The Mission Objective
Adam awoke early, it was still dark outside and the camp was silent. The small clock by his bed showed 5.30am; Adam put it down to jet lag or perhaps the different time zones.
He climbed out of his bed and headed for the shower, he need this quiet time to go over his situation. Not just the imminent possibility of time travel but the spark that had occurred between him and Eve at the manse. Eve had made no further mention of their night together and it had left him confused. Did it meant something or was it just in the heat of the moment? It certainly was important to Adam, but was now the time to bring the subject up? He decided to wait until they returned from their venture into the past. It was always possible a more opportune moment would occur.
Two hours later, freshly shaved and dressed Adam sat down beside Eve in the dinning hall. Eve greeted him with a warm smile and asked if he had slept okay. Before he had time to answer Mary rushed into the hall and joined them. She appeared anxious and worried; obviously she was the bearer of bad news. “Have either of you heard the morning news on the BBC? Iran has attacked Israel; thousands of ground troops crossed the border into Israel this morning. A dreadful and bloody battle is raging all along the border. We are only getting fragmented information out of Israel but it appears they have repelled the first wave of attack. Thousands are reported dead and the battlefield is a wasteland. Shortly after the attack began a US carrier launched an air offensive against the Iranian army supple lines. I fear we are about to go to war on a huge scale”. Mary sighed, drew a deep breath and reached for a cup of coffee. Eve looked at Adam but said nothing, what could she say? An ominous silence hung in the air; the only sound was a hiss of steam escaping from the coffee machine.
Adam finally broke the silence, “I guess we had better get on with the job at hand, it doesn’t sound like we have a lot of time”. “Yes of course,” said Mary as she rose from her chair, “let’s get down to the launch area they are waiting to brief you”.
The launch platform was located in the largest building in the compound connected to the other buildings by a series of passageways. Very convenient in moving around in winter without going outside, however that was not the reason for the design. The launch platform was an ultra sterile place; the fear of transmitting germs or foreign objects back in time or indeed bringing them forward was of great concern. Before entering the chamber each person went through a series of decontamination routines. All clothing was left outside, that included socks underwear jewelry, watches and anything else not considered a body part. White linen coveralls were worn which included hood, hands and feet.
The launch area was ablaze with high intensity lights that made Adam squint until his eyes became accustomed to the harsh glare. The place was a hive of activity with people moving around the mass of dials and flashing lights. A huge bank of computers lined one wall and seemed to be the sole domain of a young girl in a wheelchair. She had some kind of electronic gadget on her lap and her fingers were flying across the keyboard at an incredible speed.
The arrival of the three white clad figures didn’t seem to attract much attention until a middle-aged man rose and came to greet them. “Good morning folks, I’m Terry Hanley the project director and this young man must be our much awaited time traveler to accompany Eve. We are so delighted to have you here and we have much to explain to you over the next few hours. Please, let us all be seated around the conference table so we can get started”. Vida had stopped working her keyboard and joined them at the table. Eve already knew the team; Adam was the only newcomer so Terry introduced him to Vida explaining that she was the team computer expert. Two other white clad technicians joined them at the table. Terry first introduced the younger of the two as James Roberts. James was a man in his early thirties; he was tall and slim with dark shaggy hair. Adam considered that the male members of this team didn’t often visit a barber. Peter Canford was the other scientist, a little older than James with a decidedly heavier build, strikingly wild hair with strands of gray showing through. James was a genetic specialist studying any possible effects on the body caused by time travel. Peter was an expert in the field of quantum physics. As they were about to sit the hiss of air escaping from the decontamination chamber door made everyone turn to look? A short elderly gentleman appeared through the vacuum-sealed doorway. Like everyone else he was clad in the white overalls and puffing a little as he made his way to the table. “Sorry folks, I had a wee problem at the church with one of my flock. Mary jumped up and gave him a hug, “Och no to worry Angus, we couldna begin without you”. She turned to Adam; this is our very own Rev Angus MacDonald, Angus to his friends. Mary explained that the team considered Angus as their beloved leader and father of the program. “Mary will you no stop this nonsense so we can get on with the work at hand”. Angus was beaming and clearly very proud of the way Mary had just introduced him.
After a brief moment getting to know their new arrival with hand shakes and polite inquiries about Adam and his church etc the team got down to the serious business at hand. Vida was the first to begin; explaining that her main task was to accurately date the capsule arrival time in the past. Landing the capsule too far either side of the crucifixion date would render the mission wasted. She had entered all the available data into her computers. Calculation were critical but could only be based on the available information, and that was scant at best. Geologists from Germany and the United States claimed to have found scientific proof of the crucifixion date through seismic activity in the area. Earthquakes had taken place near the Dead Sea, just twenty miles from Jerusalem. Research revealed that at least two quakes occurred in the region in 31 BC and again somewhere between 26AD and 36AD. The best scientific match for the actual crucifixion date was 3rd April 33AD.
Ancient records have also revealed that the Greek Historian Phlegon wrote, “In the year of the 202nd Olympiad (AD 33) there was a great eclipse of the sun. At noon it suddenly became night for six hours and the stars appeared in the heavens. There was a great quake in Bithynia and many things were overturned in Nicaea. Reference to these events is also recorded in the Bible found in the Gospel of Matthew.
An extensive search uncovered a report made by Pontius Pilate to Tiberius Caesar explaining the events around the crucifixion of Jesus. In the report he stated, that when he was crucified darkness came over the world and the sun was hidden, a dark sky appeared and stars could be seen, but they did not shine with their usual glow. The moon did not shine all night although it was full. This report was signed by Pontius Pilate 33AD.
My computer indicates the best launch date is just three days from today. Calculations would put the capsule in the area on the morning of April 2nd 33AD. Vida stopped speaking and took a sip from a glass of water then waited for questions.
“That soon, said Terry, are we ready? Do we have all the necessary equipment? Is the capsule program complete? James showed a look of concern as he rose to speak. “I’m afraid we have another problem. As most of you know we have been sending mice back in time over the last couple of months testing for any detrimental health effects. We don’t have the expertise here to do the follow up tests and have been shipping the animals to a medical research center in Norway.” The results from the tests are concerning. Animals that spend a few hours in the past show no detrimental effects, however, at twenty four hours genetic alteration begin to appear within their cells. I left two mice for thirty hours and they were dead when we retrieved them. A complete disruption of their organs had taken place. The boffins at the research center say the human body would probably not be in danger inside a twenty four hour period”. “However, beyond that time frame it could become risky. I have evaluated the data very carefully and I don’t like the risks this could impose on a human.” I have gone over the calculations several times and remain strongly opposed to the danger this represents. My recommendation is that we focus on a twelve hour maximum time period for our people, to stay longer would be ill advised and very risky.
There was a long silence at the table while the group digested this latest setback. Finally Mary spoke. “Is that going to be enough time? We have to consider the capsule can’t park on the main street in Jerusalem. In order to remain undetected they must locate at least a two miles from the nearest dwellings.” Walking two miles over mostly unknown terrain will take time, we’d need to allow at least an hour each way That leaves roughly ten hours actually on site and we have no idea what we might accomplish in that short period of time”.
Adam had been pondering all the information and problems being put before the team. He had many questions, but one particular issue burned on his brain.
“Ladies and Gentlemen excuse me if this seems like a silly question, but I do have to ask. Angus, I’m hoping you might have an answer, because what I have heard so far goes against everything I believe in. My faith has taught me to trust in the Lord, if we are in trouble he will surely protect us.” If the world is in danger should we not pray for guidance?
Going back two thousand years to find answers or possibly ask Jesus for guidance is wrong does anyone really believe, if we manage to speak with Jesus, he will tell us what to do? We Christians believe Jesus will return one day, we just don’t know when. What I can’t believe is traveling back to ask for his help is going to work”. If we believe, and I do, that God is all seeing, all knowing and if it is his will, he will take care of us. However it is also stated in the Bible, there will be a time of Armageddon, the end of times. Perhaps our world has reached the point of no return, the accumulations of our sins, greed, cruelty, and disease. Maybe the things we are attempting to do here will all be for naught”.
Adam returned to his seat and took a deep breath. A long and silent pause followed, finally Angus spoke. He didn’t rise from his chair, but as he cleared his throat every head turned in his direction. “Aye everything yea has said Adam is very true. I have wrestled with those very same questions. At the Vatican we talked long and hard with the leaders of all the churches. We argued back and forth for days without ever reaching a general consensus. It seemed we would never find common ground. Many felt what we were attempting was wrong. Then a young Priest from Africa stood and pointed out we should look to the Bible for guidance. He said it seemed to him the Bible gives us the answer in the Book of Daniel, and in particular in chapter 12. He went on to quote the words from the 4th verse “But Thou, O Daniel shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. It took everyone by surprise, but nevertheless, what the priest had just stated made a huge statement especially the last five words.” And knowledge will be increased. Not a lot of discussion took place after that; we believed we had found the common ground we sought. You see Adam any time the church and science clash we are in trouble. Science can’t prove that God doesn’t exist and the church can’t prove he does exist. On this question we find ourselves in a conundrum. Yet we find ourselves totally dependant on each other in this mission to seek out the Son of God. The church can’t do it alone, and science can’t do it without the church. We must accept faith and science go hand in hand in this case. Years ago the church held to the belief the earth was flat. Science emphatically proved us quite wrong; this time, if we are successful we may well prove science equally wrong. Adam smiling turned to thank Angus and said. Your wisdom surpasses my concerns and objections; I believe wiser heads must prevail here and we must all place ourselves in God hands.
Terry stood and said “Folks I think that is all for this morning; lets all get back to work. The launch date is only a short way off and we need to tie up all and any loose ends. Mary, Angus would you and also you Eve and Adam please join me in my office. We have a matter of some importance to discuss”. Once everyone was seated around Terry’s desk, Tom Bradshaw arrived. Terry began, “Tom believes we have a serious breach of security, I’ll let him explain”. “Ladies and Gentlemen, as you know we have the very finest security monitoring system here at the compound.” Nothing goes out or comes in without our knowledge. However, when the capsule was being transported here from the US our submarine encountered a hostile Iranian submarine. According to the Captain of the Alcide the Iranian was expecting him or at least looking for him. The question is how did he know where to look? Here at the compound something has arisen that concerns me greatly, I believe someone in the camp is transmitting to an outside source. We first spotted a very slight blip on the monitor in the first week It occurred on a Sunday evening at exactly 10 PM. At first we discounted it as perhaps static or a weather anomaly, but when the same blip appeared the following week on the same day and at the same time, alarm bells went off “We have now registered a third blip and that has convinced me it is a high speed transmission of some kind. So far we are unable to locate the source or who is receiving the transmission. I have gone over the backgrounds of everyone employed in the compound that were on site each of the four Sunday nights. Our records show the following personnel were here. Doctor Hanley of course, plus James Roberts, Peter Canford and Vida Kazemi. Angus was not there on every Sunday so we have eliminated him. Everyone else and all their belongings were thoroughly searched upon entering the camp No one had anything that could remotely be considered an electronic device; with one exception our young Iranian computer person has an electric wheel chair. We thoroughly scanned it when she joined us and found nothing suspicious. However, in light of the recent transmissions my nose tells me we may have missed something hidden in that chair Last night we monitored an identical blip coming into the camp. I must assume this was some sort of final instruction regarding the launch. My recommendation is that we keep Miss Kazemi out of the launch area from now until the mission is completed. Remove her from any further participation in the project. It is of course your decision Doctor Hanley, but I seriously believe to allow her into the launch area would be too great a risk. I realize I have no firm proof at this moment but our investigation is ongoing and I assure you we will get to the bottom of this. So, ladies and gentlemen I will leave you to make your decision, I have much work to do that can’t wait”.
Terry stood, “My goodness it sounds very serious, yet Vida seems like such a pleasant young woman it’s hard to imagine her as a spy. However, we must take the information seriously and until Mr. Bradshaw either proves her innocent or guilty it would seem wise to keep her out of the loop. Mary said, “I agree, it is far too risky and as she has completed all the programming data for the launch it will only require re-checking and I can do that. I don’t think we should mention any of this to her or give her any reason for suspicion, best to act normal around her. Everyone agreed and the meeting closed.