“It worked!” Hank exclaimed in disbelief.
After many months of trying to open a wormhole in his lab, to teleport an object from one point to another, it had finally worked. He just didn’t know where it had opened to. He could see through the wormhole to the other side but he couldn’t get his drone, R2D2, to return. R2D2, named after his favorite fictional stories but bought from a website selling drones, was programmed to return... but after entering the hole it seemed to disappear, Still, he could see the beautiful scenery his wormhole had opened into. A beach and what looked like an ocean, as opposed to a lake.
He had a hunch that maybe there was a drop in front of the wormhole as he kept seeing an after image on the other side when he sent through inanimate objects. Maybe the object made it to the other side and fell because of some short circuit?
Based on this assumption he tried the experiment with the lab rat again and noticed a reflection of the rat on the other side of the wormhole but the rat remained here on this side with him. “Interesting”. Hank thought to himself.
“It can’t be!” Hank said aloud. Then he took a deep breath, grabbed a bag he had prepared and walked into the wormhole. He found himself on the other side of his room. Nothing had happened but he was in mind numbing pain. He felt better after a while. Hank decided to reboot the machine and try again.
He hurt bad but it had worked. Hank was through to the other side. Now he understood where R2D2 had gone. The drone had fallen from the wormhole to the ground below. Clearly his lab was at a point higher than the ground in this time. Then he realized that he was on the first floor in his time so he must have fallen at least that much! A rush of fear flashed through him as he realized he could have had his lab on the 10th floor in which case he would have already been dead.
He shook off the shock of his foolhardiness and began to take stock of his situation. He was on the beach which was closer than it was upposed to be. Something seemed out of place. The buildings seemed to be less than he remembered for the coastline he thought he was seeing. He shook of the feelings of dread as he realized what he must be seeing and decided to focus on the situation at hand.
R2D2 had broken into 3 parts but the computer was still functional and the battery was rechargeable through electricity, solar energy and even motion (kinetic energy). All he had to do to get his robot drone operational would be to tape it’s pieces back together. That was good news. There seemed to be splatters of blood around the area and he guessed some animal must have been caught here by one of the gulls, it certainly wasn’t his blood. Oh! The rat! Poor thing must have fallen and spattered… becoming bird food!
The bad news was the wormhole was somewhere above him and thus he had to build a structure or something to get back up to the wormhole to get back through to his own time. That was what Hank knew to be true. He didn’t want to explore because he could tell he was on the Manhattan coastline before skyscrapers and bridges and that scared him a little. Would he even be able to communicate with people of this time? He thought. But he had no choice. On the plus side his teleportation device had turned out to be a time machine. Things were looking up for him.
First things first. He would go to the town and see he he could find a welder of some sort. He had some silver and gold coins in his travel bag so he wasn’t worried about being able to buy anything in this time. Gold and silver is always worth money. He dragged R2D2 to a tree and covered him up with some old branches and leaves, realizing he was beginning to see his rather outsized drone as human. Finally, he checked his revolver, making sure the safety was on, tucked it in the back of his pants and headed towards town.
He couldn’t get over how fresh the air was and how un built the land around him looked. It was as if he was on some ancient wild west frontier outpost with forests, some shops and a few essentials like blacksmiths and mini banks. Only this was Manhatten, or it would be in some distant future time, he just didn’t know when he was yet though he had figured out the where.
He then heard a voice behind him.
“Hey, Sir, can you tell me where I am?”
“Sir?” came his voice again, “did you hear me?”
Hank turned around slowly.
“Oh God” said his voice from the other Hank who was standing, favoring one leg, in roughly the same spot where he had fallen from his wormhole.
“So it is me.” Said the first, original, Hank.
“My device must be making a copy of me and sending it back through time while leaving the original me untouched and unaware that any transference has taken place.”
“Oh no!”. The other Hank had just arrived and didn’t have as much time to take stock of his situation so this was hitting him harder than the first Hank. He didn’t even know he was in the past yet.
“If you got here from my first attempt at walking through the wormhole then that was over an hour ago! Why didn’t R2D2 stay with me the first time I sent him through?” said the second Hank.
“The safety protocol!” the first Hank said, nonchalantly as the whole predicament was beginning to become clear to him. He had realized that the safety programming Hank had done must have overridden the need to destroy the original version of the object that was copied and sent through the wormhole. Allowing the machine to destroy anything just didn’t appeal to him. This this mean that man couldn’t teleport himself or travel back in time but only a copy of him could? This was too much for Hank. The first Hank. The second Hank was just beginning to to become aware of his surroundings.
“What about the blood on the beach?” asked the second Hank.
“The splatters of blood were the copied lab rats falling to the ground and being picked up by some bird” said the first Hank.
“What blood? Oh!” Said the second Hank noticing the blood splatters a few feet from where he had landed. “The rats!” Said the second Hank softly to himself.
The first Hank began to explain things to the second Hank that one didn’t travel through a wormhole but his machine made a copy that was sent through the wormhole or that the wormhole itself made the copy, either way the machine would have killed the original Hank on the first attempt if it hadn’t been for the safety protocol which didn’t allow the machine to destroy the original version of the object sent through the wormhole... IF the object had living tissue. Clearly the smell of metal he had smelt the first time when he sent his drone R2D2 through was his drone being disintegrated. The pain they felt must have been the copying process, on both sides of the wormhole
After absorbing this the second Hank said that the original Hank was about to try the experiment again and soon there would be three Hank’s on this side of the wormhole plus an original Hank blissfully unaware of what had happened and probably ready to try the experiment yet again.
They both looked up ominously at where the wormhole probably was as if expecting to see another one of themselves fall through the air to the ground.
“What do we do now” the second Hank asked. Clearly he had decided that the first Hank was the leader for some reason.
“I think we can probably get my, er, our, his, our other self’s attention if we could somehow get high enough for him to notice us through it. We just need to get level with the wormhole somehow.” Said the first Hank thoughtfully. He still couldn’t believe what was going on and had been thinking logically and trying to take stock since he got here so he found it easier to just continue in that state rather than getting scared. The other Hank seemed to be losing it though, he thought. Maybe that’s what was keeping him together, being better than him… himself. This was getting confusing, Hank thought.
It worked he was through. Hank’s eyes adjusted to the light and he looked around. In shock he noticed a mirror image of himself wearing his earlier outfit from before he took a shower, saying, “Maybe if we start a fire he will notice the smoke? And stop?”
“Yes! A fire, a fire” said another mirror image of himself in the very clothes he was wearing as he ran in around in a what seemed like a panic.
“I must be dreaming” said Hank out aloud. “What a strange dream. I wonder what it all means?”
“It means we’re in alot of trouble” said the first Hank looking at the new arrival with a worried expression.
“Oh I don’t doubt that” said the new arrival with a smile thinking how strange this dream was, especially considering the pain he was feeling.
Then a fourth Hank fell from the sky upon him.
As Hank was working on his wormhole teleportation device, trying hard to make it work, he looked through his, almost perpetually steady wormhole, he could see what looked like smoke in the distance. That’s strange, thought Hank as he took a running start for his jump into the wormhole for his fifth attempt, must be someone having a barbecue. Sure enough. It didn’t work again. Hank decided to see if he could see anything else through the wormhole and suddenly realized the smoke was coming out as puffs! Smoke signals? Thought Hank. After spending another hour experimenting on the machine and trying to get through the wormhole a couple of more times, as Hank was about to leave his laboratory for the night he looked through the wormhole one more time to see if there was any more smoke (it had stopped somewhere in between his experiments) he noticed himself, his face, looking back at him! Hank looked on in disbelief and horror as the mirror image of himself that was looking back at him through the wormhole was holding up a piece of tree bark and on it were some words. Hank looked closer and it said, “You are sending copies of yourself into the past. STOP”.
“Oh no!” Exclaimed Hank as he realized what was going on.