Dr. Truett Brady moved slowly down the narrow corridor of the spacecraft, pausing every so often to let his stomach recover from its queasiness. The medics had offered to place him in stasis for the first week or so of the journey, warning that the effects of hyperspace travel could be severe, but Brady had declined. Now, as his stomach flipped again, he wondered if he had made the right decision.
“Good morning, Reverend!” Jett Halliday called out a little too cheerfully as Brady stepped onto the command bridge.
Brady managed to smile at the chipper pilot, but the look faded as he caught the captain’s stern eye. From the beginning of this project the crew had endearingly referred to Brady as “Reverend,” given his extensive seminary training, but Captain Steele had not been amused in the least.
The commanding officer unleashed the full force of his hard blue eyes on Brady. “You have no place on this bridge, Dr. Brady,” he said evenly. “Or on this project, for that matter. I’m afraid I’ll have to ask you to leave.”
Brady waited for another wave of nausea to wash over him, then held his hands up in mock surrender. “I didn’t mean to disturb you, Captain. I’m just here to meet with Dr. McCall for my weekly psyche evaluation.”
Sarina McCall, a dark-skinned woman with warm brown eyes, grabbed her TouchPad and stepped across the Bridge. “This is his scheduled time,” she confirmed. “We’ll only be a minute, Captain.”
Captain Steele snorted. “It’s Home Base that needs the psyche evaluation, if you ask me. Tell me this, Dr. Brady… what in the blazes is the Interplanetary Space League doing spending millions of credits to send a Bible-thumper on this mission? The rest of us have a clear purpose… I have extensive military training, Halliday is the best pilot in the galaxy, McCall holds Ph.D.s in biology, sociology, and psychology. But you? You’re nothing but a waste of oxygen!”
Brady swallowed hard, feeling his ears start to burn. “We’ve been over this before, Captain. We’re moving into unchartered territory in this mission. Traveling at speeds much faster than light…manipulating the time-space continuum. If our mission is successful, which I pray it will be, I’m here to help all of us deal with the theological implications.”
The captain cleared his throat a little too loudly. “Well, you’re about to be out of a job, Brady,” he said calmly. “When we prove that we can travel through time… that we can change history… your theories about an Almighty Being will go straight down the waste hatch.”
Brady shook his head. “No, I don’t think so. You see, I believe that God is both sovereign and transcendent… that nothing happens without His allowing it and that He is completely unbound by the laws of time. If we manage to successfully time travel we could attempt to change history, but in the end we’ll only be contributing to God’s sovereign plan rather than thwarting it. Because you see, He has known since before time began that we would be on this mission today, and anything we accomplish is already part of His ultimate plan.”
The captain shook his head severely. “You lost me at sovereign, Dr. Brady. Good luck with that psyche evaluation.”
Brady turned to go, when the ship lurched without warning. Warning sirens wailed, and the command bridge took on an eerie red hue as it was forced to use its emergency power generators.
“Report!” Captain Steele barked.
“Unidentified spatial distortion, sir,” Halliday yelled over the blaring alarms. “Looks like we’re being yanked out of hyperspace a few days ahead of schedule!”
The crew fell silent and held on for dear life as the spacecraft buckled under the strain of its unexpected deceleration. After a small lifetime of unimaginable turbulence, the ship fell silent and bathed the crew in natural lighting once again.
Obviously shaken, Captain Steele released his death grip on a nearby console. “Report,” he croaked. “Where are we?”
“Still at Earth, sir,” Halliday said, his trembling fingers racing over the blinking consoles. “The question is, when are we. If the computer is reading the nearby star signatures correctly, we’ve landed in the year 1 BC.”
No one said a word for a long while.
“1 BC?” the captain questioned, his voice cracking slightly. “Are you – ?”
“Positive, sir,” Halliday set his jaw. “Right on the dot.”
“What are the odds…” McCall mused.
“What caused the deceleration?” the captain demanded.
“No idea, sir.”
Suddenly, all eyes fell on Truett Brady.
“Jett,” Dr. Brady said slowly. “Where exactly in Earth’s orbit are we right now?”
The pilot ran a quick geometric scan. We’re now approaching the New American Conglomerate…”
Brady cut him off. “No, Jett. Use the old geographic data…before the Restructure.”
Halliday punched in a few new commands. “We’ve been traveling in a slow, rolling orbit over the African plains, and are losing speed and altitude as we approach Palestine.”
“If we maintain our present course, which city do you show we will arrive at just before falling out of orbit?”
Halliday’s eyes widened. “Bethlehem, sir.”
For a moment, it was as if the air had been vacuum suctioned from the room.
Brady cleared his throat. “Are our running lights on, by any chance?”
Brady bowed his head in reverent prayer, his heart worshipping like never before. Speechless, McCall and Halliday joined him.
And…ever so slowly… as the ethereal sound of celestial song made its way through the external sensors, Captain Steele bowed his head, too.
Their mission had been successful, but right now that didn’t seem important. For miles below them lay a tiny baby, sleeping in a manger, Who had just proven that He was, indeed, sovereign.
Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”