Oct. 11, 2010
The last few weeks I’ve been extremely busy. Dr. Troy and I completed the initial model of the machine on August 12th, and have been testing it since. It’s been frustrating being so close, and having to wait for a manned test.
The first test, we decided to send a teddy bear twenty minutes into the future. Our thinking was that a teddy bear would give us a better idea of any elemental issues in the process. We set it in the chamber with a wrist watch wrapped around it’s wrist (why not copy Doc Brown, but we’re not gonna risk killing a dog in the process.)
The bear disappeared, we waited twenty minutes for and it never reappeared. At first we were completely baffled, then Dr. Troy thought that perhaps we weren’t adjusting for space. It’s something that is almost never accounted for in any time travel fiction, but the Earth is constantly moving. In 20 minutes, the Earth has rotated roughly 200 miles, and moved roughly 22 thousand miles in its path around the sun. We realized the teddy bear by the time we figured that out, we were confident that if the machine was working at all, the bear was floating some 30 thousand miles behind the Earth. We also realized that for trips further than 20 minutes, we would need to account for the solar system’s movement as part of the expansion of the universe.
After two weeks of tinkering and trying to adjust so that the machine would be able to automatically calculate these movements in space, we tried again. This time attaching a phone which had been set up for GPS tracking.
The second attempt seemed to go fine. We put the teddy bear and his phone in the machine, and set the time for 20 minutes in the future, and triggered the machine. The bear and the phone were gone, and quickly Dr. Troy attempted to use the tracking app on his phone to find the other, with no luck. That didn’t really confirm much for us, until he tried it again 20 minutes later.
The GPS showed the bear in the southern part of New York State, about a third of the way west across the state. We pinned the spot, and took off to find it. As we drove toward it, we had 4 and a half hours to discuss our calculations. Ultimately we realized that the calculations to account for universal expansion had been accurate, as had the Earth’s revolution around the Sun, but something in the rotation calculation had failed.
When we found the bear, his fur had been singed, but was otherwise in good condition. We had were relatively sure we had successfully done it, and just need a few adjustments for accuracy. Dr. Troy was elated, and so when we got home late that evening, we got drunk back at his place. That’s when he told me the truth.
“Michael, my hope is that we can send you back in time.” His speech wasn’t slurred, but a mild version of the Boston accent came through. Like so many others alcohol (and in my case road rage) made his dormant accent audible.
“Why me?” I didn’t get what he was talking about yet.
“You have nothing left in this time…” He was right. After the accident, I didn’t have my family, I had been alone for a little over a year, and when I wasn’t working on this project with Dr. Troy, I was hollow inside.
I thought about his idea to send me through time, to be the world’s first human time-traveler (because I knew there would be an animal test or two before it was my turn) and I realized I wanted to do it.
“I want to go back see my parents again. See Sam again.”
“It’s going to have to be one way.” It was something that we both understood about the machine, but I hadn’t thought about being stranded in another time period.
“Then I want to go back far enough to appreciate it.”
We continued the trials, and in my free time, I made my plans. In fifteen minutes, when we have the machine properly calibrated, I am going to travel back in time. I’m 26 years old, and I’m going to travel back to January 9th, 1980.
Dr. Troy is under the impression that transporting me to a warmer part of the year may not be great given that one issue in each of our tests has been at least mild singeing of hair and cloth. There is a chance of amplification over a further trajectory. His idea is that if my hair is burning off and I land in a snowbank, it will allow me to cool rapidly. (I know I should probably be most worried about this aspect, but honestly, I have too many things pinging around my skull to fully grasp the physical dangers of this trip.
I will be bringing with me, a set of time period appropriate clothing, and ten thousand dollars in pre-1980 bills, which will be held in a microwave safe sandwich bag, hopefully preserving it through the process.
If I write an update tomorrow, if I survive this trip and able to write, tomorrow will be January 9th, 1980.