Tuesday, November 28, 2006

EXCERPTS from "IMPOSSIBLE JOURNEY, A Tale of Times and Truth"

Chapter 1 The Idea

The year is 2025. The possibility of time travel has been theoretically proven and is accepted without question by the scientific community at large, although it has yet to be demonstrated by actual experience. The world is standing on tiptoe. Today is Friday, June 1, the date set for the annual meeting of the World Scientific Society. This particular meeting is destined to be different from past meetings. Its outcome will affect certain of the society’s members in ways that they can not now imagine. The revolutionary events detailed here will all happen as a direct result of a simple question which is about to be asked by the chairman Mr. John Sterghean of Switzerland. After the group has chatted idly for some time about various diseases illnesses and problems, he suddenly strikes the gavel on the table and clears his throat. When everything is silent, he speaks.

"Gentlemen, we have been discussing various individual diseases, illnesses and problems. But let me set before you a question which is crucial to them all. Gentlemen, what do you see as the main cause of disease and evil in the world?"

The members sit in silence, each one pondering the answer to the question. The group includes Walter Bryant from Germany, William Nifang from Japan, Kerry Nadine from Saudi Arabia, David Sung from China and Allen Daniel Cohen from the U.S.A. All of them have given their life to the betterment of mankind through scientific pursuit.

It is Cohen who finally speaks. "It seems to me that the main cause of disease and evil in the world is sin...."
"The point, my friends, is simply this:What do you think can be done about the situation?""What do you mean?""What I mean is, do you think, in the light of our present knowledge, that we could possibly do anything to change the situation?"There is a brief moment of silence, and then David speaks."Well, in the light of our present knowledge of time travel, I suppose we could possibly attempt to go back to that time and warn the people involved so they never make the fatal mistake. And then, everything would be different.""Exactly!" exclaims John."But," protests Daniel, "time travel has not been fully proven as yet—that is, it hasn’t been tested.""Perhaps," suggests John, "because there hasn’t been enough of a motive, yet."

"But," objects Walt, "even if it is possible to go back in time, we don’t know how far back we could go, or even if we could control our landing point. Suppose we land just after this fall you read about, and can’t go back to the time before it."

"My friends," affirms John, "the question of controlling the local destination of time leaps is what I’ve been working on for the past five years, and I believe I’ve finally gotten it pretty well figured out. You simply vary the intensity of the horizontal thrust in accordance with the calculated rotation of the earth in relation to the time platform. The temporal locator works pretty much the same way. But, so far, with our present thrust capabilities, it seems it would only be possible to go back 200years more or less in one leap."

"So," observes Will, "we’d have to go back in leaps of 200years each. And, at the next to last jump, we’d make the calculations, and set the coordinates in order to arrive at our exact destination point."

"Exactly! And with the right calculations and the right settings, the time and location could be controlled within a few days and a few feet. By setting the dial enough ahead of our desired time goal, we’d give ourselves a good margin of error."

"Sounds like you’ve really thought this thing through,"observes Walt.

"I certainly have. I’ve been waiting for this meeting to present this idea."

"But, even if we test it and we find it works," asserts Kerry, "if we were to send someone back in time, there’s a good possibility they might not return. We should all be aware of that."

"The question is, my friends," John’s voice rings out loud and clear, "whether we see the goal as being worth the risk.Think of it, my friends! Think of being able to change the course of world history—being able to eliminate all sickness,disease and evil—to make it as though it never happened."

"Do you really think we could do it?"

Again, John’s voice is strong and assertive. "If there is a chance that it can be done, wouldn’t it be worth trying? It would be like ushering in Paradise!"Well, I guess it does deserve a try. But where would we get the money for such a project?" asks Walt, who has been waiting for a break in the conversation to insert this matter of practicality. "We could each contribute something, but how far would that go?""We will have to find some financial backing from somewhere," agrees David.Daniel’s face, which had been drawn in thought, suddenly lights up. "How about that wealthy financier, Mark Lewis?He’s interested in matters of this sort.""But do you think he’d be willing to back such a project as this?"

"We’d have to do our best to convince him of the usefulness and feasibility of our plan."

"Well, then," John strikes the gavel again. "Let’s try to workout the details first, and then adjourn to the house of Mark Lewis."

All of them agree. After several hours of concentrated effort,they have a fairly workable plan in hand.

Chapter 2 The Plan

As they approach the huge brick house, they are still talking among themselves, obviously excited, like children on their first trip to the circus.

"Think of it! Being able to go back and visit the various eras of history!"

"What a thrill!"

"Perhaps we would have done it anyway, sooner or later, for the pure thrill of it all. But now we have a reason—a purpose,in addition."

"You say we can go back 200 years in one leap?"

"Give or take 50 years based on our present knowledge. But,perhaps with the application of more force, we could increase the distance slightly."

"We could make it a fact-finding tour as well, to note any unwritten details of historical interest we may stumble across."
"Who knows what new insights we might discover! ...."

Chapter 4: First Landing
The three men push open the door of the cylinder and step out. They are stepping into what is for them, in one sense, unfamiliar territory, but in another sense, a page out of history.
They have landed just behind a small clump of trees on a bare looking plane. There are no houses in sight. All they can see in any direction are small hills, stream-filled gullies, and here and there a cactus.
"Well, where do you think we might be, Walt?"
"Beats me."
"Well, let’s look around a bit." ventures Kerry.
"But," insists Daniel, "let’s inspect the cylinder first, shall we?"
A cursory check reveals that, as they expected, a few of the outer layer tiles have been destroyed by the trip.
"Well, these will have to be replaced." observes Walt.
"It’s a good thing,” adds Daniel “that we came prepared for this."
Meanwhile, Kerry has been looking around. He suddenly notices something. "Say, fellows, there are some people up ahead there." He points past the group of trees in front of them. "Maybe they can give us an idea of where we are."
Several men in tattered clothes, some wearing strange looking hats, are gathered at one end of a small stream. Most of them seem to have their hands in the water. Moving past the trees, our friends notice that this is only one of many small groups which are spread out all along the stream and at various pools in the ground as well. As the first group notices our threesome approaching, several of the men begin to talk excitedly:
"Howdy, strangers! Welcome to Drygultch."
"Would you be th’ ones what come in that thar strange contraption we seen come a-whizzin' through th' air an' plop down behind them trees over thar?"
"I knowed folks was a-usin' ever kinda means conceivable t’ git here, but I swear I ain't never seen nor imagined one o’ them things in all my born days."
"Whata y' call it?"
"How’s it work?"
Walt raises his hand and speaks for the group. "Perhaps we can answer your questions better if you answer a few for us first."
"Whata y' wanna know?"
"Well, for starters, what year is this? And, secondly, where are we?"
A posture of puzzlement comes over the group. Two of its members speak, one right after the other:
"Are you guys crazy or something'?"
"Wow! You must really be outa touch! But, if y' didn't come here 'cause th' rush, why'd y' come?"
Meanwhile, Kerry and Daniel have been looking around for clues. Upon hearing the word 'rush,' Kerry's ears perk up. "Did you say 'th' rush?' Look at those pans, Walt. They must be panning for gold. This wouldn’t be the great California gold rush of 1849 would it?"
One of the men jumps up and puts his hands on his hips. "So you do know where you are!"
"By conjecture only."
"This is making less and less sense all th' time. Who in th’ heck are y' and where d' y' come from?"
"Why should we tell you?" asks Walt. "You wouldn’t believe us anyway."
"Try us!"
"Yeah! You’d better tell us" insets one man, raising his fist, "or we’ll flatten th’ lot o' you here an' now!"
Will scratches his head. "Well don’t say we didn’t warn you that you wouldn't believe us."
"Just tell us, an' let us decide."
"Well," replies Walt, "We are from precisely one hundred and forty seven years into your future."
"That 'contraption' as you call it," adds Kerry, pointing to the cylinder, now barely visible through the trees, "is a time tube."
"It has transported us," adds Daniel, "from what was your future and our present here into what is your present and our past."
"What kinda tom-foolery is that?" yells one man.
"You were right," says another, "We don’t believe y’."
"That’s th' most dogern ridiculous thing I ever did hear of," adds another.
The man who had raised his fist now asks the other men, "Whata y' say, boys? Shall we deck 'em?"
"Nah! Jist hold on, Fred. It wouldn’t be worth it."
Now a small man, who had been quiet up till now, speaks. "And who knows? Perhaps they’re tellin' th' truth."
"You mean t' say you believe 'em Sam?"
"Well It’s possible, I guess. After all we never thought we’d see a contraption like that come a-whizzin' through th' air, now did we?"
"Well, I reckon y’ got a point there, Sam."
"I didn’t see nothing' come through th' air!" insists another man.
"Well, that’s cause you wasn’t looking', Pete," replies the small man, "But it was sure there--bigger 'n' life."
One of the men turns incredulously to the three. "So y’ didn’t come fer gold?"
"Nah!" replies Walt." We’ve got all the money we want. But, we would like to watch you panning, if you don’t mind."
"Suit yerselves."
They watch as the men scoop their pans into the stream and bring them out again. When the pan comes up empty, there are cries of disappointment, but when they contain nuggets of gold, shouts of joy go up from the miners. This is truly a new sight for Walt, Daniel and Kerry -- a page out of history indeed. They watch with interest as the men bring up pan after pan.
Finally, one of the men turns to the three visitors and says "Say! I’ll bet you fellows would really enjoy th' shindig over t' th' saloon tonight."
"Saloon?" The three look around, wondering where there could be a saloon in this wilderness.
"At th' town, just over that thar hill," the man explains.
"And--Ah-what's a shindig?" asks Daniel.
“What’s a shindig?” echoes another man, laughing.
"You’ll find out." answers the first man, smiling from ear to ear. "Just be there."
Walt looks at the other two. "Whata y' say fellows?"
"Well, it may give us a chance to learn more about this culture before we move on."
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