Copyright 2016 Mario V. Farina
Shakespir Edition, License Notes
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1CNN came out with the breaking news that both Goggle and Apricot Technology had created an app that would allow people to make visits to the past! This announcement was met with alarm from many quarters and there were demands that injunctions be filed preventing this kind of activity. Arguments were that studies needed to be made as to whether this new capability might be dangerous.
Both technology companies opposed these sentiments on the basis that simple ordinary visits; for example, vacations, would pose no dangers and could actually be beneficial to the peoples of both the present and the past. These companies cited the U. S. Constitution guaranteeing the right of the people to travel without restriction. In the future, they suggested, tourists might find it commonplace traveling freely between the past and present. There might even be a common unit of currency invented that would encourage such travel.
“Ludicrous!” cried out many. “Absurd!,” “preposterous!,” “reckless!,” “foolhardy,” even “cockamamie!” were other terms used. But the two companies were not moved by the uproar. Each wanted to be first in this endeavor and both said they were making plans to send an explorer to the past at an early date.
The President of the United States said the Law Department should issue an injunction immediately until a hearing could be held. The Prime Minister of Great Britain wrote an open letter to the world family of nations denouncing the travel notion. The leaders of Germany, Russia, Japan, and China stated they would oppose these foolish adventures to the utmost of their abilities short of war. Nevertheless, the two companies stood firm.
Amos Brown, a respected news reporter with the Washington Post, remarked it was like someone had lit a fuse on the mother of all bombs and the world was watching as it burned to see whether someone would blow it out.
While wrangling over the news, Goggle announced Roger T. Benson as being the first traveler to the past. It was exactly noontime when the event had occurred. Roger was visiting April 7, 1967! He was making explorations as a news reporter. Concurrently, Apricot made a similar announcement for Alice L. Watson who was currently in June 6, 1793. These pronouncements did not reveal why those target dates had been chosen. Where, exactly, these individuals were located in those date periods was not revealed by either company. The news from Goggle was that Roger was having success with his visit. He was walking the streets of the past! Apricot had no news concerning what they might be hearing from Ms. Watson.
Within hours, the names, Roger Benson and Alice Watson was on the lips of several billion inhabitants of the world. Goggle and Apricot were making brief update announcements every few minutes. Specific details of his experiences were expected soon from Roger. There were fears expressed for the safety of Alice. The entire world seemed to be holding its breath.
Within minutes, Max O’Brien, founder and CEO of Goggle, was summoned to a Congressional hearing by, Nadine Wilkins, Speaker of the House, to be held as soon as possible.
In New York City, it was the afternoon of April 7, 1967. Roger was sitting in the Public Library on 34th Street. An article in the Encyclopedia Britannica about time travel had drawn his attention. Surreptitiously, he had taken a photo of this with his smart phone and TT-Mailed (TimeTravel Mail) it to his supervisor, Randolph Gregory. The latter read the message and put a printout of it in the top drawer of his desk. Immediately, he TT-Mailed Roger to return to the present at once!
He then sent a message to Max O’Brien requesting an urgent, immediate meeting with him. He received a response within seconds asking Randolph to come to his office.
In the meantime, Goggle released information that the trip to the past had been made possible by the creation of a time travel force field using a Base 16 digital application developed by a special research team at Goggle. Not to be outdone, Apricot immediately responded that their application was superior since the base used was 16.5 or Base 16 Plus, as they dubbed it.
Earlier, the news media of the nation had begun a drumbeat demanding more frequent updates on what was happening with both time travelers.
Apricot soon made the sad announcement that nothing had been heard from Alice Watson. The company advised it was carefully studying the situation and would issue a report at an early time. Nothing was ever heard again from this company. It was as if Apricot had never existed.
Goggle decided to withhold the fact that Roger Benson was being recalled.
Word came to Goggle that the TT-Mail message Randolph had sent recalling Roger had not been delivered because there was nobody at the other end to receive it. Further attempts to reach Roger failed.
Randolph and Max were having a meeting behind closed doors as to what was the best procedure to undertake at this point. They decided to send out for pizza and continued the discussion until midnight, then decided to adjourn until noon the following day. The phones at Goggle had rung incessantly throughout the day and during the evening hours.
Randolph was haggard when he arrived at work the next day. He was informed by the receptionist that a Mr. Adam Schwester had attempted to report for work in the place of Randolph. She had reluctantly admitted him to the Director’s office.
“What’s this about you coming in to take my place?” Randolph demanded angrily.
“I work here!” retorted Adam. “I’ve been employed at Goggle for six years as Director of Communications. You’re the one who’s the imposter!”
“Nonsense,” responded Randolph. When the last syllable of this word had been spoken, he dissolved from view!
Adam sat in Randolph’s vacated chair and found the TT-Mail printout that Randolph had placed in his desk. He pressed a button on the Intercom and said, “Ms. Jameson, hold my calls for the rest of the day. I need to do some serious planning.”
“Yes sir, Mr. Schwester” responded the voice of the receptionist.
Adam pointed the remote to the TV set. CNN was reporting that many disappearances were being reported throughout the country and turbulent occurrences were taking place at many localities of the world.
He pressed a button on the phone. “Max, We need to talk at once!”
“I’ll be right over,” said Max.
When Max arrived, he showed no indication that Adam Schwester might be a stranger to him. It was as if the two had known each other for years.
“We have very little time to talk,” said Adam. “I think we’re in the midst of the greatest change the Universe has ever experienced. From what I read just before your coming here and from what I saw on TV, it appears the normal flow of time has been destroyed. It may be that because of this disturbance, many people who are currently living will suddenly vanish; others, who never existed may suddenly materialize. I may be one of them though you don’t seem to be aware of it. Events may happen that were never destined for occurrence, while others may take place but with different results. Activity may be taking so many never-destined forms that they will make no sense. This kind of tumult may continue until the flow of time has settled out.
As he spoke, the TV was showing details of horrendous scenes, torrents of water gushing from the streets, buildings collapsing, dams splitting, panic amongst disorderly crowds of people.
“We may have started this when we sent Roger Benson back in time yesterday,” muttered Max. “It seemed innocuous. What can we do to undo the damage that has been done?”
“Max, there is nothing you or I can do. I read an article that Roger had TT-Mailed to the office. It had been written by an eminent RPI professor suggesting that meddling with time, to even the slightest extent, such as a visit, would throw time into turmoil that would need to arrive at equilibrium by itself. Her article was ignored. It’s like a heart that goes into fibrillation. While it beats normally, humans thrive; when it begins random and meaningless fluttering, they die.”
“But . . .” Max’s statement was never finished. He suddenly faded and vanished.
Adam appeared stoic, standing motionless. The room began heaving and buckling. A crevice opened in front of the TV. The set fell into it while a blast of wind entered through the opening and tossed articles around in the room as if they were in the midst of a tornado. The tumult continued for several minutes.
What was left bore little resemblance to what had been normalcy only minutes before. Adam was gone. There was no motion in the room. There were no sounds. Then, there was nothing.
Two companies of great technical competency produced apps permitting time travel by humans. ignoring cautions from many, each company sent a person back in time. It was expected that an new era of travel would result with tourists traveling back and forth in time. One reporter had stated it might be like lighting a fuse to the mother of all bombs, then watching the fuse burn down. This story tells what happened.