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Harry’s Book chapters 1 & 2

Congratulations Harry on the publication of your book on Amazon Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Time-and-Again-ebook/dp/B00C8663OG/ref=sr_1_7?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1365602164&sr=1-7&keywords=Harry+Browne

Time and Time Again

By Harry Browne

Chapter one:

The Invention of the Time Machine.

“What are you doing” Frank asked
“I’m building a time machine” Mick answered as if that was the most reasonable thing in the world to be doing.
“What in God’s name are you going to do with a time machine?”
“First off I’m going forward to next Saturday and get the Euro Lottery numbers. Then I’ll come back and buy a ticket. That should set me up with enough money to pursue my other interests”
“What other interests, and what if you run out of money pursuing them?”
The two were in Mick’s refurbished attic in a suburban detached house in the Northside of Dublin. Mick was surrounded by a large amount of what looked to Frank’s untutored eye like scrap metal and a heap of miscellaneous nuts, bolt and screws.
“I can always go back and buy more Lotto tickets so my source of money is inexhaustible” Said Mick. “As to my other interests, wait till I’ve finished this and I’ll tell you all about it.”
Frank felt the onset of hunger pangs and seeing that it was close to dinner time he took his leave of his buddy and headed home. On the way he wondered if there was any remote possibility that he might succeed in his attempts. Mick had an impressive record, of course. He was the proud owner of several patents for items which he had invented, including an improved mouse trap, a one handed can opener and a revolutionary new hydrogen cell which showed potential to completely turn the automotive industry on it’s head.
Three weeks later Frank decided to pay a call on Mick to see how he was getting on. He was staggered when he turned into Mick’s road and saw that Mick had added a two storey extension on top of his house. (Entirely without planning permission, obviously.) Rushing up to the front door, Frank pressed the doorbell and heard a loud peal of bells from inside the house. After a considerable delay and just as Frank was contemplating ringing the bell again, Mick pulled open the door.
“For God’s sake, don’t press that bloody bell again, it has me deafened”. he said. Inviting Frank inside he dashed up the stairs to the first floor and pushed open the door to his former bedroom. Frank was gobsmacked by the sight which greeted his eyes when he entered the room.
The interior walls of the entire upper floor had been removed and the roof raised to create a space some twelve hundred feet square and thirty feet high. More astonishing to Frank’s eye were the apparent hordes of men rushing about in great haste and evident industry, fabricating an enormous engine in one corner of the vast room.
“What in the name of all that’s good and holy is going on here” he asked with his mouth open to an impossible angle.
With a wry grin Mick answered proudly “We’re building the Mk2 time machine.”
“Mk2!” Frank said “I didn’t hear about Mk1 and you’re building Mk2, some friend you are, keeping secrets and building stuff.”
“Show me how this machine works” he demanded.
Mick took him over to the large machine which was in an advanced state of construction, with men scurrying back and forth busily fitting parts and cladding to the outside of it. “It’s not finished yet” Mick said “most of the work is done but I need about another week to complete it.”
Frank looked at the contraption which Mick was proudly displaying. All he could make out was a mass of dials, levers and valves. It made no sense to him and Mick’s explanations only made it all the more obscure.
“Where’s the Mk1 version then” he asked, somewhat peevishly.
Mick beckoned him to follow and in a corner of the room he whipped a dust cover off a contraption which was concealed underneath.
“it’s a motorbike” Frank said.
“More than a motorbike” Mick replied “It’s a 1922 Vuitton Plessy Motorbike and Sidecar combination, but more than that, with my modifications it’s a fully functional Mk1 Michael Brennan Time Machine.
Frank was seriously underwhelmed, “That yoke doesn’t look like it could drive to the corner shop for a bottle of milk, never mind travel in time”
“That’s deliberate” Said Mick “I chose this as my first attempt because I was going back in time first, and I didn’t want to stick out like a sore thumb. It’s seriously underpowered but it worked like a dream first time and I went back to August 14th 1934, just to see if I could.
“By the way” he continued “you know the Grandfather theory of time travel don’t you, well it’s bullshit and I proved it”
“Grandfather theory, what’s that?” asked Frank.”I certainly never heard of it and I’ve been to college and gotten a degree”
Well pleased to be able to show off to his better educated friend Mick struck an oratorical pose and proceeded “The theory goes that time travel is impossible because if you met and interacted with one of your ancestors you would upset the timeflow and the results would be catastrophic. But I met my old Grandfather, he’s just like the photos by the way, and as you can see nothing has happened.”
Putting this whole Grandfather thing aside Frank asked “But where did this building come from, what’s that monstrosity you’re building over there, why do you need a Mk2 machine and on top of all that, where did you get the money to do all this, building, materials and most of all an army of workers, it must be costing a bloody fortune”
“I told you the Mk1 was underpowered, I went forward into the future but I could only get five days out of the machine, it had no problem going into the past, in fact, I’ve been as far back as the late Ice Age. It refused to go any further into the future, so I put my Euro Lottery plan into action and I’m now rich beyond your wildest dreams. I have a plan for the second version but it needed significantly more power so I designed Mk2.”
“You may be wondering why it’s steam powered” he continued “Well If I’m travelling backwards in time I’ll need a reliable power source and sophisticated electronics didn’t exist back then so steam seems to be most viable. Going forward into the future is a different kettle of fish, however. If some prognosticators are to believed we are approaching a new dark ages period. If that’s the case I can’t rely on the future of electronics then either, so whichever direction I choose steam seems the best bet.”
“As to the army of workers” Mick went on to explain “nobody nowadays knows anything about building steam engines so I imported these guys from back in the early twentieth century from a remote part of the Carpathian mountains. They’re great workers and better still they speak a mangled and unintelligible form of HungaroGerman which means that they can only communicate with me or amongst themselves. My secret is safe with me and now you, I know you are discreet. By the way they work for really small wages”
Frank was astounded. He spent the next four hours touring the premises with Mick and getting a complete rundown on the work in progress. He was especially impressed by the plans which Mick had drawn. He commented on this and Mick replied “when you can travel in time, the passage of time has no meaning and you can literally spend as much time as you like on a project. I did an Auto CAD course by travelling back and forth through time so I am now a fully qualified CAD technician, I also have degrees in Engineering and advanced Metallurgy so I am well prepared for this gig.”
Exhausted by all this new information Frank took himself off home to a warm bath, a glass of twelve year old whiskey and a long think about all that had transpired that day. Was it possible that time travel was a viable proposition and even more incredible, could a dunderhead like Mick have figured it out on his own?
Unfortunately Frank had a long standing appointment in Kazakhstan the following day. The gig was to be for two weeks, but due to unforeseen circumstances it dragged on for another three weeks. Coming home tired and fed up with the carry-on of the Kazakhs, Frank’s primary thoughts were on bed and rest, in that order. However given the momentous affairs going on in Mick’s house he decided to pay a call before going home.
Imagine his astonishment on turning into Mick’s street when he was confronted by miles of crime scene tape draped all across the street. Accosting the bored looking Garda on duty he demanded an explanation. The Garda assured him that all he knew was that a mysterious explosion had destroyed number fifty six and blown all the residents sky high. If Frank needed any further information he could contact Inspector McGrath down at the station.
The following day Frank found himself in the station, in an interview room being grilled by the aforesaid Inspector McGrath.The Inspector seemed to think that Frank had some guilty knowledge of the affair and it was only when he satisfied himself that Frank had been in Kazakhstan at the time of the explosion that he relaxed somewhat.
He then politely asked Frank if he could shed any light on what might have occurred in Mick’s house. In ordinary circumstances nothing could hold Frank back from telling his incredible tale. Nothing, that is, except that he needed to have some further information before opening his mouth and possibly having himself committed to the Booby Hatch for the remainder of his natural life.
He persuaded the Inspector to let him visit the scene of the devastation, Expecting an enormous crater and bricks scattered the length and breadth of the street he was astonished to find no such conditions on site. The entire house was totally missing. The edges of the plinth had been fused into glass, apparently by great heat, and all the evidence of Mick’s Time Machine were entirely absent. Oddly enough there was no other evidence of heat elsewhere and Mick’s somewhat shabby garden was as unaffected as the last day Frank had been there.
Frank decided (Wisely I think) not to share his knowledge of Mick’s invention and after a fairly heated discussion he was allowed to go home.

 

Chapter two:

Adventures of Mick in the Far Future

Mick sat up and scratched his head. “that’s a bit disappointing” he thought ” I haven’t moved at all. I must have messed up the settings on the controls, maybe I shouldn’t have sent Igor and the other Carpathians home. He was much more painstaking at the fiddly stuff than I am”.
“Well bugger it, I’ll just have to recalibrate and try again, first though, I’ll make myself a sandwich and a cup of coffee. All this time travelling stuff makes me peckish.” Opening his front door, to collect the milk, he slipped on a fused glass patch outside and pitched down on his backside and followed this embarrassing pratfall by banging the back of his head on the ground. Picking himself up he found it difficult to maintain his balance due to the glazed surface underfoot.
Looking around he was astonished to find that the area around his house had changed utterly and the glazed surface on which he was standing covered an area extending about a foot from the perimeter of his property, now reduced to a gardenless condition.
He rushed back inside and examined the controls of The Amazing Steam Powered Time Machine and found that he had inadvertently catapulted himself some four and a half millennia into the future.
Speaking aloud he said “Dear God, this bloody machine is a lot more powerful than I thought it would be” Thinking about it he concluded that he had accidentally jogged the lever which directed the forward movement to a much higher notch than he originally intended. Furthermore, the machine had catapulted not only himself, but the complete house forward in time.
“I know what’s happened” he thought to himself “I’ve fallen into a Chronosynchlastic infundiblium”* (Described by Kurt Vonnegut in his novel “The Sirens of Titan” published in 1959)*
*(Chronosynchlastic infundiblium – Time Funnel)
Where to go from here? obviously some exploration was indicated. Fortunately Mick had anticipated the need for this and packed an extensive wardrobe plus sufficient food and drink to last for several months.
Included in his gear was a Colt 45 revolver – serial number 5370 , bought by Mick from a man who claimed to be a survivor of the battle of the little Bighorn which cost General George Custer and 268 of his men their lives, together with 55 wounded. Mick had come across this individual on one of his forays into the past on his Vuitton – Plessy motorbike. Whether his story was true or not was open to question but the gun was in perfect working order and realistically Mick didn’t need a historical provenance in order to use it to defend himself against whatever terrors might exist in the far future.
Gathering up some supplies, strapping on his trusty Colt and ensuring he had enough ammunition to start a small war he set off to explore his immediate surroundings.
There was no sign of the leafy suburbs where he had grown up, the land all about his house, now lying slightly canted to one side in an open glade in a deciduous forest was unremittingly rural. There was no evidence of human habitation in the immediate neighbourhood so he ventured a bit further. Using his woodsman skills, learned long ago in
5
the Boy Scouts, he carefully marked trees so that he could find his way home and, more importantly to the time machine later, even in the dark.
Ten minutes hard walking later he came to a road, at least he thought it was a road. It looked to be made from a seamless plastic material and felt soft and yielding underfoot, in fact a perfect walking surface. Marking a final tree he set off on the path in an eastward direction, the sea is east of his home place and he thought that if there was going to be any signs of civilisation, it would be close to the sea, In his experience human beings like to live by the sea.
Sure enough, some twenty minutes later he breasted the rise of a small hill and saw the Irish Sea spread out beneath him, sparkling in the warm sunlight. Looking further to his right he saw a cluster of what looked like buildings in the middle distance, perhaps a mile and a half away.
Now quite excited he rushed down the hill towards the group of buildings. As he approached the first building an entrance irised open and a man emerged. The man was a slight individual, dressed in a one piece, variously coloured, garment and he appeared to be wearing a headpiece similar to a cockscomb. Mick raised his hands and called out a greeting. The other spoke in a language which Mick did not recognise. Mick tried again in his broken French to no better result. The man made a “stay there” gesture and went back into his dwelling. Coming out a moment later he was carrying a small device which looked to Mick like a hearing aid. The man made signs to Mick to fit the device into his ear. Mick was amazed to hear the other in his head. He was even more astonished to note that the others lips did not move when he spoke.
The explanation soon emerged from the device in his ear. “My name is Paulo and you are hearing me in your head through the ear thing” “you are obviously a stranger around here” he continued, ”Can I offer you some refreshment, you look like you’ve come a long way.”
“You have no idea” Mick said.
“Actually” said Paulo ” you might be surprised, I would reckon that you are a time traveller possibly from about four or five thousand years ago. Am I correct”
“How did you figure that out?” Mick was floored by the casual nature of his companion’s revelation.
“Oh we’re well used to time travellers in this part of the time continuum” said Paulo “I, myself have met three in the past ten years. Unless I am mistaken though you are possibly from the furthest back in time and you may even be the original inventor of time travel as we now know it.”
“In point of fact” he continued “I believe I could put a name to you. Unless I miss my estimate, you are Mick Brennan are you not?”
“Well how the hell did you figure that out. Hang on a minute, are you reading my mind with this ear thing?” Mick was outraged at this perceived invasion of his inner privacy.
Paulo hastened to reassure him “No, no, not at all. The ear thing only communicates at the shallowest level in your head and conveys no more information than is passed in normal speech. It would require some much more sophisticated gear to read your private thoughts. Except in cases of real need we would never breach our ethical standards and read any deeper than the upper levels of cognisance.”
“So you have a highly developed ethical system then”
6
“Yes indeed, we have system based on respect for all, and that those who have more, have a duty to share with the less well off in society. We also believe that the strong should not ever use their strength to bring pressure to bear on anyone or anything weaker than themselves. so you can be quite sure that, even if we could, we would never probe into your mind without your express permission.”
“Phew, that’s a relief” Mick didn’t really have so much in his mind that he wouldn’t like the whole world to know, he just felt uncomfortable with the idea of complete strangers rummaging around in his deepest thoughts.
Going into Paulo’s house Mick was gobsmacked to see an enormous spread of food laid out on the table. Finding that he was ravenous he set about the food with gusto.
“This is absolutely delicious” he said. “I can’t help noticing that there’s nobody here except you and me and there’s enough food here for a small army. Who else lives here?” he asked.
Paulo laughed and said “there’s a lot you will have to learn about us if you’re going to stay long” he said. “We are solitary people and we almost never have more than one person living in a dwelling at any one time” “We are very jealous of our individual space and are normally hermits by preference.”
“Why aren’t you eating yourself” Mick asked.
“We don’t eat” Said Paulo, “We metabolise all we need direct from sunlight and the immediate environment so there’s no need for the messy business of eating and the inevitable consequences which are even messier.”
“In my culture this is a delicate issue but I will burst with curiosity if I don’t ask” said Mick
“Don’t worry, I won’t get offended by anything you ask” Paulo replied.
“Well if you are so antisocial, how do you procreate, I mean how do you produce little Paulos and Paulas?”
“Its a little complicated and as you can already observe we don’t like mess, but at its simplest we seek out a compatible female on our version of the internet and by agreement we decide to combine our DNA. This is done through a much updated version of the old Cloud Computing idea and the resultant individual is gestated and brought into the world, fully adult and fully functioning.
The process takes about 35 minutes from beginning to end. This happens about once in fifty to one hundred years, in fact I compute that the last such individual produced was eighty nine years ago”
“I notice that you haven’t taken off your hat thing” Mick said, “We usually take off our hats when we go inside”
Paulo touched the cockscomb on his head and laughed merrily. “That’s not a hat, that is part of my brain.” “We have evolved a brain power which is incomparably greater than anything you are familiar with, however, when our is brain is operating at maximum capacity it generates a level of heat which, if not dissipated, would be lethal. The appendage on my head is a reserve coolant feature and in times of need it kicks into action. Would you like a demonstration?”
Without waiting for a reply he immediately adopted a deeply pensive appearance and to Mick’s horror the cockscomb began to inflate and pulse with activity.
“I was just computing the ‘Universal Theory of Everything’” Paulo said, “It requires a lot of computing power”
Mick decided to stop asking questions for a while until he had a chance to digest all that he had heard today.

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. martinacarroll / Jun 4 2013 10:18 pm

    I read Harry’s book over a long weekend and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. As a sci-fi fan I was delighted that the first member of our InkSplinters group to publish a book is a sci-fi author. Thanks Harry for a great book. It struck me at first that the adventures of Mick could be adapted into a series of children’s illustrated story books. I still think this but as I read on I discovered a story filled with political satire. Thanks Harry for a great read.

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  1. A Review of Time and Time Again by Harry Browne: Inksplinter For Life. | InkSplinters

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