Friday, March 13, 2009

Wellsley and his Marvelous Notion

"Well, what's this then, Wellsley?" Professor Otto I. Cip asked, swinging the door wide open as he entered. "I hope you've - "

He stopped. His eyes opened wide.

"Great God's Guns," he gasped. "You've built a time machine."

"Yep!" Wellsley agreed. "It moves forward at the rate of one second per second. It's a miracle of modern science!"

Professor Otto looked at him.

"I thought we'd agreed that you were going to build me a time machine," he said. "I would give you one month's time, and when I came down here next, I would see a time machine."

"Sure," Wellsley agreed. "We both upheld our end of the bargain."

"But what's that, then?" the Professor asked. "It's large, ornate, complex, and occupies the vast majority of the room. If it's not the time machine, then...?"

"It's a fluid-state computer," Wellsley told him. "I finished the time machine by the end of the first week, and have been spending the rest of my time on this. I've gotten it up to ten kiloflops!"

"Oh," he continued nonchalantly, "The time machine's in the corner."

It was small; unimposing. The Professor entered it with some trepidation.

"How does it work?" he began to ask; then it activated.

"My god!" the Professor cried, staggering out of the machine, his legs limp. It seemed as though no time had passed at all; yet he remembered it all, his two-year-long odessey through history! "Amazing! But - no! The butterfly effect! How can you still be here?" he demanded of Wellsley. "How can you still exist, as you were?"

Wellsley shrugged.

"But - you have changed!" the professor declared. "Look - this thing you're working on - it's not at all the sort of computer that became popular in my timeline! It's a divergence - a sign that I accidentally changed my own history! I'm doomed!"

Wellsley decided that he should probably explain things.

"Well, first," he said, "Water-computers aren't really popular in this timeline, either. It's just a student project. (I'm hoping it'll get me some action with the lady-engineers, as a bonus.)"

"And second?" Professor Otto asked, politely ignoring the parenthetical.

"Well, you never left this timeline," Wellsley said. "You never even went back in time. The time machine just gives you the subjective experience of travelling through time - memories and all! - without actually, you know, violating the laws of causality and all that. A marvelous job, if I do say so myself."

"So, where's my money?"

Wellsley did not get his money.


Calvacadeofcats said...

an exciting adventure, sir shrugs-a-lot of shrugsbury upon shrugton shrugshrugshrug shruggerton shrugersby

Cavalcadeofcats said...

Sir Shrugs-A-Lot is a noble fellow - but I am not he! I would reprimand you for confusing the two of us - but - well -

He probably wouldn't care.

He'd just shrug it off!