Author : Glenn S. Austin
It was the first ship to be outfitted with the Time Jump and the Magnetic Field Drive. It was the perfect pairing of technology. The right tool for the specific research that Gleason was pursuing.
Traverse back in time billions of years to when the Sun was just a cloud of hydrogen. Then, on consecutive Time Jumps, watch the cloud as it compressed, coalesced, and eventually ignited into our Sun. The Time Jump seemed to be perfect, although it had its limitations. You could only go backwards in time and then return to the present, which was fine for this particular research program.
The Magnetic Field Drive, created a magnetic gravity field that would effectively suction up, compress, and then ignite the free hydrogen to propel the ship to various points within the cloud. An abundance of hydrogen was expected at the far end, so there would be no problem fueling the drive or collecting the energy to recharge the Time Jump.
All worked as expected and placed him and his ship in the middle of a vast hydrogen cloud, exactly as predicted. He checked the systems and onboard chronometer and all was functional. It was surreal, here he was, in the middle of all the matter that would become the center of our Solar System. Eventually, when compressed, it would provide the heat and mass that breathed life into Earth and warmed the beings that inhabited it.
As Gleason’s sense of awe subsided, he got to work. First, start the Magnetic Field Drive and collect energy to recharge for the Jump home. Next, check all the monitoring sensors that collected and stored data for later analysis. Then a side job that he had planned to help fund his research. Collect quantities of this primordial hydrogen in containers to bring back to the future. It was going to be the perfect gimmick. Package the gas in souvenir bottles, and sell them to folks who would pay big for a bottle of the hydrogen that created the Sun.
That done, it was time to take a trip around the Cloud to measure the different hydrogen densities. Gleason activated the MF Magnetic Field Drive D and the ship accelerated leaving a fiery tail behind as the hydrogen plasma ignited and thrust the ship forward. It was beautiful and the onboard cameras got some great pictures of million mile long trails of burning hydrogen.
Gleason watched in fascination as the trails expanded to consume even more hydrogen and leave large swaths of empty space where the gas burned off.
How long would it take for those voids to fill in with the surrounding Hydrogen?
As that depended on the various minute gravity influences, his propulsion trails could theoretically endure for millions of years. He grinned, it was nice to know that something he did here would have a long lasting effect, even though there was no one to see it.
Time to head back. Gleason activated the Time Jump and was instantly back in the Solar system, or was he?
The Sun didn’t look right. It seemed dimmer. Was he in the wrong timeframe? The chronometer said he was right back where he started. Where was Earth? He should be close to the Lagrange point between the Earth and the moon. But there was nothing. A quick scan, four planets orbiting the dim star. It was all gone, no Earth, no humanity, no history.
Gleason figured it had been the long trails of burning Hydrogen but he looked at the souvenir bottles of gas and wondered if just that little amount had made the difference.