|"Death in Vesunna" |
Set in OTL
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||21st Century|
|Affiliations:||Partnered with Lou Muller|
Mark Alvarez was a time traveler from 2059 AD. He was a tall, solidly built man with hard, dark eyes.
He and his partner Lou Muller made a living by clandestinely retrieving lost books from the past while avoiding any trail that the Time Patrol might pick up. Alvarez had the connections to get access to a timer and he provided the muscle if there was trouble with the locals.
During one trip to 147 AD and the Roman Empire, Muller picked up a rumor that someone in the town of Vesunna in Aquitaine had a copy of Sophokles' Aleadai. They followed up and met with Clodius Eprius privately in his villa. He agreed to sell it for 75 aurei but first wished to have a copy made since it was a family heirloom. This was unacceptable since it would leave a trail that the Time Patrol might pick up. Alvarez attempted to steal the scroll instead but Eprius resisted, striking him a hard blow with his stout walking stick. While Eprius turned his attention to Muller, Alvarez recovered, drew a revolver and shot Eprius dead.
Muller was horrified but Alvarez said that, with the way Eprius was shouting, he had no choice. As they left the villa with the scroll, he reminded Muller that they had researched Eprius and that his death would not leave any downtime clues. Muller then objected that a bullet would be clue enough. Alvarez replied that the local yokels wouldn't understand it and would call it the wrath of the gods and forget about it. All they had to do was sit tight for three weeks for their timer to recharge and then they would be rich.
Muller acquiesce but then realized that they left the purse of gold aurei behind. Alvarez told him to relax, it had only cost them 30 credits and that it would only confuse the issue for the locals. They arrived at their inn prepared to wait it out.
A few days before their timer was ready to return them to the future, Muller heard of another rare document that was available for purchase: Hieronymos of Kardin's history. Muller made arrangements to meet with the seller, the town's doctor by the name of Kleandros and the two arrived at his house the day before their timer was set to return them to the future.
They seated themselves in Kleandros' courtyard and, after some pleasantries, Muller began to haggle with Kleandros. Alvarez found the process drawn out and boring but the price of twenty-eight aurei didn't seem unreasonable. Kleandros went inside to fetch the document while Muller counted out the gold coins into a small stack on the table. Kleandros returned and gave Muller the scroll and then scooped up the money looking at it intently. This concerned Alvarez but Kleandros looked up and grinned. He said it was amazing how much more handsome an emperor looked when his face was on gold.
Suddenly, Muller who had been reading the scroll gave a shout and said that it was the work of Diodoros of Sicily who had borrowed from Hieronymos. Alvarez rose, with his muscles bunching, to make Kleandros sorry for trying to cheat them. A crash behind them cause Alvarez to turn and reach for his gun. A half dozen fully armored Romans were rushing them.
He fired a wild shot when his gun hand was dragged down by Kleandros. He clouted the doctor with his left fist but the Romans were on them. One knocked the gun from his hand with his sword and the rest brought him down and tied him up. An older, grizzled Roman (Gaius Tero) announced that they were under arrest for the murder of Clodius Eprius.