Chapter 1: The Event
James T. Cutner stood staring into his superior's face. Business hours were over, at least at the Ames NASA research center, but his boss, Elizabeth Larken, had decided to call him to her office, even after everyone had left. James was unsure of what she needed him for, but was still curious about her latest exploit. Eliza was a little bit crazy, but she paid better than most NASA bosses did, so James followed her orders without complaint.
"You did what?" He asked in disbelief.
"I managed to teleport objects from the past to the present through a wormhole" Eliza replied. "I didn't invent the technology. NASA's been keeping it under lock and key for quite awhile."
"You're pulling my leg," said James. "Time travel to the past is impossible, and no one's ever ''seen ''a wormhole.
"I think this worm hole reaches the past because it comes from the past." Eliza replied, unfazed. "The objects come from ''the wormhole's ''present, and end up in our present which is ''its future"''
"NASA is not the CIA" James responded. "I'm afraid I need some proof this time, Lisa"
"All right then" said his rather unstable employer. "I'll show you".
James was still skeptical when he said this, but some, if not all of his doubts were dispelled when Lisa opened the office closet. In the interior resided not coats, or brooms, but a void full of starry lights. ''Lights that encompass the entire spectrum of visible light and beyond ''James thought, ''this is the real deal! ''The void was a black rectangle that fit the closet's outline exactly. It looked just like space, or at least it would have had it not been a wormhole, and being a wormhole, its stars were warped into a funnel shaped space fabric. Through this void, blew a variable wind.
"Well I'm off!" said Lisa, as if nothing happened. "I'm going to have to leave you to manage the wormhole for awhile. My kids are waiting for me".
"Wait!" James cried. The wormhole was now blowing hard enough to drown out his voice. "What am I supposed to do!?"
"Deal with whatever comes out and close the door when you've had enough fun!" yelled Lisa in response.
"WHAT?!" James cried. Lisa I don't know how—"
"Instructions are on the back wall," said Lisa, pointing. "Bye!"
"Bye." James responded, with flat resignation. Lisa exited the center, and James wondered how he was going to deal with such an improbable fiasco. Against the wind, he made his way to the aforementioned instructions and attempted to read. The note was not an original manual, but Lisa's untidy scrawl. This is what it said:
'''The wormhole is controlled by a program accessible from my computer. The program is on Main Menu.'''
James, surprised at Lisa's lack of concealment, made his way to her computer and indeed found a "Wormhole Control Program" with a perfectly appropriate name. ''Madwoman, ''he thought. ''Lucky no one found this computer and reported her. ''He opened the program.
Its GUI looked rather like a control program for volume, because it was filled with just such dials. Unlike a volume program, however the dials were assigned tasks that were more interesting. James had just found the dial for wind speed, and was about to pull it down when he heard the wormhole emit a piercing scream. Looking towards the it, he saw a plump womanly figure spin closer and closer, until the wormhole spat her out and she landed on the rug.
James, further astonished, pulled the dial all the way down and the wind stopped. He hurried over to the woman.
"Are you okay?" he asked.
"I can't say I am" she replied. "Where am I?"
"The NASA Ames Research Center in California" replied James.
"Well!" exclaimed the lady. "I have not heard such gibberish ever in my life!"
"Gibberish! Nonsense words! I have never heard of the place you speak of!"
James examined the woman's clothing more closely. She was wearing an archaic dress, but James, being an astronomer and not a historian, could not place it's era. This wormhole really does lead to the past! Unless I'm dreaming…
James pinched himself, hard. It hurt. This was no dream. "What's the last thing you remember?" he asked.
"And why should I tell you?!" replied the woman, starting to panic. "A peasant, wearing alien clothing!"
Uh-oh! thought James.
This was going to be a long night.