Time Enough

Excerpt

Enoch, an 18 year old college freshman, faces a dilemma. He has no money, he is flunking out because he won’t attend class, preferring to play with his computers. He sees no future except for the release of Time Traveler V. When his Dad lays down the law and gets a job for him, he expects it to be menial but finds out that his computer skills are just what an on campus, cutting edge time travel project needs.

 

Meeting a irascible, demanding professor, Jane Plum, he quickly becomes indispensible to the project with his savant-like computer skills. However, the terms of his employment require him to turn around his grades or not only will he lose, but so will the project. Under her tutelage, he finds that not only does he have time for studies, but that his previous disdain for history is transformed into excitement, as he will be exposed to real history through the project.

 

Since history has already happened, the machine uniquely records events in time and space with the observers seeing them in real, historical time. No one attempts to see what the machine will do to try to observe the future. Although the professor has developed equations to predict the future for a given set of starting conditions, she is reluctant because she knows that, when revealed to the sponsors, the machine will be used in self-serving ways.

 

Professor Plum has a broader agenda, however. She becomes concerned about the young man that seems aimless and unwilling to explore his own future. Following an incident where Enoch saves a girl’s life from a campus rapist using his modifications to the time machine, she slowly draws him to consider his own spiritual condition.

 

Pushing back against the “myth” of spirituality, Enoch, Jane and Ellie Hartman, Jane’s historical assistant, start on a series of explorations of the past to try to solve the real mysteries that have plagued historian for centuries: the assassination of JFK, the meeting that started the “final solution” to the Jews in Europe, the identity of Jack the Ripper, the real discoverers of America.

 

But Enoch wants more. Plagued by doubts about his own eternal existence he want to know if God created the world in six days, there was really an exodus from Egypt and if Jesus was really the Christ. Clandestinely he takes the time machine on an independent foray to discover the truth of these events. In the process he recognizes that not only were these events true, but in observing Christ’s crucifixion, something else strangely happens.  In every encounter with Jesus, Enoch looks directly into Jesus eyes and Enoch recognizes that he clearly sees Enoch watching him. The feeling Enoch has is one of sincere, unconditional love…something Enoch has never experienced.

 

Enoch can’t help himself. He has to see his future. After repairs he starts another clandestine journey into the future of his own life. He discovers that the capsule shows that he can follow multiple pathways. The future is not determinant, but depends on choices that he makes. Horrendous events await him if he makes certain choices. What are the conditions for those choices? He figures that in part they are determined by spiritual choice. The machine cannot show those choices. Professor Plum tries to help him see that his future is driven by his relationship to God, specifically to Jesus Christ. 

 

The cornerstone of Christianity, especially for him, however is the resurrection…was it real? As he attempts to observe it, the power fails and he is drawn back to the lab. Reporting what he has seen to Jane and Ellie, they embark on a mission to again try to discover the reality of the resurrection. Each faces the mission with trepidation. If there is no resurrection, everything Jane and Ellie believe will be shattered. If there is, Enoch is faced with a choice to accept or reject Christ.

 

As they observe the tomb a brilliant light obscures all observation and the power fails again. Did they experience the resurrection of Christ? Strangely, they discover that the side of the time capsule facing the tomb had been blackened and melted. No matter what they do, they cannot definitively say the resurrection happened.

 

Enoch runs outside to observe the Electric Company van at the gate of the fence surrounding the lab. How could they get there so quickly? The maintenance man goes through the routine of solving the power problem. The maintenance man then signs the repair order that they had not even submitted, hands it to Enoch and drives off. Then Enoch looks down at the order as the truck disappears in the trees:

 

No charge this time. Remember…it is by faith, not by sight.