April 18, 1955
“Albert is dead.”
“I’m terribly sorry. This is awful,” said Sophie, “but yesterday, I knew the end was coming when he was admitted to Princeton Hospital. Didn’t you sense it, Dr. Rosenthal?” she asked shoving her teal rimmed glasses back in place.
“Yeah, I suppose so. He’ll be greatly missed here at IAS and—”
“Forgive me, Dr. Rosenthal, it goes without saying he’ll be missed. More importantly, Albert will never be forgotten. Albert Einstein changed the world during his seventy-six years,” said Sophie as a few tears slid down her pale cheek.
“Um, Sophie…Miss Cervantes, head home. I’ve put you in charge of organizing Albert’s office, but that can wait,” said Dr. Rosenthal in a soft-spoken voice eliciting true compassion.
Feeling her stomach flip, Sophie grabbed her raincoat to leave, but then stopped. Picking up a black and white photograph of Einstein, she said, “This one’s my favorite…he looks happy. It was his 70th birthday party at his home in Princeton, New Jersey.” Sophie’s trembling fingers skimmed the photograph’s glass as a half-smile momentarily eased her pain. “He loved the kids, you know?”
“Yeah, Albert sure did,” he said while admiring the photograph. “They are the future.”
“Yes, well…the future will have to wait on me.” Placing the photograph back on Einstein’s cluttered desk, she said, “You’re right. No way can I work now.” Hurrying past Dr. Rosenthal, Sophie mumbled, “This is a dark day, indeed. I’ll miss you, Albert.”
* * * *
May 23, 1955
Slipping away from Sophie, the dusty box hit the floor to break open. Documents, notes, and files spilled out making a huge mess.
“Fantastic. I’ve killed an antique lamp and a picture frame, and now this happens. Jeez, what’s next?” Plopping down beside the paper mountain, Sophie then instinctively alphabetized the labeled files and stacked everything else in small piles. “Hum, where do these belong?” she asked looking at a bunch of papers. “This is not Albert’s handwriting.”
Flipping through the stapled hodgepodge of wrinkled papers, written in various colors of ink, curiosity got the better of her. “Time Travel 1953? Whoa, is this a short story? Yeah, maybe one of Albert’s previous students wanted him to see it.” After reading a few pages, Sophie confirmed Time Travel 1953 as fiction. “Oh, boy…Charlie will get a kick out of this. I mean, seriously, a time machine?”
* * * *
June 30, 1955
“Charlie! Open up…I have something for you,” said Sophie while pounding on the office door, IAS-238.
“No. I’ll pass. Just go away, Sophie,” replied Dr. Charlie Wilkinson.
“Oh, come on, don’t be a baby. I’ll pay to have your car fixed, okay? It’s only a scratch.”
The door opened like a hurricane had just passed by. “Just a scratch? It runs down the entire left side of my Jaguar. Hell, I knew something would happen, but I ignored that voice of reason in my head,” said Charlie still peeved about her irresponsibility.
“Yeah, well, I’m here to make amends.” Shoving Time Travel 1953 into his chest, Sophie’s pale blue eyes lit up. “Since your British skin won’t come to the July 4th party, read this. It’s hilarious. I almost forgot about it.”
“Um, thanks,” he said grasping the papers, “but the last piece of literature you recommended was total crap.” Moving Sophie’s black as midnight hair away from her eyes, Charlie sounded insincere saying, “I don’t want it.”
“Uh-huh, right. You’re dying to know what I found and I can tell,” said Sophie violating Charlie’s space. “I know you all too well.”
“Am I that obvious? Damn.”
“Yep, I’m afraid so. You’re biting your bottom lip while staring at me like I’m offering you a ride to the moon…that’s a dead giveaway. So, lighten up, it’s just some gibberish, maybe compiled from one of Albert’s past students.” A warm smile smothered Sophie’s face as she turned away from Charlie knowing she was forgiven for her unwanted, yet still highly proficient skill-set of destruction. “See you next week.”
* * * *
December 23, 1955
Michael? Are you still here?” Agitated, Charlie hit the door harder. “Michael!”
“What is your problem?” asked Dr. Michael Hodges opening the office door to greet his co-worker and best friend, Charlie. “And, yeah, I’m still here. Well for about two more minutes anyway. Why?”
“Hey, I know Christmas is days away and all, but…um…I—”
“Is something wrong, Charlie?” asked Michael. “You look like shit.”
“Oh, thanks…sleep deprivation for almost six months will do that.”
“Yeah, I’ve noticed you’ve been pushing it too hard. So what’s up?” asked Michael concerned for his friend. “It’s like you left the planet as of late, and the excuses for ignoring me are getting ridiculous.”
Placing a folder in Michael’s hands, Charlie leaned in to whisper, “Okay, I’m sorry. You’re right, but what’s up is that folder. You’ll understand everything soon enough. So read through Time Travel 1953. Do not show it to anyone, and I mean anyone. When you’ve done the math, abandon reality as you know it—and then we’ll talk. I know you’ll be impressed. I have to go.”
* * * *
March 22, 1956
The grease-slicked parking lot at IAS felt the downpour as puddles swelled on this rainy day. Thunder crashed and lightning flashed, maybe warning Charlie he was about to embark on an adventure of once believed impossibilities that held the fate of mankind within its realm.
Come on, Michael…why are you always late? Tapping on the steering wheel of his black Jaguar, Charlie’s heart raced like a runaway train while sweat rolled into his gray eyes. “My God, what are we doing? Michael has filled in most of the holes so it just about works. What if this is a huge mistake?”
The car door opened. Michael entered saying, “Stop it right now.”
“Yes, I can tell from your unshaved face, your refusal to get a haircut, and by the repulsive smell of that cheap cologne, used to mask the fact showering is no longer part of your routine, that you’ve become a grotty prat…as you Brits say. You’re cranked on regret because we’ve solved so many of the mathematical problems within Time Travel 1953.”
A heavy sigh escaped Charlie as he glared at Michael. “Yeah, uh-huh…well we can’t all be Gregory Peck, so back off.”
“That’s funny and all, but only a few students have said I look like him. And that’s hardly worth mentioning. All joking aside, the data we have is—”
“We should burn this dangerous data and you know it.”
A contorted, arrogant smile overtook Michael’s handsome face. “But we’re not going to burn anything, are we, dear friend?”
Rolling his eyes, Charlie’s British accent was especially thick as he quoted Einstein saying, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as if everything is.” Staring at Michael, Charlie grinned.
“That’s right. We’re going to transform the world,” said Dr. Michael Hodges.
* * * *
August 22, 1978
“So, it’s a done deal? Time Travel 1953 is mine…to do with whatever I see fit?” asked the highly renowned physicist, Max Kieto, of Outscape Technology located approximately 100 miles south of Kugluktuk, Canada.
“Yes, as long as you follow the guidelines in the contract, you’ll grow old,” warned an elderly, but still intimidating, Dr. Michael Hodges. “Charlie’s dead, but before he died, he hired watchdogs…hounds from hell if you get my drift, who will monitor Outscape Technology’s every move.”
“I understand,” said Max. “I’ll follow the guidelines you and Charlie outlined in the contract. I’m a smart guy, you know?”
“Yep, and I’m counting on that. You’re the only person we considered to protect this volatile data. At this moment in time, you’re above reproach…the most ethical physicist we know, but don’t be seduced by the power of Time Travel 1953. Always do what’s righteous, Max or—”
“I get it, Michael,” said Max. “I won’t disgrace myself by disregarding the incredible trust you both put in me. You and Charlie got very close. I believe with OT’s equipment, we’ll move subatomic particles through time within a decade…possibly sooner, God willing.”
“Well, I won’t live to see that happen. Damn,” said Michael.
“Hey, you never know, maybe you—”
“Uh, lung cancer says no I won’t. And lose the long face…it’s pathetic. I’ve lived an amazing life, so you do the same.” Michael shook Max’s hand placing the fate of mankind with Outscape Technology.
* * * *
February 8, 1991
The world is forever altered on February 8, 1991, although only Max’s crew of physicists, scientists, and technicians witnessed the subatomic particles as they traveled through time. Experiments intensified, people lived and died working at Outscape Technology as the data from Time Travel 1953 annihilated old theories while inspiring new ones to ensure the success of time travel.
* * * *
March 2, 2299
Three-hundred eight years vanished. World War III (2082-2086) altered the map of the world, including Canada, so Kugluktuk became Terents. Research and experiments performed on the private site of Outscape Technology eventually gave birth to Guardian TMF…a time monitoring facility that had its first, small scale time machine routinely working after March 2, 2299. By 2343, Guardian TMF’s responsibilities toward the past, present, and future expanded with the completion of the time chamber…an enormous, silver sphere capable of escaping the so-called parameters of time.
* * * *
May 19, 2632
The spec of time called 2632 belongs to Dr. Zane Grayson, and he’s in charge of exploring paradoxes in authorized time sequences. He decides which tragedies and mysteries to bring before the Elites so they can be evaluated for missions. The Elites at Guardian TMF trust him unconditionally and why shouldn’t they? A mastermind and a gifted military surgeon, Zane has a perfect employment record.
Guardian TMF couldn’t be more pleased, but they are in the dark as to Zane’s crippled state of mind. He’s a daring man, determined to continue his quest of illegal time surfing, meaning time scans in unauthorized time sequences, because he believes something is out of sync. No matter, Guardian TMF has mastered the art of time travel taking a pledge to protect the world from its worst enemy…mankind.