering what was about to happen.   Every seat was taken and all eyes were on Edward’s dad as he stepped to the podium to a polite applause.  Edward looked at his mother, and she was practically popping out of her seat.  He could tell she wanted to be right next to his father, enjoying the applause, as lame as it seemed to Edward.  Edward turned his attention back to his dad.

“This year is the thirty-fifth anniversary of Dolly the sheep, the first mammalian clone,” Levin began. “From that beginning many pathways opened up to research.  Progress continued through dogs and cats, on to my own research into primates.  As the science progressed, the ethical and religious concerns about what a clone is and its place in society was debated and decided in legislatures across the planet.  This legislation often was draconian, created by luddites who did not understand the implications of the doorways opened by the technologies.“

“This caused many research groups to go underground until the proverbial legislative dust settled.  During this time the pursuit of knowledge continued.”  Levin paused and looked back at Vivian.  He smiled at her, but it was still that sad smile he had given Edward in the hall.  He didn’t look at Edward before turning back to the audience.  “My wife, Vivian, and I joined those groups in the dark, working at the edges.  We found funding where we could, only coming back out in the daylight once it was safe to do so.”

“My own research gained support in some sectors.  Chimps were supposedly impossible at the time.  I was criticized that I was reaching too far.  Well today I can tell you that my research into chimp cloning was inevitable.”  Levin paused letting that sink into his audience.  “I had already done something more.  Something that made chimps seem easy.”  This caused the audience to buzz with whispers.

Edward was surprised.  His dad had never mentioned any other research.  Edward looked at his mom and she was beaming with satisfaction and exhilaration.  Edward missed the next bit of his father’s speech, but then he tuned back in.

“I waited till this year to announce this since I wanted the proof of what Vivian and I did to be irrefutable.  I announce that we did the truly impossible and cloned a human being,” Levin said as he smashed his fist into the podium, pouring all the energy into that statement.

The silence was deafening for a moment.  Edward thought about what that meant.  The world really had changed.  He should have worn the suit.

A voice called out from the audience.  “What is this proof you speak of?”

Levin waved for Vivian to come to the podium.  She stepped in front of Levin, enjoying the spotlight.  “You want your proof?” she asked.  She held up a folder she was holding.  “I have here in my hands genetic samples run in at ten different DNA labs throughout the world verifying the two samples as identical.”

The room exploded with more shouting and yelling.  Levin held up his hands, trying to quiet the crowd, but it seemed all the questions that had been pent up for years upon years were all being posed at once.  Vivian basked in all this, then practically yelled into the microphone.  “That’s right.  We did it before all of you.”

Edward was still confused why his parents had entrusted him with this secret.  This did change everything.  He didn’t notice until Levin had placed a hand on his shoulder that his dad had left the podium.  He looked at his dad with the question and hurt in his eyes, and his dad smiled and held up a single finger.  Edward shook his head, showing he didn’t understand.

Levin leaned in to make himself heard over the din.  “One more surprise.”

The conference organizer tried to bring order back to conference.  Finally one voice called out “But where is the clone?”

Vivian asked back, ”You want to meet it?”

Levin flinched and suddenly Edward had a horrifying thought.  It was confirmed when Vivian swept her hand to point at him.  “There is your clone.”

As the hall exploded once again Edward fell to his knees as his world shattered irreversibly with that simple sentence.  There is your clone.  Edward looked up to see his dad cry silently, but with a look of pride on his face as people from the news crews pressed in.  Through it all, the only one thing going through Edward’s mind:  I am my father’s monster.

Quantum Leap of Faith

Thomas worked down the checklist one more time.  All the equipment checked out.  It was finally time to give this a try.  “It looks like it’s time for me to pack my bags.”

A mop of red hair poked out from the other room.  “Are you sure you want to do this?” she asked.

“Elsa, this is going to go down in history.  I want to be the first real time traveler,” Thomas said.

Elsa popped her head back out of the room.  “It’s your funeral,” she said.

Thomas left the equipment room and went into the control room.  Elsa was still doing a few diagnostics while watching some anime on at least half of the other seven monitors in the room.  “Really?  That’s what I get for doing something for humanity?”

Elsa closed one of the diagnostic windows.  “What do you want from me, a medal?” Elsa asked.  “I still say do some more testing with Pinky.”  She pointed to the skinny white mouse twitching in his cage.  “Better him than you.”

“Elsa, Pinky has done his part,” Thomas countered.  “Besides, he still hasn’t fully come back to himself this last time.”  Thomas hurried into the small office, closing the door.  He began stripping down.  “Now remember,” Thomas shouted through the door, “ send Raul to the GPS coordinates after I leave, not before.  I don’t want any problems with causality.  I’ve worked out a system to get close enough using technology of the day to bury my time capsule at that spot.”  Elsa mumbled something from the other room.  “Elsa, you need to promise me.”  On went garb fitting the time period.  He groomed his beard as he looked in the mirror.  Definitely could be an extra in a movie from the period.

Thomas threw open the door and struck a pose in front of Elsa.  “Ta-da!  So what do you think?  Does it look sheik?”  he asked.

“Makes me want to shriek, and not in a good way,” Elsa replied.  “Look, we both know this is a one way trip, so why go back then?”

“I want to prove my faith.  I want to go back and meet my savior face to face,” Thomas replied.

“You’re going to meet him all right, when you end up at the pearly gates,” Elsa said.

Thomas shoved what he was going to take on the trip into a camel hair sack.  “You heathen.  You don’t believe that,” he said.

She grinned and placed her hands over her heart.  “You really do listen to me,” she said.

“I don’t know why sometimes,” Thomas said.  He rushed over and gave Elsa a hug which she returned tepidly.  As he let go he gave her a kiss full on the lips.  “For luck of course,” he said.

Elsa slapped him across the face.  “For not asking,” she replied.

Thomas rubbed his cheek.  “Sorry.  Remember not to-“

“Send the GPS coordinates till after you leave,” Elsa said.  “Yeah, I know.”

Thomas clutched at his heart.  “You really do listen to me,” he said in a falsetto voice.

Elsa picked up a Sailor Moon plushy and chucked it at Thomas’ head, missing but hitting him where his hand was on his heart.

Thomas picked up the plushy and placed it on the table.  “Really, thanks for working with me on this,” he said.

“Thank you for letting me,” she replied softly.  “Now get going before I cry and fry this equipment.”

Thomas grinned and gave her a thumbs up.  He ducked back into the instrumentation room and moved onto the platform.  He thought back to Samuel Beckett and watching him leap through time.  “I wish I had an Al,” Thomas whispered.

“What did you say boss?” Elsa said over the loudspeakers.

“Just a quick prayer,” replied Thomas.  “Start up the sequence.  I don’t want to waste any more time.”

“Very funny boss,” Elsa said.

Suddenly there was a hum of the machine coming to life.  The room darkened as the equipment demanded all the power it could find.  It needed it to show time who’s boss.  Thomas began to feel light headed.  The feeling turned into feeling like he was two places at once, each part pulling on him.  It hurt so bad, mentally and physically.  Thomas could feel himself dissolving, losing himself to the ocean of pain.  “God help me,” he prayed.  “Give me strength.”  Thomas felt his whole body and mind shift, just as he passed out.

 

Elsa watched as one bank after another of the giant capacitors burst into flame, causing the sprinklers to kick in.  Since they had built this lab in a residential space, the sprinklers weren’t built for electronics so water rained down destroying more and more of the machine.  Elsa looked at Pinky as water rained down on her cheeks in solidarity with the sprinklers in the next room.  “Do you think he made it?” she asked the mouse.  Pinky didn’t reply.

 

Thomas opened his eyes and his vision was blurred.  It took blinking numerous times to get to the point of seeing more than blobs.  A hand touched him on the shoulder and Thomas could see his vision clear immediately.  Thomas turned and saw a man with the kindest eyes he had ever seen.  He bowed and said in Aramaic, “Teacher, I have come to find you.”

Jesus smiled.  “I know you have come a long way,” he said.  “From now on you will be known as Judas of Iscariot.”

Thomas blacked out again.

 

Raul found the GPS coordinates and began to dig.  It was twelve feet down. But he found the small capsule that Thomas had promised would be there.  Raul quickly called Elsa.  “The son of a bitch made it Elsa.  I have the capsule.”

“Open it,” said Elsa.  “What’s in it?”

Raul opened the capsule.  He pulled out a piece of clay tiled.  “He left a piece of tile.”

Elsa sounded excited.  “We can carbon date that puppy.  We will know when he went.  Anything else?”

Raul flipped the tile over. “There is something scratched on the tile.  It says ‘By having faith I betrayed my religion.’”

 

Thomas looked on the cross and wept.  He slipped out of the crowd and looked to give back the silver.  He wondered if the machine would recall him soon.  Thomas thought about what he would have to do soon and thought about the sacrifice he had just helped make.  He found his way down by the river and threw the capsule in.  Assuming he had the currents right, this was about the right spot.

Thomas watched the sun go black and knew his part was almost over.  Time to find someone who would let him borrow some rope.