“How can time not pass, Vančura? It’s not like humans have just been wrong about time since we first thought about it!”
The big man laughed at Benwright.
“Really? We spent millennia thinking disease was caused by devils or bad air. Until the 1700s, everyone who tried to fly did it by strapping wings to their arms. The majority of people today think Columbus was the first European to discover the Americas. If there’s one thing humans have cornered the market on, it’s being wrong. We’re really quite good at it, especially when it’s an “everyone knows that” situation.”
Benwright folded his arms and sighed in frustration.
“Okay, so what does time do?”
Vančura’s expression changed and he winked at the technician.
“I don’t have the faintest idea. You’re the scientist; find out! Skepticism is the first step to discovering the true nature of things. Think about it; if time actually passed on its own, why would time go slower as we near lightspeed? But if time doesn’t pass, how is that even possible? Maybe we are the ones moving, not time, and how fast we move through time depends on us. And if we’re the ones moving… who is to say we can only move forward?”
The technician’s eyes widened and he leaned forward expectantly.
“Are you saying…”
He was cut off as Vančura scowled and interrupted.
“I’m not saying anything. I’m just thinking aloud. Take something for granted and everything else has to revolve around it. Take nothing for granted and everything can change, no possibility becomes impossible. Colonel Bosze wants the STAd repaired? That’s because he assumes it’s broken!”
“But it doesn’t work!”
“Doesn’t it? Who says it doesn’t? The Colonel? The only thing he knows about time is that he’s on the clock. You? Did you design the STAd or write the equations that prove it can work? The person who did that just jumped ten years into the future. Maybe it doesn’t work like you think it should, but what does that have to do with anything? Sometimes, function is independent of expectation of result, Benwright. You built a time-machine and – since it doesn’t work like you want it to – you insist it’s broken. Figure out what it is doing, then you can try to make it do what you want it to.”
For a long time, Benwright was quiet, watching the big man. A thoughtful expression came over his face and he cocked his head.
“Vančura… you knew the STAd would kill anyone who tried to travel back in time, didn’t you? That’s why you sent them into the future.”
Benwright’s eyes narrowed, ever so slightly.
“How did you know that wouldn’t kill them, too?”
End Chapter 23 – Part 3
Well, now. It looks like Benwright has a head for more than just math, doesn’t it?
Want to read the previous installments? They’re right here!
Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three,
Chapter Four, Chapter Five, Chapter Six,
Chapter Seven, Chapter Eight, Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen, Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty One
Chapter Twenty Three – Part One