Time Travel for Beginners - 1st Half

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
This is the first half of a two part story. The story involves time travel that is just been discovered. Or has it?

Submitted: October 11, 2016

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Submitted: October 11, 2016



This is the beginning of this story and it starts in a U. S. government research facility. The facility is located on a sixty acre parcel of land that adjoins a cattle ranch and two dairy farms in Chino Hills, California.

The facility is located nestled among a group of hills and there is only one dirt road leading in and out. That road is constantly monitored by military personnel in jeeps and there is three checkpoints, with guard gates, that one must pass through to gain entrance to the place. Helicopter protection is but minutes away, and is provided by the Navy's helicopter base in Tustin, California.

The year is 1962 and there is a race being run between this country and the U.S.S.R.., the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

Actually, there are many races, some publicly known, some speculated, and others completely hidden; this story may be part of the last group.

This facility has to do with Time-travel, and no, they are not trying to achieve Time-travel here. This facility is studying a method of Time-travel that has already been achieved, but is grossly misunderstood and quite often dangerous.

It had been long speculated that time-travel, once obtained, would be a two-way street. Those ideas proved to be very wrong in many ways. It was found that going back into the past was the only stable option because the future seemed to be an unfinished work. 

There were two attempts at into the future travel. In the first attempt the test subject had to be sedated immediately upon returning; he was a mental wreck.

Later review and testimony, at that time the subject stated that he observed that everything was constantly changing. Whole building, bridges, even hi-ways disappearing, then reappearing in a slightly different location, if at all. People seemed to be in a constant state of flux, sometimes they were in one location, then another, and often as not, they were different people, or were dressed differently; he was unable to tell for sure. And in some scenes there were vehicles that seemed to be driving themselves, in other scenes there were no visible vehicles at all.

In the second attempt a small mechanical 35mm camera was attached on the subject's jacket. It was to be operator activated and he would begin shooting as soon as he passed through the portal.

Sadly, the subject never returned. However the camera and jacket were noticed on the staging area table sometime later, folded neatly and lying in the same position that they were placed there originally; that freaked everyone out and started rumors of the supernatural among the staff.

The scientist, however, concluded that the future was in flux because constant changes were being implemented prior to the times being explored, possibly caused by other time travelers, not unlike themselves. They could be Russians or Chinese, or any one of the European powers.

Who knew how many were able to do what they were doing, or trying to do? Without knowing for sure, it was decided to focus on the past, first, until they better understood how the future was being affected.

One researcher likened it to her favorite historical figure, Nostradamus, and his predictions of the future.

She said, "Nostradamus never gave complete details of what he saw. His renderings were like snap-shots of the future, just like the single scene that our first traveler spoke of, ("there were vehicles that seemed to be driving themselves.").


There were problems with travel to the past too, it seems that one subject returned through the portal after an unexpected sixteen minute delay, and he reported no unusual occurrences and stated that he had a great time roaming around a fair that had exhibits involving flight. He said that he was finally able to relocate the portal after turning his locator off and then reactivating it; that seemed to reset it somehow.

All went well with that test until they discovered that the test subject had physically disappeared. It seems that he vanished from the facility's housing unit two days later.

After an extensive nationwide search for that person's whereabouts, they found him living in Texas. He had a wife and two kids, and was a Helicopter Pilot for the Air Force. His service records showed training and service for the last eleven years. 

That wasn't all, it was gradually noticed that few people at the facility could physically remember this guy, even when a photo was shown to them. But that wasn't true with everyone at the facility, those people who had had direct, day to day, contact with him remembered him. Yet, even those people lost those memories after a few more days, and only if the memories were not reinforced daily.

The only records of him being at the physicality were some hand written notes about his test mission and those notes were never officially placed on file; they were still in people's lab coat pockets, or on their clipboards.

When they checked employment files, there wasn't any paperwork showing that this test subject was employed by the agency at any time. There were no files on him at all.

The scientist’s conclusion was that he had done something to change his own history, but for some reason it had a time-delay reaction. His present reality changed from his past reality in a gradual manner; it was not like flipping a light switch and, boom, you have a new reality.

They theorized that it was more like turning one light on while simultaneously turning another light off, using the same dimmer switch. One light dims and goes out as the other brightens and is sustained.

The theory was tested for well over two years, using multiple subjects, and the conclusion reach was that in most instances the theory held true.

Such revelations may explain the occurrences of people and objects vaporizing in full view of others, such as supposed ghost sightings.

Another thing that the tests seem to conclude, that when a test subject was given multiple things to change over, say, a week’s time, the subject may fade-out before the tasks were all completed.

They are now interviewing the returned test subjects, and those who didn't return too, to see if they can determine when and how their lives changed. They are trying to determine if all the changes that they were supposed to accomplish were actually accomplished. They are doing this by matching their old and new life histories.

There was one subject that they are unable to locate; they hope that is due to a name change, possibly a marriage.

The order in which the subjects made changes seems to be a critical factor in determining when and how quickly the new existence began.


At this facility there is a military unit that acts as security, three scientists, two electrical engineers, three structural engineers, two electricians, a dozen staff members, along with general maintenance, janitorial, and kitchen staff.

Commander Steward heads the military side and Dr. Heinz Strasbourg is lead scientist and project manager for the facility.

Dr. Strasbourg has headed this project sense its inception and he is the chief architect for many theorizes that explain what they have discovered.

However, he is not one for holding security in the highest regard and that does not go well with the Commander. The government overseer, Handel Miller, has had to step in on occasion to mediate and to make a final ruling.

There are times when Dr. Strasbourg leaves things lying around, Classified files, scientific project notes, even his key-cluster which might end up lying around almost anywhere; on his desk, on the service table, near the time portal, and even near the coffee machine that is in the lunch room.

This facility only has two key-clusters; the Commander has one, and the good Doctor has the other. These key-clusters lock and unlock the entrance to the lab, the control panel for the time-portal, and the time-portal security gate; so they are somewhat of a big deal and are supposed to be kept on ones person at all times. But the good Doctor doesn't like keys in his pants pockets; so he lays them down from time to time.

Well, wouldn't you know it, one long-time electrician named William Roosevelt Duffy noticed this habit of the good Doctor and decided to take a time-portal ride of his own, and of his own design.

Now Duffy was a man who had a peculiar hobby, he liked to attend flea markets and estate sales whenever possible. But he didn't collect the usual things people like to buy, he liked old defaulted barer-bonds, stock certificates, and sometimes stamps.

His passion was the beautiful lettering and the unusual designs that many of the depression era certificates bore; "works of art," he called them.

Duffy's wife of twenty-two years had passed away and they had no children. So he was feeling rather alone and had developed a withdrawn attitude.

Duffy was a curious kind of guy, so over the years he had been secretly studying Dr. Strasbourg's notes, the ones that the Doctor often left laying around. Duffy had paid particular attention to the launch proceedings when they happened; he noticed that one person could launch themselves into the past without assistance because no-one ever suspected that anyone would dare to do that.

One morning, while the good Doctor was getting his coffee and pastry, Duffy took the key-cluster from a lunch table where they sat unattended.

Duffy immediately went to the lab and unlocked the lab door, as he entered the room he grabbed a wooden chair and placed it in the doorway so that the door could not close.

Then Duffy went to the control panel and unlocked it, pressing the power button. And as the panel powered-up to the appropriate power levels Duffy made adjustments to the dials; first the date, then the longitude and Latitude. Because the keys had no lock-in-place feature, he was able to remove them from the control panel without the power going off; so that enabled Duffy to unlock the gate to the portal chamber staging area.

As he entered the staging area he shut the gate behind him and placed the keys on a nearby table; accessible to whoever managed to find some wire and could fish for them through the chain-link fence. 

With all that taken care of, Duffy walked through the time-portal and disappeared.


A few minutes later a staff member came rushing into the lunch area and headed straight for the Good Doctor. 

"Dr. Strasbourg," she said nearly out of breath, "The lab door is propped open and your keys are on a table inside the staging area; the portal is on!"

Dr. Strasbourg jumped to his feet, spilling coffee everywhere, and ran for the lunchroom door. Down the long hallway he ran and as he was about to round the corner to the lab he stopped. He turned and scanned the hall behind him, one staff member, two fellow scientists, the lunchroom attendant, and a janitor.

"You, Mrs. Sterner," Dr. Strasbourg pointed to the lunchroom attendant, "return to the lunchroom and clean up that mess before someone slips and falls, the lab is none of your concern. The same goes for you Mr. Bray, go with her, she may need your janitorial assistance. The rest of you, follow me."

After retrieving his key-cluster with some bailing wire, Dr. Strasbourg gathered the one staff member and the two fellow scientists together and they had a little talk.

The Scientists had no idea what to do and they were not about to tell the military, or the government overseer, what had happened. They were afraid that the commander would send troops to fetch whoever it was that went through the portal, not that anyone would be able to find that person after hours of delay.

They were afraid, too, that their Good Doctors lack of security would result in the project being shut down, or even worse, that they would all be replaced, permanently.

The only solution was to keep quiet and wait, hopping that whoever it was that left, would return.

Or as the lab assistant pointed out, if whoever passed through the portal faded out then that would be even better because none of them would ever remember it anyway; they would just return to their normal routines without anyone knowing that it ever had happened. Problem solved.

So they waited and told everyone else that there was a electrical glitch and to take a few days of R & R. The ones that worked in the lab were happy to hear that, they had been working extra shifts for weeks. The remaining electrician just shrugged his shoulders and went to play some pool in the lounge; he needed a logger anyway.

In the lag time Dr. Strasbourg took a survey of personnel and found the electrician, Duffy, missing.

The good Doctor also wrote a lengthy note to himself explaining what had happened, who went missing, and some of Duffy's personnel file history. He also noted the settings on the dials that Duffy had set.

As he placed the document in his lab coat pocket he thought to himself, "We will soon see what you have changed Mr. Duffy."


Dr. Strasbourg took a polished wooden Pipe from his coat pocket and struck a match. As he began to puff on the pipe he thought, "But what if, Mr. Duffy, you happen to alter history to the point that this labs will not exist? That would mean that you traveled back to the future through a time-portal that will not exist, and none of us will ever know. --- Hmm, that is an interesting Hypothesis."


Please read Time Travel for Beginners - Last Half

Thanks, JEF

© Copyright 2018 D. Thurmond, aka, JEF. All rights reserved.

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