And then it was done.
Dr Marvin Ledbetter took a step back from the machine and smiled broadly in satisfaction. A screwdriver held loosely in one hand, he ran the other through his wavy white hair and let himself relax. Finally, all of the diagnostics had been clear, and all that remained was to attach the brass plate to the side of the instrumental panel.
She was ready to go.
He placed the screwdriver on a nearby workbench and clambered into the machine, lowering himselt into the old leather armchair that formed the center of the contraption. His fingers koved over the polished brass, tracing the letters of 'Mary' with his fingers and he looked up to the picture that sat above it. Green eyes smiled at him from a captured moment of the past and he smiled back. Still smiling, he leapt from his seat with an energy that belied his frail appearence and started grabbing items from the workbenches that surround him.
"Right: laptop, check. Bottled water. Check."
Moving frantically around his lab, he mumbled his way through a mental list, collecting various things. He looked over at the machinery he had named Mary, the car sized metal framework barely visable under the miles of wiring, sensors and equidistantly spaced energy field cones and cast a final careful eye over the machine. And then, once he was ready, he sat back in the chair, connected up his laptop and sat for a few seconds with his eyes closed, savouring the moment. With a quich indrawn breath, he abruptly leapt from the machine again and grabbed a small plastic dinosaur skeleton.
"Malcom! Check. Couldn't forget you now could we?"
Grinning madly, he sat himself back into the chair and propped Malcon up by his laptop. He tapped a couple of keys, punched a large green button and sat gripping the arms of the chair as the machine powered up, his knuckles white and eyes wide. With a barely audible whine, the energy fields established themselves, a spider's web of white light creeping like frost from the cones, and the lab around him dimmed slightly. With whatsounded like a soft 'click', he detached from the known universe and sat suspended in his energy bubble, the soft hum of his machinery whirring steadily in the background.
Permitting himself a little jig of jot in his seet, he whoope in triumph and then ran through a series of tests, tapping rapidly at the keyboard until he had confirmed that he'd truly done it. The ledbetter fiel generator (as he'd decided to call it in the few seconds previously) was working. He could move independantly through time and space, the energy field utterly cutting him from the universe as he knew it. Nothing could enter the field and nothing could leave. Picking up a small rubber ball, he thre it and watched with delight as it hit the floor, bounces solidly off the energy field and back into his hand.
"Well Mary,W he whispered. "What do i do now?" His gaze flicked over at the small skeleton of the dinosaur, and his fingers moved rapidly over the keys once more. With another faint 'click' the universe moved around him.
A few nanoseconds later, nbot that the time really made a difference, Marvin sat suspended in the air above a vast her of sauropods, watching intently as they moved across an endless savannah that, many millions of years later, would become the city knows as London. He watched open-mouthed as the herd moved gracefully in sync with each other, almost like a flock of birds, seeiming to know instinctively where each of their colleagues were and what they were about to do. A stealthy movement caught his eye as a small group of predatory carnivores seperated off a weaker herbavore, the swiftly moving meat-eaters expertly herding it away from the larger males before taking it down and feasting on its still warm carcass. Dinosaurs has always been Mary's area of expertise, but it was an interest he'd happily shared, his boyhood fascination with them reignited by his wife when they married. Malcom had been one of the