Đ TÎM̦ŚĪN │ H. J. WLZ

Ćaptrz: I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII n Epilog

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ĆAPTR I

Ɖ Tîmtravlr (fr so it wl b cnvińnt t spīc v him) wz xpǎndñ a recndît matr t s. Hiz gre îz śon n twncld, n hiz yźli pel fes wz fluśt n aṇmetd. Ɖ fîr brnd brîtli, n ɖ soft redịns v ɖ incandesnt lîts in ɖ liliz v silvr còt ɖ bublz ɖt flaśt n pást in ǎr glasz. Ǎr ćerz, biyñ hiz petnts, imbrest n c’rest s rɖr ɖn sbmitd t b sat upn, n ɖr wz ɖt l’gźurịs aftr-dinr atṃsfir ẃn ʈt romz gresf̣li fri v ɖ tramlz v prisiźn. N h pt it t s in ɖs we—marcñ ɖ pônts wɖ a līn fōrfngr—az w sat n leẓli admîrd hiz ŕṇstnis ovr ɖs ny paṛdox (az w ʈt it) n hiz fcŭndti.

“Y mst folo m cerf̣li. I śl hv t contṛvrt wn or tū îdiyz ɖt r olmst yṇvrsli axptd. Ɖ jioṃtri, fr instns, ɖe tòt y at scūl z fǎndd on a miscnspśn.”

“Z nt ɖt rɖr a larj ʈñ t xpct s t bgin upn?” sd Filbi, an arğmnttiv prsn wɖ red her.

“I d nt mīn t asc y t axpt enʈñ wɖǎt rīzṇbl grǎnd fr it. Y wl sn admit az mć az I nīd fṛm y. Y nǒ v cors ɖt a maʈ̇maticl lîn, a lîn v ʈicnis nil, hz no riyl xistns. Ɖe tòt y ɖt? Nɖr hz a maʈ̇maticl plein. Ɖz ʈñz r mir abstrax́nz.”

“Ɖt z ol rît,” sd ɖ Sîcoḷjist.

“Nr, hvñ onli leñʈ, bredʈ, n ʈicnis, cn a kb hv a riyl xistns.”

“Ɖr I objct,” sd Filbi. “V cors a solid bodi me xist. Ol riyl ʈñz—”

“So most ppl ʈnc. Bt wêt a momnt. Cn an instnteńs kb xist?”

“D’nt folo y,” sd Filbi.

“Cn a kb ɖt dz nt last fr eni tîm at ol, hv a riyl xistns?”

Filbi bcem pensiv. “Clirli,” ɖ Tîmtravlr pṛsidd, “eni riyl bodi mst hv xtnśn in for drex́nz: it mst hv Leñʈ, Bredʈ, Ʈicnis, n—Jreśn. Bt ʈru a naćṛl infrṃti v ɖ fleś, ẃć I wl xplen t y in a momnt, w inclîn t oṿlc ɖs fact. Ɖr r riyli for dmnśnz, ʈri ẃć w cōl ɖ ʈri pleinz v Spes, n a forʈ, Tîm. Ɖr z, hvr, a tndnsi t drw an unriyl dstñśn btwn ɖ formr ʈri dmnśnz n ɖ latr, bcz it hapnz ɖt ǎr conśsnis muvz inṭmitntli in wn drex́n alñ ɖ latr fṛm ɖ bginñ t ɖ end v ǎr lîvz.”

“Ɖt,” sd a vri yuñ man, mcñ spazmodic ef̣ts t rīlît hiz sgar ovr ɖ lamp; “ɖt … vri clir indd.”

“Nǎ, it z vri rmarcbl ɖt ɖs z so xtnsvli oṿlct,” cntinyd ɖ Tîmtravlr, wɖ a slît axeśn v ćirflnis. “Riyli ɖs z ẃt z mnt bî ɖ Forʈ Dmnśn, ɖo sm ppl hu tōc abt ɖ Forʈ Dmnśn d nt nǒ ɖe mīn it. It z onli anɖr we v lcñ at Tîm. Ɖr z no difṛns btwn Tîm n eni v ɖ ʈri dmnśnz v Spes xpt ɖt ǎr conśsnis muvz alñ it. Bt sm fūliś ppl hv got hold v ɖ roñ sîd v ɖt îdīa. Y hv ol hrd ẃt ɖe hv t se abt ɖs Forʈ Dmnśn?”

I hv nt,” sd ɖ Pṛvinśl Mẹr.

“It z simpli ɖs. Ɖt Spes, az ǎr maʈṃtiśnz hv it, z spocn v az hvñ ʈri dmnśnz, ẃć wn me cōl Leñʈ, Bredʈ, n Ʈicnis, n z olwz dfîṇbl bî refṛns t ʈri pleinz, ć at rît anglz t ɖ uɖrz. Bt sm fiḷsofcl ppl hv bn ascñ ẃ ʈri dmnśnz ptiklrli—ẃ nt anɖr drex́n at rît anglz t ɖ uɖr ʈri?—n hv īvn traid t cnstruct a For-Dmnśn jioṃtri. Pṛfesr Sîmn Nycm wz xpǎndñ ɖs t ɖ Ny Yorc Maʈ̇maticl Ssayti onli a munʈ or so ago. Y nǒ hǎ on a flat srfis, ẃć hz onli tū dmnśnz, w cn repriznt a figr v a ʈri-dmnśnl solid, n siṃlrli ɖe ʈnc ɖt bî modlz v ʈri dmnśnz ɖe cd repriznt wn v for—f ɖe cd mastr ɖ pspctiv v ɖ ʈñ. Si?”

“I ʈnc so,” mrmrd ɖ Pṛvinśl Mẹr; n, nitñ hiz brǎz, h lapst intu an intṛspctiv stet, hiz lips muvñ az wn hu rpits mistic wrdz. “Yes, I ʈnc I si it nǎ,” h sd aftr sm tîm, brîṭnñ in a qt tranẓtri manr.

“Wel, I d nt mînd telñ y I hv bn at wrc upn ɖs jioṃtri v For Dmnśnz fr sm tîm. Sm v mî rzults r krịs. Fr instns, hir z a portrit v a man at et yirz old, anɖr at fiftīn, anɖr at sevntīn, anɖr at twenti-ʈri, n so on. Ol ɖz r evdntli sx́nz, az it wr, Ʈri-dmnśnl repriznteśnz v hiz For-Dmnśnd biyñ, ẃć z a fixt n unoltṛbl ʈñ.

“Sạntifc ppl,” pṛsidd ɖ Tîmtravlr, aftr ɖ pōz rqîrd fr ɖ propr asiṃleśn v ɖs, “nǒ vri wel ɖt Tîm z onli a cnd v Spes. Hir z a popylr sạntific daygram, a weɖr record. Ɖs lîn I tres wɖ mî fngr śoz ɖ muvmnt v ɖ ḅromitr. Yesṭde it wz so hî, yesṭde nît it fél, ɖen ɖs mornñ it rǒz agn, n so jntli upwd t hir. Śrli ɖ Mrkri dd nt tres ɖs lîn in eni v ɖ dmnśnz v Spes jenṛli recgnîzd? Bt srtnli it trêst sć a lîn, n ɖt lîn, ɖrfr, w mst cnclud wz alñ ɖ Tîmdimnśn.”

“Bt,” sd ɖ Mediclman, stẹrñ hard at a col in ɖ fîr, “f Tîm z riyli onli a forʈ dmnśn v Spes, ẃ z it, n ẃ hz it olwz bn, rgardd az smʈñ difṛnt? N ẃ canot w muv in Tîm az w muv abt in ɖ uɖr dmnśnz v Spes?”

Ɖ Tîmtravlr smîld. “R y śr w cn muv frīli in Spes? Rît n left w cn g, bcwd n fwd frīli inuf, n men olwz hv dn so. I admit w muv frīli in tū dmnśnz. Bt hǎ abt p n dǎn? Gravteśn limits s ɖr.”

“Nt xacli,” sd ɖ Mediclman. “Ɖr r b’lūnz.”

“Bt bfr ɖ b’lūnz, sev fr spazmodic jumpñ n ɖ iṇqoḷtiz v ɖ srfis, man hd no frīdm v vrticl muvmnt.”

“Stl ɖe cd muv a litl p n dǎn,” sd ɖ Mediclman.

“Īzịr, far īzịr dǎn ɖn p.”

“N y canot muv at ol in Tîm, y canot gt awe fṛm ɖ preznt momnt.”

“Mî dir sr, ɖt z jst ẃr y r roñ. Ɖt z jst ẃr ɖ hol wrld hz gn roñ. W r olwz gtñ awe fṛm ɖ preznt momnt. Ǎr mentl xistnsz, ẃć r iṃtirịl n hv no dmnśnz, r pasñ alñ ɖ Tîmdimnśn wɖ a yṇform vloṣti fṛm ɖ credl t ɖ grev. Jst az w śd travl dǎn f w bgan ǎr xistns fifti mîlz abv ɖ rʈ’s srfis.”

“Bt ɖ gret dificlti z ɖs,” inṭruptd ɖ Sîcoḷjist. “Y cn muv abt in ol d’rex́nz v Spes, bt y canot muv abt in Tîm.”

“Ɖt z ɖ jrm v mî gret dscuvri. Bt y r roñ t se ɖt w canot muv abt in Tîm. Fr instns, f I am rcōlñ an insidnt vri vividli I g bac t ɖ instnt v its ocuṛns: I bcm absnt-mîndd, az y se. I jump bac fr a momnt. V cors w hv no mīnz v steyñ bac fr eni leñʈ v Tîm, eni mor ɖn a savij or an animl hz v steyñ six fīt abv ɖ grǎnd. Bt a siṿlîzd man z betr of ɖn ɖ savij in ɖs rspct. H cn g p agnst gravteśn in a b’lūn, n ẃ śd h nt hop ɖt ultiṃtli h me b ebl t stop or axeḷret hiz drift alñ ɖ Tîmdimnśn, or īvn trn abt n travl ɖ uɖr we?”

“Ǒ, ɖs,” bgan Filbi, “z ol—”

“Ẃ nt?” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr.

“It’s agnst rīzn,” sd Filbi.

“Ẃt rīzn?” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr.

“Y cn śo blac z ẃît bî arğmnt,” sd Filbi, “bt y wl nvr cnvins m.”

“Posibli nt,” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr. “Bt nǎ y bgin t si ɖ objict v mî invstgeśnz intu ɖ jioṃtri v For Dmnśnz. Loñ ago I hd a veg ñclñ v a mśīn—”

“T travl ʈru Tîm!” xclemd ɖ Vri Yuñ Man.

“Ɖt śl travl indifṛntli in eni drex́n v Spes n Tîm, az ɖ drîvr dtrminz.”

Filbi cntntd himslf wɖ laftr.

“Bt I hv xpeṛmntl verif̣ceśn,” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr.

“It wd b rmarcbli cnvińnt fr ɖ historịn,” ɖ Sîcoḷjist sjstd. “Wn mt travl bac n veṛfî ɖ axptd acǎnt v ɖ Batl v Hestñz, fr instns!”

“D’nt y ʈnc y wd atract atnśn?” sd ɖ Mediclman. “Ǎr ansestrz hd no gret tolṛns fr anacṛnizmz.”

“Wn mt gt wn’z Grīc fṛm ɖ vri lips v Homr n Pleto,” ɖ Vri Yuñ Man ʈt.

“In ẃć ces ɖe wd srtnli plǎ y fr ɖ Litl-go. Ɖ Jrmn scolrz hv impruvd Grīc so mć.”

“Ɖen ɖr z ɖ fyćr,” sd ɖ Vri Yuñ Man. “Jst ʈnc! Wn mt invst ol wn’z muni, līv it t akḿlet at inṭrest, n huri on ahd!”

“T dscuvr a ssayti,” sd I, “irectd on a stricli coḿnistic besis.”

“V ol ɖ wîld xtraṿgnt ʈiriz!” bgan ɖ Sîcoḷjist.

“Yes, so it sīmd t m, n so I nvr tōct v it untl—”

“Xpeṛmntl verif̣ceśn!” craid I. “Y r gwñ t veṛfî ɖt?”

“Ɖ xpeṛment!” craid Filbi, hu wz gtñ bren-wiri.

“Let’s si yr xperimnt enhǎ,” sd ɖ Sîcoḷjist, “ɖo it’s ol humbug, y nǒ.”

Ɖ Tîmtravlr smîld rnd at s. Ɖen, stl smîlñ fentli, n wɖ hiz handz dīp in hiz trǎzrzpocits, h wōct slǒli ǎt v ɖ rūm, n w hrd hiz sliprz śuf̣lñ dǎn ɖ loñ pasij t hiz l’boṛtri.

Ɖ Sîcoḷjist lct at s. “I wundr ẃt h’z got?”

“Sm slet-v-hand tric or uɖr,” sd ɖ Mediclman, n Filbi traid t tel s abt a cunjrr h hd sìn at Brzḷm; bt bfr h hd finiśt hiz prefis ɖ Tîmtravlr cem bac, n Filbi’z aṇcdot c’lapst.

Ɖ ʈñ ɖ Tîmtravlr hld in hiz hand wz a gli̇ṭrñ mtalic fremwrc, scersli larjr ɖn a smōl cloc, n vri delic̣tli md. Ɖr wz îṿri in it, n sm trnspaṛnt crisṭlîn substns. N nǎ I mst b xplisit, fr ɖs ɖt foloz—unls hiz xpḷneśn z t b axptd—z an abṣlutli un’cǎntbl ʈñ. H tc wn v ɖ smōl octaġnl teblz ɖt wr scatrd abt ɖ rūm, n set it in frunt v ɖ fîr, wɖ tū legz on ɖ harʈrug. On ɖs tebl h plest ɖ mec̣nizm. Ɖen h drù p a ćer, n sat dǎn. Ɖ onli uɖr objict on ɖ tebl wz a smōl śêdd lamp, ɖ brît lît v ẃć fél upn ɖ modl. Ɖr wr olso phps a duzn candlz abt, tū in bras candlstics upn ɖ mantl n sevṛl in sconsz, so ɖt ɖ rūm wz briłntli iluṃnetd. I sat in a lo armćer nirist ɖ fîr, n I drù ɖs fwd so az t b olmst btwn ɖ Tîmtravlr n ɖ fîrples. Filbi sat bhnd him, lcñ ovr hiz śoldr. Ɖ Mediclman n ɖ Pṛvinśl Mẹr woćt him in profîl fṛm ɖ rît, ɖ Sîcoḷjist fṛm ɖ left. Ɖ Vri Yuñ Man std bhnd ɖ Sîcoḷjist. W wr ol on ɖ alrt. It apirz incredibl t m ɖt eni cnd v tric, hvr sutli cnsivd n hvr adrôtli dn, cd hv bn pleid upn s undr ɖz cndiśnz.

Ɖ Tîmtravlr lct at s, n ɖen at ɖ mec̣nizm. “Wel?” sd ɖ Sîcoḷjist.

“Ɖs litl afer,” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr, restñ hiz elboz upn ɖ tebl n presñ hiz handz tgɖr abv ɖ aṗreṭs, “z onli a modl. It z mî plan fr a mśīn t travl ʈru tîm. Y wl notis ɖt it lcs snğlrli ascy, n ɖt ɖr z an od twnclñ apiṛns abt ɖs bar, az ɖo it wz in sm we unriyl.” H pôntd t ɖ part wɖ hiz fngr. “Olso, hir z wn litl ẃît līvr, n hir z anɖr.”

Ɖ Mediclman got p ǎt v hiz ćer n pīrd intu ɖ ʈñ. “It’s byṭfli md,” h sd.

“It tc tū yirz t mc,” rtortd ɖ Tîmtravlr. Ɖen, ẃn w hd ol iṃtetd ɖ ax́n v ɖ Mediclman, h sd: “Nǎ I wont y clirli t unḍstand ɖt ɖs līvr, biyñ prest ovr, sndz ɖ mśīn glîdñ intu ɖ fyćr, n ɖs uɖr rvrsz ɖ mośn. Ɖs sadl repriznts ɖ sīt v a tîmtravlr. Prezntli I am gwñ t pres ɖ līvr, n of ɖ mśīn wl g. It wl vaniś, pas intu fyćr Tîm, n dis’pir. Hv a gd lc at ɖ ʈñ. Lc at ɖ tebl tù, n saṭsfî yrslvz ɖr z no tric̣ri. I d’nt wont t west ɖs modl, n ɖen b tld I’m a qac.”

Ɖr wz a minit’s pōz phps. Ɖ Sîcoḷjist sīmd abt t spīc t m, bt ćenjd hiz mînd. Ɖen ɖ Tîmtravlr pt fʈ hiz fngr twdz ɖ līvr. “No,” h sd sudnli. “Lend m yr hand.” N trnñ t ɖ Sîcoḷjist, h tc ɖt inḍvijl’z hand in hiz ǒn n tld him t pt ǎt hiz fōrfngr. So ɖt it wz ɖ Sîcoḷjist himslf hu snt fʈ ɖ modl Tîm̦śīn on its intrmiṇbl vôij. W ol sw ɖ līvr trn. I am abṣlutli srtn ɖr wz no tric̣ri. Ɖr wz a breʈ v wind, n ɖ lampflem jumt. Wn v ɖ candlz on ɖ mantl wz bloun ǎt, n ɖ litl mśīn sudnli swuñ rnd, bcem indistñt, wz sìn az a gost fr a secnd phps, az an edi v fentli gli̇ṭrñ bras n îṿri; n it wz gn—vaniśt! Sev fr ɖ lamp ɖ tebl wz bér.

Evrwn wz sîḷnt fr a minit. Ɖen Filbi sd h wz dámd.

Ɖ Sîcoḷjist rcuvrd fṛm hiz stypr, n sudnli lct undr ɖ tebl. At ɖt ɖ Tîmtravlr laft ćirf̣li. “Wel?” h sd, wɖ a reṃnisns v ɖ Sîcoḷjist. Ɖen, gtñ p, h wnt t ɖ tbacojar on ɖ mantl, n wɖ hiz bac t s bgan t fil hiz pîp.

W stérd at ć uɖr. “Lc hir,” sd ɖ Mediclman, “r y in ŕnist abt ɖs? D y sirịsli b’liv ɖt ɖt mśīn hz travld intu tîm?”

“Srtnli,” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr, stūpñ t lît a spíl at ɖ fîr. Ɖen h trnd, lîtñ hiz pîp, t lc at ɖ Sîcoḷjist’s fes. (Ɖ Sîcoḷjist, t śo ɖt h wz nt unhinjd, hlpt himslf t a sgar n traid t lît it uncut.) “Ẃt z mor, I hv a big mśīn nirli finiśt in ɖr”—h inḍcetd ɖ l’boṛtri—”n ẃn ɖt z pt tgɖr I mīn t hv a jrni on mî ǒn acǎnt.”

“Y mīn t se ɖt ɖt mśīn hz travld intu ɖ fyćr?” sd Filbi.

“Intu ɖ fyćr or ɖ past—I d’nt, fr srtn, nǒ ẃć.”

Aftr an inṭvl ɖ Sîcoḷjist hd an insṗreśn. “It mst hv gn intu ɖ past f it hz gn enẃr,” h sd.

“Ẃ?” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr.

“Bcz I prizym ɖt it hz nt muvd in spes, n f it travld intu ɖ fyćr it wd stl b hir ol ɖs tîm, sinz it mst hv travld ʈru ɖs tîm.”

“Bt,” I sd, “F it travld intu ɖ past it wd hv bn vizibl ẃn w cem frst intu ɖs rūm; n last Ʈrzde ẃn w wr hir; n ɖ Ʈrzde bfr ɖt; n so fʈ!”

“Sirịs objx́nz,” rmarct ɖ Pṛvinśl Mẹr, wɖ an er v imparśiaḷti, trnñ twdz ɖ Tîmtravlr.

“Nt a bit,” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr, n, t ɖ Sîcoḷjist: “Y ʈnc. Y cn xplen ɖt. It’s preznteśn b’lo ɖ ʈreśhold, y nǒ, dlūtd preznteśn.”

“V cors,” sd ɖ Sîcoḷjist, n rịśurd s. “Ɖt’s a simpl pônt v sîcoḷji. I śd hv ʈt v it. It’s plen inuf, n helps ɖ paṛdox dlîtfli. W canot si it, nr cn w aprīśiet ɖs mśīn, eni mor ɖn w cn ɖ spoc v a ẃīl spinñ, or a bŭlit flayñ ʈru ɖ er. F it z traṿlñ ʈru tîm fifti tîmz or a hundṛd tîmz fastr ɖn w r, f it gts ʈru a minit ẃl w gt ʈru a secnd, ɖ impreśn it criets wl v cors b onli wn-fiftịʈ or wn-hundṛdth v ẃt it wd mc f it wr nt traṿlñ in tîm. Ɖt’s plen inuf.” H pást hiz hand ʈru ɖ spes in ẃć ɖ mśīn hd bn. “Y si?” h sd, lafñ.

W sat n stérd at ɖ vecnt tebl fr a minit or so. Ɖen ɖ Tîmtravlr asct s ẃt w ʈt v it ol.

“It sǎndz plōzibl inuf tnît,” sd ɖ Mediclman; “bt wêt untl tmoro. Wêt fr ɖ comn-sns v ɖ mornñ.”

“Wd y lîc t si ɖ Tîm̦śīn itslf?” asct ɖ Tîmtravlr. N ɖrwɖ, tecñ ɖ lamp in hiz hand, h léd ɖ we dǎn ɖ loñ, dráfti coṛdor t hiz l’boṛtri. I rmembr viṿdli ɖ flic̣rñ lît, hiz qir, brōd hed in siluét, ɖ dans v ɖ śadoz, hǎ w ol foloud him, puzld bt increɉḷs, n hǎ ɖr in ɖ l’boṛtri w bheld a larjr idiśn v ɖ litl mec̣nizm ẃć w hd sìn vaniś fṛm bfr ǎr îz. Parts wr v nicl, parts v îṿri, parts hd srtnli bn fîld or swn ǎt v roc̦ristl. Ɖ ʈñ wz jenṛli cmplit, bt ɖ twistd crisṭlîn barz le unfiniśt upn ɖ benć bsd sm śīts v drw̃z, n I tc wn p fr a betr lc at it. Qorts it sīmd t b.

“Lc hir,” sd ɖ Mediclman, “r y prf̣cli sirịs? Or z ɖs a tric—lîc ɖt gost y śoud s last Crisṃs?”

“Upn ɖt mśīn,” sd ɖ Tîmtravlr, holdñ ɖ lamp aloft, “I intnd t xplor tîm. Z ɖt plen? I wz nvr mor sirịs in mî lîf.”

Nn v s qt ń hǎ t tec it.

I còt Filbi’z î ovr ɖ śoldr v ɖ Mediclman, n h wnct at m soḷmli.

 

NXT→

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