"TTS": Part 3 (2/3) (disregard last, (2/2) was dud)

From: Shawn Wolski <n5una_at_MAIL.UTEXAS.EDU>
Date: Fri, 10 Mar 1995 15:32:11 -0600

        It was near dusk when they found a site that would serve as a
suitable shelter for the duration of their stay, however long it
would be. It was a cavern located about fifty km inland from
the carbonate mud pit. It had a few of the amenities of modern
life: a bath (subterranean lake), water from the stream that
fed the lake, and beds (unusual calcium carbonate cave
formations that were actually soft enough to sleep on). All
that remained was one problem: food. There was nothing
available besides the native plants, and they were officially
declared unfit for consumption by Nicole. They did have ration
packs, but those were nearly completely consumed before the
incident in the canyon. All they could do at this point is
conserve their energy.
        In the endeavor to keep them distracted from their gastronomic
requirements, Sonic and Sally took a bath to rinse the mud off,
and talked about anything in general for a while. They also
reviewed the data regarding the temporal displacement device and
the other hardware in the probe. Sonic tried to be as
accommodating as possible, trying not to interrupt when a new
piece of technobabble surfaced. Sally appreciated this act
forwarded by the normally impatient and disinclined hedgehog.
In return, she tried putting in a little more explanation into
the more difficult concepts so that she and Sonic would
understand them. Whether Sonic acted this way out of kindness
or for another motive wasn't clear. What was clear was that
they were both in the same situation, and teamwork would be
their only savior.

        As time slowly progressed on for the two surviving Freedom
Fighters, they learned a great deal of information about the
temporal displacement device. However, none of the data was
actually useful in the field combat sense. More data had to be
searched through to find something they could utilize. That was
until an hour before midnight, when something caught Sally's eye.
        "Sonic," Sally said, "I think I've found something that might
get us back to our time period."
        The hedgehog replied patiently, "As I say to Bunny, 'I'm all
        Sally then continued with the description. "According to this,
we can return to our own time period by applying an inverse
temporal entry vector utilizing the same level of power that was
used by the device to send us here."
        Sonic thought that statement over. He stood up, apparently
tired of sitting while contemplating the issue. "Let me get
this straight, Sal," he hazarded. "If we go back through that
time hole with the same amount of juice that got us here, we get
back to our time?"
        "Exactly, Sonic," Sally confirmed. "I'm already working on
calculating what power level the device used to bring us here."
To Nicole, she asked, "Nicole, what is the absolute time
differential from previous readings?"
        "Calculating, Sally," Nicole answered. "Absolute temporal
displacement: three billion, 800 million, 200 thousand, 906
years, two months, five days, ten hours, five minutes, thirty
seconds. Readings based on prescaled data."
        The hedgehog wasn't exactly aware as to why that level of
accuracy was required. He made his point audible.
        "In order to get back to our time," Sally explained, "we need
to know exactly when it was we were transported here. If the
wrong level of power is given on the return trip, we may find
ourselves before or after the time we want to go back to."
        "How does power on the return relate to the power the time
machine used?" Sonic asked thoughtfully.
        "According to the data, the power response is linear. That is,
the power differential relative to what the device used would
send us before or after the event took place."
        "So that means if I give it more juice than the device used, we
could go back in time to before we were sent here?"
        "Right," Sally said. She was about to continue, but she
paused, thinking about what observation Sonic had made.
Slightly surprised by his proposal, she said, "Sonic, you want
to go back to the time before we were sent to this time period?"
        "Correctomundo, Sal," he confirmed.
        "But why?" Sally was somewhat puzzled by the hedgehog's choice
of tactics.
        It was Sonic's turn to explain his rationale. "Let me put it
this way, Sal," he began, pacing as he spoke, like a professor
teaching a class. He amplified his voice, speaking to the
cavern at large, to give his statements an ominous sound to
them. The cavern's acoustics provided the perfect response.
"There's still too much we don't know about that time machine
that even the info Nicole got can't tell us. We don't know if
it was an experimental wartoy or otherwise, and billions of
other things that might affect how well it works. Another is
that thing's old beyond belief. We don't have a clue to how it
reacted after 'Buttnik fired it, and this hedgehog ain't willing
to bet on something being stable for that long."
        Sally thought the point over, and concluded that Sonic could be
right about the temporal displacement device. Considering the
matter further, if they did go back in time to the right hour or
even minute, there might be enough of an opportunity to destroy
the machine before Robotnik had the chance to use it himself.
The key was to find the right time, and go back to it so that
they could perform the necessary destructive acts. One thing
remained burning away in her mind, though.
        "There's just one thing though," Sally stated, "if we go back
in time to a point before we were sent here, we wouldn't exist
after a while."
        "Say what?!" exclaimed the confused hedgehog.
        "Sorry, Sonic. I didn't mean that the way it sounded," she
apologized. "What I meant was that WE, the you and I here,
would cease to exist at the time when Robotnik engaged that
device. The 'other' us, the Sonic and Sally in sync with time
back in the past will live. They, I mean we, just won't
remember what happened. If we're successful this time around,
it would be to our other selves like the entire incident never
happened. You and I would have destroyed the device, so the
other us would never be sent to the future. Do you still want
to go back before Robotnik used it against us?"
        "It's a chance we'll have to take, Sal. If we go back to when
Robotnik sent us here, we'd just end up in that beam again. And
if we go after, that thing might blow up in our face."
        "You're right, Sonic," she finally said after scheming over the
proposed plan. "Going back before Robotnik got his hands on it
and used it against us would be the best idea I heard all day."
        "Yo, Sal. Remember this: the Hedgehog is always right." He
dictated this teasingly.
        Sally retorted in kind. "Since when?"
        Sonic responded with a glare, but they both knew it to be
mocking only; not a real threat. Sally responded with her own
glare toward Sonic. Mutually disarmed, they surrendered to
laughter and embraced each other for a while.
        Realizing that the technical discussion of time and space had
purged more energy out of them than expected, they went to
sleep. The next morning would be the day of the great escape
from this future time period, in the hopes of creating a better
one in the past.

* * *

        The next morning, the two companions in time went back to the
temporal singularity for the final preparations on their return
trip. Along the way, they discussed and decided when to return
to, and what power level was needed. While walking through the
mud pool, they both tripped over rocks hidden under the opaque
layer of shell and other carbonate excretion products. This
eventually covered them in mud from their head to their feet,
making the journey even more difficult since they were partially
blinded by the mud caked over their eyes. But they managed to
trek on. Within about two hours, they managed to arrive at the
temporal singularity site.
        "Where's it at, Sal?" Sonic inquired, quickly scanning for
their passage to home. "I can't see it out there anywhere."
        Sally handed a pair of multispectrum goggles to him and
responded, "Here, try these on, Sonic. I've modified them to
detect temporal distortions."
        Sonic retrieved the goggles, put them on his face, and searched
the area again. "Got it," the hedgehog said to his comrade when
he located the singularity thirty meters ahead of them. "Cool.
You got the juicing limit set, Sal? That might've been the
mistake we made the last time we tried this," he said not
without some concern.
        Technically, Sonic was incorrect in his last statement. From
the viewpoint of Mobius' past, this would be the first time that
they executed this plan. However, now wasn't the time to argue
the finer points of temporal physics.
        "Yep, already done. Twelve megawatts exactly," Sally verified.
"Just remember this," she admonished, "we need to go DIRECTLY
into the temporal singularity. Otherwise..." she trailed off,
not inclined to think of the consequences.
        There wasn't any need for further discussion on this particular
subject. It had been covered before. They both knew that if
Sonic didn't enter the singularity perpendicular to its event
horizon, the best that could happen is that they could be
transported anywhere in time, without their discretion. The
worst case, they could be trapped in the singularity for all
eternity. No margin for error existed here, and everything
depended on Sonic's concentration and undeviating stability to a
        With nothing further to review or to prepare for, they began
Phase 1: powering for time transport. Sonic reprogrammed the
goggles to display only the areas of the strongest temporal
displacement potential and added a target sight centerlined for
him, for that indicated the correct path to vector into. Sally
got behind him, gripping his back with all the strength she had.
She pulled the power ring out of his backpack, and he assumed
his stance to engage the power transfer. An energy field formed
around the hedgehog, gradually becoming more powerful and
displacing the mud around his feet as he concentrated on
generating the required energy to travel over 3.8 billion years
into the past. Nothing else existed in his mind; only the
power ring field mattered now.
        Nicole was programmed to emit an audible signal when the
detected power field reached the preset energy level. No
indication tone came from the little computer. Sonic was
straining to his limit to generate the power field, but he
needed a little more encouragement.
        Sally noticed the hedgehog's predicament, and tried to motivate
him on further. "Sonic, you can do it. I know you can.
Concentrate harder."
        His only response was to strengthen the energy level in the
power field. About five seconds later, Nicole gave the signal
they were waiting for. He halted his energy demands from the
power ring, but maintained the power field surrounding him and
Sally. Sonic then lowered his field of vision and centered his
target sight on the strongest area of temporal displacement.
After obtaining the desired target, he maintained his aim, and
        Phase 2 had begun. Sonic covered the thirty meter distance to
the temporal singularity in a microsecond, his velocity warping
the volume of air around the energy field into an intense shock
wave cone. Sonic entered the temporal singularity perfectly,
and remained on course back to the other opening in time and
space. All that remained now was to traverse the
incomprehensible span of time back to the device and the person
responsible for their troubles.

* * *
Shawn Wolski, N5UNA
MultiTasking Sega Advocate, Amateur Radio Operator, the
Granite Eater, Furry Fan, and UTARC News Prime Editor.

Most violent curse: "You are evil!"


Received on Fri Mar 10 1995 - 16:33:32 PST

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.0 : Thu Mar 19 2015 - 12:17:02 PDT