Major Talmadge was professor of applied physics at Princeton, and his curiosity was piqued when a protegé of his asked him to document an attempt to travel back in time. He was determined to do this despite the fact that Talmadge had explained in detail about paradoxes, such as going back in time and killing one's own father!
He cautioned young Alec about claiming abilities that conventional science had pretty much agreed was impossible.
Nevertheless, given Alec's wealth of knowledge and his tenacity when it came to scientific discovery, Thurman Talmadge agreed to a meeting.
At that meeting, Alec revealed to the major that he discovered - he wouldn't say how - that Talmadge was present at a US Navy experiment during World War II. That experiment was to test a new type of stealth system based on radar deflection. It went terribly awry and was leaked to the general public in what later became known as The Philadelphia Experiment in the movies.
The real experiment took place out in the Atlantic, off the coast of North Carolina. Talmadge was a Lieutenant at the time. People really DID vanish and reappear partly imbedded in the steel super-structure of the ship, several fatally, but secrecy became the order of the day. Talmadge made Commander before he retired from the Navy at the end of the war.
As part of the cover for him to pursue his civilian vocation, he was granted the rank of Marine Major by executive order. The Navy has no such rank as major, so this hid his military career quite effectively, and his retirement pay was in line with that rank.
But Alec researched deeper than anyone and discovered it, as well as Nikola Tesla's input into what he believed was man's first interdimensional travel. He believed the OSS had arranged Tesla's death in 1943 at the New Yorker Hotel (a plaque still marks his passing there, at 34th St, just west of 8th Ave.).
Alec continued his experiments in total privacy until he was sure he had learned to control his emergence, both by location and by time!
The official secrets act forbade Major Talmadge from acknowledging any of his participation in the 1943 affair, but Alec knew he was right about him, and he was correct in his assessment that Thurman wouldn't or couldn't stay away, even if only professionally curious.
When Talmadge asked Alec why he chose to invite him, he replied, "You are my inspiration and I wanted you to see it come to fruition. I will travel back to 1943 and give you a note from yourself. That way, when this day comes around again, you will KNOW it all worked!"
Talmadge asked Alec why his 1943 self should believe some young man's fantasy instead of having him committed.
Alec smiled and said, "The note will be wrapped around an Alabama state quarter dated 2003," Alabama being Alec's home state.
"When I re-emerge," said Alec confidently, "I'm certain you will find that note and quarter in your pocket or you'll know where it is. Then only you will know for sure that I did it."
Talmadge knew only too well that Alec might stumble upon the exact data necessary to complete this most dangerous mission, and he brought with him his Colt .45 automatic in case it became necessary to remove him before he changed history; but his humanity played on his feelings and he relented, hoping the Creator would see to it that the young man would fail to achieve success.
But before allowing Alec to attempt his travel, Thurman discussed possibilities that might seem benign on the surface but could have dreadful consequences.
"For instance," he said, "you might prevent Lee Harvey Oswald from being in Dallas, that day!"
Alec countered dryly, "So they would've used a different patsy!"
Talmadge ordered Alec to get serious for a moment: "What if you prevented the birth of Adolf Hitler? ... Aside from the millions of other people whose lives would cease to exist, there is the possibility that Russia might become the first nation with nukes and use them to get at that Middle Eastern oil. Can you say Armegeddon?"
Alec promised to restrain himself from doing anything to change history and to prevent the "paradox"; the first trip was just to test its effectiveness.
Actually, Alec did have a side trip of his own planned, and it coincided with 1943 perfectly; but he kept that a secret, even from the Major.
Alec's grandfather was born in 1944, almost eight months to the day after he would emerge in time. Alec planned to enhance his family line!
The system looked like a hyperbaric chamber. Alec had studied photos of his great grandma, as hot a babe as existed during WWII. He also saw that his great grandpa and he were dead ringers!
[You'e getting ahead of me! :)]
The system fired up. Talmadge watched as Alec's body seemed to implode into thin air!
Suddenly, he reached into his pocket and found the quarter, wrapped in the note he had written, along with his code words to invest in IBM & AT&T!
The fact that he was still where he was made Talmadge feel more secure that Alec didn't mess with the Creator's creation, but within a few moments, the chamber also imploded into thin air!
Then, he reached into his pocket and the note and coin were gone, and he blacked out.
He re-awakened in a moment to find himself back in his study, wondering why he felt so befuddled. He chalked it up as a day dream and continued to grade test papers.
So, what happened?
Alec had been too successful. His time travel established, he found Talmadge and passed him the note wrapped coin. Then, he paid a visit to his great grandparents home in Alabama. It took a while, but what the hell, he wasn't losing anything, since he could choose when to re-emerge in 2003.
Alec looked in the window and saw his great grandma pacing the floor, her beautiful breasts almost visible in the firelight. Great grandpa was nowhere to be seen.
Just then, a cop tapped him on the left shoulder, rather forcefully, with his nightstick. When he spun, the cop told him, "I didn't know it was you, Elmer. I thought it was a peeping Tom. I guess the wife is a wee bit angry with all your drinking, eh?"
Alec shushed the cop with his finger, but then had an inspiration!
In those days, you didn't hardly need house keys. People could leave doors unlocked and frequently did.
.... There is more of this story ...