It seemed an eternity and a moment at the same time as the white school bus propelled by Professor Emmett brown’s flux capacitor made the transition from 2012 to the year 650, the time Brown identified as the correct year to trace down the root of the Mayan Calendar Inaccuracy.
Hannah remembered thinking she wished she had completed some due diligence in vetting the information in the papers she scooped out of Brown’s DeLorean, but the ticking of the clock toward the December 21st hard stop was growing louder all the time. Grasping at straws made her so uncomfortable; it was more Joe’s usual mode of operations, at least when things got to such a hopeless point.
She knew Mrs. Salyer would likely try to remove both of them from their jobs for this, so at this point it was better to follow the trail. That word took on a new meaning as the bright light that accompanied their transition gave way to a somewhat familiar scene of palm trees, sparsely populated land and a rough rod underneath the bus wheels.
“Slow down!” Hannah screamed above the still roaring music.
Joe had both hands on the steering wheel, his knuckles white as he tried to maintain control.
“I am trying, tell the brakes!” he added, pumping hard to no avail.
Hannah’s fingers cramped from the constant effort to hold on. She wondered how much time had elapsed since they rolled away from Brown’s house. She knew there was no real way to gauge. As a reflex she brought up her cellular phone. There was no signal and the date at the bottom would not even register, likely because they had no cell towers nearby.
Her first real clue that something strange was underway was that the only other people here were walking and dressed very differently than she or Joe. IT took a minute for her to settle her nerves and allow her super analytical brain to cut through all the distractions to realize what she saw.
“I don’t believe this!’ she said, shuffling through Brown’s paper to confirm her new assumption.
“You don’t believe what?” Joe asked as he fought to slow the large vehicle.
Hannah did not answer; she could not until her science questions were answered. She knew this was real enough, but could not begin to wrap her mind around the science that would be required to make it true. She saw the theories explained in Brown’s scratching across numerous pages. Perhaps it was possible. The beginning of belief only served to introduce so many more questions that just were not pertinent at the moment.
“Buzz!” Joe said, wanting to understand.
Hannah stopped thumbing through the sheaf of papers when she found what she felt confirmed her suspicions. The color in her face drained away with the realization of where they were. That silly old man had actually stumbled on something.
“Hannah, talk to me. What is going on?”
Hannah stood to look out the large windows of the front of the bus for landmarks. Her search stopped when she settled on the most dominant feature within sight. It was a large Mayan village, probably about a mile down this long dusty road.
“Look!” was all she could manage.
They were both relieved as the power on the bus began to automatically decrease, allowing the large vehicle to roll to a stop. Outside the vehicle they shielded their eyes from the hot afternoon sun as they took in the impressive site. While they both had seen “Mayan Ruins” and archaeological sites before, there was something familiar, yet wrong about the way this looked.
“Any idea where we are?” Joe asked.
“No. Cell phones are no good. I cannot use my GPS locator.”
“I have seen this place before; at least part of it anyway.”
“It is Cahal Pech,” Hannah said, not believing her own eyes.
“That’s impossible! Cahal Pech is not totally unearthed like this. If this is Cahal Pech then that would mean…” Joe’s voice trailed off.
Hannah nodded then simply said “Yeah.”
It took nearly an hour for them to find a safe place to hide the bus. They knew how the Mayans felt about strangers and were certain something like their time traveling bus would be extremely hard to explain. During this time they also read every word of Brown’s papers, which revealed his strategy and explanation of the theory he had about the missing key that would join the first half of their calendar to the other.
According to his rough scribbles there was a disagreement back in 650 between the two dominant Mayan rulers of the time. Both had a competing view of how the calendar should be changed to reflect their respective views of their culture. After several contentious debates that only led to a larger separation in their proposals, the two decided to not extend the calendar past December 21, 2012, which was a full 1,462 years from this moment. Certainly far behind their scope of legacy, they figured some other leader would stop “kicking the can down the road” and continue the calendar to infinity.
Now the time was short and Hannah worried they would not be able to convince the proud men to compromise in time to make a difference.
“According to Brown’s notes the leader here is King Juan Carlos.”
“You know how the process works,” Joe said. “How likely are we to get to talk to the king?”
“We are just going to have to figure something out,” Hannah said. “Just like Brown did.”
“Is there anything there about who he contacted here?”
“Let me see….” Hannah replied scanning Brown’s notes.
“Prince Katurba!” Hannah announced.
With a bit more knowledge of the situation, the two walked toward the towering village. They could see considerable activity in the area around the main structures, which of course was the citizens going about their lives. Hannah felt uncomfortable as two men dressed like guards approached. She knew the Mayans preferred beheading their enemies and she preferred breathing.
“Did Professor Brown send you?” one of the guards asked.
This was the moment of truth. Was Brown going to be their ticket in or the one that wrote their death sentence?
“Do you understand us,” the other guard asked.
“Yes,” Joe said stepping in front of Hannah.
“Prince Katurba sent us to retrieve Doctor Brown or his friends. He says we are running out of time.”
“He’s right,” Hannah told them.
“Then we must hurry!”
The first stop of the quartet was a place where Joe and Hannah donned traditional Maya clothing, so they looked more acceptable. Brown had done the same before petitioning King Juan Carlos. The prince had not been hard to convince once Brown gained an audience with him. He was a forward thinker and understood the long, long term ramifications of his father’s disagreement with King Omar of Pachuca. An agreement had to be reached within the next two days.
Joe bowed with Hannah doing her best curtsy when a man in traditional regal garb approached, obviously being Prince Katurba.
“You are friends of Doctor Brown?” the prince asked.
“Yes,” Joe answered, knowing Hannah might hesitate due to her legalistic interpretation of every question.
“Is Doctor Brown okay?” the Prince asked.
Again Joe knew he would have to jump in as Hannah’s analytical brain jumped back to their last sight of the man, sprawled out on the ground at his house.
“He sent us in his stead,” Joe replied.
Hannah tried hard to keep her expression in check. She understood the gravity of Joe’s deception, which could mean the continuation of their lives.
“Doctor Brown said he had a document that would convince my father that the calendar must continue. Did he send this with you?” Prince Katurba asked.
Both scientists knew the time for bluffing was over. This time the answer had to be correct.
“We have many documents Doctor Brown sent,” Hannah spoke first. “We need some time to review them before we approach the king.”
“Very well. I will arrange a meeting for two hours from now.” With that Prince Katurba turned and followed his contingent of guards toward his chambers further up the main structure.
“Now what?” Joe asked.
“I have no idea,” Hannah whispered.
Note: This is the third installment of a multi-part serial fiction work created by Hannah McAmis and Joe Owens. Hannah is a 16 yr old junior at Twin Springs High School and I had the joy of meeting her and her family on a recent mission trip to Belize. Please understand this is merely an opportunity to collaborate on a purely fictional work. As Christians we both know the world will not end on Friday, but thought we could have some fun with the subject.