Another day, another leg of the journey east. As the kids watched the days go by, Rick spotted what looked like a permanent cloud bank in the not too distant East, in reality, land locked in mists. As their little boat and the tides took them ever closer, the elements of a landscape became clearer and clearer. Olive trees. Simple dwellings. Hanging flowers over hand-hewn bowers. A lovely, lovely place.
They found a small inlet, a little bay, and they were able to pull the boat in far enough, they could cover it with tree limbs. Where ever they were, they knew this was a stop that was not permanent, only a stop over. They started walking down a dusty pathway. Ahead of them, the seat of power for the entire world, power in full force, ahead of them, just down the road.
Nobody paid much attention to them. Their clothes were weird. Think denims in a place that was looking more and more like Rome. Dark headed peeps. Off-white togas. Latin-speaking citizens.
"I've narrowed down our time to 300 or 400 years before "The Big, Big Time Change," said Petey.
"Let's ask somebody," Larry said. "But I suspect they don't know yet about the BC/AD thing."
Along the pathway, the teens spotted a young man, sitting and leaning against a gigantic stone. He was a color and a body type the kids had never seen. He was very lean and very tall. Omega was over six feet, and this young man was closer to seven. His hair was curled tight and cut into very unusual geometric shapes. Very sophisticated, in the mind of the teens, and striking. "And," Larry mused, "his skin is a color that I've never seen before, a bluish-purple."
"So," Larry asked. "Have you seen a green dragon flying through here, carrying a white guy who is having a fit the entire way?"
"Well, it's not the first thing that comes to mind," the young man said in flawless Latin. "My name is Marcus. You're not from around here?" Omega translated.
"Nope, we might not even be from now," John-John said. "Mr. Marcus, you don't look like you were born here either. Or your parent's weren't."
"My parents are slaves," Marcus said. "High-powered slaves, with prestige, in the household of our magistrate. They were born in Africa in the small nation of Berundi. They are Watussi. Long, lean, brave people who command respect by their beauty and their presence. We live here now, we want to go home some day. It is a long walk, however, a very long walk."
With that they heard footsteps, military footsteps, precisio ed, disciplined, intentional. Marcus turned to Omega, Petey, John-John, and the kids. "Hurry, Hide," he whispered. "You must not be here, because you are strangers, and strangers are not at all welcome in this city-state now or ever.
"I can make us invisible," Omega said. "I'm good at hiding in plain sight."
And then Marcus was standing in the Italian sun.