Although the former Soviet republic might seem remote, Uzbekistan once sat at the very center of the world. In the first millennium, no traveler could pass from Asia to Europe without stopping in the Silk Road strongholds of Bukhara and Samarkand, and as a result these cities evolved into rich cultural centers. For intrepid travelers, today’s Uzbekistan is a promised land: a Muslim-majority nation that’s both safe and affordable, with few tourists and an abundance of well-preserved mosques and harems. And since the death of authoritarian president Islam Karimov last year, the new regime has taken steps toward reform that have given both Uzbeks and the international community reason for optimism. Improving relations with Iran could soon bring a rail link to the Persian Gulf, and in 2016, the Afrosiyob high-speed-train line began connecting the country’s major cities. Meanwhile, Uzbekistan should benefit from the so-called Iron Silk Road, or Trans-Asian Railway — a Chinese-funded network of routes knitting together Beijing and Europe — once a segment connecting the country through Kyrgyzstan is completed. Book a customized journey with Exeter International, which specializes in the region. —Heidi Mitchell
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The team track down Simon (Traveler 0004), a specialist who developed the consciousness transfer technology in the future, who was sent into a host body that developed schizophrenia after arrival. Simon, who set up the Travelers' communications system in the 21st, is haunted by hallucinations of Vincent, who previously convinced an institutionalized Simon that the Director wanted him to next build transfer technology in the 21st. 

Travelers transfer into a cult preparing for mass suicide. MacLaren's team, the cult, and many other travelers, including senior engineer Bloom, meet at the antimatter facility. Bloom reveals that the future has been subtly rewritten and is not as united as it once was. Dosed with antitoxin, they release a toxic cloud to force a local evacuation. Gleason interrogates Delaney until MacLaren returns her to the facility and explains the nature of travelers. Gleason discovers Delaney's escape and prepares to return to her lab. Using the antimatter to power an x-ray laser, the travelers intend to deflect asteroid Helios 685, saving millions of lives and preventing the environmental catastrophes and devastating wars that led to their dark future. Deflecting Helios has been the Director's main goal, even though it could possibly prevent the travelers' own births in the future. Gleason leads an assault, killing most of the cult travelers and Bloom before she can fire the laser. However, travelers transfer into his soldiers and eventually into him, sacrificing themselves to complete the mission. The traveler within Gleason fires the laser while MacLaren and his team save Delaney from the antimatter explosion on Bloom's orders. MacLaren is unsure of the mission's success, as his team remains in the present.
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