| The Gladiator |
Earliest Known POD: October-November, 1962
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||Italy (home timeline)|
|Date of Birth:||ca. 2067|
Eduardo Caruso (b. ca. 2067) was a clerk at The Gladiator in Milan, Italian People's Republic. Caruso was actually an employee of Crosstime Traffic, and was visiting an alternate where communism ruled the world, as part of a scheme to quietly introduce notions of capitalism.
Caruso became friendly with a regular customer, Gianfranco Mazzilli. Gianfranco quite proudly admitted that his favorite game, Rails across Europe, was helping him in his studies. Caruso was careful to keep the store's secrets, until the Security Police shut the store down. Caruso had been away from the store when the raids came, and so was stranded. He approached Gianfranco and his friend Annarita Crosetti for help, telling them the truth of his origins. They agreed, and brought Eduardo to Annarita's father, Dr. Filippo Crosetti. Dr. Crosetti agreed to give Caruso shelter, introducing him as a distant cousin, Silvio Pagnozzi. Only the Crosettis and Gianfranco knew the truth; Gianfranco's father Cristoforo Mazzilli, was a minor party official, and so could not know.
Caruso spent some weeks with the Crosettis. He hoped to make his way to San Marino, where Crosstime Traffic had maintained one last store. However, he couldn't make a move while the Security Police were on the lookout. So, he waited, and shared insights into his timeline. Both Gianfranco and Annarita were intrigued by the possibilities his world presented, especially the greater freedom most of Caruso's world enjoyed.
Eventually, both families and Caruso travelled to San Marino. Caruso was shocked to discover that the Crosstime Traffic store, The Three Sixes, had already been compromised by the Security Police (who were acting violation of San Marino's sovereignty). However, Crosstime Traffic also maintained a repair shop By the Arch Repairs in nearby Rimini. The employees of this shop had repaired the elevator in the apartment building where the Mazillis and the Crosettis lived. With Annarita and Gianfranco's help, the Crosstimers hatched an escape plan.
The Crosstimers, Annarita and Gianfranco decided that the best way to get into the store was to get the Security Police out. Knowing how fiercely San Marino defended its autonomy, Gianfranco informed his father that Three Sixes was spreading capitalism. Cristoforo Mazzilli brought this to the attention of the Sammarinese police. The Mazzillis and Annarita returned to the store with two Sammarinese officers. This blew the cover of the Italian Security Police, who were angered at the upstart Sammarinese officials. In turn, the Sammarinese were angered that their country's sovereignty had been so boldly violated by Italy.
In the confusion, the Crosstimers, who'd been "browsing" in the store, were supposed to sneak into the basement and escape. However, their presence was noted. When the Sammarinese moved to arrest them, Eduardo took Gianfranco "hostage". The Crosstimers and Gianfranco fled into the basement and transported back to the home timeline.
Caruso chaperoned Gianfranco around the home timeline for a few days. Gianfranco was then sent back to his own world.