A NEW BEGINNING"Was it really so wrong when some good-old-guys made their own moonshine whiskey? Or when rich folks paid to be space tourists? Or when they started mining the asteroids and upset the stupid commodities markets? Or way back when they added carbonated water to patent medicine and made Coca Cola? I'm just glad they did," said Ben West.He held the glass to his ear to listen to the bubbles bursting for a while. Then he added. "Look, you just can't put the bubbles back in and pretend it hasn't happened.""Time travel is different," said Sara."It's against the laws of nature and what you are going to do sure does go against some of the laws we have right here and now. So be careful."Ben grinned at his own response, "You can't go against the laws of nature. Either something works or it doesn't work. The Department's got itself well into time travel and with taxpayers' money. That's our money you know. And it looks like everyone we work with thinks it's OK."He looked around the near empty café. Just the two of them late in the day at the same old table. Nothing much to see except the multi-media they could have gone home for or the never ending haze drifting it's choking way outside the bio-dome. That's why we've been coming here all these years he thought, it's about being able to look out, nothing more, there should be something more. Then a door slammed somewhere and his mind came back with a jolt to the cancer and the crippling medical bills and why he had to go back."Anyway," said Sara. "What if you get caught?"Hey, I won't get caught. I know my way around. Ought to, I've worked here long enough. I've got the all the clearances. The security computer thinks I'm one of the good guys. What's more, if they don't get me before I go back they don’t get me at all. I'll be history."As they had planned, they didn't have the luxury of a proper goodbye, just one last long squeeze of hands that the surveillance systems wouldn't pick up on.Ben whispered, "You know what they say. If only we could know then what we know now."Then he was gone.* * *It was the day they went over to the private sector, the day the Department was taken over by the Ben West Corporation.Sara had a good seat in the front row for Ben's well scripted and well delivered speech. She nodded at his tales of how he had kept his research ahead of the competition both worldwide and domestically. She giggled at the jokes just a little more than perhaps she should have.More than once, their eyes met as he spoke and she found herself thinking out loud, "If only I'd been lucky enough to have met someone like that."endA New Beginning was accepted for E-book publication in the Stories in the Ether, Issue Four, May 2012, having first appeared in the online version, Nevermet Press, 23 Dec 2011.