Chapter 9

Written by: Ray Stone

“I could not resist keeping you in the dark, George. I am so excited. My own finance, not the bank’s I might add, was promised to Jeffrey before your trip.” Mr. Battersby’s jovial face peered up at me as he patted the side of the time machine like an overexcited schoolboy. “I am sorry I did not disclose my intentions, but such a project had to be secret until we were sure we could not only make the machine travel in time but find a brave young soul to be the first time traveler. You are an inquisitive young man, and that’s why we arranged for you to meet Jeffrey at the exhibition.”

It was hard for me not to be affected by Mr. Battersby’s enthusiasm which erupted into an endless string of questions as he stood on the stepladder next to the machine and fiddled with the new dials.

“Did you feel any pain or see anything as you traveled? What did you see? Who did you meet? Were you in any danger?” 

Mr. Battersby wrung his hands with anticipation and excitement as I did my best to sate his inquiries. I feared that he might suffer a fit if he did not draw breath. Such was his demeanor that Jeffrey calmed Mr. Battersby by offering a glass of champagne in order we toast my success and the next trip. 

As we stood looking at the machine, for it had no name, Mr. Leysen announced I should travel there and then while he and Mr. Battersby drunk the rest of the champagne. At which point, he surmised, I would return in no more than ten minutes from a trip they had planned for me. 

“Oh, do let's give our craft a name,” beamed Mr. Battersby. “What do you think, young George?”

I had already thought of a name after my encounter with the Time Guardian. “Patty,” I announced boldly. 

“Whether she exists or not, her spirit was with me, and through my experience I learned we must look after our planet and let history take a natural course through good and bad times. We must learn from our travels to improve our lives today.”

“Well said, young George.”

Both men applauded, and I climbed back into ‘Patty’.

Mr. Leysen pointed to the new instruments. “I have worked out the coordinates for your trip. It is of the utmost importance that you blend in with your surroundings when you get there. We need…or rather, Mr. Battersby needs for you to go to an address in the city we are sending you to and report back with information.”

He handed me a piece of paper. On it was the name of Mr. Battersby’s law firm. 

“I do not wish to alter history, George, but wish to know if my latest investment will prosper in the future. If it does, I will be a happy man.”

As Leysen set the controls, the machine began to vibrate. I looked at my destination: Auckland, New Zealand.