== * == * ==
The year is AD 3587, and Jonas’ life is turned upside down when he’s sentenced to be executed after his adopted father and mentor is arrested for Time Travel crimes.
Running not only for his life, but given the enormous task of saving the world from its own future, Jonas must put his trust in the spotty information of the journal his father left for him, leading him down a path that seemingly spirals severely out of control.
Help comes in the most unlikely of places, as the beautiful Melia shows Jonas that you can’t hide from your destiny and that family ties don’t necessarily have to be conventional to be full of love, especially in times of need.
The third book in the Time Trilogy follows “The Archaeologist” and “The Artifact,” weaving the plots of these stories into the greater picture. Find out how James ended up in the Neolithic prior to “The Archaeologist,” and discover why Wahya was transported into Morgan’s lab in “The Artifact.” There’s a reason for everything...
= * = * =
The Time Trilogy:
~ The Archaeologist [complete]
~ The Artifact [complete]
~ The Time Traveler [posting now!]
= * = * =
© All Rights Reserved.
This book is copyrighted by Gwen Thames.
Use of any part of this book without express permission from the author is prohibited.
== * == * ==
CHAPTER ONE: THE SENTENCE
Supreme Court of the United Republic of Europe
== * == * ==
“How do you plead, Armas Falco?” The judge’s voice echoes in the scientist’s head. That, along with the thudding of his heart, nearly blocks out the murmur of the government appointed trial panelists who stare at him in contempt. He knows they’ve already made up their minds and that whatever he says won’t make a difference now.
“Guilty of all charges, Your Honor.” The gray-haired man barely shifts where he stands, stating his plea plainly. His glasses do nothing to block the penetrating gaze he sends to the equally cold woman in the judge’s seat of honor.
He hears a few gasps from the box of fifteen panelists, all of which have top-secret clearances. They apparently hadn’t expected him to plead guilty, and he doesn’t look in their direction - focusing on the judge’s stoic face instead.
Armas knows that by all counts, he is guilty as charged, despite the fact that this trial is really a witch-hunt. One instigated to put the government in control of the Time Travel sector, and to get people like him - people with voices of reason - out of the way.
There’s no doubt in his mind that his trial is rigged, the judge has surely been bribed or coerced, and the jury members are all from the President’s own organization. Today is all for show - a legal means to get him out of the picture and to give a story to the news agencies, so as to placate the average citizen.
Armas seethes, knowing that other like-minded scientists are in agreement with him, but many are too afraid to do anything about it. Yet, once the government got their grimy hands on the monopoly of Time Travel, all the rules that were being enforced now by this pitiful government, would go out the window. The crimes he’s being punished for today, will be common-place, only under the guise of national security. And even worse, he thinks, the public will lose the transparency that Time Travel Science has had over the past thirty years, meaning the government will be able to do whatever they want with it and the public will be none-the-wiser.
The Judge’s gavel thuds heavily. “Armas Falco, you have pleaded guilty to withholding sensitive research material and data from AISE when your lab was directed to provide all such information in the name of national security. You have also pleaded guilty to charges of continuing to conduct illegal research in a government-funded facility, using government money when you were explicitly told to halt all such research. And finally, you are being charged with innumerable counts of unethical changes to the historic timeline.”
Armas is unmoving. The epitome of a true scientist, he rarely shows emotion anyways, but he’ll be damned if the cowards in this courtroom will get an ounce of feeling from him.
“Armas Falco, I hereby declare that your licensure to conduct Time Travel will be revoked permanently and immediately. For your crimes, I sentence you to fifty years in prison, for it will take at least that long to undo the changes you’ve made to history.”
Armas almost twitches at the announcement, fifty years being pretty steep, especially for the reality of his crimes. But he holds his stance, merely blinking back at her. His only disappointment is that his inevitable arrest and now life-sentence will hinder his ability to help Jonas as much as he would like.
The intimidating woman glares at him as she finishes her sentence, and he wonders if she’d just read his mind. “Finally, with the inability to reverse the damage you’ve done to the life of your assistant, Jonas Falco, and those who his acquaintance and interactions have affected, I call for his immediate arrest and execution, so that no further damage can ensue.”
“What did she say?!” Armas’ stone-faced expression falters as his eyes widen and his head swims with confusion and dread. As her words sink in, he can’t hold back any longer. “Execution?!” He hadn’t expected this, and he abruptly moves to the opposite side of the table to stand closer to the judge’s bench. His half-witted court-appointed lawyer’s mouth is agape as Armas finally bellows, “No! Not Jonas! Your Honor, please!” Armas shouts, true emotion emanating in his tone for the first time today. “He’s done nothing wrong! Please! Don’t hurt him!”
“Dr. Falco. Silence!” The judge cuts him off loudly. “Your apprentice’s mere existence here is an abomination and a threat. He will be executed. That is my final sentence.” She strikes the gavel one more time and Armas’ heart constricts with anger, fear, and devastation at her words.
“This whole court is an abomination!” Armas shouts above the din of the panelists, who have begun chattering at the unexpected call for the younger man’s execution. “You are killing innocent people all in the name of justice and security! The AISE is a farce, can’t you see?! Boyko is playing you all. Stringing you along at his whim. But no, you can’t see that!”
“That is enough, Dr. Falco. Guard! Take him away!” The gavel pounds again, and Armas feels a large hand encircle his bicep as the giant, scowling guard begins to drag him out of the courtroom. He wants to pull away, to continue to beg for Jonas’ life, but he knows that would do him no good - he must remain free enough while the guards take him away to give Valerie the signal. And she should be waiting just outside the courtroom.
Allowing the guard to handcuff him, his own scowl is evident as he walks behind another guard out of the massive room, past the panelists who glare at him, their voices low in condemnation. He only has a moment as he enters the marble-floored atrium towards the waiting police cruiser outside.
Spotting Valerie, his equally aging accountant, standing to the side and hovering ironically behind a statue of Lady Justice, he gives her the signal - a knowing look and a simple tug on his right ear with his cuffed hands. Valerie nods, frowning as the signal made it apparent that things didn’t go well. Not that it wasn’t obvious with Armas being escorted out in handcuffs.
She swallows noticeably, and he gives her a thoughtful smile, then mouths, “Thank you.” It wasn’t often that he let his emotions surface even within his own mind, but with Jonas’ life more on the line than he’d anticipated, he trembles inside. He hadn’t felt this distraught since the dreadful day he’d met Jonas nearly two decades ago.
Besides being grateful for Valerie’s loyalty, Armas is now beyond thankful that he’d had time to prepare. The Time Prediction Device had given him enough warning to devise his master plan over the course of the last couple of years. The plan by which he intends to stop President Boyko. “Well,” he reminds himself, “Jonas will stop him, not I.”
Then a new, more horrific thought occurs to him. “Is that why Jonas is to be executed?!” He mentally kicks himself for not considering that they’d blatantly go after the son he dearly loved and had protected all these years this early in the sequence of events?!
Armas’ conscience had been pained all along, to think about the danger he would be putting Jonas into, especially as he couldn’t tell the boy anything about it, and it pains him even more now. He never cared what happened to himself; prison, execution, whatever - it was all so much more bigger than himself. “Jonas was, and still is all that matters,” he firmly reminds himself. “Not only as a son, but he’s the key to righting the wrongs Boyko has committed already and the ones he plans to commit soon. I must warn him so he can initiate the plan now and get into hiding! He’s a smart man, he’ll know what to do.”
As the guard pushes him outside, Valerie inches closer, trying to look like part of the crowd of onlookers, media, and protesters. A news reporter sticks her microphone in Armas’ face, and asks if he has anything to say for himself. Ignoring the camera, he catches Valerie’s eye instead as she appears at his side in the throng of people pushing against one another, while the officer tries to get him down to the sidewalk.
As they near the street, Armas pretends to trip, plunging purposefully towards Valerie and says hurriedly into her ear as he grabs her to right himself, “They’re going to execute Jonas! Get him out, now! The mission starts now!”
Seeing her eyes go wide and her face drain of color, Armas is satisfied that she heard him. He’s confident that she’ll set things in motion just like he’d planned - so long as she warns Jonas that he’s up for execution and gets him to safety now.
The officer uprights the lean scientist, who now focuses on a new camera, saying more to Jonas than anyone else, hoping the closest person he has to family will be listening, “Perhaps what I did was wrong, but I did it from the depths of my moral judgment and heart. And for the good it’s brought me, I don’t regret those choices. We all have to make a stand. Don’t let the extremists get hold of Time Travel.”
And with that he ducks his head as the officer pushes him into the back seat of the cruiser and cuffs him to the inside. Watching Valerie disappear into the crowd, he closes his eyes and prays she reaches Jonas in time.
Time... It’s all he has now!
It’s all the world has now...