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.