The Logic of the Time Travel
by Matt Butcher
The calculations were all done. The vectors in the fourth dimension caused all of the main headaches. Once you factored in gravity, however, they seemed to just fall into place. It had nothing to do with the multi-planes of string theory geometry. The early theorists got that all wrong. No, time travel was simply a mathematical construct of one dimension.
Ever since he read H.G. Wells' The Time Machine, he knew it would be a simple endeavor. It was so logical. We move in space all the time across three dimensions. Why can't we move on just one more axis of the fourth dimension of time? We can, and he had the mathematics to prove it.
He even created his machine to look exactly like the chair in the 1953 movie version of The Time Machine. Grand and elegant, it was exactly the way the new king of the fourth dimension should travel. Gear shifts elegantly adjusted the engine and propulsion. There was even a panel that showed the changes in time, much like a car's odometer. He even figured out how to adjust for daylight savings time! He had covered all the angles and took all necessary precautions.
Beautifully, the machine, once powered up, created a sort of forcebubbl around the contraption. The math said you could move a point across time and the point was either infinitely small or infinitely big. The only limitation was the power source and fuel. The force bubble protected the point in space and didn't affect the space outside of it. It would protect him during transit as long as the fuel lasted. Plutonium was at least renewable, which was why he chose to start by travelling into the future.
Just a week. Just long enough to log onto the internet, check the stats and scores for next week's ball games, then go back in high style. His predictions would be marvelous proof of his machine.
He climbed into the chair. The luxurious cushions were definitely the right choice. Everything was perfect and ready. He even had the back-up plutonium stored in the cargo box.
He felt he should say something. Armstrong had that perfect quote as he stepped upon the moon. Even Archimedes exclaimed, "Eureka!" when he figured out volume. As he sat there, all he could think of was "It's about time." It only proved to himself that he should stick with the math.
He pressed the ignition. There was a hum of working parts. The force bubble shimmered into place around him. The opalescence of the bubble was still see-through and translucent. It was working! The force bubble was proof! Now all he had to do was adjust the time indicator. Just one week. Simply adjust the day of the month by "seven."
The machine throbbed with a new intensity. There was the feeling of motion but it wasn't extreme. It was more like the motion felt at cruising speed aboard a jet liner. As the time indicator slowly crept forward, like watching the odometer change while driving two miles an hour, he could see the earth fading away from the force bubble.
The earth shrank away, faster now. He and the machine were unzooming away from the earth at a tremendous rate now. The earth pulled away from him at an alarming rate.
The panic set in. The force bubble was not supposed to move in space. He saw the earth spin away at a frightening pace, nothing but a globe in the blackness of space now.
He realized, too late, that his calculations were still fine. He was moving only through the fourth dimension of time and not moving through space. As the earth revolved on its axis, as the earth revolved around the sun, as the sun revolved around the center of the Milky Way on its galactic arm, as the galaxy revolved around whatever groups of galaxies revolve around, he forgot that e moved in space all the time. He forgot the grade school lesson of even non-moving objects technically spinning on the surface of the earth at a rate of thousands of miles per hour.
The time indicator stopped. He was now one week in the future. He was now occupying the space one week in the future of where his lab would be, if the earth were not revolving around the sun.
But he felt more motion. The force bubble tumbled and twirled and he sensed a movement like free-fall. He had read enough to know that this was the feeling of a space walk. He was caught in the gravity of the sun, a new celestial body. He was a new comet, if you will.
He had most probably traveled miles already. Spinning helplessly, he could not stop the movement of the machine. Cold reality set in. Even if he could calmly adjust the time indicator back a week, he had moved so far out of position that he would not wind up back on earth.
He had done all the calculations correctly. However, he didn't see that the fourth dimension still moved across the Z-axis in space. There were more dimensions that he dreamed.
He tried to conceive a mathematical equation that could possibly encompass the multiple dimensions. It was too difficult as the spinning of the force bubble increased. He wondered how long the machine would last before he suffocated.
He hoped he would at least be visible as a comet or streak of light in the nighttime sky.