The Post Time-Travel Challenge: The Red Camaro
Created | Updated Nov 5, 2010
Okay, this challenge has definitely set the cat among the pigeons. Writers were invited, incautiously on my part, to get in their tardises and go sightseeing. The only conditions were that you not change anything, and stay out of your own lifetime.
ITIWBS, like Minorvogonpoet, was fascinated not only by the destination aspect of time travel, but the mechanism for getting there. Here we have an intriguing thought experiment in fiction.
The Red Camaro
A red rubber ball popped out of nowhere. Eli caught it without a fumble, looked at it, remarked, "It has my initials on it."
Ezra handed him a red rubber ball and a magic marker, saying, "Here put your initials on that."
Eli did so, idly juggled the two balls one handed for a moment before comparing the two set of initials. "They match.", he said, as he handed one of the balls over to Ezra.
Eli continued, "So if I've got this right, when you hit the red rubber ball, while it's falling, with an energy pulse traveling with a negative speed, that will propel it a few seconds into the future and you'll set that one meter steel ball rolling to the point of intersection. Then, when the red rubber ball emerges from the quantum jump in the center of the locus occupied by the rolling one meter steel ball, the little red rubber ball will rebound from it, being propelled into the past. Is that right?"
Ezra fed the red rubber ball into a hopper overlying the track the one meter steel ball would roll on. He pressed a button and the machine began to hum as the red rubber ball dropped from the hopper and duly disappeared half a meter above the track as the one meter steel ball began rolling down to its fateful encounter, and rolled on, slowed only imperceptibly by the event. "Yes, that's right, to where and when you caught it a moment ago. It's a simple problem in dimensional vector analysis."
"That's only a small demo model, come on." Ezra said, leading Eli to a door which opened on to a second floor walkway overlooking the floor of a hangar bay, where there was a scaled up version of the device, with what appeared to be a 1950s vintage red Camaro, with a removable hard top, suspended over a rolling track with a five meter steel ball resting at the top of the track.
"Care to take her out for a spin?" Ezra continued.
Eli looked at Ezra, looked back at the machine, looked back at Ezra again. "Are you sure this is safe?" He asked.
They popped out into a grassy open field atop a low hillock in the open sun. Eli blinked a couple of times at the sudden change in lighting.
Ezra remarked, "I had the hillock graded away, to allow emergence at ground level, while I was having the hangar built."
Eli started the engine.
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