The following morning the real training began and the serious preparation to travel back in time was fast becoming a reality for Adam. Once more clad in the white coveralls he sat beside Eve in the amazingly small cockpit of the capsule. They entered the capsule through a tiny hatch above the two seats. Adam had to carefully maneuver his body through the tiny opening and lower his rear into the awaiting seat. Terry kneeling over the hatch was pointing out various features and controls. He emphasized the importance of monitoring the many gauges and lights in front of them. He directed their attention to what was the most important control. The recall umbilical cord time set calculator, wrongly calibrated it could return them to a different time. Terry reassured them that base control would be looking after the recall from their end. He told them not to worry that they would bring them safely back when the mission was over. All they had to do was press the recall button and the base would do everything else. They would only have to operate the return controls themselves if an emergency arose which was most unlikely. Nevertheless, Terry’s emphasis of understanding and operating the calculator was pressed home again and again. Adam alongside Eve worked diligently all morning going over the various controls. Terry provided several sets of problems for them to correct.
To remove Vida from the launch area without raising her suspicions Terry asked her to review some important data pertaining to the dates of the planned landing 2000 years in the past. “My dear perhaps you would find it easier to use the computer in my office, it is so crowded and noisy in here”. Vida smiled and nodded she did not appear to find Terry’s suggestion odd and wheeled off to the office.
By late afternoon after solving several different situations the capsule was becoming a very familiar place to both occupants. Understanding and operating the umbilical cord time setter was probably the most difficult piece of equipment to master. He and Eve set and reset the time calculator unit until Terry was completely satisfied they could use it with competence. Adam’s stomach was grumbling when he was finally allowed to climb out of the capsule. He had not eaten since breakfast and was looking forward to a hearty Scottish supper. Food was off limits in the launch center; Adam surmised a few other stomachs were probably grumbling too. He headed to the airlock with Eve to shower and change. The changing area had been designed without separate male/female changing rooms and showers. However, it had become an issue when Vida was hired, she need more privacy than most due to her disability. A flimsy partition wall had been erected in one a corner of the room with a small sit in shower stall added. It seemed to work fine; in fact, the thin white coveralls everyone wore left little room for modesty. Adam doubted the scientists even noticed or thought of either Eve or Vida as females. That didn’t make life any easier for him. Eve was quite beautiful in her coverall that showed every contour of her curvaceous body. At first Adam worried he might have to contend with his own sexual thoughts working in such close proximity to Eve. He need not have concerned himself; Terry didn’t allow time for thoughts outside of the tasks at hand. Now in the changing area his thoughts of Eve naked on the other side of the partition were rekindled. He was remembering the last wonderful night spent in the manse with Eve, he wondered if she was thinking about it too.
Supper was waiting; the table was laid with a grand meal of roast beef and all the trimmings. A large bowl filled with freshly baked crispy rolls gave off a delicious aroma. A log fire blazed in the hearth offering a welcome heat and a cozy ambience to the room. Angus stood at the cabinet pouring a large glass of scotch as Adam entered. “Ah, Adam ma lad, will yea no have a wee dram while we wait for the others. I placed a special order at the Inveraray Inn for a bottle of that Irish Bushmills stuff you like to drink. You’ll no ken how much my reputation has been damaged asking for Irish Whisky. It will take months maybe even years before some of the locals will speak to me again”. Smiling, Adam held out a glass while Angus poured a generous portion of the fine Irish liquid. As he took a first sip Eve entered the room pushing Vida, both girls had dressed for the occasion. Eve looked radiant, her golden hair shimmered in the firelight and the silk dress she wore only enhanced her beauty. Once everyone had gathered and grace was said the meal began with a toast of success for the coming mission. The dinner table was alive with chatter and laughter that only increased as the wine disappeared. Adam was sitting next to Eve drinking in the fresh scent of her hair. He could feel her warmth so close and felt an irresistible urge to take her in his arms. Not a good idea in the present company, maybe just maybe, he’d had one too many wee drams, as Angus liked to call them.
Lost in his dreams he almost didn’t hear Terry speaking to him. Adam came back to earth with a bump, stop daydreaming you fool; there are important issues at hand. Terry was speaking to both of them. “Tomorrow you can both have the morning off, the team has much to do preparing for the launch; we won’t need you until about 2 pm. You too Vida, take the day off, the computer programming is complete and you have worked hard, you deserve some time to yourself. It will be a wonderful opportunity for the three of you to have a nice lunch together”. As Adam and the girls were leaving Terry called him over and spoke quietly”, before you go old chap I just wanted to mention, you and Eve must stay in the launch area tomorrow night until zero hour. We have a couple of cots set up for you, sandwiches and juice is all that is available as your evening meal so enjoy a good lunch. By the way, don’t mention any of this to Vida”.
Then in a slightly louder voice said, “There is much work to do before you launch the correct clothing for the mission, make up, tanning and dyeing, false beard for Adam, false hair for Eve. Not many blondes walking around Jerusalem two thousand years ago or indeed clean-shaven Irish Canadians. We have brought in a makeup specialist to turn the pair of you into a couple of Jerusalem locals from two thousand years ago. So go enjoy the free time you will be very busy tomorrow. Adam was visibly surprised; it hadn’t occurred to him that make up would be necessary. Terry seeing the funny side said, “Can you imagine the stir if a young Canadian clergyman suddenly appeared on the streets of Jerusalem”. “Hmm, I’m sorry, it just never occurred to me, but of course you are right” said Adam.
Eve and Vida were waiting in the hall when Adam caught up smiling, “Seems you and I are getting a make over. A make up specialist has been brought in, I guess she will have a much greater challenge disguising me” said Adam. “Anyway let’s not worry about that tonight, lets go and enjoy ourselves. We are off duty so let’s make the most of it”.
Adam turned to Eve and suggested they could go for a walk and get some fresh air; he invited Vida to join them but she declined saying she was tired. The dining room had been quite stuffy filled with pipe and cigar smoke. “Fresh air would be lovely,” smiled Eve. “What a nice idea just give me a minute to get my coat, it’s a bit nippy out side”. As he waited for Eve to return he helped push Vida back to her room and bid her a good night. She turned her head toward him and with an enchanting smile thanked and wished him all success tomorrow. Walking away from her door Adam thought Vida could not possibly be a spy, Tom Bradshaw must be wrong.
Outside the night air was crisp and a cloudless sky was alive with millions of twinkling stars as the young couple walked across the deserted compound.
Eve shivered slightly as the night air hit her; Adam slipping his arm around her waist drew her close to share his warmth. Turning she looked up into his eyes, their faces were very close and a kiss seemed inevitable. As their lips touched Adam pulled her fully into his arms and held her tight. Eve responded encircling Adam with her arms and pressing her lips hard against his. It was a long embrace that neither wanted to end. Eventually they came up for air easing slightly apart. The sudden passion between them was obvious on their flushed and excited faces; going for a walk was no longer what they wanted to do. Adam gently taking Eve’s hand led her back inside to the warmth of the building. As they entered Adams room he closed the door leaving the light off. They embraced again in a long and loving kiss. Eve shook off her topcoat and Adam immediately felt the heat of her body through the thin silk of her dress.
He was quickly out of his own overcoat, his jacket followed then shirt. As Eve loosened his belt he unzipped her dress, which glided silently to the floor. In moments they were both naked and exploring each other in a heated passion. Adam lifted Eve onto his bed and at that moment knew this was the only girl he had ever really loved. This was the woman he wanted to spend the rest of his life with. He almost blurted out the words will you marry me, but caught himself just in time. Yes, he certainly intended to propose, but now wasn’t the best time, better to wait until the mission was over. God only knew what might take place in the next few hours, maybe they would be trapped in the past, or maybe they would die in the transit. There was simply no way to predict the coming events; but the possibilities were frightening at best.
However, tonight with Eve cradled in his arms the future seemed far away and didn’t really matter. That night Adam dreamed he was floating in time with Eve by his side. They were laughing as they drifted in and out of warm loving embraces, holding hands, kissing and caressing.
Someone was calling him; he tried not to hear the voice that was invading his dream. Slowly he became aware Eve was trying to tell him if he wanted breakfast he had better wake up. It was already 9.30 am and serving breakfast ended at 10.am. Adam wasn’t hungry, well not for bacon and eggs; he pulled Eve back into his bed peeling her out of her robe. For the next hour they made long and passionate love. Finally they rose, showered together and dressed; now Adam was hungry for food. “Lets go into the town for a late breakfast-early lunch, we’ll pinch Terry’s Range Rover, he’ll be too busy to even notice”.
Adam found the keys hanging in Terry’s office then he and Eve skipping along like two naughty children headed for the Rover. Turning the key the big engine roared into life, Adam slipped it into drive and slowly headed for the main gate. As they approached the gate, the head of security stepped out of the guardhouse into their path. Adam braked and lowered the driver’s window preparing to explain they were just popping into town for lunch. “Sorry Sir, but neither you nor Miss McIntyre is permitted to leave the compound today”. “Professor Hanley left strict orders; he said it would be catastrophic if anything were to happen to either one of you”. “Good heavens man we are only going for lunch, we’ll be back in an hour”. “Sorry Sir, I can’t allow it; the professor was most concerned about what could happen, maybe a break down, an accident, just too risky Sir. Beside I don’t have to tell you we have a serious situation here and we cannot take any chances “I’m really sorry but you will have to make do with a cafeteria lunch today”.
Adam realized there was no point in arguing further the man had his orders, they would have to make do with lunch here. He fully understood Terry’s concerns; the mission was vitally important and their roll in it absolutely critical. “Sorry Eve”, he said laughing “I’m afraid it’s the cafeteria for our romantic candle light lunch after all”.
On the dot of two they entered the launch changing room, stripped naked and donned the white overalls. They entered the launch area to find an obviously excited and busy team awaiting them. Terry rushed over to greet them and introduce them to the one new person in the room. “Eve, Adam, please allow me to introduce the newest member of our team, Madam Margarita Malysheva”. Adam wasn’t sure if he should bow, kiss her hand or just shake hands. Before he could decide the big woman took him in a crushing bear hug kissing him on both cheeks. She did the same to Eve, and then beaming stood back and took a long appraisal of them. To be so closely studied in such detail while wearing only their skimpy overalls was to say the least quite embarrassing. “Come my little Drushki no need to be shy with me, I have worked with Kings, Heads of State and even Hollywood stars. By the time I have completed my work even Julius Caesar himself will think you are a local”. She gave a roar of laughter and took them both, one in each of her huge arms in another bear hug. “Now, my Drushki it is time to go to work”. She handed Eve a set of white cotton undergarments still wrapped in cellophane, then turned and gave Adam a similarly wrapped package. “Everything we use must be free of contamination; we cannot risk sending any germs not even microscopic ones back in time”. The underwear has undergone microwave-cleansing process and then hermetically sealed in the wrap. Please go behind the screens provided remove your coveralls and change into the under garments”. If Adam had blushed before, now his face felt bright red as he re-emerged in his jockey shorts. Having served in the military he was used to having little or no privacy, but this was different. Adam didn’t consider himself shy but standing in front of this huge Russian lady almost naked was to say the least, uncomfortable. It became even worse when Eve appeared wearing only white cotton panties and bra. As if his embarrassment wasn’t enough now he had to worry about sexual arousal. Madam Malysheva, well aware of their discomfort was waiting with two paper/cotton robes for them to wear. “Now my Drushki let us get down working on your hair”. “Excuse me Madam,” said Adam, “but surely this underwear is not what was worn two thousand years ago?” “Ah, please forgive me folks I should have explained this before but it slipped my mind,” said Terry. “Very little is known about the kind of under garments worn back then, if indeed they wore any. We decided as you will only be there for a few hours and the outerwear will completely cover you, there was no risk. It’s highly unlikely either of you will need to disrobe whilst in Jerusalem. Also, and I will get into this later, you will be wearing specially equipped belts, but for the moment I must allow Madam Malysheva to do her work”.
Eve was first; her golden hair was dyed black, Madam missed no detail doing her job. When Eve was finished even her eyebrows and lash’s matched, she looked like a completely different person. Next she applied a cream to Eve’s face, neck, arms and lower legs giving her skin a light brown hue. Madam Malysheva explained as she worked that the body parts she was colouring would be partly visible when dressed.
Three hours later the job was complete, two entirely different people now stood in the launch site. It was quite unbelievable the transformation that Madam Margarita had accomplished. I doubt Eve’s own mother could have recognized her if she passed her on the street. As for Adam, his long black hair and beard rendered him totally unrecognizable. Madam Margarita was indeed a wizard of her profession.
The group stopped for the evening meal of sandwiches and juice, it was a quiet and sparse spread compared with the sumptuous meal of the previous evening. It seemed no one wanted to talk, each person lost in his or her own thoughts about the coming mission. Adam sat beside Eve munching a ham sandwich, reaching across he squeezed her hand and smiled. Tomorrow was a huge day and God only knew if they would succeed or indeed even survive. Tonight would be a long and probably a sleepless night for both of them.
After the meal still wearing only underwear and their robes Terry called their attention to the next phase. The special belts he had mentioned earlier he was now going to explain in detail.
“You will each wear this belt around your waist; we have tested and can assure you they will not show through your outer clothing”. The equipment on the belts is essential for your success and safety. Every item has been micro sized to fit neatly and I assure you we consider each one essential for your well being and success of the mission.
The first and most important item is the video recorder; the camera eye is hidden in the small stone you will wear around your neck. As you move about it will see, hear and record everything you see and do. It is a tough little piece of equipment so no need to be concerned about banging it around. We have also provided a tiny two-way communication device; if in the unlikely event you are separated you can contact each other by a series of faint beeps Obviously it would be impossible to openly talk to one another or have loud beeps sound through your clothing. The beeps will be felt rather than heard, more like a vibration; the more it vibrates the closer you are. I want you to go to each end of the launch site and act as though you were lost, activate the two-way. Now walk toward each other and feel the vibrations increase as you draw closer. Hopefully you will not need this but just in case it’s better to be prepared. You also have a small Polaroid camera attached to the belt we merely added this in case something happened to the recorder. The camera has an unusual feature; once you take a photo you can project it onto a screen to see better detail. Of course if you use this camera openly you will run the risk of someone seeing you. Finally, and you may think this strange, but we have included two tear gas canisters to each belt. Again most unlikely that you will need or use them, they are merely a precaution in the event something untoward was to occur. It was the team’s decision that you do not take any form of modern weapon with you. We discussed perhaps a taser or small hand gun but decided against either. The gas canisters are harmless but still an effective deterrent if needed.
Terry continued, “Your clothing is of course new and a comparable material with what was worn two thousand years ago. It has been washed and abused providing a worn and tattered look that you will find is common place on the streets of Jerusalem. “Footwear is leather sandals and is secured to the feet with thongs or straps. Not the most comfortable footwear I’m afraid, but we don’t expect you will do any long distance running, at least we hope not. A well folk, that’s about all for now, do you have any questions?” Adam had a million questions running through his head but decided it was best to say nothing. He was tired and tense from the hectic day’s events, the false beard and hair still felt uncomfortable and alien. He was sure Eve must feel much the same way. “Okay, lets call it a day we have an early start in the morning, I hope you will be comfortable on the cots, sleep well my friends, good night” They listened to the hiss of the airlock closing as Terry and the team departed. The launch room was deathly quiet and now in total darkness seemed strangely eerie. Neither of them felt the need for sleep; they lay on their cots and speculated about what was coming in the next few hours. In some ways it was very exciting yet also terrifying. Would they find the answers in the past, could they prevent a nuclear holocaust, it was a big question to be asked. Indeed, the risks alone were enormous; would they even survive the time travel? What sort of World would they return to? If indeed they did manage to return. Sleep was short and fitful, filled with strange dreams as they tossed and turned on the small cots. Adam must have finally fallen into a deep sleep because he suddenly became aware of Eve quietly shaking him while at the same time holding her hand over his mouth. “Adam there is someone in here; I can hear movement near the computer banks listen”. As Adam’s eyes accustomed to the dark he too heard the noise. It sounded like a scratching on metal, maybe a bolt being undone or tightened. He slipped off the cot still wearing the jockey shorts provided by Madam Malysheva. Tip toeing in his bare feet he moved toward the light switches by the airlock door. As he approached he heard a tiny ping, it sounded like a metal nut or screw falling to the floor. He heard a faint murmur of someone cursing his or her clumsiness. Adam flicked on the bank of light switches and immediately the launch site was flooded in bright neon lights. What he saw next startled him as much as it did the intruder. It was Vida frantically working at removing a component from the main computer banks. What startled him more was not so much what she was doing but the fact she was standing on her own two feet. “What the hell is going on here Vida? Why are you trying to remove that module from the computer? Before he had time to say or do more Vida had whirled around and was leveling a gun at his chest. “I don’t know who you are but not you or anyone else is going to stop me. No one is going back in time to ask for guidance from your Jesus, it is already too late and he can’t help you. The promised World of Islam is at hand and I intend to see it become reality. Destroying this module will end all your infidel hopes of surviving. The World will be ours”. Vida, it’s me Adam have you gone completely mad? You must know you are never going to get away with this, security will cut you down before you get any where near the main gate. Please put the gun down, we can talk about this. “If you shoot me some one will take my place, you are just going to throw you life away in a lost cause. “Islam will never take over the World no matter what they attempt; Christian faith is just too strong”. Adam wasn’t sure if Vida knew Eve was in the room too, he couldn’t even be sure if she believed he was actually Adam. Madam Malysheva had done such an amazing job of disguising him. Vida certainly hadn’t given any indication she suspected another person was in the room. He had to keep her talking, he was sure Eve must be on the move she must have heard everything they said. “So Vida what do you do now destroy the module”? You must know its not going to do you any good, Terry has back up parts for all the vital equipment. We can be up and running again five minutes after security take you into custody”. “You really are a stupid Christian Adam, if you really are Adam. Do you think I care about my own life? I’m doing this because it is the will of Allah; my reward awaits me in heaven. I’m not afraid of death like you devil worshippers; my cause is a worthy and holy on”. Adam let her talk on; she was wound up in her fanatical beliefs. At that moment the lights suddenly went out, Adam dived for the floor as Vida’s gun cracked. Eve had found and pressed the emergency alarm button and now sirens were blaring all over the compound. “Within seconds security will be all over everything Vida, why don’t you give up before someone gets hurt”? There was no response; between the blasts of the siren the place was deathly quiet as Adam strained his ears for a sound. He needed to locate her fast and disarm her before either he or Eve found themselves in her line of fire. Adam moved around the table near the capsule feeling for some sort of weapon he could use. Suddenly his hand fell on the special belts they were to wear on the mission. The gas canisters came to mind, if he could use one it might give him enough time to find Vida and overpower her. Just then he heard the hiss of air escaping from the airlock door as it opened. Was it Vida trying to escape or was it security trying to enter? Flash light beams cut through the darkness, it had to be security. Adam shouted, “Security there are three in here Eve and myself, and Vida, she is armed and certainly not the paraplegic we believed her to be. While he was calling out, Eve silently crept up beside him. Adam put his arm around her and drew her behind the big table for more cover. Another shot rang out, Adam wasn’t sure but it had sounded like Vida’s gun, and he said a quiet prayer hoping she hadn’t hit anyone. Three more shots sounded then some banging and crashing of furniture like tables or chairs being overturned. The alarms had been shut off and the few seconds of absolute silence seemed like hours. “Doctors, are you all right, the crisis is over she is disarmed and in custody”. The lights came on and Adam saw six or seven heavily armed security personnel wearing body armour. A wave of relief flowed over him as he helped Eve to her feet. The security team had Vida cuffed and already she was being led away from the launch room. Moments later a frantic Terry came dashing in; he was half dressed with his hair in a wild shambles. “Are you alright my children”? Was his first question? But he didn’t wait for an answer. Has she done any damage? “Why is that module half out of the compute”? “Is the capsule okay? “Did she break any equipment”? Eve was laughing, “Yes Terry we are alright and so is all your precious equipment, I don’t suppose you stopped to pick up coffee for us weary time travelers did you? Terry flopped into a chair trying to flatten his hair and calm his nerves at the same time. The rest of the team were arriving and starting to straighten the overturned furniture. James Roberts immediately busied himself re-installing the module that Vida had tried to remove. Mary and Angus squeaked in just as Bill was about to reseal the room and run a decontamination scan. Thankfully Mary and Angus had taken the time to stop at the cafeteria to pick coffee and muffins. Angus said “come over here and relax you two, have a coffee and muffin, Terry will sort everything out” “My God Eve what happened, we were so worried when we heard the alarm, we couldn’t find out what was happening and the security people wouldn’t allow us in”. Adam took a welcome sip of his coffee; “I guess our Miss Vida wasn’t the person we thought she was. She traded in her wheel chair and Bahai Faith for Allah and a gun”. “What is going to happen to her now? Eve asked. “Aye well the authorities will be taking care of her now, nay more comfortable wheel chair for yon wee girl. Its really sad” sighed Angus, “she was fine wee girl when she started here was she no? “Nothing sad about it Angus, that fine wee girl as you call her could have shot me dead this morning, and all because of her fanatical beliefs. Heck she even called me a stupid Christian, when we all know it should have been a stupid Canadian Christian”. Laughter was what they needed at that moment; the past hour had been very tense. They had not forgotten that very soon they would be embarking on a dangerous mission into the unknown. Terry joined them at the table; he had calmed down considerably having learned that no real damage had been done. “We are lucky he said, Yesterday Vida left early having completed her computer tests and alignments. She wasn’t required for the afternoon make up session; she had been working hard so I suggested she take the afternoon off. Fortunately she had no way of knowing you two would be sleeping in here tonight. I have checked the computers and it appears she wasn’t trying to destroy anything; she was attempting to plant a virus in the system. Had she succeeded you two might have disappeared into time lost forever. Eve shuddered as though someone had just stepped on her grave. Angus took a sip of coffee and cleared his throat, “do you no think someone up there is watching over us”? “Let’s hope so,” said Terry. “If she had gotten away with it we’d never have been the wiser and Vida would have rolled out of here free as a bird. We were very lucky today, let’s hope that luck lasts, obviously our enemies are on to us. We have security on high alert; the compound is locked down for the duration of the mission.
Terry stood, “Okay folks, the fun is over, its time to go to work we have barely two hours to count down and the launch, lets get moving”. Madam Malysheva was all business as she prepared their outer clothing for the mission. Terry gave a refresher of instructions on the contents and uses of the belts as they were buckled around their waists. The equipment had been thoroughly tested but Terry insisted he re-test the vibrators on their bodies. They slipped into the clothing while the big Russian woman adjusted and re-adjusted each item to her satisfaction. She tied the small stone necklace around Eve’s neck with a thin strip of leather. Then repeated the operation with Adam, this was a vital part of their equipment if they were to bring back any information. The video recorder had to work. Terry stood in front of Adam then Eve, in both cases the camera and audio worked perfectly. Finally Terry handed Adam two coins, a Roman Denarius worth about a day’s wages and a Mite approximately worth a ¼ of one cent. “Not enough for a good night out in Jerusalem I’m afraid, but will get you by in an emergency”. It might equally raise suspicion for two travelers to have too much money or no money at all.
As they moved toward the capsule Angus gave Adam a tug on his sleeve to get his attention. He handed him a small sealed package, Adam, knowing the importance of taking nothing unauthorized into the capsule hesitated to accept it. “Its okay, Angus assured him “Terry gave me his permission as long as it was sealed in this package”. “Its no but a wee Bible, I have owned it since I was just a wee lad. My father gave it to me many years ago and I have carried it with me always. It has been my comfort and strength and has always stood me in good stead. I want you to take it with you, it may no protect yea but it canny do any harm” Adam smiled and accepted the Bible. As he thanked Angus he felt an overwhelming feeling of friendship and love for this kind and gentle old man.