The Time Machine

by Megansdad

Tags: Science Fiction,

Desc: Time Travel Story: This story was born from a dream I had a few nights ago. Only a small portion was in the dream the rest I made up as I went along. If you could travel through time, what changes would you make?

Sixteen year old Alyson was the smartest one in her class. As a matter of fact she was so smart that her intelligence couldn't be measured by the current IQ standards. She had been working on quantum theory, wormhole theory and others as a part of her thesis on 'Time Travel'. Although, it is common for kids of this era to be extremely smart, just like in the past there are those who stand head and shoulders above the rest. Alyson Whitecloud is one of those people. All of her life she had developed faster than others around her. Walking at six months old, talking at 12 months. Alyson never had any friends; her parents, being wealthy, had her tutored until time for her to start school. However school was just not up to par for her. Her intellect and early tutoring put her so far ahead of the other students that her parents decided to continue to homeschool her.

She had finished her primary education courses by the time she was ten years old and was accepted to Caltech for the next semester. She was the youngest student ever to attend Caltech.

The year is 2141, the two hundredth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. Alyson had always been a fan of history; not just of the events of history but the clothing and people were of interest to her as well. This is why, six years after coming to Caltech she was working on a thesis challenging the concept of Time Travel.

She had been working on her thesis for two years when she received a strange letter by special courier.


You have never met me but I know you very well. Throughout the years of your short life I have followed your education closely. You may or may not have noticed that certain events have taken place and desperately needed bits of information were suddenly discovered at just the right key moments in your studies. That was all my doing in order to aid you in your quest; for that is exactly what it is, a quest. I know what it is that you hope to accomplish. You are considering the possibility of changing history. I hope you consider the ramifications of your actions before you act.

By the time you receive this letter it will be the two hundredth anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor. I know that you would like to test your theories and try to warn them about the attack. That event affects thousands of lives. If you were to change that event and the Pacific Fleet were to leave the harbor and meet the Japanese Fleet in open water you would still have to consider how that would change the time line from then on.

Of all the lives that were lost in the original event there would be thousands of lives that would not be lost after the change. Then they would affect the time line from then on and so would their descendants. The time line being affected by each generation that previously did not exist.

This is the consequences you must consider when traveling through time. It has been theorized that just traveling to the past will change it. I surmise that, that is not entirely correct. Certain small things will not affect the time line. For instance, taking a glass of water from the ocean, taking a deep breath; these are but a few things that do not affect the time line.

On the other hand, if you kill a deer you could possibly starve a family. Because the deer you killed will no longer have offspring that would have populated an area that would have fed the family.

Let me get to the reason for this letter. After careful consideration I feel you are ready for the final piece to your puzzle. Although, I must caution you that this information would not be something I would wish released to the government.

Included with the letter is an encrypted storage module. I leave it to you to decrypt it. But I will tell you that once you do you will see why I don't want you to turn in your thesis.

Good luck in finding the decryption key and enjoy the information.

A friend

Alyson Re-read the note a couple of time to see if there was a hint to the decryption key in the note. There was nothing that she could visually detect. Alyson was aware that the storage module was just a small removable drive that you could keep in your pocket or on a key chain. She plugged the module into her laptop and tried to open the only file on the drive. Immediately after the double-click a password dialog box popped up.

"Great," she thought. "Now I have to find a stupid password just to open the file before I can decrypt it."

For several minutes she sat there staring at the screen; or looking at the letter. Still there was nothing she could visibly detect. Then suddenly, like someone slapped her, it came to her. One, she was working on the theory of time travel. Two, the letter writer said that he or she was helping by giving information. Three, the letter said this was the final piece to my puzzle. That could only mean this had something to do with time travel.

She immediately tried entering words that had to do with her thesis.

'H-I-S-T-O-R-Y' nothing

'F-U-T-U-R-E' nothing

'T-I-M-E" nothing

"Wait a minute. My thesis is called 'Time Travel' and since passwords cannot have spaces let's try:

T-I-M-E-T-R-A-V-E-L." Immediately the dialogue box disappears and Microsoft Word opens and displays the encrypted contents of the file.

Even though she cannot read the file she can now check properties. The file is 8TB in size on a 10TB Storage Module from Dell. "Either this is a really huge file or there are a lot of pictures."

Alyson set her decryption program to work on it. She went back to work on the formulas for her thesis while she was waiting for the decryption program to finish its task.

It took a full week for the program to finish. Alyson was sitting in her kitchen eating a sandwich and drinking a V8 juice when the program sounded an audible alarm alerting Alyson that it was finished. Almost dropping her sandwich in the floor she tossed it to the plate and rushed to the office where she did most of her work.

She quickly opened the file again and read through the Table of Contents before perusing through the rest of the file.


1. Letter from the Author

2. Introduction to Time Travel

3. The Morals & Ethics of Traveling Through Time

4. Current Theories

5. Mathematical Formulae

6. Formulae Explained

Recent Addition

7. Practical Application. (No Longer A Theory)

"Oh my god!" She thought. The first six chapters are exactly the same as in my thesis. I am so going to sue who ever wrote this for theft of Intellectual Property.

She continued to look through the file. Sure enough after briefly scanning through the document it was almost exactly like her thesis. There were several changes to chapters 5 and 6 but the rest was essentially an exact copy of her thesis. Now she was pissed for having someone steal her thesis and publish it first.

As she scrolled down she saw the last chapter heading "Practical Application (No Longer A Theory)"

"Huh? No longer a theory; but how can that be? I haven't even finished my thesis and determined whether time travel is possible or not."

Alyson had spent the rest of the afternoon reading through the last chapter and was astonished to say the least. Chapter seven was the reason the file was so large. It was the detailed construction plans for a time travel device based on her formulae and the changes made in chapters 5 and 6 of this document.

"If this device actually worked I could understand why they wouldn't want the government to get their collective hands on it. While they could do a lot of good by going back in time to prevent terrorist attacks on this nation; they could also do a lot of damage to our rights by going back and preventing them from being given to us. They could also go into the future and steal weapons and God knows what else."

By the time she had finished reading the last chapter she had decided to keep this a secret and try to build the device.

The plans were extremely detailed. It took six months to gather the physical parts. Luckily she had a good income from her research grant. If she were to use the research grant money she would have to document the expense and then others would know what she was doing. The only thing that she had outsourced was the printing of the circuit boards. There were four of them. She sent the pages with the draws to the printer and faxed them to a friend she new that had the equipment to print them

While waiting for the circuit boards to be delivered she worked on programming the eproms and assembling the dials, lights, gauges and switches in the rest of the device. She was amazed at how detailed the plans were in Chapter 7. It was almost as if she had written them her self.

On and on she went working on the programming of the eproms; finally she was through and downloaded the finished program to the burner to be burned onto the last of the chips. Each chip was marked and stored in a static proof container until she was ready to solder them to the boards.

The doorbell rang; it was the FedEx person delivering her circuit boards. Now she could finish the assembly process.

Two days later the boards were finished and installed in the device. Once the device was fully assembled she switched it on.

"Geez. Talk about anti-climactic." She mumbled to herself. Because nothing happened; No lights, no sounds, nothing.

That's when she went back to the file and read through the last chapter again. There at the bottom of the last page was the reason it didn't work.

"... Batteries NOT included."

"Well, Shit. How am I supposed to make it work now?" She looked at the schematics again and found the section on the power supply. The comment beside it said, "Cold Fusion device."

"Ok, so much for making it work." How am I supposed to get technology that doesn't exist?"

Just then the doorbell rang again. She got up to answer it and it was a special courier.

"Are you Alyson Whitecloud?" He asked.

(Author's Note: I had a brain fart about the character's last name so I named her after my daughter's brand of diapers.)

"Yes. I am"

"I have a package for you but I'll need to see some ID first."

After showing him her driver's license he asked her to sign for the package and left.

It wasn't big; about the size of a large jewelry box. (The kind you get when you buy the jewelry. Not the kind you store it in at home.) She tore open the wrapping and gently opened the box. Inside was a small device about the size of a walnut with two metal studs sticking out each end with screws in them. She knew from the drawing that it was the power supply for what she had just finished building. What she didn't know was where it had come from since the technology didn't exist.

Also inside the box was a folded up piece of paper. She took it out and unfolded it and read it.


Here is the cold fusion device the plans call for. I know that the technology doesn't exist in your time so I sent it back in time and set it up to be delivered to you at this specific moment in time. The terminals are marked for positive and negative for ease of installation.

In case you haven't already figured it out this is a time travel device based on your thesis but with knew information I discovered sometime later. This new information was the key to a major breakthrough.

The device has a new feature that mine did not have when I first built it; a return home beacon. When you engage power for the first time it takes a base reading of your time stream placement and energy readings. This will always be your control measurement the device will use to determine your exact position in the time line.

Research your jumps carefully and be prepared for each era you visit. And by all means do not lose this device or allow it to fall into the wrong hands. Other than that enjoy yourself.


"AW? No! It can't be. But it is possible. If I had built this device sometime when I was older and then because of some event or events it became necessary to go back in time and place this stuff with people I trusted to deliver it on time... yes that sounds like what may have happened. But what would have happened that would have made me send this information back in time to my younger self?" She thought to herself.

She... uh... I mean I said something about not letting the government know. I wonder if a government caused me a lot of problems or worse took away my freedom 'for my own safety.' If I publish my thesis as I had planned it is a distinct possibility that the United States government or another one would arrest me or kidnap me in order to force me to make this device and use it for them or they take it away and use it them selves. There is no telling what atrocities they would commit on the time line if they had free reign of this device. No. There is no way I am going to publish now.

But I have to test it and see if it really works. To see if any of my theories are valid.

Not knowing when to set it for she decided on a major point in U.S. history.

December 1941. She didn't know if the device would allow travel through space as well as time. So she chose not to travel too far into the past. She knew that the landscape had not changed much in 100 years other than being developed to accommodate the population growth of two hundred years. By the time Alyson was born the human race had colonized the moon and Mars but had not gone further into space.

Even though the governments of the Earth had put incentives in place to help control the population growth; people still continued to have children. This in turn put an enormous strain on the Earth's resources. Food, drinkable water and even the air we breathe was in short supply. With more and more land being developed into housing and businesses there was no longer enough vegetation to replenish the atmosphere. So the technology was developed to replenish it artificially. That led to an oxygen tax being added to your paycheck right next to federal.

Alyson didn't have any clothes from the early 20th century so she had decided to try the device and if it worked to acquire clothing from 1941 if she could. There was a brief shimmer of iridescent light around her and he was standing in a field. She smiled knowing the device had worked. Having a Masters degree in History she knew that this area where she lived used to be farm land in the early 20th century. Okay, so she now knew that it didn't allow travel through space, which meant that she would have to find away to either Washington DC or Hawaii to alert then to the coming attack by the Japanese.

Well, since I was in a field I suppose that I will have to walk somewhere and find transportation. I decided to make my way to Hawaii since I had little chance of getting in to see the President. The question then remains can I make it to Hawaii and get them to believe me in one week?

After an hour of walking Alyson came upon a farm house; complete with clothes on the line. She waited for a moment to be sure no one was around then snuck up to the clothes and took a dress to change into. That takes care of period clothing. Still, now that I know that it works I should return to my own time and prepare better.

Alyson returned to the spot in the field where she started so that she would return to her home. During her hour walk she had decided that it would be easier to get to Hawaii in her own time than in the past.

After returning home she packed a few items she thought she might need; called the airport and made a reservation for a flight to Hawaii.

Alyson packed the dress she had acquired in the past and some old fashioned looking sandals. The dress is a white summer dress with pastel purple flowers. The colors really set off Alyson's Native American features.

Alyson was 5' 4", 110lbs. Her features were a combination of the DNA of a Navaho father and Caucasian mother. The combination caused her to have a lighter skin tone giving her the look of a moderate tan.

(Author's Note: Okay. So it's difficult for me to describe the stunning beauty of my character. Use your imagination, that's what it's for. I think that some Native Americans, Asians, and Latinas are some of the most beautiful women on the planet; it seems strange that I married a Caucasian woman. But then looks aren't everything.)

With her bag packed she headed off to the airport. Ten hours later she was in the Honolulu airport.

She knew that she couldn't just travel back in time in the middle of the airport no matter how busy it was so she headed for the nearest exit. Since the device doesn't allow for spatial displacement she had to make sure she was already on the ground before she triggered the device.

She used her father's credit card to make her way to Pearl Harbor; the main site of the tragedy. After arriving she sought a nice quiet spot to activate her new toy.

She saw the now familiar glow and the brief shimmer of her surroundings and in an instant she was in the past again. The display showed December 1st, 1941 1342hrs.

Alyson looked through her pack to make sure everything came through alright. She checked the portable DVD player to make sure that the batteries were okay. Before she had left for the past Alyson had taken the time to download some newsreel footage of the actual events of the fateful day; Hoping that it would prove that she was telling the truth. As a precaution she removed the Time Travel device from her arm and strapped it to her right thigh in the hopes that they wouldn't frisk her as they tended to do in her own time.

True to form the Americans were as arrogant as ever and didn't believe that anyone would attack them so no one challenged Alyson as she just walked confidently onto the base.

Since most of the world was at war it would be safe to say that a war ship would not be safe no matter where you parked it. Inside of Pearl Harbor the ships were bunched together in fairly shallow waters. That made them easier to watch and protect from individual sabotage and the shallow water made them more difficult to torpedo. Keeping them bunched together like they were made them easier targets for bombing and the Japanese found a clever way to compensate for the shallow water and torpedoed the ship anyway.

If they had anchored the vessels in open water they would have more difficult to bomb but easier to torpedo. Either way, as determined as the Japanese were to accomplish this mission the ship were doomed. Alyson stood looking at the ships docked in the harbor and shook her head knowing what was about to occur in a few days.

She turned and approached the first officer that she saw.

"Excuse me, sir."

"Yes, miss. What can I do for you?"

"I have information about an attack on the Harbor. Who would I need to speak to?"

There is more of this story...
The source of this story is Storiesonline

For the rest of this story you need to be logged in: Log In or Register for a Free account

Story tagged with:
Science Fiction /