ARC VI PART III: First Century Problems
June, 67 C.E.
"This way, we're not far off," Ken said, glancing back at Atticus as he made his way through the marketplace.
Atticus ran his hand through his fluffy hair. "Good," he said. "I see why cowboy boots and pants were invented; these sandals are killing me, and this toga is a tad too breezy for comfort." To prove his point, he tugged at the hem of his blue garment.
"Actually that's a chiton," Ken said. He ducked through two booths, almost loosing Atticus. But the man was too fast, and in an instant he was back by Ken's side.
"Sir, as your bonafide P.A., it would be real nice if you could tell me where we're headin', as well as just what it is we're doing that requires me to forgo my hat and put on this Roman dress," Atticus said with a beleaguered grin. "Also, if you could slow down just a tad, that would be swell. I'm 64% machine at this point, and if this machinery starts overheating, we're gonna have a problem." He gestured to the cloth wraps around his leg and arm, which gave him the appearance of a leper. Good. It meant people would leave them alone.
Guilt tugged at Ken's heart. Perhaps he was being too hard on Atticus. After all, he could very well just be an ordinary cyborg personal assistant, completely ignorant to both Misha's plans and the target on Ken's chest. Or, more accurately, his wrists.
Nervously, Ken touched the cufflinks, which he had tied with a leather strap around each wrist. His eyes darted back to Atticus' face. Perhaps it was the deep scar that ran from one corner the man's face to the other, or the slight smugness in his eyes that reminded Ken of a house cat that was toying with a mouse... either way, Ken had a hunch that he ought not turn his back on this Atticus for too long.
"I need to check out a book from the library," Ken said, and Atticus raised his eyebrows with amusement.
"I hope that after all this, you didn't forget your card," he said. Ken chuckled, if only to hide his nervousness. It was true, he has going to check out a book. But for the first time in his life, Ken had no intention of returning it. Rather, this book needed to be burned, and as quickly as possible.
They continued down dusty roads and through a maze of clay and plaster houses until they reached a clearing. And, in the center of all the hustle and bustle of Alexandia, stood the Musaeum- as in, the very origin of the word "museum" itself. The sun glittered of its tiled roof and impressive pillars, and though this may not have been the height of the Musaeum's influence, the building was no less magnificent. Ken couldn't help but grin.
"Tell me, Atticus, what do you know about the Library of Alexandria?" Ken asked, moving towards the building's entrance.
Atticus rubbed one of his sideburns. "Last I heard, it went down in flames faster than Lee Jae-wook's marriage; no disrespect to the agent, but heck, I was in prison when all that happened, and let me tell you, I can only listen to a man have a mental breakdown for so long. I feel like that was a worse punishment than the cell."
"I'm sorry, did you say prison?" Ken asked, his head snapping back at Atticus.
The man smiled sheepishly. "Intertimentional tax evasion," he said, shrugging.
"Ah. We'll I'm sorry prison was so taxing on your mental health," Ken said, but even puns could not bring him comfort at this moment. "Is tax evasion how you lost 64% of your body?"
"Come now, partner, I can't give away all my secrets in one go, can I?" Atticus replied with a grin. "Now, I believe you had a book you were wanting to find?"
YOU ARE READING
The Time Traveler's Tea HouseScience Fiction
(Watty "Wild Card" Winner 2018) In the heart of Edinburgh, there lies a tea house that has been in business for over 100 years, despite the sign on the door always proclaiming it closed. It provides a haven for a specific type of traveler: one who j...