“Stop playing with that thing...”
“I’ve just got to adjust this,” said Walter, hunched over one of the Chronosphere’s many consoles. The experiment was the culmination of years of work, and he was resolved that everything should be perfect. But Einstein, it seemed, was growing impatient.
“Give me the sequence calculations, now!”
Abandoning his last minute checks, Walter stood up from the console. “They’re already done,” he said, handing Einstein a clipboard containing the final co-ordinates. He had checked the numbers himself, meticulously cross-referencing them against historical maps of their target: Landsberg, Germany, 1924.
The professor made a few perfunctory signatures on the clipboard, and took a seat in the large armchair in the centre of the Chronosphere chamber. Walter had considered saying something significant to mark the occasion, but decided against it. After all, no living soul would know that the experiment had even taken place. History would not remember them.
“Stand by,” said Walter, before flicking the switch on the main console. The low hum of the generator quickly rose to a deafening roar, there was a blinding flash of light, and Einstein vanished. For a second that seemed to last an eternity, the chair sat empty, and Walter was alone in the Chronosphere but for the din of the generator. But, barely a heartbeat later, there was another dazzling blaze of light and Einstein rematerialised exactly where he had been a moment ago.
Walter breathed a deep sigh of relief, and the noise began to subside as the system powered down. Wordlessly, Einstein took out his pocketwatch and began to study it closely.
“Well? Did you find him?” asked Walter. By his calculations, they had only a minute or two before the Chronosphere’s temporal shielding would wear off.
“Hitler is... out of the way,” replied Einstein quietly. Walter’s heart leapt; the outcome was better than he had dared hope. By eliminating the would-be Nazi dictator in the past, the horrors of World War II would surely have been averted entirely.
“Congratulations Professor!” he exclaimed, barely able to contain himself. “With Hitler removed -“
Einstein raised a hand to silence his assistant. Slowly and deliberately, he began to wind his pocketwatch.
“Time will tell,” said the professor. “Sooner or later... time will tell.”
Trinity, New Mexico. 1946.