1. worth remembering: sufficiently interesting, exciting, or unusual to be worth remembering or likely to be remembered
Chapter One: "Like the One in the Story…"
Normally Wyatt wasn't one to trust the safety of his eyes to man he just met two hours ago, but then again the circumstances were beyond normal this time. He placed his face up close to the panel as instructed and waited for something to happen.
"Mr. Welles, the laser can't scan your eyes if you keep them closed."
"Oh, right. Sorry." He muttered, focusing his pupils on the panel while at the same time reminding himself that these were 'friendly lasers' and wouldn't forever blind him. In a second a flash read his eyes and it was over, Wyatt quickly raising himself up away from the keypad. As he followed the man he ran the back of his hand over his forehead quickly in order to wipe the small layer of sweat that had formed from those awkward four seconds.
He didn't realize that it was possible for a hallway to be that white and the man that he followed almost seemed to blend into the scenery with his long white coat and a clump of the same hue hair plunked on his head. Wyatt didn't understand what was going on, that was for certain. He just barely agreed to come with this strange man, however there was this irresistibility about a person whom you never met that could almost tell your life story.
"And where are we going?" Wyatt asked as he shoved his hands in his pocket. Out of all the questions Wyatt had floating about in his head he voiced the simplest one, the one he also knew he wouldn't have directly answered for him. A door soon appeared in front of them; a grand, massive steel hunk of a door with large bolts holding it in place and cameras at every different angle pointing at whoever should approach this monster.
"You'll see soon enough Mr. Welles." The man replied. Wyatt was expected something to happen, something big and grand and showy. Instead the man in the white coat just stood there as if he didn't even know how to get past the door. "Should we knock?" Wyatt grinned, the man in the white coat looking over his shoulder to stare at him before placing his eyes back upon the door.
"Give them three seconds." He told Wyatt, and much to his surprise it did indeed only took three seconds before the door slowly swung open. They stepped through but Wyatt didn't understand what had just happened. It was if he was now standing in the middle of some classy hotel reserved for the chairmen of his company, only this hotel happened to be overrun with people in white coats and suits running around with clipboards. Television monitors flashing numerous scenes practically lined the walls yet no one stopped to watch them. Instead they all seemed immersed in some other business and barely noticed the extremely out of place marketing director being led to one of the lavishly decorated staircases.
"Art deco. You like?" The man asked, falsely mistaking Wyatt's curiosity in his surroundings for admiration in the architecture. Wyatt merely nodded as he continued to watch the busy people below him while he ascended the staircase. "We salvaged this old hotel and turned it into our headquarters. And to think, they were going to tear her down in order to build another fast food chain or God knows what else…" he continued on, Wyatt only vaguely hearing him.
They reached the second floor which consisted of two long hallways that branched off from one another. The man in white went to the left, Wyatt followed. Their steps were muffled by the plush red carpet that lined the elaborate hallway as they headed towards a secluded room at the very edge of the corridor. A large French-cut window opened out to the city below, giving Wyatt the small impression of the hotel's former heydays as a bustling place for the city's high class. Once again the man in the white coat stood in front of the door and once more it only took three seconds before the door swung open on it's own.
Inside there was a long wooden table surrounded by even more people in suits and white coats. They stared at Wyatt, the awkward feeling inside of him doubling at the way their eyes focused in on him. "Do you know why you're here?" An older looking gentleman asked. His hands were clasped in front of him, his eyes sparkling with some unknown glee. Suddenly Wyatt imagined that he was presenting the yearly marketing quotient to the board of directors all over again.
"No sir." Wyatt managed to say.
The people sitting around the table all looked at each other sympathetically until the man with the clasped hands laid eyes on Wyatt again. "I'm sorry young man, but I'm afraid that you're dead."
"What? Sweet Jesus!"
"It's true. You're quite dead." The man reassured him. "How else could we have possibly known everything about you? Fredrick here is an angel sent to escort you here, to heaven." The man who had led Wyatt in waved at him as he was introduced.
"You've got to be kidding me." Wyatt blanched.
"No, I'm afraid not."
"Is that how he just appeared out of nowhere? And is that why I'm here?"
His answer was reaffirmed with a strong nod of the head. "Alright, if this is for real, how did I die then?" Wyatt muttered, thinking to himself that this could not possibly be happening.
"Food poisoning. It was the scallops you had last night." The man told him.
"Oh God, I have to get out of here." Wyatt flung himself out of his chair and was ready to bolt out the door but the uproarious laughter from around the table prevented him. He stopped and turned back only to see the people sitting around the table in guffaw over Wyatt's reaction. "What the-"
"Got you!" The man with the former clasped hands said through thick chuckling. "You should have seen the look on your face!"
Wyatt stared at the laughing suits until it slowly faded into slight giggles, Fredrick the so-called angel escorting him back into his sit. "I'm so sorry," The man apologized with a grin, "but people like you fall for it every time! I mean, really! Heaven has eye scans?" Now Wyatt was thoroughly saturated with anger and confusion, but mostly confusion. "No young man, you're not dead." The man, who Wyatt perceived as the leader, stood up and began to walk around the room. "What you are is far worse."
"And how's that?" Wyatt wondered. Up until this point he hadn't asked a single question and gotten a straight answer, something he figured he very much deserved. "I've been convinced to ditch work by a stranger that I met at a coffee shop, who along the way reiterates my own life story to me, taken underground to a place I didn't even know existed in Boston, and am now sitting in a former hotel talking to a group of unfamiliar people waiting for a proper explanation. Well, you can give me one now thank you."
"And rightly earned Mr. Welles." He replied. "You are far worse than dead because of what you are."
"And what am I Mr.…."
"Dr. Pandorian, actually. Gregor Pandorian III, founder of this little operation that you have stumbled upon by fate." The man introduced himself with a curt nod. His white hair flopped over his eyes but was swept aside quickly but a fragile milky-white hand.
"Operation?" If Wyatt had been confused before it was nothing compared to how he felt now. There was a knock at the door but no one seemed concerned by it or even got up to answer it.
"Yes, operation. You see, in order to understand what you are I have to tell you a little story." Mr. Pandorian began to explain, ignoring the knock and Wyatt's inquisitive glance . Wyatt sat back and prepared himself for the long-winded tale. "Once there was a normal man, a learned man, much like you Mr. Welles. He lived a good life up until his thirty-seventh year, when upon his birthday he realized that he had done nothing of importance in his whole life. He'd not made the newspapers, not made any real impact in his community, and if he had died the next day no one, save for his parents, would have really cared. With this realization came dread, and of course he fell into a deep depression Mr. Welles."
"Is this some morality tale like A Christmas Carol? Are you trying to tell me that I need to put some meaning into my life?" Wyatt asked, a grin for the first time in two hours lighting up his face. He crossed his arms and waited for a response.
"Yes and no Mr. Welles. However you must understand how akin you are to this man." Pandorian said, sitting back down in his seat at the head of the table. "You have no spouse, no close kin, and you're stuck in a dead-end job. You live in a single bedroom apartment with your two goldfish and you spend every Saturday night alone."
Wyatt groaned. "Thank you for pointing out how miserable my life is." He said, voice dripping in sarcasm.
"This is only half the point I'm trying to make. My organization needs people like you, and that is why you are here Mr. Welles. We've been watching you for some time but we now believe you are perfect for the job."
"So let me get this straight, you spend all your time stalking people with no lives just so you can lure them into working for you? No offense, but I'm completely lost and you're all completely insane."
"There's more to it Mr. Welles. You happen to be one of twenty people on the entire globe with a certain special…capability. As it so happens you're also unattached, an added bonus." Pandorian explained.
"Special capability? Care to indulge me?"
Pandorian eyed the woman sitting next to him. "You're suited for time travel Mr. Welles." She answered straightforwardly. "The fact your genetic material is so completely rare makes you unique. There are only twenty people known to us who can make the time leap, you included in that small number."
"You're kidding me." Wyatt groaned. Who were these psychopaths?
"We wish we were. Unfortunately you are our only candidate at the moment, so we must implore your help." She sighed as if this whole scenario taxed her mind.
"Who are you people!?" Wyatt screamed finally, making most of the people sitting around the table jump. Pandorian began to speak once more, this time softly and slowly. "We are a government agency that protects the very fabric of time itself." He couldn't help but roll his eyes at this response.
"Don't believe us yet? You will. And you will understand. For now you will walk with me and Ms. Howard while we give you a little tour, and hopefully by the end you will be in favor of our organization." Pandorian said, escorting both Wyatt and Ms. Howard out through the door. The stern-looking blonde placed her hands deep into her pockets and fell behind Pandorian and Wyatt as the older white-haired gentleman began to explain things further.
They walked in silence until another stainless steel door was in front of them, which quickly opened like the last two. "Don't you people have doorknobs?" Wyatt muttered under his breath. The whole situation was like an episode of The Twilight Zone.
They reached the middle of the floor and Wyatt was allowed to observe what he soon came to understand was the laboratory. A white tiled room surrounded the trio as Wyatt began to imagine himself being dissected on one of the sterile silver tables. He shivered noticeably and tried to block his mind from such things.
"Let me break this down for you." Ms. Howard suddenly said. "The United States government almost a decade back discovered a way to manipulate time. At this moment we cannot divulge any secrets to you, but know that while this was a major step in the advances of science there are some difficulties. Every time we tried out our technique for sending people through time the test subjects have completely broken down on the molecular level. After loosing quite a few…subjects to this unfortunate lack of understanding on our part, we finally realized that a person with a certain type of genetic deformity in their RNA would be prevented from molecular disintegration."
As Ms. Howard explained this Wyatt tried to take as much in as he could, but was distracted by a loud noise above him. "So are you implying that I am one of those people with this genetic deformity?" He asked, eyes on the ceiling.
"Exactly Mr. Welles!" Pandorian exclaimed. "And now I think you're well enough informed to play witness to a demonstration. If you please, come with me."
"Uh, I'd rather not." Wyatt said, backing away from the two lunatics. He didn't want any part in this "demonstration", whatever it may be.
Pandorian took Wyatt by the shoulder and led him over towards a small raised platform rather forcefully. "Unfortunately there is no way to prove this to you other than a quick demo."
"No thank you!" Wyatt cried, removing Pandorian's hand from his shoulder just short of the platform. "Before you said something about molecular disintegration. I may not be a scientist but I know that's probably not the most wonderful thing that could happen to someone."
"I'll be coming with you Mr. Welles should anything happen." Pandorian said with a slight edge to his voice. Wyatt raised an eyebrow at the man. "Yes Mr. Welles, I happen to be one of the 20 with the genetic mutation."
"And the one in the story I guess." Wyatt added, Pandorian nodding with a small sparkle of understanding in his eyes.
"How else did you think we were able to isolate the certain piece of RNA?" Ms. Howard asked with a wry grin that Wyatt didn't understand. Pandorian used this slight distraction in order to push Wyatt on to the platform. "Alright, I'm going to send you both thirty minutes back in time to when Mr. Welles first came into our building. For fun why not take him down to the camera room Doctor, then he'll believe what we're telling him to be true."
Wyatt stood on the platform next to Dr. Pandorian, nervousness tensing up in his stomach. He tried to relax by telling himself that nothing will happen once that red button was pressed in by Ms. Howard, but he couldn't help but believe that he would truly be sent back in time. He was hoping that someone would soon jump out from behind one of the silver panels and scream "Surprise! You're on our hidden camera show!" but alas, no one jumped out. He was staring at Ms. Howard and then he blinked and everything was gone.