Out of Time
By Douglas E Gogerty
"If you take the lens, the government will know who has it. They have hundreds of them!"
"Come on Dr. Millard," pleaded Candy still playing the tart. "Couldn't you play ball just once?"
"I could have the police here in five minutes," explained Jim.
"It wouldn't do any good," explained the mountain. "I'm special agent Maxwell. Stuart Maxwell. I believe you have met special agent Millwood."
"Charmed I'm sure," flirted Candy.
"You got something against Stuart?"
"I took you for ... a Steel ... or a Stone ... or something."
"They call me Moose!"
"That makes sense."
"So, are you going to give us the device or not?" asked Moose.
"Could I see some credentials? I've seen hers."
"Here is my badge," Moose said as he showed Jim his credentials.
"Very good," replied Jim. "Now, let me see your warrant."
"Warrant?" inquired Candy.
"Yes my dear," replied Jim with a lilt in his voice. "There is this thing called a constitution. It is the law of the land here in the United States."
"Don't get smart!" threatened Moose.
"Well you see, this constitution specifically states that I have the right against unreasonable searches and seizures. It's the fourth amendment."
"So what are you saying?" inquired Moose.
"I'm saying, unless you have a warrant -- obtained because you have some 'probable cause' to do so -- you are not going to see or obtain my device."
"We have ways of making you!" threatened Moose.
"In this day and age of time viewing devices, someone will pay highly for you making me give you the device. So, unless you want to answer to the founding fathers, I suggest you leave."
"Come on Moose," whined Candy. "You know Jimmy boy, I could make you very happy -- for a little while anyway."
"It's Dr. Millard to you!"
When the two agents left, Jim felt himself shaking. He just stood up to a mountain of a man. He did not know if the constitution frightened him off, or if he was just there to be frightening. In any event, it was another test passed. He still had his device. However, he did not know how long he could keep it up.
After a couple of days, Candy was back in Jim's office. "What do you want now Special Agent Millwood?"
"My boss is really mad," she sobbed.
"Spare me the act."
"Well, I tried. He is mad, and he is right here. This is Director Richards."
"Director," Dr. Millard said curtly. "What can I do for you?"
"Let me get to the point of my visit," started the director.
"I wish you would," responded Jim.
"You have a top secret device in your possession. We are very uncomfortable with this arrangement. We would like it very much if you voluntarily gave up the device."
"With all due respect, I have a signed contract that entitles me to retain my device. I expressly indicated that I wish to continue my research. This would be impossible without my device."
"I appreciate that, but if this device were to get into the wrong hands..."
"Sir, do I need to quote the fourth amendment to the US Constitution?"
"Information is our business Dr. Millard. Your device has become an essential tool in the gathering of that information."
"Information is also my business Director Richards. My device is an essential tool for my gathering of that information. Without it, I cannot continue on my research. I have already given up researching ways to improve it. I did that at the government's insistence. I do not plan on giving up any further research opportunities."
"Do not force us to take drastic measures."
"More drastic than you already have?"
"Much more drastic."
"Sir, this time viewing lens has been used to solve crimes all over the country. There are no more unsolved crimes. Thus, if you are threatening me, let me assure you that you will be caught and punished."
"I guess we are finished then."
"We are indeed. It was nice seeing you again special agent Millwood. Take care of yourself."
"Gee thanks," giggled Candy.
Jim wondered if the femme fatale act was way to ingrained in agent Millwood as the two left his office. She was a natural.
A few days later, Jim's father called him. "Jim, who is this Director Richards person?"
"Did he come to see you?"
"No, just a cute young thing named Candy. She asked me to tell you that Director Richards has many ways to get what he wants."
"Oh no!" grumbled Jim in disbelief.
"She was really cute! Any sparks?"
"Dad! her group wants me to give up my research!"
"Then give it up."
"You don't understand."
"I gave up a lot for your mother."
"Dad, she is not interested in me."
"That is not what she told me."
"Does she have some sort of hypno-ray that I'm immune to?"
"What nonsense are you talking now son?"
"Nothing! Dad, she is a government agent who wants me to give up everything I've worked my whole life on."
"So you'll find something else."
"Just like that?"
"Sure! Your priorities change when you get married."
"You're not listening! She isn't interested in me at all."
"That is not what she told me."
"Yes, but you've seen too many movies. Don't be surprised if a mountain of a man shows up next."
"What movie is that?"
"Never mind. Are you all right?"
"I'm fine. Everything is good here."
"I'm glad," Jim said with a sigh. "I'll call you later."
"Okay son. I love you!"
"Yeah yeah! Later."
Perhaps his dad was right. Not about him settling down with Candy Millwood, but giving up his device. He could not do the research he really wanted. Perhaps it was time to take it to its limits and destroy the device. The subtle threat that they knew where his family lived was unnerving.
After a few more encounters with Agent Millwood, Jim decided what he was going to do. He set up the device in the bunker. He made a request for liquid Hydrogen. He thought about using liquid Helium, but he would not get enough superconductive benefit from the colder temperatures.
The real trick was going to be how much power the device could withstand. He was completely secretive about his entire project. Nobody knew what he was doing. If they asked, he would say 'It's top secret.' Most people knew he was involved in a top-secret project, so they inquired no further.
He recorded everything as it showed earlier and earlier events. One hundred years he saw the early days of the university. Two hundred years he saw the early days of statehood. He kept going back hundreds of years. He added more and more current to turn back the clock. With each step, he viewed farther back in time.
The liquid nitrogen and the heat generated by the current were fighting each other, but he continued. One thousand years and he saw the Native Americans as they once were. Two thousand years and he kept pushing the device.
The two elements began fighting in earnest. Jim was struggling to keep the superconductive material cold enough. He thought perhaps that he should have gone through the trouble of getting liquid Helium. He just kept adding more current and increasing the flow of liquid nitrogen. Farther and farther back, he recorded. He began recording a great deal of nothing. Plants and animals and their coming and going he would occasionally observe, but not much else.
Ten thousand years ago and he had not seen a much in the form of activity for quite some time. Twenty thousand years ago and he saw the effects of the ice age. Perhaps he would see a mastodon or mammoth. He kept pushing the device by adding more current and increasing the flow of liquid nitrogen.
As he went back he kept looking for ice age creatures, but he found that he was in an out of the way spot. The creatures would have to work hard to get to where he was working. Nevertheless, Jim kept pressing on until he heard a loud snap. He checked the viewfinder to see what he could. He checked his settings to see how far he was looking.
He stopped increasing the current, but he continued to hear a crackling noise. He increased the flow of liquid nitrogen to cool the apparatus, but it just went pop. Jim was recording regular time again. The glass had cracked and the experiment was over. '51,200 years' Jim noted in his notebook. "No dinosaurs," Jim complained to himself. "Still, it viewed before 50,000 BCE which is not too shabby!"
Candy made one of her regular visits, and Jim gave her the broken device. "It's yours," he told her.
"Why the change honey?" she flirted.
"I broke it," he explained.
"That is too bad, but Director Richards will be pleased."
"Perhaps. Say, why don't we go celebrate?"
"What you and me?"
"Let's just say your hypno-ray has finally worked on me."
"Never mind! Do you want to go or not?"
About this Entry
This page contains a single entry by Douglas Gogerty published on June 18, 2006 12:00 PM.
"1000 Word Friday" was the previous entry in this blog.
"Mac MacKinnon" - Chapter 8: Rodrigo's Mistake is the next entry in this blog.
This blog is licensed under a Creative Commons License.
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