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Read Part I of Time Is Dying here.

Quick Recap: Time is dying. Those were the words that lured Jeremiah Jesus, an American translator with a haunted past, into the eerie silence of an abandoned ship on Lac Leman. Adrift in the cold winter night, he reflects on the chain of dubious decisions that brought him here. If only he’d listened to his Mama Grace…


Within minutes, I was on the barstool drinking something black with the consistency of milk. I heard someone say “Time is dying,” and then they laughed. What distinguished this speaker from the background noise, however, was what they said next. “Twelve hours easy, eleven maybe, ten if we piss quick when we gas up the car.” 

The voice was American and ten hours anywhere would put us outside of Germany, so I turned around, wobbled a bit, and used my genuine Southern drawl to say, “Hi, mind if I take this seat?”

“American?” The man was pale with short, dark hair and an easy smile. He barely looked old enough to be in a bar.

“Yep, I heard you and thought it would be friendly to say hi.”

“Well, hi, I’m Matt.” He reached his hand out and I took it.

“George.” The other one offered his hand. He had a mousy look with brown hair and expensive glasses. He didn’t have the boyish face of his friend, but they were both young.

“So, what are you two Americans doing in Germany?”

“I flew out here to meet my girlfriend who’s in the Air Force, and George drove up from Switzerland. We used to room together in college. But, Riley had to head out and I’m left high and dry here, so we were talking about heading to Geneva.”

“Geneva? What’s there?”

“George works for CERN. He said he might be able to get me in to see the super collider.”

Very cool,” I said. Matt beamed and George grinned a bit. “Engineer?”

“Sort of.” His voice was melodic, but had a hint of bass to it when he hit the hard consonants. “I’m an experimental physicist. Or I will be, one day, when I finish my doctorate and get some good publications under my belt. Right now, I’m working with a team looking at the pressure in the tubes used by the collider. It’s basically like a prestigious internship. You? You don’t look military or business.”

“Freelance academic.” I gave my generic smile. “Translator. I was here turning in some work for a university. My flight out is grounded. so I came down here to drink as I don’t like being in Germany.”

“Really?” That was Matt.

“Really. You know what it’s like to be walking along, fall into a sewer, crawl out covered in crap and then get hit by a car?”

“Nope.” He chuckled.

“Well, neither do I, but it sounds like more fun than I’ve ever had in Germany.”

“Come on.” George grinned.

“Oh, I’m serious.” I interrupted him. “And I got a brilliant idea. I heard you guys talking about driving somewhere. I’ll buy you beers, food, gas, whatever. I just don’t want to sit any longer in Deutschland than I have to. Driving myself might get me out of here faster, but if you’re going to see the super collider I gotta see if I can tag along. That would make a long drive through Germany worth it!”

They looked at each other. Matt was deadpan, George shrugged, and I ended up in the backseat of a four-door headed down E51. We chatted about nothing in particular as we made our way through the dark. Somewhere around Leipzig Matt turned around to the backseat. “So, you like science?”

“Yeah. I read as much as I can follow, but I don’t really know a whole lot. At a certain point, it’s all math and I’m not a math guy.”

“How much do you know about the collider?” George asked.

“Not much,” I said. “I remember people saying it would destroy the universe and stuff. I’ve read about the Higgs-Boson and it being not found, then found, and so on and so forth. I guess it’s all back and forth until there’s enough independent replication and verification either way.”

George nodded, his face looking into the back seat. “Yep, you got it. Perpetual maybe, I call it. Still, once it’s worked out, the stuff being done now will be the foundation of the future.”

Right then, I decided that George was a good guy and I felt a little sorry for him. He was a priest of the church of Science, the pure kind that looks for the names of god in the stars. I liked scientists and priests like him, there wasn’t a lot of difference, to be honest. Science isn’t as kind as that in the real world though. The true believers, like George, often get woken up like babies in cold bath water at some point, poor bastards.

I tried to shake the thought. ”I got interested back when I worked for a carnival when I was a kid. We had a strongman with a science degree. He worked out all kinds of neat tricks to seem stronger than he really was, and he set up acts that guys from the audience couldn’t do even though they were a lot bigger than him.”

“Carny huh?” Matt asked.


“I was raised by circus clowns.”

“No shit?”

“No shit. Mom, Dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles, everyone. You should see our family photo.”

“Did you get dressed up for it?”

“Yeah, I was like ten at the time.”

“What do you do now?”

“Oceanic exploration. I help find mineral deposits, oil, things like that.”

“How much are you out at sea?”

“About half the year. When I’m back, I crash with my parents or my girlfriend.

“Sounds a bit like carnival travel. You’re out a lot, living in motion, maybe someplace to come back to but it’s not really home. Not like people think of where you get rooted down.”

He was studious for a minute and smiled again. “I hadn’t thought of it like that, but yeah, I guess you’re right. How did you go from carny to translator?”

“I didn’t stay a carny. I kind of took whatever job I could to stay on the road.”

“No home?”

“None that I wanted to come back to. I found I had a gift for languages and picked them up easily. I started pushing myself to see if I could pick up dead languages. It’s different, but the same. I was just translating documents left by a dead culture that was totally sacked. The only thing that we know about their language is what others wrote about it. Creating a good translation guide was a challenge.”

“How long ago was that?” George jumped in.

“Not sure. Some records say they still existed 400 years ago, some say 600. Everyone agreed they were amazing and advanced, but now we can’t even figure out within 200 years if their city had been razed yet.”

“Time is dying.”

To be continued…


© 2023 – 2024, Liam Armitage

Editor’s Note:

Would you like to unleash your storytelling skills? Leave a comment below or e-mail your idea, story or poem to and, who knows, your words could become the stuff of legend aboard the Resilience. Or maybe we’ll find them a spot in one of our Libertalia Tales collections.


Liam grew up watching Gojira movies, wandering through the woods with feral dogs as his friends, and hunting for cheap science fiction books in second-hand bookstores. Upon becoming old enough to immigrate, Liam’s wanderlust led him down a path of exploring just how much trouble he could get into, without actually breaking any laws, in various legal systems.

Along the way, he played D&D with one of its creators, learned archery from Buddhist monks and, when he won a Warmachine tournament, triggered a set of quantum incidents that started a thousand-generation dynasty that transformed a parallel universe. However, due to the different flow of time, that entire universe suffered its cosmic heat death in three days and Liam never noticed.

After he was threatened with a gun in a bar in Hong Kong and woke the next morning either being legally married to a waitress or owing a life debt to a gangster, it wasn’t clear, he decided it was time to return home. He now lives in his office painting miniatures, writing and updating a spider board with the movements of the twelve secret kings.


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