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Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The First Step is Always the Hardest, and Sometimes the Fastest, Too.

It was so much simpler in the early days. Just Dr. Dawg, Bob, and me. Driving around, in a 1971 VW Micro Bus, solving problems, and saving humanity. No withholding taxes, no retirement accounts, no worries, no huge government contracts. Life was simple.

We were staying in the HG wing of the Wells hotel in Baltimore. It had taken some work, and a lot of effort, and combing a microwave oven and a laser printer to create a small, controlled nuclear reactor, but our first time machine was ready to try. Bob, our accountant, had agreed to give it a shot.

"You're sure it's safe?" Bob asked and the trembling in his voice, and hands and knees,
made it obvious he was considering un-volunteering, backing out, not going.

I poured him a bourbon, neat. And Doctor Dawg pointed to a chalk board covered with long, complicated equations that had almost as many letters as numbers.

"I have been over the calculations too many times to count. They always come up the same. Since you lived long enough to be born you can't be killed before your birth. There is no way alter a reality that has passed. It is numerically impossible. It's all right there. Nothing bad can happen." He said, and a bit lower, under his breath, almost inaudible he added, "I think."

Bob had a very keen eye for numbers, which is why we hired him to be our accountant, but he did not understand science, or scientific notation. Which was fine, that was why we had Dr. Dawg. I was the driver, bartender, chef, shopper, and calming influence. We all took our jobs very seriously.

So, Bob finished his bourbon, looked at the equations, and Dr. Dawg, who patted him on the back, and said "you can do this, Bob, you are blazing a new trail, setting a new course for human understanding, you will be a hero. And we will wait right here."

Bob, stepped through the portal.

"Where did you send him?" I asked.

"I'm not too sure, but I was aiming for ancient Egypt during the reign of Amenhotep III, it was a relatively peaceful, prosperous time, according to the internet, anyway. We will find out, when Bob returns, where he actually ended up, and calibrate the Chrono Place-Ometer for accuracy. Hey is there any pizza left?"

I went to check, Dr. Dawg said we wouldn't have to wait long, according to his research, Bob could spend two or three days in the past and it would only be a small amount of time, no more than a few minutes, in the present. I was coming back with a couple of pieces of pizza, and a nice glass of Chardonnay, when Bob came running through the portal, screaming in terror. He knocked the pizza to the floor, I barely saved the wine.

Bob slammed the door open so hard he put the knob through the sheetrock wall and tore off down the hall, like a motorcycle.  Right behind him came a contingent of Egyptian soldiers, slamming through the small apartment, knocking over the couch, and table, and took off after Bob.  I drank the wine before anything else could happen.

Dr. Dawg looked at at me and said, "Well, I certainly didn't see that coming. We should probably pack up and go somewhere else. There could be a lot of questions soon."

We moved to Memphis, Tennessee and started working on a method to open and close the portal.  More on that later, though.