FEW KNEW WHAT IT MIGHT FEEL LIKE to make a time jump. Those intrepid
explorers who possibly survived were either unable to return or simply
chose not to report their location, preferring not to be found. They
were simply labeled as WTR'S, waiting to return. Yet, there was little
incentive to return from an unsuccessful mission to a failing society on
the brink of extinction.
The risk of traveling through time would have its rewards they were
told, but secretly those time travelers also held onto the hope that
they could possibly escape to a more successful, advanced civilization.
At the beginning of the time travel experiments, human volunteers were
very scarce as negative rumors had been spread regarding the many
unsuccessful dog trials. However, there were always sufficient
volunteers from a more expendable community.
“We’ve made all the necessary changes to ensure the safety and
reliability of the program.” So they were told.
Today would be different. The equipment and procedures first initiated
in the dog trials were much improved, and scientists had experienced
some successes. Most of the time, the test dogs had returned from other
dimensions, but then again, those results were often suspect, blurred
within the haze of scientific reporting.
There was definitely an urgency to make this very critical journey.
Grippland was in desperate need of volunteer explorers to bring back
answers or any discoveries that might help save their civilization from
When the first human trials began, scientists were not able to calculate
the probability of success. They had naturally assumed that the
volunteers who disappeared were alive somewhere in time but merely
failed to return.
It was more likely that the explorers were lost in time. That would be
the most hopeful conclusion. Of course, substantial rewards for success
were promised to the volunteers if and when they ever returned and
reported their findings.
The Grippland Eye of Time Exploration Team waited anxiously in the
laboratory antechamber to enter the time capsule. The four female and
six male team members quickly exchanged furtive glances, attempting to
allay their fears by monitoring one another for any hopeful facial
“There is nothing to worry about.” They had been assured. “You
will simply experience a smooth and seamless transition as if you are
moving into a dream.”
The exploratory team’s training had been rigorous, but brief.
Volunteers were hard to come by, especially those with the type of
qualifications that could provide all the various scientific services
needed at their destination.
Each team member had successfully passed a barrage of mental and
physical tests and completed a basic course in survival tactics designed
to increase their ability to succeed. Actually, these tests were
programmed by High Command to weed out those prone to weakness or
But there was extreme fear festering in the ten volunteers who were
reflecting back on their lives as they entered the foreboding glass and
steel time capsule, filled with a labyrinth of twisting wires wrapped
around a multitude of the odd-shaped, metallic, and plastic components.
Six shadowy figures, dressed in white lab coats, silently motioned for
them to sit with their backs against a blue transparent cylinder. The
well-trained, expressionless attendants methodically strapped the ten
team members into padded chairs and cross-checked their helmets and
breathing gear. There would be no turning back now.
Adrenalin released by fear pulsed through them as they attempted once
again to exchange reassuring glances with one another, but that was
impossible since now they were locked in place. Within moments, they
would be experiencing another reality, so they were told.
Their minds were racing, reviewing all the various details of their
training as if that knowledge alone could or would somehow enable them
to survive the time jump.
A moment later, the door to the time capsule slammed shut, and a heavy
concussion of air echoed and reverberated throughout the chamber.
Outside the capsule, lab technicians carefully observed the streaming
data on their various instrument panels, monitoring for signs of
excessive stress from the team members and for any possible
abnormalities with the functioning of the highly sensitive, magnetic
core contained within the cylinder.
A robotic, female voice announced, “Prepare for departure. Breathe
deeply. Prepare for departure! You must now control your breathing.
Count to four on the in-breath and four again on the out-breath.”
Team Captain, Grist #1, took a long deep breath as his mind drifted off
to the possibility of his redemption by completing a successful mission.
The probability of sudden death would not deter him from the opportunity
of clearing his name and reputation as a successful Gripp General.
Unbridled fear coursed through the veins of each team member as extreme
pressure built up within the cabin. A powerful vibrational force passed
through them as the core was charged to its full capacity.
Within seconds, a high-pitched, whirring sound enveloped the entire
chamber. A shock wave from the powerful magnetic field pulsed through
And then...there was nothing!
Eye of Time Exploration Team
A COOL FOG DRIFTED SLOWLY between the stately, evergreen trees in the
dense, forest glen that was filled to overflowing with a variety of
herbs, flowers, and vines. A large flock of white birds flew
effortlessly overhead, unaware of an unusual figure lying partially
buried in the tall, wheat-colored grass.
His disheveled and torn gray uniform with black buttons on his jacket
bordered a thin, dark gray stripe from collar to waist where a heavy,
black, utility belt weighted him down. On his lapels, two gold emblems
depicting interlocking G’s sparkled when sunlight peaked through the
He struggled to sit up, removing his helmet emblazoned with the white
lettering, G5, and wiped his forehead, trying to gather his thoughts.
His hairline had receded over the many stress-filled years when he was
calculating and planning complicated engineering projects.
Stare, the engineer, was tall, thin and agile with a long, angular face
and small, dark gray eyes that displayed little or no emotion, giving
him the appearance of being extremely serious and austere.
Everyone called him “Stare” since he often stared off into the
distance or looked up at the sky or down at the ground, never engaging
in direct eye-to-eye contact. Others did not comprehend that when they
asked him questions, the words became catalysts for a variety of mental
He was always searching for ways to describe what he was visualizing,
and as such, he usually talked in circles while seeking elusive answers
still floating through his mind.
Stare loved technology and problem-solving and found himself studying
engineering in school. Grippland was always running low on energy since
consumption far outpaced supply. Opportunities became available in the
construction of power plants, and he grasped at the chance for personal
recognition and advancement.
Everything was working well in his life until he was told to change the
calculations on one of the largest facilities. He had considered
refusing to make the changes and to report the unethical request, but
that would be far too risky. He would lose his job; but more
importantly, he was going to be paid tens of thousands of Grippars
(dollars) to follow orders. Obviously, “Orders are Orders!” Wasn’t
that a Prime Directive for a successful Gripp World?
He thought it was well worth the risk. His bosses only wanted a small
change, just a simple manipulation of a few numbers that would make the
construction cheaper and quicker. That’s what they said. “Everything
will work out just fine. Grippland needs the energy now, not later.”
His prison sentence was longer and harsher than others who had committed
similar crimes. How could he possibly have known that by changing a few
minor calculations so much could go wrong? Rather…did go wrong!
At the moment, Stare couldn’t remember much of the process that had
brought him to be among those chosen for the Eye of Time Exploration
Team. He did know that when time travel research had begun again in
earnest, team participants were being selected not from any official
research subjects or the scientific community. They came from a more
expendable group—those who were considered dangerous to society and a
menace to Gripp Supreme Command.
Among the members of this unique fraternity of renegades were prisoners
who had been convicted of crimes, real or imagined. Since High Command
had taken control, the criminal code was greatly expanded, and it was
difficult to know what was not against the law.
It was true that there were some among them who had made mistakes and
were true opportunists—those notorious for gaining power through
exaggerating the truth or neglecting it all together. But Gripp law held
to a simple premise: “Always obey or be imprisoned.”
However, there were other options available to avoid a life in prison.
Scientists were always requesting volunteers, most especially those who
would work in the highly classified and experimental Eye of Time
While many non-adaptables had escaped to the mountains, no one ever
returned to tell the tale, since everything beyond the steel and
concrete borders of Grippland was reported to be radioactive for
thousands of years. So they were told.
The most expedient way to escape prison was through the Window of Time.
Those who were fortunate enough to return alive and were not mangled by
the process of Time Travel were promised pardons as well as the
opportunity to establish a new identity.
To be chosen with the slim possibility of survival was considered The
Prize. Indeed, those volunteers numbered One through Ten were criminals;
but as members of the Exploration Team, they were also potential heroes
for a civilization desperately clinging to life.
No one knew why the Gripps were aging faster than usual, only that
something dramatic had taken place. There seemed to be no apparent
solution. The young had demanded answers amid their constant chanting of
“Un-old-age! We want Un-old-age!” At first, the “Law Givers”
chose to ignore the demonstrations, but soon they reacted with
repression followed by intense and enforced suppression.
High Command then passed laws against forbidden thoughts, and a short
while later, the first official Word Museum was established to lock away
all personal expression.
Words such as Wishes, Dreams, Aspirations, Beauty, and Joy were all
considered treasonous to the overall survival and “Greater Order of
Grippland” (The Greater Good was now called the Greater Order for
Greater Control by High Command). Most inspiring, hopeful words were
labeled ephemeral—words that were without substance or order.
They became Forbidden Words to be placed within the Word Museum. After a
while, no one knew why those forbidden words were treasonous, only that
they were. They were considered unacceptable concepts from another time.
Duty, Obedience, Obligation, and Sacrifice now replaced words expressing
Few citizens ever questioned the establishment of the Word Museum. To
object would obviously mean going to trial, and a prosecution guaranteed
that you would be declared guilty since everyone was considered to be
guilty until proven un-guilty, which was nearly impossible.
Grippland’s basic charter stated that everyone was guilty of
something. It was only through the passing of time that their lack of
innocence would ultimately be revealed.
Suddenly, Stare was gasping for breath. HIs oxygen tube was twisted, and
he quickly turned on his side, surprised to feel his hands touching a
lush, plant-covered ground. With some effort, he staggered to his feet.
According to landing procedures, he carefully unlocked his breathing
apparatus and tested the air while holding the oxygen mask near his face
so that he could quickly put it on again if necessary. He let out a sigh
of relief. Luckily, the atmosphere was breathable.
“Where am I?” he wondered out loud. He took another deep breath and
then gasped at the rush of so much oxygen filling his lungs. The air was
fresh and clean, carrying with it the scent of herbs and fragrant
Images from the past flooded through his mind as he remembered seeing
pictures and reading about plants and herbs. That was before the
government confiscated those rare books and soon after most of the plant
life had died off due to atmospheric pollution.
Stare pulled a small, synthetic, round block from his survival gear, and
with a few clicks of a metal rod, a fire began to crackle. He warmed his
hands while gazing into the fire and realized that he was finally free
of Grippland. He had survived. He was alive, which was all that
mattered. The glowing warmth of the fire was comforting, and in a few
moments, he fell into a deep sleep.
Excerpted from "Portals in Time: The Quest for Un-Old-Age" by John Joseph Teressi. Copyright © 2018 by John Joseph Teressi. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.