Pythagoras and Maisie. Final part.
Slowly a small circular capsule took shape in front of them.
“That’s it in a nutshell,” said Maisie.
Pythagoras, Maisie and the vicar were led into an adjoining room, and left alone with a guard. A short time later a gentleman they hadn’t seen before joined them. “I’m interested in your story of a time machine. We’ve actually just started working on such a project. From what you say it will take 150 years to develop.”
“Well that would seem to be the case,” said Pythagoras, “but we have been many years just testing since its completion. It has been here on trial runs, but apart from very early tests, this is the first time it has carried anyone. It was a tremendous risk, but we had nothing to loose. I was in fact the first person to test a prototype, I was only able to go back in time just one hour in that original test”. The group were called back into the room. The officer who seemed to be in charge then said with raised eyebrows; “Obviously we will have to see your machine – it is only because we are aware that work has started on such a machine, that we are prepared to listen to you. We will inspect your machine tomorrow. You will all have to stay here tonight, Vicar you may use the phone to give some excuse for your absence.”
The next morning found our group driving towards the moors. The vehicles were soon abandoned and the party set off on foot. Maisie stopped and exclaimed – “Okay this is it.” The vicar was the first to declare that he could not see anything. “Well we told you that you would never find our machine vicar,” replied Maisie, “the simple reason why, is because it is not here. Obviously we could not risk it being found so we programmed it to go forward a short way; we will now bring it back.” Pythagoras took an instrument from his pack, made some adjustments and pressed a button. “We had enough power for this short trip forward and backwards, it should be appearing any second now.” Slowly a small circular capsule took shape in front of them. “We had to stay apart for some time after our arrival”, said Maisie “That would explain the radio signals. We used very low power laser radios to communicate; you did well to pick up the signals. You would never have decoded them though” Nobody in the party seemed to hear what Maisie had said; they were all staring in amazement at the machine. “You will understand that it is not possible for you to inspect our time machine gentlemen,” said Pythagoras. We can not give any physical help to you, but we have left a clue to a major problem you will encounter. This you will find on the computer programme we left you.”
“Is it possible to go into the future?” This question came from the vicar.
“No” said Maisie. “That will never be possible, one cannot go into what has not occurred. However if Pythagoras and I stayed away for a year, when we returned to our time, we would be able to go forward another year. In that respect we would be going into our future by one year. But of course that year would have already passed. We would in effect just be catching up. I hope you can understand that.” The nod of heads seemed to indicate that the explanation had been understood. “Now we will load our fuel rods and prepare to return to our time. If we return here, we will be back at this same spot in exactly ten minutes. If however we find things just the same as when we left, we have decided we will stay in our time and die with our friends.”
All those present knew there was nothing to be done but to agree. As the two travellers were preparing to leave, the vicar stepped forward – “God bless you both, and thank you for your efforts to help us and future generations. Just one last question. Does anyone believe in God in 2155?” Maisie embraced the vicar kissing him tenderly on his cheek and said – “Yes vicar they do. We have a small church in our community.” The vicar kissed Maisie back, then shook Pythagoras warmly by the hand. The ministry men came forward and shook hands, and the military men saluted. A few seconds after entering the capsule, it quietly disappeared. Two hours later the vicar and the officials decided there was no point in waiting any longer. They silently left the moor.
Below is a second ending to this saga…
The story of course eventually made the press. Television and radio had been discussing nothing else for the last month. World leaders were busy discussing the computer programmes, and serious efforts were being put in place to stem what was perceived to be a downward spiral to destruction. Academics were saying they were wasting their time. Because the capsule didn’t return, obviously things were not going to alter. Everyone would have to accept it, the warnings had been there for some time; but had been ignored. Nothing could be done. In the pub the vicar now only had two companions. He was devastated – he had grown so fond of Pythagoras and Maisie. Mr Pontificator had been very quiet of late. Mr Pipe had had very little pipe movement, and the vicar was trying to put a brave face on things. He had been having much trouble with his congregation though.
Mr Pipe had just taken a sip of his barley wine when his pipe started to move – almost imperceptibly at first, but definite movement. It gradually increased speed until it was reciprocating as fast as anyone had seen it go. Both the vicar and Tom were staring at Harry now. “What on earth is bothering you Harry?” said the vicar and Tom both together.
“I have been thinking about what you told us about the time machine thing” said Mr Pipe.
Maisie and Pythagoras told you they would not return if things were the same when they got back to 2155.”
“Yes that’s correct,” said the vicar.
“But what if things were normal? said Mr Pipe; what if there was no sickness no hunger, no wars, plenty of water – no major problems at all.”
“I don’t follow,” said the vicar.
“Well,” said Mr Pipe “history for them would have been totally different. What I am saying is, they most probably would not have known anything about their trip here, nobody would. It would not have been necessary. There may not even have been a time machine; there may not have been a reason to build one. They maybe couldn’t have made the return trip. It seems to me, that Pythagoras and Maisie achieved their objective, they did indeed alter the future. They are probably both living a normal happy life now, or will be in their time 2155. Harry Oats had removed his pipe and cap placed them on the table and was now smiling… The vicar slowly stood up patted Harry on the shoulder, kissed him on the cheek and then shouted out something you would never expect a Yorkshireman to say
“The drinks are on me.”
PS. Okay how can one end something like this? Every explanation could be argued down. There will be many ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ all the answers are there if you read carefully. I will not be spoon feeding
If you think about it enough it starts to blow your mind…
© Gerald Finlay, 2004, All Rights Reserved.
Goth, there was no way I could have left it with just the first ending. I wonder if Nigel Farage read this in 2004 ? 😉
I’ve been tempted to pick this up on P&S’ arrival home in 2155 – but I think I would be creating a nightmare for myself.
Maybe best to leave it (like the vicar saw it) with hope in his heart…
Once again I must thank you for your comprehensive comments and sense of humour 😉
Finally caught up Gerry, and I have to say I really enjoyed the reads,both endings work for me but I preferred the ambiguity of the first. I found the vicars question quite thought provoking. Greta piece of writing very much enjoyed. Best Keith
Keith, hope you had a nice break. Thank you for your comment. Just lets hope it ended okay – we’ve had that warning now 😉