“I want a lawyer,” Sam said, scowling at the review panel.
Three people sat on the other side of the table. On the right was a tall, thin woman with long, boney, white fingers. She hadn’t stopped tapping them on her open notebook since Sam and Earl walked in.
“Mr. Thiessen, this is not a trial and you are no longer a part of Earth’s archaic judicial systems,” she said.
In the middle of the trio was a tiny, meek-looking man who was made even smaller by the height of the first woman next to him. Even sitting, his head only came to her shoulder although part of that may have had more to do with how hunched over he was sitting. He had yet to look up at them.
“P-p-please help m-me to understand,” the second panelist stuttered. “Why d-d-didn’t you r-r-report this im-m-mediately?”
“I thought I could fix it on my own,” Earl said. “It seemed an easy fix at the time.”
“You are aware of the regulations surrounding time reversal are you not?” asked the third panelist, a plump woman with her hair pulled back severely into a bun.”
“I am,” Earl replied.
“And yet you reversed Josephine’s timeline more than 60 years into the past without research, analyses, or aid?” she asked.
“Yes,” Earl replied again.
“I see,” she said. She turned back to Sam, “And you were the one responsible for the initial reversal?”
“I’m not saying anything without a—”
“Enough! This is no—” she stopped abruptly when the man in the middle reached out and touched her arm. He leaned to the side and whispered in her ear.
“What—well that-that’s clear nepotism!” she sputtered.
He leaned over and whispered further. “Fine,” she said, through gritted teeth.
“We’ve unanimously decided that Samuel Thiessen requires more training and as such will return to the beginning. However,” she said while scowling. “He is permitted to continue as an apprentice to the Guardians of Time,”
The woman with the bony fingers raised her eyebrows at this pronouncement, but said nothing.
With that, they began to stand up and gather their things.
“Wait!” Earl said, looking from one to the other. “What about Josephine’s timeline? What is the plan to correct course? What resources will be allocated?”
The board look at him in befuddlement. “N-n-none,” said the man.
“You’re just going to leave her timeline altered?” He was now standing, leaning down on his hands which were balled up in fists on the table.
He continued to argue, but no one was listening as they made a hasty retreat from the room.
“They can’t do that!” he said, once they left. “What about Josephine?”
“Why do you care?” Sam asked. “You got off scot-free. I have to redo all of my training. If you want to feel sorry for anyone, feel sorry for me.” He sighed dramatically.
“Oh, I do,” Earl said. “Because you’re the one who’s going to help me fix her timeline.”