It was a slow Thursday morning when he got the call. Could he be at the university’s physics building tomorrow morning at seven? A small group of scientists wanted to show a carefully selected group something of grand importance. Isaac had sighed and accepted, quietly wondering what on Earth they thought could beat the headlining story of another antibiotic failing to treat its antibiotic-resistant disease. But, he had shown up at the old tan brick building with luke-warm coffee fifteen minutes late. One of the scientists, a short man with salt and pepper hair who introduced himself as Dr. Lee, met him at the entrance.
“Sorry I’m late,” Issac said as their handshake ended.
Dr. Lee shrugged, his stiff posture making the movement awkward. “It is to be expected. The others aren’t here.”
“Whole world is a little busy.”
“Whole world is too preoccupied.”
Isaac nodded slowly and took a sip of coffee. “Right, so um…what’s of grand importance?”
Dr. Lee’s severe face cracked under a grin. “Please, follow me.”
He led Isaac to a small, dusty classroom hidden in the back of the Physics building. Another man stood there. His tall, reedy form was hunched and when they entered the room he looked at them from behind round glasses but didn’t straighten. He stood in front of a large ring-like object.
“My associate, Dr. Shavok.”
“Pleasure to meet you,” Issac said as he dropped his bag on one of the three chairs. “What…is that?”
Dr. Shavok frowned. He clasped his hands behind his back and peered up at the machine. “That is a time machine.”
Isaac looked between the two men. “Your joking.”
Dr. Lee smiled. “Thankfully not.”
“Are you familiar with the EmDrive, Mr. Happono?”
Isaac shrugged. “Sure, everyone thought it was a hoax until NASA launched one into space and it chugged its way to the moon and back.”
“So they thought.” Dr. Lee said.
“It went to the moon, alright,” Dr. Shavok interrupted. He walked up to the machine and placed a hand on it. “Just not the moon of our century.”
“You’ve lost me.”
“They couldn’t figure out for a bit there how the Emdrive was moving. It broke what we knew of physics. Finally, they figured out that the universe has a rounding error. But, the Emdrive did move. What we didn’t know was that it was moving in two times at once, hence the error. It’s the only way time can…in a way…recalibrate to be correct,” Shavok answered.
“You’re saying that project Orion-II went back in time to a different moon?”
“Yes, to the sixties.”
“Well, we built a time machine off of the technology,” Dr. Lee said with a smile. “Want to see?”
Stepping through the electrical field of the time machine made his teeth ache. Isaac emerged on the other side and stared at the blank blackboard in front of him. He turned, slowly, to a classroom filled to bursting. Fifty pairs of eyes stared at him, mouths slack, and hands gripped tightly around pens. Old laptops he hadn’t seen outside of a museum stood open on desks. Isaac looked to his right. A woman stood there clutching a podium, her face ashen.
“What year is it?”
“It’s twenty-ten,” she replied weakly.
Isaac repeated her words in a whisper. It had worked. He had gone back more than thirty years. Time enough to fix things.