Naked cadavers lay across crude examining tables, waiting to be exploited. Dr. Arnault closed the double doors of his classroom and walked toward the crowd of students and barber-surgeons who were surrounding the tables and waiting for him. Sweat threatened to glisten his forehead, which he dabbed lightly with a handkerchief. Arnault had given up a posh life working in an air-conditioned lab amongst other educated and sophisticated scholars to come to this disease-ridden, archaic time. And the faster Arnault initiated his mission, the sooner he could retire to the countryside and live out the rest of his life as he saw fit.
“The future will appreciate my sacrifice,” he sighed to himself. “After all, it’s doomed without it.”
He took a deep breath and turned to his students. “It’s time for medicine to take a giant leap forward. Your church, your King Louis XIII, are holding back the medical world with their pomp, piety, and youthful indecisiveness. We must take matters into our own hands. Here, we will break their rules and you will learn the intricacies of the human body by seeing it firsthand. You must know how the body ticks in order to stall mortality.” He glanced at the tall gentleman in a black robe standing beside him. “My assistant will take it from here.”
Chest broad and shoulders back, the robed man stepped forward and spoke in an elegant voice. “Like myself, you are here because you have a desire to learn, to better yourself, and to help the citizens of France. Dr. Arnault will demonstrate how the body truly works, introduce us to medicines beyond our understanding, and you … I … will take this knowledge and spread it throughout France. No longer will the universities hold themselves above those not lucky enough to be born of wealth. No longer will we be subjugated to the mere slave work of the physicians they produce. We will call ourselves surgeons and physicians!”
A student raised a tentative hand. “Uh, sir, where did all these bodies come from?”
“You need not worry about such details. Dr. Arnault has arranged an endless supply for our educational needs. It is your job to practice and learn.”
Dr. Arnault studied the worried faces of his students, confident that with his twenty-second century knowledge he could revolutionize the medicine of this century within the year, as long as these students absorbed his teachings.
With his hands clasped behind his back, he turned to the nearest window and glanced up at the sky. The twenty-second century seemed a long time ago, yet it was only recently he’d sat amongst a group of eager vacationers in the ThirdEye Corporation vacation shuttle. He recalled the tiny vibrations that ran through his bones when the space vessel’s faster-than-light omni-drive had throttled up for its launch through the Nexus Point, a fabricated star-like construct located several light seconds away from Nexus Station, and which made time travel possible.
It was a thrilling ride Arnault would never forget but would also never take again. His mission both started and ended in the seventeenth century. But unlike the barber-surgeons and students before him wanting to change and better their own lives, Dr. Arnault needed to change the future.