A STORY FOR THE YOUNG AT HEART
As we travelled at the speed of a fast train in Britain, (assuming they are not on strike), we turned left at Neptune, bounced off Uranus, and then took a sharp right near Saturn to avoid its circular saw surrounding it and entered at warped speed, (a bit less than straight speed), into the next Galaxy and beyond. I can't tell you where we were exactly. The space sign ahead said, "Un-named Galaxy as yet un-visited. Please fly carefully. Beware of pedestrians".
Captain Ivor Spatial-Anomaly and I were playing chess on the bridge whilst Calculus, the robotic humanoid, was at the controls driving the spaceship forwards and aimlessly since we had not received any orders from HQ as to where we should go next. Apparently, there had been a postal strike down on earth and messages were not getting through to us.
Suddenly, there was a jerking motion on the ship and all the chess pieces fell to the ground.
"What happened?" asked the Captain, "I was about to win check mate in 16 moves!"
"We have hit a temporal distortion!" replied Calculus.
"What is that in English?" asked the Captain looking in his dictionary, "there is nothing about a temperamental proportion in this book. Did you not see whatever it is and tried to avoid it, Calculus?"
"A temporal distortion is a distortion, or a fold, in the time continuum whereby time appears to loop on itself for a specific measurable period ranging from a few seconds to several hours, or days, or months or even years, according to Einstein's Theory of Times and Distortions as published in the British Scientific Magazine dated ..."
"You don't half go on, Calculus," interrupted the Captain, "tell me in words of one syllable or less what happened and whether I can win this game of chess. I have a bet of 3 pence riding on it!"
"Well Cap ..." responded Calculus, "think of a piece of pap ... of sheet ... of rag ... Sir, may I use words of more than one syllable but fewer than seven?"
"OK ... get on with it," shouted the Captain, "see, I can do one syllable! Easy!"
"That's two syllables, Captain," corrected Calculus, "however, to continue explaining a temporal distortion. Temporal is a word relating to time. A distortion is some sort of bend. Think of a piece of paper that has been folded in two. If you run your finger up to the fold, and then continue you will see that your finger will come back the way it came. Your finger went forward and then backward again."
"I see," said the Captain quickly taking his finger out of his nose.
"Now if we were to hold the piece of paper so that both ends meet, like a circle," Calculus continued, "and if you ran your finger on the inside of the sheet of paper, it will go round and round and round. If we made the circle smaller, your finger will still go round and round but it will travel within the whole circle in a shorter period of time."
"Will this explanation take long?" asked the Captain, "only I need to go to the toilet. That shaking of the spaceship earlier on got me going ... and I can't squeeze my finger any longer!"
"Now imagine that time is a straight line," went on Calculus, "let's start with 1 million BC, 1 hundred BC, ten BC, BC, AD, AD+10 and so on until now. If you ran your finger along this line ..."
"My finger would have been worn out by now ..." interrupted the Captain hopping from foot to foot.
Calculus stopped for a second or two to digest this new information, did not understand the joke, and went on ...
"If you were to run your finger along this time line all would be well. However, if the time line is looped, or distorted, like the piece of paper, you will go round in a circle and re-live that period of time. It could be for a few seconds, minutes, or hours or days or ..."
"OK ... I get the picture," interrupted the Captain again as tears were running down his leg, "how did this temporal distortion affect us?"
"Well Sir," Calculus continued, "it appears to have hit the rear of the ship for only a few seconds ... 12.3785 seconds to be precise. If there was no one there, then no damage has been done.
"Otherwise the person or persons in that location may well be affected by a time distortion of precisely that period of time.Their existence would be ahead of ours by that length of time. They would be able to see the future, to foresee events, before they actually happen12.3785 seconds later."
"Where in the rear were we hit?" asked the Captain.
"In the bathroom, Sir," replied Calculus.
"Just as well I wasn't there," said the Captain, "I would have wet myself well before I did!!!"
At this point Number One, (our Commander, referred to as Number One), entered the bridge and said "Wooosh ..."
"I wish they'd fix these sliding doors," he said, "I am tired of saying Wooosh every time to simulate the doors sliding open."
"We've just had a temporary something or other just now," said Sir Ivor.
"Yes I felt it," replied Number One, "I was in the bathroom and wished I'd never had so many beans for lunch ..."
"What were you doing ... Number One?" asked the Captain.
"No Sir, I was doing Number Two ..." said the Commander.
"Number Two? Was he there as well?" asked the perplexed Captain, "that is most irregular!"
"No Sir," corrected the Commander, "I was alone in the bathroom doing Number Two!"
"By Jove ... man," cried the Captain, "what were you doing to him? I hope it is allowed in the space ship instructions manual! Otherwise I'll have to report you to WC".
At this point Calculus approached the Captain and whispered in his ear.
"Ah ... now I understand," said the Captain, "for one moment or two I thought you were ... oh never mind. Have you got the daily rota for me to sign, Number One?"
"Here Sir, you will need my pen to sign with," said the Commander as he handed the rota and a pen.
"How did you know, that my pen will not work?" asked the Captain.
Number One smiled and then said, "Bless you," just before the man at the radar controls sneezed.
"How did you know he was going to sneeze?" asked the Captain.
Number One said, "We'd better go to engineering, Captain".
Just then the loudspeaker system announced, "Captain to engineering please!"
"If I may explain," interrupted Calculus, "it appears that Number One has been affected by the temporal distortion and he can now foresee events 12.3785 seconds before they happen."
The Captain and Number One walked towards the turbo-elevators leading to engineering. I followed them.
"If you don't mind Sir, I'll take the stairs," said Number One.
"Why?" asked the Captain, "don't you like me any more?"
"Ehmmmm ... hmmmm ...." hesitated Number One, "I believe, Sir, that you will break wind in the elevator. It is wrong on so many levels!"
"Please yourself," said the Captain as he entered the elevator and said, "Woooosh ... that's better!"
TO BE CONTINUED IN A WHIFF ... PERHAPS
(Fresh air allowing).