Image courtesy Stargate: The Ark of Truth and Wiki
Written by Ken Carman
In 2163 Time Adventure Corp started offering one time trips back to the past. These wormhole-based events were only possible because the newest in computing tech predicted where and when these random events would happen. Only very specific wormholes were usable for time travel, and only to certain destinations all assessed by sophisticated computer tech. Since moving the equipment via spaceship to various locations, and the equipment itself, were all hideously expensive, these trips were often purchased by large special interest groups and military contractors. What follows is a brief synopsis of one event as verified by control room devices, including commentary by the Controller. More to follow as this event is investigated.
“I watched the travelers come back through the portal quietly. All you could hear was the hum of the flat blue-green force field with just a few red streaks swirling in the middle: the wormhole trying desperately to break through and the force field resisting. The fact they were quiet raised an immediate red flag with me because the two groups couldn’t stop arguing before they left: mostly ‘What ifs.’ ‘If we find, will you avoid admitting Atheism, or Christianity, had been proven wrong headed, invalid, a false doctrine?'”
“So I called the leaders of the two teams over to the control board to talk, as the rest slowly came through and went to decontamination and dressing rooms, to take off their period costumes.”
“Before I could even ask, Rathsfeld: part of the Christian group of travelers, started yelling.”
This is the conversation as recorded by devices in the event room…
“You sent us to the wrong time period. That was not Jesus. Our pocket translators provided plenty of evidence he was not the real Jesus. Most of what he said wasn’t even in the Bible, and what he said that did seem biblical was so skewed it was as if he was interpreting the Bible… he didn’t look like any of the art or the Shroud…no, not Jesus at all. You sent us to a later period where some heretic was perverting his word.”
“No, I’m sure we…”
Then Lenman, the head of group of Atheists interrupted, “And what about those ‘miracles?’ They had to be typical parlor tricks.”
“Oh, so you came back proving what you wanted to prove: Jesus was a fraud, a sham or didn’t even exist.”
“You saw sleight of hand? Devices with gimmicks? So how did he do them? You’ll have to tell us.”
“That’s the problem. We couldn’t tell. He was good… but we both agree: ‘not as packaged.'”
Rathsfeld made an annoyed, insulting snort and said, “‘Packaged?’ I certainly would never use ‘packaged’ to describe God’s word. And, no he wasn’t ‘good.’ He was a smelly heretic and those weren’t even the same supposed miracles he performed. That’s not what the Bible said he did.”
“I thought you’d be happy,” the Controller said to Lenman, the head of the Atheist group.
“No, we both feel cheated. You sent us back to witness a rather talented someone who may have simply been a prior to Houdini, Copperfield, or more recently Xan or Smith.”
Then in unison they said, “We want our money back.”
“You know the rules. You signed the contract that said ‘no refunds…’ You… wait….”
The Controller looked around the now empty room.
“What happened to Bar? The equipment says we’re missing one traveler that matches his weight, height… I watched: he didn’t come through.”
“Your guide. That’s his nickname here.”
“Oh, Dear Lord, no, no, no…” the Christian leader said. “We were hungry. Our supplies had been stolen went we first got there. Who could we complain to and not risk getting caught? After we ‘borrowed’ some food we were discussing how disappointed we were with what we’d seen. He told us he was going to give the rest of the food to some poor people we saw. We must have been so busy talking and agreeing we’d been sent to the wrong time we didn’t notice he was still missing.”
“Where did you see the poor people?”
“By the market.”
“By the market right next to…”
“…where Pilate judged…”
“Unless either of you want to go grab him and come right back right now, I’m afraid he’s on his own. This event is closing in a few seconds. But you will be right back the same second on in our time. You are the only ones who can do it. You know the actual events, the exact terrain, who to avoid, which way he headed to get there and where he might be found. It has to be you.”
Both were silent.
“Oh. Are you afraid if you go back you may find out you both are wrong?”
“You’re just going to leave Bar back there; trying to give away stolen food… to possibly get caught as a thief? Just so you know, his full name is Barab Bass. You know, as in Barabbas? One part of the story. Possibly proven true. Because you did nothing. Last chance… the portal is closing…”
They just shook their head “no” and walked silently to decontamination.
When asked how he felt about the problematic end to the event, the Controller simply added…
“I decided that I might head that way too when my shift was done. Yet I was afraid that no amount of decontamination could wipe the both of them off my skin, or un-stain their souls.”
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Antonio Ciseri‘s depiction of Ecce Homo with Jesus and Pontius Pilate, 19th century.