A team of graduate students solves a technical mystery in this futuristic academic setting: see excerpt below.
Disruption struck the engineering laboratory of an English university. Computer screens crackled and went dark. Testers and timers scratched; fuses burst in those bundles of electronic parts. Graduate students gasped and cursed. Students looked away from their projects to their comrades.
“Did you just lose power?” they asked each other.Office doors swung wide. The advanced students and those with the prestige of office space squinted up to the glowing neon lights and cursed in a variety of languages. None of them were British.
“It’s the storm,” suggested an undergraduate working on her final project.A German man glowered. “Storm? There is no storm.”
“Have you been outside recently?” the young woman replied. “Have you even been near a window leading to the outside world?”
The young German man with the office without windows frowned.“No, I haven’t."
Science Fiction Story : words: Jimmy Bodeilo travels through Time
For Boy’s Life magazine
By Miriam Pia 2010
Jimmy Bodeilo travels through Time
Jimmy pulled the bag off of his head. He stood up. He headed for the door. When it opened, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Time travel was his latest fad. How to do it, what the effects are like. At first glimpse it just looked as if he had pushed open the door of his bedroom closet.
He got up, brushed off and pulled around his trousers until he felt comfortable again. Then he took 2 deep breaths and headed for the door. The first steps were anti-climactic: he stepped out of his bedroom closet into the rest of the room. Nothing happened. He thought that maybe he would experience a tingling sensation or something; almost anything to indicate that something was very different now but that didn’t happen.
If ever there was anything to clarify the difference between the inner world of one’s own consciousness and the facts of the objective world this seemed like it. He walked out of the room. He looked around for the clock. He grew excited when he could not find it - maybe things really were different now. Then he remembered that something else had also occurred: his little brother had taken the clock to his friend’s house for an overnight.
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Jimmy sighed and his shoulders slumped for half a minute. Then he took another deep breath and stood up straight. Jimmy looked out the windows of his 2nd story bedroom: still nothing. Nothing noticeably different that is.
It occurred to Jimmy that maybe his time travel experiment had not worked at all. This thought reminded him about how many of his closest friends found him to be a strange boy. Half of them would have thought he was crazy to believe in time travel and to try it.
He took a few more deep breaths. His mother was always talking about yoga and stuff like that. She put shiny stuff in her forehead like old Indian women do, and went on about how citrous teas keep the 3rd eye chakra clean. Jimmy wasn’t sure about all that but he did know a few things. One of the things he was sure about was that shiny stuff on the forehead is just shiny stuff on the forehead. At the same time, he did feel more relaxed when he breathed deeply and when he liked the way things smelled. It was kind of like the thing about whether or not someone has bad breath.
Jimmy went ahead and headed for the stairs, wondering what his mom would think about this whole time travel thing - would it affect her yoga? Would she be so deep into some pretzel posture that she would not even notice that her only son had made time change by nearly half a day?
At the first floor, he saw something strange. There was food on the table but that wasn’t all. There were party decorations, shiny metallic blue ones. Jimmy remembered, with some displeasure, that he has a sister. Maybe, he thought, her birthday had rolled
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around again. He had forgotten all about that. Some of the kids at school were close with their siblings - good friends or serious enemies or a bit of both. In Jimmy’s family they ignored one another as much as possible and tried to live their lives with these strangers - called brothers and sisters, packed in closely. Jimmy really did not want to have siblings. It was bad enough sharing his parents with each other and their jobs.
Jimmy’s feeling about his mom were a little funny. On one hand, they deeply loved one another and he loved how much his mother adored him. On the other hand, she was just this yoga freak who worked at a school and was basically a lot like all the other girls. One day he had upset her by suggesting that she become den mother to a girl scout troop instead of trying to be interested in his lego robotics hobby. She got so upset he might have actually made her cry. Mothers. Jimmy had had a few too many Zen lessons to think that anyone’s behavior had much to do with him. Zen was Jimmy’s father’s answer to his mother yoga.
Then his mother came around the corner and congratulated Jimmy on his new time travel publication. He looked at her funny. She was wearing a green sweater; she seemed pretty normal otherwise.
“The university just sent this today; I really wanted to do something special for you,” she said - handing him a booklet. It was a book like thing; too funny to be a regular book; too thick to be a comic, too big and too short to be manga. It was a book like thing. He looked at the front cover and scanned it for signs that would make this situation make more sense.
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Jimmy Bodeilo found his own name and an article about “Theories of Time Travel”. Apparently, he thought, kids in this universe are taken seriously. He opened the thing: what it actually was, was a trade journal for academic scientists. He looked for his article and found it. Then he started to read and as his did, his awareness of his mother dimmed.
The ideas seemed like his, but it did not seem like his own writing style. Jimmy did okay in English at school, but he would never describe himself as a writer.
Once he realized that it looked like it was his own work, his mind shifted and he checked for the date and the time. There was something different about it. The year was not the same. The year read 4752; it was like it was the Hebrew calendar or something. Jimmy looked up and recognized his mother. She beckoned; he went to her.
As he passed through an interior archway from one room to another in his home, a bunch of people sprang up and called out “Surprise!” Instead of it being mostly other kids, the group was an odd mixture of teachers, parents and other kids - friends of his. Some of them were from clubs connected with school. He smiled, happy but still finding this whole thing a bit mysterious. Was it like this because of his time travel or had his parents and teachers orchestrated this complex hoax as a birthday present or some kind of bizarre joke? He looked around the room again - there were 2 people from his theatre club in attendance. Even so, his robotics club mentor and his private physics tutor was there and some cleric from one of those religions where people meditate a lot was there to. Luckily, so were 3 of his best friends, and the girl.
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He waited patiently as they made a big deal out of his discovery regarding how to refract light, and in doing so, to bend time. He mainly kept his mouth shut and let his mother go on for a while about how proud of him she is and about how much she loves him. Then she served food and beverages the grown ups - some of Jimmy’s favorite mentors and teachers actually, took turns talking about different aspects of Jimmy’s ideas and how lucky they have been to have been able to help him to develop to his full potential.
Finally, Jimmy said something. This did not happen until after he had eaten cake. His parents provided excellent steak knives by the way. “Um,” he started, feeling almost shy about it, “well, in reality I think I may have had some success with a time change experiment.”
“Here, here,” said the physics mentor.
“What makes you suspicious?” the math girl asked.
“Its you,” Jimmy said. “Its this whole situation.”
“Mom, this morning there was no journal - in the time/space I come from I have never been published, especially not in a physics journal. This party - I recognize all of these people from my life where I come from but this whole thing about my theories being respected by adult scientists and this little party…and the year on the calendar…that’s all really.”
“I think I had better go now,” Jimmy said.
Jimmy’s mother looked confused.
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“Ok,” the physics tutor said.
“Excuse me Mom,” Jimmy said as he got up and left the table with the physics publication.
Sure enough, he returned to the closet and re-adjusted time. When he did the journal disappeared. He had wondered about that. He left his closet and checked things over. Everything appeared to be normal and in order. He made a few notes in his scientific diary. Jimmy’s strange experiments were working.
An Adventure in Indianapolis
Few things in life bother Marion County's Sheriff more than half solved crimes. He was elected because he is the man who gets things done: effective, yet ethical with a broad smile and warm handshake, even the minority populace had grown to trust him - partly because they felt he was 'one of their own'.
His staff was unhappy with him whenever he was dissatisfied with them. That was just how it worked in his office. Obviously, something had to be done or it was just going to get worse and worse, like pot holes that never get fixed.
After running out of the rope of his tolerance of the situation, the Sheriff broke down and called the Mayor's Office. He hated doing it because he felt he was supposed to not need the Mayor this way and because he had been around so long he was before the merger of the Indianapolis Police and Marion County Sheriff and he hadn't wanted it and got stuck with it and now he needed to ask that guy's office for help. He tried not to feel degraded by the experience.
The Mayor felt pressured by the Sheriff when the call occurred. The Mayor was much younger and not as large and had never worked in law enforcement. He had been elected partly because he knew enough to say 'Yes' to the Sheriff's request for help even though he had no plan for how to.
One of the nameless office staff who had worked 'in the Mayor's office' without needing to be elected who had been there longer than the Mayor had been alive served the Mayor a beverage and found out what was unsettling the newly elected official. With the same calm that comes from loads of experience, the invisible worker patted the Mayor on the sleeve of the Mayor's suit coat and smiled. Upon his return from a visit to the Men's Room, the same worker looked up as he passed by and smiled and said, "Mr. Mayor, just call Thomas. You'll find his number on the desk."
The Mayor was simultaneously relieved and offended to be handed the next step this way, but he went ahead and did it. "Yes, Sir, of course Sir," said the unfamiliar voice. "Just tell me when you want me to come in and we'll arrange it."
Later, when he heard the plan, the Mayor exclaimed, "What?! This smacks of vigilanteism."
"It isn't vigilanteism when it is run by the Mayor's Office, Sir," said a tall slender local lawyer in a brown suede suit.
"It really has worked before," one of the other people sitting in the meeting dared to say.
Find out what it is, and how it is handled by buying An Adventure in Indianapolis:
or look for it in hard cover and paperback Spring 2013: pre-order through Alethia Publishing:
Readers beware: An adventure in Indianapolis is = to 'Rated R' for adults, but the others are Juvenile or 'Rated G'.