In the not so distant future, a man wearing glasses and a white coat sat in front of a computer console. This intelligent man was busy performing calculations and completing other high tech duties. All of his efforts on the job were spent in preparation for an imminent event ' a journey. But this journey did not consist of conventional travel from one place on earth to another. Rather, the destination of this particular journey was approximately two thousand years into the past.
The advent of time travel was a recent occurrence. The sum of several years of research and millions of dollars equaled to yet another technological wonder ' another marvelous achievement of science utilized by human imagination and ingenuity. Another accomplishment to be added to humanity's record ' along with flight, space travel, and the cure for cancer (another recent success), among many others. The human race has always been capable of the best and the worst, but it's strive for innovation has forever been an enduring quality.
The aforementioned scientists was not alone. His working location was the laboratories and tech rooms of a company known as NeoTech. This prominent company had centered its efforts, even from inception, on achieving some form of time travel. The company owned headquarters in America, but research and science groups from several countries contributed their intellect to the project. This ultimately resulted in success. Not only could humans travel through water, air, and space, they could now traverse time.
With this marvel, a number of projects were in planning. A history studies organization was pushing for permission to use the technology to transport a team of historians to such time periods in history as the drafting of the Constitution, the Civil War, and others. Another organization had interest in sending a team to the future for the purpose of returning with a report of the future. The purpose of this was to use future history in order to dictate the events of the present to avoid the troubles of the future.
As it so happened, however, the first people outside NeoTech to use the new time travel would be archaeologists. The American Association of Archaeology obtained approval by NeoTech to transport a few individuals to the beginning of A.D. In doing so, this mission would find the answer to a long disputed issue: the truthfulness of the Christian religion. The team was to be transported to the event of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ ' or, at least, to observe what really happened. After this, the team would return to the present day and release it's findings to the world.
Four people were selected for the mission. The first was Professor Hease, who had been teaching archaeology to college students for all of twelve years. He was a man of average height, of good weight, and he was a fairly healthy man of fifty-one years. When Prof. Hease learned of the project, he immediately sought to be one of those to be on the team.
Along with Prof. Hease would be two college students who succeeded in applying for the mission. The director of the project knew that it would be a fantastic experience for an archaeology student ' to actually visit one of the time periods studied in that field. One was Corey, a twenty-six year old who was soon to achieve his undergraduate degree. The other, Jill, was only a year younger but one with equal academic goals. The two had been friends for a couple of years, and both had much interest when they discovered that NeoTech and the archaeological association were accepting volunteers for the mission.
The moment the plan was conceived, the organizers knew that conflict would stir. A few people would object, claiming that the findings of the trip would be irrelevant and that something could go wrong, such as the malfunction of the time transporter. Others, however, voiced support by stating that this project could once and for all settle the matter. Some religious people were concerned, but other ones were confident that the truth of their religion would be revealed to all of humanity in one concrete instance of irrefutable proof ' so sure were they that the team would return to verify the Jesus story, both crucifixion and resurrection.
The organizers of the mission knew that biases and unfairness needed to be eliminated. It so happened that Prof. Hease, Corey, and Jill were all nonreligious, and this fact motivated the eruption of criticism by the religious scholars. Therefore, a theist who was knowledgeable in archaeology, by the name of Bradford, was selected to the team. Now there was no threat that the 'evil atheists' would sabotage the mission by lying about what they observed.
At 10:00 a.m. on the day of the mission, the team of four arrived at the laboratories of NeoTech Inc. The organizers were not terribly strict that the participants would arrive on time, but they were punctual nevertheless. Once they arrived, the first task was to dress them in the proper attire of the time of Christ. Jill was a bit unhappy that she would wear no perfume or cosmetics and that her hair had to be in a scraggy condition. But the organizers knew the importance of rendering the participants in the same precise appearance as others of the time period they would soon visit.
After the four people were prepared in their costumes, they were directed to another section of the laboratory. They were to meet Dr. Messen, the director of the project. Although he participants had undergone some brief training, it was important that they were versed on a few details and precautions. The team walked into the room, where they saw several stations of computer consoles and the scientists and technicians operating them. Dr. Massen was speaking with one of them, and the transport devices resided in the corner of the room.
'Good morning team.' Dr. Messen directed his attention to the participants. The four people stood side by side, all eyes on the doctor.
'Soon, we will commence the trip, but you need some briefing. First, when you stand on the transport pad, it is important that you stand relatively still. Keep all body parts within the diameter of the circle. The entire procedure will proceed for under thirty seconds, so maintain yourselves. Understood?'
'All right. We have pinpointed a designated position where you will appear. You will arrive beside a set of tall bushes, and they will conceal your arrival. We have determined that the area of bushes is isolated about a half mile from the hill of the crucifixion, and so you should not encounter anyone. Now, it's important that you try to avoid contact with anyone. Just approach the hill and observe. Also, we will give you this camera--.'
From an adjacent table, the doctor handed Corey what appeared to be a small tree branch with a small black hole on one end. 'Bring it back. Don't let anyone have it, and don't lose it.'
'One more thing. When you arrive, you will lose all contact with you. That is why we are not providing you with any communication devices. Also, to signal to us that you are ready to return, there is a button on the camera.' He pointed the location of the button to Corey. 'All right. Clear?'
They nodded. 'Good. Let us begin.'
The four participants each entered their own transport pad. Dr. Messen walked away and entered into the control room. As he stood beside a sitting technician, reading over his shoulder, the four volunteers stood firm in their positions. Each of the four was nervous, complete with heightened heartbeat. Jill was especially nervous not because of the adventure they were about to embark on, but the fact that she would somehow be transported to two thousand years into the past. Bradford's heartbeat was strong as well, but more so because he was excited.
Dr. Messen looked up from in the control room. The large window of glass in the control room separated the air he breathed from the air the participant's breathed. The scientists near him were diligently preparing the transport procedure.
Suddenly, the four bodies were illuminated. A loud, distinct whirring sound filled the room, and the sound waves ricochet off the walls. The wormhole generator was the cause of this disturbance. For several seconds, the glowing figures stood on the pads. Then, in the blink of an eye, Dr. Messen no longer saw four bodies.
They appeared out of thin air, but there was no one in close proximity to their location to observe it. The four bodies seemed to magically appear. When they arrived, the four were standing in a row, in the same order, just as they had been before the transport. They looked around, heads rotating side to side. Amazement filled their beings.
As Dr. Messen said so himself, they were surrounded by tall, thick brush. They walked around the bushes a bit to be positive that no one was around. Prof. Hease made the effort to walk some distance away from the brush and up a small hill slope. From there, he could see, far ahead, a gathering of people and three crosses protruding from the top of a hill.
'Hey, guys, come look!' the professor called out to the other three.
Corey, Jill, and Bradford walked over to where he stood. They too saw the same sight.
'Well, so far, so good,' noted Jill. She peered into the distance. The weather was fairly good, a few clouds here and there. The sun had touched the horizon by now. She estimated it to be about 6:00 p.m., if modern notions of time were considered.
'Okay, so are we going over there?' asked Corey. 'I've got the camera. I hope this doesn't take very long. I feel odd being here.'
'I believe we should at least remain until the Romans take him down and do something with him,' interposed Bradford.
Prof. Hease spoke up. 'All right. Let's head over there.'
They then hurried along the landscape. The environment was of low elevation, with the exception of the distinct hills. The ground was in good condition. The air was crisp and clean. One could tell the earth not affected by industry and pollution.
They approached the scene. The four of them proceeded just behind the group of people watching. A few Roman soldiers stood nearby. The team paid close attention to their surroundings. It was breathtaking ' the dress of the soldiers and the people, the unfamiliar language, the absence of any form of electrical technology. They almost felt as if there were starring in an epic, expensive films about the Biblical times.
Most striking to them was the sight of Jesus Christ and his two companions in pain. Jesus looked just as they had always known him to have looked. He had a dark beard and scraggy hair, with the thorns around his head. None of the three victims were making sounds.
Corey stood with his partners, and the camera was wrapped under an excess portion of his clothing. The observing end caught all that proceeded.
Then, suddenly, a few Roman soldiers approached the crosses. They took down the three bodies, leaving only the crosses in the ground. They hoisted the bodies on their shoulders, and they walked away. They heard a Roman soldier shout something in Latin.
Bradford, Corey, and Jill were not well versed in this Latin, so they turned to the professor, who fortunately was. There was amazement in his eyes. He turned his head to the three younger individuals. 'He said, 'Feed them to the dogs.''
Shocked, the four of them followed the Roman soldiers carrying the bodies, along with several other people. After many minutes of walking, they came to a small excavation at a hillside. The Roman soldier shouted something else, and the soldiers dropped the three bodies into the ditch. Then, another Roman soldier approached from behind, with a pack of dogs with ropes around their necks as leashes. The dogs barked ferociously, the jaws snapping at the air. The spectators walked away, not wanting to attract the dogs to themselves.
Another Roman soldier, standing beside the pit, called to the dogs. The one controlling them emitted a shout, and the dogs were unleashed. They went straight for the ditch.
The whole crowd, including the four modern humans, looked upon in sheer amazement. Their eyelids were pulled back as far as they could, and the eyes were so exposed to the air that they began to burn. Their pupils did not shake, but stayed fixed on the sight before them.
No tomb, with a stone as the door, as in the Bible. Nope. Just dogs.
Finally, one decided to speak. 'Come on, guys! Let's go back!' Jill rapidly spoke in a whisper.
Fortunately, the three were just as interested in leaving as Jill was. They eased away, seceding from the mass of people, but Corey still held the camera in the direction of the pit. Soon, they increased speed and hurried to that same spot of brush at the other hillside.
Once they approached the bushes, they paused to catch their breaths and to absorb all that they had witnessed.
'Oh my goodness!' exclaimed Corey, as he unwrapped the camera to hold it bare in his hands. 'You know what this means? I knew it! I knew it, knew it, knew it! It was all nonsense. Just pure mythology! And to think that hundreds of millions of lives throughout history have believed in vain!' His voice was an odd mixture of excitement, amazement, and sorrow.
'Yes,' Prof. Hease spoke softly. 'It appears the Christians simply fabricated the resurrection. Ah, but there's still one other subject ' gods. Sure, now we know a certain religion is false, but any one or many gods could still exist.'
Corey said nothing in return, but he really didn't care. What they had recently discovered consumed his mind.
Bradford was most stricken. Years of religious study, years of attending Sunday service, and just a couple of years of lay apologetics ' all for nothing. He stood with his torso leaning forward, one hand on his left knee, the other rubbing his face. Unlike the others, a more distinct of sadness discharged from his emotions.
Jill was sitting on the soft ground Indian-style. She could not help but look at Bradford. Although she was happy to discover she was wise in discarding Christian belief earlier in her life, she felt very sad for Bradford. To know that he followed a beloved belief, only to first-hand discover the truth, was disheartening even to her. She rejected religion, but she understood how so many lives sought happiness in living their lives according to their chosen religious belief. She stood up and went over to Bradford to comfort him.
'All right,' began Corey. 'I don't know if they will send us back for whatever reason, but I want to go home. I'm sure you all do now. Let's show this to the world.' Corey then signaled the negative-2,000 year old control room by pressing that one button. Soon, the wormhole portal would appear next to a bush.
They stood around. No one bothered to say anything else. They simply awaited their return. Each person was still stunned.
A glowing circle began expanding from a point in the air beside a bush. They all turned their heads to its location. Prof. Hease and was sitting down, but he immediately stood once he saw the portal slowly arrive. Jill and Bradford also composed themselves in attention'
They were waiting for the portal to finish developing when suddenly they heard several rapid footsteps beat the ground toward them. They looked behind, and saw a Roman soldier standing about thirty feet away from them.
'Who are you? What are you doing here!' he shouted in Latin. He wielded a sword in his hand, and used it to gesture to supplement his shouting.
The four participants stood afraid, not sure what the soldier was intending to do. They did not know what his problem was, either. Hurry up! Corey wanted to say at the portal. The soldier shouted another phrase in Latin, more angrily, and he ran off ' to get more soldiers, according to Prof. Hease, who understood everything that projected form the soldier's mouth.
'Um, I really think we should go ' NOW!' insisted Jill.
The soldier ran off toward the population, and the four noticed that the wormhole was in full form. They hurriedly stepped through. They had enough by now.
From out of nowhere, they four bodies materialized on the same transport pads they had earlier disappeared on. The four people simply stood there. Dr. Messen exited from the control room and walked toward them. He was puzzled by their appearances.
'Everything went well, I hope?' inquired the doctor. 'I hope you also found what we were looking for?'
He studied their faces. They sure observed something big.