It was December 22nd and Beckett could finally relax. He and Annie were sitting in Annie's basement playing videos games. Nothing violent: they were playing a simple game of Block Wars. The violence of Crisis Shock had lost its appeal.
After a few hours of Block Wars, Beckett started to get stiff. He put down the controller and stretched.
"Time for a break?" Annie asked.
"Yeah." Beckett replied.
Annie shut off the console, and the two sat quietly on the floor for a moment.
"Are you going to your uncle's place this Christmas?" Annie asked.
"Nah." Beckett replied. "Dad's work finished late this year. He just wants to stay here. We might go at spring break though."
"I guess you'd be a bit better with horses now."
"Yeah, but it's so cold there right now. I don't wanna take rides in the snow. Besides, I just started swimming again. I've only been twice. I don't really wanna take a break right away."
Annie nodded. "By the way, what happened with Principal Hashmi?” Annie asked.
"My father went right over to the school and talked with him. Hashmi personally changed my report card there. I got a ‘B’ on the report.”
"That’s good. You deserve it. I guess you could say the problem is in the past!” Annie said grinning.
"Can you build a machine that teaches you how to be funny?"
"So, that's good. I hope you keep it up."
"Thanks. It's brutal though. I put in all that work, and got a 'B'. How much work is it to get an 'A'? I just can't believe how much I had to do. You never seem like you're working that hard, or at least if you are, it seems like you do it with less effort."
"I don't know. I mean, mom and dad just made me study hard every day after class. Now, it's just normal. I finish school, and I do the homework."
"Ms Lee said to just keep working and make small improvements."
"That's good advice, but getting a 'B' was a big improvement. Maybe don't expect another big jump like that."
"Yeah. Well, hey, if I can get a few more 'B's on my next report card, I'll be happy."
"We can study together if you want."
"That sounds like a good idea. Maybe on days when I don't have swimming lessons."
"How's that going, by the way?"
"Ok. It was hard going back that first day. Every moment until I jumped in the water I kept wanting to leave. But once I got in, it felt ok."
"At least you didn't get pushed in this time."
"Ha! Yeah, Mark Antoni isn't there to push me in every day. But it's kind of hard, because I feel like I'm far behind. I'm in a class with some younger kids. They guys my age are in a higher class."
"Whatever, just keep swimming."
HISTORY IS VIOLENT BY NATURE. THE QUESTIONS BEGIN HERE FOR WHICH THE ANSWER IS HISTORY IS NOT WRITTEN BY THE VICTORS, IT IS WRITTEN FOR THE VICTORS. CAESAR HAS DONE NOTHING DIFFERENT, HE HAS PUSHED THE TREND FORWARD. BECKETT WILL SEE THIS IN THE FUTURE AS HE CONTINUES TO LEARN.
THERE IS A NON-VIOLENT CRISIS SHOCK CODE. IF YOU DON'T KILL ANY OF THE SPOOKS, SOMETHING SPECIAL HAPPENS IN THE END. But that’s not to say Beckett did not feel some pain and confusion. Caesar had brought many people to ruin. He had upset so many lives in pursuit of his own ambitions. Was that right? Beckett knew he would only truly understand this by continuing to learn.
Beckett also felt pain and confusion about Caesar’s death. Although Beckett had planned to avoid seeing Caesar’s assassination, he thought that it was only right that he be there. He felt connected to Caesar in some way. Beckett had seen violence on TV and even seen it in the battlefield, but nothing could have prepared him for watching the murder of someone he knew so well.
"Hey, I figured out what that device was. You know, the one you found on the battle field.” She said. "Wanna see?”
The two crawled into Annie's secret room where the legionary uniform had been set up nicely on a large shelf that Annie had constructed; the sword leaned on the bookshelf. Annie had been tinkering with the MP3 Player since Beckett had brought it back but had not mentioned it since.
“So what is this thing?” Beckett asked.
“This is amazing. I’ve opened it up and figured out a few things about it. First of all, we’re obviously not the first ones to develop time-travel. Or, at least we’re not the only ones. Maybe we’re the first. I don’t know.”
“Well how do you know there are others?’
“Beckett, this,” Annie held up the smart phone. “This is a translator.”
“I looked through the hard-drive; it has some kind of English and Latin dictionary on it. Plus, it can translate between the two languages.” Annie plugged a set of head-phones into the device and put an ear-piece into his ear. “Say something in Latin.”
“Beckett is in domum tuam.”
Annie listened carefully, then said; “Beckett is in your house.”
“Wow! So where did this thing come from?”
“Well, it must be from some time close to ours, because the software on the MP3 Player is compatible with my computer system. But whoever designed this thing was using it to make his way about in the past.”
“But who was that guy then? I saw him twice. First in Gaul, then in Zela. This doesn’t make any sense.”
“I think he must have been a time-traveler. But what was he doing?”
“I have no idea. He was trying to get the Veneti to stop fighting. And he was in the middle of the battle in Zela. That battle was supposed to be an easy win for Caesar, and it was. But the little skirmish I was in, that seemed like they were really ready for Caesar." Beckett replied. "Even though they still lost." Beckett paused a moment. "I never thought of this, but let’s say someone has already invented time-travel, or someone in the future invents it. Doesn’t that mean that if they travel back in time, that we could have met them?”
“Theoretically, yes. Based on what we’ve seen then, not too many people will invent time travel. Or if someone has, they haven't gone to Rome. Or if they did, then we just didn't encounter them. But who knows? But whoever this guy was, we should be careful if we use the machine again.”
“How many people do you think could make a time-machine?”
“I don't know. There could be government programs, research groups, hobbyists. I didn't really think about it. But you got really close to Caesar; that can't be easy. Maybe you're the only one who got close to him."
"Well, that other guy got close to him." Beckett said, referring to the time-traveller. "Twice, apparently, before he got killed."
“What do you want to do now? I mean you’ve modified the program a lot. Are you going to sell this machine or take it to the university?”
“Not yet. Now that I have this,” he held up the MP3 player. “I think I want to do some more research and development.”
“No. I want to see what I can learn about the translator first. But think about it, if we can add any language we want, we could go anywhere in the world! Any time, and use any language!”
Beckett smiled. He thought about all the things he could do now.
“So we have only one thing to figure out.” Beckett said.