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The judge banged his gavel for silence. "All rise!" commanded the clerk, and Jason Scott stood to hear his sentence. He could hear faint chanting from outside the courtroom, as crowds of protesters proclaimed "Death to paedophiles!"

The judge looked at him sternly. "You have been found guilty of molesting several children. You do not appear to be at all repentant for this, so I am imposing the maximum penalty that the law allows - twenty years, without parole."

Scott was led away to his cell below the court, and then left alone. Suddenly, he heard a noise behind him, and turned around. In his shock at seeing someone phase through the wall, he cried out, which alerted the guard. The new arrival grabbed his arm, and hissed "Quickly, come with me, we don't have much time." Jason wasn't sure who she was, but given his current surroundings, he wasn't about to ask too many questions. She pressed a button on her belt, and a glowing whirlpool coalesced on the floor before them, which she leapt into, pulling Jason behind her. However, by this time the guard had unlocked the door, and he rushed into the cell after them. He was somewhat surprised to see them vanish, but after a moment's hesitation he followed. He was just in time, as the stone floor reformed behind him, removing the heel from his shoe in the process.

Inside the portal, the walls were swirling masses of colour, yet they were solid. Prison Officer Dominic Peterson saw the two fugitives ahead of him, and called out "Stop! Who do you think you are?" The woman turned, and from her tone of voice it was evident that she found his attitude rather amusing.

"My name is Melissa Drake, and stopping is not an option. Now that we've entered the tunnel, we will maintain our relative positions until we reach our destination. You can't speed up, and we can't slow down, so you may as well make yourself comfortable."

Peterson wasn't overjoyed by this. "And where are we going? You can't just break into a prison, and expect to get away with it! Besides which, why are you helping him? The guy's a pervert, who preys on helpless little girls. He belongs behind bars."

Now Melissa's voice changed from humour to anger. "First of all, the question isn't where, it's when. I am from your future, you ignorant little primate, and I am liberating this man from your narrow-minded oppression. In my era, people like him are venerated, not imprisoned! In my youth, I was 'abused' as you call it, and it was the most liberating experience of my life. Sexual freedom shouldn't be limited, it should be open to all."

"No!" interrupted Peterson. "That's just wrong! The only people who think like that are deviants, and we can't let them run free."

"Oh really?" rejoined Drake. "Tell me, officer, how do you feel about the Spanish Inquisition? Or the Crusades? History repeats itself, and the bigots oppress what they don't understand."

"That's different - that was a long time ago, and we're more advanced now. But it sounds to me like morality is going downhill, if you're what we become."

"But of course", came the sarcastic response. "Naturally, the 20th century must be the absolute pinnacle of human evolution. There's no way that we could continue to advance, as time goes by."

Now the tunnel began to widen, and an aperture was visible ahead. "As for you officer, I'm afraid that you will not be welcome in our society, so I think that a different destination will be more appropriate. Since you are such a relic, I'll send you to be among your own kind." As she and Jason slid through the opening, Melissa spun round, and typed a new year into a panel mounted on the wall, marked "Emergency diversion": One million BCE.

As Peterson fell away screaming, Melissa turned to Jason with a warm smile. "Come along, there's a whole new world out here for you, with people who'll be grateful for your attention. They just don't know it yet."

This page was last updated on 2003-12-29 by John C. Kirk

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