There is so much wonder in this world and I have spent nearly my whole life unraveling it’s hidden science to be astounded by what it has to offer. Yet, I found myself feeling much like a student on the day that their teacher decided to show them their first baking soda volcano. As if I was so sure of what the world had to offer until those two kitchen ingredients came into contact. I truly doubted that at such an old age that I would ever find a teacher that could show me the volcano of my twilight years.
However, there was such a man and instead of me going out to find him, he found me. I was sitting in a small cafe that my sister used to own. It was a humble place, fairly quiet despite the city, but I suppose that was due to its size. There were three tables and soft classical music played. I enjoyed the cafe as it was a reminder of my lost family.
That man that walked in was different from my usual company. Usually I mingled with with tweed covered seniors who were reaching a state of depression as their minds slowly decayed into dead grey matter. However, this man wore t-shirt and a quarter of my years. The man saw me, walked up to me and held out his hand.
“Hello, my name is Frederick, or Freddy if you don’t mind,” Freddy told me.
I introduced myself and he did the courtesy of asking if he may join me. I accepted, although if it weren’t for his way of speaking I may have refused. The young man sat down and told me that he was looking for someone to participate in an experiment with him. Somebody who knew how to properly document an experiment and give a constructive thinking. It wasn’t a job, but a passion project that he needed more professional assistance with.
I asked him how he knew I was a scientist and he told me that he went to the nearest university. None of the professors or even the best students could offer such time or dedication. However, one professor knew about desire to work with another professor on a project. Freddy was by no means a professor, at his age he seemed ready to begin university, but nevertheless, I decided to humour him if he could tell me the name of the professor who recommended me.
“Sure, here name was Abigail,” Freddy replied seriously.
I asked him if this was a sick joke, as Abigail was my late sister who owned the cafe and indeed, she was a professor . Frederick replied with a shake of his head. He told me that the experiment he was working on required services a long time ago, however, he still believe it can be successful if a little late. Honestly, I found this more than strange, but I couldn’t contain my curiosity. I am not an unfriendly man either, so when he offered me such politeness, I decided to reply with kindness.
A week later I was leaving a train with him and taking an automobile through a city. We arrived on the steps of a hotel in which we would be staying throughout the experiment. The day after we left for his warehouse where he worked. In this time I learnt that Freddy was a wealthy man with many resources. Why on earth did he choose me? Surely there must have been somebody who was interested? The again, it made sense to me later. Perhaps he needed somebody with a love for science more than money.
Frederick showed me a platform on which he was going to build his creation. He immediately handed me all materials necessary for me to keep track. I had shopping lists filled with components, but I know for a fact that more than half the ones he used were custom made by himself. Indeed, his documentation was awful. I found that he kept no track of his work, but rather worked off the cuff to see what he created. However, the work he wanted me to record as planned out, if not on paper, in mind.
Many days were spent watching him tinker away, noting down every component, what they did and where the went. You ever documented the most complex jigsaw puzzle? That was exactly how it felt, but I simply didn’t mind. The two of us would smoke out pipes while we worked and he was very careful to make sure no smoke got into the machine. Freddy was an interesting man, like one I have never met. As he grew more comfortable he smoke in a way that I didn't recognise and I wondered in that moment if he was German at all.
Eventually, the machine was complete. On paper, everything had been constructed beautifully. I had full plans as well as observations complete and written before me. Truly, I felt like holding onto that ream of paper was like holding onto gold. There sheer marvel of the creation before me was astounding, but for the life of me, I could not understand what it did. There were too many pieces that he told me the name of, but never gave me any indication on what they did.
Still, I was soon about to find out everything on the ‘testing’ day. Freddy had left the hotel early and when I arrived at the warehouse he was packing his bags into the machine. I asked if the machine was some sort of transportation, to which his head bobbed in both agreement and disagreement. Frustrated by this answer I asked if he was leaving. To which he replied, “No, we are leaving.”
Freddy asked me to take a seat beside him to which I did. There wasn’t any danger of combustion, but I still felt fearful about being a part of the experiment. Freddy adjusted switches and pulled a lever. It felt like I had blinked without closing my eyes. When I could see once more I was sitting still in the machine in another warehouse. Freddy stood up, proud of himself, holding out his hand.
“Dear, sir, I believe we shall return to that cafe I found you in to celebrate,” he told me.
I asked what happened, but he simply walked me outside and located the nearest newspaper stand. Handing me a paper I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit-hole. It was a paper from a decade ago, a paper I knew to be the one that came before the day my sister died in the accident.
Freddy led the way, his thoughts only concerning me and this mission he set us upon. He had shown me that new volcano and I hurried to join him on our adventures to rectify history.