"What? You mean where you imagine you go back into the past and see actual events and things?"
"Yes, but I didn't imagine it."
"Oh yeah? And how do you know you didn't?"
"Simple. Look at this book."
"Did you write this?"
"Don't be silly, that's not my handwriting! No, I was, er, given it by someone ... from back then."
"Given it? That's impossible! Surely, timeslips, from the little I've heard, are just supposed let you view the past, not to interact with it."
"That's what I thought, but apparently not in my case. Anyway, he didn't exactly give the book to me; I was just holding it when I returned back here. You dont have much control over timeslips, you know."
"Well, anyway, this book is his diary. And I, um, left him with something of mine in exchange."
"Oh yeah, what?"
"What! That cheap, green, wind-up thing?"
"It wasn't deliberate. I was holding his diary - he had hold of my computer. Probably a fair exchange when you think about it."
"Yeah, right ... So just how far back into the past am I to believe you travelled?"
"Er ... well, I reckon I must have gone right back to, um ... fifteen twenty-four or so."
"And you expect me to believe that? Even if it was true, don't you realise the consequences of leaving such a modern device in the past? You could have changed the entire course of history!"
"Well, that's the interesting part ... I think what I actually did was to make sure that something happened back then that wouldn't have happened had I not timeslipped."
"Oh, and what, pray, would that have been?"
"Well, this guy I met, he was in a bit of a state at the time, as you will see if you read the diary. He'd just graduated from university; studied medicine, such as it was at the time. And he was trying to help with that plague trouble that they were having back then."
"Yeah. Anyway, I showed him that medical program I'd got on the laptop and found the section on the plague ... and how to cure it."
"And he understood what the computer was telling him?"
"Oh yes, after a short while, only a few minutes in fact, he became quite proficient in its use. Well, you know how easy that model was to operate, and he was rather bright."
"Well, I, er, gather he went off and cured lots of people; hundreds, possibly more. Became quite well known for it, in fact."
"So, you are saying that, because you had this timeslip, thousands of people were saved from dying of the plague back in fifteen ..."
"... twenty-four. Yes."
"And this is well documented in the history books, is it?"
"Actually, it wasn't really the plague problem that he was mostly famous for."
"Oh yes ...? Please continue ..."
"Well, I'd also installed an encyclopaedia on the laptop. It had quite a good history section - covered all the major events from the dawn of civilisation right up to the present."
"Ah, and how did he make use of that, then?"
"Well, he, um ... actually, I suppose I ought to tell you his name."
"He was called Michel ..."
"Michel. Michel what?"
"... de Nostredame."
- Location: Montpellier University, France.
- Conversation translated from French into English.
- Details of the laptop can be found here and here.