Greg and Liam felt a little uncertain about John and the way he has been behaving. They felt that something wasn’t quite right with him. That morning, was being a quiet one; Greg was silently reading the paper, not talking at all about last night; Liam was standing by the device, looking at it intently, while reading a book he hoped it would help with the research.
John came into the room and noticed the shift in the air. It was not like the way it was before, everything changed; everyone was silent and did not talk. John walked over to where Liam was and looked at the device. The more they both looked at it, silently, the more it felt awkward for the both of them.
“I’m going to go and make some coffee,” John said glumly and walked out of the room. Liam looked at Greg; they both exchanged looks and nodded towards the front door.
“John, Liam and I are heading to the university earlier; we have a few things we need to do.” Greg said.
“Yeah that’s fine. I’ll chat to you guys later,” John replied although he felt upset knowing full well that the guys actually didn’t have anything to do at the university; they were avoiding him and they were sending him a clear message of that.
John decided that he had to do something. He absolutely needed to figure out what was happening to him and fast. He walked to the table, where they had spread the documents with the embedded writing, and he started looking at it once again, as if he would be passing an UV lamp over it. The embedded writing, that couldn’t be visible to the naked eye, was in front of him.
“John, the time has come, we need you to return,” he read.
“What the...” He said out loud, although there was no one around to hear him.
John, instinctively, grabbed the device and entered a code. Suddenly a whooshed sound was heard, followed by a very bright light. When John opened his eyes, he was no longer in their apartment.
“Welcome home.” A smiling face greeted him.
John was feeling a little bit confused and disorientated, but at the same time, the surroundings seemed somewhat familiar. “Taylor?” Her name escaped his lips.
“That’s right!” The woman’ smile broadened. “It worked.”
How did he know her name? A chill ran through his body, opening up a flood of emotions, and in a blink of an eye, he remembered everything. “Elizabeth!”
“The kids made contact with her.” Taylor reported.
“Are you sure you don’t want to take a break? I mean you just travelled through time, and we practically used the most advanced technology we have to wipe your memory and even though you managed to break down that barrier instantly.”
“No I’m fine; I had a bit of an headache for a moment but as soon as I remembered Elizabeth and the kids, the pain went away; I seem to have no pain at all now. I’m just worried about them and all I can think about right now is how to save them.” John said feeling completely determined and looking intently at the reports. Taylor smiled, impressed at the strong bond between John and his family. This extraordinary individual has just gotten even more extraordinary. “Elizabeth’s firewall seems to be quite exhausting for the kids. I fear they might soon find themselves too mentally drained and as a result they won’t be able to hold their position for much longer; we need to get a move on. The Sarusans have no idea that I’m back, do they?”
“No, I think now will be our best chance to get to their planet and rescue Elizabeth and the twins.” Taylor responded.
“Excellent, send the incognito alert to Lizzie and James letting them know that we’re on our way. Make certain that it’s discreet and that no one else has any knowledge of it; this is absolutely vital to our plans.” John instructed Taylor and the team, he wanted to make sure that the twins would get the alert.
They waited patiently for a response. Two minutes later, an alert message arrived. It was from James:
PLEASE HURRY NOT MUCH TIME, ENEMY IS VERY ALERT!
This was the answer they were waiting for; they needed to know if they were still alive and still able to make contact. John and the rest of the team immediately started with the preparations that would take them to Sarusa.
John entered the office that was both his and Elizabeth. He set his eyes on the few holograms on the left that portrayed several moments spent with his family. “Happy memories,” he thought.
“I’m sorry to interrupt.” Taylor said entering the room.
“No, come in.” John motioned for her to a seat opposite to him. “I was actually going to call you.”
“I’m guessing you want to discuss our next strategy.”
John nodded. “I want you to assemble a team and I would like you to lead them on a small trip back to Earth.”
“What’s the mission?”
“I want you to bring my Earthling friends here. They might be able to help us infiltrate Sarusa.”
A few hours later, Liam and Greg were still trying to figure out how exactly they had moved to that strange world once again. The only thing they knew so far was that John had disappeared, as well as the device they were studying. So how in the world could they have gotten back to that place again?
They were looking around at their surroundings when someone entered the room they were in.
“How are you feeling?” The woman asked.
“Fi... Fine.” Liam stuttered.
“You know our language?” Greg said a little bit astonished.
Taylor nodded. “Would you please follow me?”
They did as asked and after walking by a few hallways, they entered in, what seemed to be, a conference room. Taylor left them there.
“Well, if they were going to hurt us, they would have done it by now, right?” Liam asked a little bit apprehensive.
“No one is going to hurt you.” They heard someone say, someone that sounded like,
“John!” They both said at the same time.
John entered the room and once he did that, the scenario around them completely changed. It seemed like if they were inside a fish tank, like if they were the fishes and they were seeing other people walking around them from inside the tank. “This will give us some privacy.”
“You think?” Greg said.
“I forgot you guys aren’t used to this. I mean, well, we’re inside a cloaked room, we can see what’s happening outside, but they can’t see us.” The scenario changed once more. They seemed to be on a beach now; nothing but sea and sand in front of them.
“How do you do that?” Liam asked.
“I’m projecting my thoughts into the room.” John laughed. “You will understand everything in a bit, if you will just let me explain it to you.”
“Would you like to drink something?” A young lady asked, coming apparently from nowhere.
“Wow!” Greg was beaming.
They didn’t have to say anything and suddenly, and once again out of nowhere, their favourite drinks were being served.
John laughed at their expressions that had a mix of confusion but of amazement as well. He then turned serious, memories of Elizabeth and his kids flashing into his mind.
“These are Elizabeth, Lizzie and James.” A hologram with their images could now be seen in front of them.
“Who are they?” Greg took a sip of his drink.
“My wife and kids,” Liam almost choked on his drink, after hearing John’s revelation.
“They are being held on another planet and I need your help to save them.”
John paused for a few moments to allow his friends to digest what he just had told them.
“How’s that possible? Who are you after all?” Liam asked suspiciously.
“Well, it’s bit of a long story, so what about if I just start from the beginning?” John smiled.
The scenery around them changed once again. In front of them was the Universe, like if they were seeing it from inside a space ship, or then like if they were adrift in space.
“Wow, this is cool!” Greg was all excited.
“I’m glad you like it.” John said. “Here is Sarusa.” He pointed to a planet. “Sarusa, many millennia ago, was my Ancestors’ home planet.”
“Okay.” Liam said crossing his arms in front of him. “Greg, can you believe this?” He was sounding incredulous.
“We’re here on... where are we exactly?” Greg asked.
“You’re in Sittlan.” John said pointing at another planet. “But if you allow me to explain.”
“Explain? We’ve been kidnapped from our own planet.” Liam was feeling restless.
“Liam, let us hear what John has to say first, before jumping to hasty conclusions, okay?” Greg tried to calm Liam down.
Liam and Greg fell quiet, the scenery around them changed to the calmer view of the beach. They knew right away, it was John projecting his thoughts again of the time they spent together at the beach.
“Okay, so as you are aware Sarusa used to be my Ancestors’ home planet, now due to many conflictions with the Sarusans it’s become difficult to work with them, so my Ancestors departed from Sarusa and settled on this uninhabited planet that is now Sittlan. We’ve tried to make peace with them many times but each time they refused to listen to what we have to say.” John watched his friends; he can tell this was overwhelming for them. “Why don’t we take a little break?” John suggested.
“No. I want to hear what you have to say.” Liam said, he felt that he was being punched with multiple revelations and he needed to face them right now whether he liked it or not. Liam could notice that John definitely knew this was overwhelming for them. However, he did not want to give him the benefit of the doubt just yet.
John stared at Liam, this wasn’t going to be easy that much he knew, but he needed to be honest with them no matter what.
“Very well I’ll continue,” John said and continued with the story. “Sittlan is a planet that has many high tech features and facilities, it’s how I was able to develop myself and be able to do what you see before you.” The scenery around them changed, this time it was of a planet with many civilians going about their day. It looked like Earth but people were hovering, and there was a lot of communication with transmitters and holograms everywhere. “As you can see, Sittlan is just like your planet Earth, we’re pretty much the same with a few alterations here and there.” Greg looked fascinated by this new found lifestyle.
“Wow!” Greg said excitedly, he was not expecting half of the things that were happening, but it looked incredible and beyond their imagination.
“My Ancestors developed this planet in what it became today and I’m still working on developing and improving it more with the help of my team.” The scenery changed again to a more basic and simple room, much like the flat they were sharing back on Earth. “However,” John fell quiet; he started to remember Elizabeth and his kids. “My wife, Elizabeth, has been kidnapped by the Governor of Sarusa.” Both Liam and Greg gasped in shock at the revelation, “They’ve wiped out her memories of me and our kids, Lizzie and James. We’ve tried many things to bring them back but nothing worked. Right now, my kids are trying to break into her firewall; but I actually don’t know how long they will be able to last before being discovered. My mission was to find people on Earth that would be able to help me. That’s why I went to Earth.”
“But how did you come to the conclusion that it was us?” Liam questioned.
“That’s because when I was sent there I was programmed to collide with two beings that would have the most extraordinary minds of that world. You two happened to fit in that equation and that’s why I was able to find you.” John said feeling really helpless and hopeful at the same time. “I know it’s kind of farfetched, but that device we found was created using some of our best technology here. You two, although not being able to understand it fully, were able to understand most of its functions in just a few moments. I just need you to believe-“
“No way!” Liam said, feeling a little hurt and used, “how can we? John, you don’t seem to understand something, we were your friends, yet you kidnapped us from our own homes and brought us here, and then you want us to help you?”
“Look, I’m sorry for the harsh measures I took but it was necessary.” John tried to explain.
“No John, it wasn’t. We were your friends you don’t do that to friends.” Liam repeated.
“That’s true,” Greg said, “I mean, how do we even know if you’re telling the truth? You basically did exactly what this governor person did to your wife.” John fell silent. What they were saying was true and it hurt him a lot. But he needed to get them on board.
“Greg, I would never lie to you.”
“If this is true, why haven’t you told us anything about it before? You should have been able to, you had many chances, and I mean we practically hung out every day working on so many projects.” Liam said feeling hurt. John took another pause.
“Ok,” he said after a moment, “how about this. I will let you go, but before you go, I will like for you both to watch something. It’s going to show you if I’m lying or not. After this I want you to decide on your own.”
Liam and Greg both looked at the footage, still feeling doubtful.
“I’ll leave things with you guys here and I’ll send you back to Earth. After one week on Earth time, I will bring you back here. You can tell me your decisions then. How is that?” John asked. Both the guys nodded.
End of chapter 4