Author : Duncan Shields, Staff Writer

The old man was a genius but kept it to himself. He lived in an old house outside of the city. He didn’t have friends. He kept himself busy with hobbies. His latest project had been a frustrating one.

The problem was material. By his calculations, he would have needed a dish over six miles in diameter. Tin or lead-lined steel would have been best.

He didn’t have the money to afford that much metal, let alone get a grant from city council to build something so huge that close to the city. He was stuck.

Until he thought smaller instead of bigger. He bought an old television picture tube and a faulty electron microscope from the university that they were going to throw out anyway. He bought thirty magnets from the hardware store, salted them, and aligned them all in a very unique and specific way on a chunk of stolen chain-link fence. By pulsing the electrons from the busted television through those magnets with the electron microscope turned on to observe them to make them collapse, he created a tachyon spray gun.

With it, he could mark a radius of five miles around his house with an invisible web of time-retarding, mostly-stable tachyon nets with its focus ending in the middle of his basement.

Totally harmless to the normal population.

To time travelers, it might as well have been a brick wall.

The first traveler arrived five minutes after the old man turned the time-net on.

There was a flash and there he was. Dressed in blue and with goggles. He had a bright orange plastic fin on the top of his head. He was wearing black rubber gloves and his chest had a tangle of monitors on it. His whole setup looked pretty homemade. He had what looked like a motorcycle throttle in his left hand and some sort of blender in the other.

“Sweet! It worked! Where am I?” he asked. Looking at the old man and then at his surroundings with a wide, goofy smile on his face.

“1958.” the old man lied.

“What? That doesn’t make any sense.” He looked down at one of his dials.

The old man raised his gun and shot the traveler through his left eye.

The old man turned off the time-net. He took off the traveler’s clothes and looked at the equipment strapped to his body. There had to be about six patents in the chest equipment alone. And judging by the traveler’s inexperience and naiveté, he probably wasn’t even that advanced.

The old man would rob more travelers and steal their technology. He’d leak the patents out on the market. He’d be rich.

Seeing as no temporal police had showed up at his house yet, the old man figured that he had already gotten away with the crime.

The old man smiled in the darkness of his basement.

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